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December 10, 2014

Liked It: Minstrel's Serenade by Aubrie Dionne + Giveaway

Series: Chronicles of Ebonvale 1
Format: Mobi
Release Date: July 21, 2014 
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Source: via Tour Organizer
Recommended By: Candace's Book Blog
Genre: Paranormal
He’s sworn to protect her, but can he save her from himself?

Danika Rubystone has hated the minstrels ever since her mother ran away with one. As Princess, she’s duty bound to marry Valorian, a minstrel from the House of Song. But problems in the kingdom are mounting. With her father dead she’s the sole heir to an imperiled throne, and wyverns attack Ebonvale’s southern shores. But after Danika finds a lone survivor of a wyvern’s attack who holds the key to protecting the kingdom and she finally meets the enchantingly sly Valorian, everything changes.

As Ebonvale’s Royal Guard sails with the minstrels to smite the uprising of wyverns, Danika dances a line between sticking by duty like her father, or following her wild heart like her mother.


It's been a looong time since I've read epic fantasy so when the virtual book tour for MINSTREL'S SERENADE by Aubrie Dionne landed on my email I just have to sign up. Part of me was excited while another part of me was wary because of the length. I mean an epic fantasy that's under 300 pages? It's gotta be a prequel right? 

Well MINSTREL'S SERENADE isn't a prequel but the first novel of Chronicles of Ebonvale. I wasn't blown away by the story, it has great bones with princesses, knights, and a war against an army of fire breathing wyverns. Kingdoms and peoples from all over the land are rallying against the onslaught and the fate of humankind lies on Princess Danika. The novel has that medieval and conquest feel to it, the world building isn't as complicated as other epic fantasies but still managed to hold its own despite its simplicity. The cast of characters isn't too long either so it was fairly easy to remember who's who and what and acclimate to the world ADionne created and get into the story. The word index isn't that complicated too, no unusual nouns and words plus the story was more character driven than plot making it a quick and easy read. 

Given all those good points I still didn't find MINSTREL'S SERENADE as epic as I hoped it would be. Inasmuch as it has a sound foundation for epicness, it didn't give me that 360 degree view we often find in epic fantasies. I didn't get a good feel of the land and the turmoil its in and aside from Dannika, I'm barely acquainted with the rest of the key players in this story. Speaking of which, a POV from the Queen of wyverns would've been good since they're part of the cast. I sure would like to know if there are other motives behind their impending attack besides the usual siege and conquer. Lastly as this is called MINSTREL'S SERENADE I was expecting a big myth behind the minstrels and why they're so special. Let's just say they're more Pied Piper than demi godlike to me at this point.

I liked where MINSTREL'S SERENADE ended though and I sure would like to know how the battle is going to go down. There's also a bit of a romance, it's a clean one btw, and it's the kind that's "frowned" upon because the Princess is in love with a man below her class. But war make heroes out of ordinary folk so who knows, maybe on the second book said lad would be more than worthy to take Dannika's hand.






Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her books have received the highest ratings from Romance Times Magazine, as well as Night Owl Reviews and Two Lips Reviews. She has guest blogged on the USA Today Happily Ever After Blog and the Dear Teen Me blog and signed books at the Boston Book Festival, Barnes and Noble, and the Romance Writers of America conference. Her writings have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Astraea Press, Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Publishing, Inkspell Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras.

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37 comments:

  1. So happy you tried this and liked it!

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    1. I didn't get my fill of epic fantasy but the fact that it's short and light made up for it. I don't think I'd read it anyways if it's over 500 pages.

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  2. It's definitely a lighter fantasy. I think that is a negative for some and a positive for others. It's easier for those that aren't as fantasy oriented, that aren't used to complicated world-building and multiple characters. But for those that read a lot of fantasy it might be a little too light. For me I enjoyed being able to read a fantasy in a day instead of it taking a week. :)
    Thanks so much for hosting a tour stop and sharing your thoughts!

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    1. So true, I don't think I would sign up if the book is super long. Don't have the time for that right now.

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  3. I really love that cover. even though I don't think the book is for me.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. For once I loved that the dude isn't naked

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  4. Hmmm maybe. Too bad on the lack of heat though. That would sway me a bit more I think. lol

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  5. I just don't know on this one. I keep seeing it around and I am curious but I read another book by this author and it was just okay.

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    1. Well then maybe you guys aren't compatible LOL

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  6. I do want my fantasy to be epic..epiiiiic

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    1. I know how you like it, this is too watered down for you

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  7. I've had some luck with fantasy lite titles in the past, so I don't think this not being high on the epic scale would put me off from trying it. Cool cover!

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    1. That's great, you'll probably breeze thru this like I did

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  8. I hope the next one will be better, Braine. Though to be honest, I think I could enjoy this one since it doesn't sound too daunting. :)

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    1. I enjoyed it enough and it's not too complicated so it could work for you if you're looking for something light

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  9. I really liked her sci-fi and one contemporary I read. Didn't know about this one. I haven't read fantasy in a while either. Might make for a nice change. Good to know to not expect sweeping high fantasy, but more moderate fantasy. ;)

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  10. Yeah, I'm with Sophia...her sci-fi is pretty good. With fantasy, you want to get lost in the world..the characters, to get swept away with all of it. Doesn't seem like it happened here...at least not so much.

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    1. This is my first Aubrie book, what series are you two talking about?

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  11. I'm happy you're reading multiple genres Braine. I'm stuck in the PNR and UF right now.

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    1. I've been such an eccentric reader lately, if I don't branch out I'll get burnt out! I'm thinking of reading histrom next week

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  12. Wow, I love the epic fantasy described here with wyverns and everything, but I guess it seemed like it didn't provide extensive world building as usual with the genre. Really great review Braine, thanks for your thoughts.

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    1. You're welcome, Jeann, hopefully book two will give us MORE

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  13. Hmmm, so maybe the length was an issue. If you didn't get everything you wanted, then I don't know if I would either. Epic fantasy has to be pretty amazing for me to read it.

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    1. Yup, it has to be EPIC not just in length but content and scope

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  14. Oh epic fantasy, I don't read a lot of them, it's like erotica. It's not that I hate it but I'm never that attracted so I read the books when publisher sends but otherwise it's true that I don't really go toward them.

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    1. I'm still finding my way around the genre but it's worth exploring that's for sure. I've only tried a few but I'd like to get to know some more authors.

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  15. I don't know that I've read an epic fantasy, Braine. Minstrel's Serenade sounds decent but I understand what you're saying about it's lack of 'epic'. I hope that, if you read the next installment, it gives you what you're looking for. :)

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    1. I hope so too! That is if I get invited to read the next one LOL

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  16. This sounds interesting! I might take a chance on this one, maybe it's the kinds of series that builds up to that epic book?! Let's hope so :)

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    1. Maybe so, I hold off judgment til I read the second one, if the sequel fails then that's when I call it quits!

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  17. Yep, it needs to be a minimum of 500 pages to get the details in and even than you know it has at least 3 more books to be an epic fantasy. It doesn't sound bad it just needed more deets :)

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    1. Yup, it's more fantasy than epic at this point but it's all good, worth reading

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  18. Bummer that you didn't find this to be as epic! Great review.

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