Friday, April 22, 2016

Daughter of Winter by Amber Argyle


Bargains. Only the truly desperate make them. Only the truly desperate need them. And always, the desperate pay.

The silence and never-ending dark of winter are all Elice has ever known, for she is the daughter of the Winter Queen. Isolated in a northern queendom with only the seals for company, she dreams of color and music and life. So when a whaling ship crashes just offshore, she doesn't hesitate to rescue the lone survivor, Adar, who quickly becomes her friend. She must keep him hidden from her mother at all costs, for if the Winter Queen discovers him trespassing, she'll kill him.

But when her mother reveals just how dark her soul has become, Elice realizes she is as much a prisoner as Adar. To ever know true freedom—ever to become the woman she was meant to be—she must flee with him. But in their flight, she begins to see hints of something more nefarious. The darkness that has taken hold of her mother is spreading, staining the world with its influence.

Unbeknownst to Elice, a bargain was made long ago. A bargain she was born to fulfill.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Doorway Back to Forever by Nanette O'Neal

I'm coming up for air during my blog break to share a review and spotlight for a dear friend of mine, Nanette O'Neal. She, James Duckett, and I sprint write/edit/whatever each weekday morning in the iWriteNetwork chat room. Nanette is also in my critique group, so I got to read an early version of this book. So, on with it!

Every great warrior begins by taking a stand.

Best friends share everything, right? Unless it’s a secret that could cost them their lives. Robyn and Kit are born with forbidden magic-sense, the power to see and hear beyond Earthly sight and sound. It’s a curse that haunts them, but the girls are strangely drawn to it—could there be more to this power than they’ve been told?

When they spill their secret, it opens a doorway back to Forever—a beautiful realm where magic-sense began. They learn the truth: they have been given a noble gift. It connects them to the Skyborn royalty of this new world. They’ve been summoned back by the forces for good to preserve the kingdom and revive the power where it once flourished—on Earth. It can thrive again, if Robyn and Kit are brave enough to follow.

However, the doorway awakens more than magical fairy-tales. A dark force is unleashed—one that has battled the Skyborn since time began, and it wants the girls dead, the Earth destroyed.

Beyond the doorway is where the adventure begins—trickery, kidnapping, a prison break, rescue teams, sword fights, magical gold-dust, holographic medallions, and singing orbs—but only for those who have the courage to believe.

My Take

From the very beginning I found these two girls engaging, and I really felt for them. That time of life--twelve and thirteen--can be such a formative one as we're starting to step away from our parents and trying to find ourselves and our own view of the world. And then to find that there's more to that world than you'd had any reason to dream of?

Awesome! And scary.

This tale is very much a story of good versus evil--and trying to decide which is which. It's full of action and creative worldbuilding and standing for something, of taking risks for what you believe. Even facing your fears.

And there's nothing like having to save the world while you're at it.

The main characters are on the younger side of YA, but the story doesn't read like a kid's book. There're plenty of endearing characters, touching scenes, and breathtaking action. I'm looking forward to the next book!


About the Author

Nanette O’Neal has had a long-time passion for the idea behind the Doorway series, stemming from her faith and her love of story. Her interests have always been strong in various creative endeavors, such as music, martial arts, science fiction and fantasy. Having studied music in college, she made a career of teaching and directing various ensembles in the public and private fields for years. When she decided to tackle writing, she began an intense process of study and research in the craft, through the use of text books, online tutorials, chat and critique groups, as well as various workshops, conferences and retreats.

The Doorway series consists of seven novels about faith, courage, and the power within the human soul. She contributes regularly to an inspirational column for a religious website, Ldsblogs.com, and maintains her blog, Nanette O’Neal’s Doorway, found at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Feel free to subscribe to her blog posts and to like her author page, Nanette O’Neal, Author, on Facebook. She also created a Facebook Group called Friends of A Doorway Back to Forever: Believe, where people can learn more about the book, the symbolism, and the progress of the series. Nanette loves her husband and family, her faith, the mountains, aviation museums, Star Trek, and dogs.



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