Cover Reveal: Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

Hey peeps! Today I wanted to share with you a cover reveal from author Keira Gillett, whom I held a blog tour post for about her first book in this middle grade series. This is the second book and as such, here’s what you can look forward to below!

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Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland SwordAbout the Book:

Title: Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

Release Date: November 6, 2015 (11/06/2015)

Author: Keira Gillett

Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan

Narrator: Michele Carpenter

Series: Zaria Fierce Trilogy, Book 2

Summary in a Nut-Shell: Zaria Fierce must undo the damage she and her friends caused when they accidentally aided Olaf in his quest to release the dragon, Koll.

Full Summary: If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

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Pre-order on Amazon: E-book

Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest (Book 1):

“Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers.” Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal

“A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today’s technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.” Kathy Haw, Goodreads Review

“A great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delight of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it.” Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book

“If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy, look no further. This book kept me on my toes with its many cliffhangers and plot twists; it was quite hard to put down at times.” Meredith, All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff

“I love when a story jumps right in and hooks me like this one did. I highly recommend you look into it if you are in the mood for a fun adventure. I also recommend that you get it for any book loving middle schooler you know.” Emily, Midwestern Book Nerd

Illustrations by Eoghan Kerrigan:

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Excerpt:

Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.

“How’re you getting down?”

“Hopefully with your stargazer.”

“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.

“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.

She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”

Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.

“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”

Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.

Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.

At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.

Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”

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Pre-order on Amazon: E-book

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (zariafierce)

Eoghan Kerrigan IllustratorIllustrator Bio: Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures. He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects. He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website: http://eoghankerrigan.blogspot.ie/

Social Media: Twitter (eoghankerrigan), Facebook (eoghankart)

Michele CarpenterNarrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website: http://www.michele-carpenter.com/

Social Media: Twitter (michelecvoice), Facebook (michelecarpentervoice), YouTube (micheleyoutube)

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely peeps at The Broke & the Bookish. Today’s topic is about completed series that I have yet to finish. And let me tell you, I am ashamed I haven’t finished these yet.

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I’m still working on my first read through of this series, and I know it’s shocking to have not read this series at this point, but I am enjoying it so far and I hope to finish it in the upcoming year or so.
  2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor – I want to finish this trilogy sooooo bad, and I’ve been reading the second one for a week or so now, but other books have been getting in my way. I will read it! Soon!
  3. The Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare – I AM SO ASHAMED I HAVEN’T FINISHED THESE YET. Sad face. I’m working on it, though, and I hope to finish all of them either by the end of this year or sometime early next year.
  4. The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson – I am loving the first book of this trilogy so far and I really hope to finish it by the end of the year, but these books are kind of chunky and there’s a lot to process so I hope to finish them by early next year.
  5. The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – Now that I have all three in paperback I can marathon them, which is what I’ve been planning to do. SO! Expect reviews… EVENTUALLY! This is a pretty popular/well known and loved trilogy so I really want to see what it’s all about.
  6. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – I started the first book around the time the first movie came out and haven’t finished it. BUT I plan on marathoning this trilogy before the last movie so they WILL be read this year. I can do it! *fist pump*
  7. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead – I debated for a while on just giving this series away, but many people told me to just give it another try, that it does get better, so I’m going to try reading it again probably next year. I loved it when I started it years and YEARS ago, but after time it just didn’t impress me. So we’ll see what happens upon rereading it.
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – I’ve read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was ten years old… that was fourteen years ago, so I need a refresher for this epic series. I started it a while ago and never got through it because, frankly, they’re hefty books and I have them in a bind up so it makes it harder… Anyway, they will be read eventually!
  9. The Lord of the Rings trilogy + The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Yes, I know, it’s a travesty, really. But I started it and got about four chapters in and nothing really happened… Or barely began to happen, so I’ll have to keep going along. I know it’ll get better it’s just those first few chapters were kind of eh.
  10. The Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis – I bought these books for husband and was intrigued in them, myself, but I never actually picked them up to read them. I must remedy this! Sci-fi, romance, cool things? Yes please!

So there you have it, some series and trilogies that are complete that I haven’t finished yet. But I will eventually! I swear it!

What are some series you’ve started that you haven’t finished yet? Do you plan on finishing them? Let me know!

Rayna Recommends: High Fantasy

Welcome to another recommendation post! I figured I haven’t done one in a while and I really wanted to post something for the weekend (even if it’s a bit late in the day) so here it is!

Today I’m going to be recommending high fantasy books/movies/etc. What is high fantasy? It’s fantasy not set in modern times or in a modern setting with some sort of magical or out-of-this-world element. You’ll see below exactly what I mean.

Books

I can go on for days with books as fantasy is my favorite genre, but here are a few I highly recommend:

  • Falling Kingdoms” by Morgan Rhodes. This series is all high fantasy in that it follows four main characters – one of which has the ability to control the four elements – and is set in a world unlike our own. There is magic, Watchers (people that can turn into hawks and have powers), romance, blood, politics. It’s got a lot of elements that make for a good high fantasy story.
  • Throne of Glass” by Sarah J Maas. This series includes magic, as well, but with a twist: there is something in the land that is preventing magic from flowing on one continent. But among that there are kickass assassin’s, charming princes, loyal guards, sword fights, beings coming to life, witches, demons, faeries, and more. It’s set in a world apart from ours, making it a perfect setting for the story.
  • The Final Empire” by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not even finished with the first book yet, but I’m already recommending it. This book is phenomenal so far, featuring an interesting cast of characters, a magic system unique in its own way, and a world that is so sad compared to ours. It has enough to keep wanting to draw you in and wanting to read more and more and more. Highly recommend this one.

Movies

  • Nausicaa: Of the Valley of the Wind: This movie is beautiful and so under appreciated. This is an earlier film of Studio Ghibli’s but it still holds so much magic and wonder in it, with hints of politics, adventure, and more. This movie tells the story of a princess who is desperately trying to save her planet by stopping two warring parties from destroying each other and the planet they live on. It’s a deep and moving story, but it has its fun parts.
  • Avatar. Okay, this movie is phenomenal. I hadn’t seen it in years, but when I watched it recently I loved it just the same, if not more, than when I first saw it. It has beautiful imagery and lands, and it tells a great story about how humans are trying to steal from this planet, but the native people aren’t having it, even if some of the humans “disguise” themselves as natives: the Na’vi.  I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for something with romance, adventure, politics, and cool blue peeps.

Video Games

Hey, this is a new category! But I love games, so here we are.

  • Any Final Fantasy game ever. I love, love, LOVE this franchise so much: the stories are always amazing, the worlds are gorgeous beyond belief, and the characters are always unique and different from one another. I highly recommend any of the FF games to anyone. If you’re wondering, I’m currently replaying through FFXIII (I never actually finished it the first time around, but that’s a different story). Mind you, these games are extremely time consuming, so just be prepared for that.
  • Kingdom Hearts. I LOVE THIS GAME SO MUCH. I’m a major Disney fan, so when I first played these games years ago, I fell in love. It has fun, it has Disney, it has awesome characters, unique monsters, cool stuff. Just go play it. Right now. Go.
  • Ni no Kuni. This is a cute middle grade type game where it has so much adventure, a neat magic system, boss battles, and so much more. Yes, this may be tailored toward the tween/young teen age group, but I think anyone that enjoys RPG games will enjoy this one.

So there you have it! I could think of a crap ton of fantasy titles, but thinking of high fantasy specifically was a lot harder to do, but I managed to narrow it down! So yes, I recommend these cool things to you peeps; really, any age group can enjoy these as long as you have the desire to. Definitely give them a try if you haven’t yet!

Blog Tour: An Interview with Michele Carpenter the Narrator of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest – Part 1

Hey guys! Here today on my blog I’m hosting a post as part of a blog tour for self-published author, Keira Gillet, and her debut novel, “Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest.”
So, without further ado, here is the interview with the narrator of the audibook, Michele Carpenter and author, Keira Gillet!

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Good morning! My name is Keira Gillett and I am so happy to be here today at Reader Rayna with Michele Carpenter. This is part one of three of an interview series with Michele, the narrator of my debut novel Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. Watch the book trailer and hear Michele as Zaria:

Keira Gillett (Author): Why did you decide to become an audio book narrator?

Michele Carpenter (Narrator): For the last ten years, I’ve loved listening to audio books! They helped fulfill my desire to read when I didn’t have time to stop and hold a book long enough to dive into a story. And I was jealous of the narrators. There were several narrators who’s performances really inspired and called out to me, such as David Pittu (39 Clues Books) and I soooo badly wished I could do what they were doing! After narrating my first book, I was hooked! I don’t get to be just one character. I’m ALL the characters and that really satisfies my love of acting and performing.

Keira: We talked some about this over Facebook, but for readers can you share what a typical day spent recording is like for you? I know I’ve found it fascinating.

Michele: I wake up at 5:30am and help my kids off to school. Shortly after that, my husband arrives home from work, which is when we get to have coffee, eat breakfast together, talk, laugh, and enjoy one another’s company for a few hours. Pretty soon, he heads to bed, I brew a cup of Tazo Passion tea, fill my water bottle and head into the studio to begin recording. During this time, I may have to stop and research word pronunciations or accents online. Once I finish a chapter, I relax and listen back to it, proofing for errors as I go, and doing what we call “punch ins” wherever I’ve made mistakes.

I stop for lunch, check my social media and email accounts for messages, grab more tea and head back into the studio until I hear my kids’ school bus—which usually concludes my working time, but not always. It just depends on what’s going on with them and whether or not we have karate or rehearsals that evening. After my little ones are in bed for the night, I sometimes do more recording or spend time reading and planning future manuscripts for upcoming books.

Keira: What is your favorite part about narrating books?

Michele: I have two. I love imitating children and teen voices as well as different accents and character voices. The second is that narrating a book is like building something. I’m bringing the book to life with my voice. I’m shaping it into an audio world. That’s pretty fun. By the time the book is over, I hate to leave that world I’ve just created.

Keira: You do voices extraordinarily well, not just kid voices! As a reader/listener and author I knew what I wanted in a narrator, but how do you determine which books you want to audition to narrate for?

Michele: Soooo far, I’ve chosen them by how much the story interests me, combined with whether or not I feel I have the ability to perform it well. If it has a higher sales ranking, then that’s always helpful in the deciding process. And as long as I have a choice in the matter, I want it to be a book that I feel I can be proud of afterwards and not ashamed to have my voice and name on.

Keira: Passion and interest I agree are super important. I looked for a narrator who could share both with me for my story. What’s the most important part of your job as a narrator? What aspect of it means the most to you?

Michele: A great performance! I hate getting rated anything less than a five star. I wish all of my reviewers gave me a five star… I always do my best to give an exciting, five star performance.

Keira: In my (not so humble) opinion you’re off the charts! You brought Zaria Fierce’s world alive and gave the characters heart. Thank you so much for lending your incredible talent to this project. Readers, listen to the audio file below for a sample of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest performed by Michele Carpenter.

Don’t you agree that Michele is super talented? Thanks for joining us today!

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood ForestBook Blurb: On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Early Reviews:

“With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Excerpt:

Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Purchase your copy of Zaria Fierce today.

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (keiragillett)

Michele CarpenterNarrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website: http://www.michele-carpenter.com/

Social Media: Twitter (michelecvoice), Facebook (michelecarpentervoice), YouTube (micheleyoutube)

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.