Check Out the Blog Tour for Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Master of Restless Shadows, Book One by Ginn Hale

Series: The Cadeleonian Series, Volume 5

Publisher: Blind Eye Books

Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 8, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): 401 pp

ISBN Print: 9781935560630

ISBN digital: 9781935560647

Cover artist: Zaya Feli

Subgenre: epic fantasy, romantic fantasy, LGBTQ fantasy, queer fantasy, high fantasy

Order it now:

https://www.blindeyebooks.com/publications-1/pre-order-today-master-of-restless-shadows-book-one-by-ginn-hale

https://www.amazon.com/Master-Restless-Shadows-Book-Cadeleonian/dp/1935560638/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ginn+hale&qid=1561242936&s=gateway&sr=8-1

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/939510

Book synopsis:

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capitol of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya, has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs.

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

About Ginn Hale:

Ginn Hale lives with her lovely wife in the Pacific Northwest. She spends the many cloudy days observing plants and fungi. She whiles away the rainy evenings writing fantasy and science-fiction featuring LGBTQ protagonists. Her first novel, Wicked Gentlemen, won the Spectrum Award for best novel. She is also a Lambda Literary Award finalist and Rainbow Award winner.

Her most recent publications include the Lord of the White Hell, Champion of the Scarlet Wolf and The Rifter Trilogy: The Shattered Gates, The Holy Road, His Sacred Bones.

She can be reached through her website: www.ginnhale.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Her Instagram account, however, is largely a collection of botanical photos…so, be warned.

Excerpt:

Inside the smoky confines of the Fat Goose, surrounded by boisterous drunks, gamblers and cold-eyed cardsharps, Atreau’s attention strayed from his cards to the wonderful book on the table before him. The leather cover looked supple and already well-worn as a favorite glove. He could see where fingers had cradled the spine and bent the cover, leafing through the pages again and again.

Placed in my callous hands, a testament of devotion, unspoken, and yet laid bare as a naked breast.

Atreau snorted at his own conceited turn of thought.

Still, the simple fact of the book’s existence pleased him.

He’d not seen the Haldiim translation and had half suspected that the publisher had forgone printing after the Cadeleonian volumes had been transformed into so much ash and smoke.

For a moment he pictured the dark young man who’d handed him the tome. How striking he’d appeared amidst so many Cadeleonians, and yet something about him—his angular jaw? Perhaps his long, lean build? Or it might have been his sharp brows and dark lashes?—Atreau didn’t know but something about the Haldiim physician had filled Atreau with a sense of familiarity. Absently, Atreau wondered if the young man had known that marigold petals clung to his dark curls like drops of gold.

“Stare at the cards all you want. The winning hand is still mine.”

Across the table from him Sabella Calies tapped the four cards she’d laid down and then took up her beer mug. Tall and weathered as a warhorse, Sabella was as much a fixture of the capital’s unseemly side as was her uncle’s Red Stallion sword house, where people gambled fortunes and lives on the speed of their blades. Over the course of her forty-odd years Sabella had taken both from a good number of men. But here at the Fat Goose the stakes were very different, as was the game. Here the kingdom stood to be lost to the church. Or won for Prince Sevanyo.

Atreau’s cards came very near winning but missed by only a point. He had indulged himself in the drama of making it appear a close match. Sabella played along, since the money would be hers no matter what cards he dealt. This game, like almost every other hand of cards he played, served as a pretext for Atreau to dole out Fedeles Quemanor’s payments to his informants and agents across the city.

Atreau pushed a plain coin purse to Sabella. She opened it and then pulled the drawstring closed again and dropped it into an inner pocket of her leather coat.

Between her lanky build, plain face and close-shorn brown hair Sabella nearly passed for a man. Certainly the heavy doublet and thick riding trousers she sported added to the impression, though they did not create a perfect illusion. Nor did she need them to. She’d patronized the Fat Goose for more than twenty years and all but the most callow of youths knew better than to cause her trouble.

She drew a sheaf of papers from her doublet and pushed them to Atreau. He skimmed the content quickly. It seemed that the royal bishop was collecting ancient scriptures, most having something to do with the Holy Savior’s final battle and the Shard of Heaven. Likely the bishop believed the holy blessings that had destroyed the demon hordes so long ago were desperately needed again now to combat a new threat to Cadeleon.

Five years ago Atreau would have found the entire matter amusing or perhaps thought the royal bishop deluded. But since then he’d seen both the wonders and horrors that ancient spells unleashed. He understood why previous generations of wiser men and women had attempted to hide them away.

“We need to know when and exactly what he intends to do with this,” Atreau said. “Actual places and dates would be good.”

“You don’t ask much, do you?”

“I don’t pay so little that I should,” Atreau replied.

Giveaway: Readers, enter to win 1 of 3 complete e-book sets of The Cadeleonian Series, Volumes 1 – 4 (Lord of the White Hell 1 & 2, Champion of the Scarlet Wolf 1 & 2)

Code:

Giveaway: Readers, enter to win 1 of 3 complete e-book sets of The Cadeleonian Series, Volumes 1 – 4 (Lord of the White Hell 1 & 2, Champion of the Scarlet Wolf 1 & 2)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

A Free Dreamer Review: Shinigami (Takamagahara Monogatari #2) by Xia Xia Lake

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A coming-of-age love story between an orphan and the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato. The human world meets the yōkai in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu.

While he battles to find his own path, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will become his secret friend, then his salvation, and then as they become adults together, the love of his life.

After the good first part of the series, I was really curious about the actual novel. And I was not disappointed.

Shinigami” is part two of the series, even though it’s set before the events of “Kogitsune”. You should read “Kogitsune” before you pick up this book. It’s a free short story, so there’s nothing to lose and it will definitely help you understand this book.

I’m not sure if the blurb quite does this amazing book justice. It sounds a little trivial, when this story is anything but. I probably wouldn’t call it a “coming-of-age love story” either, more like historical fantasy steeped in Japanese mythology with a healthy dash of heartbreaking romance.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Japan and it’s folklore and mythology.  After the very good first part, I had very high expectations of this second installment. And “Shinigami” did not just live up to them, it actually exceeded them.

I’m somewhat familiar with Japanese mythology, but not an expert by any means. There’s a dictionary at the end of the book, so you can always cross check if you don’t understand something. You should still be familiar with the most common Japanese titles, though. I actually felt like I now know more about Japan than I did before starting the book, but it never felt like the author was writing a lecture.

The romance itself is rather slow burn, since the book essentially starts with Hiro’s birth. So it takes a while for Hiro and Ryu to meet and it takes even longer for a romantic relationship to develop. But that allowed for a natural growth of their feelings and it was wonderful to witness it. There’s not a ton of sex either and it’s not very explicit, but it was definitely very sensual.

The setting of ancient Japan was extremely well written. The author clearly did a lot of research and knows what she’s writing about. I loved all the details and it made it all very real to me. It’s not always an easy read, so you might not want to read while half asleep. Unless you know your Japanese history and mythology in your sleep, then you’re all set. If not, it does require a bit of concentration, because it’s a rather complex story.

I was happy to get a background story for a few characters of the first part. Biko-san makes another appearance and he’s so adorable. I’m totally naming a cat after him, if I ever get one.

There were some very emotional moments, both happy and sad. It never felt sappy or over the top, though. The ending was both heartbreaking and wonderful and I’m eagerly awaiting part three. That one will be about a minor character who only got one scene in the entire book, but I’m still curious to learn more about him.

Overall, “Shinigami” is a truly brilliant book. If you love historical fantasy, Japanese mythology and folklore and don’t mind a slow-burn, non-traditional romance, you must read this series. One of my highlights of the year.

That cover. Oh my god. So cool. I love it. I’m totally having a fangirl moment just because of the cover. It’s perfect and makes me sad I don’t own a print version. It would look great in my bookshelf.

Book 2 – Shinigami 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Book details:

Kindle Edition,245 pages

Published October 1st 2019 (first published August 13th 2019)

Takamagahara Monogatari Series

Kogitsune

Shinigami

Love Fantasy and Mythology? Check out the Tour for Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake (excerpts)

Standard

REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: Shinigami

Author: Xia Xia Lake

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date:  October 1, 2019  

Genre/s: LGBTQ fantasy, Gay fiction, Historical fiction (it’s NOT MM romance)

Trope/s:  Friends to Lovers

Themes: Mythology; gods; supernatural

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 71 440 words /220 pages 

Add on Goodreads

 

Nothing is what it seems.

Blurb

A coming of age love story between the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato and an orphan. The human world meets the yōkai world in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu. While he battles to find his own path in life, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will first become his secret friend, then his salvation, then, as they become adults together, the love of his life. 

The story is set during the Nara period of ancient Japan and will expand over a period of 25 years (715-740).  

 

Buy Links

Book 1 – Kogitsune.

It’s a 40-page short story and is FREE on Smashwords.

 

Book 2 – Shinigami 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1: Kagerō
Kagerō: The quivering appearance of the mist rising from the hot surface of the ground”

On the day Fujiwara no Hirotsugu was born, Mount Kasuga was covered in golden shimmering kagerō rising from the ground to cloak the mountain in mist. The uguisu sang from dusk until dawn, and a crane appeared in the palace garden and didn’t leave for five days.

It was late May, close to the final days of planting the rice. These were the days when finishing the paddy field work was paramount, lest next year’s crops be affected. Yet in celebration of Hirotsugu’s birth, his father, Umakai, sent an order to his bailiff to decree half a day off for all workers. Servants from the palace went down the mountain to offer rice, fish, and sake to the poor in Heijo-kyo.

Gifts poured through the gates for weeks, coming not only from the greatest families living in the land of Yamato, but also from as far away as Silla and Tang. Even the old Empress Genmei, who had no love for the Fujiwara clan, sent Hirotsugu a gift fit for royalty: a sword replica modeled after Kusanagi the Grass Slasher, the sacred imperial heirloom of the Yamato Emperors. Since it was forbidden for anyone except the reigning monarch and the High Priest of the Ise Grand Shrine to lay eyes on the real Kusanagi, no one could actually tell how good the replica was. But neither could they deny that the sword Hirotsugu received was of exceptional workmanship and extraordinary value.

The greatest gift of all came from Hirotsugu’s grandfather, Fujiwara no Fuhito. The leader of the Fujiwara clan made a secret pact with Crown Prince Obito that on the day Hirotsugu turned twenty, he would marry Princess Abe, Prince Obito’s firstborn child.

Upon Hirotsugu’s birth, the Fujiwara clan made great plans for his future, and I watched from my throne of skulls behind the kagerō veil and laughed and laughed and laughed.

 

SPRING

Chapter 2: Uguisu
Uguisu: The Japanese nightingale

In spring, nature was at its most beautiful at dawn, when Amaterasu’s robe touched the hills and dyed them red, and the blooming cherry trees turned a vibrant pink. Hanging from the eaves of every Fujiwara castle were tendrils of purple wisteria, their blooms awakening to welcome the Sun Goddess. The white clouds above resembled boughs of cherry flowers.

When night approached, the birdsong gently shifted from cheerful to forlorn. The uguisu went to sleep in its pot-shaped nest, and the brown-feathered night thrush—recently returned from wintering in Tenjiku—took its place and claimed the night. Now and then, a deer would call and a fawn would answer back.

The day Hirotsugu was born, a young god wandered up and down the high-forested slopes of Mount Kasuga, tired from the day he’d spent blessing the fields and the future harvest. He would have gone home to Mount Kurama in Kibune, but something was amiss with the yōkai living on Kasuga and he’d come to investigate.

At twilight, he found a group of kodama and an old kappa gathered underneath the budding leaves of a giant plum tree, transfixed by its beautiful red blossoms. When he entered the clearing, they were trying to touch the blossoms, but as soon as a hand came close, the tree would raise its branches out of reach.

“Don’t touch it,” the god commanded. His voice was calm, but it came like the snap of a whip and took them out of their reverie. “It’s a ghost tree. It’s not really here.”

The kodama stumbled backward, frightened.

“When did it appear?” the young god asked.

“This morning, Inari-sama,” the kappa answered. “When the baby was born.”

“Baby?” Inari frowned. “Come closer, child, don’t be afraid. Which baby do you speak of?”

 

About the Author 

Xia Xia Lake is an Otaku & Slytherin that used to cosplay at every comic con she attended, until a kid asked if he could take a picture with the “old lady.”

She decided a couple of years ago that she wanted to spend her free time writing stories and partying with vampires.

She lives in Transylvania with her fiancé and is a big fan of Romanian cuisine.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

 Pinterest  |  Goodreads

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

A Stella Review: The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller

Standard

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The Errant Prince coverMyron’s task is easy enough on the surface: locate the runaway Prince Tamsen and bring him home. But Tamsen is not merely a talented wizard, he’s an exceptionally stubborn one, and dozens of others have already failed at the task. When he manages to find the cabin where Tamsen is hiding, Myron isn’t foolish enough to mistake the find for a victory.

 Instead of attempting to drag the prince home by force, Myron tries a different tact: patience. He might not be able to best Tamsen magically or physically, but Myron can certainly out-stubborn him. He’s nothing if not used to doing what other people say he can’t.

But neither prince nor soldier expected stubbornness to be the crack in armor they’ve both become adept at wearing…

Lately I’m reading a lot of quick and sweet fantasy stories and The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller  is one of them, a cute novella with a really slow burn between MCs and no sex scenes.

Myron is a soldier of the King’s Guard, sent after the spoiled Prince who ran away from his duties seven years ago. When he is finally able to track him down he finds a beautiful man with bright red-orange braided hair and who lives selling the herbs and the vegetables he grows in his garden. Runaway Prince Tamsen in fact lives alone in an old cottage in the Heart Forest. He was able to stay hidden all this time cause he is a very strong wizard. While everyone failed, Myron is determined to find a way to approach the Prince and take him back to the palace. He just needs to be patient and wait for the stubborn Prince with no manners at all.

Basically the book consist of two parts: “The Improper Soldier” told by Myron’s POV and “The Errant Prince”, told by Tamsen POV. The first part was really good, it was lovely to see Myron try to make bundle of herbs and drinking nasty tea just to approach Tamsen and show he can trust Myron. It was funny reading about them arguing, Tamsen scowling and Myron grinning and provoking him.

In the second part of the book, when they are at the palace, I found myself bored as some scenes felt too long, too slow and with almost too many details, for example when Tamsen teaches Myron how to shift. At the same time I loved this second part cause it helps me to see a new Tamsen, more open with his (not yet) personal guard and not the unpleasant young man we met at the start of the story. Here we read about a few second characters, some likeable like Tamsen’s brother, Stirling, the current King, some to just hate, like the stupid parents of Myron, who decided to don’t love their daughter (Myron) anymore just cause he can’t feel himself as a daughter anymore but as a son.

The Errant Prince is really interesting and the final part so sweet, for me this story was definitely a winner. As always I’d like to read more about these characters and their magical world.

Cover art by Natasha Snow. This cover is perfect, sweet and magical as the book, I can see myself in front of cottage. Lovely!

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press      All Romance (ARe)       Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: February 18th 2015 by Less Than Three Press
original titleThe Errant Prince
ISBN139781620045091
edition languageEnglish