Review: A Soul as Cold as Frost by Jennifer Kropf + Christmas coffee recipe!

Hello festive friends! Happy December.

I hope you’re getting into the holiday spirit, and if not, then you’re about to, because the 12 Days of Bookish Christmas Blog Hop is here!

Hosted by YA Sci-fi and Fantasy Addicts, each of the SIXTEEN posts (because we’re generous like that) will include a lovely bookish freebie (scroll to the bottom for mine) and a chance to enter our mega giveaway!

12 Days of Christmas


Review: A Soul as Cold as Frost by Jennifer Kropf

“Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good fright…”

The Quarrel of Sword and Bone was a death sentence for anyone who stepped into the arena with the deranged Queen, whose soul had crisped to frost in an age long since past.

Sixteen-year-old Helen Bell understood tragedy better than most kids growing up. She knew what it was like to wear clothes from donation bins and be mocked by the beautiful girls in high school. She thought those brutal experiences made her ready for anything, but she wasn’t ready for this.

After an eccentric girl opens Helen’s eyes to let her see the realm of Winter—a world with intersects tucked carefully into the cracks of our own, where monarchs have risen and fallen, it’s forbidden to mention the name of The Dead King, and the currency is gold rings—Helen discovers things are far from ordinary in Winter. After trying to deny the existence of a disrupting train horn ringing in her ears for days, Helen receives a mysterious summons from a group who call themselves “The Crimson Court” to enter into The Quarrel of Sword and Bone—a traditional duel performed before one thousand witnesses that leaves only one survivor—and she’s forced to finally pay attention to the handsome boy who’s been following her around with a warning on his tongue.

When the arrival of wicked villains propels Helen into the heart of Winter where there’s no going back, she finds herself being pursued by something else too—a whispered prayer battling on her behalf, and an ancient Truth that breathes living words of wisdom—the very wisdom forgotten by the Rime Folk when their disunity drove them to draw lines in the snow in an age of the past.

Helen must find a way out, or she’ll be dragged into the arena to face the crooked Queen head on before a crowd ready to watch her die.

The Winter Souls Series blends action and warm Christmas traditions, bringing the old forgotten tales of the season to life with new and grittier versions of famous characters out of old holiday legends, folklore, and myths; such as St. Nicholas, the Snow Queen, the Scrooge, and the Nutcracker.

A Soul as Cold as Frost is Jennifer Kropf’s debut novel, ideal for fans of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms by Meredith Rusu and Ashleigh Powell.


Title: A Soul as Cold as Frost (The Winter Souls #1)

Author: Jennifer Kropf

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Cold-Frost-Winter-Souls-ebook/dp/B08CCFWLLC/

Rating: 5 festive stars!

If you’re a fan of heart-warming, engaging fantasy books that you can read with your kids or your gran, then can I recommend checking out this series?

Kropf has combined all the best elements of your favourite middle grade books, like The Chronicles of Narnia, and some of the best Christmas stories, such as The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, to create a completely unique but familiar and comforting holiday read.

There are elements of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and even Harry Potter, as Helen discovers the magical world lying just beneath the surface of her normal, Canadian city. Speaking of Helen, she’s a totally relatable character, struggling to come to terms with the strange things that seem to keep happening around her, and slowly opening her eyes to the truth. She takes us on a real journey throughout the book, it’s a beautiful coming of age tale with elements of good versus evil, friendship and plenty of exciting action thrown in.

There is a subtle Christian undertone to some of the story, in a very similar vein to Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, so if you’re a fan of Christian fiction you’ll love the added layer, but if you’re not looking for it then you won’t notice it’s there.

My favourite thing about the book is Kropf’s way with words. She really knows how to turn a phrase and the descriptions of the settings, people and everything in between had my imagination running wild as the story played out around me like a movie. Kropf’s style is whimsical and captivating, it was like reading an old classic, but much more fun!

Book two, A Heart as Red as Paint was just released last month, so you’ve got two gorgeously festive fantasies to dive into this Christmas, and the wait for book three, A Crown as Sharp as Pines, is only a few months!


Stocking Fillers

The lovely Jennifer Kropf has a fabulous email newspaper that includes a yummy coffee recipe each week, so I’ve included the latest one for you below! PLUS if you sign up to get her emails, you’ll also be able to download the prequel novella Harmonies, which follows Charlie, a Green Kingdom boy, and Cora, a Red Kingdom girl, as they come together to solve a mystery and uncover the truth about both of their kingdoms.

Click here to sign up and download your free story!

Christmas Coffee

Ingredients:
– Cinnamon
– Nutmeg
– Brown Sugar
– Coffee
– Milk
– Whipped Cream
– Red and Green Sprinkles

Okay, here’s how you do it:
1) Mix a smidgen of cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar in a tiny bowl (you know your own preferences about how much sweetness you like in your coffee, so make your measurements accordingly.) Throw this right into the filter with your scoops of coffee grinds. 
2) Brew your coffee (I’m just going to go ahead and assume you know how to do this).
3) Pour your coffee, add your milk, splat a puff of whipped cream on top, and toss a pinch of sprinkles on top of it all.

Just magical. 
You’re welcome.


Click the image below to enter our mega giveaway!

Some lucky elves will win a bundle of prizes worth over $600, including paperbacks, ebooks, merch and Amazon gift cards! Merry Christmas, indeed!

Happy holidays, friends!

Lyndsey

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Why authors love reviews (even the bad ones!)

(That’s negative reviews btw, not bad authors!)

Do you write reviews? What was the last book you left a review for? Tell me in the comments. Mine was Court of Bitter Thorn by Kay L. Moody.

I’m asking, because reviews are one of the biggest ways you can support your favourite authors. Not only do they help other readers decide if they’ll pick up a particular book, but they also tell the almighty Amazon algorithm which books to promote and show to readers (and it works the same way on Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Apple Books, etc.).

For example, once a book hits 50 reviews, Amazon may choose to include it in its email newsletters. That’s a whole lot of subscribers seeing a book they may otherwise have never discovered.

And reviews can be as short as “Fantastic!” or “Loved it”, or even “Poorly written” if that’s how you feel.

Why negative reviews are still good

With negative reviews, we all know it’s subjective and 100% opinion based – somebody else might think the book you hated was phenomenal. So if you can include a reason as to why it wasn’t your cup of tea, that’s really helpful, to both readers and writers.

For the author, if several reviewers have an issue with one plot twist or character, or an element of the writing, then chances are they’re not (entirely) wrong, and the author can work on that in their future books. Or even rectify it in a later edition.

For other readers, the reason you didn’t like a book (too steamy, too much swearing, darker than you expected, etc. etc.) could be the thing they’re really looking for in their next read, and your review might even convince them to buy it!

Five places you can leave your book reviews

  1. Where you bought it (Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Apple Books, Google Play etc.)
  2. On your book blog
  3. Goodreads
  4. Bookbub
  5. Social media

And always remember the GOLDEN RULE of sharing book reviews online. NEVER tag the author in a negative review. Even a mostly positive review but with some criticisms can be devastating for the writer. Authors are humans too, and many protect their mental health and wellbeing by avoiding reading reviews, unless someone trusted sends them the good ones.

So, just try to be kind. Reviews are for readers, once a book is out in the world the author has little control over it, and if it wasn’t your cup of tea that doesn’t mean it was the world’s worst book and everyone should avoid it.

(Obviously there are some exceptions, there are definitely problematic books out there that could damage some individuals, but it might be better to warn those communities rather than directing your comments at the author. Or you could possibly send a private message to let them know of their mistake, but be careful with this one, some people don’t appreciate unsolicited DMs.)

Happy reviewing! And don’t forget to review my books if you’ve read and enjoyed them!

Lyndsey

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Interview: Romantic fantasy author Carol Beth Anderson

Hi folks! I hope you’re having a fantastic July so far, the weather has been a bit hit and miss here in the UK, but when isn’t it?

Today I want to introduce you to another fabulous fantasy author and help you build that vertiginous TBR just a little higher. Step inside and say hi to Carol Beth Anderson, author of The Magic Eaters trilogy, and more.

Hello! Thank you for chatting with me today, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Arizona desert, where I played make-believe games with my twin sister and older brother, transforming blankets into princess capes and my mother’s dresses into fine gowns. Almost as soon as I learned to write words, I began turning them into stories.

As a young adult, I moved to Texas and have lived here ever since. In addition to writing, I enjoy baking sourdough bread, hanging out with my teenage kids, husband, and miniature schnauzer, and hosting high-school exchange students.

Amazing, I was an exchange student back in my teens! We exchanged with France and Spain, and it was so much fun. When did you start writing and who inspired you? 

I’ve always written, but I was inspired to start writing a novel when I happened to meet a local author doing a signing at a bookstore. I read her novella that day and thought, “I could do that!” I started brainstorming for my first novel that night and started writing it a few days later.

I love that, I would absolutely love to do a signing in my local bookstore! And the idea of inspiring someone else to follow their dream is wonderful. I hope you wrote to that local author and told her she inspired you! What’s your favourite genre to read?

I love fantasy with romance in it (whether as a primary plot or subplot). I love Brent Weeks, Michael J. Sullivan, and Leigh Bardugo.

Romantic fantasy is my number one genre to read and write too, and Leigh Bardugo is one of my favourite authors! Six of Crows was just brilliant. Can you tell us about your published books and where we can get our hands on them?

The Frost Eater is the first book in The Magic Eaters Trilogy, which is upper-YA fantasy with dragons and romance on the side. The trilogy is complete, and I’ll admit … I adore this story. I’ve been thrilled to find that readers do too!

Buy The Frost Eater here, available in ebook, paperback, hardback and audio.

Add it to your TBR shelf here.

I have to admit, I’ve seen those covers around and been coveting them for quite a while! I’m definitely going to have to get the audio book of The Frost Eater! I’m in the process of having an audio book made of my debut novel and it’s such an exciting process! Where do you find inspiration for your stories? 

A lot of it just comes from letting my mind wander over the course of time. I write down ideas, and some of them stick! However, I also find inspiration from covers. For The Magic Eaters Trilogy, I just had some rough ideas. I found the covers as premades—the designer had already made them and had them for sale. I bought them, had her change the titles to the ones that would fit my series, and used the covers to help guide the series. I bought a premade for my next book (Faerie Fallen) too. I didn’t have any ideas for my next series that were “sticking” until I got the cover and suddenly had tons of ideas, based on the image.

I’m addicted to premade covers, The Fair Queen was a premade too and as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. But I love the idea of taking inspiration from the cover itself! It sounds like you’re very visual, I bet you love Pinterest! Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser? 

Plantser! I plan out major plot points in advance, but some of them do change as I go. I only do a chapter-by-chapter outline for one-quarter of the book at a time. (When I finish the first quarter, I do the detailed outline for the second quarter, and so on. And it still ends up changing along the way.)

I think most of us are plantsers at heart, my writing process is pretty similar. So, what are you working on right now?

Faerie Fallen, a romantic fantasy novel. It’s the first book in my Feathered Fae series, and I’m loving this world and characters and the slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers romance!

Faerie Fallen is on pre-order and comes out in December.

You had me at enemies-to-lovers romance! Your new series sounds like a combination of all my favourite things. What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

So true. Thank you so much for chatting with me today! It’s been lovely to get to know you and your writing methods better. Before you go, where can we find out more about you and your books? 

Carol Beth Anderson’s website: https://carolbethanderson.com 

Sign up to my newsletter: https://carolbethanderson.com/sign-up-for-insider-emails/

Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbethanderson/

Join my Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CBAStreetTeam

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbethanderson

and Tiktok! https://www.tiktok.com/@cbethanderson


Well, that’s me on an official book-buying ban after adding all those gorgeous covers to my TBR!

I hope you’ve discovered a few new reads, I for one can’t wait for Faerie Fallen to release in December, it sounds right up my alley.

Happy reading friends,

Lyndsey

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