“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ― Voltaire

Posts tagged ‘Historical Fiction’

Book Spotlight: A Star-Reckoner’s Lot

A Star-Reckoner's Lot cover

 

Blurb

For some, loss merely deprives. For others, it consumes.

Ashtadukht is a star-reckoner. The worst there’s ever been. Witness her treacherous journey through Iranian legends and ancient history.

Only a brave few storytellers still relate cautionary glimpses into the life of Ashtadukht, a woman who commanded the might of the constellations—if only just, and often unpredictably. They’ll stir the imagination with tales of her path to retribution. How, fraught with bereavement and a dogged illness, she criss-crossed Sassanian Iran in pursuit of creatures now believed mythical. Then, in hushed tones, what she wrought on that path.

 

Praise for A Star-Reckoner’s Lot

 

“I think it has a few excellent twists that will leave every reader surprised. Personally, having read fantasy for more than 20 years, I welcomed what sets this book apart from typical fantasy” – Author Daniel E. Olesen

 

“Without a doubt, A Star-Reckoner’s Lot is a perfect read for fans of combat and adventure. The fight scenes are realistic, and the surprises Ashtandukht meets on her way would satisfy every adventure’s enthusiast.” – Patrisya M.

 

Excerpt

Ashtadukht was waiting patiently, one hand fiddling with her sleeve while she watched the exchange from afar. She felt relieved to no longer hoard anger like some sort of philosophical dragon despoiling hamlets and bringing home rage and fury to pad its halls. But she also felt like she’d been a dragon. It’s one thing to punish a person; it’s an entirely different affair to punish a person you care for.

She put on a stern face and folded her arms when they approached, careful to keep her doubts to herself. “Well?”

“Waray says there is a city nearby,” said Tirdad.

“Oh?” Ashtadukht turned a pointedly unsympathetic stare on the half-div. “Seems like a lie.”

“Already asserted your dominance,” Waray grumbled, averting her gaze. “Don’t have to be mean.”

“There aren’t any cities nearby,” Ashtadukht rebuffed. “Not being gullible isn’t the same as being mean.” Still, Waray was right: she’d made her point, and anything further was needless cruelty.

She softened her delivery considerably and decided to indulge the half-div. “So explain how you supposedly happened upon a city all the way out here?”

“The stars?” Waray ventured uncertainly. She canted her head and smacked her lips, which were tinged with blood. “Maybe. There was this šo-miffed bird. It was pecking me, and I was trying to talk things out. Civilly, I think. Had no business being home when it was anyway. Should’ve been out.”

“Waray,” said Ashtadukht. “Get to the point.”

“. . .”

“Waray.”

“I won.”

“And the city?”

“Oh, I found that šo-cheery place yesterday.” Waray shivered. “Felt like—wait. Not that. Šo-eerie. That. The walls were too long. Like they wanted to stop growing but the taskmaster wouldn’t have it. They kept going, and I couldn’t, I couldn’t—” She flexed her hands. “I couldn’t catch up. Everything just kept increasing, and it was too much. Like trying to snatch the air all at once when you can’t even get a fistful. It was too much.”

While neither cousin realized she was describing an anxiety attack, they did get the vague idea from her body language and pitch that the half-div had been genuinely unsettled by whatever she’d come across, city or no city.

“Where’s this place?” asked Ashtadukht.

“Around.”

“Take us there.”

“Maybe not?” Waray asked hopefully. “Maybe somewhere nice?”

“Your fault,” said Tirdad, all too familiar with what would happen next. “You should not have stirred her curiosity. Just do as she says.”

Waray surrendered with the type of defeated sigh a guide would give when well-meaning but plainly stupid adventurers insist on visiting the trap-ridden tombs of The One Most Slithered, or some other vengeful deity. “You’ll be chopped in half,” she warned, and plodded away.

She conducted them around the foot of the ridge they’d been following and into a clearing that was decidedly not a city. She came to a halt as abruptly as if she’d walked into a wall. “But.”

“Is this your city?” asked Tirdad.

Waray shook her head, at an utter loss for words.

“The Rostam Inscription,” Ashtadukht observed somewhat icily. She had a feeling Waray was up to something. “Well, inscriptions. Yeah, it’s a necropolis, but it isn’t very city-like. I thought we were farther away.”

Unlike Ashtadukht, who had visited this site twice already, and wouldn’t have appreciated it at this point in her life regardless, Tirdad awed at the monument.

Four giant inset crosses had been carved into the rock face by an empire that predated his by centuries unknown—and obscured in the time since; nevertheless, an empire that had surely laid the groundwork for the age-old nation he served. So impressive were the carvings that they appeared to Tirdad as if they’d been pressed into the stone by the stamp seal of Ohrmazd himself, which had applied embossed rock reliefs depicting kings of yore, and an entrance to a tomb too high for men to reach where those very kings were laid to rest.

Below those reliefs were more recent carvings, contemporary inscriptions that portrayed the investiture of Kings of Kings and their entourage. Some displayed triumphs over foreign powers, while others stressed the right to rule as sanctified by various divinities.

He strolled over to the rock face and ran his fingers admiringly over the nearest such relief.

“It’s all too horizontal,” Waray pondered aloud. She cocked her head and leaned to the side. “Too horizontal.”

Ashtadukht was in the process of asking what exactly Waray was getting at when the half-div swept her arm at an angle to designate what she believed to be the correct alignment, and in doing so sheared the rock relief as if her scrutiny were slicing through fabric.

The entire ridge fell away and heaped like a discarded dress around the foot of a vast wall that stretched to either side as far as the eye could see. Only patches of gypsum plaster remained, exposing the baked bricks at the core of the wall to the elements—where the bricks hadn’t left vacancies. In short, it was in disrepair.

Instead of the straight-facing gate used in many cities, the fortifications from one side reached around the other to create a funnel where invading forces could be neatly channeled into a lane. Ashtadukht nodded to herself. She wasn’t particularly military-minded, but living with a prominent general had imparted some small appreciation for these things.

“Told you so,” Waray said uneasily. She lowered her voice to a whisper and turned away from her victory. “Told you so.”

“What just happened?” asked Tirdad.

“If I were to venture a guess, Waray dispersed a powerful illusion with a mere wave of her hand,” Ashtadukht replied. “Every bit as impressive as it sounds.”

“And the Rostam Inscription?” Tirdad asked almost mournfully.

“Probably safe and sound. My initial reaction was that we’d lost our bearings, but the real thing should be farther out.”

“Good,” said Tirdad, thick with relief. “Good. Makes you wonder how many people have stumbled upon this pretender and thought they were standing in front of a national monument.”

Waray leered at the two of them, annoyed by how easily they’d written off her word, and were now going on like she hadn’t been right all along.

“There’s a šo-welcoming city here,” she hissed, though she was now beginning to wish she had been wrong. Something about her first visit had unsettled her greatly: something that was strumming her mind at this very moment. She tried to put it into words, and it came out as a muttered, “Welcoming.”

She frowned. She had not fumbled the word, yet it was nevertheless off-putting. As far as she was concerned, cities should not be welcoming. They should not wave you in. And they most definitely should not strum. “The wall,” she rambled. “Like a line of šo-desperate cheese. ‘Come in, come in,’ it’s saying. ‘Take a load off. Have a drink. The rams are out and rutting, but they’ll be back for dinner. You’ll stay, won’t you?’ And there’s a clap of horns in the distance. And the cheese is peering at you like a šo-lonely wheel. But you have to go because you’ve got a thing tomorrow. A thing. That’s what you say.”

Waray gave a brisk nod, certain she’d gotten the point across in clear terms.

Ashtadukht paid her no heed. She’d toned the half-div out the instant she’d started talking from the perspective of a wall.

“Let’s investigate,” she said.

 

A Star-Reckoner’s Lot releases on October 2nd, 2016.

Grab it now on: Amazon | Kobo

 

About the Author

Darrel DrakeDarrell Drake has published four books, with A Star-Reckoner’s Lot being the latest. He often finds himself inspired by his research to take on new hobbies. Birdwatching, archery, stargazing, and a heightened interest in history have all become a welcome part of his life thanks to this habit.

 

Get in touch on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, and Goodreads.

Black Friday Book Sale

I hope you all enjoyed Narina’s post. Well, I’m back, with an exciting post about BOOK SALES!!! 😀

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Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my “things I’m thankful for” list every year. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2015 and am thankful for.

  1. Thy Kingdom Come, by Daniel Adorno is a great post-apocalyptic novel, with some really deep insights (Check out my review)
  2. Holding the Future Hostage,  by Tialla Rising was another great read (Check out my review)
  3. But Who Would Be Dumb Enough To Even Try It, by several Enclave Publishing authors was a fantastic story by some fantastic writers!
  4. The Betrayal, by Douglas Bond is a great novel on the life of John Calvin (Check out my review)
  5. And finally, Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott. This classic took me right back to medieval England, into the action and intrigue.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here’s one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 27-30. There’s literally something for everyone.
Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.
Don’t know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!
Book Quiz
What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

The Innocent blog tour

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I’m excited to be participating in another blog tour, this one for the talented Willowy Whisper‘s new novel, The Innocent.

 

About the Book

“I wonder who would shoot a girl so young…?” The question haunted him as he left the river and her grave behind.
Harvey West is given a month. One month to prove his innocence. As the evidence points him to the gallows, he fights to find the enemy of the beautiful Elsie Roselind. Someone wanted her gone.
Someone destroyed the evidence. Someone had to kill to keep her from coming back…
And the someone isn’t afraid to kill again—no matter what the cost.

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About the Author

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I am a sixteen year old girl who loves to write! I have always been homeschooled, and I live in a quiet neighborhood in West Virginia. I am the author of five novels, four of which are published, and numerous short stories. Now, down to the exciting stuff…

I am an incurable romantic—a dreamy sort of girl who sits around all day and dreams about true love…and writes about it. “Not everything revolves around romance,” people are always telling me. But to me, there is a little bit of romance in everything. Willowy Whisper, my pen name, is a fictional character in the Whispering Leaves Saga. She is, in a sense, me. She represents my “fairy-tale” life. I also love writing thriller/suspense stories, murder, and mysteries…and all that. Anyways…

I am an Independent Baptist Christian, a firm believer in Jesus Christ. I was saved when I was five years old, eleven years ago. As a Christian teenager, one of my major goals in life is finding the “right one” and staying pure until I do.

 

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to interview one of the main characters, Harvey West:

 

Harvey, please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Harvey West. I’ve always been a drifter, a wanderer with a restless sense of discontent that kept me from staying at any one place too long. But then I met Abigail—and her love was stronger than any desire to travel, so here I stay.

 

What is the thing you love most?

I love the Lord. He’s been all I ever needed for as long as I can remember, and I’m set on serving Him.

 

Who/what would you die for?

I would die for Abigail. When I first met her, I thought her the most stubborn thing I’d ever seen. But somewhere along the way, she touched my heart and hasn’t let go. I’d die for her. A million times, a thousand ways, I’d die for her… 

 

If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

I reckon there’s a lot of things I could wish for—but I think what I’d want more than anything, is to see my friend Brock as happy as I am. He’s lost so much, hurt so bad. Maybe I wouldn’t have understood before, only now I do. Now I know what love means. I can imagine the agony of losing, the hurt, the pain. Brock felt that pain. And I’m certain that the only thing that can heal that is more love—and so for him, I wish happiness.

 

Why are you a Christian?

I’m a Christian because at eleven years old I realized I was dying. Maybe not any time soon, but someday. Where would I go? What if death didn’t stop at the grave? My mother brought out the Bible. She showed me life. She showed me a Savior that took me into His arms and hasn’t let go. She showed me a love that was stronger than all my mistakes, greater than my weakness. When I came to Him broken, He fixed me. When I came to Him empty, He filled me. He loved me—and that’s why I serve. That’s why I claim His name. That’s why I love Him.

 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Faith Blum’s novellas cover reveals

Check out the covers for Faith Blum’s three new novellas, I Love Thee, Pass Me Not, and Redeemed. They will all be published this summer! Instead of doing three separate reveals, she chose to do one reveal for all three. To learn how these novellas came into being, check out Faith’s blog post today. Read on to see the covers and learn about each of the stories. Don’t forget to enter to win the novel that started it all!

 

I Love Thee

Publication Date: June 26, 2015

Pass Me Not (2)

Redeemed

 

Synopses

I Love Thee

Mom and Dad dead STOP Please come STOPGage

Confirmed bachelor, Cole Baxter, finds himself raising his sister’s four young children. After one week of leaving his ranch in the hands of his foreman to take care of the grieving, needy children, he has to admit the task is beyond him and he needs help. But hired help won’t suffice: those children need a mother’s hand. Cole needs a wife.

Approximately 17,800 words.

I Love Thee Preorder

Click on image to order now.

goodreads

 

 


Pass Me Not

Let me at Thy throne of mercy/Find a sweet relief/Kneeling there in deep contrition/Help my unbelief

Timothy is at his wit’s end. His twelve year old half-sister has run off five housekeepers in almost a year. Since their parents died, she has grown wilder than ever. What can he do? As he looks for a new housekeeper, his eye catches sight of a mail order bride advertisement. One young lady has a younger sister and sounds like a God-fearing woman. Could this be the answer to his dilemma or will Louise run her off, too?

Approximately 15,300 words

 


Redeemed

Mail Order bride seeks wealthy Western man. Write Mona Sommers, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Alexander Granger is tired of his father’s lectures and sermons. It’s time for payback. His plan is to pretend to marry a woman and scandalize his father when he finds out they aren’t really married. Will Mona accept his offer? Can Alex get away with his plan?

Approximately 11,600 words.

 

About the Author

An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, Captaining on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?).

As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.

You can find Faith on her Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter

 

Giveaway

How would you like your very own copy of the book that started it all? Well, at least started it all for the novellas. Enter the giveaway below and you could win a signed paperback copy of Amazing Grace.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or, if you would like another chance to win a signed copy, you can also enter the Goodreads giveaway that is open today through July 2nd!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Amazing Grace by Faith Blum

Amazing Grace

by Faith Blum

Giveaway ends July 02, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter to Win

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Review: The Betrayal by Douglas Bond

The Betrayal: A Novel on John CalvinThe Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin by Douglas Bond

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Betrayal by Douglas Bond is a very well written novel on the life of John Calvin. The way Bond portrays him through the eyes of his personal servant (and sworn enemy) gives a unique picture of his life.

Characters

The characters were well done. Jean-Louis, the protagonist, is a very interesting character. His emotions are shown very vividly; his intense feelings toward Calvin drive his every action. The growth of the characters throughout the story was also well executed.

Plot

Likewise, the plot flowed well, each event being smoothly linked to the next. As the narrator, Jean-Louis’ comments would easily join two otherwise unconnected events to each other.

Overall thoughts

I greatly enjoyed this book. It was a captivating read, and kept my interest to its completion. I grew attached to the main characters, and was devastated at the end.

Would I recommend it? Yes indeed, especially to historical fiction lovers.
Would I let my kids read it? It is definitely an adult novel, because of the depth of writing, but I will definitely let my kids read it, especially if they are advanced readers.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Visit the author

View all my reviews on Goodreads
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