Tag Archives: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Five Glass Slippers

 

Five-Glass-Slippers-CoverBook Review: Five Glass Slippers

Authors: Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, and Clara Diane Thompson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from the Goodreads description of Five Glass Slippers:

What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?

Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!

WHAT EYES CAN SEE: Elisabeth Brown
Painfully shy Arella begs her stepmother to let her stay home from the prince’s ball. But kindly Duchess Germaine is determined that her beautiful stepdaughter should be presented at court along with her own two daughters. So, dressed in a gorgeous gown and a pair of heirloom slippers, Arella catches the eye of the crown prince . . . and finds her life suddenly far more complicated than she ever desired.

BROKEN GLASS: Emma Clifton
The slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl! Rosalind never once danced with Prince Marius at the ball, for she is in love with his brother Henry. If only Rosalind and Marius would stop bickering long enough to invent a scheme, perhaps the three of them can find the real mystery lady. But they must work quickly, for dark deeds are afoot, and the kingdom is poised on the brink of disaster.

THE WINDY SIDE OF CARE: Rachel Heffington
Alisandra is determined to have her rights. She knows that she is the king’s secretly dispossessed daughter, the true heir to the throne. Prince Auguste is an imposter, and if she plays her cards right, Alis will prove it to the world! That is, if charming Auguste doesn’t succeed in winning her heart before she gets her chance . . .

A CINDER’S TALE: Stephanie Ricker
It’s a dangerous life, yet Elsa wouldn’t trade this opportunity to work at Tremaine Station, mining cendrillon from the seething surface of planet Aschen. Nevertheless, when a famous deep space explorer and his handsome son dock their starcraft at the space station, Elsa finds herself dreaming of far galaxies beyond Aschen’s blistering heat. There is no time for dreaming, however, when danger threatens the space station, and Elsa and her fellow miners are tested to the limits of their courage.

THE MOON MASTER’S BALL: Clara Diane Thompson
After her terrifying experience there several years ago, the one place young housemaid Tilly longs to avoid is Bromley’s Circus. But when kindly Lord Hollingberry begs her to deliver a message to the mysterious Moon Master hidden away among the circus dwellers, Tilly can’t refuse . . . and finds herself ensnared in a web of enchantment cast by the loathsome Mrs. Carlisle and her beautiful goddaughter.

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I have fallen in love with this Cinderella collection. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I am not a fan of the Disney version of Cinderella. I should have realized that since this collection was headed up by Anne Elisabeth Stengl I would love what I’d find therein. The five leading ladies in this collection are anything but boring, and amazingly, none of the stories are even remotely alike.

What Eyes Can See:

This story put an interesting twist to Cinderella, taking the classic tale and sticking close enough to recognize it, yet standing just enough apart to establish its uniqueness. The characters in this story will surprise and endear, a great opening glass slipper!

Broken Glass:

Steam carriages, mistaken identities, misplaced love, this Cinderella retelling is not to be missed. The relationships of the characters in this story really stuck out to me. They each had their own faults, and no one was as they seemed.

The Windy Side of Care:

Finally, like a pair of elegant snails, we came to the throne.” That quote is the essence of this story and the author’s voice. This story was a joy to read, and had me chuckling more than once! From the unlikely love at first sight and the unusual fairy godmother figure, it was all fantastic.

A Cinder’s Tale:

I’m very picky about what sci-fi I’ll read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story. I didn’t need to worry, though. I loved how the writer was able to transport us to a whole new world. When I realized the tie between Disney’s Cinderella and the names the writer used for her story, it made the reading all the more enjoyable. Love, love, loved it!

The Moon Master’s Ball:

This story was the biggest deviation from the original Cinderella. In its own way, though, it was a very good story, and I felt like it was well worth the read. The elements that finally tied in with Cinderella made it all the more enjoyable as I was able to discover how it could be considered a Cinderella retelling. A story of mystery and suspense, The Moon Master’s Ball is a great story to close the Five Glass Slippers collection.

 

What has been your experience with fairytale retellings? Do you tend to gravitate towards them? Or are they the novels you tend to skip?

 

About the Authors

To learn more about these fantastic authors, you can visit their respective websites. Elisabeth Brown: http://metaphoricalcello.wordpress.com/ Emma Clifton: http://peppermintandprose.wordpress.com/ Rachel Heffington: http://inkpenauthoress.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Ricker: http://quoththegirl.wordpress.com/ Clara Diane Thompson: http://www.claradianethompson.blogspot.com/

I was given a review copy of Five Glass Slippers from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was under no compulsion to write a favorable review and I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Shadow Hand

 

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Book Review: Shadow Hand

 

Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

 

Review by Grace Olson

 

 

The Story

 

Taken from Bethany House’s website description of Shadow Hand:

This is a story about blood.
And love.
And the many things that lie between.

By her father’s wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. As her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal parasite.

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

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As you all should know by now, I love Anne Elisabeth’s books. As I read Shadow Hand, I was unsure at first as to whether I would feel the same about this book. I had a bit of trouble getting into this story world, a world made darker by the villain of this tale. By the time I finished, however, I realized this too was a book that I would gladly return to in the future, but maybe not for the reason you might think.

I was reminded, yet again, why I love Anne Elisabeth’s writing. It is the underlying themes that catch at my heart and beg me to return again and again. Redemption. New life. Hope eternal in the One who created us, and molds those who will let Him into the people we were designed to be. Shadow Hand was entertaining, the characters unique and memorable, but it is this element of mercy and unfathomable love that thrills my heart and revives in me the desire to become closer to and truly know my Savior. This is what I look for in the various novels I read. What resonates with me is that underlying tone that goes beyond entertainment or even creating an emotional experience, to what truly matters.

I would highly recommend this book. For those of you who have read the other Tales of Goldstone Wood, you’ll find some familiar faces and some altogether new. The characters in Shadow Hand are all flawed, and some can be difficult to like, but be on your guard against prejudging them, for none are beyond redemption.

About the Author

Biography from Bethany House’s website: 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, Dragonwitch, and Shadow Hand. Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Moonblood have each been honored with a Christy Award. ~ To learn more about Anne and her other books, visit her web page: http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/

I was given a review copy of Shadow Hand from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

 

Goddess Tithe Cover Reveal~Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I’ve really enjoyed participating in the various cover reveals, giveaways, and blog tours that Anne Elisabeth has been putting on lately. I am super excited to read Shadow Hand, due to release in February. If you’d care to see my review of Dragonwitch, her latest release, click here.

Now for the cover reveal!

GoddessTitheThe Vengeful Goddess

Demands Her Tithe

When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya‘s only hope to return safely home.

Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown’s garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.

Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?

Excited yet? For those who have read some of The Tales of Goldstone Wood before, there may be some characters in here that you’re familiar with.

And guess what? There are illustrations in the novella too! Here’s a sample photo and what Anne Elisabeth has to say about them:

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There are eight full-page illustrations in Goddess Tithe featuring various characters and events from the story. This is the first one in the book. I decided to share it with all of you since it depicts my young hero, Munny the cabin boy, under the watchful eye of his mentor, the old sailor Tu Pich. Munny is on his first voyage, and he is determined to learn all there is to know about a life at sea as quickly as possible. Thus we see him utterly intent upon the knot he is learning to tie. Tu Pich is old enough to know that no sailor will ever learn all there is to know about the sea. Thus he looks on, grave, caring, and perhaps a little sad. He might be looking upon his own younger self of many years ago, fumbling through the hundreds of difficult knots his fingers must learn to tie with unconscious ease.

I enjoyed creating all the illustrations for Goddess Tithe, but this one was my favorite. I love the contrasts of light and dark, the contrasts of young and old . . . youthful intensity versus the perspective of age.

For those of you who don’t know Anne Elisabeth…

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Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, including Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower was voted winner of the 2013 Clive Staples Award.

But we ain’t finished yet, folks! Anne Elisabeth is also putting on a giveaway of two proof copies of Goddess Tithe!

*U.S. and Canada only.

Click on the link to the Rafflecopter link below to enter in the giveaway.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MGNkNTI0NzYyMGZiNjAwZjNmMTRhNTUxOTQ2MTQyOjE2/

To learn more about Goddess Tithe, click on the blog button below. The first chapter is available there for your reading pleasure.

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Dragonwitch

DRAGONWITCH%20completeBook Review: Dragonwitch

Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Review by Grace Olson

The school season has started up again, but never fear, the book reviews will continue. After all, when you need some time to unwind, what better way to relax than within the comfortable pages of a good book? Who needs sleep when you can go on an adventure through the ocean’s deep on the Nautilus, chance the dangers of the Fire Swamp, or simply listen to the elves sing at Rivendell? Today, I’m going to fill you in about my latest read, Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s novel, Dragonwitch, that released in July of this year. You may recognize that title from an earlier post here, and you would be right! In July I participated in a blog tour for Dragonwitch’s release and hosted an interview and a giveaway here on Onto Her Bookshelf. Now—at last!—I have gotten around to reading Stengl’s riveting new release. Be prepared for adventure as we explore the fifth book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood.

The Story

Taken from Bethany House Publisher’s website synopsis of Dragonwitch:

Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch?

Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet the future King of the North Country and a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves.

But within the walls of his castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair. 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 entire nation.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a flame burns atop the Citadel of the Living Fire. 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 hero who can wield it.

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I love Stengl’s writing style. Lyrical, with beautiful, vibrant descriptions, and characters that are lifelike and diverse, Dragonwitch was a delight to read. I might also add that Stengl is one of my “role models” so to speak in my own writing journey. Oh, to be able to weave (seemingly effortlessly) such powerful stories that live with the reader long after ‘The End’. Sigh. Ahem. Anyway, back to the book.

There are several different points of view that Stengl writes from throughout the book, as well as multiple stories that at first seem unrelated, then she somehow brings it all together in the end. I have no idea how I would pick only one favorite character, so I’ll give you my top two. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Sir Eanrin and Lady Leta. I was unsure about Leta at the beginning, but I grew to really like her as she was stretched and grew throughout the book. And Eanrin…I love his sarcastic remarks. Knight of the Farthestshore and Chief Poet of King Iubdan Tynan, Eanrin has the unique ability to change from the body of a man into that of a cat and vice versa. This cat-man embodies my idea of a cat’s personality, and is a character I won’t soon forget!

I really appreciated how Stengl incorporates some romance in Dragonwitch, but it is not the main theme. The individual love stories don’t really even show up on the book’s radar until near the end, but what romance Dragonwitch did contain I liked.

About the Author

Biography from Bethany House Publisher’s website: 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, and Starflower. Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Moonblood have each been honored with a Christy Award. ~ To learn more about her and the other books she has written, visit her web page: http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/

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I’ve said in the past that I like to read fantasy, but I should add that I’m also very picky about what books I’ll read in this genre. I like fantasy with a Christian theme (see my review of Prophet by R.J. Larson), and while Stengl’s books might have more subtle messages of faith, she has become one of my go-tos when I’m looking for a good fantasy read. So far I haven’t been disappointed. As for Dragonwitch, there really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like in this book, and I have high hopes for Shadow Hand, Stengl’s next Tales of Goldstone Wood novel set to release this spring!

I was given a review copy of Dragonwitch from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review.

Dragonwitch is available for check out, download, or paper copy.

Dragonwitch Blog Tour, Author Interview, and Huge Giveaway!

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It is my pleasure to participate in a blog tour promoting Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s book, Dragonwitch, that released this month.

First, a little about the author:

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Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. She 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.

And now the interview:

Me: First off, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Anne: Well, I am the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a rescuer of kittens, a devoted fan of my handsome husband, Rohan, a wannabe-connoisseur of the opera, and a wearer of fuzzy socks.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was nine years old.

Who/what is your inspiration?

Great books are my inspiration! I was an English Lit. student at University, and I don’t think I would be the writer I am today if I hadn’t spend years studying the great masters, learning their tricks, discovering their passions, absorbing their themes.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It depends on the book. Most of the time, somewhere between six and eight months. But I wrote Veiled Rose in two months! Which was madness, but I had a deadline.

PictureDo you outline or do you write by the seat of your pants?

My stories are far too complex to succeed with seat-of-the-pants writing. I actually tried that with Dragonwitch, and utterly failed. I need a good solid outline of what is going to happen. I don’t always know how it will happen—that’s where the spontaneous creativity comes in. But I need to know what will happen to all the characters, how they serve the plot, how their goals and desires work together or at odds.

Do you have a favorite of the novels you have written?

My favorite is always the one I’ve just finished. So currently that means my Super-Secret project which I will be announcing in another month or so!

How did you create the world of the Tales of Goldstone Wood?

I started out just penning random ideas in a notebook . . . little fairy tale notions that came to me while reading great works by older authors. Dragonwitch was one such fairytale, starting out as a few little notes, later expanding into a more complex fairy tale, and then resulting in the novel I now present to you. As I set to writing each of the fairy tales, I would see them referencing and depending on each other. Thus a world was born. When I started writing novels, it was much the same: I’d write one novel, but it would be subtly tied to four or five other seemingly independent works, not to mention already-written fairy tales.

Do you have a theme in mind when you write each book?

I never do. I just have a story. But I spend a lot of time in prayer as I write each book, and I let God provide the theme as I go. I write as an act of worship, and in worship, each theme develops. But I can take no credit for any of them.

What made you decide to pursue publishing?

After completing the third draft of Heartless, it seemed a shame to simply sit on the story! My mother is a professional novelist, and I am friends with a number of her novelist contacts. They all encouraged me and offered advice along the way.

What books have influenced you in your writing?

Oh, so many! C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories, of course. George MacDonald’s fairy tales, the short ones such as The Light Princess or Photogen and Nycteris more than the longer novels, though I did draw from some themes in Phantastes when I wrote Starflower. A number of the Victorian and Romantic-era poets have been major influences, particularly Robert Browning, who is my favorite. And, of course, you can hardly dabble in the Faerie world without drawing from Shakespeare!

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What is the hardest part for you in writing a book?

Always the beginning. I have the hardest time figuring out where and how things ought to start! Usually once I get the first 40,000 words properly in place, the rest of the novel will fall together beautifully. But if those first 40,000 words aren’t quite right, the novel won’t work, and major revisions will have to be made. With Dragonwitch, I had so much trouble finding the right beginning, I finally picked up in the middle and wrote to the end, then went back and added the opening chapters! But I don’t prefer working that way.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Good writers are good readers. So READ A LOT. Don’t just read books that are easy for you. Pick up the classics and study what it was that set them apart from other, forgotten books of their day. Figure out which genre is your favorite, the genre you want to write in, and read a ton in that genre.

What are you currently working on in your writing? Can you share a little bit about that?

I am currently working on Book 7 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood, which takes place probably a hundred years or so (I forget the timeline at the moment) after the events of Dragonwitch. For the moment, the book is going under the working title Golden Daughter, and I think it’s going to stick that way.

This novel will be particularly interesting to series readers because it deals, finally, with the events of the historical Night of Moonblood (referenced in the novel Moonblood). And it won’t surprise my faithful fans to learn that there was, of course, much more going on than previous hints would indicate! It’s the most epic and exciting story I’ve tackled yet with quite a charismatic cast of characters . . . including one handsome orange cat.

Do you read reviews of your books?

Officially, no. That is, I really try not to because they can so easily upset me. While I have a wonderful base of devoted fans, there are always going to be those who hate my work . . . and hate is very hard to handle! So I try to avoid reviews as much as possible, though it is very tempting to see what people are saying about each newest project.

Is there meaning behind the names of your characters? How about the titles of your novels?

The characters all receive names that suit their country of origin. I base most of the names on “our world” names, which to me lends a sense of authenticity. In Dragonwitch, for instance, all the North Country people have names that are either Latin or inspired by Latin names.

The names I have the most trouble with are all those dragon-blasted Southlanders! I thought it was such a great idea, in Heartless to name my cowardly prince “Lionheart,” and I then tried to make everyone else’s name match his. And now I’m stuck trying to come up with believable sounding names along those lines!

The titles have, so far, come pretty easily. Heartless was the most difficult, and I was never perfectly satisfied with it (it works, but is it truly perfect?). All of the others just seemed to come along with their books, so I didn’t even have to think about it.

What is your favorite book?

While I reserve the right to change my mind at any given moment . . . my favorite book right now would be Sir Terry Pratchett’s Nation. I adore that book more every time I read it. I don’t even agree with Pratchett’s basic philosophy presented in the book, but he writes it so beautifully! I want to write like he does, with humor and heartbreak and thoughtfulness.

What are some hobbies of yours?

I draw and paint—I play the piano and sing a little—I rescue kittens—I bake pastries—I’m trying to take up running, but not super consistently yet.

What do you do when you need to take a break from writing?

I read!!!

Coffee or Tea?

Absolutely tea. Especially the black Ceylon tea to which my husband introduced me. The perfect brew for a writing session!

And now…the giveaway! To enter, click here and follow the instructions a Rafflecopter giveaway to win the amazing grand prize of the first five books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series.

I’m also running an exclusive giveaway of  Dragonwitch on my blog here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, check out the other blogs participating in the tour to see all the great things they’ve got going!

Tour Schedule

July 14 – Day 1

Rebecca’s Book Blog – Interview

Jennette Mbewe – Sneak Peek

Bluerose’s Heart – Top Tens List

The Wordsmith’s Shelf – Sneak Peek

The Wonderings of One Person – Guest Post

Seasons of Humility – Interview

Worthy 2 Read – Guest Post

The Endless Road – Interview

Tea and Bree – Interview/Sneak Peek

JoJo’s Corner – Interview

July 15 – Day 2

Letters to the Cosmos – Guest Post

The Writer of Dream Things – Character Interview

The Sassy Sister – Sneak Peek

Makai Queen – Interview

JoJo’s Corner – Sneak Peek

Crafty Booksheeps – Interview

Young Adult Books – Sneak Peek

Darling Diaries – Interview

Blooming with Books – Interview/Sneak Peek

July 16 – Day 3

The Writer’s Window – Character Interview

Penning Praises – Guest Post

Crimilia – Interview

Rachel Herriman – Guest Post

Rina’s Reading – Top Tens List

JoJo’s Corner – Guest Post

Living On Literary Lane – Interview

Onto Her Bookshelf – Interview

An Ink-Made Maiden – Interview

July 17

Blog Tour Finale and Prize Awarded back at the Tales of Goldstone Wood!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl Shadow Hand Cover Reveal and Giveaway

I’m so excited to show you the cover of Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s upcoming release, Shadow Hand, and invite you to take part in the giveaway of a Tales of Goldstone Wood Coffee Mug. You can see what will be on the coffee mug, the books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, at the bottom of this post. Click on the pictures to see them larger.

Stengl has quickly become one of my favorite authors after I read her books, Heartless and Veiled Rose, the first two books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood. Stengl’s novels are fantasy, but carry deep messages of grace and forgiveness. Heartless was the  first book of hers that I read, and I was instantly hooked. Now, after seeing Shadow Hand’s beautiful cover, I can’t wait to read this upcoming release. Hint: Keep an eye out for further posts about Ms. Stengl, I’ll be doing a review of her latest novel in July, Dragonwitch, which is due to release July 15th. Also keep an eye out for another exciting giveaway in the not-so-distant future!

If you want to further check out Shadow Hand, you can visit http://www.shadowhandnovel.blogspot.com/ .

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“She Will Take Your Own Two Hands

To Save Your Ancient, Sorrowing Lands.” 

By her father’s wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. Unable to bear the future she sees as her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal fey parasite . . . 

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

Coming Spring 2014

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