Journey to the Rift by Cathi Shaw Genre: YA Fantasy Release Date: November 3rd 2016 Ink Smith Publishing Summary for Goodreads:
A dangerous quest into a forbidden land wasn’t exactly what Brijit
Carnesîr was planning after her graduation from the Academy. For years
she has looked forward starting her life as a member of the Coimirceoirí
and she is thrilled to discover that she has been chosen as the Academy
Apprentice of her year. But despite the fact that she has been longing
to go to Séreméla and work with the Elders, it soon becomes apparent
that her fate isn’t as rosy as it appears to be. First, she is paired up
with a grumpy male apprentice from Stone Mountain, Weylon Forborrow.
Second, it doesn’t take her long to discover that the Elders are not
taking her to Séreméla, as tradition dictates. Instead, Weylon and her
are sent to The Rift, a dead land tainted with evil. Even before they
join the Elder royalty at Tèarmann, an ancient fortress on the cusp of
the Rift, Brijit discovers that the Elders are hiding too many things.
She is given the task of helping the Princess in birthing the long
awaited Queen of the Elders but nothing is as it seems. There is talk of
an old and forgotten Prophecy, Weylon is attacked by a creature from
the Rift and her grandmother is killed, after revealing a secret that
rocks everything Brijit knows about her past. Soon Brijit questions
everything she had been led to believe and, worse, she realizes that the
future of Séreméla and all of Five Corners is in jeopardy, unless she
can find a way to save it!
Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She
is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly
incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new
adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she is the co-author of the
textbook Writing Today and the true story, Surviving Logan.
Hot off the presses! THE TIGRESS AND THE YOGI by Shelley Schanfield is
available now! Sign up to win a paperback copy of her book or one of 5 ebooks!
THE TIGRESS AND THE YOGI
Author: Shelley Schanfield
Publisher: Lake House
Genre: Historical Fantasy
A talking tigress.
A wandering yogi.
A young woman's harrowing journey through an ancient land where chaos
threatens gods and mortals alike.
A tigress speaks to the outcaste girl Mala, and as she flees in
terror, she encounters an old yogi. She offers him hospitality. As an
untouchable, her very shadow may sully the holy man, but he accepts, repaying
her kindness with stories that awaken her hunger for forbidden spiritual
knowledge. Soon after he leaves, she is orphaned and enslaved, but the warrior
goddess Durga appears in a vision and offers her hope.
Thus begins her quest for liberation, on which she meets gods and goddesses, high-born
Brahmins and lowly keepers of the cremation grounds, outlaws and kings, and
young Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who is prophesied to become the Buddha. She
finds happiness for a brief time, but when she loses everything, her quest goes
terribly wrong. She becomes an outlaw warrior, worshipping the dark goddess,
Kali. She masters occult powers but descends into madness, misusing the
supernatural gifts the goddess bestows, and when she again encounters the old
yogi, she must decide whether to continue on the path of bloody vengeance or
seek transcendence through the power of yoga.
The Tigress and the Yogi is an historical fantasy that brings to life the
vivid mythical world of ancient India and transports the reader
to the Buddha's time in a story filled with love and fear, anger and desire. This visionary novel
creates a memorable portrait of a powerful woman, her extraordinary daughter,
and the men they challenge and inspire. It examines the yearning for spiritual
transformation and inner peace, and the ways in which the pursuit of wisdom and
compassion can go terribly wrong.
Fragrant trees shaded the
grove, though open patches among the leaves admitted some dappled sunlight.
After the thick, dense forest, this place was like a spacious and cool green
temple. There was a tall, slender stone pillar set in a circle of stones in the
very center. The snake-loving Nagas, the most fearsome of the hidden forest
tribes, must have sacrificed here once. Nagas had not been seen near the
village in years, but everyone still feared them. Sometimes when a village man
disappeared, people whispered that the dark ones had sacrificed him to their
Great Mother, She who was ancient as the earth.
Mala shrugged off a whisper of
unease. It was so peaceful and beautiful, there could be no danger. She crawled
to a tree trunk and curled up against it to rest awhile. The birds and insects
remained silent. Her own breathing was loud in her ears. It felt good just to
rest her hand on her belly as it rose and fell. Soon she was aware of nothing
Her back against the tree and
her head nodding, Mala slipped into a strange new place of lights and sounds. The
tree’s roots cradled her and the earth’s coolness was like a soothing caress.
Light fell from the leaves above like drops of water. Then she gasped.
On a tigress’s back, a many-armed,
beautiful goddess appeared in radiant splendor, waving hands carrying weapons.
One hand the goddess held before her breasts in a strange gesture, thumb and
forefinger touching. The other she held out toward Mala, and from its upward-facing
palm shot a beam of light. Mala prostrated before the vision.
“Om, Divine One,” Mala said. “Om!”
The bejeweled goddess
dismounted from the tigress and with her two free hands lifted her ruby and
diamond garland from around her neck, smiling as she did so.
I am Durga, Mala. Durga held out the garland. One day this will be yours. As Mala reached for the sparkling
necklace, the red jewels began to drip blood. Mala cried out.
She woke. The vision flitted at
the edges of consciousness like a wild animal hiding in the forest’s shadows.
Dusk was approaching. In the distance, there was something or someone: a horse
whinnied, human voices called and laughed. Or did she imagine it? Was Durga
only a dream?
No. The warrior goddess was
real. Warriors had strength and courage. It was a sign. Mala must be strong and
courageous, too. But what did the jewels dripping blood mean?
That when a warrior fights for
justice, blood is shed.
About the Author
Shelley Schanfield’s passion for
Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black
belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques
to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley
plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500
years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some
form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings
soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that
she follows to this day.
Because she loves historical
fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find
one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the
spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book
in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will
publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.
The Corner Store Witch
by H.D. Lynn
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Chronicles of Narnia but with more swearing, more katanas, and less
allegory. It’s nerdy, anime inspired fun for the whole family.
owns Pulp Magic (Comics, Books, Games, & More). Angry customers are
her biggest concern-until a man from another world literally drops into
her shop. And oni have followed him. Leone defends herself with a
magical staff, which marks her with powerful runes. Her supernatural
tattoo sleeves make her desperately thirsty, yet practically allergic to
water-and oh, they foretell the fate of the realms of demons, gods, and
With her four friends and inter-dimensional guide, Leone
travels to the realm of the gods, searching for magical cosmetic
surgery. She doesn’t want to carry the fate of the world literally on
her arms. But the truth she finds-of a war raging between worlds-changes
her, challenges her.
Look at that cover. Look at that blurb. I read the blurb and my ears instantly perked up. This book sounded so awesome! I unfortunately have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either.
Here's why I can't give it a glowing review.
No one acts like normal people. What do I mean by this? Well, if a dude in a robe carrying a staff poofs out of nowhere and literally falls at my feet...I'm not going to go, "Huh..must be a wizard. Cool." I'm going to freak the eff out and call whatever authorities that I can dial up, pronto! I know this is fiction, but Leone and her friends reactions just seemed...off. I get that they are all basically geeks, but still. Even the nerdiest of nerds would panic just a little bit!
Then there's Leone herself. It's absolutely wonderful that her character is not the typical heroine. She's young. She's a business owner. She's smart. She's got the potential to be a badass, but she's unfortunately written in a way that makes her just come across as whiny and has a chip on her shoulder. Everything bad that happens to her is due to her skin color or the fact that she's a woman. It's wonderful that most of the characters are POC. That is awesome! It makes me happy to have characters and stories with all kinds of people, from all walks of life. It's wonderful that the writer chose a black fantasy nerd to be her main character! That completely rocks my socks! It's a great bit of progress, but Leone seems more hung up on her being black than any other character in the book. The writer makes it a point that we never forget it. Leone describes herself constantly. Other characters remark on it, I lost count of how many times she described her natural hair..What I'm saying is I LOVE a book with diversity written in a way that seems natural. What I don't enjoy is when it just feels forced. It just comes across as awkward writing and poor character development.
Now we go onto the plot. The plot was super interesting. It just didn't work well for me. It's a mix of Japanese lore and good old fashioned geeky plot twists. Leone is the chosen one. She doesn't want to be. She's forced into a destiny that she's not sure she can fulfill nor does she want to. It's up to her to save...You get the point. This is the basic plot line of a lot of great books. The idea isn't new, but how a writer presents it is what makes it work. The Corner Store Witch just didn't pull it off for me. I really wished I could have loved it, but unfortunately I just couldn't.
To be fair, this is a short book. It's also the first in a series, so maybe it will get better? I am not sure I'm going to read the next one to find out though.
The three volume set of Fantasy/Horror Author Dylan Doose's SWORD AND SORCERY SERIES is available now! You can find out about all three books below!
Title: FIRE AND SWORD Author: Dylan Doose Publisher: Independent Pages: 332 Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Condemned to hang for their
crimes, they'll march instead to perish as heroes, or live as free men.
A broken nation in need of a
savior - ravaged by plague, decimated by dark magic, infiltrated by a foreign
evil seeking to dominate from within. Three will rise to save the beleaguered
land. But will they be enough?
A fantasy adventure for fans of
Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch!
Three men condemned to die: Aldous
Weaver, a heretic monk turned sorcerer, imprisoned for accidentally incinerating
the leader of his order. Kendrick the Cold, an infamous crusader turned
fugitive, is a villain who knows he can never be a hero. Theron Ward, an
aristocrat with a penchant for slaughtering monsters, and a legend in his own
When the kingdom
of Brynth is threatened by a far greater evil, the unlikely trio
must make a choice — seek to escape this land that cries for their execution,
or find the true heroes within themselves. And then, armed with fire and sword,
march together against the forces of darkness. But can three such disparate
warriors ever prevail?
**Fire and Sword received an
Honorable Mention from Library Journal 2016 and a Shelf Unbound Magazine
Notable 100 for 2015**
Don't miss the dark fantasy that
reviewers are calling 'gritty, fast-paced and compelling'—get your copy of Fire
and Sword today!
CATACOMBS OF TIME Author: Dylan Doose Publisher: Independent Pages: 59 Genre: Fantasy/Horror
A fantasy adventure for fans of
Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch!
In a world where the Rata Plaga
and ghouls feast on the dead, doctor Gaige De’Brouillard believes science, not
magic, conquers all.
Even death is just an equation to
When De’Brouillard is called upon
by the Lord Regent to cure a curse and save one of the damned, he must battle
for his career, his faith in science, and even his life. In the darkest slums
and deepest catacombs, the doctor finds himself staring death in the eye with
no scientific solution at hand. Has the doctor finally come across a question
that science cannot answer, and will he pay with his life?
Don't miss the dark fantasy
that reviewers are calling 'visceral,' 'fantastic,' and 'intriguing'—get your
copy of Catacombs of Time today!
Once again, three unlikely
heroes must band together in a fiery conflict between gods and demons.
A country ravaged by civil war,
now threatened with evil unleashed by rivers of blood. Three must rise again to
save the beleaguered land and thwart a dark prophecy.
A fantasy adventure for fans of
Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch!
Theron Ward, Aldous Weaver and
Kendrick the Cold must band together and fight again. This time, they are
caught in the timeless clash of gods and demons, and led by the dark prophecy
A ruthless warlord, the Dog Eater,
rises out of the rivers of blood from civil war. As friend and foe reach out
from futures past, the three will see a city of white stone turn black with ash
… and the only way forward is through the fire. One thing is certain, none of
them will ever be the same. And one will be transformed in ways he never
dreamed. Dare the three depend on the blood ties of the past to carry them
through this terrible night?
Don't miss the next thrilling
installment in the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling 'gritty, fast-paced
and compelling'—get your copy of The Pyres today!
The thing left a trail of thick black blood and green pus.
More a stream than a trail, if Theron Ward, hunter of monsters, wanted to be
precise. It was wounded and wounded horribly, but not dead.
Grimmshire was not the only town ruined by the plague. As
far as Theron knew, the whole country had a piece of it. The rats came with
those terrible black boils. Rats larger than dogs. In the beginning, they came
in swarms. Now they appeared alone or in small roving packs, as if a once
powerful tether that bound the group had been weakened.
Four years ago, they had come and spewed their filth into
the town. Two days was all it had taken until half the town was crawling and
squealing with the rats, puking up pus and bursting black boils. The other half
of the town became the swarm’s feast.
Those who didn’t turn simply couldn’t. The priests said that
only the sinners turned, that the pious were protected from the plague. Theron
doubted that, for he was not a pious man and he knew a thing or two about
sin—sins of the flesh mostly—and he had been exposed to enough plague to wipe
out a city.
Yet he had not turned.
Theron suspected something more sinister than nature, or the
work of gods and devils to be the villainy incarnate that had unleashed such
wickedness upon the land. He suspected something more human, or slightly more
than human. Unpopular opinion, but his opinion nonetheless.
It was midday, but
it was dark in the ruined town. The clouds shrouded the sun, gray and
threatening, but not a drop of rain. The once green pastures were yellow as far
as the eye could see. Once this had been a bustling, happy little town. Now
there were just the colors of pus and piss and ash all around, beneath those
suffocating gray clouds.
There came a rustling sound from the chapel, the one
building in the town not entirely burned to the ground. It had been painted
white when it was built, and painted black with soot and ash when death had
come to its town. The stained glass windows were shattered, shards of the
vibrant panes scattered round in the dirt and the yellow grass.
Theron burst through the door. His skin crawled at the sight
of the wounded thing within the chapel; they always made his skin crawl, though
he had killed over a hundred. He could kill over a thousand and still his skin
Theron was a beast hunter, had been for nearly a decade, but
the rats had always disturbed him the most, more than any creature or demon.
What made the things so terrible was not the giant, rotting buckteeth that
burst from the mouth. It was not the boils or the tufts of matted fur. Not the
long tail or the brutish muscles, not the naked, sagging female breasts or the
male parts dangling, filthy and crusted.
It was the eyes, for the eyes remained entirely human. And
so, Theron was certain that a human being was still left in there, with no
control over what it had become and begging for its torment to end.
This one had been a woman once, perhaps a mother, a lover, a
sister, a daughter. For a dreadful moment he pictured his own sister taking the
form of the wretched thing before him.
About the Author:
Writer. Sculptor. Bad fitness
advice. In between writing books, award winning fantasy author Dylan Doose
fills his not-so-busy schedule with martial arts, mountain biking, paddle
surfing, weight lifting, and of course HBO, PS4 and increasing the size of his
beloved personal library. Dylan’s Fire
and Sword received an honorable mention from Library Journal in 2016 and was a Shelf Unbound Notable 100 for
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @
Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins
12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in
whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are
challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are
completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
My TBR is as follows:
The Corner Store Witch
The Fires of Heaven
No Rest for the Wicked
Pride and Prejudice
I may switch some of these out, but it's a nice mix of what I want to read for personal fun and what I have scheduled for review!