A Love Letter to the Tales of Goldstone Wood [yeah, it’s a fangirl post]

I first heard about the Tales of Goldstone Wood while with my cousins eight years ago. Brittany, my eldest cousin, showed me a beautiful book she had picked up for just a few dollars at a little bookstore. It had one of the loveliest covers I had ever seen. It was titled Heartless, and it was written by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

It is the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, and it is my childhood. (Warning: this is a major nostalgic fangirl post with so many references that many won’t understand…. but I really don’t care. #sorrynotsoryy)

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I’ve always enjoyed fantasy, living off of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia for as long as I can remember, but The Tales of Goldstone Wood took that love to a new level.

I read Heartless three times before Veiled Rose was released (Heartless was published in 2010, and Veiled Rose came out in 2011…). I devoured Veiled Rose and then Moonblood, but whatever expectations I had for the series could not prepare me for what came next. Starflower and Dragonwitch completely outdid everything that had come before them.

The books just. kept. getting. better.

goldstone 1.jpgGoddess Tithe, the first novella, was released on the heels of Dragonwitch, taking breath away yet again. When the opportunity arose, I signed up for the cover reveal for Shadow Hand, completely delighted that I could participate.

Bits and pieces about Golden Daughter were dropped, then came the cover and the buzz about how long it was (584 packed pages). Then Draven’s Light, a huge “novella” fitting the hugeness of the series, was released. I cried while reading it. Repeatedly.

The depth and richness of everything in the Tales of Goldstone Wood is incomparable. There are many excellent modern fantasy novels, but the Tales of Goldstone Wood series towers over all of them. There are so many good fantasy stories out there, but The Tales of Goldstone Wood dominates on every level.

So much can be said about the world(s) captured in the series–the cultures and kingdoms and histories. The lordly sun and the lady moon. The glory and purity of the starry sky. The Faerie kings and queens with their three lives. The halls of the Merry People and the throne room of the goblin queen. Rivers and all their craftiness. The Dragon and his kiss. The Knights of Farthest Shore and the Lumil Eliasul. Much can also be said about the stories with all their complexity and twists and the threads that trace through them—the wild fun and the wild danger.

But the world would be only interesting and the stories would be only adventures if it weren’t for the characters. The characters are what make these books more than just stories. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the people that leaped off the page and commanded attention and affection, each one unique and so so so so real.

stengl 1I never much cared for the Chronicler or Leta—probably because I’m very partial to Alistair and didn’t like that they didn’t see or appreciate his greatness—but the Brothers Ashiun stole my heart, their story devastating me every time I read it. Somehow, I came to adore even the Flame at Night with all her fire, hatreds, lies, and brokenness.

Not many people loved Una, but she was dear to me even with all her selfish whining. Felix, that dastardly little fiend of brother, has never stopped making me laugh, and watching Leo grow from the boy-prince into manhood with much trial and error is still one of my favorite things.

I wasn’t a fan of Daylily and Foxbrush, but that’s probably because I’m very, very partial to Leo, Rose Red, and Una (it’s like a love pentagon).

Draven’s courage and Ita’s resolve will never not give me tears and chills. I haven’t met Sairu yet, but from what I’ve heard, I think I’ll like her. The Panther Master broke my heart, and I sorely miss Sun Eagle.

Imraldera, the sweet, brave Starflower; oh, how she taught me compassion. And words cannot express the place Eanrin has in my heart, the most cat-ish poet to ever grace the page, so fierce and noble and unexpected in every way.

For whatever reason, I stopped reading the Tales of Goldstone Wood a few years ago, but then Anne Elisabeth Stengl announced that she won’t be writing any more of them.

So I went back to my shelf and stared at the books, feeling strangely, deeply sad. Heartless, Starflower, and Dragonwitch are on my special Favorites of All Time shelf. Golden Daughter sits on my To Be Read shelves. The others are gathered together on their own shelf, and I decided it’s time to revisit all the beloved places and reacquaint myself with all the beloved people.

This time, I’m reading them in chronological order—the order they take place, not the order they were published. Starflower has already reclaimed its place in my heart, and I’m nearly finished with Dragonwitch, dying over Eanrin, Imraldera, Hri Sora, Etanun, Mouse, and Alistair all over again.

I know not everyone who reads Penprints will “get” this post, but it’s been a long time coming. The Tales of Goldstone Wood are a prime example of the power and beauty of stories. They are pure, beautiful, and everything stories should be.

It’s strange how they only get better the more I read them, how sad and happy they make me at the same time, how much I’ve learned from them about people and life and myself and God, how deeply they delight and compel at the same time.

What stories made up your childhood? Have you read any Tales of Goldstone Wood? Do you have a favorite?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – I may not post next week. We’ll see. If I do, should I post about hope when hope is gone or the importance of growing up.

P.P.S. – I realize that as a love letter, this should probably have been addressed to the series instead of just talking about the series, but I thought talking to a stack of books might be a little odd. So I figured I had better just talk about them as if they were real since that’s less weird. ;)

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Title + Cover Reveal of Nadine Brandes’ New Book – plus 5 things I’m jazzed for in this new novel and my leading fan theories – [and an ARC giveaway]

It has been said that no new posts come to Penprints during the month of November unless something momentous occurs. Well, something momentous has occurred.

Nadine Brandes has written a new historical fantasy novel, and today is the day the title and cover are revealed to the world. And you have a chance to win an ARC.

Brace yourself.

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But first, the all-important Blurb.

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King James.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Now. The Cover.

Hold onto your hats, kids.

Are you holding onto them?

FORGET THE HATS LET’S GET TO THIS AMAZING COVER.

Here. we. go.

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Reaction to the Cover.

No words or gifs can suffice.

But. If I was forced to share the honorable mentions, they would include but would not be limited to the following.

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monsters inc 1

thor 1

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i am groot 1

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the correct answer: me. I will wield my copy like the deadly hardback it will be.

5 things I’m most jazzed for in Fawkes.

  1. The male protagonist. The YA market is flooded with so many books with female protagonists (aka: main characters), and it will be so refreshing to have a story from a guy’s perspective. This adds much-needed variety to the contemporary YA market and my bookshelf.
  2. Color power & color masks. Um, what is there not to be excited about with these two? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND SPECULATIONS ABOUT THE COLOR MASKS ESPECIALLY (first and foremost: where can I get one?).
  3. Duels. It’s 17th century England, people. There’s bound to be a duel or two, and I expect them to be quite fantastic (especially if they include the mysterious color powers/masks).
  4. The Gunpowder Plot. Well-written assassination plots/conspiracies are always exciting, but when you throw gunpowder into the mix, things get downright explosive (see what I did there?).
  5. Treachery in general. The Blurb and Cover make me think that there will be more treachery and betrayal than just in the Gunpowder Plot itself. I’m jazzed (and scared?) about the relational treachery that could happen and how the characters will work through it.
  6. BONUS: The Stone Plague. What even is this thing???????? Where did it come from?? How did Thomas get it???

My current leading fan theories.

The Blurb leaves me with a lot of questions and a lot of different ways this story could go. So, in no particular order, here are some wild conspiracy completely solid theories (mostly about the Stone Plague).

– Guy Fawkes started the Stone Plague and ends up being the ultimate Bad Guy *wink wink* in Fawkes. This just seems like a viable possibility; if he’s plotting an assassination, he’s a shady character.

– The color masks are the source of the Stone Plague. As no bueno as that would be, it would follow with the typical fantasy rule that magic has to come with a price.

– Thomas has two personalities–the one that’s more-or-less innocently suffering from the Stone Plague and then the one that created the Stone Plague. (This one sounds out there, but is it really? Is it????)

– The family of the love interest is behind the Stone Plague which would kind of drive a wedge between Thomas and his girl (I mean, can we blame him?).

– The Gunpowder Plot is successful and King James dies (it’s historical fantasy, people, anything can happen).

– Thomas dies in the end. This one isn’t so much a thought through theory as it is a very real, rational fear since Nadine Brandes has no qualms about killing off nearly all the characters we know and love (case in point: the Out of Time Series). And also, I find the cracks in the mask on the cover quite concerning (and so should you).

– Whoever actually started the Stone Plague steps in and kills all the characters we come to know and love over the course of the book (remember, no one is safe). And then King James finds a cure for the Stone Plague, and the world cruelly keeps turning.

Now, I haven’t had long to ruminate on the Blurb and the Cover, but I’m sure even more theories will develop. And, of course, they’ll all be as wildly outrageous (but are they?) well-thought out as these I’ve shared today. Think about it. We haven’t even gone into the king’s call for death, why the Igniters and Keepers started fighting in the first place, or the color palette used in the cover. My frantic brain keeps churning theories out (like, what if no one’s responsible for the Stone Plague? What if it just came about and there’s no explanation and no cure and no bad dude to pin it on? Hmmmm? What then???).

Other stuff you need to know to be In The Know.

nadine-brandes-HR-6.jpegBe sure to check out Nadine Brandes’ original post about the cover reveal to get in on all the fun there and see if she has any exclusive content WE MUST KNOW about Fawkes.

Fawkes will release July 10, 2018. (Breathe, people, breathe. July 10 is only 239 days away. We will find a way to survive. I hope.).

Be sure to follow Nadine Brandes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the ARC.

And last, but not by any means least, the all important pre-order link.


Well, that’s all I’ve got for today, kids.

I am. so. jazzed. for Fawkes and shall pre-ordering myself a copy (or two or three).

What about you? What are your thoughts on the Cover? And what do you think of the premise? Which of my fan theories do you think is most viable (correct answer: ALL OF THEM)? What theories of your own do you have?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – don’t forget: enter the giveaway but also pre-order just in case.

A Bookworm’s Guide to Removing Sticker Stickiness from Books [you’ve waited all your bookworm life for this post]

First of all, you’re welcome for this post.

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You know that awful sticker stickiness that is left on book covers when booksellers ignorantly slap a price sticker on the cover of a book?

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Yeah, that abomination stickiness.

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It can be safely removed very safely without causing any further harm (it’s quite safe) to your beloved book (it’s an incredibly safe process).

I learned this technique from my friend Amanda (yes, the same Amanda who showed me The Way of the Bullet Journal; as you have probably gathered, she’s pretty incredible). I will now teach you this magic.

You should probably take notes (actually, that would be silly because this post is going to be on the internet until the internet dies).

Let’s begin.

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Supplies.

  • A book with evil sticker stickiness in need of removing.
  • 2-3 paper towels.
  • Lemon essential oil (grapefruit or orange essential oil would probably work as substitutes for lemon, but I don’t know for sure)

The Process.

Step 1: Remove as much of the sticker as possible.

The more sticker you can remove by hand the less you’ll have to scrub, so really try to get it down to just the stickiness. Otherwise, the rubbing could be awhile.

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Step 2: Put 2-3 drops lemon essential oil on the paper towel.

You don’t want to put the essential oil directly onto the book; if you do, there will be unnecessary oil/greasiness on the book that you will have to buff out later.

Step 3: Rub remaining sticker/stickiness with the paper towel vigorously.

Depending on the toughness of the stickiness, you may need to take this operation to a table. Also, don’t scrub; be gentle with your book and firmly rub.

Step 4: Add 1-2 more drops of lemon oil to your towel as needed.

Step 5: Buff out the remaining oil on the cover with a fresh paper towel.

Step 6: Revel in the smoothness of your book.

Step 7: Repeat Step 6.

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Again, you’re welcome for this post.

Have you encountered the evil sticker stickiness? What have you used to rid your books of it?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – 1/20 time spent on this post actually writing it; 19/20 finding gifs. So love the gifs.

The Blood Race [exclusive excerpt]

Happy Monday, my lovelies!

Today, I’m participating in the blog tour celebrating the release of The Blood Race by K. A. Emmons! And, to spread the news, I’m giving you guys a special excerpt of one of my favorite scenes in the novel.

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But first…

The Blurb.

He’s spent his life running from who he is. She’s been trying to escape her past for 100 years…

Born with unexplainable abilities he struggles to control, college student Ion tries desperately to integrate into his new school and finally put his dark past behind him. But after making a serious enemy, which leads to an accidental rendezvous with the mysterious old man next door— and his hauntingly beautiful but troubled young protégée Hawk, Ion realizes his life will never be normal again.

Late one evening, Hawk drags him by the hand into a closet-turned-rabbit-hole to an extra dimension, and Ion finds himself stumbling involuntarily into a secret society of training for “anomalies,” teenagers with a special set of abilities. Just like him.

As they train to become Protectors of future Earth, battling each other as well as their own demons, both Ion and Hawk begin to realize that they are far more alike than they realized. Unsettlingly so.

When the Dimension is shaken by an unthinkable betrayal, will an ancient prophecy bring Hawk and Ion together—or will a deadly threat hidden in plain sight cost them both their powers… and their lives?


And now…

The Excerpt:

“Does he teach at a school close by or something?” I asked. “He wasn’t exactly clear.”

“Clarity isn’t his forte,” she replied, setting a plate down in front of me. “I hope you like eggs.”

I didn’t particularly, but I wasn’t about to be that guy.

“Thanks.”

She sat down across from me, that same scrutinizing look in her greenish brown eyes. I wasn’t sure which was more distracting—that or the music.

“Am I ever going to know your name?” I asked after what felt like an awkward amount of time had passed.

“You have a thing about names, don’t you?”

“Most people like to know someone’s name.”

She pondered this, resting her elbows on the table. “I’ll give you a name, then.”

I could tell by the way she said it that whatever followed would be anything but her real name.

“Hawk.”

“Hawk is your name?” I started poking at the eggs with my fork. “Like the bird?”

“Sure.”

There was something incredibly irritating about her. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. The music was still throwing me off.

“You’re making this up,” I told her finally. “I can tell by how you’re acting.”

For the first time her expression seemed vaguely amused. “You don’t know me, so you have no basis for what my norm is,” she said. “There’s no way for you to know whether I’m lying or telling you the truth.”

“It doesn’t matter.” I took a bite of food. “I only cared because flirting is easier when you know someone’s name.”

“Is it really.” She didn’t say it like a question, and I could tell it wasn’t one.

“Could you possibly turn that down?” I asked, glancing in the direction of the radio.

She raised an eyebrow. “Why, so you can flirt with me?”

“No, it’s just a little too loud,” I said. “But I could make the flirting thing happen too.”

“You don’t like this music?”

“Not particularly,” I said, swallowing another bite. “It’s a little annoying.”

“Why do you think it’s annoying?”

“I don’t know,” I said, my voice trailing off, and she put up a hand for me to stop. There was a thin circular tattoo wrapping her ring finger.

“Shh.”

“What?”

She motioned with her hand again. “Listen. Listen to it.”

For a moment I did, without even asking why. I set the fork down on the plate and pushed it away quietly. Her eyes met mine from across the table.

“Describe what it is you don’t like, exactly.”

I thought about her strange question.

I didn’t like the music, I didn’t like the beat, and I didn’t like the sound of his voice or the lyrics. There was, in fact, nothing about the song that I liked, but her question still brought my attention to every detail. I was starting to become aware that this was dangerous ground.

“The lyrics.”

“What about them?”

“Nothing particularly,” I said. “I just don’t like them.”

“Does it sound louder to you now than it did before?” Hawk asked, still not breaking eye contact. “Did you hear the volume change at all?”

I opened my mouth to reply but closed it again before any words could come out, listening.

The volume had changed. It was louder now.

“It sounds the same,” I lied, trying to ignore the intensity of her gaze.

“Are you sure about that?”

I nodded vigorously.

“What about—”

I cut her off before she could say anything else. I had no idea how she had found out about me, but I knew where she was taking this.

“Just stop, okay?” My voice rose as my hands went unconsciously up over my ears. “Don’t make me focus on it—I don’t want to think about it.”

I felt my heartbeat starting to pick up. When my hands fell away, the room was completely silent.

“That was strange, wasn’t it?” she asked slowly. “It suddenly stopped.”

“You turned it off,” I corrected.

“No.” She shook her head slowly. “I didn’t.”

I pulled in a sharp breath. “Look, I have to go.”

“Why?” she asked, folding her hands on the table in front of her. “Are you scared?”

“Of course not.” I tried to level out my voice. “What are you talking about?”

She looked at me hard for a moment before saying anything. “I think you know.”

I shook my head, but she persisted.

“Come back tonight, Ion.”

I stared at her for a moment. “Why?”

“Don’t ask why,” she said, rising. “Either come or don’t.”


The Author:

profile-imgWhen she’s not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run.

 

Emmons lives in the often-snowy hills of rugged Vermont with her husband and dog named Rocket.

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her website.

 

 


Other Important Stuff:

TBR GRAPHIC 3.pngTHE ALL-IMPORTANT BUY-LINK.

Totally Graced kicked off the blog tour with this post. Abbie told us five reasons to read The Blood Race in this post. And here’s an interview with the author along with a mini-review.  And also a CHARACTER interview (lots o’ fun) here.


And that’s all for today, kids!

Have you heard of The Blood Race? What do you think of it from what you’ve heard? (OR, for those of you who have read it, what secrets can you share???????)

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – *insert cryptic-ness that makes next week’s post sound irresistibly enticing* ;)

Children of the Forgotten Cover Reveal

*cue theme song*

It’s not a Monday *theme song playing* and I just posted yesterday *theme song continues* but I’ve got book news to share with all you lovely people.

*theme song ends*

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SO, my faithful followers (and all the rest of you who haven’t figured out how to unsubscribe yet), I’m here in your inbox on a Tuesday.

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Oops, er, uh, wrong gif.

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(though I think we all wish I had gotten us all popcorn)

Charles Franklin, a friend of mine, will be releasing his debut novel–Children of the Forgotten: Anistemi Book I–in August! And today, I have the pleasure of sharing the fantastic cover and blurb with you!


The Blurb:

In a post-apocalyptic world, most people by age thirty have succumbed to The Sickness, a mysterious deadly illness. But the Sickness is not the only enemy for Collin Mann’s city. Hordes of deranged killers live in the hills around it. With few trained protectors, the future of the little city looks bleak.

Collin, fifteen years old, buries those the Sickness consumes. Slight and awkward, he shuns warrior training, avoiding the example of his big brother and guardian.

When killers attack at the watering hole, he’s called to step forward and defend. Instead, he freezes.

He’s ashamed. His people need him to fight. Can he do it? Or would a clumsy person like himself make any difference in the battle for existence?


The Cover:

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The Author:

charles-franklin headshot.jpgCharles was born and raised in Texas. From there, he joined the United States Army and has traveled the world. Along the way, he saw the most beautiful set of eyes he had ever seen. They belonged to a girl … and he married her right away. Twenty years later, they have three children and are finally headed back home to Texas for good.

Upon retiring from the Army after 23 years, Charles will continue to serve others as a teacher in the town he grew up in. When he’s not in the classroom, or spending time with his family, Charles writes stories about faith, love, hope, and adventure.

His debut novel, Children of the Forgotten: The Anistemi Book I, will release in August and he has already begun work on the second book in the trilogy. Charles is also writing an action thriller, and has begun outlining another series set in the Anistemi world.

You can find him on his website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


AND, I have it on good authority that if you sign up for Charles’ newsletter, you’ll get a prequel story for Children of the Forgotten for freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! So go check that out on his website.

Well, that’s all I got for today, kids!

What do you think of that swanky cover?? Do you read post-apocalyptic fiction? If not, do you think you might start?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – I also kind of will be receiving AN ARC FOR CHILDREN OF THE FORGOTTEN, so that means I’ll get to read it very, very, very soon. My little gremlin eyes are trained on my inbox, angsting for the ARC’s arrival.