Book Review: Come Marching Home by Hazel West

Hullo, friends! A few weeks ago, I brought you the cover reveal for Come Marching Home by Hazel West, and today I have the pleasure of reviewing that book! 

Photo description: Book cover of Come Marching Home – silhouette of a man and a dog in front of a snowy background

Synopsis

After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.

When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.

Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.

As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?

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Amazon

My Review

Man, this book was so good. Usually I’m not a huge fan of books based in war-time, but this book was absolutely beautiful. There were definitely a lot of tear-jerking moments, so when you read this… keep the tissues handy!

To start off with, Hazel does an amazing job developing these characters. I loved that the book focused on the relationship between Alfonse and Ernst. I love reading sibling relationships, and I feel like relationships between brothers aren’t highlighted as much as they could be. Hazel does a great job of developing Alf and Ernst individually while also portraying their relationship realistically. I was rooting for them the whole way!

Since the plot was focused more on the relationships between the characters, the pace was a little slow until the end. While I tend to prefer books with a faster pace, I think the steady pace of this book actually worked better with the message and the tone. 

And maaaan, the feels! My favorite part of this book is all of the awesome relationship-building, gonna-make-you-cry moments that hit you out of nowhere. There were definitely a few times I had to blink away tears. No spoilers, but that continues alllll the way to the end of the book. ❤

There is some minor cursing in this book, along with some references to multiple gods, although the details of their religion aren’t really touched on. This is also set during war-time, so there is a lot of violence and pain, so I would say this book is targeted more towards teenagers and older. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes reading touching stories!

Have you read Come Marching Home? What did you think? If not, you should definitely go read it! 

Cover Reveal: Come Marching Home by Hazel West

Hullo, friends! I have posted absolutely nothing since school started back up, but I’m back today with a cover reveal post. What’s even more exciting: this is a cover that I designed! Working with Hazel on this cover was really fun, and I’m excited about this cover reveal and book release.

Also, make sure to check the end of this post for information about getting pre-order goodies!

Let’s get on with the cover reveal!

Here it is!

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi

Amazon

Come Marching Home is releasing October 13th! (EEK!) And here’s the blurb:

 

Pre-Order Info:

If you pre-order Come Marching Home or just order a copy of it by the end of October
(extending because the paperback won’t be available for preorder) You can email the receipt of
your purchase to sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com with your address and Hazel will send you a
goodie pack!

 

I am so excited to get to read this story! Isn’t that sticker adorable?? Are you as excited about this book as I am? Comment down below with your thoughts!

Tattered Slippers: The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington

Hello, everyone! Today I’m back with another book review as part of the Tattered Slippers release tour! Today I have the opportunity to review The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington. Over the summer, I was able to read Sarah’s other two published books, Mechanical Heart and Blood in the Snow, and let me tell you, they are AMAZING! I certainly had high expectations for this book, and it did not disappoint.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! To the review!

Description

This mystery is the case of his dreams — and her nightmares.

By day, Dayo Temitrope is a swinging singer, an up-and-coming star with a shining career ahead of her. By night, she’s . . . well, she’s not sure, but whatever she does leaves her every morning with sore feet and worn-out shoes. And after six months, she’s had enough.

Enter Bastian Dennell, a private investigator just trying to get by. When Dayo hires him to find out where she goes at night, he’s sure it’s his big break: his chance to establish himself and get the funds to pay off his family’s debt. Plus, he gets to work with his favorite singer, even if she isn’t exactly what he expected. What could be better?

But first he has to solve the case — which means navigating a tangled web of strange dreams, fair folk schemes, and show business. It will take all Bastian’s wits, along with the shining talents of Dayo herself, to figure out the truth before the curtains close for good on Dayo’s career.

A jazz-age-inspired twist on the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the author of Blood in the Snow.

Amazon | Goodreads

 

Author Bio

Sarah Pennington has been writing stories since before she actually knew how to write, and she has no intention of stopping anytime soon. She is perpetually in the middle of writing at least one or two novels, most of which are in the fantasy and fairy tale retelling genres. Sarah’s first published work, Blood in the Snow, received a perfect score and Special Unicorn status in Rooglewood Press’s Five Poisoned Apples contest. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys knitting, photography, and trying to conquer her massive to-be-read list.

Website | Blog | Second Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Amazon

 

My Review

Holy COW I loved this book!!! Where to start…

First off, the characters in this book were awesome! Dayo and Bastian were so well-developed, and I loved the interactions between them. They both have their own motivations, flaws, and strengths, and they really came to life. I also absolutely loved how their relationship shifted through the book, especially from working-relationship to friendship, and I absolutely ship them. 😀

And then there was the worldbuilding. Maybe I haven’t read enough books set in the Jazz Age, but this one was so fun! Everything, from the dialect used to the clothing descriptions to just the general liveliness, really came alive and was so easy to picture. One of my favorite aspects of Sarah’s books is the amount of detail she adds to her settings, and this one was wonderfully done.

And as a retelling, I absolutely loved the subtlety in this book! It’s very clearly a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, but it also develops its own storyline that differentiates from the original (even just by changing the setting!). An issue I’ve had when reading other Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings is that they try to focus on all twelve princesses. That’s a lot of main characters to keep track of, especially for me and my short attention span! So I absolutely loved that this book really only focus on Dayo and a few of the other girls, and it was extremely well done.

Overall, this is definitely one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year, and I HIGHLY recommend it! Go read it! 😀

 

Tour Info

Check out this link to see the full schedule AND enter the Tattered Slippers giveaway! Make sure you check out all the other posts for this book (including the author’s post here) and check out the other retellings that were in this release.

 

Have you read The Midnight Show? If not, you totally should! I plan to be back on my normal schedule next week (hopefully), so I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tattered Slippers: The Dancing Princess by Kendra E. Ardnek

Hullo, friends! It seems that every time I post something exciting (like the cover reveal a few weeks ago), I can’t quite figure out what to post afterward! Luckily, this week, the Tattered Slippers release tour is going on! I’m so excited to have the chance to review not one, but two of these Twelve Dancing Princess retellings. Today I’m reviewing The Dancing Princess (A Twist of Adventure #5) by Kendra E. Ardnek. So let’s get on to the review!

Description

Plagued by nightmares for the last few years, Katrine only wanted answers. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a tangled web of melody as she tries to free a cursed king and his brothers. No one deserves existence such as theirs, but dare she risk her very life?

Amazon | Goodreads

 

My Review

This book was so much fun to read! It was fast-paced, the characters were intriguing, and the plot was intense. I’ve read a few of the other Twist of Adventure books (which you don’t have to do to read this one!), and I always enjoy the spin Kendra puts on the original fairytales. I especially enjoyed the magic system in this one.

I’d say my one complaint was that it was too short! I wish it had been longer so there could be more time to flesh out the characters and their storylines and to expand the plot. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this little book, and I highly recommend it to any fantasy fans out there!

 

Tour Info

There are so many awesome books to go for this tour! I’ll be posting again later this week, but check out this link to see the full schedule AND enter the Tattered Slippers giveaway! Make sure you check out all the other posts and keep a lookout this week for the other books.

 

Are you participating in the tour, and have you read this book? Comment down below to let me know your thoughts!

Forcefield (IDIA #3) Cover Reveal (Eek!)

Hello, friends!! Today’s post has been a long time coming, but I present to you… the cover reveal for IDIA book 3!

I am so excited to finally be sharing this with you guys! Plus, I also have the blurb to reveal! Without further ado, let’s show that cover!!

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Blurb

Albany and Brooklyn York are taking a much-deserved break from IDIA work and
visiting their grandfather’s farm. But even far from the city, they find that they can’t quite escape
their lives with IDIA—or FOE. When the twins find out that someone from FOE has set up shop
in their neighborhood, they decide they need to find out what’s going on with FOE, once and for
all. But when they learn of secrets that rock their world, will they still know who to trust?

Guys, I’m so excited about this! Are you excited about the release of book 3? Do you like the cover? Comment down below to let me know your thoughts, and what you’re most excited to see in Forcefield!

Writing About Writing: Worldbuilding (AKA Discussing Brandon Sanderson Books)

Hullo, my friends! As you may have noticed, it is not Tuesday, but since I’ve missed a few weeks of posting, I thought I owed you guys an extra post. That, plus I had some post inspiration this week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with you guys! I want to thank everyone who signed up for the cover reveal for Forcefield. If you haven’t gotten an e-mail from me with the post information, let me know, since I’ve been having some internet issues. If you didn’t sign up, and you’d still like to participate, the form is still open here, as long as you sign up before the reveal happens on August 4th. Now, on to the post!


I’ve been fortunate enough over the past year or so to read a LOT of Brandon Sanderson books. If you’re not familiar with his books, he writes fantasy books that are well-known for having a ton of foreshadowing and plot twists–and also for the in-depth worldbuilding in each book or series. I’ve gotten to read Elantris, the Mistborn series, and I’m currently making my way through his Stormlight Archives.

One other book of Sanderson’s that’s important to mention for this post is Sanderson’s Arcanum Unbounded, which is a collection of short stories and novellas, some of which are related to other books and series he’s written. It’s a little complicated, but the one I’ll be mentioning the most in this post is The Emperor’s Soul, which is a (mostly) standalone novella.

And, in fact, I was mostly inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s comments after the novella, where he discussed his inspiration for the story. The quote that really caught my attention was this: “You can’t always write what you know–not exactly what you know. You can, however, write what you see.” 

This quote came after Sanderson explained that he got the idea for the magic system in The Emperor’s Soul from a trip to Taiwan and the National Palace Museum. To simplify things a lot, he was inspired to make the magic system in this novella based on historical stamps he saw at the museum. Basically, he asked himself the question, “What if stamps could be used to rewrite the history of an object?” This led to the development of the magic system in this novella.

Recently, I’ve been working on an idea for a fantasy story (which I won’t be starting any time soon), and I’ve found myself looking closer at Sanderson’s worldbuilding techniques since I keep being blown away by them. A lot of worldbuilding in his stories seem to be answers to “What if?” questions. One of the most memorable bits of worldbuilding for me is a group of people in The Stormlight Archives whose eyebrows never stop growing. This tiny aspect of the larger worldbuilding just asks: “What if people had eyebrows that never stopped growing, just like hair?” That question adds a distinctive feature to a people group and helps the world feel more developed and diverse. Asking these questions develops a vibrant story world that feels deep and realistic–as realistic as a fantasy story can feel, that is!

So ask those crazy what-if questions! Maybe you’ll find a story there.


This turned out to be more of a ramble than a cohesive post, but I hope you found something helpful here! Have you read any of Brandon Sanderson’s books? What books have impressed you with their worldbuilding? Let me know in the comments below!

Poem: The Sun

Hullo, friends! My schedule has been a little off the past couple of weeks, but I’m back again today with your regularly scheduled Tuesday post! If you missed it, around a week ago I posted about Twinepathy‘s birthday and the cover reveal sign-ups for IDIA #3, so if you’re interested in participating in that, definitely check out that post (or just fill out the form here). Today’s poem is more of a sad one–another one that I wrote for class. Hope you enjoy! (Also, there’s an important question at the end of this post, so make sure and comment your thoughts!)

 

The Sun 

C.B. Cook

 

The sun rose that morning,

a day like any other,

but it didn’t rise for her.

 

She poured her coffee in the kitchen.

Warm golden light enveloped her,

but she moved to the bedroom,

shunning the warmth.

 

The bedroom was dark,

lonely.

She embraced it because

it matched the heavy,

shadowy grief

weighing on her soul.

 

She flipped a switch

and the light buzzed overhead.

There was his bed,

his desk,

the stack of video games

his father had given him

instead of visiting.

She traced the squares of the quilt on the bed,

finally letting the tears fall.

 

The sun rose that morning,

but her son didn’t rise with it.

 

What did you think of that poem? And for the important question I mentioned earlier: if I put out a poetry collection, would you be interested in reading it? Comment below with your thoughts!

Twinepathy’s Birthday + Forcefield Cover Reveal Signups (!!!)

Hullo, friends! I am so excited about today’s post, but first I must say… It isn’t Tuesday! I have deviated from my new blogging schedule (both accidentally and on purpose) since today is the 4 year anniversary of Twinepathy‘s release. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long! And I’m very excited to announce that IDIA #3 is on it’s way! While I don’t have a release date set quite yet, I am planning a cover reveal for August 4th, and I need your help! There’s a sign-up at the bottom of this post, so if you’re interested in helping out with the cover reveal, please fill out the form.

As for Twinepathy‘s birthday, I give you all virtual cake! 😀

IDIA #3 Current Status:

Name: Forcefield

Pages: 59

Words: 16,599

Cheesy puns: at least 2 (so far…)

Sign-up link: https://forms.gle/XWxZZ6eG85gKpsge7

 

Are you excited about the cover reveal? I know I am! Can you believe it’s been four years since Twinepathy was released? Comment below with any questions, comments, or concerns, and make sure to share this form with anyone who may want to participate! I hope you’re all as excited about book 3 as I am! 😀 

Blog Tour: Beast of the Night by E.E. Rawls Review

Hullo, friends! Today I am participating in the release tour for Beast of the Night by E.E. Rawls. This book just came out, and it’s a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Without further ado, let’s get into the post!

Book Blurb:

A one-armed, practical girl. A rude lord hiding a curse. A dark secret with the town’s fate hanging in the balance.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling with an Austrian twist and a new breed of curse.

When Rosen moves to Freudendorf—a secluded town in the Alps—with her dad, he vanishes on her and the debt collectors come to call: taking her into slave labor. As if that wasn’t bad enough, just when all her hopes and dreams for a normal life are ruined, a frail zombie-like butler purchases her: taking her to serve Lord Varick, who currently resides in the forbidden castle near the salt mines, where the Beast of the Night is said to roam.

Varick is handsome, with an attitude that’s the exact opposite. The servants aren’t human, and the castle itself is an ugly wreck. But if Rosen cannot solve the dark secret spreading beneath Freudendorf, and the curse holding Varick’s cold heart, then both they and the town will fall prey to a waiting evil—and worse, even lose their memory of it.

Book Purchase Links:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

 

Author Bio:

E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.

She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM

 

My Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

There may be minor spoilers in this review, so be forewarned if you want to go into this book not knowing anything. No major plot points will be spoiled!

What I liked: The character building in this book was wonderful! I felt like I really got to know Rosen, and I loved that she didn’t let missing an arm stop her throughout the story. As someone who’s been reading and writing a lot about disabilities lately, it was so awesome to read a story where the disability wasn’t a major plot point. It was handled really well without being a main focal point, and I highly applaud the author for that!

The plot was done really nicely, too, and I especially loved some of the twists close to the end. I really liked the twists on the classic Beauty and Beast story, especially on the curse.

And can I take a second to appreciate how awesome the Austrian setting is?? The cultural aspects that came up were awesome, and the setting itself was beautifully described. I think it was a great choice and it played into the story really well.

What I didn’t: Personally, I’ve never been a fan of books with vampires, and while technically this book doesn’t have any vampires per se… they’re basically vampires. That wasn’t something I was really expecting, but if that’s not something that bothers you, then go for it! My only other issue was a few unanswered questions I had, but that could be because the author may be planning a sequel.

Overall, if this sounds like a book you’d be interested in reading, you should definitely check it out!

 

Blog Release Tour Schedule:

June 11th

https://rawlse.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/it-has-finally-r…y-tale-retelling/ ‎-opening

http://www.jenelleschmidt.com -review

12th

https://bookslesstravelledreviews.wordpress.com -review & spotlight

13th

https://elizabethdragina.files.wordpress.com -review

15th

https://www.hsjwilliams.com/blog -spotlight

16th

http://www.djedwardson.com -spotlight

17th

https://www.rachaelritchey.com -review

18th

http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/blog -spotlight

19th

https://abigailfalangaauthor.wordpress.com -review & spotlight

Sarah Ashwood  -spotlight

20th

https://twitter.com/justviews -spotlight

21st

http://www.kylerobertshultz.com -spotlight

22nd

https://christinesmithauthor.com/ -review

http://www.jlmbewe.com/blog/ -review

23rd

https://thepagedreamer.wordpress.com -spotlight

24th

https://triciamingerink.com/blog/ -spotlight

25th

https://theworldofthewriter.wordpress.com -review

26th

https://wordsofhannahkay.wordpress.com/  -review & spotlight

https://rawlse.wordpress.com/blog/ -closing

6 Tips for Writing Superheroes

Hullo, friends! As promised, here is the superhero post I talked about when I shared my superhero poem with you last week! Maybe you like superheroes, maybe you like writing, and maybe you want to start writing about superheroes. Just like anything related to writing, this is harder than you might think. While I don’t claim to be an expert on writing about superheroes, I do have quite a bit of experience, and one thing I’ve learned is that writing about superheroes is about way more than just writing about people with crazy abilities.

So here are a few tips from my own experience and what I’ve noticed in other superhero books and movies to help you when you’re creating and writing your heroes (complete with a lot of Marvel gifs).

[This post contains major spoilers (through gifs) for Captain America: Civil War and some minor spoilers for early MCU films. Also, FEELS warning!)

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