Monday, February 24, 2014

Golden Daughter Cover Reveal!!!

I am so excited to be a part of the cover reveal for the newest book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. That's right! Not only is book six releasing soon but now we get to find out about book seven!

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Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.


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What a lovely cover! It uses some of my favorite colors, but also Eanrin is finally pictured. Make sure you read the excerpt from chapter 3 below to find out how Masayi and the cat meet. For a moment after reading Anne Elisabeth's 'The Story I Nearly Forgot' I wasn't so sure it was Eanrin since he wouldn't have been a Knight of Farthestshore way back then and that's what I was expecting his role to be. But her 'Cover Concepts' page confirms that it's Eanrin. So much to look forward to!

While all of the books have maintained a similar feel, I do like how this one brings back a circle similar to Heartless and Veiled Rose. Yeah, I know I said the same thing when Shadow Hand was revealed. 

Also it's easy to know right away that this story takes place in a new area of Goldstone Wood since other than the novella Goddess Tithe, none of the stories take place near an ocean. Also the clothing indicates a new culture. 

Learn more about the cover from the person who designed it! Anne Elisabeth is interviewing Julia Popova on her blog.

The lovely Anne Elisabeth Stengl has a giveaway to accompany this exciting news:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt from Chapter 3

Sairu made her way from Princess Safiya’s chambers out to the walkways of the encircling gardens. The Masayi, abode of the Golden Daughters, was an intricate complex of buildings linked by blossom-shrouded walkways, calm with fountains and clear, lotus-filled pools where herons strutted and spotted fish swam.
Here she had lived all the life she could remember.
The Masayi was but a small part of Manusbau Palace, which comprised the whole of Sairu’s existence. She had never stepped beyond the palace walls. To do so would be to step into a world of corruption, corruption to which a Golden Daughter would not be impervious until she was safely chartered to a master and her life’s work was affixed in her heart and mind. Meanwhile, she must live securely embalmed in this tomb, waiting for life to begin.
Sairu’s mouth curved gently at the corners, and she took small steps as she had been trained—slow, dainty steps that disguised the swiftness with which she could move at need. Even in private she must maintain the illusion, even here within the Masayi.
A cat sat on the doorstep of her own building, grooming itself in the sunlight. She stepped around it and proceeded into the red-hung halls of the Daughter’s quarters and on to her private chambers. There she must gather what few things she would take with her—fewer things even than Jen-ling would take on her journey to Aja. For Jen-ling would be the wife of a prince, and she must give every impression of a bride on her wedding journey.
I wonder who my master will be? Sairu thought as she slid back the rattan door to her chamber and entered the quiet simplicity within. She removed her elaborate costume and exchanged it for a robe of simple red without embellishments. She washed the serving girl cosmetics from her face and painted on the daily mask she and her sisters wore—white with black spots beneath each eye and a red stripe down her chin. It was elegant and simple, and to the common eye it made her indistinguishable from her sisters.
The curtain moved behind her. She did not startle but turned quietly to see the same cat slipping into her room. Cats abounded throughout Manusbau Palace, kept on purpose near the storehouses to manage the vermin. But they did not often enter private chambers.
Sairu, kneeling near her window with her paint pots around her, watched the cat as it moved silkily across the room, stepped onto her sleeping cushions, and began kneading the soft fabric, purring all the while. Its claws pulled at the delicate threads. But it was a cat. As far as it was concerned, it had every right to enjoy or destroy what it willed.
At last it seemed to notice Sairu watching it. It turned sleepy eyes to her and blinked.
Sairu smiled. In a voice as sweet as honey, she asked, “Who are you?”
The cat twitched its tail softly and went on purring.
The next moment, Sairu was across the room, her hand latched onto the cat’s scruff. She pushed it down into the cushions and held it there as it yowled and snarled, trying to catch at her with its claws.
“Who are you?” she demanded, her voice fierce this time. “What are you? Are you an evil spirit sent to haunt me?”
“No, dragons eat it! I mean, rrrraww! Mreeeow! Yeeeowrl!
The cat twisted and managed to lash out at her with its back feet, its claws catching in the fabric of her sleeve. One claw scratched her wrist, startling her just enough that she loosened her hold. The cat took advantage of the opportunity and, hissing like a fire demon, leapt free. It sprang across the room, knocking over several of her paint pots, and spun about, back-arched and snarling. Every hair stood on end, and its ears lay flat to its skull.
Sairu drew a dagger from her sleeve and crouched, prepared for anything. The smile lingered on her mouth, but her eyes flashed. “Who sent you?” she demanded. “Why have you come to me now? You know of my assignment, don’t you.”
Meeeeowrl,” the cat said stubbornly and showed its fangs in another hiss.
“I see it in your face,” Sairu said, moving carefully to shift her weight and prepare to spring. “You are no animal. Who is your master, devil?”
The cat dodged her spring easily enough, which surprised her. Sairu was quick and rarely missed a target. Her knife sank into the floor and stuck there, but she released it and whipped another from the opposite sleeve even as she whirled about.
Any self-respecting cat would have made for the window or the door. This one sprang back onto the cushions and crouched there, tail lashing. Its eyes were all too sentient, but it said only “Meeeeow,” as though trying to convince itself.
Sairu chewed the inside of her cheek. Then, in a voice as smooth as butter, she said, “We have ways of dealing with devils in this country. Do you know what they are, demon-cat?”
The cat’s ears came up. “Prreeowl?” it said.
“Allow me to enlighten you.”
And Sairu put her free hand to her mouth and uttered a long, piercing whistle. The household erupted with the voices of a dozen and more lion dogs.
The little beasts, slipping and sliding and crashing into walls, their claws clicking and clattering on the tiles, careened down the corridor and poured into Sairu’s room. Fluffy tails wagging, pushed-in noses twitching, they roared like the lions they believed themselves to be and fell upon the cat with rapacious joy.
The cat uttered one long wail and the next moment vanished out the window. Sairu, dogs milling at her feet, leapt up and hurried to look out after it, expecting to see a tawny tail slipping from sight. But she saw nothing.
The devil was gone. For the moment at least.
Sairu sank down on her cushions, and her lap was soon filled with wriggling, snuffling hunters eager for praise. She petted them absently, but her mind was awhirl. She had heard of devils taking the form of animals and speaking with the tongues of men. But she had never before seen it. She couldn’t honestly say she’d even believed it.
“What danger is my new master in?” she wondered. “From what must I protect him?”

Check out the book's webpage to learn even more:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Clue of the Broken Locket (Book Cover Bingo - Locket)

The Clue of the Broken Locket by Carolyn Keene. Grosset & Dunlap, 1965 (first published 1934). 178p. (9780448095110) Series: Nancy Drew, #11

I read this as part of the Book Cover Bingo game and it was a trip down memory lane. Nancy Drew is such a great heroine. Plus it was really interesting to realize that music pirating has been around a long time. 

Goodreads Summary:
Nancy Drew and her friends are plunged into a network of strange events when they visit Misty Lake. The very night they arrive, they meet pretty, red-haired Cecily Curtis, who seeks Nancy's help in solving two mysteries: one concerning Cecily's fiancé, Niko Van Dyke, a popular singer who believes that his record company is cheating him of royalty payments; the other, involving a family treasure hidden before the start of the Civil War--Cecily's only clue being half of a gold locket.

Nancy's investigations lead her to Pudding Stone Lodge, where the sinister Driscoll family lives. Elusive humming noises, a flashing light in the attic of the lodge, the periodic apparition of an excursion launch which had sunk in Misty Lake years ago, and the fleeting appearances of a frightened girl who strongly resembles Cecily give Nancy plenty of opportunity to test her sleuthing skills.

Braving a series of dangerous situations and discouraging developments, the alert young detective perseveres in her attempts to solve both mysteries and reveal the astounding secrets of Pudding Stone Lodge.

My Review:
It’s been years since I read Nancy Drew and she’s still as delightful as ever. She’s smart, she’s resourceful, she’s brave, she knows when to call for backup, she’s kind, she’s trustworthy.

There were two things in the story that probably wouldn’t make their way into a modern children’s book but that I really appreciated. Nancy and the gang were headed back to Misty Lake from Baltimore on a Sunday and stopped somewhere along the way to go to church. That’s all the story says, but it’s still telling that it was included.

Ned, Dave and Burt are complete gentlemen and even stay in a separate house than the girls even though it can be assumed the girls’ accommodations had plenty of rooms. How different from today’s college students!

Growing up I didn’t know that these books were written before World War II. Though of course it’s easy to tell that they were written before cell phones and computers were around. The original books (#1-#34) were revised in the 1960s and 70s to remove stereotypes and prejudices as well as to shorten the stories and make them faster paced. The new books have 20 instead of 25 chapters. (Wikipedia has more information)

Interesting fact: it’s a mystery who the illustrator was for the original cover of this book. Russell H. Tandy illustrated and did the covers for books 1-10 and 12-26, but didn’t do the cover of #11 even though he did the internal illustrations. (Source:

A great series for girls and a great trip down memory lane.
four stars means worth the read and the re-read

Disclosure: I borrowed the book from the library. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Here’s the second of three books I read on my flight home for Christmas:

Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck. Zondervan, 2014. 368p. (9780310315506) Series: Royal Wedding Series, #2

It certainly was easy staying awake to read this one while over the Atlantic! Plus it just released yesterday so you can enjoy it now too!

Goodreads Summary:
Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop.

But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more.

Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever.

As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change everything they believe about themselves.

However, when a royal opponent nearly destroys Regina’s future, she must lean into God and trust He has sovereignly brought her to her true and final destiny.

My Review:
I don’t think it’s necessary to read the first book, Once Upon a Prince, to enjoy this book. Sure there are spoilers in this book, but the story takes place in a different places and involves a different nation. Since I read the first book about a year ago it took me a while to figure out how the two books were connected which distracted me from enjoying the story for a while.

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ
1933 Duesenberg
The story goes back and forth for a while between Alice’s first person account of Meadowbluff Palace in 1914 and Reggie’s life (told in third person) in the present day. It takes a while to get used to and we’re not told what the connection is for several chapters. But it’s quite an interesting connection so bear with it!

I loved Reggie, she is very down to earth - loves restoring old cars, and the author does a great job showing us how Reggie deals with the life changing news that Tanner brings. Tanner’s storyline was also quite interesting, he isn’t quite what you expect a Minister of Culture to be but he’s very easy to cheer for.

If you like the Princess Diaries movies (I haven’t read the books), commoner turned royalty stories with hint of mystery and a dash of romance then this is a book to check out!

Disclosure: I received these book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

Remember - Anytime you visit or or use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

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