Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: The Battle is O'er by Laura Vosika + Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Battle is O'er
(The Blue Bells Chronicles #5)
By Laura Vosika
Historical Time Travel, Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 470 pages
March 23rd 2018 by Gabriel's Horn Press

In the gripping conclusion to The Blue Bells Chronicles, just as Shawn is steadily regaining all he feared he had lost forever—his career, his son, and even Amy’s heart—he learns of MacDougall’s vengeance against Niall, for the act Shawn himself committed. He wrestles with a prophecy and an ancient letter that never changes, a letter that details the fate of his own son, if he cannot stop it—and possibly the fate of the world itself, as he learns of Simon Beaumont’s plan to use his knowledge of the future to destroy it.

Shawn’s selfishness once cost him everything. His newfound selflessness may do the same.

Other Books in the Series

My Review

4 of 5 Stars

Since childhood, I've been in love with historical Scotland (no small part thanks to Braveheart). I have been drawn to historical fiction ever since. Author, Laura Vosika blends a unique view of romantic past, mixed with the brutality of medieval Scotland. The Battle is O'er is fifth in a historical time-travel series, about a thoroughly modern man who is pulled back to the time of Robert the Bruce. I'm a big fan of time-travel stories, where the author literally transports us through the main character, into a different time. But Vosika's Blue Bells Chronicles is unique in allowing her characters to rewrite history. 

The Battle is O'er concludes the adventures of Shawn and his friends in the distant past. Shawn may have returned to the present, but the danger is far from over. A prophecy leads Simon Beaumont to unspeakable acts, while Christine is desperate to escape her captors and return home. In the present, Shawn and Amy struggle to protect James, while discovering where they stand in their relationship. This is a carefully interwoven tale, with chapters written in both past and present. Each scene led seamlessly into the next, until I had to reach the satisfying conclusion. 

The Battle is O'er blends the excitement of a modern thriller, with the immersive details of the best historical fiction. Vosika clearly shows her writing chops here, drawing her story forward with a cast of colorful and relatable characters living through extraordinary circumstances. I'd highly recommend this to fans of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. 

About the Author

Laura Vosika is the author of the beloved series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, a tale of time travel, action and adventure, romance and redemption, ranging across modern and medieval Scotland. She runs Gabriel’s Horn Press, and is active in poetry as a member of the League of Minnesota Poets, routinely performing at local open mics. She has appeared in The Star Tribune, and on WCCO and Channel 12, and hosted Books and Brews with Laura Vosika on AM 950.

Tour Schedule

- l winner will receive a print copy of Blue Bells of Scotland (book one in the series) and a Team Shawn or Team Angus t-shirt (US only)
- 1 winner will receive an ebook of Blue Bells of Scotland (open internationally)
- Ends June 27th

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"Not all angels come in peace..." Angels & Magic Boxed Set Blitz + Giveaway!

Angels & Magic 

A Limited Edition Collection of Angel Fantasy Novels

Publication Date: June 6, 2018 Genres: Fantasy, Anthology


These Aren’t Your Typical Angels Angels aren’t defined by good works. Demons aren’t defined by darkness. In the world of Angels & Magic, all bets are off. This is a world of fantasy and magic, a place where angels are struggling lost souls just like you or I. They’re in need of help and guidance and it’ll take the unlikely soul to set things right. Eleven bestselling and award-winning authors give you a look at what it means to be a hero, wings or not. Enjoy this starter boxed set of urban and epic fantasy full novels, available for a limited time! 

With stories from... Melinda Kucsera L.C. Ireland C. L. Coffey Aldrea Alien Zara Hoffman R.M. Gauthier Carissa Andrews Amanda J Evans Author Lexi C. Foss Emily Martha Sorensen: Author of Clean Fantasy A.J. Flowers Fantasy Author

Check out the bonus set for FREE:

Friday, June 1, 2018

Silver Hollow Tour Stops Excerpts: Day 10

Hey fantasy avengers! Wow, I can't believe we've already made it through to the end of the book tour. Thanks so much to everyone who has come along with us on this epic journey :) For those of you who are just now visiting, there are plenty of lovely blogs you can hop. Just scroll down my blog to discover past tour digests. And remember, it's not too late to enter the giveaway for some fun, bookish prizes!

1. Bookworm Lisa (One of my personal favorite bloggers) shared her lovely thoughts about Silver Hollow today. See her 4 star review below!

When I picked up this book, I thought it would be a typical fantasy book. I was wrong.  Jennifer Silverwood has created a book that has familiar elements but incorporates other stories into hers.

Amie is a woman who has faced many tragedies. She lost her parents at eighteen and her saving grace has been her best friends who watch out for her. Soon, the friends cannot do anything to save her from the danger that awaits her on the other side of the "veil" where she discovers her true heritage. 

I mentioned that this book incorporates elements that I wasn't expecting. Amie becomes a part of the Seelie and Unseelie world.  She has magic that has been hidden from her. This is a book where she uncovers one piece at a time her past and her heritage. There are also ancient tales that become part of her story. I was happy and surprised to find Arthur and Merlin as part of her story. (I grew up loving that story.) 

This book is full of intrigue, war between ancient legends, romance, and non-graphic violence. There are fade to black scenes of intimacy.


2. Mary of Stacking My Book Shelves, features a fun excerpt below:

They tumbled to the bottom of the hill and her heart felt as if it beat in her stomach. Besides a few aches and bruises, she was fine. The sky was a soft shade of cerulean and the distant rush of water sang in her ears. The Brit’s chest heaved beneath her and his heart beat in time with hers as they caught their breath. His hands were still tightly pressed to her flesh, as if he was afraid to let go. 

Heat built beneath her skin as she recovered her wits. She hadn’t been this close to a man before and she didn’t even know her Brit’s name. His strength was obvious behind the layers of clothes and Amie found she didn’t wish to move. 

“Well,” the Brit began, “that could have been a lot worse.” He released his hold and helped her stand on shaky legs before dusting off the sleeves of his trench coat. Rain began to fall unexpectedly overhead. Amie took him in, from his wet, upright mud-flecked black hair and his amused expression. 

“Are you crazy?” she snapped, “We almost died!” She hit his chest for emphasis. 

“Fine way to thank me for saving your life again,” he quipped with no small dose of sarcasm. 

“What did you expect me to say? Thank you so much for pulling me off that moving train. Now we’re stranded in the middle of God-knows-where. What am I supposed to do without my things? All I have is my…where is my bag?” Amie groaned as she paced a tight circle. Nothing but the hills above and forest behind them. The train continued further along up the hill, growing increasingly smaller and the reality of their situation filled her with wrath. 

“If you would only stop raving at me a second I could explain,” he spat back. 

“All my clothes—my letters—everything was on that train!”

He tucked his chin and she thought she saw pity in his eyes before he thumbed at the howling train. “Um, yeah, about that…” 

An explosion ripped the words from his mouth and roared in her ears.

3. Ms. J Mentions, English teacher, blogger and lovely person, shares her thoughts on her experience reading Silver Hollow. As a fellow book blogger, I've been in her shoes before. So I love that she took the time to still share her thoughts today. Thanks Jessa! 

Why I Can't Wait to Finish It

Normally, when you sign up to review a book as part of a tour people expect you to do that *insert feigned shock and awe here* Unfortunately, my life has been far too insane for me to do that this time around. I did, however, get a chance to start this book and I can tell you that I have not wanted to put it down since I started it. In fact, it has been soooo wonderful that I would feel like I'm doing Silverwood a HUGE disservice by not telling you exactly how captivating these first pages have been. Here are my top three reasons.

1. Silverwood knows how to use her words and isn't afraid to do so! There is a plethora of captivating similes and metaphors. She doesn't only present her audience with a beautiful story, she tells it masterfully.

2. Amie is a wonderfully written character. She seems to go against the grain, yet everything she does is for a perfectly practical reason. Seriously, though, who wears BRIGHT YELLOW to a funeral? Amie. And with good reason.

3. The sense of suspense and mystery are so flipping overwhelming. I HAVE to know how this ends. I honestly don't think I'll feel complete until I know. Silverwood's story definitely weaves its way into the reader's brain and has every intention of staying there until completed. Say goodbye to sleep.

Despite the insanity that life has been, a more complete review of this novel will be on the blog later this month.

4. Teatime and Books was so kind to interview me. After this, y'all may know me too well ;) Here's a sneak peek below:

What or who inspired you to become an author?

There were many little moments that I recall from childhood influences, from the children’s author visiting my school, to watching Little Women the first time and wanting to be Jo March. But the defining moment for me happened when I was eight. We had a Polish exchange student live with us for a time and who was like a big sister to me. Before she flew back to Poland, Kaya gave me a fine leather hardback edition of Anne of Green Gables. The book was more difficult to read than anything I’d read so far but I fell in love with the writing and soon devoured everything L.M. Montgomery had written.

Which type of genre do you love most, and why?

Fantasy, without a doubt. There’s something freeing in a book that enables you to escape to another world or time. It’s such a broad genre, too, which I also love. From the high fantasy immersion of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, to magic in the past like Outlander, there are endless places and stories to explore.

Tour Giveaway

PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive new Silver Hollow swag, themed bookmarks, stickers, bookish themed tote, and B&N Illustrated Hardcover Editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (US only)
PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive signed swag (mainly Silver Hollow and Wylder Tales), ebooks of the Wylder Tales Collection, and a free voucher for Bound Beauty to be published later in 2018 (open internationally)
ENDS: June 6th

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Silver Hollow Tour Stop Excerpts: Days 8-9

It's the official release day of Silver Hollow! More about that at this link. Back to book tour updates, today I wanted to share another digest, before we conclude in the next two days. Tomorrow is chalk-full of fun blogs to hop. So before we begin the farewell portion of our tour, I hope y'all will take a gander at the lovely blogs featured below:

1. The lovely Nicole of Nicole's Book Musings, shares an exciting excerpt on her blog. Check out more at her site: CLICK ME

The train jolted, nearly throwing her off balance. Amie scrambled to her feet and ran for her compartment. She banged her fingers trying to slide the door shut. Fear would win over logic this time, it seemed. She was half embarrassed with herself for freaking out. But her voice betrayed her terror as she leaned her forehead against her compartment door and said, “Come on…get a grip!”
  “Actually, you might want to duck,” a familiar voice called from over her shoulder.
  Amie pivoted round so quickly she had to shove aside her unruly curls. “You!”
  “Aye, me,” he replied from her former seat.
  “How the hell did you get in here? Who are you anyway and just how long have you been stalking me?” The questions came barreling past her lips while her eyes remained fixed on his and all she could think was the way he cried her name when the knife entered her belly.
  Why did you call me Nimue? The question was on the tip of her tongue when he stood, suddenly alert and concerned.
  “Clearly we have a sizzling conversation ahead of us. Now you really should duck, lass,” he said, his black eyes darting to the doors and back to her.
  “What do you mean…” Amie sputtered when he threw himself flat against the narrow space between the seats.
  He lifted his head and groaned with exasperation, “What do you think I just said? Are you truly that daft?” He then threw his arm over her head and yelled, “DUCK!”
  She did not remember tripping, but her feet flew up behind her, nonetheless. And she landed in an ungraceful heap on top of the strange man the same time the world exploded with sound. A rain of bullets showered overhead and poked noisy holes out the window. Amie threw her hands over her head and an embarrassing shriek escaped her.

2. Becky On Books interviewed me, and concurrently made me confess more of my not-so-secret nerdisms ;p Check out her blog, and her quilts! She's amazing, folks, seriously.

Becky: What 5 things should readers know about you?
  1. I am an unapologetic nerd. I know way too much about Blade Runner, Star Trek, Star Wars & Game of Thrones. I have also read almost everything Tolkien I could get my hands on and used to write fanfiction for it in high school.
  2. I am the youngest child in an older family. My parents were 40 when I was born the youngest of my three brothers is 11 years older than me. So not only did I always get along better with older people, I’ve been raised on a lot of things my peers were ever-confused about.
  3. Because of the older brothers thing I mentioned, I grew up with an unhealthy obsession with the 80s. Lucky brothers got to be teenagers during that time, so watching John Hughes movies was like watching their experience. Also…honorable influence mention due to the old fantasy flicks like Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Neverending Story.
  4. I’ve been in love with trees since I was a child. We live in a 100 year old farmhouse in the middle of a forest. Some people may find that isolated but for me it’s pure freedom.
  5. My friends called me the “soundtrack guru” all through high school and college. When we go to the movies, I can tell who composed it usually in the first refrain. For those of you unfamiliar with this amazing music, check out the scores of some of your favorite films and prepare for some epic chill.
Becky: OMG, I love movie soundtracks! Listening to them while I wrote papers kept me sane during my undergraduate degree. What is this “unhealthy obsession with the 80s” you speak about? Obsessing over the 80s is TOTALLY normal, right? Right?!? 😉

3. Next, I'm excited to share a new review from Locks, Hooks and Books! See what she has to say about the new Silver Hollow:
Silver Hollow is a little different from my normal go to genre. However, it is a perfect reminder why I should do that more often. I thought it was pretty good. I liked Amie from the start and was fascinated with her story. She experiences horror and tragedy and then a twist I did not expect it all.

I give Silver Hollow four stars and recommend it to readers who enjoy paranormal romances. Such a beautiful and magical tale. 

I received this book from the author. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

4. Sometimes bloggers go the extra mile, like What's Beyond Forks. Not only did she take the time to interview me today, she also shared her honest review! Read an excerpt of both below:

What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research?
Some of the words in Silver Hollow are odd, as you’ll notice. What most people may not realize is about half the words in the Glossary are Medieval English. A few personal favorites include:
- Chitty-face: A person with a thin, pinched face; a term of contempt.
- Kiss the Hare’s Foot: To be so late as to miss dinner; to eat left-over scraps.
- Waghalter- A rogue likely to swing in a gallows.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
Amie, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I wrote this book for myself and my twin best friends originally, based on ourselves. It was obvious wish-fulfillment fantasy for me in 2012. I longed to have the courage to go on adventures, to take risks. Amie is much more her own character this time around, but some of her experiences also reflect my personal journey. And I think many 20-somethings can relate to that feeling of disillusionment.

What's Beyond Forks 4 Star Review

Silver Hollow is the first book in the Borderlands Saga by Jennifer Silverwood. This is certainly an interesting & magical little world. I enjoyed Amie as a character, and it was just as much of an adventure for me as it was for her as she figures out her heritage and who she really is. As the reader, you'll figure it out long before she does, but it's still fun. There are many secrets. You'll meet several characters through this story, but be careful who you trust! *wink* I'm excited about this series, and I'm already looking forward to the next book!
Silver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood was kindly provided to me by Prism Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

Tour Giveaway

PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive new Silver Hollow swag, themed bookmarks, stickers, bookish themed tote, and B&N Illustrated Hardcover Editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (US only)
PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive signed swag (mainly Silver Hollow and Wylder Tales), ebooks of the Wylder Tales Collection, and a free voucher for Bound Beauty to be published later in 2018 (open internationally)
ENDS: June 6th

Tome Tender: Silver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood (Borderlands ...

Six years ago, I published the original version of Silver Hollow, as a stand-alone novel. Today I'm releasing a newly expanded and revised edition. It's the same premise but barely the same book. I decided to re-write because I wanted to finally write the sequel, Blackbriar Cove. It's not often to see the landscape of the online world shift from year to year (sometimes from month to month). So it makes me happy whenever I get to partner up with authors and bloggers I've known from the beginning of my career. Tome Tender is one of those Indie institutions, to me. They have been reading and reviewing and sharing the bookish love for years now. Seriously, if you look at their Goodreads shelves, prepare to be amazed. When I was preparing for my release week, I reached out to some original bloggers who had read and reviewed the first Silver Hollow. I thought it would be fun to share reviews from people who had experienced both incarnations. Tome Tender replied immediately, made room in their schedule and offered to give an honest review. I am so happy to discover how much she enjoyed it! Check out Diane's 5 Star review by clicking on the link below: 
Tome Tender: Silver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood (Borderlands ...: Silver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood My rating: 5 stars Series: Borderlands Saga - Book 1 Publisher: SilverWoodSketches; 3 ed...

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Silver Hollow Tour Stop Excerpts: Days 5-7

Hey fantasy avengers! I hope y'll have been following along with the tour! I've loved meeting and greeting the following lovely bloggers and I hope you'll take a moment of your time to see what we shared and talked about below:

1. L.A. Sartor at An Indie Adventure featured my guest post on the meaning behind the words. Check out more at her site: CLICK ME

While we still have a few fun nonsense “Hollow” words, there are equally the amount of actual old and middle English thrown amix. I wanted to give you a better sense of realism this time and given the magical setting and history of the Borderlands, I pulled from true history. For your (and my) enjoyment, here are a list of phrases you’ll see in Silver Hollow 2018 with their meaning below:

Beek- to bask in the sun or a warm fire

Bilge Scum- comparing one to the filthy underbelly of a ship

Bellibone- A lovely maiden, pretty lass.

Breedbate- A person or something that creates strife.

Carked- Fretfully anxious.


2. Laura (founder of Prism Book Tours!) from Colorimentry: A Study of Literary Color, featured Amie Wentworth's survival tips below:

Amie’s Silver Hollow Survivor Tips 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an American traveling to England is destined to walk around with stars in her eyes. Americans are suckers for the old country, British accents and actors. My father so-happened to be one of these Brit’s and afternoon teas were bread and butter to me. At least, until I was stabbed, kidnapped and entered another dimension known as the Borderlands. You can enter Silver Hollow, my dad’s ye olde hometown, via the English countryside. Or in my case, jump off a train and have a wizard lead you through with magic. I’ve learned a thing or two since my return to Silver Hollow. Before you visit, you absolutely must abide by the following rules: 

  1. 1. Listen to your guide: I don’t recommend waltzing in without one. Even if your guide borders on rudeness.  

3. Next, I'm excited to share one of my favorite guest posts, featured on Wishful Endings, the very lovely blog run by Tressa (of Prism Book Tours fame):

For Silver Hollow, I wanted to give my characters a little extra meaning and give some hints as to their true nature. After all, you’ll soon discover that everything in Silver Hollow is only the surface above hidden layers.

(Due to the location of Silver Hollow in the Borderlands, most of the names below are taken from Scotch-Irish/Celtic origin, while a few below are old Germanic)

Emrys- Welsh form of Ambrose, who was a Romano-British military leader they later based the character of Merlin from. 

Highland/Old Irish-Celtic 
Morcant- Morcant is my nod to a modernized Morgan le Fay. Her updated name is derived from Old Welsh, a form of “Morgan.”
Elisedd- Celtic for “kind.” (Her last name, Underhill, was my direct nod to Tolkien)
Slaine- Scottish in origin, typically a feminine name meaning “good health.”

4. Don't miss this interview given by Singing Librarian Books:

The Interview

1. When did you write your first story? Has this story been published or is it hiding somewhere as an original manuscript that got you started writing? 
My first story, I wrote when I was nine about a group of stranded alien kids, that later became my Heaven’s Edge Novellas. My first “book,” if you can call it that, was a Lord of the Rings fanfiction I wrote with my twin best friends, beginning in Jr. High. Fellowship of the Rings had just come out and we loved it so much we wanted our own characters to explore Middle Earth. (In the case of one twin – fall in love with Legolas) We had so much fun writing these together, I finished three full-length novels. At the time I didn’t really know what fanfiction was. I wasn’t publishing it or writing for anyone but ourselves. It was the most fun I’ve had writing anything. Eventually I wanted to create something more original. And while my confession betrays how much of a nerd I was and am, I learned so much creating my first “series.” So if anyone reading this happens to read and write fanfiction, keep writing and keep sharing. You never know where that road will lead you.

2. What does your writing process look like (research, brainstorming, character sketches, writing time, etc.)? 
My process has definitely changed through the years. Today I begin with a loose outline of the whole story. I then dive into the characters and try to root out their motivations, their likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. As I write, I often write screenplays with dialogue, to see if a scene could stand on that alone. I also keep copious notes on all those tiny details I tend to forget later on. Then I write, I write for at least an hour every day, hopefully a chapter a day. Somewhere in the process magic happens. The characters come alive and breathe and the words flow. At some point I struggle to write a sentence, until I break past the block and keep going. The important thing is to keep writing, no matter what. A big part of my writing process is also my critique partner, Melissa. We exchange chapters as we go and help each other keep track of inconsistencies. Since the twins I mentioned above have very busy lives today, I go to my fellow author friends for feedback. But having a person you trust helps so much in spurring your creativity.

5. Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story, interviewed me. When I say interviewed, I really mean, she researched everything she could about both editions, then dove into the most in-depth questions I've been presented to date. I've never had a blogger so intent on getting to the heart of my books, or one so openly invested in the details behind world building. It was such a wonderful experience, I'm a big fan of Jorie now. I hope you'll agree when you click on the pick below and read her interview for yourself. :)

View this spotlight by clicking on the pic below:

Tour Giveaway

PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive new Silver Hollow swag, themed bookmarks, stickers, bookish themed tote, and B&N Illustrated Hardcover Editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (US only)
PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive signed swag (mainly Silver Hollow and Wylder Tales), ebooks of the Wylder Tales Collection, and a free voucher for Bound Beauty to be published later in 2018 (open internationally)
ENDS: June 6th