Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: Plenilune


Jennifer Freitag

TYPE/GENRE: Planetary fantasy
SERIES: Plenilunar
LENGTH: 618 pages
RATING: 10 out of 10

The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war.

To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it—even if he has to kidnap her.

En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.

My Review:
How do I put into words what I thought about this book?

Last year I took part in the cover reveal for Plenilune.  I follow Jenny's blog The Penslayer and from the snippets of this book that she'd posted, I suspected I'd like it.  When it came out, I wasn't able to purchase it right away (isn't it dreadful how you always seem to be broke when you want to buy books? :D).  At the start of the Christmas holidays, my dear friend Katherine Sophia and I were chatting and we got talking about Plenilune.  She asked if I'd read it yet and I said no; she said, "You should read it," and loaned it to me on Kindle.  (THANK YOU, KATE!!)  It sat on my Kindle for a few days and then I picked it up... and could hardly put it down again.  I read it in two mornings.

If someone asked me to describe Plenilune in one word, I'd say unique.  I know that's rather vague, but there's no other single word I could use, other than epic, which also fits.  :)  It is truly unlike anything I'd ever read before.  I have heard Jenny's writing style compared to Rosemary Sutcliff's, but not having read Sutcliff, I can't comment on that comparison.  What I do know is that I LOVED Plenilune.

The titular world of the book breathes through the story as if it, in and of itself, is a living, breathing person, as much as the humans that populate the land.

The characters are brilliantly crafted and leap off the page grabbing you by the throat until you are done.  Even after you finish it, you feel the lingering of their grip on you.

It is a long book, but since I personally prefer long books to short books, that made me happy.  

The Characters:
Rupert: I liked.  Kind of.  At first, I detested him.  Then as the story progressed and chinks in his armor appeared, I actually started liking him.  However, that liking did not did not carry so far as to condone all of his actions, even when I understood them.

Margaret: who could not like her???  She was marvelous from start to finish.

The Fox: thoroughly likeable and wonderful.  His wisdom, caring and love for the people and land of Plenilune were beautifully written.  I can't say too much about him because of spoilers, so I'll just say that from the moment he steps onto the page until the moment I closed the book, I loved his character.

Skandar: terrific.  Kind, caring, smart, and trying so hard to help Margaret even after Rupert had threatened him.

The other lords and ladies of Plenilune were FASCINATING.  So were the various regions each lord and lady governed.

I do not recommend this book for anyone under 16 because of the mature themes contained therein.  Also, if much violence bothers you, you probably won't like it.  I had no problem with it at all (it's civil war, it's kind of supposed to be violent) but I know several people who wouldn't be able to handle this book, though not just because of the violence.

There is also a mention of necrophilia, I think it's in the last third of the book (sorry, I can't be more specific than that- I've misplaced an entire stack of notes, including the one that told me where particularly in the book this mention is).  It's not graphic, and it is a villain (obviously) and the entire incident occupies no more than two pages.  While necrophilia sickens me, it unfortunately does exist (otherwise we would not have a word for it) and Jenny wrote it well.  So, while I'd have preferred not to read about it, I didn't skip past it, either.  (That said, I wonder if it takes a certain kind of author to write this.  I can write darkness, and evil, but I can't tackle this- it's too creepy and disgusting for me.)  :)

Jennifer once said in a blog post that 'Plenilune is fantasy but I hope it is honest'  and it most definitely is that.  I loved the book, because though it is set in a sweepingly epic fantasy land, the molten core of the book is the humans.  People with fire, ice, darkness, light.

Read this book if you want epic fiction with a strong moral compass, an epic scale of life and love and REAL people.

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, January 16, 2015

Cover Reveal: Draven's Light

I didn't realize until last night that I had two cover reveals scheduled for the same day....  I need to pay better attention to my schedule.  :) 

This afternoon, the cover reveal is for Draven's Light, Anne Elisabeth Stengl's newest book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series.

Rafflecopter Giveaway link  - advanced reader copies of Draven's Light for three winners!!

Meet the Author:

ANNE ELISABETH STENGL makes her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Tales of Goldstone Wood. Her novel Starflower was awarded the 2013 Clive Staples Award, and her novels Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Dragonwitch have each been honored with a Christy Award.

To learn more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books visit:

Draven's Light:
In the Darkness of the Pit
The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his
place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the
men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only
fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the
strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source of
this evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.

But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needs 
to face the darkness?

Read an excerpt from Draven's Light

Aaaaaaaand, now, THE COVER:

Coming May 25, 2015

Isn't the cover dramatic?!!  I look forward to reading this book.

Miss Melody Muffin

Cover Reveal: Honor

Today I'm participating in a cover reveal for author Rachel Rossano's upcoming book Honor, the second book in the Rhynan series.

About the author:

Rachel Rossano balances her time between the chaos of raising and homeschooling her three
children and the world of drama and high adventure in her head. With her faithful husband and chief
consulting editor by her side, she dreams of many more adventures to come.

Honor Synopsis:
The Earl of Dentin excels in his position as Securer of the Realm. But the king’s order to pluck an
orphaned child from a loving home unsettles Dentin. When a dark-eyed woman challenges his honor
regarding the mission, Dentin finds himself unable to justify his actions or get her out of his mind.
Something about her lack of fear intrigues him.

Lady Elsa Reeve attempts to avoid the marriage of convenience her brother and mother demand of
her. She understands the need to pay off her brother's massive debt. She only wants her family to
consider her wishes in the process.

As Elsa becomes further entangled in a snare of her brother’s creating, only one man defends her.
But can she trust Dentin, her unlikely champion, and his motives? With a murderer on the loose, Elsa’s  fate in jeopardy, and a traitor plotting against the king, Dentin finds his priorities shifting in an unexpected direction.

Ready for the cover now?

Isn't it beautiful!!  I really like not just the artwork, but the light and color play in it.

To Buy Honor:

Connect with Rachel:

Rossano Cover Designs: Affordable Custom Book Cover Design


Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Review: Woodcutter Quince

The latest Bookania Short Story by Kendra E. Ardnek.

TYPE/GENRE: Fiction, Fantasy/fairy tale
SERIES: Bookania Short Stories
LENGTH: 25 pages
RATING: 10 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    5 out of 5

In the depths of Black forest, strange creatures are rumored to exist.  Casperl isn't sure he's seen any of them, but he does know that there is a princess trapped on top of an enchanted mountain.  Only a true prince can free her.  He's certainly not one.

My Review:
Having met Casperl in the two published novels of The Bookania Quests, I came to this story thinking that I would find out about Casperl's origins.  Well, I did... but then again, I didn't.  This short story follows Casperl from babyhood to adulthood, but many parts of his history are still a mystery- to be revealed in a future book, Kendra has said.

This story focuses on Casperl and the Mountain Princess, or Doranna, as those who have read the other Bookania books know her- a sweet princess who is brilliant at math, has a fondness for birds and possesses a speech deficiency that makes it a little difficult for anyone meeting her for the first time to understand her.  We meet a couple new Bookania characters and one we already know well from Sew, It's a Quest and Do You Take This Quest?.

I enjoyed this story, and would recommend it to anyone who likes fun, quirky fairy tales.  It is suitable for children of all ages.  I read it aloud to my siblings one afternoon during Christmas break and they loved it.

Favorite scenes:
Doranna covering up the painting of Grumadam.
Every scene with Eric in it. :)

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Space Kitties Ebook Release!

Hearth Books has released the ebook of their anthology Space Kitties!

The book's offical description:
Light-hearted tales of feline adventure from across the cosmos, by a collection of authors from across the country.

I love cats and space is endlessly fascinating to me, so I'm looking forward to this book!

Miss Melody Muffin

Ice and Snow and Thaws... and New Books!!,0,300x186/

I love fairy tales.  I especially like fairy tale retellings.  As great as the original fairy tales are, re-telling them gives a reader an entirely new perspective into the fairy tale, as well as being another book to read and potentially add to the shelf of favorites.

A friend emailed me a few nights ago about a new fairy tale series being published?  I immediately rushed over to the author's website and eagerly read the post.  The series sounded so interesting that I emailed the author at once about joining the blog tour.,0,296x426/

A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special and unusual way.

Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don't know what to do with it.

Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter's Child introduces a new series: THAW.,0,296x438/

A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world... and it's only when she takes the final step that she realizes the wall she's built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever... unless she discovers how to destroy it.

The only one who can break a neurosis... is the one who has it.

Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter Queen continues a new series: THAW.,0,300x433/

Coming Soon

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?

Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?

The only person who can help him... is the one he most deeply wronged.

 Prince of Demargen is third in a new series: THAW.

There will be at least one more book in the series and some spin-off books, too, which you can find more about here:

My interview with the author:
Were there certain songs you listened to while writing this series?
(Music it such a huge influence on my writing that I always wonder how much is has influenced other authors.)
I actually am a silence writer... I only have music on if there are other sounds that need drowned out. :)  I do love music, but when it's on I have to be listening to it, and I can't write and listen at the same time!  I guess that's because I'm the kind of person that "hears the lyrics"... and I think about the meanings and the tunes, even in an instrumental piece.
I didn't use to listen to music when I wrote, but I started doing it four or five years ago and now it fuels my writing and I can't seem to write very well without it.
We all have our own methods! ;)

I always like to ask at least one question about the author herself (or himself) in an author interview... your blog mentions that you train animals. What kind of animals do you train?
We grew up training our goats, and then my sisters have made horse training their business. I've helped them out by training a couple every now and then, but I'm not as horse crazy. (So I am the computer tech/phone answerer for them.)
Horses!!! I love horses and have trained a few. I received my own horse when she was 2 and I trained her.
My favorite animals are the dogs, we have Belgian Shepherds and I train them. I've gotten Abi to join me in doing that, so we were able to get a video of us doing double dog drills... It's a lot of fun. They're also completely gorgeous, so that makes it even more fun.
I've never been a dog person (cats are more my thing) but I agree that Belgian Shepherds are good looking dogs.

What was the first fairy tale you remember reading when you were a child?
The Hobbit was the first fantasy story I remember really clearly, Mom read it aloud to us when I was seven. It's not a fairytale, and I didn't read it, but it formed my love of the fantastical.
The Hobbit is one of my favorite books of all time.
Mine too!

Was there a Disney Princess movie you watched over and over when you were little?  (For me, it was Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.)
Actually, my parents weren't big into movies for us kids, we always had the great outdoors and animals and were encouraged to use them!  :) My favorites were books, and although I read a ton of them, I can't say I had a "favorite fairytale"... though I always felt an affinity to Cinderella, she looked the most like me, with her hair a little darker then blonde, but not quite brown. She is one of my inspirations.
After I turned 5, we didn't watch movies much anymore either.  Cinderella was one of the first fairy tales I remember reading, but it never captured my imagination quite the same way some of the other fairy tales did.
We watched one here or there, often at someone else's house, so we did see Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, etc. From reading, I didn't really catch on to any of them... probably the Snow Maiden was about the most "sticking".
Aladdin has been a favorite of mine for my entire life. I think I was 2 when the movie came out and then a few years later I read an abridged version of it for the first time and loved it even more. I'm pretty sure it was that tale which began my fascination with Arabia.
Beauty and the Beast has also been a top favorite of mine, as has The Wild Swans/The Swan Brothers (depending on which version you're reading the title changes and I can never remember which is the more common title).
Ah! My first contact with Aladdin was in the Arabian Nights book... and it was set in China. Arabia is still a super interesting place, though!  Ah... and the one brother has a swan arm the rest of his life... That always seemed so sad to me!
China is also a vastly fascinating place.  Aw, yes, I always thought that too!

The cover art: was it all digital manipulation or was there traditional art involved as well?
I did the art on paper... and we changed the art for Winter's Child once on the way to publication. The original thought had a close up of Ilise, but when I did it we didn't like it, even after taking it into Photoshop and trying to work it there.  So I intended to redo it, then got the idea to make both Ilise and Girta in the garden, with roses.  Originally Ilise had a blue dress, then the color got darker, until it was deep navy.
I love the color play on that cover.
Thanks! Glad you think it's good! I didn't like the dark color, so I went back and made a new dress... and this time we went with gold. It was a good move!  Then we went into Photoshop and Abi and I combined all three versions to get what we have now.
It's beautiful. I love all three covers.  I think my favorite is The Winter Queen cover.
AH!!! Glad you like it!!! Her face was one of the first parts I did... and that castle was a challenge, trying to make it look like it was ice/snow.

Were there any parts in the Thaw series that were particularly hard to write?
Hmm... I did run into some places where I couldn't move forward for a while, but that is basically the normal way of writers! Sometimes I'd get stuck on how a scene should go... but after giving it a rest, it'd eventually come! I'm a non-chronological writer, so I'd try to skip ahead to the scenes that were working, and come back later.
I should try that the next time a scene isn't working for me. I'm usually a chronological writer- I think it's my perfectionism. I'll scribble down snippets or skeletons of upcoming scenes, but I feel like I have to write the story itself chronologically.

Last question: what is your favorite flower?
I am actually not much of a flowery-girl, so that's a hard question. I guess I have a special fondness for dandelions, because they are indomitable and unstoppable. Do you know that they can crack concrete?
I have heard that.
They're a good role model.

E, thank you very much for this interview and for answering all of my questions!  It's been a real pleasure!!
Thanks for the chat, Melody!!!

About the Author:,0,216x173/

E. Kaiser Writes credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to known the locals) in the Rocky Mtns, the Smoky Mtns, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

She wears many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondence & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and... authoress!

You can connect with her on her blog:
Her website:
On Facebook:
On Twitter:
On Pinterest:
You can find her books on Amazon:

To celebrate the launch of this series, Elizabeth is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway at her blog:

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Quote of the Week: The Solution for World Peace

If man does find the solution for world peace it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known.

~ George Marshall~

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Year in Review: 2014

Why does it feel like only two months ago that I was writing this for 2013????

I always wait until after the new year has started to make these kind of posts, because I can organize my thoughts better that way.  That said, I've been trying to finish this post for a WEEK.  I have concluded that Time and Life have become co-conspirators and have determined to throw kinks in every single schedule ever written.

I'm not calling these New Year's Resolutions anymore because they aren't- they are goals I'd LIKE to accomplish in the new year, but not ones I'm resolved to meet or die.  :)

How I did with last year's goals:
  • Read one pre 1925 text for every one of the modern ebooks I just downloaded from Amazon that I read.  Mostly, I think.  I need to check my lists to be sure.
  • Read 5 Dickens: Little Dorrit, The Pickwick Papers, Our Mutual Friend, Great Expectations, Bleak House.  Nope.  Only ONE- Little Dorrit- which I loved. 
  • More beta reading!!!  I'm in the middle of several fun stories right now, some of which I am very eager to see published.  I did a fair amount of beta reading in 2014 so I definitely accomplished this goal.
  • Watch more Kdrama- I have a HUGE list of ones I want to see.  Yeah... I think I definitely kept this one :), though I didn't watch as much as I wanted to.
  • Since I didn't do it last year, watch all the Jane Austen adaptations made since 1980 that I haven't seen yet.  I fell woefully short of accomplishing this goal.  I think I saw... two? adaptations.
  • See several Shakespeare adaptations, including The Hollow Crown with the excellent actor Tom Hiddleston in my favorite Shakespeare play- Henry V.  Didn't accomplish this either.
  • Watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.   Yes.  Mixed feelings about it, but basically, PJ did a great job on the movie, even though I don't like some of the changes he made.  (Tauriel however, I loved.)
  • Post at least once a week.  Nope.  Did NOT happen.
  • Post more book and movie reviews.  Book reviews- yes, movie reviews- no.
  • Finish editing most of the typos out of Oath of Loyalty.  I finished this in March.
  • Finish the first draft of the first book in the Three Kyngdoms series, at the moment tentatively titled Venit Hora.  Finished this in May.
  • Finish the first draft of the first book in the Quara series, The Land Beyond the Sunset.  No.  I tried once or twice, but other stories swept me along to work on them and this one kind of got left behind, poor thing.
  • Start the first draft of To See The Stars (formerly known as FAMILY).  Yes.  Wrote chapters one and two.
  • Start the first draft of the sequel to Oath of Loyalty.  Yes.  I wrote about three chapters before I realized the plot needed major reworking- which necessitated a whole new outline.
  • Write at least 500 words a day, six days a week.  Noooo.  Sadly.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo again.  YES.
  • Start the first draft of new book, temporarily titled Sub RosaYes.
  • Ride my horse more.  No- mostly thanks to injuries.

What else I accomplished in 2014:
  • Read 103 books and 15 short stories.  This total does not include the two dozen books and short stories I read and then deleted from my Kindle because they were boring/ I didn't like them.
  • Watched a lot of drama these last few months while being injured, and saw a fair amount the other months as well
  • Watched my first Chinese movie and Chinese drama
  • Started watching a few Spanish dramas
    • Posted several book reviews
    • Participated in several cover reveals and book blog tours
    • Took part in the Scribbler's Conference Anne-girl hosted in February
    • Participated in the June Crusade
    • Wrote a guest post for Kiri Liz's Valentine's Party

    • Reached 50,000 words and won NaNoWriMo with my novel Sub Rosa, though that only half finished the novel
    • Wrote the first scenes for all of the Quivira novels I spotlighted in the June Crusade and a few others as well
    • Started a short story called To Dance All Night that is a Regency retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses
    • Started plotting the other books in the Stellumo series
    • Started plotting a Beauty and the Beast retelling
    • Wrote a grand total of 197,795 words
    • Joined a language exchange site where I can practice learning a language with native speakers, and in return help those people learn my native language
    • Tutored someone in learning English, using above site
    • Made a few friends through that site
    • Injured my hip and shoulder in January when I fell on a patch of ice
    • Severely sprained my ankle and tore muscles in my foot in October
    What?  Injuries ARE accomplishments of sorts, aren't they?  (Accomplishments I'd MUCH rather have done without, believe me!!)  But, anyway, counting them as accomplishments might help me keep an optimistic outlook- it's an experiment I'm trying.  :)

    Goals for 2015
    • Read 80-100 books this year
    • Proof read at least one book a week for my younger siblings
    • Keep copious lists of books read, and help my younger siblings with their lists (I'm a listmaniac.)
    • Work up a schedule for my beta reading so I can possibly fit in even more than I'm already doing now
    • Watch the Avengers: Age of Ultron
    • Rewatch The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (when it comes out on DVD and either my sister Butterfly or myself adds it to our collection)
    • Finish all of the Korean and Japanese series I'm currently in the middle of
    • Re-watch City Hunter with my Mom and introduce her to a few more Kdramas
    • Finish watching Psych (unless I grow too bored to finish it), and The West Wing
    • Catch up on Once Upon a Time and Agents of Shield
    • Participate in several upcoming cover reveals and blog tours for books being released this year.
    • Post a bunch of LOTR/Hobbit character analyses that have been kicking around in my head for a while 
    • Participate in most or all of my favorite monthly writer link-ups such as Beautiful People and Snippets of Story, to name two.
    • Post one book review a week, on Thursdays, beginning next week
    • Post several movie/TV series reviews
    • Review a few webseries I've been watching
    • Return to some of my weekly blog features like Quote of the Week and Poem of the Week
    • Finish writing and post some of the ninety posts I currently have in draft
    • Possibly sign up with a few publishing companies and blogs as an ARC book reviewer
    • Finish the second draft of Oath of Loyalty 
    • Decide if Oath of Loyalty needs any more rewrites or if it will then be ready to face editing and then publishing
    • Edit Oath of Loyalty
    • Possibly, just POSSIBLY, publish Oath of Loyalty
    • Finish the first draft of Ebony and Aubergine
    • Finish the second draft of Venit Hora
    • Restart the first draft of Pearl of Loyalty
    • Finish the first draft of The Land Beyond the Sunset and outline other books in the Quara series- my siblings have been begging me to for months
    • Finish outlining the books in the Fidelitas (Oath of Loyalty) series
    • Possibly write more of Sub Rosa.  After NaNo it needed to sit and jell for a while, and I don't know if I'll be ready to write any more of it this year or not.
    • Participate in NaNoWriMo again
    • Possibly write more of the first draft of To See The Stars
    • More plotting and worldbuilding in the world of Quivira.  I'd love to actually start writing one of the novels I posted about for the June Crusade last year but I don't know if that will happen or not.
    • Finish To Dance All Night
    • Finish The Mystery of the Missing Christhday Cookies, a Quara short story I'm writing as a birthday present for my brother Dino
    • Finish recovering from the severe ankle injury I sustained in early Oct, resulting in torn muscles, a sprained ankle and other things.  There have been complications in the recovery... and I'm still mostly confined to a chair.  By spring, I'd like to be able to run and ride my horse, though time will only tell if that will be pushing things too much.  One way or another, I'm determined to recover all my old strength and mobility, tough as it's going to be.
    • Do a lot more emailing
    • Learn how to play chess and then teach my younger siblings how
    •  Finish at least one of my Spanish courses
    • Finish the Korean course I've started
    • Continue my correspondence on Conversation Exchange, the language exchange site I mentioned above
    • Keep indoctrinating, er... sharing, King Arthur stories and fairy tales with my younger siblings
    • Read The Hobbit to my younger sister

    I am, apparently, a very ambitious person.

    Have a happy, busy 2015!!

    Miss Melody Muffin