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. 


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  1. I haven't seen this before, I do love the cover though. Sounds pretty good and thanks for sharing the sneak peek. Great review.

  2. Ooooo, this one does sound good. That cover is astounding!! And I agree with you, I'd definitely want to read the first books to get the FULL enjoyment out of the story. Great review!!

  3. I think it seems pretty interesting, I think I'll give it a try [[:
    And, yes, I agree with everyone here, cover is amazing, truly artistically done.

  4. I'm glad you liked this, despot the difficulty in connecting with the writing. Great review, Lisa!

  5. I do like fantasy books! I think maybe it might be easier to connect if you start at the beginning? Maybe. I don't know. I'm glad you enjoyed the book even though you jumped in in the middle!

  6. Hmm, this one sounds interesting. I'm intrigued that it has so many POVs! And it's nice to know that it could be read as a stand-alone. Great review! =D

  7. This series sounds interesting. I hadn't heard of it before. I am glad that you liked this book.

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  9. Both the cover for this & the blurb make me think this is the kind of book I could really get into! I'd never heard of this series before but I'll be heading to Goodreads right after I finish commenting! You review was brilliant too, I'm digging that you were able to enjoy it as much as you did even though you haven't read the previous books. I don't tend to like religious books either but sometimes I can sort of ignore it...anyways thanks for the insight!