Monday, July 29, 2013

Blog Tour: #Review #Giveaway Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

dragonwitch tour
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A New Tale Is Added to this Christy Award-Winning Fantasy Saga!
Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.
But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.
And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the one person who can wield it.

Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, STARFLOWER and DRAGONWITCH. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.

Sneak Peek from 
By: Anne Elisabeth Stengl 

The cat padded confidently, tail high and ears perked, down a certain path in the Wood Between, which grew in the strange, predominantly timeless stretch of existence separating the Far World from the Near. It wasn't really a Wood, or not entirely a Wood. Indeed, the more the cat trod the various highways and byways beneath the trees' long shadows, the more he suspected the Wood was itself a living consciousness, possibly many living consciousnesses all bundled into one. Some of those consciousnesses were pleasant enough sorts. More were cheeky devils, and the rest downright wicked. 
The Wood would twist a person up and turn him round and flip him inside out if given half a chance. This the cat knew for certain. 
But as long as one walked a path—a known, safe path belonging to a known, safe master—there was little the Wood could do to interfere. 
So the cat remained firmly upon his particular path, scarcely looking to the right or the left. The Wood was always shifting around him in any case, and he did not expect to see familiar landmarks, or at least not in familiar places. That boulder shaped like a rabbit's head, for instance, had been a good mile or two back up the way when he'd been here last. And that tree which last time had been split right down the middle as though by a bolt of lightning was mostly mended now, the trunk knitting itself back together with threads of green ivy and pins of stout branches. 
No, landmarks were of little use to the cat. He was interested only in the gates. 
He approached one of these now. To any mortal eye, it would look like nothing more than a thick cluster of bamboo standing incongruously in the middle of a fir grove. The firs were newcomers; the bamboo, however, remained ever in place. 
The cat sniffed at it, his pink nose twitching delicately. Then he put out a paw and touched one of the slender green stalks. It swayed under that slight pressure but sprang firmly back into place when the cat removed his paw. 
"Good," said the cat. "Still locked." 
Just as he'd expected it to be. 
He continued on his way. 
There were several hundred such gates to be checked on this patrol through the Wood Between; soft places, so to speak, in the fabric of reality. Places where those of the Far World could all too easily slip into the Near, wreaking havoc on delightful mortal disbelief in Faerie tales and magic. Thus they must be locked. And those locks must be carefully guarded. So the cat patrolled this stretch of the Wood, following the path of his liege lord and checking all the gates. 
Sometimes it still surprised him. 
For one thing, he'd never much cared for mortals and their problems. Immortal himself, he had spent countless ages of cheerful existence never once considering those who lived beyond the Between in the time-bound realm. 
And yet here he was. A knight. A defender of the weak, as it were. A minister of truth, advocate of justice, and who knew what other nonsense no self-respecting cat ever wanted to be! 
The cat shook his whiskers as he continued his trek. The path opened up before him with each step, and the trees and ferns and underbrush drew back to make way. He tested another gate and another after that. All locked. All safe. 
The fact was, he admitted to himself, he could no longer claim to be entirely indifferent to mortals. 
"Dragons blast it," he muttered. "I warned you, didn't I, Eanrin? Get involved, and you'll find yourself caring. Then there's no end to the mischief!" He flattened his ears at this thought. He could blame no one but himself for his present circumstances, however. He had chosen this lot. Or he thought he had. Often he felt a little unclear on that score. 
Often he felt that knighthood had been chosen for him against all his best efforts. 
A certain smell tugged at the cat's nose. Or rather, not a smell, but an unknown sensation whispering to an unknown sense, earnest and quiet and dangerous. 
At first the cat ignored it. But within a few more paces, it had strengthened until his nose twitched and his tail flicked and his whole cattish being could no longer deny what he was sensing. He could only hope he was mistaken. 
"But when has that ever happened?" he asked himself, with typical feline shortness of memory. 
He turned and, stepping carefully, pursued a small path opening itself to him off his regular track. Very soon he found what he'd expected. 
"Light of Lumé," he growled then sighed heavily. "Not another one." 
Before him lay a circle of white stones shining out brightly against a bed of dark moss. Even a mortal might have recognized it for a Faerie Circle. 
The cat recognized a new gate beginning to open. 
From this position, he could not tell exactly where it opened to. It could be anywhere in the Near World. It wasn't completely formed yet, he knew that much for certain. And, if precautions were taken, it might never fully form. 
One way or another, it would have to be added to his regular patrol. An unguarded gate was a dangerous gate. 
"Where do you lead, I wonder?" the cat mused, sniffing each of the circling stones in turn. Then he hissed and drew back sharply, his nose filled with the aroma of caorann berries. They littered the ground around the Faerie circle, dozens of them, squashed and stamped flat among the stones so that the moss was stained with their juices. No caorann trees grew in this vicinity that the cat could recall. Which meant someone had carried the berries here purposefully. 
Caorann trees were known for one specific quality: their ability to unravel enchantments. 
The perfume of the berries was very light, but once it entered the nostrils, it didn't easily let go. The cat sat for a while grooming his face as though he could somehow push the smell out of his nose with one white paw. As he groomed, he thought. 
Someone had been working enchantments here. Someone whose smell was now hidden by the caorann, all traces of enchantment dispersed. Everyone knew that knights of Farthestshore patrolled this particular stretch of the Wood, and someone wanted to disguise nefarious doings. 
The cat finished grooming and sat quite still, his paws placed delicately before him, his plume of a tail sweeping gently back and forth and collecting squashed berry hulls. His eyes were mostly closed so that one might assume he dozed, but the thin membrane of his third eyelid remained open as he studied the setting from behind long, cattish lashes. 
He came to a sudden decision and stood. Trotting back to his regular path, he hurried on to the closest gate. This appeared to mortal eyes like a pair of young trees with unusually large and twisted roots twining together in vegetable affection. 

With a slight shiver of his whiskers, the cat stepped between these two trees and into another world. 

Having not read the last four books in this series, I thought it would be difficult to get into this series, but having heard that it could be read as a stand alone I dived into this story. It was an epic fantasy with fantasy creatures and a vivid story line....

Although, at first I did have a difficult time with the many characters and changing Pov's, I found Dragonwitch to be compelling and engaging. 

The land Of Goldstone Wood features many characters, but the main ones is what is focused on.

Alistair, is an earl looking to inherit his uncle's land and become king of the north country. Lady Leta is betrothed to Alistair and will become his wife. Alastair is destined to become king of the North but he is haunted and hunted in his sleep by the face of a child. A mystery in itself that finds Leta finding the answers to his plight. Within this book is actually different stories, that become intertwined with the main characters, and form a plot that mixes creatures like Goblins, dragons, fairies and more, with the world and people of Goldstone. 

A journey that leads to many creatures and unraveling of secrets and betrayal The author's writing style and voice is very old world style and although at first I was lost with the writing style, I found a good pace at about 1/4 of the way in. The characters have a touching way of capturing the reader and engaging your imagination, into this unique world. The aspect that I found that swayed me to enjoying this book fully would be the religious undertones carried throughout the book, not the kind that are in your face but still a christian story that I really don't enjoy in my books. Having that being said I think I would rather have read this series from book 31 to really get the feel of the world of Goldstone Wood. 


Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/13/13

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.Promo Event: #Giveaway #Excerpt Sweet Thing by @renayz Renee Carlino

I LOVED, Sweet Thing! I actually read it back in June but haven't posted my review up, yet, but let me tell you Sweet Thing was everything I love in my NA books, and actually reminded me of another series that is one of my favs, The Thoughtless series by SC Stephens. You can pick up Sweet Thing on sale for only $2.99, links below.

Title: Sweet Thing
Author: Renee Carlino
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Event organized by: AToMR Tours

Links to the book:

Sweet Thing will be on sale for $2.99 from July 24th to August 2nd

Apple iTunes

Book Description:

A USA TODAY bestseller, Sweet Thing tells the story of Mia Kelly, a twenty-five-year-old walking Gap ad who thinks she has life figured out when her father’s sudden death uproots her from slow-paced Ann Arbor to New York City’s bustling East Village. There she discovers her father’s spirit for life and the legacy he left behind with the help of an old café, a few eccentric friends, and one charming musician. Will Ryan is good-looking, poetic, spontaneous, and on the brink of fame when he meets Mia, his new landlord, muse, and personal heartbreaker. A story of self-discovery and friendship, Sweet Thing shines light on the power of loving and letting go.

What reviewers are saying about Sweet Thing. . .

Maryse's Book Blog - "It gave me every emotion and in just the right amount. My perfect read. . . 5 stars PLUS!!!!"
Jelena's Book Blog - "Her writing style is so fresh, the tone, the dialogue, the plot, the characters.... everything... just everything was marvelous she is definitely an author to watch out for."
A Love Affair With Books - "If you are looking for a new author, a new read or might want a bit of a cry, I highly recommend SWEET THING"
Book Addicts - "This book made me FEEL; it made me yearn for a happily ever after."
The SUBCLUB Books - "I was hooked and hanging on every word from the Prologue all the way to the Epilogue, I had a hard time steering my eyes away from the story it had a fierce grasp on me and I happily obliged to ride the journey alongside the characters."
Shh Moms Reading - "This is 5 HUGE stars ~ a soul searing beautifully written book that now owns a piece of my heart."

About the Author

  Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Author social media links:

Twitter: @renayz

EXCERPT 2:  from Learning to Fly 
Rushing onto the plane, I looked down the aisle and spotted my seat right away. And then I saw her. I saw her… 
She appeared to be sleeping; she had ear buds in and a travel pillow around her neck. Right before I approached, she glanced up at me and that’s when I blurted out, “Hey!” I paused, searching for words as I stared directly into her eyes, her really gorgeous eyes, the kind you just want to dive into and swim around in. “Do you want the window seat? It’s all yours if you do.” 
She scowled. “Huh? Uh, no thanks.” 
I think I pissed her off. Man, this girl was cute, pretty, no… beautiful. She had a bunch of silky, dark hair wrapped in a bun on top of her head. I never get nervous around women, but in that moment I was more nervous than I had been in my entire life. 
“I’m a terrible flier,” I told her. “Please, I need to be in the aisle. I’m sorry, do you mind? I’m Will, by the way…” 
She stood abruptly and grabbed her things. Without making eye contact, she stuck her hand up and mumbled, “Yeah, fine, you can sit there. I’m Mia.” 
  Rearranging the overhead compartment, I startled her when I threw her bag on my seat. She looked up at me. Man, those eyes. 
“Sorry, baby, I’ve got to make room for her.” She shrugged and pretended to ignore me, but seconds later I caught her staring at me out of the corner of her eye. I was totally getting to her. 
I plopped down in my seat, looked over at her, and smiled. My eyes were immediately drawn to her blushing mouth with its naturally pink, pudgy little bottom lip. I wanted to suck on that lip. 
“Why didn’t you request an aisle seat? 
“Well, you see, sweetheart, I like to be right behind the emergency exit. I’ll hop over this seat, jump out the door, and be down that super slide in a split second.” 
“Then why not request the exit aisle?” 
“I am not the person for that job, trust me.” 
“Damn, chivalry is dead. It doesn’t matter anyway; our lives are in the hands of these hopefully sober pilots and this nine-hundred-thousand-pound hunk of metal, so…” 
“Can we stop talking about this? I don’t think you understand.” I didn’t want to shut her down, the banter was refreshing. Plus, I love girls with brains and a backbone, but my nerves were getting to me. I took out the rosary I’d bought in the gift shop started to peel the price tag off it. She continued needling me with her melodic little voice. It was hard to concentrate on what she was saying because I was mesmerized by her, completely enchanted by the way she smelled, her eyes, and man, those lips. 
After chuckling at another one of her digs, I finally turned toward her and whispered, “Hey, little firecracker, you like taunting me, don’t you?
“Sorry,” she mumbled. I winked at her and watched her reaction. She sucked in a breath, making the tiniest sound, and then swallowed and looked away, but not before her eyes trailed down my entire body and back up. 
While I was memorizing the safety procedures, the pilot scared the shit out of me when he came on the speaker to announce that we were cleared for takeoff. 
“Jesus Christ! Did he sound drunk to you? 
With a look of sympathy, Mia turned toward me and in the calmest voice said, “Not at all. Relax, buddy, everything will be fine and you should probably tone down the Jesus Christs, at least while you’re still wearing that thing.” 
I asked her to open the screen so I could see us get off the ground and then I leaned over and inhaled deeply. She smelled so clean. 
“You smell good,” I told her. “Like rain.” She blushed again and then asked me about my guitar. She knew something about guitars, I could tell. When the plane started to take off, I gripped the armrest. She put her hand over mine and just held it there while we continued our conversation. The warmth of her hand was calming. When I would tighten my grip, she would tighten hers. I think it was subconscious. I’m sure she didn’t notice she was doing it, but she comforted me. 
When she mentioned that her father had just passed away, her eyes started to well up. I took my other hand and put it on top of hers. I think that was first moment she realized where her hand had been because she yanked it away and wiped her eyes. I immediately apologized for her loss. 
“It’s okay, but I’d rather not talk about it right now. Let’s talk about guitars.” She had this really sweet, genuine, but totally pained, look on her face. It was like she was trying to be strong and hide the hurt, but her expressive eyes and face made that impossible. 
We talked the whole length of the flight and I just kept thinking that I had to know this girl. I needed to be in her life, but I could tell she was going through something, so I tried to keep it light. 
As we started to descend, I panicked at the thought that we could walk off this plane and never see each other again. 
“Mia, we’re going down. I need to know everything about you right now! How old are you, what’s your last name, what street do you live on? If we make it out of this, I think we should jam together, you know, musically or whatever.” 
“My last name is Kelly, I’ll be at my father’s café most days—Kell’s on Avenue 
A. Come and have a coffee with me sometime and we’ll talk music. Oh, and I’m twenty- five.” 
It seemed like we had so much in common. I couldn’t believe my luck getting to sit next to her. She was beautiful, but in the humble way, not insecure, humble. She was smart and funny and sarcastic and witty and she loved music, but on top of that she was gentle. She wanted to comfort me, even if she didn’t realize she wanted to, and that’s what she’d done. Maybe it was fate that I sat next to her that day, or serendipity, divine intervention, who knows? However you look at, I got seated next to the first girl to ever really steal my heart. I was in love from that moment on. I knew Mia, with all her grief, sensitivity, and depth would be a challenge, but that made me want her even more. 
I lowered my voice. “We both have double first names. I’m Will Ryan, twenty- nine. I live at 22 Mott Street in the storage closet. I work at the Montosh. I’m O negative,
you know, the universal one, and I play in a band called the Ivans. Oh, and I love coffee. It was nice to meet you, Mia.” 
“It was nice to meet you too,” she said. 
“We made it,” I told her. “You know, they say people who have stared death in the face together are bonded for life? 
She giggled. “Your antics are cute, Will.” 
“I was going for irresistible,” I said and then I watched her stumble and nervously grab her things. I walked behind her, up the aisle toward the exit. Some dickwad practically knocked her over when he tried to cut into the line. “Hey! Watch it, buddy!” When Mia turned and shot me the cutest smile, I said, “See, baby, chivalry isn’t dead.” 
I followed her all the way out to the curb. She didn’t turn around once as she waited for a cab. I lit a cigarette, looked up to the sky, and prayed. Right as her taxi began to pull away from the curb, she glanced over at me. I waved really big and mouthed, “Goodbye, Mia, you Sweet Thing.” 
At that moment I wanted so badly to call Dick Payne and tell him about the flight. I wanted to tell him I didn’t think about dying once… All I thought about was living.

Event Giveaway: 

The author is offering (5) Signed Paperback Copies of Sweet Thing and Swag – US/Canada.

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