Book Review: As Long as We Live

Title: As Long as We Live: A Retelling of Snow White and Rose Red

Series: None [Released as part of the Arista’s Frosted Roses collection]

Year: 2021

Author: Cortney Manning

Synopsis: Three human sisters live in a Fae realm where every prince is blessed or cursed by a gift of magic, and royal rivalry threatens the future of the land.

Ivy Durran, the oldest sister, is a resilient young woman who clings to her sunny resolve even in the darkest situation. When a terrible blizzard strikes the land, she feels responsible for protecting her sisters: adventurous Rose and vivacious Poppy. However, the storm drives an unexpected visitor to their doorstep, one who could bring hope or danger with his arrival.

Meanwhile, Pierre, the newly crowned ruler of Concoria, strives to bring order to his frozen land and tranquility to his troubled brothers. Nevertheless, the deep magic of Concoria is not easy to tame. While Pierre would love nothing more than to escape into a simple life close to Ivy, the human lass he met years before, he instead shoulders his burdens and seeks healing for his kingdom and family.

Dark magic, frigid storms, and deadly predators must be overcome if Ivy and Pierre have any hope of saving their families and their homeland.

This retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” is an epic romance with treachery, Fae, and family ties.

Review: Have I mentioned how much I love the fairytale of Snow White and Rose Red? And how underappreciated it is in the world of glittering retellings? I’m so happy that we’re finally seeing more people turn to some of the lesser-known fairytales. Granted, I’ll always love a good Cinderella story, but it’s about time Snow White and Rose Red got more love.

Ivy and her two sisters, Rose and Poppy, are humans living in a Fae world. But that’s exactly how they like it. Their mother works hard with her trading business, and they do what they can to gather whatever it is she might need while maintaining their family’s cottage and taking care of each other. Even though all three girls are fairly different, there isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other.

Upon one eventful trip into the woods to gather moonflowers, Ivy, Rose, and Poppy met a Fae boy with his white dove — the latter actually saving the lives of Ivy and her sisters. A quick friendship sparks, and Ivy agrees to be a pen pal to this boy after they separate ways. Thirteen years later, she’s still writing letters to him, but by now she’s almost completely lost her heart to him. Although he’s never given her his name, she calls him her Guardian Protector.

Pierre is the crown prince of Concoria, and he loves being Ivy’s Guardian Protector. Only, as the crown prince, he’s not exactly in a place where he can tell her who he really is. Nor how he really feels about her. No, he keeps pretty busy with his tasks — especially when his father dies and he ascends the throne.

Pierre’s two brothers, Alain and Isidore, have never seen eye to eye on anything. After their father passes away, the differences only become more obvious. Alain, the golden child, receives a blessed inheritance in his father’s will, while Isidore, the reclusive son with strong Fae magic, receives the Forgotten Land, a place of shadows and nightmares. From there, the problems are only beginning.

If I’m entirely honest, it took me a little bit to get into this book. I’ve seen other reviewers mention this after reading this book, and I have to agree with them. A lot of the beginning of the book reads very much as an information dump, some of it growing rather repetitive. Some of the information, I think , was unnecessary in the beginning and could have fit in better later on in the story. Some of those passages were hard to wade through, but it could have been easily fixed with a little more editing and polish. I think this may be the first large novel this author has published, so it’ll be exciting to see how her writing grows with time.

But that’s really the only negative thing I have to say about this book. I was expecting to like this book. It’s a Snow White and Rose Red retelling, after all. I just wasn’t anticipating to LOVE this book.

Ivy, Rose, and Poppy are fun and lovable heroines, and I love the great sister dynamic they have throughout the story. I also love that we’re getting a bit more than just the original two sisters from the original fairytale. This story just worked so well with three girls. I mean, I’m from a family of five sisters, so I love me a good sister story.

But I almost think Pierre, Alain, and Isidore were the stars of the show. The girls were very much the idyllic picture of sisterhood, working together, getting along, supporting one another. I did love that. But the brothers. SO MUCH TO UNPACK. I was originally afraid that they would be gender-swapped carbon copies of the girls that I was already falling in love with, but they were so much more than that. I loved that they all had different stories, different struggles, and different personalities. It’s actually rather difficult to write this review without too many spoilers, because I want to gush and give all the spoilers. *coughing and restraining myself* The brothers were obviously my favorite part of this book.

Once you get a good chunk into the book, the pace really picks up and it’s just hard to put the book down. The climax wasn’t the big, drawn-out climax I had been anticipating, but was an emotional capstone on all the character growth that had been happening throughout the book. No, I wasn’t crying reading the climax. YOU were crying reading the climax. *hides tissues* Again, I am mightily restraining myself from giving spoilers. All the thumbs up.

Oh, and can we talk about the likeness to the original fairytale?? The biggest change from the original is obviously the number of characters. We have three sisters and three brothers instead of the traditional two apiece, but I’m just sitting here applauding the bigger families. I loved how many references to the original the author managed to sneak into the book. Even in the beginning with the “white angel” saving the girls from falling over a cliff. There isn’t a central dwarf character, but we do see the nods to the sisters saving him the three times.

Advisory: We do need to talk about all the magic/special powers in this book — obviously, since I always bring up the magic. The world is clearly defined as a Fae world, complete with Fae characters and Fae magic. I’m not super well-versed in all things Fae, but they reminded me a lot of Tolkien’s elves, with their special abilities that human lacked. For example, Pierre can speak to animals and can usually get them to listen and obey him. Isidore can control light/shadows and illusions, meaning he is able to transform his likeness into something else. None of it bothered me, as it was all clearly set in a fantasy world with its own limits.

Additionally, the Forgotten Land plays a big part of the story. This is a place of shadows and forgotten people; those who happen to fall in are plagued by regrets and fears and typically never find their way out again. I didn’t fully understand how all the magic of this place worked, but I think it fit well for the setting of the book. The description of shadows grabbing at travelers might be a bit spooky to some readers — so I’ll point that out here.

Some light fantasy violence, but nothing too scary, honestly. Most of the “scary” stuff involves the Forgotten Land, but we do have a bit of characters fighting, getting turned into animals, and the like.

And lastly, we do need to bring up the romance, since this is claiming to be an epic romance. YES. It is an epic romance. I was not expecting to fall in love with these relationships as much as I did. Building up a friendship and relationship through letters for thirteen years makes for an incredible slow-burn romance between Pierre and Ivy, but IT IS WORTH IT. I loved getting to see them grow together and learning to support each other in a genuine, loving relationship. Even the secondary relationships were fantastic. I particularly wanted to see more from Poppy’s relationship, since it’s hinted at, but not really shown. *sighs* Perhaps another book? *hopeful grins at the author* For the advisory, however, I’ll say that there is some light physical contact leading to a kiss.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*Please note that I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

*Please also note that this review was supposed to be written almost a year and a half ago, and I am sending my deepest apologies to the author for my tardiness. Sorry!*


Book Review: Gilded in Ice

Title: Gilded in Ice

Series: Bastian Dennel PI (Book #2)

Year: 2021

Author: Sarah Pennington

Synopsis: Bastian has two new missing person cases. One is cold. The other is his own sister.

Since his success solving the Midnight Show disappearances, Bastian Dennel is sitting pretty. And with the new high-profile cold case that just got dropped in his lap, he’s pretty sure things will stay that way for a while. But when he finds out his sister has gone missing without a trace, he’s determined to find her and bring whoever’s responsible to justice — even if his only lead is a stray cat with a knack for vanishing unexpectedly.

Kona Dennel’s plans have already been upended, so when the talking cat she’d befriended asked her for help breaking an enchantment, she didn’t see any reason not to say yes. She didn’t expect to be trapped in a frozen mansion or to be drawn into conflict with a mysterious lady of the fair folk. Even the cat is hiding more secrets than she realized. It’ll take a skilled detective to untangle this web . . . but since Bastian isn’t here, Kona will just have to do it herself.

Secrets abound, and the one creature who knows the truth isn’t talking. Can Bastian and Kona outwit a fae who’s been at this for centuries? Or will thawing out the long-frozen truth drop them in over their heads?

A magical mystery reimagining Snow White and Rose Red and East of the Sun, West of the Moon in the jazz-age world of The Midnight Show.

Review: Have you ever started reading a book that you just KNEW you were going to enjoy, and then ended the adventure loving every bit WAY more than you thought you would? I always know I’m in for an amazing read whenever I pick up one of Sarah’s books, but she manages to blow me away every time.

Bastian Dennel thinks his career is finally shaping up. After all, solving the mysterious disappearances around the Midnight Show wasn’t a case just anybody could crack. Even the police are impressed by his accomplishments. And that’s exactly why the latest case to fall into his lap is cold. It’s been months since Mikael Alkinson was last seen, and everybody — including his parents — are giving him up for dead, but his brother believes Bastian may be the answer to finally bringing him home.

But that’s before Bastian’s own sister goes missing, and his life is upended even more. Kona isn’t the type to run away — so there must be something foul at work here. His other sister, Roselle, tags along as his assistant on the case, but even she can sense the magic and mystery of the fair folk around every corner.

Meanwhile, Kona is very much alive and doing everything she possibly can to not go stark raving mad from boredom. Talking to the cat helps, but she’s desperate for the oven to cooperate.

From the very first page, this book was just amazing. After getting to know Bastian through the first book, it was so much fun getting to see a bigger part of his world with his family, with him interacting with his sisters. I loved his big-brother-protective bits. So sweet. His relationship with Dayo hasn’t changed from where the first book left it, and I’ve loved getting to see the slow build-up to maybe something more. There’s no insta-love grossness and senseless romantic relationships over here, folks. *applause*

Kona and Roselle were a lot of fun, too. Both took turns narrating, but each had a distinctive flair and voice so that it was easy to tell one from the other. Kona’s struggles with the oven in particular were VERY relatable for me (though, alas, I must blame a ruined recipe on the baker and not the oven). I thought she accepted the chore of breaking the cat’s enchantment a little fast, but her fight to win the challenge came through very strongly. Roselle didn’t get a lot of “screen time” but I do hope that she returns in a future book! I would love to see more of where her story goes through vet school. *wink, wink*

I’d heard reports of how this book was a mix of Snow White and Rose Red as well as East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and I had no idea how in the world Sarah was going to combine those two fairytales without losing some of the original fairytales’ elements. To be fair, this book (IMHO) leans more toward being a stronger East fairytale than it does being a SWRR fairytale. But all of the elements were blended so well, and it was so cool to see how Sarah pulled out the different pieces to carve a whole new story.

If you’re familiar with the fairytales going into this book, you definitely have a sense of where it is all going. However, even knowing all of that, I found myself often on the edge of my seat, begging them to go faster and KNOW something. I just couldn’t read it fast enough. The mystery was gripping. If I could have read it all in one sitting, I would have. Time was just not my friend on this read.

I’ve only read the first two books in this series (and I truly hope Sarah is planning on writing more than the three currently published), but I could read them both again tomorrow and love them just as much as I did the first time. The world-building is phenomenal, and the jazz-age and fae-encrusted twists just WORK so perfectly. Reading this book was like settling into a familiar, cozy blanket and being delighted in watching the blizzard outside your window. If you couldn’t tell from this review already, I’m highly recommending that you read this book and every other one that Sarah has written. If forced, I might say that I enjoyed this book just a bit more than I did The Midnight Show. *le gasp*

Advisory: Some violence. Characters are trapped in spells, injured/killed, though nothing is graphic, and I think it’s all suitable for a younger audience.

There is some jazz-age influence with characters drinking/dancing/flirting/and the like in bars and speakeasies. One character makes his own alcohol and encourages others to drink it, too. Alcohol is presented in more of a neutral light; everybody drinks it. While I understand the significance of the alcohol in such a story (with both the fae and the jazz influences), I was a little bothered by how much alcohol was there, as well as watching characters I was supposed to root for drink. That is a personal thing, as I know drinking won’t bother many other readers. But I just wanted to throw that out there.

With fae and fair folk, of course, there must be magic. The world Sarah has created here is very much a fantastical world, and all magic is done by magical beings — mainly the fae. In addition to the real world, fae and some humans can walk about in a dream realm. Spells are mentioned, enchanted animals can talk, but none of the magic here bothered me in the least.

And very slight romance. But it’s very sweet and light, and you can’t help but ship these characters HARD. VERY hard. And all I want is to read more and see these relationships blossom into something amazing.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Related Review: The Midnight Show (Bastian Dennel PI, #1)

*Please note that I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also, I’m very sorry, Sarah, that it took me this long to post this review!*

Book Review: Secrets of the Mountain

Title: Secrets of the Mountain

Series: None

Year: 2021

Author: Wyn Estelle Owens

Synopsis: If there’s one thing Svanhilda has always known, it’s the importance of family. When her little sister Rósfrída was born, Svanhilda promised her mother that she and her sister would stick together. But as the years passed, tragedy after tragedy befell her family, ripping it apart piece by piece, until only Svanhilda remains at home with her ailing mother. And Rósfrída? She has stayed with Svanhilda, as they promised long ago—every time Svanhild looks at her reflection, she sees her little sister instead, trapped in a prison of mirrors and treasure. Their only hope is that either their seafaring Father or Rósfrída’s strange bear friend might find a way to free her.

Tryggvi lost his mother and father a long, long time ago—so long ago that he barely remembers them. When a boy prince named Asbjǫrn finds him wandering in the woods, he takes Tryggvi home and calls him brother, and his parents welcome Tryggvi as their son. Some years later, Asbjǫrn leaves to study for a year… but he never returns, and is thought dead and gone.

But Tryggvi is convinced his brother still lives–and not without evidence. So, now that he is finally old enough, Tryggvi sets out to find Asbjǫrn, armed with his cat and an amber pendant which enables him to see the truth of things. And he will find out the truth and bring his big brother home. After all, he promised his baby sister he would, and that’s not a promise he’s willing to break.

On the mountain there is a cave, and in the cave there is a mirror, and in that mirror live two friends: a girl and a bear, trapped in secrets, imprisoned by treasures of great worth. But help is coming, and the secret deeds done in darkness will be revealed, and the prisoners will be set free.

Review: I love that the fairytale Snow White and Rose Red is finally getting the love it deserves. There aren’t a ton of retellings out there, and it’s one of those fairytales that you instantly fall in love with and then worry over all the retellings being TOO similar. But this isn’t like any other SWRR retelling that I’ve ever read. This is one you’re definitely going to want to read.

(I’m going to apologize right now for neglecting to add in all the accents and letter markings for the various names. It was just a lot easier to pen this review without having to paste all of those in; and I’m also very thankful that I’m typing this review instead of speaking it, as many of the names I’m really not sure how to pronounce. Not a negative thing in the least, however. The more authentic names catered greatly to bringing out the culture and influence of the book.)

Svanhilda and Rosfrida are as close as sisters can be. They do everything together — much of which includes running all over their grandfather’s mountain at the wanderlust whims of Rosfrida. Their adventures together have given them all sorts of fun and new things to do, even meeting elves in different parts of the mountain. Svanhilda would do anything for her sister, and her love is put to the test when Rosfrida accidentally gets trapped in a mirror. A giant bear and a looking glass are Svanhilda’s only connections to her sister, but with little to no hope of freeing Rosfrida, despair begins to set in.

Tryggvi was an orphan all out on his own until Asbjorn came across him in the woods. Asbjorn has always wanted a younger brother to love, so he doesn’t waste any thought before adopting the lost lad. Their brotherhood bond only grows stronger until the day Asbjorn leaves for a year-long study on the mountain and never returns. Years pass, and — despite everyone else’s doubts — Tryggvi believes his brother is still alive. And once he gets his chance to go on the mountain, he’ll bring Asbjorn home.

The sibling relationships in this book were just the best. Svanhilda patiently interacting with her younger and very active sister I could definitely relate to as an older sister myself. And I especially love that we got a little “found family” with Tryggvi and Asbjorn, which is still just as rewarding, but a different dynamic than blood siblings. And I’ll say it here: Tryggvi was my favorite. He was just so likable from his very first scene, and he had the best stick-to-it, yet gentlemanly, attitude. Plus, his interaction with Allvaldi was just gold. Okay, his interactions with everybody were gold. *shrugs* Tryggvi was just the best.

The worldbuilding was just so VAST. I kinda lost track of some of the minor characters and forgot if they were whole/half elf or dwarf. But the world itself was super rich and diverse, and the different aspects fit so nicely into the SWRR storyline. The way Wyn incorporated one original fairytale element in particular was PERFECT, and I’ll try not to spoil it for everybody with my fangirling. There was so much to notice and love about the original fairytale coming through this story, so two thumbs up in the retelling department from me.

One of the things I wasn’t too thrilled about was the pacing of the book. The first part, while setting up some nice scenes of the sibling relationships deepening, was a bit longer than it probably should have been. While it was nice to be present as a reader for those scenes, they did drag some and reading them got a bit tedious. The time Wyn spent building up so many things in the beginning made me think that she was setting up for a big epic, but the story never grew to that length. If I’m honest, this book actually isn’t super long. I myself read it in a couple of hours, and I enjoyed getting to read it all like that in one good chunk.

But I still have questions! I want to know more of Tryggvi’s heritage, the significance of his parents and what really happened to them (which, unless I’m forgetting something, we really didn’t get an answer for). I wanted so much more in the denouement, and now I’m realizing I may just need a sequel. *coughs*

Anyway, let’s just take a moment to bask in all the SWRR gloriousness in this book. Because we need to. Because SWRR. *basks* We need more retellings like this. Not just ones of SWRR (but obviously we need those), but ones that really focus on being true to so many of the fairytale’s original elements while still feeling fresh and unique.

Advisory: Some fantasy violence, but nothing major. Characters get ill, a few die, a bit of fighting is described, but again — nothing graphic or overly scary. The way the climax played out made me feel that the book would be a great read for younger audiences since it wasn’t super intense.

Obviously, magic. As per the original fairytale, a character is literally turned into a bear. The dwarves and elves within the world each have different kinds of magic, but to me they felt very fantasy-like, the magic they did being more talents and skills than casting spells. Many of them can “smell” different kinds of magic, so that played an interesting part to the story. It really didn’t bother me.

There are a few scenes that suggest there are higher, magical authorities, but I struggled a little in understanding their role exactly — not quite like a God/gods, but more like angels/guardian angels/messengers, almost? It may have been just me, however, and the fact that I probably don’t know my Norse mythology and its components well enough.

And romance. There’s really not anything to worry about here — all very clean and light. Not even a kiss. *nods seriously* I enjoyed both couples very much, particularly the younger couple and their fun scenes, but I have to admit I was actually wanting a little more. [SPOILER ALERT] Svanhilda and Asbjorn made a great couple, and they were cute together, but I felt that their romance was a little rushed. They had great interaction as friends early on, but there really wasn’t anything romantic mentioned until nearer the end. I would have loved to see more hints at their budding relationship before they started talking about courting. [END SPOILER]

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. And also this review is very much overdue — sorry, Wyn!*

Book Review: Runaway Lyrics

Title: Runaway Lyrics

Series: None [Released as part of the Arista’s Frosted Roses collection]

Author: C.O. Bonham

Year: 2021

Synopsis: What one sister has, she must share with the other . . .

Snow loves music. She has spent her entire life learning, new instruments and memorizing new pieces, only to while away her life in a country manor with only her mother and twin sister as company. If only she could get out on her own and play in front of a real audience.

Rose loves magic. The things she can do with music would amaze her twin sister, but whenever she shows her, Snow quickly forgets as if the event had never happened. If only Rose could get out on her own and work some real magic.

When an airship crashes near their home Snow’s magical abilities awaken. Together the sisters must learn to use their magic, rescue a pair of cursed princes, and discover their own secrets.

Discover the magic of music in this retelling of Snow White and Rose Red.

Review: I don’t know that I’ve read anything by this author before, but she’s definitely one I want to keep my eye on! In the spirit of a wholly honest review, I have to say I read this book in one sitting. I love the fact that it’s is a Snow White and Rose Red retelling — since the world DEFINITELY needs more of those. And this is a retelling that needs to be on your TBR!

Twin sisters, Snow and Rose, are super close siblings, but they really don’t see eye-to-eye on much. Both love music, but for different reasons. Snow appreciates the structure and memorization that goes into a song (and she struggles playing by ear), but Rose thrives on the improvisation and magic in her music. However, anytime that magic appears before Snow, she acts as though she can never remember it happened, and Rose has given up trying to make her remember.

Everything gets flipped upside-down when an airship crashes near their home and two strangers come to their door in need of help. Snow’s memory begins to return, and the resulting adventure is one wild ride.

And who are those two strangers? Stepbrothers, Wickham and Bayare, are princes who have just escaped from a dangerous situation at home — but not before Bayare was transformed into a bear. Wickham, ever helpful, tries to reverse the spell on his own, and succeeds in returning Bayare to human form during the day, but also in turning himself into an owl at night.

I loved how different each of the four main characters were. Yes, it is a sister story with Snow and Rose, but Bayare and Wickham, for me, took the cake. XD Wickham, especially, was so much fun. I love that we got more animal transformations other than the original bear, and he made such a great owl. Owls are probably my new favorite fictional characters, and Wickham was the best. He began the story as pretty naive, but I enjoyed getting to see him “grow up” in a way and understand the world and people at a greater depth. Bayare is just the sort of fictional, fantasy prince that you want to root for; he has such a great heart.

I can’t write a review of this book without mentioning something about the sisters. Sibling relationships are big for me, and this one wasn’t a disappointment. There are several differences between the two girls, things that keep them estranged. However, Rose and Snow both develop a better understanding and trust for the other twin, and that was really cool to watch happen. Twins are sometimes difficult to write, as they have a tendency to become indecipherable from each other. I was so afraid Snow and Rose would do that as the book progressed, but they thankfully grew together without becoming mirror copies of each other. They each retained their individuality by the end of the story.

The steampunk side of the story was so great! Steampunk really is becoming a genre that deserves this kind of love, and it was so much fun to read in this book. Automatons are everywhere, as well as other classic steampunk vibes, but everything mixes so well with the magic systems that it’s sometimes difficult to see where ends and the other begins. I just loved the extra-ness it all lent to the story. Steampunk for the win!

The Snow White and Rose Red elements from the original fairytale were great, too. Only a few things are altered or cut out, but the many things the author left in really worked for the story! The scenes with the dwarf were great — although, I didn’t see the connections with the dwarf until later.

I’ll be honest — I didn’t care for the mother very much. She suffered from a bit of Disney-poor-parent syndrome, or a parent with good intentions but not so great execution/actions. [SPOILER ALERT] Instead of trying to make the best out the girls’ birth father and their illegal, magical abilities, she merely never told them the truth and hid Snow’s memories of magic to keep the girls safe. I felt like she could have had a better reason for doing what she did, or perhaps have trusted her daughters with more since they were older? Maybe it was just me, but I found it annoying.

My biggest complaint is probably the lack of polish on the story. While the characters and plot really shone, I wish the final draft could have gone through perhaps a few more bits of editing before published. The narrative was super heavy on telling rather than showing, and the punctuation and grammar were sometimes off. And that’s the real reason I’m taking a star off my rating. Overall, probably not a huge issue, but mistakes like that wake a reader up from the dream. It’s just distracting.

Advisory: Some fantasy violence. Nothing too terribly scary, though, IMHO.

And magic. I think the magic system in this book is super unique. The steampunk elements meld nicely with the magical elements, and I really loved that the two worked together, rather than warred with each other. There’s your typical wizard and other fantasy magic, but the twins’ magic is comprised of their music. There are a few scenes in which a spell is cast, sometimes through the general magic, sometimes through the power in music. Additionally, characters are mentioned learning magic, studying for exams on magic. It didn’t bother me as this is clearly a fantasy world, and the spells aren’t something one can repeat outside of the book.

This isn’t necessarily an advisory point, but it coincides with the magic bit above, so I’m putting it here. But this is important. I read a few reviews of this book in which the readers complained about the presence of magic (i.e. they didn’t realize there was magic in the book, and then stopped reading because of it) — and I found that really odd. The magic was a big part of the story, and the actual summary/back blurb for the book states that there is magic. I’m confused — why would you expect a magic-free book when the summary states there is magic? So, be warned: There is magic in this book. If you’re looking for a non-magical adventure, this book isn’t it. But, if you give the magic a chance, there’s a whole lot more to love about this book.

Light romance with a few kisses, but the relationships are built slowly and genuinely. I really liked both couples, and how they helped bring out the best in their respective partners. There are a few mentions of women “sleeping around/being unfaithful” and thus getting pregnant, but not anything super descriptive.

Also, a scene with girls in their “underwear.” When a situation presents itself where the twins need to match each other, the only matching clothing they have with them is their underwear. But, given the descriptions (or the lack, thereof) and the supposed steampunk time era, the underwear really isn’t immodest, and nothing more is said on the matter.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*Please note that I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and that this review is VERY much overdue! Sorry!*

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring: The First Chapter

How is it Thursday already? This week has flown by! I can’t believe this blog tour and party is just about over. The Bear of Rosethorn Ring has already been out for two days.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s still today AND tomorrow to celebrate, and there’s still time to enter my GIVEAWAY for a chance to win one of my books. Additionally, The Rose and the Balloon will be FREE through tomorrow, so if you’ve not yet snagged your ebook yet you have until midnight tomorrow!

After two packed games (the SWRR Fairytale Tag and the SWRR Mad Libs — which I hope you played!), I think it’s time to slow things down a bit and do a little reading. After all, this is a book party, and where would we be if we didn’t have a bit of book to read? Therefore, I’m sharing the first chapter of The Bear of Rosethorn Ring here. If you’ve not read it yet, I do hope this will pique your interest.



Chapter One

“Did you hear that?”

Marita tugged her horse to a stop. Nutbrown, as boring and complacent as her name, obeyed.

“Hear what?”

Diamond shifted behind her. “I thought I heard someone yelling.”

Marita pushed up on her heels to get a better view over the horse’s head. Beautiful, green forest stretched out before them, with nothing out of the ordinary that she could see. “I think we’re the only ones out here.”

Diamond sighed. “I’m blind, not deaf, but I think my ears are playing tricks on me.”

Marita reached back to squeeze her sister’s hand and found it up by her face. She must be adjusting the bandage again. Marita was still getting used to the thick, white bandage wrapped around Diamond’s eyes. Not that she’d ever actually seen Diamond before the accident, but she should know what her face looked like since the two girls were identical twins.

“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “Your eyesight will be back soon. Seth said it just may take a while.” 

“He still can’t forgive himself that it was his chemical that burned my eyes.” 

Marita huffed. “It wasn’t his fault our aunt was a witch. She’s the one to blame.”

Diamond’s voice softened. “She wasn’t a witch.” 

“Well, she tried to kill me and lied to you your whole life. What else defines a witch?” 

“Marita, please. I don’t want to talk about it.” 

Marita couldn’t agree more. It still boiled her blood to think of all the hurt Nellea Kwan had caused their family. Of course, our father is as much to blame. If he hadn’t gambled Diamond away, if he hadn’t lied, if he hadn’t gone behind my back… There were too many ifs to think about. “Well, we should…” She stopped. “That was definitely a cry for help.”

“Yes.” Diamond’s fingers fearfully tightened around Marita’s waist. “A man?” 

Marita grinned. “Don’t worry. He might be another traveler like Seth in need of your care.” 

She kicked her heels into Nutbrown’s flanks and urged the placid horse forward. It wasn’t fair to keep teasing Diamond about Seth Stendahl, but her twin definitely had feelings for the Trothen alchemist, and it was too much fun to remind her of them. Marita knew how to read love on a person ever since she’d found it with Felix Barath, who was – in her mind – the perfect nobleman.

The call became clearer the further they traveled. We’re going in the right direction. 

Diamond pressed herself closer to Marita. “Can you see anyone?”

“Not yet. It sounds like the call’s coming from the stream.” 

All too soon, they were coming out of the thick forest, and any concern Marita may have initially felt dissolved into giggles when she saw who’d been crying for help.

A lone gentleman, obviously wealthy by the state of his clothing, was leaning over into the berry bushes by the stream. His thick, white beard was very fine and would have hung to his knees except that it was hopelessly tangled in the thorny bushes. The man was tugging and pulling at the beard, wrenching it this way and that. To Marita’s eye, however, his vehement efforts only made the tangled mess worse. 

“Help me!” he shrieked when he saw the sisters. “Don’t just sit there gawking! I’m stuck!” 

Diamond’s hold on Marita tightened. “What’s wrong?”

“Stay with Nutbrown,” Marita told Diamond. “He’s just an old man who got his beard tangled in the thorns.” She swung herself off the horse’s back and approached the yelling stranger. “How did you get stuck in the first place?”

The man stopped tugging at his beard long enough to glare at her. “Odious girl! What does it matter, except that you must get me free?” He emphasized his words with a few more hard yanks. 

Marita raised an eyebrow at him. Clearly, this gentleman doesn’t have the same noble manners that Felix has. “I must?” 

“Well, you’re here, aren’t you?” the man returned hotly. “You have the gall to laugh at my misery. Your parents should have raised you to respect members of nobility. Especially when they’re older than you and clearly in need of desperate assistance.” 

Marita’s jaw firmed at his attitude, and she deliberately drove her teeth into her tongue to keep from saying anything. She prided herself on not having a quick temper, but she’d never met anyone like this bearded annoyance. 

“Do you need help?” Diamond called behind her. 

“No,” Marita said quickly. “I can do it.” She reached for the beard. How can I get this all off?

“Hurry up, you goose!” the man shrieked. “With all the time you’ve already wasted, I could have had someone else rescue me.” 

She couldn’t hold the retort back. “Would you prefer someone else?” 

“Just get me free! Whatever you have to do, do it now!” 

So, Marita did it now. She snatched off the knife she kept belted to her waist and, grabbing the entangled beard, cut it from the offending bushes. 

The man fell back with the loudest screech yet. “No! No, no, no!” 

Marita thrust her knife back into her belt. “What’s wrong?” 

“You cut my beard, you vile thing! How dare you?” 

“Sir, your beard was not going to be untangled quickly. The only way to free you was to cut it!”

“Do you know how long it took me to grow my beard to this glorious length?” he fumed, his face reddening beneath the white hairs of his beard. “Years! How can I return to my people without everyone laughing at me? Bad luck to you, wretched female! Bad luck to you both!” And with one last fiery glare, he turned and stomped away. 

Marita didn’t notice her mouth was hanging open until he was out of sight. “Well!” The word came out in a gust of unbelief. “Have you ever met someone so miserable in all your life? He didn’t even say thank you.” 

“Was it a bad cut?” Diamond asked, cocking her head. 

Marita tried not to look at the ragged edge of her sister’s hair. Diamond would know about haircuts, considering until just recently she’d had beautiful hair that hung down to her ankles.

“I barely cut anything off,” she grumbled, stomping back to Nutbrown’s side. “The old oaf was just over-reacting. No one will ever notice that he’s missing a few inches off the end.” She mounted the horse with a huff, trying to put the old man out of her head. “Let’s go home.”

The journey out of the forest seemed longer than the journey into it. When they’d ridden under the trees that morning en route to fetch Diamond’s medical books from her former cavern home, the day had been bright and fresh. Now, Marita just wanted to get back and forget whoever that man was.

Diamond was quiet, as usual, and Marita knew without looking that she was deep in thought. What her twin was thinking, she didn’t know, as she’d yet to learn to fully read Diamond. Plus, we’ve only known each other for less than a week, and it wasn’t her fault we were separated at birth. Maybe one day she’ll open up and talk to me more.

A rather handsome nobleman was waiting for them at the palace gates. Even if Marita hadn’t recognized his face, the lack of shoes gracing his stockinged feet was enough to identify him. A frisky, white stallion stood at his side, eyeing the riding cap on his master’s head mischievously.

Marita leaped off Nutbrown’s back with a grin. “Felix! You’re here!”

Felix returned her hug warmly. “Marita, darling, I missed you so much.”

The white stallion nuzzled her cheek, as if to admonish her for not acknowledging him.

“Yes, yes, Samson. I missed you, too.”

Marita stepped back and saw the grim look on her fiancé’s face. “What’s wrong? We weren’t expecting you back for another few weeks. You know you forgot your shoes again, right?”

Felix avoided a friendly headbutt from Samson. “I came early. And no, I didn’t forget my shoes. The new riding boots Father ordered for me were too tight so I ditched them. Much better this way. But we’ve got a problem.”

Marita frowned. “What problem? Is your mother calling off the wedding?”

“What? No.” Felix shook his head. “Here, Diamond, allow me.” He reached up and carefully helped the girl out of the saddle.

Once her feet were on solid ground, Diamond gave him a small smile. “Thank you.”

Felix turned back to Marita. “Mother’s going crazy with all the planning. She can’t wait to have you join the family. You know how much she’s always wanted a daughter.”

“Then what is it?” Marita folded her arms over her chest.

He looked reluctant to tell her the news. “Your father flew off in one of my aunt’s balloons. He’s been gone for nearly two hours.”


“We’re wasting time,” Felix argued. “Every minute he gets further away, and it’ll be only harder to find him.”

“Let him go,” Marita said. “I don’t see any point in going after him.”

“But he’s your father!” Felix protested. “If we don’t go after him, who will?”

Even though she couldn’t see her twin, Diamond could hear the huff of exasperation Marita released.

She didn’t understand it. How can she not want to go after him? Why does she have to be so stubborn? The discussion had only lasted a few minutes thus far, but already she felt it was pointless. Her sister’s mind was made up.

Merryweather, Marita’s dog, whimpered, his nails clicking against the stone floor as he approached. He hated whenever things got tense. Diamond had the sudden urge to call him over, as the dog had adopted her almost as quickly as she’d fallen in love with him. Burying her face into his soft fur sounded like a wonderful idea, but she didn’t want him to pull away from Marita. If that’s actually where he is right now. She was still adjusting to placing things in her mind by the sound of them alone.

Silence fell over the room. Diamond shifted in her chair, and her fingers tightened on the wooden arms. She forced herself not to adjust the bandage over her eyes for the fiftieth time that day. I wish I could see. Maybe having her eyesight back would grant her a portion of understanding her sister.  

Felix finally broke the quiet. “I love you, dear, but I believe you’re not thinking clearly.”

“Why?” Marita almost yelped. “You and I both know he’s not worth going after. He left on his own, and, if he wants to come back, let him come back on his own.”

“He’s had a rough past, yes, but I don’t think this is the time to give up on him.” 

“I’m through watching over him,” she replied. “I won’t do it anymore, Felix.”

He sighed. “I didn’t bail him out of trouble that one time just so you could give up on him now, Marita. I thought you forgave him?”

“That was before I knew what he’d done to Diamond.”

“Why now?” Diamond ventured aloud. She couldn’t bear to let the room fall silent once again. “Why would he leave us?” She swallowed a flash of fear. “Is it because of me?”

“Yes,” her sister responded, a touch of anger in her voice, “but not in the way that you think.”

“Marita? Did you speak with him?”

Diamond could hear the agitation in Felix’s voice. Did my sister speak to Father? It was still odd to call Lucas Kadlec that. After all, she’d only heard him called that blasted man for so many years by their aunt; she’d gone all those years thinking she’d never had a father that really loved her. Now, here was the chance to have that father, and he was gone. And in the few days I knew him, I couldn’t even see him. That hurt almost more than anything else.

“Marita?” Felix’s tone was accusatory.

“Yes, I spoke to him,” she finally said. “Does that make you happy?”

“What did you say?”

“He was babbling on about how he ruined our lives, how he didn’t deserve to have daughters like us, how his gambling made him an outcast. How Diamond and I would be happier if we’d never known him.”

Felix prompted her on. “And?”

“I just agreed with him.” Marita sounded guilty. There was a long stretch of uncomfortable silence, and then she hiccupped.

Is she crying? Diamond wanted to hug her sister, but she didn’t dare move from her chair when no one could help her maneuver around the furniture in the room.

Felix didn’t say anything, and Diamond tensed in the silence once again. Should I say something? She wished the two of them would come to a decision. For the last nineteen years of her life, she’d gotten used to Mother – no, Aunt Nellea – making the decisions for her and then telling her what to do. Taking care of Seth was perhaps the first independent decision Diamond had ever made. I just feel stuck waiting for someone to tell me what to do next.

Realization sunk in. I don’t need to have someone else make the decision for me, anymore. After all, she’d killed a bear, hadn’t she? I know what I want to do. What I need to do.

She pushed herself to her feet, keeping a hand on her chair. “I’m going after him.”

“Diamond?” Marita hiccupped again.

“I’m going after him,” she repeated. “Even though he may love his dice and coin more than his flesh and blood, he still deserves another chance.”

“I’ve given him several chances,” her sister muttered.

Diamond shook her head. “But this time it’s me giving him that chance. I’ve never been able to do that before, and I want to at least try.” She took a deep breath. “Family is important. I’m not ready to give up on him.”

Marita hiccupped several more times before she spoke again. “I still don’t think he’s worth going after.”

“But you’ll go with me?” Diamond persisted.

There was another long and agonizing silence. “For you, Diamond, I’ll go. But only for you.”

“And a fat chance of a golden rose if I’ll let you two go without me,” Felix broke in. “I’m sure my mother can survive wedding planning by herself for a bit. Besides, if Diamond kills another bear, I want to be there to see that. Or maybe this time I’ll kill the bear.”

Diamond shivered. “You can do it this time.”

Once had been quite enough.


What did you think of the first chapter? Intrigued to read more? Well, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is available as both Kindle ebook AND paperback! YES, the paperback is now here — so don’t waste any more time ordering your copy!

Other fun links to note today:

April 8th Blog Tour Stops

(I will update with direct links once the posts go live.)

God bless!

Snow White and Rose Red Mad Libs

“Ah, look,” you say, “another game.”

And you’re absolutely right. Yesterday, I had fun putting together a little Snow White and Rose Red Fairytale Tag for you all (because who doesn’t LOVE a good tag promoting a little-known fairytale???), and TODAY we’re going to be diving into one of my all-time favorite games: the Mad Lib.

I had originally thought that I would be posting a bunch of dry, informative posts here all week to talk about my newest book, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring. However, I was overwhelmed by the number of sweet bloggers who responded to my pleas for a blog tour, and so many of them asked for a guest post. I feared I wouldn’t have enough topics and posts to cover them all, but many of them had great ideas of their own, and (though it took a while to type everything up) it was a cinch to put together so many guest posts on topics I KNEW people wanted to read about.

And then, since all those amazing bloggers had taken care of all those posts, I decided: “Let’s have fun here at A Synesthete Writer this week. We’re just going to party.” We started the party off with a GIVEAWAY, and now we’re into party game #2.


  1. Below is a snippet from Snow White and Rose Red with a good number of words taken out. YOUR job is to supply those missing words.
  2. Each missing word is in its own labeled category (Noun, Verb, Adjective, etc.), and you may write in any category-appropriate word you wish. (i.e. Noun = laundry basket; Animal = armadillo; Person = Samuel Jackson; Adverb = eagerly)
  3. Once your list of missing words is filled out, pop those words into the numbered blanks provided in the story.
  4. Paste the whole story in a comment for everyone to enjoy!

The Word List

  1. Noun
  2. Adjective
  3. Verb Ending in -ING
  4. Adjective
  5. Color
  6. Number
  7. Animal
  8. Adjective
  9. Verb
  10. Adjective
  11. Term of Endearment
  12. Noun
  13. Adjective
  14. Adverb
  15. Plural Noun
  16. Adjective
  17. Liquid
  18. Exclamation
  19. Adjective
  20. Adverb
  21. Famous Person
  22. Term of Endearment
  23. Adverb
  24. Emotion
  25. Sharp Object
  26. Plural Noun
  27. Noun
  28. Adjective
  29. Body Part
  30. Common Phrase
Image is not mine; this gorgeousness was painted by Richard Doyle.

The Mad Lib Story

One afternoon, Mother sent Snow White and Rose Red into the forest to fetch some (1. NOUN). There they found a/an (2. ADJECTIVE) tree which lay felled on the ground, and close by the trunk something was (3. VERB ENDING IN -ING) backwards and forwards in the grass, but they could not make out what it was.

When they came nearer, they saw a/an (4. ADJECTIVE) dwarf with an old, withered face. He had a/an (5. COLOR) beard that was nearly (6. NUMBER) yards long. The end of the beard was caught in a crevice of the tree, and the dwarf was jumping about like a/an (7. ANIMAL) tied to a rope, and did not know what to do.

He glared at the girls with his (8. ADJECTIVE) eyes and cried: “Why do you stand there? Can you not come here and (9. VERB) me?”

“What are you up to, (10. ADJECTIVE) man?” asked Rose Red.

“You stupid, prying (11. TERM OF ENDERMENT)!” answered the dwarf. “I was going to split the tree to get a little (12. NOUN) for cooking. We dwarves need but (13. ADJECTIVE) food; however, it gets burned (14. ADVERB) when we use those thick logs. We don’t devour such large portions as you greedy (15. PLURAL NOUN). I had just driven the wedge safely in, and everything was going well; but the cursed wedge was too (16. ADJECTIVE) and suddenly sprang out, and the tree closed so quickly that I could not pull out my beautiful beard; so now it is stuck and I cannot get away, and the silly, (17. LIQUID)-faced things laugh! 18. EXCLAMATION)! how (19. ADJECTIVE) you are!”

The girls tried very hard, but they could not pull the beard out, it was caught too (20. ADVERB).

“I will run and fetch (21. FAMOUS PERSON),” said Rose Red.

“You senseless (22. TERM OF ENDEARMENT)!” snarled the dwarf. “Why should you fetch him/her? You are already two too many for me; can you not think of something (23. ADVERB)?”

“Don’t be (24. EMOTION),” said Snow White. “I will help you.” And she pulled her (25. SHARP OBJECT) out of her pocket, and cut off the end of the beard.

As soon as the dwarf felt himself free, he grabbed a sack filled with (26. PLURAL NOUN) that was lying between the roots of the tree. He lifted it up, grumbling to himself: “Uncouth slobs, to cut off a (27. NOUN) of my (28. ADJECTIVE) beard. Bad luck to you!’ and then he swung the bag upon his (29. BODY PART), and went off without even once looking at the girls or saying, “(30. COMMON PHRASE).”


How did your adventure go? I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s versions of the story!

Snag your own copy of The Bear of Rosethorn Ring today to read *my* version of Snow White and Rose Red rescuing the dwarf. It wasn’t exactly mad lib style, but I still had a lot of fun writing it!

Don’t forget to check out the other fun posts today!

April 7th Blog Tour Stops

(I will update the links to direct posts once things start going live.)

God bless!

Snow White and Rose Red Tag & Release Day!

HAPPY RELEASE DAY! The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is HERE!

I’m still waiting for the paperback version to waddle through Amazon’s complex review system, but I will share the link to the physical book once I get notified of its going live on Amazon.

HOWEVER, if you can’t wait for the paperback, and need to read it NOW, you can click HERE to purchase your Kindle ebook and begin reading in mere seconds. Internet and technology are great like that.

In case you missed it the first time — LINK TO THE BEAR OF ROSETHORN RING ON KINDLE.

And don’t forget — books one and two of the series are currently FREE so you can snag half of the series without paying a cent. But you won’t want to wait on that since Spindle Dreams is only free through midnight TONIGHT. The Rose and the Balloon, however, will be free through Friday.

AND I’m hosting a giveaway for two lucky winners to receive an ebook of their choice. *nods* Yeah, we’re partying hard this week.

Tag Time!

Official Tag Graphic®

Anyway, it’s time to get down to the purpose of this post, and that is a tag. And not just any tag — it’s a SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED TAG. Because let’s face it — SWRR definitely needs more love. Just *how* many retellings do we have of this fantastic sister story? Not many. If you say “Snow White” in most company, the response you’ll get is, “Oh, with the seven dwarves?”

*facepalm* Yes, we like that Snow White, too, but that’s NOT what we’re talking about. Snow White and Rose Red were the awesome sister-duo before Disney tried to steal that stage with Frozen.

So what do you need to know before we jump into the tag?


  1. Copy the tag questions and answer them for yourself in your own blog post.
  2. Link back to this post, pleaseandthankyou.
  3. Include the tag graphic somewhere in your post.
  4. Share the link to your answers in a comment on this post so I can read your answers!

If you don’t have a blog, or don’t feel like putting together a whole post for the tag, feel free to copy the questions and answer them below in a comment!

The Questions

  1. What’s your favorite fairytale? If you can’t whittle it down to one, give us a list!
  2. What’s your favorite fairytale retelling? Or retellings, since most of us have more than one?
  3. When were you first introduced to the fairytale Snow White and Rose Red?
  4. If you awoke one day, cursed and lumbering around as a bear, what would be the first thing you’d do? Do you know why you’re cursed?
  5. Snow White and Rose Red kept a pet lamb. What would your ideal fairytale pet be?
  6. If you were to have a color-based name like Snow White or Rose Red, what would your name be — and why?
  7. Snow White and Rose Red’s mother planted two rosebushes in front of their cottage, one with white roses and one with red roses. Would you plant roses in front of your house, or perhaps another plant? Why?
  8. A stranger knocks on your door during a blizzard, begging for shelter. Do you let him in?
  9. Would you rather have your hair (or beard) caught in a tree, in a fishing line, or in an eagle’s talons?
  10. The dwarf offers his treasures to keep himself from being eaten by a bear. What would you offer the bear to discourage him from eating you?

And that’s it; I hope this tag was a lot of fun! I can’t wait to read everyone’s answers!

Don’t forget to grab your Kindle ebook so you can start reading The Bear of Rosethorn Ring today! Will this be the very first SWRR retelling you’ve ever read? Let me know below!

Just one last thing to note before I sign off… other posts today you won’t want to miss!

April 6th Blog Tour Stops

(I will update with direct links once the posts are live.)

God bless!

Welcome & Giveaway!

GUYS. It’s happening! The Bear of Rosethorn Ring comes out TOMORROW.

Are you ready for it? I AM.

Well, today is Monday, April 5th, and we’re officially kicking off the blog tour here with a giveaway. This is actually the VERY FIRST giveaway I’ve ever hosted in conjunction with a book release — and really also the first giveaway I’ve personally hosted to give away one of my books. I’ve sent books to advance readers and participated in giveaways where I offered a copy of a book, but this is the first time hosting.

Pretty weird that it’s taken me four books to get to this point. *shrugs*

Anyway, BEFORE I get into all the details of the giveaway, I want to let you know of all the fun stops we’ll be making on the blog tour today. We’ve got a jam-packed schedule, and I CAN’T WAIT. For simplicity’s sake, I’m only going to be posting today’s stops here in this post. But if you’d like to see the full schedule, I’ll be sharing a full list on this blog/site’s home page, so be sure to check it out there.

April 5th Blog Tour Stops

Like I said, this blog tour is going to be PACKED with interviews, book reviews, and guest posts! You’re not going to want to miss a single post!

See the full schedule HERE.

Free Kindle Books!

As part of the celebration, I’m also running some of the Kindle books for FREE. Be sure to jump on over to Amazon to snag your ebooks if you don’t already have them!


The Rose and the Balloon: A Beauty and the Beast Story is FREE on Amazon April 5th through the 9th!



Spindle Dreams: A Sleeping Beauty Story isn’t available for free quite as long, but it’s still FREE on April 5th and 6th — don’t wait to grab your ebook today!



Now, for the giveaway I promised.


I’m offering TWO (2) lucky readers the chance to win their choice of an ebook of one of the Once Upon a Twist Tales. Yes, if you so desire, you could win yourself a copy of the brand-new book that hits Amazon tomorrow. Or catch up on the Rapunzel story you may have missed last year, and have been dying to read. I mean, I naturally assume the winners will want one of those two books, especially since the other two books in the series will be up for FREE this week (see above).

How to enter? It’s easy.

Simply comment below (on this blog post) your answer to the following question:

If you were siblings with Snow White and Rose Red, what would be your color-based fairytale name, and why?

You may make up more than one color-based name, if you wish, but I’m limiting the giveaway to only one entry per person. One fairytale name/comment per entry. Be as creative as you’d like, and maybe add in how the fairytale might read differently with you as the third sibling there.

I will accept all entries until Thursday (April 8th) at noon (12pm EST). I will announce the two winners Friday morning (April 9th) in the blog tour’s closing post.

Get commenting! I’m excited to see everyone’s answers!

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring Announcements

You know what’s exciting? In less than two weeks, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring will be live on Amazon.

Yikes. Exciting and scary.

I still haven’t gotten over the fact that I’m in the process of publishing book FOUR of my Twist Tales. That little series that grew from a spark of inspiration from the long-ago Rooglewood contests, the one I began more out of fun than anything else — that little series has grown into four novellas… and I’m already planning the plots for books five and six. Two fairytales that I’m rather ecstatic to retell. And ones that I’m keeping secret for now. Don’t worry: the title and fairytale that book five is based on will be revealed once book four is out, so you have less than two weeks to guess and wonder.

What announcements have I, you are wondering? Well, two of them concern preorders and Goodreads.

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is set for preorders on Amazon, if you’re so inclined to preorder things so they arrive neatly in your Kindle like a pleasant surprise the day of the release. Or if building a towering TBR pile is your thing, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is also on Goodreads for you to add to your fairytale retellings shelf.

The other announcements concern my completing the files for both the Kindle book and the paperback book for The Bear of Rosethorn Ring. Everything’s been submitted to Amazon’s KDP page, and I ordered my proof copy of the paperback last night. Lord willing, in a week or so, I’ll be holding the first physical copy of this book in my hands. Even though this is book four, and I’ve done this three other times, it never gets old. A brand new book with my name on it will always send a thrill down my spine.

I am slowly working on putting all of the blog tour and other fun things for release week together. Unfortunately, I’ve had some family and health issues that have kept me from a ton done quickly, but things are progressing. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

The one announcement that I can make about release week is that for the first time ever, and in celebration of book four of the Twist Tales coming out, I’ll be holding a giveaway. So be sure to come back for that. *grins*

God bless!

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring Cover Reveal

This is the fourth cover reveal I’ve done for one of my own books. Four. I’m about to publish my FOURTH book. In many ways, that doesn’t seem real. Four is a lot, and yet it’s not. In less than a month, I’m going to have FOUR published books that anyone (who reads English) can purchase off Amazon.

Wow. Time flies, don’t it?

Anyway, you didn’t come here to read sentiment oozing all over the page. You came to see THE COVER.

Don’t worry; we’ll get to that.

It’s been about ten months since my Once Upon a Twist Tales became a full-blown trilogy. What started as a simple Beauty and the Beast story has eclipsed into a tangled arc of fairytales, with Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel being the latest additions.

The Twist Tales trilogy as it used to stand…

And NOW we’re finally getting to a lesser-known fairytale: Snow White and Rose Red. Which, IMHO, really deserves more love. It’s a FANTASTIC fairytale that promoted sisters centuries before Frozen. *shakes head at Disney* While the original fairytale has the magical elements of a cursed bear and an evil dwarf, my retelling is a slightly steampunk, non-magical circus tale that focuses on the importance of family.

I had a lot of fun writing this retelling. There are so many elements to Snow White and Rose Red (SWRR) that it was easy to slip in a ton of references to the original fairytale. I don’t know that everyone will pick up on them, but they’re there. XD And, since SWRR lacks a popular animated film, there are no Disney Easter Eggs in this book. Hope you’re not too broken over that.

Okay, YES. I am rambling and keeping you away from the cover. Here, I’ll let you have it now.

About the book:

When their father runs away, Marita and Diamond Kadlec realize how different twins can be. Marita’s ready to forget Lucas entirely, but Diamond wants to give him the second chance she’s never been able to give before. That’s before they discover that Lucas is indebted to the ill-tempered D’vard and his traveling circus, the Rosethorn Ring. The Ring’s entertainment lacks a bear, and Lucas must play the part of the savage creature to regain his freedom.

Lorcan D’vard cares only for three things: tending to his beloved beard, promoting his Rosethorn Ring, and eradicating the assassin out to kill him. With time running out, D’vard agrees to cancel Lucas’s debt and let him go free – if Marita and Diamond can apprehend the assassin before the assassin ends the show.

This is Snow White and Rose Red with a twist like you’ve never seen it before!


Remember: The Bear of Rosethorn Ring: A Snow White and Rose Red Story releases on April 6th!

God bless!