Required Reading

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Friday, December 2, 2022

Spotlight on The Last Lion of Karkov by Dale Griffin

Author to donate sales of feminist fantasy to Girls, Inc.

Politics, revolutions and sisterhood in European-inspired historical debut

 


NASHVILLE – The battle for the throne of Karkov commences in this epic feminist fantasy from debut author Dale Griffin. “The Last Lion of Karkov” (March 14, 2023, Books Fluent) dives deeply into the worlds of its characters, creating an epic fantasy debut that amplifies the hardships of politics, the sacrifice of love and the enduring bond between two sisters.

Using his experiences traveling across Europe and his passion for developing complex and endearing characters, Griffin’s epic features twin sisters who must fight for their rightful place in a male-dominated world. And in honor of the sisters within the story, he also plans to donate a portion of sales of his book to Girls, Inc., an organization that believes in empowering young girls to be independent and bold.

For royal twin sisters, Jillian and Natalia, there’s nothing that can come between them. Natalia is set for marriage to another kingdom and Jillian prepares to take up the throne as the first Lioness of Karkov. Raised to be warlords and rulers, Jillian’s path to the throne is met with opposition when the old warriors bring forth a male rival. Jillian must fight for her rightful position on the throne, but things change when she starts to develop feelings for her challenger. As destinies are altered and nations are spun into turmoil, Jillian and Natalia must reckon with the consequences of love and war.

For fans of Guy Gavriel Kay and Tamora Pierece’s Lioness series, “The Last Lion of Karkov” will give readers two new feminist icons to root for and suprising twists to linger in the mind well after reading.

“The Last Lion of Karkov”

Dale Griffin | March 2023 | Books Fluent | Epic fantasy

Paperback, 9781953865601, $22.99/$16.99

Ebook, 978-1-953865-61-8

 

About the author

DALE GRIFFIN is a historical fantasy writer releasing his debut novel "The Last Lion of Karkov" in March 2023. Griffin considers himself a traveler and a writer as a result. Married to his best friend and travel partner, the two explore Europe as frequently as possible. Inspired by those journeys, Griffin uses his experiences to influence his imagined worlds and the memorable characters who dwell in them.

 

An interview with Dale Griffin

Q. Jillian and Natalia are deeply developed characters in this story. Could you go into what it was like to create these characters and the work it took to evolve them throughout the story?

A. I wanted to create twin sisters who were subjected to the same cruel upbringing yet emerged from their circumstances with completely different personalities. Natalia’s character evolved more over the revisions than Jillian’s.

Despite some readers finding Jillian too quick-tempered and unfair, my thoughts are that she is the direct result of her childhood. Natalia, being a person who puts others before herself, should be considered the enigma. Early drafts did not portray her as spoiled during her youth, but I preferred to show her evolve into a proper heroine, with her love of Jillian being the reason.

Q. The story is set in a European setting despite being an epic fantasy world. What went into creating the world Jillian and Natalia live in?

A. Europe — its people, its landscapes, its cities, and its history — inspires me to write. I set out on writing the Euro-inspired story without knowing what the reader would think about my imaginary places obviously being taken from real places. Luckily, early readers found that it helped them picture the setting, so I fully embraced the method and ran with it.

Q. As a male author, what was your motivation to write a fantasy story focusing on two women fighting in a patriarchal society?

A. My favorite characters are feisty female protagonists who refuse to conform to what is expected of them. With Jillian in particular, I created a near-insurmountable obstacle to overcome and unleashed a ferocious lioness to attack it.

Q. You must have also drawn a bit from real life. Can you tell us a bit about what parts inspired your real life?

A. It’s easier to write about what you know. I was riding horses by the age of 4, which helped to write a book set in this period. My engineering degree was part of the inspiration for Lorenzo. Most importantly, my wife provided many influences throughout the book.

Q. You also plan to donate sales of your book to Girls, Inc. What is your motivation there and how do you believe this connects to the story?

A. It’s what Jillian and Natalia would want — to support girls in becoming bold and independent women.

Q. What do you hope readers gain from the story?

A. I hope that I created characters who will linger in the thoughts of readers between readings and well after completing the book.

Q. Are you working on any additional projects?

A. Yes, I have outlined a new book in a similar style where the lands are inspired by Scotland and Northern England, including their rivalry. A druidess is taken from her Highlands homeland to serve a Scottish-like ruler trying to preserve his title of king. But also, the continued “Last Lion of Karkov” story with the threat from the Desert Lion is never far from my thoughts.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Monday, November 28, 2022

Dead Country by Max Gladstone


Not sure if this is dystopian or alternate reality story, but it is a mix of modern thought and thoroughly mad max agrarianism.   The Craft, aka magic, is Tara’s life.   She is a big time crafter in the big city but goes home to rural Edgemont for her father’s funeral.  

Along the way, Tara picks up a pupil who has been abused.   Dawn, the pupil, is hungry for knowledge.  She wants knowledge to keep from ever being frightened again.  

Gladstone depicts a flawed Tara, flawed by the methods and people who taught her the Craft.   She has battled to be herself and to protect her world.  She goes home to discover that she must battle prejudice and fear in her hometown.

This is a good start on the Craft War Trilogy.   I recommend the book.

 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

State Slave by D.G. Voda


I saw this book as a critical commentary on our capitalistic society. In a dystopian future, a socialistic dictatorship rules humanity with a machine-based foe.

The state slave depiction is a scathing portrayal of the lethal potential of a welfare society. 

Political commentary aside, there was action, betrayal, despair, and awakening.

Overall it was a heavy-handed satire that I enjoyed.  

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned



Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Drift by C.J. Tudor



  

The story is about a lethal disease that impacts the world.  Pandemic-focused it follows a mixed and unknowingly connected cast of characters. It jumped from character group to character group as well as jumping back and forth between decades.   The story has merit the style left me cold and confused.

Flawed characters abounded throughout the book.  Philosophically “good” guys finished not only last but dead.   Surviving was all about narcissism. 

This is a very dark look at the future. 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Spotlight on Minalima Edition of Snow White and Other Grimms' Fairy Tales


MINALIMA EDITION

By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Harper Design · on sale November 8, 2022

The ninth book in Harper Design’s deluxe classic illustrated series—a beautiful and inventive fresh take on the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, including “Snow White,” with stunning full-color artwork and interactive features created by MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise.

SNOW WHITE AND OTHER GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES (MinaLima Edition) (Harper Design; 9780063208247; November 8, 2022) includes twenty-three of the most popular tales penned by German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, taken from their original collection Children’s and Household Tales, first published in 1812.

Here are beloved characters, including Snowdrop (Snow White), Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), Ashputtel (Cinderella), Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, The Elves and The Shoemaker, all reimagined by the brilliant award-winning designers at MinaLima. This deluxe edition is illustrated with specially commissioned artwork and includes nine extraordinary interactive features ranging from a pop-up forest and pull-tab mirror for Snow White and a wall of thorns encasing Sleeping Beauty to a three-dimensional ball gown for Cinderella and a pop-up tower for Rapunzel.

MINALIMA is an award-winning graphic design studio founded by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, renowned for establishing the graphic style of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film series. Specializing in design and illustration, Miraphora and Eduardo have continued their involvement in the Wizarding World through numerous design commissions, from creating all the graphics for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort to designing award-winning publications.. Studio MinaLima is renowned internationally for telling stories through design and has created its own MinaLima Classics series, reimagining a growing collection of much-loved tales including Peter Pan, The Secret Garden, The Adventures of Pinocchio, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

 


"No collection of children's classic stories would be complete without the inclusion of the tales by the Brothers Grimm so it was natural that our latest challenge would be reimagining Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin and many more characters and their chronicles – all collected in one complete, colourful compendium." 

Miraphora Mina, co-founder of Studio MinaLima

"This is our ninth title in the MinaLima Classics series and as this is an anthology of multiple stories rather than a singular piece, we sought to compile a feast of vivid visual treatments that work beautifully together. As with all our books, this, too, was crafted with readers of all ages in mind and has interactive elements throughout to make them actively participate in these much-loved tales."

Eduardo Lima, co-founder of Studio MinaLima

Monday, November 7, 2022

Alien Agendas : Solar Warden Book 3 by Ian Douglas



This is an exceptionally good series with a VERY diverse cast of characters and plot lines.  Interstellar travel blended with time travel, vengeful dinosaurs and demented Nazis plus Amazonian beauties as grandchildren.

Hunter as the former Seal and Elana, the telepathic knockout continue in their main roles.   The Space Force is maturing along with its equipment and personnel.   The author does a great job incorporating some of the more ludicrous aspects of today’s society.   Fake new, memes, conspiracy theories seem dreadfully appropriate the night before the mid-term election.  It seems more believable that all this rampant stupidity is imposed by an inimical outside force than ordinary people ignoring common sense and suddenly hating their neighbors.  If only it were so…

Perhaps Douglas has an inside track.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it. 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Monday, October 31, 2022

The Ferryman by Justin Cronin



 
Proctor is a Ferryman.  He is a senior Ferryman whose duties are to take retirees to the ferry that goes to the Nursery.   When citizens reach the end of a self-acknowledged lifespan they return to the Nursery for rebirth.   Prospera is an idyllic paradise.

Proctor discovers that there may be a dark side to the beauty and wonders of his paradise.   This book takes a look at some interesting concepts of travel, sleep, dreams, and success.

It takes some very abrupt turns than make you rethink the entire plot.

I recommend it.

 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned