New Release: As Told by Isolde, A Mythic Maidens Novella (Mythic Maidens #5)

My new novella is now available!

Cover art by Dragonpen Press Designs

“‘Tristan and Isolde’? More like stuff and nonsense…”

At age eighteen, Isolde of Ayrland is expected to master the healing arts and uphold her mother’s legacy as a healer, but she’s nowhere near ready for the undertaking. Though her mother’s always urging her to “trust herself,” Isolde doesn’t know the first thing about herself worth trusting.

When Isolde heals the wounds of a gallant stranger, little does she know he’s actually Trustan, nephew of the King of Lyonesse. Trustan’s uncle, King Marc, has been suffering a mysterious malady no one’s been able to cure. Isolde makes the voyage to the Isle of Lyonesse only to meet a prickly king who doubts her almost as much as she doubts herself. To make matters worse, whatever afflicts him is unlike anything she’s ever encountered—and completely impervious to her powers.

As castle intrigue and rumors abound, Marc and Trustan begin to confide in Isolde. She’s only there to do her job—not to befriend anyone, and certainly not to fall in love. But as danger looms and no one is who he appears to be, Isolde must decide whom to trust. Only, what if her own heart is the most deceptive one of all?

AS TOLD BY ISOLDE is the next YA fantasy romance novella in my award-winning Mythic Maidens series.
Includes a short bonus prequel!

Book Review: Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

Title: Where the Forest Meets the Stars
Author: Glendy Vanderah
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Suspense
Page Count: 328 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: March 1, 2019

Publisher’s Summary: After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.

Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?

Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.

My Thoughts: I was hooked from page one. Make that sentence one. After reading Where the Crawdads Sing, I was hungry for more adult contemporary fiction, and this one fit the bill. It even had a perceived added magical realism element, that of the little girl claiming to be an alien.

Jo Teale is a graduate student researching nesting birds in the countryside of Illinois when a little girl shows up on the property, claiming to be an alien. Jo does everything to try to return the girl home, but Ursa, as the girl calls herself, insists that she’s an alien, until even the police don’t know what to do with her. Ursa says she’ll leave after she’s witnessed five miracles on earth. Jo becomes Ursa’s guardian, unwillingly at first, but fast grows attached to her new charge. Jo also begins to spark a relationship with Gabriel, a local farmer who sells eggs on the roadside. Gabriel wants to help Jo solve the mystery of Ursa, but they must be careful, lest Ursa run off, or the two adults face deep trouble for harboring a child that’s not their own.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that, if you want to know where Ursa came from, and whether she really is an alien, you’ll have to read the whole book. If I have one criticism, it’s that Jo’s backstory is perhaps too tragic, at the risk of being melodramatic. I thought it was enough that she survived breast cancer and needed a double-mastectomy; to have lost her mom recently to cancer as well just seemed unnecessarily harsh. Although, perhaps it explains why Jo feels such a strong maternal urge toward Ursa, since she knows what it’s like to lose her mother.

I found this to be a very engaging, addicting read. I recommend it to readers interested in magical realism, contemporary romantic thrillers, science and environmentalism, parenting and social issues.  

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Title: Where the Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Genre: Adult Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Page Count: 379 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: August 14, 2018

Publisher’s Summary: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

My Thoughts: I haven’t read regular adult fiction (as opposed to YA or MG) probably since I was in high school—ironically—so I can’t say what really compelled me to download this book, other than the fact I kept seeing it everywhere, and I was in a brooding mood seeking a more serious read. Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya, the “Marsh Girl” who lives alone in the marshes of North Carolina. The author’s expertise on birds and wildlife really shines through this well-written coming-of-age novel, wherein the marsh itself takes on a character of its own. We oscillate between time periods, from Kya’s childhood and coming-of-age, her lovers and losses, and a murder mystery the narrative is leading up to. The third act admittedly dropped me a little by unexpectedly turning into a court drama—I thought I was reading something like Sue Monk Kidd and then it turned into To Kill A Mockingbird—but I appreciate the versatility of the novel. That kept it from becoming one-note.

I really liked Kya and her story. And I’ll confess, the ending put a big, fat Cheshire cat-like smile on my face. I recommend this book to fans of lyrical adult contemporary fiction, environmentalism, and women’s fiction.

Meet the (Other) Hero: Raul

Meet Raul

Photography by Giulia Pugliese. Courtesy of Unsplash.

Full Name: Raul Petigya

Featured in: The Emperor’s Daughters: Jordinia, Book 5 by C.K. Brooke

From: Halai, Heppestoni

Status: Former foot soldier, builder.

Distinguishing characteristics: Dark skin tone, warm eyes, sharp-witted.

Motivations: Homeland, service, and helping others.

Raul’s Story:

Once a foot soldier lost in the wilderness, Raul Petigya discovered his knack for building shelters. With his hometown recently ravaged by a hurricane, Raul utilizes his skills to help rebuild homes for his neighbors. The last thing he wants is a fussy foreign duchess in his way. But as he comes to know and admire the headstrong young woman, he begins to realize he may have judged her too soon…


Read Raul and the duchess’s story in The Emperor’s Daughters:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079RZBTVR/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38109509-the-emperor-s-daughters


Meet the (Other) Hero: Bram

Meet Bram

Photo by Paolo Nicolello. Courtesy of Unsplash.

Full Name: Officer Abram Visigoth

Featured in: The Duchess’s Descendants: Jordinia, Book 4 by C.K. Brooke

From: Pierma, Jordinia

Status: Officer of the Royal Guard

Distinguishing characteristics: Very tall. Calm demeanor. Dark eyes and hair with a violet sheen.

Motivations: Duty, honor, and service. Compassion.

Bram’s Story:

Following in his father’s—very large—footsteps, Bram is a trained soldier and officer of the royal guard. Having grown up alongside the four grand duchesses, as well as the destitute women his mother tends at her shelter, Bram is no stranger to ladies’ affairs. So when, abroad on the emperor’s nephews’ expedition, he notices their sister’s strange behavior, it doesn’t take long for Officer Bram to figure out the compromising position the young woman is in. He’s determined to protect her—and the innocent life she carries—even if it means keeping her secret from the royal family he has vowed to serve…


Find out what happens in The Duchess’s Descendants, Jordinia: Book 4 by C.K. Brooke!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Duchesss-Descendants-Jordinia-Book-ebook/dp/B07DMNKC9B/

Add to TBR on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32454046-the-duchess-s-descendants


Meet the (Other) Heroine: Benedicta

Meet Benedicta

Photo by Hai Phung. Courtesy of Unsplash.

Full Name: Grand Duchess Benedicta “Nedi” Ducelle

Featured in: The Emperor’s Daughters by C.K. Brooke

From: The Royal Palace, Pierma, Jordinia

Status: Fourth and youngest Grand Duchess of Jordinia

Distinguishing characteristics: Pale blonde hair, a generous heart, determination.

Motivations: Benedicta would like a husband and family someday, but not without a story and her own adventure behind it.

Benedicta’s Story:

Though the youngest of the four Grand Duchesses of Jordinia, Benedicta Ducelle is not overshadowed by her sisters. With so many suitors after her, Benedicta has her pick of eligible husbands. Before accepting her latest marriage proposal, however, Benedicta decides to volunteer and help rebuild a flooded city in another country. The head builder and recruiter doesn’t seem too pleased with the distraction a princess will cause…especially when they both become the biggest distraction to each other…


Join Benedicta in The Emperor’s Daughters:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079RZBTVR/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38109509-the-emperor-s-daughters


Meet the Hero: Prime Minister Rhoades

 Meet Prime Minister Rhoades

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo. Courtesy of Unsplash.

Full Name: Prime Minister Nathaniel Rhoades

Featured in: The Golden Dove by C.K. Brooke

From: The Kingdom of Dorsett

Status: Prime Minister of Dorsett

Distinguishing characteristics: Tall, slender, thin mustache. Prefers books to crowds.

Motivations:
His love of history and facts propels the young prime minister to uphold his role in the constitutional monarchy with fairness and compassion.

Prime Minister Rhoades’ Story:

Young, reclusive, and bookish Prime Minister Rhoades was elected after his uncle’s term expired. He wants to bring positive change while upholding the law in the tiny Kingdom of Dorsett. But the queen’s harridan of a daughter, Princess Tàlia, makes that more difficult than he had imagined. Then on the evening of the princess’s ball, which he is forced to attend, he’s paired with the most intriguing woman. She makes him feel something he’s never felt before. But he can’t shake the feeling he’s already met her, that she’s someone he knows, in disguise…


Who is the mysterious young woman he meets?
Find out in The Golden Dove, available in paperback, eBook, or audio:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXILYFT
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Golden-Dove-Audiobook/B07CMLBFKV

Add to TBR on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32933024-the-golden-dove


Meet the Hero: Archer

Meet Archer


Full Name:
Archer Cross

Featured in: Fool Moon
by C.K. Brooke

From: Cree

Status: Self-proclaimed highwayman hunter

Distinguishing characteristics: Brown hair, goatee. Carries a bow & arrow and rides a golden horse called Sunbeam.

Motivations: Ridding the roads of highwaymen, protecting the innocent, restoring justice his way and making a living in the process.


Archer’s Story:

Armed with a rare blessing, Archer Cross cannot be harmed by evil. However, that doesn’t mean his loved ones can’t be. Haunted by a traumatic event in his past, Archer has devoted his days to ridding Creee’s roads of the murderous highwaymen that plague them. The one thing he doesn’t have time for is a strange girl beseeching him to escort her to a wicked land that lies impossibly far away. Until she presents him with a magical offer he can’t refuse…


Join Archer and Lori’s journey in my original fairy tale, Fool Moon, available in paperback, eBook, and audio:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fool-Moon-Novella-C-K-Brooke-ebook/dp/B00ZQG6JXU
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Fool-Moon-A-Novella-Audiobook/B07BN4HJ9H
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fool-moon-c-k-brooke/1122329708?ean=9780692579589
BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Fool-Moon/C-K-Brooke/9780692579589?id=6145510849157

Add to TBR on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26077562-fool-moon


Meet the Hero: Lancelot

Meet Lance


Full Name:
Lancelot “Lance” Dulac

Featured in: I, Guinevere by C.K. Brooke

From: Dulac’s Farm, Camylot, Isle of the Bryttons

Status: Farmer’s son, swordsman hobbyist

Distinguishing characteristics: Young and handsome. Brown hair and amber-gold eyes. Skilled and promising swordsman.


Motivations:
Lance has long dreamed of wielding his beloved sword, Secace, in the queen’s army as a knight.

Lance’s Story:

The son of a farmer, Lancelot Dulac wants nothing humdrum for his future. His first love was his sword, Secace, when he first saw it in the swordsmith’s window. For two years he labored to save enough coin to purchase it. He was never expecting his second love to arrive in the form of a very headstrong—and very royal—girl, whom the wizard Merlyn has appointed Lance to teach…


Learn a whole new side of the classic legend in C.K. Brooke’s retelling, I, Guinevere:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JFPQRP4/

Add to TBR on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42358264-i-guinevere