happy new year-animated

The Reading Cafe would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a SAFE and HAPPY NEW YEAR. Without the support of our contributors, reviewers, friends and members we wouldn’t be where we are today.

February 2, 2013 will mark our ONE year anniversary. We are fast approaching the 2,400 membership count thanks to all of your support. Throughout the month of February  we will be offering a series of giveaways. Check back regularly for your chance to WIN with The Reading Cafe.


An Interview with Lynn Kurland

An Interview with Lynn Kurland


The Reading Cafe is happy to welcome the wonderful Lynn Kurland as our guest today.

Lynn just released Dreamspinner, her newest book in her The Nine Kingdoms series. We posted our review of Dreamspinner below this Interview.

Let’s begin our interview with Lynn.



Hi Lynn.  Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today. We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

Lynn: Thanks so much for asking me to stop by!

TRC: Would you please tell us about yourself?

Lynn:I’m just an average gal, living the dream, getting to work at home in my pajamas and take copious notes about the antics of the people taking up space on my mental stage. Life is good!

TRC: When and how did you become interested in writing?  Have you always liked to write?

Lynn: I think I was probably just like many big fantasy-reading teenagers of my generation in wanting to be the next Tolkien. I never really considered it on any level until after college and even then it seemed like something too impossible to take seriously. But I started with an idea, rewrote it a gazillion times, put it away and started on something else. I kept at it until I had a dozen things in various stages of completion and I started shopping a couple of them around. Even when I sold, it felt a little surreal. I’m still not sure it’s sunk in completely!

TRC: Many writers bounce ideas and information with either a family member, a Friend, or another writer.  Who inspires you?  Do you have a muse?

Lynn: I’m a pretty private person in general and a very private writer. There’s something about discussing either a work in progress or future plans for other books that ruins the magic for me. It’s almost as if the story needs to stay in my head all by itself so it can take on a life of its own. So I try never to talk about the specifics of what I’m doing until it’s out there on the page and into my editor’s hands.

As far as inspiration goes, I unfortunately don’t let myself read either fantasy or romance anymore simply because I don’t want anyone else’s ideas or thoughts somehow finding their way into my work. I went through a PG Wodehouse phase recently until I realized I was starting to write dialogue that sounded far too much like something Jeeves would say. 🙂 Rachmaninoff inspires me, which seems pretty safe!

About muses: I once--very arrogantly, it has to be said--told someone “I don’t have a muse; I have deadlines,” and subsequently found myself with about six months’ worth of writer’s block as a result, so I think I’d be wise to step gingerly here. 🙂 For me, while the idea of a muse is very romantic, it makes me nervous to rely on anything but my own heart and mind for inspiration.

TRC: You have three major series, which involves Time Travel, Fantasy, Romance.  Each of your series are different, though you have intermingled two series. For our readers who may be new to you, can you give us a brief description of each series.


               Nine Kingdoms
This is a fantasy series set in a fantasy world with a definite medieval feel. Magic and mythical characters abound!

              De Piagets
The de Piagets stories stretch from the 13th  century to the present day. It is a family-saga type series, though there are other books associated with this English family that have only a passing reference to them. The books can be read independently.

               The MacLeods 
The MacLeods are Scots. Their story really begins with James MacLeod, medieval laird, who left his own time and came to the future with an American writer, Elizabeth, who had accidently traveled back to the past. Jamie is an inveterate time traveler, attracting all kinds of friends, family, and extended-family who seem to find themselves caught up in similar time-traveling adventures.

TRC: What are the challenges that you find switching back and forth between each series? Do you have a preference when it comes to one of these series?

Lynn: The romances definitely have a lighter tone, which is deliberate. Life is hard and laughter is good! The fantasies are a bit darker and the prose (hopefully) a bit denser, and that’s deliberate as well. I just wanted it all to still sound like me, but have a different flavor.

TRC: How did you come up with the idea of the Nine Kingdoms series.  Also, why did you do this series in a set of trilogies?  Do you have an end in sight for this series?  Hopefully not.  🙂

Lynn:(You’re so kind!) In reverse order: I’m in the middle of the third trilogy and already wondering where #4 will go and who’ll need to star and will people howl if I jump back in time and leave certain people in a pickle in the present? So, no end in sight so far.

I really wanted the books to be longer so putting them out as trilogies was just how my editor thought that could best be accomplished. I wish I could do them every six months instead of every year, but with kids still at home, this is as fast as I can write.

As far as coming up with the whole idea, well, I knew I wanted to write fantasy and I knew I wanted it to have a medieval sort of feel and I definitely didn’t want it to be a rehash of LOTR. It definitely had to have enough romance in it to suit me. (Tolkien and I will someday have a conversation about his appalling lack of the same, believe me!) In the first incarnation, I actually had Adhémar from Star of the Morning as the hero, but I got about five chapters into that and decided he just wasn’t going to cut it. Things sort of got away from me after that. 🙂

TRC: Dreamspinner is your next novel of your Nine Kingdoms series. Can you please tell us a little about this book?

Lynn: It is the story of Rùnach of Ceangail, brother to both Morgan and Ruith from trilogies #1 and #2 respectively. He’s been hiding out in the schools of wizardry for several years, trying to keep a low profile and stay alive because he has no magic with which to protect himself. He goes to his siblings’ weddings, then takes the opportunity to strike out on his own. His goal, despite being who he is, is to find a spot in as a very unmagical swordsman in a very ordinary garrison.

Despite his best intentions, Rùnach becomes caught up in the life of Aisling of a place she won’t reveal. She fully believes she’s under a curse that states if she doesn’t find within a predetermined amount of a time a powerful mercenary to free her country from a cruel despot, she will die.

Only as they start out on a quest together, they both begin to realize that things just aren’t quite as they’ve been led to believe. ..

Links to order Dreamspinner:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository / BooksaMillion

TRC: Some of our members are big fans of yours, and they wanted to ask you some questions about the Nine Kingdoms.

1.      "Your upcoming release Dreamspinner shows us that Runach is our next hero.  In the first trilogy of the Nine Kingdoms we learn that his father Gair, took his magic during that terrifying day at the well.  In the second trilogy we see Runach as the magicless character he is supposed to be, and yet in a previous book, Miach could sense the echo of something emanating from within him.  The same with a previous book within the second trilogy...a hint that something could be there, and that Runach has secrets.  What can readers expect from our next hero?"

Lynn: Hmmm, I wonder! 🙂 Those are all excellent points. Let’s just say that Gair definitely did take Rùnach’s magic, which Rùnach had resigned himself to. He’d never thought he would need it, but soon finds that the lack of it is a big problem. He’s a clever guy, though, so I have the feeling he’ll find a workaround.

2.      "You have so many well developed, fleshed out secondary characters, Soellier (sp?) for example. It was so sad that he was in love with Sarait, knowing that she would meet her doom, and yet unable to stop her demise.  Is there happiness to be found for this fantasic, and intriguing character in the future?"

Lynn: You know, I really like him too. I would really like to see just what kind of woman can get involved with a man who could unravel the fabric of the world, yet find herself absolutely untimidated by him. I don’t know when or if that will ever happen, but it would be interesting!

3.      "After this last trilogy wraps up, will we possibly see more books set within the world of the Nine Kingdoms, showcasing any previously introduced characters?  Will you continue to write romantic Fantasy?"

Lynn: Yes to all!

TRC: While writing your time travel stories, do you envision a place in time that you yourself would like to go?

Lynn: I used to, yes. Though I’m not sure I would really want to visit it, the Middle Ages has always held an unwholesome sway over my imagination. It’s been a blast to take modern characters back and see how things look through their eyes. I almost think it’s more fun watching medieval characters deal with modern-day life, but that’s just me. These days, though, it’s less about what I want than it is what the character seems to need.

TRC: What are you currently working on? Is there any new projects in the works that you would like to share?

Lynn: I’m in the middle of the second book of the fantasy trilogy that begins at the end of December this year. I have lots of ideas for lots of other things (little ebooks, maybe a YA series, actually updating my website more than twice a year), but it’s just finding the time to make any of it a reality that’s tough.

TRC: Who is your favorite Female & Male Character in your books?

Lynn: For the romances, I think I would have to say probably Madelyn Phillips and Patrick MacLeod. I relate to her probably more than anyone else, and, well, in my opinion he’s dreamy.

In fantasyland, it’s Morgan and Miach, definitely, probably because I lived with them both for so long before they saw print. Well, that and what’s not to like about a gal who wields a sword and a guy who’s unthreatened enough by it to admire her for it?

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Lynn: Just a huge thank you to you and your members for the great questions, and an additional thank you to everyone who has parted with hard-earned money for my books. I hope the trade-off of a book in your hands (or on your Nook/Kindle/ereader-of-choice) is worth it. Thank you so much for allowing me the chance to bring these characters to life!


Favorite Food: Chocolate

Favorite Author: Tolkien

Favorite Movie: While You Were Sleeping

Favorite TV Show: Get Smart (the 60s version)

Last Movie that you saw: Narnia 3

Last book that you read: Atlas Shrugged – while being very grateful it was on my Nook and not the print copy!

Favorite character (male & female) not written by you: That’s tough. At the moment, Pongo Twistleton or Shakespeare’s incarnation of Henry V (does he count?) and Elizabeth Bennett.

Thank you, Lynn for answering our questions. We look forward to continuing to read your books, and to work with you in the future. Good luck with Dreamspinner.

Link to Dreamspinner Review:

If you want to learn more about Lynn, you can find her at the following link:

Website: http://www.lynnkurland.com/



Dreamspinner by Lynn Kurland – a Review

Dreamspinner by Lynn Kurland – a Review


dream spinner

DreamSpinner, written by Lynn Kurland; is the first installment of the third trilogy of the Nine Kingdoms series. It is the long awaited beginning of Runach of Ceingail’s story. The oldest of only three survivors of a long ago tragedy, that had been thought to wipe out an entire family. Runach is the only one who crawled away from this terrifying day, with more than emotional scars….

Horribly crippled with the use of his hands, and rendered ungifted due to the thievery of his very own father, Runach has spent the years of his adult life; walking the library of the most prestigeous magic academy in all of the Nine Kingdoms. He spent his time sticking to the shadows, hidden within the hood of his cloak, avoiding those that would do him harm if they learned he was alive–and soaking up all the information he could read. Until one day, a chance meeting with the archmage of Tor Neroche, and a Shieldmaiden from Melksham turned Runach’s entire world upside down…for the second time in his life.

Miraculously, his beloved little sister, the youngest of 6 original children, was not killed at the Dark well with his mother, father and the rest of his siblings as he had feared. It was this unexpected happenstance that also led Runach to the discovery of the survival of his youngest brother. After much mystery surrounding Runach in the first trilogy, he truly comes to life in the second trilogy of the Nine Kingdoms. Since he first stepped onto the page; readers have waited, and wondered if this solitary soul would discover a purpose to his altered life, as well as happiness.

DreamSpinner opens just after Runach has spent weeks with his newly rediscovered siblings, and witnessed the weddings of his sister and brother. He feels an unsettledness stirring within his soul, being surrounded by loving, well meaning family who has repeatedly taxed themselves and their magical gifts by healing his hands. He lacks the vanity to allow them to attempt to heal his face. Runach may have been born an eleven prince of one of the most polished, and well known bloodlines–but that part of himself died forever; on the day he witnessed the true power of his father’s evil as a youth.

Now a man lacking the magic of his birthright, the civility, and polish expected of a Prince of his status…Runach feels the only choices left to him upon the restoration of his hands (although they still pain him greatly) is either to remain with his family, living off from their hard work, and hospitality–or once again taking up the swordsplay of which he was once so skilled. Feeling as if the first in no choice at all, he makes preperations to travel to a place few would ever venture, for there is no better to help him relearn this skill; than the most notorious Sword Master in the Nine Kingdoms. Scrimgeyour Weger. Runach is at peace with the simple life of obscurity he will lead with this choice. After all, there are worst fates than living the life of a soldier…and surely destiny would have nothing more grand in store for a library hermit…right?

It is at this point the book shifts POV, and we meet our heroine, Aisling. A woman of no consequence, from a place as insignificant as nowhere…or so is the readers first perception. Aisling has lived out her life in a village quite unknown to outsiders, and of which is believed by its citizens; to cast a horrible curse upon its inhabitants. Keep your mouth shut, and stay–you live, cross the border, or speak of this place to anyone–and you die by this curse. Life is not grand at Brudair, and Aisling knows this better than some. Having been sold into slavery by her very own parents, in exchange for money for they, and her siblings to live an expensive lifestyle.

Since the age of 8; Aisling has spent her life at the Guild; weaving fabric, day after day. During one of her rare moments she gets to herself, she receives the shock of seeing her parents across a crowded travel way. Have they come to pay off their debt? Will she finally receive her freedom? Her heart sinks however, when they disappear once more into the carriage…and she knows that they must have negotiated a renewal of her contract. Desperation and hopelessness sets in, knowing she does not reach the age of 28–when her parents can no longer “rent” her labor–for several more months.

This is the point in the story where we see a previous character known for his visions of the future, break all rules and interfere in the destiny of another. A man so rigidly bound by the duty his gift demands–he would not even allow himself to try and prevent the death of the woman he loved. Readers are left wondering what importance this man could have seen, that he would tweak the strands of fate. It is here the adventure begins. With our hero and heroine both traveling towards a place rarely saught. One driven by choice…one driven by desperation…both driven by destiny. Upon this unlikely meeting of souls, our hero and heroine begin a fight for physical, and emotional survival. Locked in an inner and outter struggle to keep their secrets from coming to light. All while feeling the fragile bloom of friendship and trust; morphing into the bombardment of an attraction neither can afford.

For me, DreamSpinner was the most enjoyable novel of the Nine Kingdoms to date. Although I have adored every single novel in this series, book 7 offers long time fans, and newly arriving readers so much. Around every corner, there are unexpected dangers threatening the world, and people of the Nine Kingdom’s. There are many reunion’s between a whole cast of previous main, and side characters. Some heartwarming, and humorous–while others are shocking, and intense. I found myself laughing out loud with DreamSpinner more than with any other previous installment. And yet, in the next instant, I could feel the palpable tension building for the action to come.

As always, I felt completely transported by Lynn Kurland‘s lyrical writing, brilliant mental imagery, richly descriptive magic, and larger than life characterization. Although DreamSpinner did not end with as large of a cliff hanger as some of the other novels, this coming year will be no less painful of a wait. Runach grabbed ahold of my heart within the first ten pages, and I anxiously anticipate the next chapter of he and Aisling’s journey. Well done Ms. Kurland, and may you write within the world of the Nine Kingdom’s for many years to come.
Please. 🙂

Reviewed by Miranda

Copy provided by Author


Lynn Kurland – Biography – Bibliography

Lynn Kurland – Biography – Bibliography

Lynn began her writing career at the tender age of five with a series of illustrated novellas entitled Clinton’s Troubles in which the compelling hero found himself in all sorts of . . . well, trouble. She was living in Hawaii at the time and the scope for her imagination (poisoned fish, tropical cliffs, large spiders) was great and poor Clinton bore the brunt of it. After returning to the mainland, her writing gave way to training in classical music and Clinton, who had been felled with arrows, eaten by fish and sent tumbling off cars, was put aside for operatic heroes in tights.
Somehow during high school, in between bouts of Verdi and Rossini, she managed to find time to submerge herself in equal parts Tolkien, Barbara Cartland and Mad Magazine. During college, a chance encounter with a large library stack of romances left her hooked, gave her the courage to put pen to paper herself, and finally satisfied that need for a little bit of fantasy with a whole lot of romance!


9 Kingdom Series

  • THE QUEEN IN WINTER- Release Date:  February 2006
  • TO WEAVE A WEB OF MAGIC – Release Date: July 2004
  • STAR OF THE MORNING  – Release Date: December 2006
  • THE MAGE’S DAUGHTER – Release Date: January 2008
  • PRINCESS OF THE SWORD – Release Date:  January 2009
  • A TAPESTRY OF SPELLS – Release Date:  January 2010
  • SPELLWEAVER – Release Date: January 2011
  • GIFT OF MAGIC – Release Date: January 2012
  • DREAMSPINNER – Release Date: December 2012

The MacLeods

  • A DANCE THROUGH TIME – Release Date: December 1996
  • THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU – Release Date:  April 1998
  • VEILS OF TIME – (see also LOVE CAME JUST IN TIME) – Release Date: July 1999
  • A KNIGHT’S VOW – Release Date: September 2001
  • OPPOSITES ATTRACT- ( see also LOVE CAME JUST IN TIME) – Release Date: July 2000
  • CHRISTMAS SPIRITS (see also LOVE CAME JUST IN TIME) – Release Date: November 1997
  • MY HEART STOOD STILL – Release Date:  October 2001
  • A GARDEN IN THE RAIN – Release Date: September 2003
  • MUCH ADO IN THE MOONLIGHT – Release Date: April 2006
  • WHEN I FALL IN LOVE – Release Date: April 2007
  • WITH EVERY BREATH – Release Date: May 2008
  • TILL THERE WAS YOU – Release Date: April 2009

De Piagets

  • STARDUST OF YESTERDAY – Release Date: April 1996
  • THIS IS ALL I ASK – Release Date: August 1997
  • ANOTHER CHANCE TO DREAM – Release Date: December 1998
  • IF I HAD YOU – Release Date: October 2000
  • DREAMS OF STARDUST – Release Date: April 2005
  • WHEN I FALL IN LOVE – Release Date: May 2007
  • THE MORE I SEE YOU – Release Date:  October 1999
  • FROM THIS MOMENT ON – Release Date: October 2002
     Release Date: November 1996
  • TAPESTRY – Release Date: September 2002
  • TO KISS IN THE SHADOWS – Release Date: August, 2006 (ebook novella-1/2010)
  • TILL THERE WAS YOU – Release Date: April 2009
  • ONE ENCHANTED EVENING – Release Date: April 2010
  • ONE MAGIC MOMENT – Release Date: May 2011
  • ALL FOR YOU – Release date: April 2012
  • ROSE IN MOONLIGHT – Release Date: April, 2013

King’s Champion by M.A. Abraham – a Review

King’s Champion by M.A. Abraham – a Review

king's champion

For over four thousand years he has been an Elf to command respect from warriors and Kings alike. He is Torrent, Kings Champion and one of the few to go fearlessly into the dangers beyond the portal to form a bond with the Elven Empire there. He is held in great honor there, friend to the King and his sons. He has been sent by the Light King to relay an offer of friendship and help to bring the wars there to an end, for the King has seen a day when the boundary between their worlds will fail.

Serenity has shrouded her life in mystery. None save the King knows what she is or what she has done, for she walks a path she would rather none know of. She is an Elf of great beauty and great talent and with one look of her silver blue eyes she has brought one of the greatest Elves her people have known to his knees, for they are Life Mates, and though he would charge into her life and take it over, she would only have him once he has come to learn her ways. Theirs is a battle of wills and learning to bend with the raging winds of fate.

King’s Champion by M.A. Abraham is the 3rd novel in her Elven Chronicles series.  This story revolves mostly around Torrent and Serenity, as they are this book’s lifemates, though every character we have loved from the start of this series, plays a major role in the story. 

As much as Torrent is the King’s Champion, and a worthy match for the magnificent Serenity, this book belongs mostly to her.   I loved most of the women of the Elven Chronicles, with Eden being my favorite. However in King’s Champion, Serenity rises up to match Eden as my favorite heroine. 

As the story begins, Daroth gives Serenity an assignment to meet with King Garoldth.  Torrent has already left for the portal to bring the villian of Marious Story, Brennor home to meet his fate.  They will eventually meet, but Serenity is on a private mission that even Torrent cannot know.  Torrent is very forceful in showing Serenity how he feels, and his determination to rule her to his way.  He has met his match in Serenity. Lol 

The main story though is to help King Garoldth, and his kingdom, which is in a different portal.  It is being destroyed by demons, and the female population is almost gone, having been captured and destroyed by the demons.   Daroth has offered his help to save Garoldth’s people, with his warriors, and the Dragon fleet.  Serenity is the major player, as she will handle bringing all the Dragon riders, and Dragons forth to fight and destroy the demons in Garoldth’s kingdom.  To ensure the elves from this kingdom are safe, Serenity informs them they must all leave through the portal, before the Dragons arrive for battle. 

Spells by Eden to help increase the population will cause some havoc, but this is a fun part of the story.  Seeing Serenity with her Dragon Riders, and mostly meeting the wonderful Dragons was great.  I loved Alleria, the White Dragon, who belonged to Serenity, and enjoyed reading about the Red, Black, Silver, & Gold Dragons.  For whatever reason, I was not a big fan of Torrent, who does not match Gabriel, Marious, Daroth, Larek as lifemates, but I adored Serenity.   It is wonderful to see all of our favorites again, and the storyline was fun, exciting and I enjoyed reading this book very much.   In King’s Champion, M.A. Abraham keeps the flow and fun going in this wonderful series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author


J. Kenner-Guest Post and Giveaway

J. Kenner-Guest Post and Giveaway Blog Tour


Sex, Kink, and Really Hot Men

I was talking to a guy I knew from college over the holidays, and he asked me about my upcoming book, Release Me. He’d been trolling the internet and ran across my webpage and my Facebook page. “So it’s like that Fifty Shades book?” he asked.  “All kinky sex, huh?  Should I get a copy for my wife? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).”

I smiled and did the polite chit chat thing, and wandered off to talk to another cluster of party folks, partly frustrated by his perception and partly frustrated with myself for not correcting his misimpressions.

But here’s the thing:  on the drive home, it occurred to me that he was right.  He just wasn’t entirely right.

Because there is kinky sex (albeit on the lighter end of the scale, but  it’s there) and there are scenes that have a definite turn-on factor.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But what is wrong is the assumption that erotic romances are nothing but sex and titillation.  Because that is very much not true.  Why not?

Simple:  It’s not about the Sex. It’s not about the Kink.  It’s not even about the Really Hot Men (well, okay, maybe it is).  What it is about are the characters and the story.

Yes, there are some books on the market that are little more than Penthouse Forum letters.  But true erotic romance centers around the characters and their relationship, both in and out of the bedroom.  Characters with issues and struggles.  Characters that readers want to spend time with again and again and again.

Maybe I’ll bump into him at another party next year when Book Three comes out.  If I do, I’ll give him the entire trilogy (Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me.).  And I’ll tell him to read them for the story … and he can thank me for a lovely evening with his wife later.

Do you read or write erotic romance?  How would you have responded to my friend?

Thanks so much to The Reading Café for hosting me today!  Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Release Me courtesy of Random House!


1.  You must be a member at The Reading Cafe.  If you are not a member, please register using the log-in at the top of the page or by using one of the social log-ins.

2.  If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment

3.  Giveaway is open to US residents only.

4.  Giveaway runs from December 30, 2012-January 10, 2013.



J. Kenner is the pen name of USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner (who also writes as J.K. Beck).  Release Me, an erotic romance, will be available in the U.S. and the U.K. on January 1, and in over a dozen other countries later in 2013.

You can hang out with J.K., learn more about Release Me and her other novels, or just poke around and see what catches your eye at her website, www.jkenner.com, and also at her J. Kenner Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jkennerbooks and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juliekenner


Release Me

ORDER LINKS: Random House / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository /

Book copy:
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes an erotic, emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard “no” and a fiery woman who says “yes” on her own terms. 
He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist. 
Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me. Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

Release Me by J. Kenner (an excerpt)



Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword by Melanie Hatfield-a review

KINGDOM OF THE SNARK: The Quest for the Sword by Melanie Hatfield

ABOUT THE BOOK: (Released June 2012) If “The Hobbit” was written with the narrative style of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” you would have “Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword.”

Renee the Righteous is a young Quester who must find the long-lost Sword of Power to save her people. When at last she thinks her quest for the sword is at an end, she discovers a catch: it takes two people to claim the blade, not one, so she needs a Questing Partner for help. Too bad Renee never bothered to make any friends on her journey, and she has to put her trust in a stranger. She thinks she has found the perfect Questing Partner in Guy Smokes, a hapless Assistant Barkeep always willing to help anyone with heaving bosoms. However, Guy might just change his mind after they are attacked by lustful nun assassins and lethal men in green cloaks. Will Renee be able to claim the Sword of Power, or will she and her Questing Partner be slain instead?

Journey to a land where men are women, women are men and unicorns are jerks in “Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword.”

REVIEW: From the title, you can surmise that the author interjects her own brand of humor and repartee into this (first part of a trilogy) fantasy storyline following Renee the Righteous on her hunt for the Sword of Power. Melanie Hatfield takes the reader on a journey from the first few days following Renee’s birth to her quest for the sword and beyond. The reader is introduced to an ensemble cast of characters taken from every child’s fairy tale and nightmares.

The reader is also introduced to Renee’s adopted family of monks, including her adopted father Brother Malicide, who are embattled in a war with the neighboring ‘gang’ of murdering, virgin nuns who have made it their mission to destroy and take down anyone associated with the demon known as Renee. The storyline follows as Renee must defend the monks and fight off horny, virgin, killer nuns and a series of ‘Grimm’s’ fairy tale type characters of Mudville on her quest for the sword of power. It is said whomever is in possession of the sword will become the next king or queen, but there are a few ‘additional’ quests and catches that must be met before the rightful king or queen can take his/her place.

Personally, for me, the storyline fell flat in the humor department-the author tried too hard. The novel is written from third person POV but on many occasions the author interjects (or interrupts the flow) and addresses the reader directly using ‘dear reader’ to explain the ‘ins and outs’ and the ‘whys’ surrounding some of the storyline premise. At times the narration was colorful and interesting, and at other times, I felt as though the author forgot the age of her audience-especially during some of the one-on-one conversations between the ‘heroes’ and the ‘bad guys’-at these points the writing was simple and mundane. The story read like a child’s fairy tale, and throughout most of the novel, I thought I was reading a child’s story, but the band of horny virgin nuns and some of the descriptive violence would shake me out of that train of thought.

Kingdom of the Snark may be right for some readers, but it was not one of my favorite storylines or premise. I am not sure as to the age of the intended audience- from most of the storyline’s direction of humor and cover-I would say Young Adult or Middle Grade-but the gang of horny, virgin nuns ups the age category (in my opinion). If you like a fairy tale premise with ‘snark’ this story may be for you.

ORDER LINKS: Amazon / KOBO / Barnes and Noble

Copy supplied by author.

Reviewed by Sandy


The Nine Kingdoms by Lynn Kurland- a Synopsis

The Nine Kingdoms by Lynn Kurland- a Synopsis

Since we are  big fans of Lynn Kurland, we thought we would introduce you to this wonderful series, if you have not read it.  The synopsis below is based on the 7 novels of The Nine Kingdoms.  The first two books above are novellas, within anthologies.

Star of the Morning: Nine Kingdoms # 1.

GoodReads description:
From the USA Today bestselling author comes the first in a magical romantic fantasy trilogy.

Darkness covers the north, since the black mage has begun his assault on the kingdom of Neroche. Legend has it that only the two magical swords held by Neroche’s king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades…

In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. And Morgan will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword-and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined.

Description from Amazon.com:
Neroche’s kingdom is threatened by the darkness of an evil Black Mage- and all hope lies in the legend of two magical swords. Miach, the arch mage of Neroche, carries one. And he’s found a Wielder for the other in Morgan, a young woman and feared mercenary herself. Now, Miach must choose between endangering the woman who has captured his heart, and defending the kingdom he’s sworn to protect.

The Mage’s Daughter: Nine Kingdoms # 2.

 GoodReads description:
In the kingdom of Neroche, nightmarish creatures have been unleashed as weapons in a war of evil. Morgan the mercenary, daughter of a treacherous black mage, must fight against them-as well as for her very life. Miach of Neroche would risk his own life to save Morgan’s, but he must do so at the peril of the realm, forcing dangerous choices in the deadliest of quests.

Description from Amazon.com:
Lynn Kurland’s trilogy of love, intrigue, and fantastic destiny continues as a female mercenary fights for her life, her future, and the one man who can save her…

Darkness in the kingdom…

Neroche is under assault by a magic that has stripped its king of his powers and unleashed nightmarish creatures in a war of evil in which Morgan of Melksham is fighting for her life. Recovering from a near-fatal attack, Morgan realizes that she must decide between two fates: that of being a simple shield maiden or accepting her heritage as an elven princess. If only she could ignore that she was the daughter of the perilous black mage of Ceangail…

Magic in the blood…

Duty bound to aid his king, Miach of Neroche is torn between what his responsibilities demand and what his heart desires. He is willing to risk his life to rescue Morgan from the darkness that haunts her, but he must do so at the peril of his realm. Forced to choose between love and the burden of his mantle, Miach sets out on his most deadly quest ever.

Princess of the Sword: Nine Kingdoms # 3

Description from GoodReads:
The stirring conclusion to the “superb romantic fantasy trilogy”(Midwest Book Review) from the USA Today bestselling author of The Mage’s Daughter

Born out of “a fantasy world…too wonderful to miss” (Paranormal Romance) the Nine Kingdoms Trilogy now explodes in the fiercest battle yet as the fate of a kingdom lies with a man and woman bound by love, magic, and a legendary-and perilous-sword.

A Tapestry of Spells: Nine Kingdoms # 4.

Description from GoodReads

The compelling start of a new fantasy romance trilogy set in the world of the Nine Kingdoms, from New York Times bestselling author Lynn Kurland

Return to the world of the Nine Kingdoms with New York Times bestselling author Lynn Kurland as a new evil, and a new passion, emerges:

Sarah’s brother has embraced the dark arts, vowing to destroy the Nine Kingdoms, and she doesn’t have the power to stop him. Now she must risk everything to thwart his plans, even though she fears the quest will reveal the secret she’s kept all her life.

After seeing his entire family slain by magic, Ruithneadh swore never to use his power again. But when Sarah pleads for his help, he’s thrust back into a life of enchantments and peril, and a quest capable of unraveling the entire fabric of the Nine Kingdoms.

Spellweaver: Nine Kingdoms # 5

Description from GoodReads:
The New York Times bestselling author returns to the Nine Kingdoms for another spellbinding story of magical romance.

Ruith had long managed to ignore the magic in his veins, until aiding Sarah with her ill-fated quest forced him into places where his heritage was impossible to deny. Faced with an ever-increasing number of enemies who covet his power, Ruith must accept his birthright and gather his father’s spells together so he can destroy them-or turn away and allow his father’s evil to overcome the Nine Kingdoms.

Now, Ruith and Sarah must rely on each other more than ever-for everything they value is at risk: the Nine Kingdoms, their lives…and their hearts.

Gift of Magic: Nine Kingdoms # 6.

Description from GoodReads:
The latest installment in New York Times bestselling author Lynn Kurland’s breathtaking Nine Kingdoms saga, which follows the daughter of a dreamweaver and the son of a mage as they struggle to save the realm from a magic as dark as it is powerful.

Sarah of Doìre knows the pattern of spells is no accident. With each page, each powerful rune, she and Ruith are being led somewhere, to someone-but by whom, she cannot tell. Sarah’s gift of sight only allows her to see the spells themselves, not the person behind them.

A reluctant sorcerer still learning to trust his own magic, Ruithneadh of Ceangail knows he’s woefully unprepared for the adversaries they’ll face. But he and Sarah must collect and destroy his father Gair’s spells soon. Many mages seek their power, and in the wrong hands, Gair’s magic would plunge the Nine Kingdoms into an eternity of darkness.

But as they pursue the final spells-acquiring strange companions, welcome allies, and unexpected foes along the way-Sarah and Ruith realize that their true quest has only just begun. The real enemy is closer, darker, and more power hungry than they ever imagined; and until he is defeated, the fate of the Nine Kingdoms hangs in dire peril.

Dreamspinner: Nine Kingdoms # 7

Description from GoodReads:
New York Times
bestselling author Lynn Kurland’s enthralling Nine Kingdoms saga brings together a weaver’s apprentice and the son of a mage, both fighting to save the Nine Kingdoms from peril.

Aisling of Bruadair has lived a provincial life, heedless of the evil creeping over her land. That ordinary existence changes forever, though, when she is sent to the opposite end of the world to find a master swordsman. If she fails, her life–and her country’s safety–will be forfeit. She just never expected that swordsman to be a wounded elven prince masquerading as a simple soldier.

Powerless and scarred from a long-ago conflict, Rùnach of Ceangail has spent years in obscurity, ignoing battles he can no longer fight. And although he has been drawn back into the world, he fully intends to live an unremarkable life far away from events he knows he cannot change… Until Rùnach meets Aisling and realizes that she is far more than what she seems, that their alliance has attracted unwelcome notice, and that some battles must be fought.

Synopsis compiled by Miranda