Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jean Lee, Paulette Mahurin, Pamela S. Wight


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore where I share recent reviews for the authors on the shelves.

The first author today with a recent review is Jean Lee for her YA/Dark Fantasy Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

About Book 1 of the omnibus, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

Over the Wall, they came to hunt humans. But now, a human’s going to hunt them. This girl’s nobody’s prey.

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shapeshifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’ve been around a while and read my fair share of Fantasies, but it’s rare to find an artist who so capably commands her medium as does Jean Lee.

Her evil characters transcend malevolence, while her good characters are flawed enough to be their worthy opponents. I’ve never witnessed such a clash of forces and such mayhem as battled in the climax. I was literally exhausted when I finished it.

It’s good to know there are many books remaining in Jean Lee’s arsenal. We’ll be enjoying her brilliance for years to come.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1949428001

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1949428001

Here is a selection of the six short story collections from Tales of the River Vine

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6/

You can find more reviews and follow Jean Lee on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18139027.Jean_Lee

Connect to Jean via her website: https://jeanleesworld.com/

The next book to receive a recent review is A Different Kind of Angel by Paulette Mahurin.

About A Different Kind of Angel

Inspired by real events chronicled by a journalist for The World News, Elizabeth Cochrane (pen name, Nellie Bly), in 1887.

Klara Gelfman’s life in Kiev was serene until she turned nineteen. That’s when Russia’s Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, and a vicious propaganda campaign spread that blamed the Jews for his death. Klara and her family became victims of the many pogroms breaking out throughout Russia. None were so violent as what hit Kiev in 1881. It was there that Klara’s family was torn asunder and her world changed forever.

This is the story of what happens to this traumatized, orphaned, young Jewish woman when she escapes Russia and crosses an ocean to arrive on the rough streets of New York City able to speak only a few words of English. There, in the land of the free, Klara’s life is thrown into turmoil when she is mistaken for a drunken prostitute. Mistreated by those entrusted to protect her—the police, a judge, doctors, and nurses—she is condemned to an unrelenting hellscape when she is incorrectly and involuntarily committed to a lunatic asylum.

At a time when women had no political, economic or professional rights, comes a story where corruption by the powerful was as overt and commonplace as was garbage on the New York City streets. From the award-winning, international best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes an unforgettable story of the devastating effects of persecution, hatred, and arrogance. A Different Kind of Angel is also a story of love, family, friendship, and loyalty. It is a journey into the nature and heart of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave readers thinking about the story long after they finish the book.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A Different Kind of Angel by Paulette Mahurin is the incredible story of Klara Gelfman, a Russian Jew fleeing to America after her family life is destroyed in 1881 by soldiers massacring Jews. Klara flees to America with her father for safety. Her father dies on the way over. Alone and speaking no English, she gets mugged and everything she had was stolen. From here, her story takes a drastic turn for the worse. Well written and well researched, at times this story is very hard to read. It speaks to the courage and spirit of an individual to survive horrific conditions.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GZYXNR4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GZYXNR4

Also by Paulette Mahurin

Read all the reviews and buy the bookshttps://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

Profits from Paulette’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read more reviews and follow Paulette on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5895757.Paulette_Mahurin

Connect to Paulette via her website: https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

The next author to receive a recent review is Pamela S. Wight for her romantic suspense Twin Desires…

About the book

Twin Desires, a romantic suspense set in San Francisco and the quiet CA town of Stinson Beach, follows Sandra Eastman and the two men who almost destroy her world.
Blake Sinclair, Sandra’s boss and president of a prestigious investment firm, is successful and charismatic. But his twin brother, Alex, is his opposite – a twisted, tormented soul. Sandra becomes a pawn in a deadly game between these powerful opposing forces.
In this fast-paced thriller, Sandra is scooped up into a whirlwind of suspense from the mansions of the S.F. elite to a remote beach house 30 miles north. As each page turns, she becomes more entangled with the skeletons in the Sinclair closets while desperately confronting her own skeletons and discovering strength she never knew she possessed.

A recent review for the book

Robbie Cheadle  5.0 out of 5 stars A fast paced romantic thriller March 28, 2019

This book was not at all what I expected. It is labelled a romantic suspense and, as I did not really know much about this particular genre, I was expecting a lot more romance and less suspense. I was entirely wrong. This book by Pamela Wight is fast paced and exciting from beginning to end. The romance does play a large role but it is woven into the thriller in a way that does not detract from the excitement and story at all.

Sandra Eastman has spent years overcoming her traumatic past. She has built up a safe and predictable life for herself which contains no surprises. She has a good job in a top investment firm where she is achieving and is set to climb the corporate ladder and she has a lovely place to live with a good and friendly neighbour.

Then life starts of happen and Sandra, who dislikes change and the unexpected, is drawn into a frightening situation involving her attractive but reclusive boss, Blake Sinclair, and his vicious and mentally unstable identical twin brother, Alex. Sandra unwittingly becomes a target of Alex and she must learn to trust Blake in order to survive. She will also have to face her worse fears in order to save the man she has grown to love.

I enjoyed the character of Blake Sinclair. Despite growing up dealing with the endless problems posed by his brother’s mental illness and his resultant sense of responsibility and guilt, combined with his family’s enormous wealth, Blake is a decent man. A bit arrogant and used to commanding other people, but he has a good heart and wants the best for his employees and his company. He does come across as being a bit demanding and impatient and these characteristics do result in the explosive situation with his brother following a different path than what it might have if Blake had a different nature.

I did like Sandra although from time to time she did irritate me a bit with her spinelessness. She grew nicely as a character and was able to deal with greater and greater challenges to her mental stability and physical health as the story unfolded. I enjoyed her a lot more at the end than in the beginning.

All in an excellent read that will keep you entertained throughout.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D36RR6S

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twin-Desires-Pamela-Wight-ebook/dp/B00D36RR6S

Also by Pamela S. Wight

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6

Read more reviews and follow Pamela on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7042822.Pamela_Wight

Connect to Pamela via her website: https://roughwighting.net/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with a couple of books tucked under your arm…. Thanks Sally.

 

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – James J. Cudney, Paulette Mahurin and Jean Lee


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week and the first author with a recent review is James J. Cudney for the second book in his Braxton Campus Mysteries – Broken Heart Attack.

About the book

Who killed Gwendolyn Paddington?

When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies. But when one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D asks Kellan to investigate.

With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Although this book has elements of a cozy mystery (I.e. amateur sleuths, small town setting, quirky/eccentric characters), there is more of a contemporary mystery feel to it. In this outing of The Braxton Campus Mysteries, Kellan is recruited by Nana D. And her friend Eustacia Paddington to find out who killed Gwendolyn Paddington. I will say Kellan has more patience than I do. The Paddington family is full of spoiled, rude, greedy and secretive people who tried their best to get rid of Kellan’s interference. Throw in other snarky females (his boss Myriam, the sheriff April, and Nana D.) and it is a wonder he doesn’t hate women. Do not give up hope, his sister Eleanore and friend Maggie, are understanding and supportive and by the end of the book, even the sheriff comes around. While trying to solve the mystery, Kellan is dealing with all the changes in his personal life, things at work and running Nana D’s mayoral campaign.

This is a very character driven story with characters that are being developed more in each book. The main characters are also becoming more likeable which I am happy about. The mystery was a good one with clues being dropped throughout the book, but also several red herrings. I thought I had it all figured out, then something else was revealed to lead me in another direction. As the reveal occured, I followed along shaking my head, thinking, “of course, why didn’t I think of that.” The dialogue was crisp, snarky in many cases, and revealed so much about the characters. Emma, Kellan’s 6 year old daughter is adorable. She is sweet, mature and can also give the attitude (I think Nana D is rubbing off on her). I am looking forward to the next book in this series to find out what happens next in Kellan’s life as well as picking up on those few situations that popped up at the end of the book. If you enjoy a mystery with some cozy elements, pick up this series and delve into life at Braxton College and town.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KGGJX1T

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Attack-Braxton-Campus-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07KGGJX1T

Also by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M

Read more reviews and follow James on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17128817.James_J_Cudney

Connect to James via his website and blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

The next book to receive a recent review is A Different Kind of Angel by Paulette Mahurin.

About A Different Kind of Angel

Inspired by real events chronicled by a journalist for The World News, Elizabeth Cochrane (pen name, Nellie Bly), in 1887.

Klara Gelfman’s life in Kiev was serene until she turned nineteen. That’s when Russia’s Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, and a vicious propaganda campaign spread that blamed the Jews for his death. Klara and her family became victims of the many pogroms breaking out throughout Russia. None were so violent as what hit Kiev in 1881. It was there that Klara’s family was torn asunder and her world changed forever.

This is the story of what happens to this traumatized, orphaned, young Jewish woman when she escapes Russia and crosses an ocean to arrive on the rough streets of New York City able to speak only a few words of English. There, in the land of the free, Klara’s life is thrown into turmoil when she is mistaken for a drunken prostitute. Mistreated by those entrusted to protect her—the police, a judge, doctors, and nurses—she is condemned to an unrelenting hellscape when she is incorrectly and involuntarily committed to a lunatic asylum.

At a time when women had no political, economic or professional rights, comes a story where corruption by the powerful was as overt and commonplace as was garbage on the New York City streets. From the award-winning, international best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes an unforgettable story of the devastating effects of persecution, hatred, and arrogance. A Different Kind of Angel is also a story of love, family, friendship, and loyalty. It is a journey into the nature and heart of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave readers thinking about the story long after they finish the book.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A harrowing and riveting portrayal of Jewish refugee from the Russian pogroms of 1881. Klara Gelfman’s loses her father during her voyage to New York. Alone and with little English she is mugged and accused of being a prostitute she lands in Blackwell Island Lunatic Asylum. In the asylum for five long years she exposed to the worse and the best of the human condition.

It is a heart-wrenching to read about the horrid, inhumane and violent treatment of the patients in Blackwell. However, it is also a testimony of the strength of the human spirit to rise, survive and find strength in one another.

Paulette Mahurin did an amazing job in capturing the history Blackwell Island. The story is richly researched, well-written, emotive, inspirational, and unforgettable. I highly recommend this book!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GZYXNR4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GZYXNR4

Also by Paulette Mahurin

Read all the reviews and BUY the bookshttps://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

Profits from Paulette’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read more reviews and follow Paulette on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5895757.Paulette_Mahurin

 
Connect to Paulette via her website: https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

And last but not least today is a recent review for the first book in the series Fallen Princeborn: Stolen by Jean Lee which is YA/Dark Fantasy

About Book 1 of the omnibus, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

Over the Wall, they came to hunt humans. But now, a human’s going to hunt them. This girl’s nobody’s prey.

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shapeshifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Peru Editor 5.0 out of 5 stars Young Adult Fantasy, Emphasis on the Adult January 22, 2019

‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’ fits into the category of classics like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ or ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ where a strong female lead must do battle with mysterious forces in a fantastical realm. Lee’s book is a bit darker than the typical fantasy fare, and I’d put it in the category of Young Adult (although it should be mentioned that my perspective always puts the emphasis on ‘Adult’ rather than ‘Young’). As I was reading Lee’s book, I found myself thinking, “What is it that this book reminds me of?”

I think it’s a testament to the book that I had a nagging sensation of familiarity, and it took me a long time to pin it down. The uncertain familiarity meant that Lee had captured an ambiance of a certain well-known, high quality writer, but had replicated it with enough originality to create something new. I was about a quarter of the way in when I finally figured out that the storytelling reminded me of ‘American Gods,’ and after that there was a section that reminded me specifically of ‘Coraline.’ I think fans of Neil Gaiman will see his influence on Lee, and be appreciative.

Lee isn’t quite the polished storyteller that Gaiman is, but she is certainly an author to follow. I’m kind of torn about the present tense style. On the one hand, I think it’s effective, even liberating to read. But on the other hand I know the literary world is very much a creature of habit, and they often snarl with contempt at present tense and slam the cover no matter how effectively it’s used. I like that the publisher took the time to get the book a Kirkus review, but these days Kirkus doesn’t wield nearly as much clout as it used to. I wish, instead of the Kirkus review, they’d invested in a more dynamic cover.

Jean Lee is an interesting new voice, and I think ‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’ will be a delight to a certain category of genre readers. The writing style is dynamic and interesting, but, unfortunately, that’s the type of thing that will make it less palatable to a wider audience. Lee creates an eerie, magical ambiance, and her characters are interesting and well-developed. A small press book, ‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’ represents the kind of fascinating divergence from the standard media conglomerate entertainment that so many people claim they’re looking for, but so few actually endeavor to seek out. Give it a try, and leave a response, I’m curious to hear what other’s think of this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1949428001

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1949428001

Here is a selection of the six short story collections from Tales of the River Vine

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6/

You can find more reviews and follow Jean Lee on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18139027.Jean_Lee

Connect to Jean via her website: https://jeanleesworld.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure you will be leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas #PsychologicalThriller #YAFantasy – Jaye Marie, Helen Jones, Alethea Kehas and Jean Lee


We are coming to the end of the Christmas promotions that have shared all the active authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, with just a couple more posts to go. Today some fabulous authors with books that would make great gifts for family and friends.

The first author has written a series as well as stand alone novels. As usual.. I will feature the first book in the series and here is Jaye Marie and The Ninth Life ( Murder Mystery Series ‘Lives’ Book 1)

About The Ninth Life

Nine Lives is the story of struggling and ageing artist Kate Devereau’s life as she tries to make sense of her often confusing existence. She needs to understand what has been happening to her, and why she seems to have cheated death on so many occasions.
To understand why she has been plagued by the mysterious, tormenting voice in her head before it might be too late to do anything about it

One of the reviews for The Ninth Life.

Sep 06, 2017 Rosie Amber rated it Four Stars.

The Ninth Life is a psychological thriller set mainly in Guildford, Surrey.

Kate is a fifty-nine year old artist. She has an unusual voice in her head that provides commentary on her life; however, she has always tried to ignore what it says. Kate is currently working on a series of seascape pieces for Sam, a gallery owner and best friend, who is opening a new gallery in London.

We learn about Kate’s earlier life in a series of memories; her hardships, relationships and her current desire for solitude are all fed to us in easy-to-absorb chunks. Early on we are introduced to a sinister character who is besotted with her. As the story develops there is a slow build-up of tension, with a net of mishaps and murder that draw closer.

I liked Kate, with her artistic flair and disregard for most responsibility unless it was connected to her paintings. It became her coping mechanism in the face of underlying fears. Her passion for art shone through and I could almost see the paintings she so lovingly produced. Her back story was interesting and filled out her character, but the method of introducing it got a little repetitive towards the end. I did want to know a little more about those who loved Kate and, perhaps, what drew them to her. For me, there were so many unanswered questions about many of them, I would have enjoyed a little more to flesh out the characters.

Overall a good debut novel. If you like art and enjoy the thriller genre, then give this a go.

Read other reviews and buy the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ninth-Life-running-Murder-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00O272A14

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ninth-Life-running-Murder-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00O272A14

Also by Jaye Marie

Find out more about Jaye Marie and buy her books: https://www.amazon.com/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

Read more reviews and follow Jaye Marie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638857.Jaye_Marie

Connect to Jaye Marie via her website: https://jenanita01.com/

Now time for a popular YA/Fantasy series from Helen Jones with book five coming soon. The Ambeth Chronicles is also available as a set with books 1-3. Here is more about the first in the series which would make a great gift for teenagers in the family. Oak & Mist.

About book one Oak & Mist, The Ambeth Chronicles

‘The end of everything? Great, no pressure then.’

Take a journey to Ambeth, where time twists and a palace gleams in green gardens. Where Light and Dark hold the Balance of the worlds, and beauty is a birthright, not a gift.

However, appearances can be deceiving.

When Alma stumbles between two trees into Ambeth, she finds she has a choice to make. Three items are lost: A Cup, a Sword and a Crown. Light and Dark are embroiled in a struggle for control. And both sides have been waiting for Alma to arrive…

A hidden world. A family secret. And a choice. But how do you choose between your head and your heart?

One of the reviews for the book

Darque Dreamer 4.0 out of 5 stars Rich and Magical. August 14, 2018

Oak and Mist was full of beauty and mystery. I loved how vivid and vivacious it was! It drew me in from the beginning and kept me turning pages until the end!

I loved how unique the world felt. It had a lot of details and was very nicely developed. I really loved the idea of entering this world of Light and Dark by accidentally finding a gate in the human world and entering it. It had a faerie tale/faerie world feel, as the story told that sometimes humans happened upon these gates, entered the world, and when they returned to the human world, decades had passed during their absence. It was all kind of centered around mysticism and lore, and was quite beautiful.

I enjoyed the dynamic characters. Though, I do wish they had had a little more time to develop, they felt realistic and fascinating. I enjoyed Alma’s curiosity and boldness. I loved Caleb’s kindness. I fell in love with King Thorian and his emotions, and I was dangerously drawn to Deryck and his dark seduction.

The story was quite fast paced. I do wish it had been slowed down a little bit to really allow some more development and details to be added, but it definitely did not drag anywhere. It felt like a typical YA plot, but it did have a few unpredictable moments that shocked and surprised me, and it still had enough originality to keep me reading.

What I found the most interesting about the story was the fact that it wasn’t just another battle between Light and Dark. It was also about the gray area, about choices, and about emotions and impulses. There was a richness to it, and it was quite magical. I’d rate it 3.5 stars and I would definitely want to read the next one!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oak-Mist-Ambeth-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00V4ZIKUW

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B00V4ZIKUW

Also in the Ambeth Chronicles and by Helen Jones

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Helen-Jones/e/B00VG6SWN4/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Helen-Jones/e/B00VG6SWN4

Read more reviews and follow Helen Jones on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13910923.Helen_Jones

Connect to Helen Jones via her blog: https://journeytoambeth.com/

Time for some more YA/Fantasy from Alethea Kehas – The Labyrinth (Warriors of Light Book 1) which was published in the summer and has been receiving wonderful reviews.

About The Labyrinth

Within the realm of night, six teens are brought into a mysterious labyrinth that is plagued by darkness. They have been told they are the chosen warriors who have been tasked to repair the network of light within Earth. An impossible mission that only becomes possible after they discover the gifts that reside within their shadow selves. Gifts that can only be unlocked by traveling the maze of light that is as much outside of them as it is inside of them.

A recent review for the book

This is a beautifully written book that can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates adventurers who work to improve themselves and their situations with courage and intelligence. As characters the youngsters show up well in the various situations they find themselves yet not without having to battle their personal demons. I enjoyed it that the violence was not out of proportion to the story, and that there wasn’t a lot of silly “teen age” behavior. Best of all, I felt was the interesting way the author presented nuggets of he Ancient Wisdom, those principles that guide us to our best selves. I can’t wait to see the next book!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FP3GYBH/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Labyrinth-Warriors-Light-Book-ebook/dp/B07FP3GYBH/

Also by Alethea Kehas

You can find all Alethea’s books and anthologies on her Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Alethea-Kehas/e/B00NO1SB9O

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alethea-Kehas/e/B00NO1SB9O/

Read more reviews and follow Alethea on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17149309.Alethea_Kehas

Connect to Alethea via her website: www.aletheakehas.com

And last but not least today is the first book in the series Fallen Princeborn: Stolen by Jean Lee which is YA/Dark Fantasy and another great gift for the teens in the family.

About Book 1 of the omnibus, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

Over the Wall, they came to hunt humans. But now, a human’s going to hunt them. This girl’s nobody’s prey.

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shapeshifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

Watch for book 2 in Spring 2019

One of the recent reviews for the book

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, Jean Lee’s breakout YA novel, was eight years in the writing, eight years in the creating, eight years in the honing; and eight years in the suffering — through her postpartum depression; through past breaches of trust rearing themselves in the present; through invalidation of the self that can only be understood by others similarly situated — and in the end, Jean Lee would probably say it was worth it, for every drop of her experience, sweat and tears made it onto the pages of Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, showcasing her raw talent, and the strength of will and character it took not just to survive, but thrive. 

First, the backstory. Jean Lee wrote a series of standalone shorts encapsulated under the common banner of Tales of the River Vine, the precursors to Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, and an exposé of the characters we’ll meet there. The stories are like bursts of mouth-watering flavor, a small, delicious taste of what is to come. Tales of the River Vine introduces us to: The Boy Who Kept a Forest in His Pocket, where we first see The Wall, a malevolent force all its own; The Stray, and the strange cat known as Captain Whiskers; Dandelion of Defiance, and the beautiful Ember, a hunter from the fairy world who pays a large price for her insubordination; No More Pretty Rooms, and the cruel and insouciant prince who once ruled indiscriminately over River Vine; The Preservation Jar, about the same prince, now repentant, and his wise teacher who hope to change the course of the evil forces plotting to overtake River Vine; and Tattered Rhapsody, and the feisty Miss Charlotte, the indomitable heroine who would give up all, even her beloved music, to keep her sister, Anna safe. By the time you’ve finished Tattered Rhapsody, you’re primed to dive into Fallen. Oh, and the shorts are all free on Amazon Kindle so no excuse not to read, eh?

Tattered Rhapsody begins with Charlotte performing on the piano for her teacher and a few college recruiters, the scrappiest pianist ever to grace a stage. Her hands are raw, cracked and painful looking, but her demeanor is pure steel and musical genius. Her teacher praises her to the recruiters, angling for a scholarship. The same teacher later tries to convince Charlotte why she should take the scholarship, but Charlotte refuses to leave her sister behind and under the “care” of several less than competent adults. You don’t need to have read the back stories to start in on Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, but it will prime you for the novel and launch you into a magical and most unsettling world of fairy magic where grudges rarely die, but humans often do.

Fallen picks up right where Tattered left off. Charlotte has agreed to take the scholarship on the condition that Anna go with her, and the girls are on a bus headed to their Aunt Gail’s where they will live while Charlotte attends school and follows her musical aspirations. We get early on that there is trouble in the girls’ home, a father who’s died, a mother left grieving and unable to cope, and an aunt and uncle that are more foes than friends. The particulars are unraveled slowly, like pulled taffy, the nefarious and horrific nature of the girls’ situation worse than hell, and Charlotte refuses to leave Anna to face that alone. For her part, Anna seems a bit vapid and if you’re like me, you may find yourself questioning why Charlotte has remained so loyal when she receives so little in return.

So off to Aunt Gail’s the girls go with everything maybe working out for a change, but then the inevitable snafu: the bus breaks down and the passengers are rescued by another bus, but this one smells funny, like death and decay under everything shiny and new — in addition to being a good fighter, Charlotte’s super power is her sense of smell — and the driver and his helper are more than a bit odd. Before the next 24 hours are up, Charlotte will have crossed over into a land that defies logic. “Charlie” will fight anyone and anything that preclude her from keeping Anna safe, but if she needed to be badass before, now her and Anna’s lives depend upon it.

If you enjoy stories about magic, good versus evil, and the fight for justice, then Fallen Princeborn: Stolen guarantees hours of reading pleasure. I think you’ll agree with me that Miss Charlotte may be the gutsiest, most combative heroine to ever to burst the shackles of your heart.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1949428001

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1949428001

Here is a selection of the six short story collections from Tales of the River Vine also published this year.

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6/

You can find more reviews and follow Jean Lee on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18139027.Jean_Lee

Connect to Jean via her website: https://jeanleesworld.com/

Many thanks for dropping in today and I am sure there will be a book or two that would make great gifts for the whole family. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Jean Lee


Delighted to welcome author of Young Adult Fantasy, Jean Lee to Getting to Know You. Jean Lee also blogs from her Website. You will find posts on the writing process and character development and Author Interviews: Shehanne Moore

Before we find out which of the questions that Jean has chosen to answer.. here is the official word….

About Jean Lee

Jean Lee is a Wisconsin born and bred writer excited to share her Young Adult Fantasy fiction with those who love to find other worlds hidden in the humdrum that surrounds us. Her first novel, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, has recently been released by Aionios Books. Stories from her short fiction collection, Tales of the River Vine, have also been published at varying intervals in 2018.

Stories are the fire that warms the soul. They melt fear, ignite hope, and spark relationships like nothing else. I’m honored you seated yourself here by my hearth to enjoy my fiction’s light. Please feel free to visit often, for there are many treasures bizarre and fantastic in my imagination waiting to speak with tongues of flame. Then we can talk about the writers that refuel us, as I do on my site

Welcome to Smorgasbord Jean and to start us off today can how would you describe your fashion sense?

I can sum it up with this question: “What’s at the thrift store today?”

See, I grew up on hand-me-downs and church clothes sewn by my grandmother, so spending more than ten dollars on any item irks my Midwestern Frugality. In the early years of motherhood, it made no sense to spend more than a few dollars on clothes bound to be burped or shat on. Even today, I try to only purchase items on super super clearance, while taking care to only buy new when all the kids can use it, or I can get several years out of it. So my closet ends up being a hodge podge of oddball tshirts, quirky blouses, ill-fitting skirts, and jeans. I am who I am, and I see no need to fit in with trends or styles. So long as I’m comfy, I’m good.

What is your favourite holiday and why?

Christmas Eve. Yes, I specify Eve.

My parents both worked in the ministry all my young life, so December was the most intense month of the year. Constant meetings, rehearsals, practices, concerts—it all kept building up and up and up until at long last it was Christmas Eve, a loooooong day of church services and caroling, but after THAT—at last! Despite the late hour, my family would sit together around the Christmas tree, share presents and snacks, and be together in a season that always pulled everyone a thousand different directions. We’d all stay up past midnight despite the demands of services Christmas morning, but that didn’t matter—we were together around the tree with carols and candles soft in the background.

Then came Christmas Day.

Sure, the morning service was nice and boisterously joyful, but then we had to go to my aunt’s house. Kind as my aunt was, she had no toys of any kind, and no, we weren’t allowed to bring our own because that’d be seen as “rude.” Plus she always made ham, and I hate ham.

I still get a heavy “meh” attitude the minute Christmas Day services end. Hmm, maybe I should just bring some toys to play with at the in-laws’ this year…

If you could choose a different career, what would it be and why?

This is going to sound silly, but a librarian.

You’d think that teaching writing should be right up my street, but here’s the thing: remedial composition focuses on basic paragraph structures. For my students, writing anything coherent for more than a few sentences is a challenge. Now I don’t mind helping many students face this challenge; many are just trying to dust the cobwebs off of knowledge they learned 10-30 years ago, while others are in military service and are trying to get a head start on school during their service. I applaud those determined to write a new chapter to their lives after serving time in incarceration. I want to help.

But then there are the students who expect the A just for showing up, who want to follow the guidelines “their way,” refuse to heed any feedback, and then chew you out for daring to give them a “bad grade.”

These are the students that make me look at the librarian desk, and sigh wistfully.

These are the people who can help design reading programs for various age groups, organize activities to bring the community together. They are the gatekeepers between children and countless worlds of imagination and learning. They get to share their passion for books with other people for a living.

That is just. Plain. Cool.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

In the halcyon days of yore, I’d have said a night person. I wouldn’t start homework until 11pm. I’d do a pie run with friends at a local diner at 2:30am. Wake up, feel fantastic. 

Then came motherhood. Aaaaall ’s turned me into a morning person.

When I was a kid, I never understood why my mom would get up at least an hour earlier than the rest of us to just eat cereal and watch the news.

Now I toooootally get it.

Having a little peace in the house before the chaos of kids makes such a difference to my sanity. Mom must have felt the same way before going off to teach a couple dozen youths for several hours at a day. Cereal and news for her, coffee and blogs for me—it’s that peaceful moment of just, waking up to learn something new while giving the body the taste of smooth comfort. I love that.

So that’s why if a child wakes up mere minutes after me and insists on staying awake, I am a guaranteed crank ALL DAY.

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

I studied piano for fourteen years, violin for five, clarinet for eight.

Being a preacher’s kid means finding some way to glorify God, and music is often that way. I began lessons at the mature age of four, and began participating in recitals shortly thereafter.

Playing for church, for chapel, for the classroom—it was all just a part of my godly duties.
I suppose I sound a bit jaded wording it that way. Honestly, I’m not. It takes a steady nerve to not only perform before hundreds of people, but a quick wit, too: when the pastor skips a verse; when communion takes FOREVER so you better find something else to play, when the choir repeats a page that wasn’t supposed to be repeated and you have to cut the interlude short and jump back three pages—you have to be ready for those moments, and you sure as hell better adapt or God’s service is going to suck.

I’d also like to think that studying music all this time helped me better appreciate what music helps inspire my storytelling. When you study music, you’re studying another medium of storytelling: the voices (instruments), the dialogue (harmonies), the pacing (rhythm), the tension (volume). It’s all there, and it all speaks to you, if you’re willing to truly listen.

Books by Jean Lee

About Book 1 of the omnibus, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

Over the Wall, they came to hunt humans. But now, a human’s going to hunt them. This girl’s nobody’s prey.

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shapeshifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen is the first in a series of young-adult dark-fantasy novels by Jean Lee. Watch for book 2 in Spring 2019

One of the early reviews for the book

Charlotte will rescue her sister, Anna, and nothing will stop her. Not abusive uncles. Not crazy bus drivers. Not wolves that might be humans. Not ravens that might be murderers. Not trees that might be vampires. But when Charlotte fails to save her sister, when she is taken from existence herself, she must cross the only thing keeping our world safe from changeling danger: The Wall. From Wisconsin to… someplace else, where all of creation is a predator seeking her heart, where her sister lies… somewhere.

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen is the first in a series of YA dark fantasy novels by Jean Lee, and it starts with menace. Charlotte reminds me in all the best ways of Miriam Black, the broken protagonist of Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds. The opening scenes on a bus and immediately following drip with weird danger that caught my attention and didn’t let up.

I love how Lee took what could have been a fairly standard “Fae” race and made it her own. I’m stunned with the originality; she balanced “familiar” and “different” perfectly. You might guess where she’s going as the supernatural shenanigans begin, but you’d probably be wrong.

Her characters pop as well. Arlen, the noble protector, has that perfect balance of being a welcoming presence and yet holding back something dangerous within himself. Poppy has this manic crazy feel, as of Harley Quinn slipped into a fae story.

However, some of the characters are… too much in character for me. I found myself wanting to strangle Charlotte, our protagonist, more than once. She has a chip on her shoulder that keeps her from trusting anyone (which does become a major plot point), but that refusal got to be a bit tedious after a while. However, we really get inside Charlotte’s head – the chip on her shoulder is perfectly in character, and we know why she does what she does every time. Her self-talk creates an endearing character, even through the annoying tendencies to punch people. It reminded me of my love and frustration with Katniss in Hunger Games, actually.

If you’re looking for a good, complete story, you’ll find it here… kind of. The ending felt to me more like the pilot of a TV show: Setting up all the various plots that will be followed for the rest of the season. They do entice, but it didn’t feel like the first volume in a book series to me. So yes, it definitely tells a complete story, but it also very directly leaves a lot of threads unaddressed.

That said, the book isn’t short. You won’t be walking away unsated; it is a big chunk of good writing that will keep you entertained and rooting for the protagonist. You will know Charlotte and her new companions well before the end of the novel.

Overall, despite my criticisms, this is a solid novel and well worth your time. The originality of the world shines, and the menace is palpable, particularly in the opening and closing chapters. Check it out.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1949428001

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1949428001

Here is a selection of the six short story collections from Tales of the River Vine also published this year.

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Lee/e/B07DPP2RV6/

Jean Lee’s books are also available from Aionios bookshttps://aioniosbooks.com/jean-lee

You can find more reviews and follow Jean Lee on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18139027.Jean_Lee

Jean Lee’s serialised fantasy, Middler’s Pride, is now available on  Channillo with bonus character sketches on Wattpad.

About Middler’s Pride

After a humiliating dinner with a suitor, Meredydd sees only a dull life ahead, destined to crush her heroic spirit–that is, until she’s accepted into the Shield Maidens. Surely nothing but glory and adventure await, right? And they do…if Mer can first overcome the most dangerous enemy of all: herself.

Jean hopes to publish a serialized form of the second book, Beauty’s Price, sometime next year.

Connect to Jean on Social Media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012373211758
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeanleesworld
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeanleesworld/

Thank you for spending time with us today and I know that Jean would love to receive your feedback… thanks Sally

Images: Pixabay.com