Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Dragonslayer Series by Resa Nelson

Hello all.
I recently read two fantastic books by Resa Nelson.
They are both from her Dragonslayer series.
I have decided to post both reviews together.
It just seems fitting.
So, here we go!

Title: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Dragonslayer #1)
Author: Resa Nelson
Source: Author
Published: June 1, 2008
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC
Format: E-book

Synopsis:
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover-the dragonslayer-disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning. Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child. Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

REVIEW

The Dragonslayer’s Sword was one of the most creative, original stories I have read in a long time. And, I might not have ever found this book if the author, Resa Nelson, had not contacted me to be a part of her book tour. I am so glad she did!

The story follows Astrid’s journey through life. She struggles throughout the novel with figuring out who she is truly. I completely related to this and feel many of my fellow readers would too. The story starts with Astrid as a child. A child-seller that kidnapped her is trying to sell her off, but no one will buy her because she is small and covered in scars from a dragon attack she survived somehow. Finally, the local blacksmith Temple, buys her and teaches her to blacksmith and how to control her shape-shifting ability. Yes, that’s right. She can shape-shift! Anyways, Temple teaches Astrid life lessons that she constantly looks back on in moments of distress.

The shape-shifting ability of Astrid and other people in her town of Guell completely caught me off guard. I mean, blacksmiths and dragons and shape-shifting? What a weird combo, right? But Resa Nelson makes it work!

The other characters of DiStephan, Lenore, Mauri and Taddeo were just as well fleshed out as Astrid. I wish I would have known something about Drageen that gave him a little more dimension than just being the asshole. But, he completely served his purpose so why am I complaining? LoL.

5 stars to The Dragonslayer’s Sword for being an inventive, unexpected read.




Title: The Iron Maiden (Dragonslayer #2)
Author: Resa Nelson
Source: Author
Published: Dec 31, 2012
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC
Format: E-book

Synopsis:
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it's her duty. She'd rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer's sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.

REVIEW:
In this continuation of the story of Astrid, we follow her on a powerful journey yet again. As stated in the synopsis, the Dragonslayer’s sword Starlight, is stolen from Astrid. Of course, there is no stopping Astrid from going after the sword. It is as much a part of her as the scars on her skin that are shifting more and more to become like dragon scales.

Along her journey, Astrid meets many people. My favorite character she comes into contact with is Margreet. At first, the story of Gershon and Margreet unsettled me. I didn’t see where it fit into Astrid’s journey, but as the novel progressed it made perfect sense. Margreet feels bound to and protected by her abusive husband Gershon. Toward the end, Margreet remembers what it is like to be free and be herself again. That might be a spoiler, sorry about that. There are a couple more side stories, like Norah and Wendill. They are two legitimate dragons that, well, you will have to read to find out!

In my opinion, The Iron Maiden was a spectacular addition to the Dragonslayer series by Resa Nelson. The novel held my interest and was a very good read. I will definitely continue the series and read the newest addition, The Stone of Darkness. Plus, book 4 comes out in November! Yay!

5 stars to The Iron Maiden for showing that women are powerful.


The author, Resa Nelson, has kindly provided a "mini" ebook of Dragonslayer short stories.
CAUTION: They will get you hooked. But here is the LINK

If you would like to contact Resa Nelson, here is her info...

If you would like to buy a copy,
they are available through:
Mundania Press (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Finds #4


Friday Finds is hosted by MizB 
Share what great books you added to your
TBR pile this week, then link in
the comments on Should Be Reading.
That sounds simple, right?



[Click image to go to Goodreads page]

#1. The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray
#2. Forbidden Mind (Forbidden Trilogy #1) by Kimberly Kinrade
#3. Dust (Dust and Darkness #1) by Devon Ashley
#4. Swipe (Swipe #1) by Evan Angler

These are some that looked really good to me. Hopefully, I will get around to reading them before I'm 80 and books don't exist anymore. LoL

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Star Dwellers by David Estes

Hello all.
I am so excited to be a part of the Cover Reveal
for The Star Dwellers by David Estes.
The highly anticipated sequel to The Moon Dwellers.
Without further ado, here it be!


I just realized this cover really goes well with my blog colors. LOL.
Thanks for planning that out that way David!

Anyways, here are some rave reviews for The Star Dwellers.

Early praise for The Star Dwellers
  
“Estes´s creative genius continues to shine in this installment. We get quite a few questions answered and more are raised.”
Author Christie Rich

This is easily becoming one of the best dystopian books I've read.”
Lolita  Goodreads

"The Star Dwellers surpassed all of my expectations and more. I was just completely amazed and thrown back into this fantastic world and left dying to know what will happen next."
Kayleigh Goodreads

Early praise for the author

“David Estes you are a genius! This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I felt such intense emotion to the main characters and their cause.”
Tina Donelly Goodreads

“Another fantastic book by David Estes that had me gripped straight away”
Adele Goodreads


The Release Date is
September 30, 2012.
Be there or be square.
Peace out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: The Son of Rage and Love by Thomas Raymond

Title: The Son of Rage and Love
Author: Thomas Raymond
Published: May 21, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Purchase: Amazon


SYNOPSIS:
12 Year-old Daniel used to run, jump, and climb on everything in sight. He played, laughed, made all kinds of noise, took things apart, and built new stuff from the pieces. Unfortunately for him, such acts of nonconformity can make inconvenient ripples on the smooth surface of wealthy suburban bliss. Years ago, Daniel was judged to have ADHD, and soon, "Pills fixed all that. They quiet most of my imagination, and the video swallows up whatever’s left."

Nowadays, Daniel just wants a little adventure, a bit of unscripted life to clear up the fog of his mundane existence. Every aspect of his life is under strict control of a narcissistic Grandmother, and the minions she hires to run the house. Disillusioned with the "remoras" who worship his mother's money and fame, and certain his older sister is becoming one of them, Daniel has all but given up hope. "I've learned not to fuss . . . A fuss is a big mistake. . . . At least I am smart enough to just take the pill and wait for the fog to roll in." But years of heavy medication coupled with long escapes into video games have turned his world to grey, blurring his perception of reality versus fantasy.

When Daniel's mother adopts a 13 year-old, free-spirited orphan, the two boys become immediate friends and allies. The absolute authority of Grandmother is finally challenged. The ensuing struggle at once gives Daniel hope, but also threatens his sanity.

The Son of Rage and Love is the intense, at times disturbing story of one boy's quest to reclaim his own mind. In a place and time where the appearance of the perfect life is more important than freedom itself, where strong will and disruptive ideas are quickly medicated into quiet indifference, Daniel and his new brother try against the odds to sever the puppet strings for good.

 REVIEW


The Son of Rage and Love delves into the mind of 12 year old Daniel. Daniel has been “diagnosed” with ADD and is subsequently given little pink pills to put him in “the fog.” Daniel’s mother is a very famous star named Maya that is frequently gone. Thus, leaving Daniel and his sister, Janey, in the hands of their manipulative grandmother. Grandmother is a super control freak that could guilt anyone into obeying her. If they don’t, then the wrath of the wooden spoon is brought down upon the offender.

Daniel accepts the fog and loses himself in his video games. His only escape from the life he does not live. Eventually, Daniel realizes that there is more to life than obeying orders and living in a fog of pink pills. Most of the turn around of Daniel’s attitude comes when his mother, Maya, adopts a 12 year old Haitian named Jean-Maurice. The energy and life that Jean-Maurice brings to the household of course disrupts Grandmother’s sense of order. This is where both the problems and the healing begin.

I found this novel to be very engaging and read it fairly quickly. Daniel was such a compelling character. His viewpoint on the world is skewed through the fog, but he never gives up trying to regain his life and enjoy his childhood. I don’t want to give the plot away, so I will just say this is a worthwhile read with touching (and some irritating) characters. The plot flowed effortlessly and of course, I adore happy endings. The only problem I had was that my copy was a PDF, so I couldn’t Highlight on my Kindle. And there were so many great quotes in this book that it drove me nuts.

I received this book from the author, Thomas Raymond, in exchange for an honest review. I am so very glad he contacted me or I never would have found this moving novel.

5 stars to The Son of Rage and Love for a thought provoking piece of literature.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Think Out Loud #11

Think Out Loud is a weekly meme that promotes
doing whatever YOU want!
If you always do book reviews, do something different!
A rant, a video, a recipe, ANYTHING!
Official Think Out Loud stuff is HERE.


Wow. Just WOW!
I can't believe this is Think Out Loud #11.
I also can't believe I have almost 150 followers!
SQUEALLLLLL!!
That is just insane to me, but I appreciate all of you!

That's why this Think Out Loud is dedicated 
to all the people that follow my blog!

So, I wanted to say a big
THANK YOU!

Ya'll come back now, ya hear?




Friday, September 21, 2012

One Lovely Blogger Award!

Hello all.
Today I have been lucky enough to receive the 
One Lovely Blogger Award!
A big thanks to Alex at 
She is the one who bestowed this upon me.
Now, let's get down to how it works, shall we?

  • You must include the Lovely Blog Award Logo in your post.
  • Thank the person that nominated you!
  • Select 15 blogs you think are deserving of the award and pass it along. Don't forget to comment and let them know the won.
  • You must share seven random facts about yourself.
Here goes nothing... first with the facts.

SEVEN RANDOM THINGS
1.  I love Dr. Pepper.
2.  I am terrified of spiders.
3. Mice don’t freak me out though.
4.  Snakes are iffy.
5.  Horses totally scare me because they are so big!
6.  House flies annoy the shit out of me
7. When I was six I found a wasp nest. I wanted to know what the buzzing was. Well, five stings to the face later I found out. I fucking hate wasps! I scream, flail and run if one comes within 15 feet of me to this day.

15 Lucky Blogs to receive the One Lovely Blog Award...
1. Alana – Dark Obsession Chronicles : http://darkobsessionchronicles.blogspot.com/
2. Insightful Minds Reviews - http://insightfulmindsreviews.com/
3. The Librarian – Madaug’s Attempt at Book Reviewing : http://thesubookclubx.blogspot.com/
4. Kristen Cayne – Writing with Kristin Cayne : http://kristinecayne.blogspot.com/
5. The Reading Fish : http://omgitsfishy.blogspot.com/
6. The Princess of Storyland : http://www.theprincessofstoryland.com/
7. Rotten Apple Reads: http://rottenapplereads.blogspot.com/
8. A Daydreamer's Thoughts: http://xxdaydreamer21xx.blogspot.com/
9. The Muse's Circle: http://themusescircle.blogspot.com/
10. Never Too Fond of Books: http://www.mandikayereads.com/
11. Shut Up and Read: http://shutupandreadgroup.blogspot.com/
12. Owl Read It: http://owl-read-it.blogspot.com/
13. Lisa Loves Books: http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/
14. Harley Bear Book Blog: http://harleybearbookblog.blogspot.com/
15. Smash Attack Reads: http://www.smashattackreads.com/

If I tagged someone that is an Award Free Zone, I apologize in advance. I tried to check, but might have missed it. I hope that all who participate will come back and share your posts in my comments! However, if you were nominated and don't want to post links to 15 people, you can at least post the Award pic and 7 random things. Because it's fun!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Challenge: Fall Into Reading 2012


Hello all.
I happened upon this challenge while looking for new blogs.
This challenge is hosted by Callapidder Days.
Essentially, Fall Into Reading 2012 is a fun, low-pressure reading challenge open to anyone and everyone. It will take place September 22nd-December 21st (which, as you may have guessed, lines up with the fall of 2012).
So, my main objective in this challenge is to catch up on all the review books I have been neglecting and maybe some extra ones if I'm lucky. Here is my TBR Challenge List. I know I probably won't get to them all, but I am sure as hell gonna try!

1. The Son of Rage and Love by Thomas Raymond (Read 9.21.12 - 9.23.12)
2. Siren (Siren #1) by Joycelin Arnold (Read 9.23.12 - 9.28.12)
3. Morning Star (Ethos #1) by Desiree Finkbeiner
4. The Moon Dwellers (The Dwellers #1) by David Estes (10.05.12 - 10.10.12)
5. The Star Dwellers (The Dwellers #2) by David Estes (Cover not shown)(10.10.12 - 10.16.12)

6. What Kills Me by Wynne Channing (10.16.12 - 10.20.12)
7. The Seven Gifts by John Mellor
8. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins (10.20.12 - 10.28.12)
9. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins (10.28.12 to 11.01.12)

10. The Universal Mirror (Artifacts of Empire #1) by Gwen Perkins (11.07.12 - 11.17.12)
11. The Jealousy Glass (Artifacts of Empire #2) by Gwen Perkins (11.26.12 to 11.30.12)
12. The Jazz Cage by Ray Smith
13. Shadow of Night (Discovery of Witches #2) by Deborah Harkness

Well, let us hope 13 is a lucky number for me this time! I really have to get these read. I feel like a very bad reader because some of these requests came in a while ago. Oh well, I'm doing the best I can!

Wish me luck!
So, I added 2 (so far) to the list that I am currently reading.
14. Every Day by David Levithan (9.30.12 - 10.05.12)
 15. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (11.01.12 to 11.06.12)
 16. Underneath by Michael Cargill (11.20.12 to 11.22.12)
 17. The Sun Dwellers (Dwellers #3) by David Estes (11.23.12 to 11.26.12)
 18. Ever Shade (A Dark Fairie Tale #1) by Alexia Purdy (12.01.12 - ?)
 19. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane (12.01.12 - 12.10.12)

 20. Bits of Cargill - Michael Cargill (12.11.12 to ?)

 21. Protector (Anniversary of the Veil #1) by Vanna Smythe (12.11.12 to ?)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tour: Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson (Guest Post!)

Hello all.
Welcome to my stop on "The Stone of Darkness" tour!
The author, Resa Nelson, is a dream to work with
and this series is fantastic.
Let's find out more, shall we?

Title: The Dragonslayer's Sword (Dragonslayer #1)
Author: Resa Nelson
Synopsis: For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover-the dragonslayer-disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning. Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child. Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

Title: The Iron Maiden (Dragonslayer #2)
Author: Resa Nelson
Synopsis: Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it's her duty. She'd rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer's sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.

Title: Stone of Darkness (Dragonslayer #3)
Author: Resa Nelson
Synopsis: In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago. Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them. Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.
And now, a fabulous guest post from Resa Nelson!! 
GUEST POST

How Readers’ Feedback Inspired Me to Turn a Short Story into a 4-Book Series
by Resa Nelson

One of the most important things I’ve learned as an author is how useful feedback from readers can be.  My 4-book Dragonslayer series started out as a short story called “The Dragonslayer’s Sword” that was published in Science Fiction Age magazine.  I never meant for it to become a novel, much less four novels.  It happened because I listened to my readers. 
After my Dragonslayer short story was published, a couple of unusual things happened.  First, the magazine asked their readers to choose their favorite story published during the magazine’s first two years.  I never dreamed anyone would choose my story.  After all, it had been published in the first issue, two years before the readers were surveyed.  How could anyone remember my story after two years?  I was shocked when the short story version of “The Dragonslayer’s Sword” ranked 2nd in the Readers Top Ten poll.  Next, my editor received a letter from a B. Dalton bookstore manager saying that people kept coming into the store wanting to buy my Dragonslayer novel but he couldn’t figure out how to order it.  That’s because I hadn’t written a novel.  I’d only written the short story!
Clearly, all of my readers were smarter than me because they saw something in the story I couldn’t see.  I decided I’d write a Dragonslayer novel only if I could figure out what my readers knew that I didn’t and if I came up with an idea that I loved with my whole heart for expanding the story.  Otherwise, I’d be wasting everyone’s time, including my readers’ time and my time. 
I spent years thinking about it.  I’d come up with an idea, think about it for a while, and finally decide it wasn’t good enough.  I needed an idea I felt excited about.  Something that would make me look forward to writing each chapter from beginning to end.  A story full of twists and turns and surprises.  After all, if I get bored while I’m writing a novel, my readers are probably going to get bored, too, and I never want that to happen!
Then one day I started thinking about how much I’ve always loved Viking culture.  I’d always assumed I’d write short stories and probably a novel based on the Viking era.  For that reason, I’d already traveled to Iceland, where I went to a lot of places mentioned in the Icelandic sagas.  I’d gone horseback riding on an Icelandic horse, the same kind of horse that Vikings in Iceland rode.  I love the Icelandic landscape and taken lots of photos.
Suddenly, I started thinking about a story I’d heard about when I was in Iceland.  I might have heard it on a tour or maybe read about it at a museum.  It was a true story that happened hundreds of years ago in Iceland, and I’d never forgotten it.  For some reason, I thought, What if something like that happened to my hero, Astrid?
I felt excited and began to see all kinds of possibilities for what could happen in the story.  Then I remembered another true story I’d heard in Iceland.  It had nothing to do with the first one – they were incidents that had happened centuries apart.  But again I could see how something similar could happen to Astrid and how exciting it would be.
I started crying because I love Astrid and felt horrible about making the story so difficult for her.  That’s when I knew I’d finally come up with a good idea.  If I had such a strong reaction to this idea, maybe my readers would feel the same way!  Originally, I thought it would be just one book, but once I began writing I saw a much bigger story and turned it into a 4-book series.
And all because of positive reader feedback!  If readers hadn’t voted for my story in the magazine’s poll and if they hadn’t gone into bookstores asking for my work, I never would have written the first Dragonslayer novel, much less an entire series!
If you’d like to sample my work for free, you can download a free “mini” ebook called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website at http://www.resanelson.com/files.  It includes that first short story and a second one that I wrote later and that was published in the same magazine.  No cost, no obligation, nothing to sign up for, no information gathering.  I like giving away samples of my work so you can decide for yourself whether it’s right for you.  

And now would you like to meet the Author?

Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
Resa lives in Massachusetts.


Here is how to contact her!
Email: ContactResa@aol.com
Website: http://resanelson.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ResaNelson

GoodReads giveaway:  http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:  http://www.resanelson.com/files


Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)

NOTE: I got the first two books in the series read, but figured this post was long enough without posting them too. But, don't worry. I will be posting them in the future!
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