Monday, September 2, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Excellent Epic Christian Fantasy Debut

The Book Dragon has finished reading The King's Trial by M. L. Farb and gives it a roaring five claws!
My 5 star review: I've got to say that this is one of the best books I've read with wonderful characters who grow on their journeys, stellar writing, fantastic world-building, and a twisty, nail-biting plot. The only thing less than positive I have to say is that the ending isn't really an ending, which frustrates me no matter which book I'm reading. So, just a caution that everything won't be wrapped up at the end. At least it's not a cliffhanger!

Many quotable lines, but I plan to buy the paperback so I can better mark them. (I want a copy anyway because the cover art is so gorgeous!) This is the only one I managed to highlight in my Kindle:

"Prejudice is a powerful mask for fear."

The faith elements in this book are integral to the story and gently encourage and admonish the reader, which I love in Christian fantasy! Highly recommended!

Here's a better image of that gorgeous cover:



Monday, August 19, 2019

Know someone who needs hope & encouragement?

A few days ago, I gave a paperback of this book to a friend newly diagnosed with cancer. She told me she read it in one sitting and it greatly encouraged her. Since I hadn't read it in months, I also read it in one sitting, and found, to my surprise, it WAS encouraging! So I checked its page on Amazon and realized, to my chagrin, I had never lowered the price permanently to 99 cents, as I had planned to long ago.

I've fixed my error now, and Battling the Beast is now permanently 99 cents. If you know a new cancer patient who is desperately seeking hope and encouragement, that IS the reason I wrote this book, and I am happy to gift them a copy if they can't afford the dollar!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Dune meets Indiana Jones & Romancing the Stone & Dragons!

The Book Dragon has read Sand and Storm by Stella Dorthwany and gives it a resounding 5 claws!
My review: I wasn't sure what to expect from this book by the cover and title, especially since I haven't finished several other choices from a fantasy book club I've been reading this year and wasn't expecting to like this one. But wow, pow, kaZOW, this one grabbed me by the throat and kept ratcheting up the suspense, action, danger, and yes, romance, until the very end. It would make a GREAT movie! Every single character is memorable, even the minor ones. The setting is so well-drawn, I could FEEL the heat of the desert, SMELL the storms, HEAR the explosions, TASTE the grit. So well done! But beyond that, the magic systems were understandable without getting into tedious details, as unfortunately can happen in a fantasy. The plot was not predictable, but also was believable with extremely high stakes. And I didn't even mind the multiple love triangles, because the author made the relationships SO MUCH FUN and didn't slow down the action while the romantic tangles were happening! I'm still puzzling over how Ms. Dorthwany was able to cram so much stuff into a relatively short fantasy novel, have it make complete sense, have me fall in love with several of the characters, AND tie it all up neatly, since I pretty much hate cliffhanger endings. In short, it can only be her special brand of magic! Bravo!

Here's a better image of the pretty cover, though it only tells a tiny part of the story:

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rejoice with me! I finished my WIP!

There were so many days in the last (almost) two years I thought I'd never type those words again, but I finally did on Dolan's Bride, the first of five planned books in a new series set in my fictional world of Levathia entitled Mercy's Children.

I only thought life was hard while fighting cancer (twice). But being forced to leave the life we'd built for 24 years in a small town to move to a huge metroplex and start over at our age, along with deteriorating health (the price of surviving cancer twice), and relearning newlywed tightwad techniques, since the only job hubby could find pays half his previous salary, and I'm too sick to work have challenged us WAY beyond our comfort zones. (Hmm, sorry about that extremely long sentence!)

We've learned valuable lessons from our trials and grown closer to the Lord, but we both still feel battered, two years later. We had zero traffic in our small town, but here we've had to learn to drive in crazy freeway traffic, which is quite frazzling to our old people nerves.

Despite feeling battered and frazzled most of the time, I kept slogging on, pretty much desperate to finish this story. It was scary when my characters wouldn't talk to me for days or weeks at a time. Some days I wrote one page or a couple paragraphs. After thirty years of writing for publication, I thought my fountain was completely drying up.

I don't submit manuscripts to book publishers or agents any more. They're looking for writers with "platforms" and past sales numbers that prove they can make money for them. That's even more important than making sure the story is actually worth publishing.

I want to self-publish Dolan's Bride for the readers who have been patiently waiting to read it, but I no longer have the funds to make it as close to perfect as possible. (I spent over $1,000 on each of the books in the previous series and will never make that money back: content editor, copy editor, formatter, cover designer, and map maker, not to mention the narrator for Mercy's Prince.) Thankfully I have a wonderful critique partner and several eager beta readers, one of whom says he is good at spotting typos and grammar errors, so I'll try to polish it as best I can.

I'll also have to format it myself, so sadly it won't be as "pretty" as the He Who Finds Mercy series. I am trying to create a decent cover, too, using the limited free tools at canva.com. I hope my readers understand! Here are two ideas, using old paintings in the public domain:



And here's a teaser (still working on an actual blurb):

Even though fifteen-year-old King Dolan d'Alden has an heir in his three-year-old brother, his Regency Council is pressuring him to marry. Lady Nelwina Gowen wants to be Dolan's queen so badly, she's willing to use any means to attain her goal. Any means.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

New Book in my Favorite Fantasy Series!!!



Thanks for stopping by! Take a look at this brand-new fantasy adventure story with a hint of romance by author Annie Douglass Lima. 
You can download a copy of the ebook for free between July 9th and 11th!

Book Description:
    Life as the king’s younger sister should be exciting.
   Not for Princess Kalendria. She’s sick of the dissent and of constantly having her family undermined by those who think they could rule Malorn better than King Korram.
   Hoping to lighten the mood in the palace, Kalendria plans a ball to celebrate her seventeenth birthday. It doesn’t hurt that their handsome Alasian ally King Jaymin has promised to attend, and she’s been waiting for him to notice her for as long as she can remember.
   But unfriendly forces have their own party plans. When Kalendria, Korram, and Jaymin barely survive an assassination attempt, their only recourse is to flee into the wilderness. Tracked by unknown assassins, they must figure out whom they can trust and who is behind the plot. Can Kalendria help her brother reclaim his throne – oh, and catch Jaymin’s attention while she’s at it – before they are all killed and war destroys both kingdoms?


Click here to download your copy of King of Malorn on Amazon now! 

Click here to see King of Malorn on Goodreads.

Series Information:


King of Malorn is book 5 in the Annals of Alasia. But don't worry if you haven't read the others; it will still make sense on its own. 

Each of the first four books can stand on its own as well. They each deal with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn. 

Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life. 
In the Enemy’s Service features a girl as the protagonist and tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded. 
Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion. 
The Nameless Soldier shows how a young Alasian soldier lives through the Invasion but then has to survive and make a name for himself in enemy-occupied Alasia. 

In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the timeframes and settings overlap. 

I also have a short ebook of “interviews” that I conducted with the characters in the other three books. Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews is not available on Amazon, but I send a free copy to anyone who signs up for my mailing list (to receive updates when I release new books or occasionally offer them for free).

Author Biography:

Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, and Bible verse coloring and activity books. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Author Contact Info:

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com





Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/anniedouglasslima




Monday, July 8, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Action-packed installment of my favorite fantasy series!

The Book Dragon has read King of Malorn by Annie Douglass Lima and gives it a rip-roaring five claws!
My 5 star review: Having read all the previous books in the Annals of Alasia series, I was so excited to learn this book was finally going to be released, I asked for an advance copy. At first I was surprised the story was told through the eyes of minor characters, but it actually worked well to see Korram and Jaymin from other points of view. Princess Kalendria's character arc works wonderfully well, and Erik (Jaymin's bodyguard) now feels more real (and human) and so sympathetic! There is so much going on, but the reader never feels "lost." The pacing is fantastic, along with the suspense, two things tricky to keep going in a book of this length. But the story is SO good, this reader never once felt anything was dragging or superfluous, and I honestly could have read more. There is a satisfying ending, but I see a couple threads where the author has left herself room to write more about this wonderful fantasy world and its heroic and villainous characters. This has definitely become my favorite fantasy series! NOTE: It is not necessary to have read the previous books in the series, but you will enjoy it even more if you read the others first, because you'll see all the characters from the previous books come together here, so it feels like a beautiful tapestry of lives woven together.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A Brand New Steampunk Full of Heart!

The Book Dragon has just finished reading Heart of the Curiosity, H. L. Burke's brand new YA fantasy steampunk, and gives it five claws!
My review: Having read several of Ms. Burke's novels and especially liked her steampunk series, I was excited to read her latest, which is set in the world of theatre using an interesting concept of magical "knacks." The MC is Leodora, or Leo, who has had a rough upbringing in a traveling circus where unspeakable things happened to her. This causes her to run away with her younger sister Muse, not only to protect her but to help her reach her dream of being a dancer. At The Curiosity, an old family theatre with dark secrets of its own, they meet a fellow teen named Paxton who has a mechanical arm and a kind heart. Leo and Muse find a home and a family, and all is well for four years. But conflict is the heart of fiction, so of course, things don't stay safe. Someone else wants to uncover the secrets at the Heart of the Curiosity, and destruction and death ensue.

This wonderful story is part magic, part mystery, and part coming-of-age while dealing with serious subjects in a very effective way. The details are so much fun to read, from the smells and tastes of the local "coffee shop" to the adorable snail circus and the chilling, sometimes dangerous secret passages in the old theatre. Recommended for older teens and up, since there is a murder, two self-defense killings, mild swearing, and the effects of rape, but all are dealt with in a sensitive way.

More about Heart of the Curiosity (and a better pic of the intriguing cover):


The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora's only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd's mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity's sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater's stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

Where to find the book:


About the author (if you haven't read any of her books, you NEED to!)
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.


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