Sarana and the Dark King by Ivy Keating


source: free review copy from the author
title: Sarana and the Dark King
author: Ivy Keating
genre: fantasy
pages: 268
published: March 22, 2021
first line: In ancient times, a powerful sorcerer played a trick on the rulers by creating maps with the location of tarilium, the strongest metal in existence.

Blurb:
The fearsome Dark King of Bounten, with a magical creature known as a Valomere by his side, is on a quest to find the rare metal tarilium. His brutal ways incite the powerful psychic Allani. But when news of his plans to invade the kingdom of Attaveer spread, a new opponent emerges—Sarana, the daughter of a farmer…or is she?

At birth Sarana was sentenced to death for her “cursed” white hair. The delivery nurse, Meriden, whisked the fair-haired babe to a loving home across the waters from Bounten. Her entire life she hid her appearance to avoid prejudice. Things changed when she discovered she too had a Valomere. She strived to learn the creature’s magic and master fighting skills with the hope of becoming a warrior. Her dreams came true when she was allowed to join the Attaveerian king’s network of spies–a group poised to help defend the kingdom from an invasion by the Dark King and his powerful army.

When word of the white-haired messenger reached the Dark King he vowed to stop at nothing to capture or kill his opponent.

The time for hiding is over.

Can Sarana save herself and her kingdom? Follow Sarana from death to destiny as she joins forces with psychics, Valomeres, and the power of inner strength, to defeat an evil king.


———

My thoughts:
Sarana and the Dark King by Ivy Keating is an entertaining read centered around the Dark King, a gifted young woman named Sarana and the magical beasts the Valomeres.

The story begins Sarana is born with bright hair, infected eyes and a pale complexion all of which can be taken for a curse. In order to keep Sarana safe, nurse and healer Meriden whisks her away to safety while telling everyone the child has died. Meriden takes Sarana to her sister and brother in law who raise her as their own in Attaveer.

Without giving too much away, as Sarana grows up, the Dark King of Bounten continues to be obsessed with the rarest metal tarilium. Also woven into the storyline is the King wanting an heir from his Queen while keeping his mistress hidden on the side. The King’s mistress has a sister named Alani who is an oracle and who wants to take the Dark King down and free her captive sister.

As the plot twists and turns Sarana learns there will be war over the tarilium. With the help of her friends and her Valomere named Halo Sarana is willing to fight against the King and defend her homeland of Avateer. It all culminates to an exciting ending where secrets are revealed and the story closes with the hint of more to come.

The story is brimming with adventure and the plot twists and turns made Sarana and the Dark King an engaging read. The author writes the main characters in such a way that you are drawn into the storyline immediately. I also enjoyed the imaginative world building. However, I would have liked further details as to some of what was going on. Specifically with the magical Valomeres and their powers because some of their abilities seemed unclear to me.

All in all, while fantasy is not my usual genre I enjoyed this one and I would recommend it if you’re looking for an entertaining adventure.

“The land in Attaveer was mostly flat with gentle rolling hills. It piqued her imagination when he spoke about the topography of his kingdom. There were mountains and waterfalls that spilled into rapids. He also told her about the native animals, like bears and caribou.”- 26% Kindle app, Sarana and the Dark King


“The oracle never liked the king of Bounten. His policy on metal taxes caused too much suffering, but now his behavior affected her personally. With Whisper curled up on the floor next to her, she could read him well. Tonight, she learned about his plans to trick the kingdoms and prepare his army to invade Avateer.- 58% Kindle app, Sarana and the Dark King


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received a free copy of Sarana and the Dark King by Ivy Keating from the author in exchange for my honest thoughts. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Book Spotlight: Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines




Good morning all. I hope you are enjoying these summer months and reading good books. Today I am spotlighting a poetry book called Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines.

With every pre-sale purchase of Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines between June and November 2021, a group of anonymous donors will match dollar for dollar each sale and donate it to The Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 and is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

The publisher also is offering a limited time advanced sale price of $8.50 + shipping. Order here: https://mainstreetragbookstore.com/product/any-dumb-animal-ae-hines/

About the book:
Any Dumb Animal (Main Street Rag, 2021), the debut poetry collection by AE Hines, presents a memoir-in-verse as told by a gay man raised in the rural South who comes of age during the AIDS crisis. Flashing back and forth in time, a cast of recurring characters and circumstances are woven into a rich tale of survival and redemption, exploring one man’s life as a queer son, father, and husband, over a span of more than thirty years.



Advance Praise:
“This compellingly candid work speaks the language of courage, of breath-taking transcendence. Finely crafted, it is a remarkable debut collection. Take note, world: a powerful lyric poet has emerged. Take note and rejoice!” ~ Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

“I was amazed over and over at the bravery of these poems, never shying from the difficult moments in life, and all the while staying true to the clear-eyed, fearless vision of their author.” ~ James Crews, Editor of How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope

“With a strong gift for storytelling and an eye attuned to detail, Hines ultimately shows us the beauty and knowledge made of experience.” ~Richie Hofmann, Author of Second Empire



About the Author:
AE Hines (he/him) grew up in rural North Carolina and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. His poetry has been widely published in anthologies and literary journals including I-70 Review, Sycamore Review, Tar River Poetry, Potomac Review, Atlanta Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal and Crab Creek Review. He is winner of the Red Wheelbarrow Prize and has been a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Writing at Pacific University. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Visit Poetic Book Tours for details on the blog tour.

Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray

source: free copy via Pump Up Your Book Promotion for review.
title: Bird’s Eye View
author: TK Ray
genre: fiction/novella/family drama
pages: 103
published: July 15th 2020
first line: Cancer.

About:
A Bird’s Eye View is a twisted tale of deception with acts of love overshadowed by the pains of a troubled teen. As traces of laughter and love are left amongst the whispers of chilling prayers, this once tight knit family faces a rollercoaster of emotions and a call to heal. This blindsided attack leaves the family devastated and takes this family on a journey none of them could prepare for.

My thoughts:
Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray is a story revolving around a family and the pain they go through and the ties that bind them. As the story starts off Cara narrates. She is a widow and mother of three daughters who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her life has not been easy she and her deceased husband used drugs and she’s gotten clean and tried to pick up the pieces after his death. She has twin daughters aged 18 and a younger daughter about to go into high school when she starts making arrangements. She decided to leave her youngest Carli to her niece Mirabel. As the chapters flows the other women in the story narrate in turn. Carli lives with her cousin Mirabel and spends most weekends with her sisters.

As the book flows and each character tells their story, there is sadness and heartache but also hope and strength. As a teenager Carli starts to rebel and I wondered how it would turn out for her. She drops a bombshell towards the middle of the book that was quite the plot twist. This bombshell causes a ripple effect that threatens to tear the entire family apart.
Some of the chapters end with the women saying a prayer as Mirabel especially is religious. I will mention a trigger warning for domestic violence and gun violence during a scene.
With author TK Ray’s writing style, I felt like I was being told a story by a friend as I read, if that makes sense. The writing flows smoothly as you get each character’s POV.

This is a story about family and how tough times make you stronger. One of the main themes here is that family is the most important thing. I enjoyed reading Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray and I recommend it if you enjoy stories revolving around family dramas and persevering.

“Crazy how that works. You pray against these moments-that they never come, that they don’t penetrate as deep as the last but of pain did-but when it comes, it’s there and then it’s gone. You’re forced to formulate new prayers, new peace, and a new life after the trauma.”-p.24,Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray

“The family I knew us to be, we always pull together in struggle. We were the strongest women I knew. Strength was becoming our thing.”-p.60,Bird’s Eye View by T.K. Ray



About the author:
“Write what hurts and watch it heal.” That is the mantra that has empowered the imagination and willpower to tell her story for upcoming Author, TK Ray. Using colorful language and descriptive tone, Tk provides a safe space to unpack a beautiful and twisted tale based on a true story of real family dynamics.

TK Ray was born in San Diego, California to a fifteen-year-old mother and fourteen-year-old father in the late eighties. Born to two young teens, TK found herself tainted by the statistics of becoming a teen mother herself. She found solace in the world of literature as her own private journals became her voice when shyness took over. She began to understand the world in more intuitive way and birthed that intuition into an imagination that has fueled much of her writing. Much of her writing is personal however as the years have gone by, have included poetry, music, obituaries, blog posts and now literature.

TK is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner and practicing Massage Therapist in southern California. She fuses her knowledge in holistic health with that of her knowledge of her bachelor’s degree in health science to better serve her community in wellness and education. – quoted from Amazon


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received a free copy of Bird’s Eye View via Pump Up Your Book Promotion in exchange for my thoughts.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 5/2/2021: Hello May

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog…
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….


Hello and happy weekend. I can’t believe it’s May already. I hope everyone is doing well. As of this past week hubby and I are fully vaccinated, we both got our second doses. Sigh of relief. My husband just had a sore arm both doses but I had more symptoms mainly with the second dose. About 15 hours after the second dose I ran a low grade fever and had body aches for about 24 hours then I was good as new.
Aside from that, I’ve been reading, crocheting and taking walks enjoying the nice weather. I’ll share a few flower pics at the end of this post.

Onto more updates….

recently on the blog:
I posted a few reviews!

Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan


A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay


Garden in a Seed by Nazanin Mirsadeghi


Impermanence by Ren Powell

coming soon:

My review of Bird’s Eye View by TK Ray is coming up this week.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

in my mailbox:

I have a great mailbox this week. We went to a local favorite used book and record shop and I found two like new copies of these two books. Lisey’s Story by Stephen King and Transformations by Anne Sexton
++++++++++++++++++++++++

crochet:
I finished up a sweater I had been working on for a few months. My daughter bought me this beautiful yarn for Christmas. I put my shawl to the side for now because I want to finish up a blanket for my son in time for his May birthday in a few weeks. He’s turning 25! I cry just thinking about that.
watching:
Ghost Adventures as usual and Seeking Sister Wife because it is completely nuts.
Also of note, Secrets of the Whales on the Disney app is fantastic. Have you seen any of these?

++++++++++++++++++++++++

I’ll close with photos of a recent walk through our local state park. The Cherry Blossoms in particular are my favorite. Thank you for stopping by and enjoy your weekend. What are you up to? What are you reading? Stay well.



Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.

Impermanence by Ren Powell

source: free review copy via Poetic Book Tours
title: Impermanence
author: Ren Powell
published: 2021
pages: 60
genre: poetry

blurb:

We are the stories, and our bodies books…

This project began with meditation on the idea of impermanence. And with this image, with the body-as-story slowly losing shape. With our narratives falling apart, becoming loose elements that can/will be rearranged in another story. Which is what history is, after all.

The bust was made of plaster and paper mache and was photographed in various locations in the Jæren landscape of Norway. It was supposed to break up slowly in the waterfall during filming. However, it was taken by the current and slipped under an old mill house – trapped by the torrent of water, the wooden beams, and the rocks.

But, well, this is what happens when we try to plan our stories. Isn’t it?

my thoughts:
Impermanence by Ren Powell is a collection of poems about life and self reflection and the way that all things are connected. There is something relaxing about reading poetry. I dove in and out of this book for about a week reading a few poems at a time.

“nothing is ever
and for-ever is enough”-Impermanence by Ren Powell

There are different images throughout the book to go along with the poetry. Also throughout are photographs of a plaster bust in different locations such as the forest and I found this to be an interesting touch. I’ve seen hard copies of this one online and it looks like a beautiful book for any poetry lover’s collection. I found this a great read for National Poetry Month and I enjoyed it very much.

“What if there is music here
among the microbes
and what if they’ve carved sagas-
illegible ridges on your skin

What if one day you will be close enough
kin enough
to understanding.”-Impermanence by Ren Powell

Special thanks to Poetic Book Tours for my copy of Impermanence.

The book is available at Mad Orphan Lit and Blurb.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 20: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)
April 28: the bookworm (Review)
May 12: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Guest Post)
May 25: Soapy Violinist (Review)
June 8: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
June 10: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)
June 18: Necromancy Never Pays (Review)
July 6: Book Connection (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #Impermanence #RenPowell



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received a free copy of Impermanence by Ren Powell via Poetic Book Tours.