Any fellow audio book lovers in the house? I’ve been addicted to audio books ever since my 30 day free trial of Audible six years ago, even before I discovered (and fell in love with) podcasts.
So, when I published my debut novel, The Fair Queen, I knew I wanted to have an audio book produced. Now, with the one year bookaversary of TFQ’s release fast approaching, I’m absolutely delighted to announce that the audio book of The Fair Queen will be released this Autumn!
The process has been so much fun. Getting to listen to narrators audition by reading a short chapter of my book (chapter fourteen, for those of you who’ve read it – it’s my favourite!) was incredible, and I’m so excited to hear the first fifteen minutes when my lovely narrator reaches the first big milestone.
My fabulous cover designer is also hard at work on the audio cover version, as well as a little something that I can’t talk about yet (don’t you hate when authors do that? Sorry! It’ll be worth it, I promise).
There’ll be review copies available when release day comes around, I’ll be posting them on StoryOrigin, so if you’re interested in listening to the audio book for free in exchange for an honest review, keep your eyes peeled for the announcement in a few months!
Hello fantasy fans, are you ready to discover your next favourite author?
I read the exclusive short story collection Realms of Fae and Shadow recently, and I loved the concept so much. A collection of short stories that all prequel a series of novels, to give you a taste of the stories before you commit to the full series (because, come on, who of us can give up on a series halfway through once we’ve started, even if we’re not loving it? Not me).
So if you’re a fae lover and you’re looking for a new series to get stuck into, keep reading for eight incredible options…
A terrible bargain. An impossible choice. Kill my soul mate or lose my life.
This is #0.5 in Trombley’s Wicked Fae series, which currently has 4 published books and more to come.
Caelynn is from the Shadow Court, one of the weakest in the realm, but when she overhears her parents’ plan to send her to another court for an arranged marriage, she takes matters into her own hands. And that’s where things take a very dark and deadly turn.
This story has everything you could want – fae, a coming-of-age trial, one of the creepiest monsters I’ve ever read, a ball, soul mates. I could go on. I’m super intrigued by this set up for the full series, Caelynn’s magic is barely hinted at and I can’t wait to see the relationship between the two fated mates develop.
When a dryad offers her the chance to rescue a fae prince from the clutches of an evil queen, Elora immediately agrees.
But Faery is full of more dangers than beauty.
This is a prequel novella to the Fae of Bitter Thorn series, which has 4 full length novels plus another novella in between. The story has a brave heroine, an animal sidekick, twisted magic and lots of political intrigue.
The fourth and final book is coming out in September, so it’s the perfect time to dive into this series, ready for the conclusion.
Faerie punishments usually spell death. For Evan, it could offer freedom.
The hero of this story reminded me of Cardan from The Cruel Prince – a young fae male with a good dose of cruelty (he enjoys feeding mortals to a boggart), but deep down he has a bigger heart than he lets on.
There’s only one full length novel in this series so far, but a sequel is coming in 2022, so it’s definitely one to stick on your TBR. I enjoyed this origin story of the Guardian of the Gates, and I’m intrigued to find out more about the relationship between the Huntsman, Prince Evan and his mother, Queen of the Moonlight Court in the Lost Princess of Starlight series.
There are Fae far worse than me lurking in the woods…
King Aspen of the Autumn Court is sent to the the human realm to retrieve the names of the two human tributes that will be sent to marry fae royalty as part of a centuries old pact, called the Hundred Year Reaping. On his way home, he has an eye-opening exchange with a human woman in the woods.
This prequel novella tells the first meeting of Aspen and Evelyn, the main characters from the Fair Isle trilogy, from Aspen’s POV. The series is complete, so it’s ready to binge to your heart’s content.
I adored the gorgeous descriptive writing in this story, it was probably my favourite for writing style, I found myself wishing it was longer when I’d finished, which is always a good sign with a prequel!
I’m the heir to the throne. My birthright comes with a dark legacy. But to save Faerie, I must betray my sister.
Aria is one half of a set of twins, two half-fae sisters who are both destined to rule the Raven Court as joint queens. Except she’s never spent a day learning the role or speaking with her subjects, unlike her sister Carys. Instead, she rides her water horse and hangs out with her best friend, Sterling.
When she finally decides to take an interest in the role she’s destined (or doomed) to take on when her father dies, she discovers that all is not as rosy as it seems on the surface in Faerie.
I was completely sucked into this story from the start. This was my favourite story for plot and characters, I loved Aria and the twists and turns just kept coming. There are 2 books and one other novella in this series so far, and I can’t wait to read them and find out what happened after THAT big twist!
As the heir to the Unseelie throne, I have everything I could want. Apart from the one thing I long for—freedom.
Ciaran is deep-earth fae, prince of the Unseelie Court, and half human on his mother’s side. He battles with his conflicting humanity and resists the dark magic of his fae side, refusing to wear the crown his father had made for him that seems to sink it’s teeth further into him with every wear.
But trouble is brewing under the surface in the courts, and there’s a prophecy that could threaten both realms. Soon Ciaran may have to decide between the human side his mother would have wanted him to honour, and the fae side his father expects of the heir to the Unseelie throne.
This was the longest story in the collection, and I loved getting a more in depth look at the incredible world-building and the characters’s story arcs than in some of the shorter stories. It was great to see Ciaran’s growth and how his motivations changed over the course of events.
I’m really excited to read more in this series, which I really hope is coming soon! You can follow the author on Instagram @alisoningleby to be the first to know when this series will be released.
They say nothing bad has ever come from reading a book. I guess it depends on the book…
This story was more paranormal/urban fantasy, with a half-witch, half-shifter MC attending a magical academy and learning to harness her growing powers. Avery finds a book that unlocks her abilities, dragging her into the middle of an ancient war and making her a target for all of Faery.
Marked by Fae is a prequel short story to The Fae Chronicles, which is set in the same world as Lind’s Hawthorne Chronicles and Thunderbird Academy series, but you can start with any of these series and enjoy them individually. There are 2 full length novels in the series so far, with more to come, so plenty to sink your teeth into if you love a vast world with all manner of fantasy and paranormal creature, not just fae.
Audrey is a pretty average teenage girl, living in Canada and having a boy trouble. Until she’s given a beautiful red cloak by her school’s librarian and takes a short cut through the woods to get home one night. Chased through a faerie portal by a mysterious wolf, she finds herself in the icy tundra of Faerie and on the run from the Unseelie Queen’s right-hand-wolf. Even worse than that, she’s accompanied by her ex-boyfriend whose secrets tore them apart – but can they find their way back together and escape their pursuers?
This story is a standalone retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, set in the same world as Sandvig’s Faerie Tale Romances series, all of which are sweet YA romantic fantasy retellings of well-known fairy tales. There’s currently one full length novel and two short stories (including this one, and one you can grab for free when you sign up for Sandvig’s newsletter!) in this series.
This one also gets extra points for inclusivity, as Audrey wears glasses and I’ve never read a fairy tale where the main character wore glasses (like me!), so I’m a big fan.
Hopefully you’ve added a few new series to your TBR and discovered a new-to-you author who’ll become an auto-buy. Let me know which of these stories sounds right up your alley! My favourites were Crown of Darkness, Exiling a Fae Queen and To Rule a Fae Throne. I can’t wait to jump into the rest of these series.
Well, May has been wild here in the UK. From glorious sunshine, to torrential downpours in the span of minutes. We’re also within spitting distance of restrictions lifting, but another outbreak of a different variant in some cities is threatening our chance of freedom yet again. But things could be worse, and I’m still looking forward to being able to hug my dad again on Father’s Day, even if it’s been a little longer than expected.
This week, I had the absolute privilege of talking to Alice Ivinya, the USA Today bestselling author of Feathers of Snow and Silent Melody, as well as several other captivating fantasy and fairytale inspired novels for young adults. As a fellow Brit, Alice knows all about our crazy Spring weather!
Read on to see what we chatted about (aside from the weather, of course).
Hi Alice! It’s so lovely to speak to you, thanks for joining me. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in wet and soggy Bristol, UK, with my husband, toddler and dog (oh and an immortal goldfish). I have loved fantasy all my life. My favourite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Holly Black, Amy Harmon and Robert Jordan. When I’m not off gallivanting in other worlds, you can normally find me climbing trees with my young son, working as a small animal vet, hanging out with my church family, or walking the best dog in the world.
Wow, that sounds perfect – fantasy books, animals and family time, what more could you want? How old were you when you started writing, and who encouraged you?
I have written stories for as long as I can remember. My first book series was about a group of kids who ran away from home and became rulers of all the sharks in the sea. Worryingly they all got married at the age of 12-14, but that was old to my 8 year old self!
I wrote my first full length novel at 11. It was about a magician’s apprentice who was bad at magic.
Throughout my teenage years I wrote epic fantasy after epic fantasy that my poor parents had to read, even when they went over 200,000 words! As a child I was badly dyslexic and struggled with sentence structure and spelling to the extent that many of my early stories were illegible until I typed them up. It took me much longer than all the other children in my class to both write and type, but I just loved to write and have never been able to stop telling stories. Slowly, with the support of my parents and teachers, I developed techniques to get around my dyslexia and now it never holds me back.
I now have ten published full length books and four short stories.
That’s incredible, and so inspiring. It’s amazing that you’ve managed to overcome so many obstacles to become a bestselling author of more than ten published works so far. I want to be like you when I grow up! Do you have any favourite book tropes?
I love most tropes in fantasy as long as they’re not too depressing when delivered (I need all dark books to have a healthy dose of sarcastic humour!)! I love detailed, magical worlds and characters that make me see the world in a different way. I particularly like enemies to lovers, arranged marriage, and rags to riches.
Enemies to lovers is my number one favourite trope too, and I completely agree about dark books needing humour to balance it out. Tell us a little about your most recent release.
My most recent release was Feathers of Snow, a fairytale retelling of The Goose Girl. It is young adult, high fantasy with an arranged marriage troupe. All my writing is young adult and clean. Here is the blurb:
In Brianna’s new world of ice and snow, the coldest things by far are the eyes of her betrothed…
Brianna bears a deadly secret: she’s not the princess she is pretending to be. If the prince finds out, her life will be forfeit and her country plunged into war.
But there is more to the icy prince than meets the eye, and Brianna slowly unravels the secrets of his dark past while surviving in a strange culture.
However her goodness and wit will only get her so far. Terrifying beasts stalk the border and a murderer is at work in the town. They know the truth of Brianna’s identity and will stop at nothing to destroy all she has fought for.
That sounds absolutely captivating, and I can’t wait for book two, Feathers of Blood! Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
I have no idea. My characters sit in my head and tell me what they’re like and what to write. However, I am often inspired by people with perceived disabilities and try to reflect that in my writing.
It’s wonderful how diverse and inclusive your stories are, you’ve given a voice to so many people and let them see themselves in a book for possibly the first time. I especially love Violet in The Flawed Princess and the representation of club foot, it’s not something I’ve ever seen in a fictional character before, but we absolutely need to see more differently-abled people in stories. Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser?
I’m a plantser, though it depends on the book. Sometimes I get a very clear idea of the plot all the way through, sometimes I have only a vague idea of where it is going. I normally write key scenes first that I can feel down to my bones, then link them together.
I was following a plan for the last bit of Enchanted Melody which is what I’m writing at the moment. Then, whoosh, a dragon appeared! Now I have to plan everything around the dragon haha!
Those pesky dragons do manage to sneak up on you don’t they! I’m probably a plantser too, I love plotting, but at some point you have to put the post-its down and start writing and see what comes out! What are you working on right now?
I am working on four projects currently:
1.) Enchanted Melody which is the sequel to my Pied Piper retelling, Silent Melody. I am currently writing the last bit of the first draft ready to send it to my developmental editor. Out June.
2.) Feathers of Blood. So much angst in this one! I’ve planned it out and written a lot of the key scenes, but need to start fleshing it out. Out September.
3.) Girls of Might and Magic anthology. I have had my short story accepted into this amazing anthology aiming to increase diversity in fantasy. Mine is about a girl with a stutter in an Asian-inspired fantasy world. I am currently waiting for the publisher’s edits to come back for my story.
4.) Enchanted Waters. I’m so excited to be part of this short story anthology featuring Heartless Melody, the prequel to Silent Melody. Every story features mythical water creatures and I’m working alongside some incredibly talented authors! All the proceeds are going to support ocean conservation.
Gosh, you’re a busy bee! I’m so excited for all your upcoming releases, especially Enchanted Waters! Before you go, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors?
My advice to authors who want to write fantasy is to read loads in your subgenre and keep writing. Never give up! Get as many fantasy lovers to read it as you can before you try to publish. Also start simple and master simple concepts in shorter books before your epic 12 book masterpiece!
Thank you so much for chatting with me Alice, it’s been so lovely getting to know you better and hearing about your projects and upcoming releases! Where can we find out more about you and your books?
If your TBR hasn’t doubled in size just from reading about Alice Ivinya’s stories, then I’m not sure we can be friends. If you’ve never read anything by Alice, I highly recommend heading straight over to Amazon and downloading a couple to your Kindle to dip your toe into, you will not regret it, I can guarantee!
Enchanted Waters will be out on 16 July and includes two wonderful stories by Alice (I’ve read them, they’re completely different styles, but both gripping and gorgeous), as well as my story Daughter of the Selkie King, so it’s a great place to try out new authors you may not have heard of before.
For just $2.99, you get ten beautiful fantasy tales, and you’ll be supporting Oceana, a nonprofit working to protect our ocean’s and marine life. There’s literally no downside!