Book & Tea Review: The Cruel Prince and Dragonfruit Dream

Today I’m reviewing another book and tea pairing!

馃摎The book: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
馃嵉The tea: Dragon Fruit Dream by Adagio Teas

The Cruel Prince is an exceptional story that draws you in just like getting tricked into a bargain to go into the land of Faerie! I could not put it down, and I have really been meaning to get the rest of the series.

I hadn’t read anything by Holly Black since reading Tithe as a teenager. I remember it being one of my favorite books.

I was fortunate enough to meet Ms. Black at a convention in February (one of the last public things I’ve gotten to go to! So glad I went) at Boskone in Boston.

The characters of The Cruel Prince are complex and I really enjoy that a lot of them are morally grey. The fae characters are very grey, and though they can be dark sometimes, I think it’s “realistic”, as realistic as writing fae can be.

I can’t wait to read the next one and see where all the scheming goes!

It pairs nicely with Dragonfruit Dream tea, an intoxicating fruit herbal tea from Adagio Teas.

I picked it because it has these cute little apple pieces which reminded me of the sweet fruit of the realm of faerie. It makes a great iced tea, and I used my Teavana Teamaker to steep it in.

The Alchemyst’s Mirror Cover Reveal

Steampunk. Alchemy. Secret Societies. Tea.

Petra and Maisie Everturn just want to run their family鈥檚 tea shop, but when their explorer brother Jiordan goes missing while looking for an alchemycal artifact, none of them are safe.

Now only 2 months away, I’m excited to share the gorgeous cover for The Alchemyst’s Mirror!

What do you think? <3

Meadowcity Audiobook

The reviews have begun to come in for the Meadowcity audiobook, and I wanted to share a sample of the audio with you!

But first I want to share my new favorite review. I am so glad this listener (it’s funny not to say reader…) enjoyed the execution of my feminist theme, and the title of the review is just the best!

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid YA fantasy without most of the annoying tropes of the genre
I liked this book a lot! The narrator’s voice is really nice, I could have drifted off to sleep to it if the story weren’t so engaging. The characters were compelling and believable, and there’s a strong feminist angle without it smacking you over the head. I’m a sucker for a capable female protagonist, and Sylvia fully delivers on that. And thank GOD for no silly love triangle getting in the way. I’m excited to find the next book in the series and see what happens next with the fifth city and its leader – the payoff to finding it, after having been built up so long, is probably the best sequence in the whole book. Definitely would recommend to any young person who likes fantasy.

Thanks for checking it out!

Keep an eye out for The Fifth City audiobook, book 2 in the Arcera Trilogy, which will be dropping later this summer.

Kirkland Green Tea & Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Today I decided to expand my Instagram books & tea feature to my blog!

馃嵉 The tea: green tea sachets (from Costco!)
馃摎 The book: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

It’s far too hot for hot tea. These green tea sachets are pretty much the only “teabag” tea I willingly drink. They’re sold by Costco, but the tea itself is actually from Ito En, a Japanese beverage company that specializes in tea, and produces some excellent green tea.

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you can get cans of green tea (hot, right out of the vending machine), and they’re from Ito En. So it’s a nice throwback to our trips there.

The tea sachets can be brewed either hot or cold. For hot, I steep for under a minute. (Steeping long is how you get bitter tea!) For cold, you can just put a tea sachet in some cold water. I brewed mine for about half an hour to get this nice green hue. Cold water won’t make your tea bitter. Then throw some ice cubes in, and you’re good!

I don’t generally sweeten green tea. It’s such a mild flavor to begin with, I feel like any sweetener would overpower it. But you could always throw in just a smidge of your favorite sweetener–I like stevia the best.

I thought it would pair nicely with one of my All Time Favorite Books: WICKED.

I remember writing a book report on this book in high school, I’ve loved it that long. Getting inside Elphaba’s head and exploring Oz though a whole new lens was fascinating. In fact, I think it’s about time for a re-read of this particular book. Though I have to say, I didn’t quite enjoy the rest of the books in the Wicked Times Series, but I did read them to find out what happened.

Wicked the book is very different from the musical. I’ll admit I’ve never seen it, but I did go to college for theatre, and so have listened to the soundtrack once or twice. The book is dark. It has some very dark themes and adult situations that might be inappropriate for younger readers, so be warned. It’s not all defying gravity.

But the political, social and human elements fascinated me even as a highschooler. And the most fascinating aspect: How did the witch become wicked?

So in honor of miss green herself, let’s sip a glass of some green tea and think wicked thoughts.

The Storm King First Chapter Sneak Peak

There’s only one week left until release, so I wanted to share a little teaser from book 2 in the Realm of Camellia series! Read on for the first chapter, and get the rest on June 9th.

Preorder on Amazon

The Storm King cover reveal

Can you believe June is almost here?!

I don’t know about you, but time is moving differently nowadays, and it’s hard to keep track anymore. But nevertheless, THE STORM KING will be released on June 9th, and today I’m sharing the cover with you!

It’s also now available to preorder for Amazon Kindle: Preorder here.

Huge thanks to everyone at Deranged Doctor Design for this stunning cover! I can’t decide if I like it more than The Starless Girl, but it’s close.

Stay tuned for more updates and excerpts from The Storm King!

Coming May 1st~ Reformed Blog Tour by H.L. Burke

The new book from one of my favorite indie authors, H.L. Burke, is a departure from her usual fantasy and steampunk genres, but promises to be just as awesome. The first in a superhero series, Reformed is coming out May 1st, and is currently available for preorder for only 99 cents!

And check out that cool cover art!

Once a villain, always a villain?

Optimistic and idealistic superhero Prism is determined to redeem her father鈥檚 legacy by rebooting his super villain rehabilitation program. To do so, she sets her sights on Fade, the relapsed super villain who was the reason the government canceled the original program in the first place. However, when she petitions for Fade to be released into her custody, she finds out things might not be as simple as she thought.

Convicted of an unforgivable crime, Fade received a choice: surrender to trial and possible execution or endure a memory erasure so he could start fresh. Now with no recollection of his time before incarceration, Fade doubts he has the ability to be anything but the villain the public believe him to be.

A series of attacks by a mysterious power-swapping villain points back to Fade鈥檚 past and the crime that cost him his freedom and memory. With her father’s legacy and her own reputation on the line, even Prism has to wonder: can a villain truly be reformed?

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Dragon and the Scholar,” the Award Winning (2016 Realm Award for Young Adult Fiction) Nyssa Glass Steampunk series, and MG/Fantasy “Cora and the Nurse Dragon,” among others .

Sign up for her monthly newsletter at

Preorder Reformed here

Follow H.L. Burke on:

Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Website

Arcera Trilogy Boxset & New Covers

As if I didn’t have enough going on this year (Writer’s Notebook publishing March 31, The Storm King in June), I decided to revisit the world of my Arcera novels and give them some fresh new covers. Meadowcity was first published in .

I’m also bundling all 3 books into an ebook boxset, which is now available for only 99c for a limited time.

For the first time, all three novels in the Arcera Trilogy are together in one eBook bundle. Whether for readers who are experiencing Sylvia鈥檚 adventures for the first time, or for fans who want to explore the Four Cities of Arcera again, this bundle collects the entire trilogy in one value-priced set. Now with fantastic new cover art, this set includes:

The Fifth City
A Rift Between Cities

And here’s the other 3 gorgeous new covers:

Writer’s Notebook Cover Reveal & Pre-Order

The new project I’ve been working on, the Writer’s Notebook: A Guided Journal to Plan Your Story, is set to release on May 12, 2020. And I finally have the finished cover to show you!

Even more exciting…it’s now available for Pre-Order!

Amazon Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Have you ever wanted to write a book? Or are you an experienced writer, starting your next story?

Get your thoughts on paper by writing all your story ideas in this pre-organized journal.

This notebook is part blank journal, part guided story planner. There’s plenty of room for you to customize your notes, and enough guidance to help figure out your plot, characters, and publishing goals.

It’s your writer’s notebook. Now, go write your story.

It was a tough decision to finalize this cover. I had two very different designs to choose from. I tested the opinions of many writers I knew, and the response was overwhelming–the cover you see before you was the winner! Perhaps I’ll use the rejected cover for a later variation of the notebook (because I secretly love it).

But wait, you say, it’s only in paperback

True, the retailers will only have the paperback version. There WILL be an electronic version available, but since it’s going to be a PDF, it will be available through my Etsy shop once it’s released on May 12.

Since this is a journal intended to be written in, there is no point in making it a traditional ebook. Therefore, I’ve created a PDF which is capable of being used on one’s computer or tablet much the same way as one would use a paperback journal. Users will be able to write on the pages, and easily navigate from one section to another. And if you have a tablet and a stylus, you can even write on it by hand.

Boskone 57 Schedule

Now less than a month away, Boskone 57 is coming up quick!

Join me at Boskone (February 14-16, 2020) in Boston, MA for an exciting science fiction and fantasy convention. It’s going to be a fun weekend filled with discussions of books, science, art, games, music, and more.

I can finally share my official con schedule, which is below! Check out the entire weekend’s schedule here.

Friday, February 14th

2:00 PM聽(free to the public)
Marvelous Magical Systems
Liz Delton, Tonia Thompson (Moderator), Gerald L. Coleman, Clea Simon, Mike Squatrito Jr
Harbor II 路 50 min 路 Panel
Magical systems are like the laws of science. They have rules. Rules that must be followed or the magic won鈥檛 work or the magic will be released in unforeseen ways. Let鈥檚 look at what it takes to create a magical system that feels real and plausible. We鈥檒l also review some of the best magical systems in literature and consider why they work so well.

I’m really excited for this panel, because I love writing about magic. When I first started, I watched a bunch of videos of Brandon Sanderson talking about how to create magic systems, and it’s one of the coolest aspects of world-building in my opinion.

Saturday, February 15th

10:00 AM
Authors New to Boskone! Group Reading
Melissa Caruso, Sara Codair (Moderator), Liz Delton, Cameron Roberson, Gregory Wilson, Isabel Yap
Griffin 路 50 min 路 Reading
Each Boskone invites a number of fresh faces: authors attending their first Boskone as program participants. This special event highlights several. Each writer will read for 5 minutes. It鈥檚 a great way for you to get a taste of some innovative talents 鈥 and bring your questions for the Q& A at hour鈥檚 end.

1:00 PM
Fabulous Bookmarks!
Liz Delton
Galleria 鈥 Dragonslair 路 55 min 路 Children
Author Liz Delton works with Dragonslair kids to build one-of-a-kind bookmarks to take home and track their own reading adventures!

Of course, I totally jumped on the opportunity to work with kids to make bookmarks. Everyone knows I have too many hobbies and love crafting.

3:00 PM
The Golden Compass: 25th Anniversary
C. S. E. Cooney, Christine Taylor-Butler (Moderator), Robert V.S. Redick, Liz Delton, John Langan
Harbor I 路 50 min 路 Panel
The first volume of Philip Pullman鈥檚聽His Dark Materials聽fantasy trilogy, a 1995 novel called聽Northern Lights聽in the U.K. and聽The Golden Compass聽in the U.S., ensorcelled the imaginations of tens of millions of readers worldwide. The quests of curious, clever, courageous young Lyra bring encounters with Dust and destiny, daemons and angels, armored bears and parallel worlds. Is this YA or adult fare? Did Pullman set out to slay religion, or merely C. S. Lewis? What do the later movie and TV adaptations add, or subtract?

Really looking forward to the opportunity to speak about The Golden Compass. I just finished watching the recent HBO adaptation a few weeks ago, and will be picking the book back up soon in preparation for this one of a kind story.

See you at Boskone!