Archive for March, 2015

Review: Dawn of Destiny

Book Reviews | Posted by Shannon
Mar 27 2015

Scott Remington is sure that he was meant to fight in the Alien War, to stand in the front lines against the mysterious invaders whose sudden strikes plague the cities of Earth. And fight he will, at the forefront of the war, but it will take him places he never imagined, to a destiny he has not yet perceived.

Dawn of Destiny is the first book of Epic, a series written by Lee Stephen. The novel is strongly sci-fi, taking place on a future Earth. Peace on Earth was finally achieved, only to be followed by war from space, brought by three alien species. Stephen gave these aliens a sense of foreignness, and he made their pets, the necrilids, effectively ghastly. Even better, he made them intriguing, and the mystery surrounding the aliens was one of my favorite elements in the book.

As much as Dawn of Destiny is sci-fi, it struck me as even more a military thriller. All of the characters but one are in the military, and the book is very much centered in that world: the commanding officers, the bunk rooms, the enforced companionship, the battles. There is a fair amount of cursing, though relatively mild (no four-letter words), a few graphic moments.

The style is sparse, fitting the novel’s military-thriller feel. That being given, it still seemed rough at times – perhaps first-book rockiness. (No author avoids it entirely.)

This novel is filled with hints of untold stories – not only the aliens, but also the Nightmen and high political intrigues and a score of secondary characters who definitely have complex pasts, although we never really hear them. The star of the prologue was prominent for a few chapters and then completely dropped. I wished the author had selected a few of these stories and developed them more fully, though I don’t doubt that some will be more deeply explored later in the series.

Dawn of Destiny has a definite religious element, including one vivid moment when new-minted soldiers struggle with the reality of death, but in general it is not as strong as what is labeled Christian fiction. Dawn of Destiny is, above all, a sci-fi military thriller, appealing to devotees of action-adventure and all serious sci-fi fans.


I received a review copy from the author.


The Dawn of Destiny audiobook project is a full adaptation of the first book in the Epic series. It’s not your typical “audiobook,” even though technically that’s what it is. When people hear “audiobook,” there’s a certain type of thing that usually comes to mind. Most likely it’s the thought of someone reading a book to them, occasionally with music playing in the background. This isn’t that.

What you’re going to hear in this project, is more of an audio “experience,” the audio equivalent of a summer blockbuster movie. Over thirty voice actors played a role in this. This is ear-splitting sound effects, bombastic music, and characters shouting back and forth in the middle of a war zone. This is unlike anything you’ve ever heard.


Born and raised in Cajun country, Lee Stephen spent his childhood paddling pirogues through the marshes of South Louisiana. When he wasn’t catching bullfrogs or playing with alligators in the bathtub (both true), he was escaping to the world of the imagination, creating worlds in his mind filled with strange creatures and epic journeys. This hasn’t stopped.

Now a resident of Luling, Louisiana, Lee spends time every day delving into the world of Epic, the science-fiction series that has come to define him as a writer and producer. Alongside his wife, Lindsey, their son, Levi, and their dog, Jake, Lee has made it a mission to create a series that is unique in its genre—one unafraid to address the human condition while staying grounded in elements of faith.

In addition to writing, Lee works full-time for the Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness. He has also spent time as a church deacon, guitar hobbyist, and New Orleans Saints season ticket holder. He is a graduate of Louisiana College in Pineville.

Connect with Lee: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Where to buy the book:

Amazon

Barnes & Nobles


Tour Schedule for Dawn of Destiny


Epic Giveaway

Amazon Special: Summer Leaves

Culture | Posted by Shannon
Mar 20 2015

Free on Amazon
March 20 – March 24

Summer Leaves
A Story in Three Acts
(Sons of Tryas, II)



Ruark, Lord Heir fourth in line for the throne, and once first in line, came so close. Still, he missed it entirely. His brother reigned, and dreamed, and Ruark himself wandered, burning his restlessness on distant, wild planets.

Then the premier of the Assembly found him, with an offer to give him everything he ever wanted, at only a small cost to his soul.

In Summer Leaves, Shannon McDermott continues the story of the sons of Tryas, begun in Beauty of the Lilies.



Summer Leaves on Amazon
Summer Leaves on Goodreads

An Excerpt of

Summer Leaves


‘Behold the summer leaves are green!’ – G. K. Chesterton

Prologue

There were five of us there that day. It was like so many days we had all lived, except for one moment. In that moment death nearly became the sixth to ride the plains. Till then I had never really believed in death. And it’s strange to recount, but it wasn’t until I first believed in death that I began earnestly to believe in life.

We were riding stallions, the fastest bred. It was a strange amusement to many, but our spirits soared with it. The stallions were fierce and eager, and there was a similarity between masters and beasts—both young and strong, given the finest and raised to be the finest. The wildness in the beasts was intended; the wildness in the masters was not.

We rode the high plains of Yavah, where the grassy meadows are split open by cliffs a mile tall. We found a large fissure, more than large enough to swallow a horse and rider. Three of my friends galloped headlong toward it and swerved at the last moment. My fourth friend and I watched.

I watched them, but I kept looking at him. His face was against the blue sky, his brown hair lit by the sun. His lips were drawn into a cheerless line, as if he did not like the vista the plains offered him.

I thought I knew what weighed on him. The burden we all carried was what had drawn us together. Most of us were brothers of great men, all of us were sons. We lived with an obscure anger.

Except him. His anger was sharp and vital, feeding off the loss of something he had never had. He was the son of an emperor, and what he had lost was a kingdom. Ruark, Lord Heir of the Empire, and close enough to be tantalized. There was much speculation once that the eccentricities and distraction of his brother would hand the throne to him. The talk damaged both brothers in the end. Any astute observer could tell what it did to Jediah; perhaps only a friend could tell what it did to Ruark.

Ruark leaned in abruptly, scattering my thoughts. He gestured to the others, saying, “They’re flirting with death.”

It was our favorite pastime, and tension swept through me at the idea that he was suddenly having qualms.

Ruark straightened, gathering the reins into a tight hold. “They aren’t serious. But I—I will court death.”

I opened my mouth, but he shot away from me. The others saw him tearing over the grass, and they reined in their horses to watch. He was always our chief.

Ruark flew across the plain, at the chasm opening its rocky mouth. He didn’t swerve, he passed the point of swerving, driving the horse toward the edge at all its speed.

My heart jolted so hard it stung my chest. Then I understood what he was doing, and my panic ebbed and surged again like the tide.

The stallion thundered to the precipice and then into a mighty leap. And though I had seen all the wealth and power of the Empire in glittering display, I never saw anything as glorious as that. For one moment horse and rider hung between the sky and the abyss, intensely alive, recklessly strong.

They made the jump. As soon as its hooves touched the ground, the horse raced on. My friends cheered, but I didn’t utter a sound. I couldn’t. Fear clenched my throat.

Ruark turned the horse and came galloping back. I watched with a detached horror, like hearing the inevitable end of a tragic story. Ruark reached the cliff’s edge, his horse leaped, and my fear nearly choked me.

The stallion came down barely on our side. At its impact rocks crumbled into the canyon, and its right hind leg plunged into air. The other hind leg slid after the first, and the whole horse slid with it. And I was as sure that Ruark was dead as I was sure that I was alive. A picture sliced across my vision; I saw myself explaining Ruark’s death to his brother.

The stallion scrabbled wildly, gripping solid ground. It pulled back onto the plain, and Ruark cantered to us.

We made a game of coming into death’s reach, but that was the first time he had ever grabbed at us. It rattled us, but no one would say a word. The rest of the day I pretended; that night I didn’t sleep. I thought of Ruark coming within a hair of falling to his death; I thought of myself standing before Jediah. What would I have said? Your brother died a fool, and I live as one? Did Ruark nearly die to prove he was better than the nine feet of empty air that told him to turn back?

It started new thoughts in my mind. I wondered why we were more interested in risking our gilded lives than living them. What did we lack, and what did we find in death’s proximity?

I went back to Telnaria, to the home that had functioned as a stop between destinations for so many years. I went for quietness and solitude, because I needed urgently to think about life, to understand what strange deprivation was shaping—misshaping—mine. Ruark followed not long after, but his reasons were different. It was the storm brewing in Telnaria that summoned him.

– Memories, by Jaden Amitai

To finish, purchase free from Amazon.

Prism Tours Grand Finale: The Cloak

Culture, Misc. | Posted by Shannon
Mar 16 2015

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

We’re blitzing the Grand Finale for THE CELTIC TOUR for
The Cloak
By Sarah Jennings

Did you miss any of the tour? If so, go back and check it out now:

Launch

What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book?

Of course, I hope they want to hear more stories, but as for a takeaway it’s my desire that readers are able to connect with Kellan and close the book feeling encouraged.

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing – Excerpt

Later that evening, with everyone’s attention on the dying king, Kellan managed to sneak out of her room. Her objective was to find Osma and Master Hewitt and get out before anyone reported her missing. The place was just huge, and she didn’t know where to start.

I Am A Reader The Deer’s Cry

The McKensie family in The Cloak is depicted as being Spirit-filled. It’s a regular part of their lives, as it was for many in the early church and as it still is for many today. While that specific teaching can quickly become a hot button topic, it truly serves no good purpose to condemn anyone on either side of the fence. Instead, we can most likely all agree to this excerpt from “The Deer’s Cry”, also known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate”:

Mythical Books – Céad Míle Fáilte: A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Welcome to Errigal! What would a Celtic themed setting be without green hills and a castle? Featured on the cover of The Cloak is Lismore Castle, a beautiful structure in the town of Lismore in County Waterford, Ireland.

Classy Cat Books – Excerpt

Five months flew by in Paris. Kellan didn’t go home for Christmas or to celebrate the new year, choosing instead to immerse herself in the surrounding local festivities. Although she corresponded frequently with Osma and the teacher, writing only of her job and ignoring their attempts at engaging her in conversation about Errigal, she refused to return to the castle and made up all kinds of excuses to back it up.

Mary Terrani – Excerpt

Arriving at the castle, she stepped through the great wooden doors and immediately yanked the cloak off, exposing the blue jeans and black T-shirt she had changed into on the plane, a definite rebellious act to defy Errigal’s traditional dress and thereby match her frame of mind.

My Life Loves and Passion – Review

This was a great book. Kellan is a very amazing main character. . . . Kellan steps up and takes on a responsibility that she doesn’t want. It is a book that young women need to read. Kellan is such a good role model.

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Excerpt

The fencing instructor was very amused and surprised the king was acting this way toward a lady. What is he thinking trying to enlist a woman into a sword fight? Look at her. She was wearing a blue, fitted bodice gown that reached all the way to the floor. Her dark hair was up in pearled pins, and ringlet curls fell down the nape of her neck. Attending a tea party would be more appropriate.

Zerina Blossom’s Books – Interview & Review

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The most fulfilling part for me is when Kellan comes home for the last time. I feel good knowing she is finally going to have the happiness she deserves.

“Overall, The Cloak is a sweet clean romance with some interesting twists and good character growth.”

Welcome to Book City – Irish Chocolate Mint Brownies

The next morning Osma tried again, bringing a tray filled with an incredible array of pastries and fruits, beings sure to include some of Kellan’s favorite food that she rarely received growing up, chocolate covered anything.

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Excerpt

Turning around, Ian went to reach out for Kellan’s hand, but she wasn’t there. A feeling of panic overcame him.Where is she? And where are those new bodyguards of hers? He turned back to the crowd to see their uplifted faces staring back at him. They had been hanging on every word, and the silence was immense.

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima – Visit Errigal with Sarah Jennings

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:

In The Cloak, characters are essentially living in the past while also living in the present. Walk past Errigal’s borders and the modern world exists in every manner. Stay within, and a society steeped in Medieval traditions and methods still exists. The landscape is characteristic of Ireland with green, rolling hills, villages and marketplaces dotting the countryside, and hot, soothing mineral springs.

Once Upon a YA Book – Meet the Characters

Kellan – Princess and Daughter of the late Princess Seanna McKensie and late Duke Barend. Kellan is the true heiress to the throne of Errigal, if she can be convinced to take her place. Beautiful, wise, and very skilled with a broadsword, she exudes leadership when on listening terms with God. Kellan’s propensity to be headstrong, combined with hidden self-doubt, often lands her in troublesome situations.

Mel’s Shelves – Review

This is a quick read with a good message about prayer and the importance of relying on God. It also shows the difference one person can make when they’re willing to step into the role they were born to fill.

Books and Ashes – Review

If you’re looking for a different kind of fantasy, or want something fantasy-esque but not too heavy then this would be a good read for you!

Addicted Readers – Excerpt

Kellan stood facing the great stone fireplace. Its dancing flames matched the ones in her eyes. After what seemed like forever, her breathing finally began to slow down. The king had been about to say something to her once he heard the duke ride off, but Master Hewitt had stepped forward and held out his hand to stop him. She needed a moment more to settle down.

Paranormal Books – Interview

How did you come up with The Cloak?

Like many Americans, I have a great appreciation for my Irish ancestry and I love Celtic music. I think those things combined with my predisposition for a strong female lead who overcomes difficulties and weaknesses to do great things led to a story that just played out itself.

Mommabears Book Blog – Excerpt

The fallen warrior staggered up, bowed to the princess, and made his leave. She always felt rotten when they walked away, or in some cases, were carried away. At least now she was done for the day. Directing her eyes away from the departing man, Kellan looked ahead to see another suited contender. What is this? She turned and walked over to the teacher.

Pieces of Whimsey – Excerpt

“What are you mumbling about down there, dear sister,” said Slone, “No one here’s going to answer your call for help…not even your honorable king. Where is old lover boy anyway, huh?” Slone just rambled on.

Fictionally – Excerpt

That night’s sleep was hard to come by. Kellan tossed about with fitful dreams and kept waking up, a few times wet with sweat. It wasn’t nightmares from the war, though she had had plenty of those when she first moved in. It was tranquil scenes from Errigal’s landscape, the faces of Osma and Master Hewitt, and the library walls. Feeling like she was going insane, she finally gave up and got up from bed.

The CloakThe Cloak
Sarah Jennings
Inspirational YA Romantic Suspense
Paperback and ebook, 194 pages
November 2014

Kellan McKensie, Princess of Errigal, is set on leaving for another world before being thrust into a plan of God’s choosing that includes learning of her past, embracing her future, and finding her forever love.

Among a lost line of beautiful, wise queens and a conquered country still clinging to medieval traditions in today’s world, can Kellan be convinced that now is her time to act? Why should she? To the entire country, she doesn’t even exist. Ever the reluctant leader, Kellan is pressured to use her incredible God-given abilities to bring back the glory of her homeland. To do so, she must fight her own will, overcome fears, and control her temper. It’s a lot to ask of a girl hidden under a cloak her whole life.

Amazon

Sarah Jennings is an American storyteller living in the hills of North Carolina with her husband, four children, and escape artist hound dog. Her stories often revolve around strong willed heroines who find their way with God’s help during their adventures and in the process find their soulmate too. The Cloak is one such story now available in print and ebook format.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterYouTube

Tour-Wide Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card – Open Internationally
Celtic Prize Pack: Paperback of The Cloak and Celtic Music CDs – US Only
2 Paperbacks of The Cloak – US Only
2 ebooks of The Cloak – Open Internationally
Ends March 22nd

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Prism Book Tours

The Northmen

Through the Valley (of Decision), Writing | Posted by Shannon
Mar 10 2015

I am bringing down hobgoblins from the mountains, Men from the Coldlands. The Valley of Decision


The Men of the Coldlands were barbarians. That is the first thing to understand. They wore animal skins, sang of their war gods, and knew nothing of letters or runes. They forged bronze rather than iron into weapons, and decorated their chiefs’ tents with colored cloth and animal skulls.

And they were light-haired and light-eyed and fair-skinned, true children of the cold North.

The Men of the Coldlands are loosely based on the pre-Christian Scandinavians. The Roman Empire had conquered the British Isles, bringing civilization by the edge of the sword; many centuries later, long after the Roman Empire had turned to ashes, Winston Churchill declared, “We owe London to Rome.” In time, Christianity followed Rome, and it, too, taught and civilized.

But not in Scandinavia – at least not for centuries yet. The Viking Age began when the Vikings attacked the Holy Island, off the coast of England, from which missionaries had gone into Europe. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that “the ravaging of wretched heathen people destroyed God’s church at Lindisfarne.” At Charlemagne’s court, the scholar Alcuin lamented, “The heathens poured out the blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God.”

Heathen and wretched are minor insults compared to the judgment given by the Muslim scholar Masudi in the tenth century. After describing “the people of the northern quadrant”, with their “excessively white” coloring, he wrote: “The farther they are to the north the more stupid, gross and brutish they are.” Those in the “sixth climate .. are reckoned among the beasts.” (source: Bernard Lewis, The Muslim Discovery of Europe)

In L.P. Hartley’s immortally wise words: “The past is a foreign country.”

When I wrote The Valley of Decision, this notion of the pale barbarians from the north guided my characterization of the Men from the Coldlands. I called them the Northmen, an old name for the Vikings, and gave the three chiefs Norse names: Volund (in legend, the name of a great smith), Brandr (meaning sword), and Hrolfr (meaning wolf).

Volund was the leader, and he called Brandr and Hrolfr his earls – a detail inspired, I admit, by the Viking earls of Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse. These names were also a kind of inside joke: Hrolfr was the earl who draped himself in the pelt and fangs of a wolf, and when Volund passes the iron sword to Brandr … yes, that was a deliberate pun.

The Northmen had little presence in The Valley of Decision, being the coming stormclouds of the story: growing nearer, darkening the landscape, but not yet here. When I finally made their acquaintance at the end of the book, I wished they had arrived sooner. There was no space left in the story to do justice to the pale barbarians and their collision with the more sophisticated – but still so fallibly human – southern people.

But such unexplored side-paths are what sequels are for.

Prism Tours Grand Finale Blitz: Dearest

Misc. | Posted by Shannon
Mar 02 2015

A themed tour with Prism Book Tours.

We’re launching the BOOK TOUR for
Dearest
By Alethea Kontis

Did you miss any of the magical posts and reviews for this tour? Go check them out now! You can also grab the 20th Chapter of Dearest, not previously released, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Lilac Reviews – Tips for Writing a Series

The Arilland Easter Egg Page: I’ve always been a big fan of DVD extras, so I created a page on my website where I list handy links to essays, videos, stories, articles and the like that are some how connected to the series. You can find it here: http://aletheakontis.com/about/arilland

Wishful Endings – The Wild Swans Rant

“The Wild Swans”, along with “The Little Mermaid” and “The Little Match Girl” has always been one of my favorite stories by Hans Christian Andersen. (It’s also, notably, one of the only HCA stories in which the main characters DON’T DIE.)

Special post @ Waterworld Mermaids – Learn some fun facts about Alethea!

The Book Lovers’ LoungeReview

I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves their fairy tales and romance books.


Wings trip [Alethea’s] fiction trigger @ USA Today’s Happy Ever After


Buried Under Books – Review

I love Friday—I think she’s my favorite of the sisters so far mainly because she’s so sweet and kind—and Tristan is also very likeable but it’s the seven brothers as a group who make this tale so much fun.

Mommabears Book Blog – Holy “L” Trinity

But when it came to fantasy films, we had what we lovingly referred to as “The Holy L Trinity”: Legend, Labyrinth, and Ladyhawke. It was rare that we watched one without immediately watching the other two. It didn’t matter which order, just as long as they all got seen.

Rabid Reads – Review

Highly recommended. If you love fairy tales, you will love this series. Even if you are among the majority who only know Disney’s version of events, you will love this series. Don’t be scared off by the mutual affection Kontis and I have for Grimm, b/c while, YES, the details stay true to their European roots, the Woodcutter sisters always live happily ever after.

Gidget Girls ReadingSpotlight

Wonderful addition to the Woodcutter Sisters series! Dearest is sure to capture the reader and keep them wanting more.


7 Minutes with… Alethea Kontis @ J.T. Ellison

Zerina Blossom – Review

Dearest was a sweet romance and a fantastic mix of some of my favorite fairytales. “The Seven Swans” and “The Goose Girl” were but two of them. I loved the way the stories were once again intermingled in new and intriguing ways. Friday’s love story was one worth reading again.

Geo Librarian – Review

When it comes to fairy tale retellings it can be challenging to present the story in a new enough way to win over readers since the basic story is known beforehand. But Kontis does a nice job here of adding enough new elements to make the story feel fresh and new. And while the plot is thoroughly entertaining, it is the characters that really make the story worth reading.

Welcome to Book City – Interview

What is your favorite fairy tale?

My favorite fairy tale has always been “The Goose Girl.” It’s the reason Conrad is one of the main characters in Dearest! Conrad was the clever boy who reported to the king that there was something fishy about the girl he tended the geese with…like the fact that she knew how to call the wind. . . . My second-favorite fairy tales are “Snow White and Rose Red” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”

Angela’s Library – Q&A

Dearest is based in part on “The Wild Swans” by Hans Christian Andersen and “The Goose Girl” by the Brothers Grimm. How are both of these tales referenced in Dearest?

I reread “The Wild Swans” again before I started writing Dearest — it’s amazing how much detail that story goes into. Elisa has 11 brothers who are cursed into swans by a wicked sorceress stepmother who quickly turns the king’s heart against his children. She also tries to curse Elisa, but her heart is so pure that the sorceress is forced to make Elisa physically ugly to serve her purpose…

Kelly P’s Blog – A Weave of Words Fairy Tale Rant Intro

The book, out of print now (but still fairly easy to acquire), is about a lazy prince and a weaver’s daughter. In order to win her heart, the prince learns to read and write and weave. In return, the weaver’s daughter learns to ride a horse and fight with a sword.

Mel’s Shelves – Review

This book has plenty for everyone–humor, romance, secrets, danger, adventure and magic. I think I would enjoy it even more the second time through since there are references I most likely missed. There’s more to come in this series so I’m sure I’ll read through all of them again in the future. If you enjoy adventurous fairytale mash-ups, you’ll want to start reading this series now!

Jan Edwards – Q&A

What are you up to next?

This year I will be publishing Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome(another illustrated collaboration with Janet K. Lee), Trixter (a Woodcutter novella), and a trilogy of short contemporary romance novels set in a small beach town in central Florida. I’m very excited about all of them!

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

I loved the way different fairy tales were twisted and mashed up. . . . It really was a lot of fun to see where the story would go. I need to go back and read the first two!

A Backwards StoryI Dedicate This Post To You (Review HERE)

One of my favorite parts of a book is the dedication. Before the interwebs, a dedication—because there wasn’t always an acknowledgements section or author’s note, especially in fiction—was the closest a reader came to knowing the author as a person.

Wishful Endings – Review

I loved all the nods to various folklore and fairy tales. The author is definitely a master at blending different tales while making them completely original and her own. . . . I would highly recommend Dearest as well as this entire series.

Library of a Book Witch – Review

I loved that this focused on the Fairy Tale of the seven swans and not only that but also another story that I am familiar with. . . . The story is so fast moving I flew through the book (like a swan, get it, ha!) but it was just so engaging. So many wonderful things come together to keep the plot moving. So many wonderful characters.

The Quotable – Fairy Tales Incorporated

I’m often asked which fairy tales I’m putting into the next installment of the Woodcutter Sisters series, or how many I’ve already included, or which ones are my favorites, or which ones inspire me the most. Rarely do I get the question of HOW I incorporate all these fairy tales into the bouillabaisse that is the Once Upon a Time of Arilland — which is probably a good thing, because it’s not a short answer…

Biggest Literary Crushes post on @ Teen Reads

The Written Adventure – Interview

2) What gave you the idea for this book?

I always start each one of the Woodcutter Sisters books with a “base note” fairy tale (like a base note in perfume). The base note for Dearest was “The Wild Swans” (aka “The Six Swans”). But I can’t think of fine-feathered fairy tales without thinking of my personal favorite, “The Goose Girl”…so I had to add that too. From there, the rest just sort of fell into place.

My Life Loves and Passion – Review

To start with I LOVED this cover. It was just so beautiful. . . . I just loved how this story started. It was so magical. I really loved just everything about this book!

Colorimetry – Swan Lake Fairy Tale Rant & Review

When I began writing Dearest, I knew I wanted to incorporate “The Goose Girl” and “The Wild Swans” and “The Six Swans” and every other fairy tale that involves a gaggle of men who are cursed into birds. . . . This was my favorite book in the series so far and not just because I rec’d an early review copy that Alethea signed and doodled, although… I 5-star love that, too. Mostly 5 stars because this story makes me want to know and remember ALL the stories, which is crazy and not even possible because they haven’t all been written, yet!

I Am A Reader – The Casting of the Swans

As many writers—and children in Deep-Doodoo Trouble—know, the best stories are often an amalgamation of more than one thing. One idea comes to mind that sparks a myriad of other ideas…some you might have had a very long time ago, and some you might have imagined only yesterday. . . . The seven Swan Brothers of Dearest were a story born of three such singular ideas.

The Library of the Seen – Interview

What are some of your favorite fairy tale retellings?

Beauty and Deerskin, both by Robin McKinley (she’s the fairy tale retelling queen!) Also, A Curse Dark As Gold, a Rumplestiltskin retelling by Elizabeth C. Bunce. And the movie Ever After…which in many ways inspired Enchanted (because I loved the film so much and still wanted to do my own Cinderella.)


18 – Special post on @ Dear Teen Me – Letter to her teen BFF

Printcess & Living a Goddess Life Review

You recall my earlier review of the first two in the series, Enchanted and Hero. Well, I actually liked this one the best. Kontis appears to be improving in style and scope with each book, which makes for a nice change!

Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Interview

2 Do you read/comment on reviews of your books?

I do! I don’t have a lot of time to do so anymore–and I often hear that reviewers are sometime freaked out when the author pops by unannounced–but I do have Google Alerts and Twitter searches saved with my name. (It’s nice to be the only Alethea Kontis on the planet!) I appreciate every reader who takes the time to write a review. I used to be a book reviewer, both in print and online–I know how much extra energy it takes to put those thoughts into useful words.

100 Pages A Day – Review

Tristan is the serious brother that Friday falls for- and is mostly instant love since they only see each other at night, but the romance was painted as genuine and this is a fairy tale. For any lover of fairy tales and re-tellings this would be a good series to pick up.

mrsjennyreads – Review

An enchanting delight of a story, this is true fantasy fun. Kontis, I believe, may be wielding magic of her own.

Books and Ashes – Review

I really enjoyed this story though because it was everything I wanted to know and more about what was happening in Arilland while Saturday was adventuring as a pirate (which was my favorite part about Hero) and this book gave me that and more by the time I finished it. I can’t wait to see which sister is next in the series!

Addicted Readers – Seamstress Extraordinaire

In the Woodcutter series, I had to coin the phrase “Seamstress Extraordinaire,” because the publisher did not like that I called Yarlitza Mitella a Master Seamstress. They asked if I could change it to Mistress…but a Master at a craft is not a Mistress, no matter what their sex. There are female Jedi Masters, for heaven’s sake. All the D&D Guild Masters–men or women–were Masters.

Miss Little Book Addict YA House of Books – Review

“World building and humor in DEAREST was nicely done. Alethea also gets major points for taking such well know fairy tales and making them her own…”

Katy’s Krazy Books – Review

So I thought that the plot was really good. Friday is an awesome chick that I just wish I could be. I mean who doesn’t want to be able to save a couple of hot twins from turning into swans each day. Not to mention, the girl gets to do the saving in this story, NOT the guy.

The Daily Prophecy – Fairy Tale Rant on Tristan & Isolde

I have found that, during the process of writing a novel, I am drawn to certain entertainments in my off time. While writing Enchanted, I watched a lot of Jane Austen movies. While writing Hero, I was very drawn to the Summer Olympics…especially the women’s swimming competitions. While writing Dearest, I re-watched most of Stargate: Atlantis…and all of Merlin.

Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview

Where do you get your information or ideas?

I get information from everywhere–people, when I can find them, books, when I have them close at hand, and the internet, when I need something simple to move the story forward, like the anatomy and habits of a swan.

Min Reads and Reviews – Review

I absolutely loved this book. The story is told beautifully and quite magically, as well. I have not read the previous books in the series, but I am putting them high on my TBR list. I loved absolutely Friday, and I enjoyed getting to know some of her sisters.

Pieces of Whimsy – The Goose Girl

I first read “The Goose Girl” when I was eight years old, from the giant book of fairy tales my Memere bought me (no doubt in the hopes that it might keep me busy for a while). No matter how old I’ve become and what adventures I’ve undertaken, “The Goose Girl” has been my favorite fairy tale since that day.

Wonderous Reviews – Review

The journey that Dearest takes readers on is more than I can put into words without spoiling at least one discovery. I will say that this book is perfect for those that enjoy a story that will inspire and enchant! There is beautiful love, heart pounding action, fantasy and flying, magic and sorcery, destiny and fate, kindness and curses, and a little something for everyone!

The Scribbling Sprite – Interview

6. Any plans for future books you can share with us?

In the next six months, I will be publishing Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome (another illustrated collaboration with Janet K. Lee), Trixter (a Woodcutter novella), and a trilogy of short contemporary romance novels set in a small beach town in central Florida. I’m very excited about all of them!

A Backwards Story – The Missing Last Chapter of Dearest

Alethea talks about Dearest being short one chapter and that you can now read the final chapter.

Dearest (Woodcutter Sisters, #3)Dearest
(Woodcutter Sisters, #3)
by Alethea Kontis
YA Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 320 Pages
February 3rd 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

“A fabulous fairy-tale mashup that deserves hordes of avid readers. Absolutely delectable.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review of award-winning series debut Enchanted

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

The Other Woodcutter Sisters Books

Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)

Alethea Kontis courtesy of Lumos Studio 2012

New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a fairy godmother, and a geek. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, and ranting about fairy tales on YouTube.

Her published works include: The Wonderland Alphabet (with Janet K. Lee), Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome (with Janet K. Lee), the AlphaOops series (with Bob Kolar), the Woodcutter Sisters fairy tale series, and The Dark-Hunter Companion (with Sherrilyn Kenyon). Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a myriad of anthologies and magazines.

Her YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012 and the Garden State Teen Book Award i 2015. Enchanted was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013, and was selected for World Book Night in 2014. Both Enchanted and its sequel, Hero, were nominated for the Andre Norton Award.

Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea currently lives and writes in Florida, on the Space Coast. She makes the best baklava you’ve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

3 Woodcutter Sisters Prize Packs (signed copies of Enchanted, Hero, & Dearest – US Only)

Ends March 8th

Prism Book Tours