Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: The Carnelian Legacy!

I’ve recently been given the opportunity to read and review Cheryl Koevoet’s debut novel, The Carnelian Legacy!
She warned me that as a fantasy romance, it may be slightly outside my (somewhat bloodier and goblin-ier) tastes.  I told her I’d give it a chance.  Besides, I could use a lesson in writing love stories!

Here’s a blurb on the book:

Marisa MacCallum always believed the man of her dreams was out there somewhere. The problem is—he’s in a parallel universe.

After the death of her father, eighteen-year-old Marisa’s life is on the verge of imploding. She seeks comfort on her daily ride in the woods of Gold Hill but when a mysterious lightning storm suddenly strikes, Marisa is hurled into the ancient alternate dimension of Carnelia.

There she meets the arrogant but attractive nobleman, Darian Fiore. With no hope of returning home on her own, Marisa must join Darian on a risky mission to negotiate peace with his cousin and archenemy, Savino da Roca. As she struggles to survive a world teeming with monsters, maniacs and medieval knights, Marisa sees a softer side of Darian and begins to fall in love. But when she discovers he is locked into an arranged marriage, her heart shatters.

After Savino falls for her charms and demands her hand in marriage in exchange for peace, Marisa is faced with an impossible choice: marry the enemy of the man she loves or betray them both and become the catalyst for a bloody war.

I’d like to just say I’m glad I gave this fantasy romance a try!  As a fan of all things spectacular and fantastic, I love the idea of being swept away with no warning to a land far more majestic than our own.  I loved the different castles and settings.  I love the suits of armor and guards and all things of battle that conflict necessitates.

Though it is a true love story at heart, this book contains elements every fantasy fan would enjoy; political intrigue, murderous conspiracies, ice caverns and yetis, spooky forest trails with ambushes, diabolical princes, flying fish (I mean REALLY flying fish!) and simmering promises of war.

This is a story of a girl thrust into a new world, forced to find her voice and take a stand.  But throughout lies an underlying theme, be it hope despite death of loved ones, faith in the unseen, trust in total strangers or self-sacrifice for the better good.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, fantasy fans and romance fans alike should read this book!  Have a look at Cheryl's website or blog below, there is much more information to be found about her, the book and the series! 
Twitter: @CherylKoevoet
YouTube link to the book trailer:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The death of brick-and-mortar + brain meanderings

A few weeks ago, while wandering the interwebs, I ran across an excerpt from a novel.  It was one of the more engrossing excerpts I've ever read.  I was hooked in a single paragraph.
To anyone who would say, "I don't know what that agent expects to learn from a single excerpt, they need more than that!"  I have to respond that (no offense, but) you aren't reading or writing the right books. 

I'm not suggesting that we'll all find the fulfillment we desire from the same book, or even popular books.  To each his own!

So anyway, as is typical of my wandering nature, I continued browsing, not even taking note of the book's title or author.  But days and even weeks later the excerpt haunted me.  And I had no way of recalling it.  All I knew was that it was written very tight third person (my favorite), and it was fantasy (my favorite), and a guy nearly kills himself with his own axe and falls over a cliff.
By now I'm obsessed with rediscovering the book.

After a series of googlings, I come across a link to where I find THIS link.
I proceed to peruse.

Number One: GRRM, GoT.  Debatable for #1 but I do enjoy.  Apparently I have something in common with this list-maker.

Number Two: The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie...  Now this looks familiar. I go to Amazon and click "LOOK INSIDE!"  What, to my wandering eyes should appear but THE BOOK I SEEK!

Now, I've been reading free Kindle books (for research or just because I'm part masochist)
A Short History of the World, H.G.Wells
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
The Art of War, Sunzi
The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle
Paradise Lost, John Milton
Treasure Island, Stevenson

and I've been reading GRR Martin for my fantasy fix, although I grow a bit weary of the generally pessimistic atmosphere.
But this excerpt was fresh!  And it broke rules!  Like sentence fragments and detached phrases!  And stuff!
I realized I needed to have this book more than anything.

(here comes the part of the story that actually initiated this post) (and for the rest of this to make sense, you must know that I'm cheap... Like so cheap it might be a disorder.)

I need to have this book physically, not electronically, for the whole experience.  Fantasy books are the most likely to have maps and images.  You understand.
I call Barnes & Noble.  They say they can order it ($17) and have it by the weekend and (in a typical sales-push, considering I never told them to order it) they ask "Would you like us to contact you when it arrives?"  I say sure.
I look at Amazon. It's $10 brand new.  But shipping will be longer than the wait from Barnes & Noble.  Impatient-me and Cheap-me are now battling with light-sabers.
I talk to the library at the college where I work.  They say they can inter-library loan it and have it in a week or two.  "Unacceptable," says Impatient-me.  Even Cheap-me agrees.
So today Barnes & Noble emails me.  "Your book is in!"
Clever-me saunters into the room, earning distrustful glances from Cheap-me and Impatient-me.
I call Barnes & Noble. I tell them my situation.  I ask if they can do something better with their price, considering my options.  They say no.  Clever-me backs, grinning, into the shadows as Angry-me storms out of nowhere and rips the sales clerk's head off over the phone, thereby solidifying my Amazonian choice. 

At first I felt like a hypocrite for not diving at the opportunity to support an author.
Then questions began to grow roots in my mind.  Why on earth would I pay seven more dollars?  For convenience?  For Barnes & Noble's power bill?  For their rent?  To employ that snotty sales clerk?

If you can tell me a logical reason why I should pay more and support Barnes & Noble, versus simply supporting the author, I'm all ears!  If not, I think we should all get comfortable with the idea that this generation will live to see the extinction of brick-and-mortar media retailers.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

News and nervousness!

There's the stamp!  I'm doing the challenge! 
As I have mentioned, I've chosen the theme of Turesia Split for my A to Z challenge (and no, I'm not done with the first draft.  Not even close).
That theme might possibly grow to expand all of Silexare if I find myself running low on content!
But honestly, I don't think I'll run low on content and here's why:
This is not my first novel.  It's my second.  In my first, I wrote (basically) things I know, people I know, and situations I have known or been a part of (aside from the murders and monsters).

In my second, I've become bold.  I'm throwing EVERYTHING I've ever thought was cool into this novel.  The challenge of this book is growing exponentially with every new word I type.  It consider it akin to packing together a ball of snow and letting it roll down a hill, growing larger and larger... only backwards.
I've packed together a ball of snow and I'm behind it, trying to roll it up a mountain while it grows larger and larger, heavier and heavier.  Will I slip and be crushed?  Time will tell.

I say that to say this: I don't think I'll be running out of things to blog about during April.
(And yet I'm still nervous!)

Next item on the veranda!

A fellow author and fellow QTer, Cheryl Koevoet has graciously offered me the chance to read (sans purchase!) her novel, The Carnelian Legacy  and review it right here on my humble blog!

In other words: Soon, on this very blog, expect a post dedicated solely to this book! 

If you're a fan of fantastic settings (check!), huge castles (check!), dangerous monstrosities and the slaying of said monstrosities (check! check!) and heart warming romance (*cricket*... OK, it's growing on me) then you don't want to miss this book!

See you soon

 D to the L