Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2019

by Justine Bergman

Hello, everyone! November was another exciting and busy month over here at Whispers & Wonder. *Deep breath* I read a wide variety of excellent books, took part in a tour celebrating the publication of a final book in a trilogy, kicked off my Ladies of Grimdark review and spotlight series with two incredible authors, participated in two cover reveal tours, hosted an exclusive cover reveal for a collector’s omnibus of three great books, had a lovely interview with artist Amir Zand, aaand caused some trouble with two Call to Arms Tourneys! PHEW! I had a blast this month, and got to meet some pretty awesome people along the way – I couldn’t possibly ask for more.

In case you missed anything, this is what went on.


Chains of Blood by ML Spencer
Chains of Blood by ML SpencerChains of Blood is a perfectly paced, gorgeously conveyed, and unforgiving tale of the brutal and catastrophic realities of war, filled with relentless action, mystifying magic, and driven characters resistant to surrender their hold on the frayed strings of hope. This book is amazing.SEE FULL REVIEW

Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh
Crown of Oblivion by Julie EshbaughCrown of Oblivion is an intense and brutal tale of survival, social injustices, remaining steadfast if the face of adversity, and standing your ground regardless of the cost. With primary focus on character development, this is a thoroughly fun and easy read.SEE FULL REVIEW

Refraction by Naomi Hughes
Refraction by Naomi HughesRefraction is a gripping tale of conquering fear, and a deeply sentimental story about a boy’s journey to find his brother in a shattered and haunted world, but in the end discovers the goodness that lives in his heart. Action and emotion in equal parts, this was a great read. SEE FULL REVIEW

Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach
Guild of Tokens of Jon AuerbachGuild of Tokens is a thrilling and highly imaginative urban fantasy tale of adventure, secrets, magic, and betrayal, steeped in enough mystery to keep you guessing until the very end. Pristine plotting, entertaining, and very relatable, I loved this book more than anticipated.SEE FULL REVIEW

Touch of Iron by Timandra Whitecastle
Touch of Iron by Timandra WhitecastleTouch of Iron is a savagely alluring tale of the danger of beauty, and the beauty of danger. It’s an account of an epic quest for a magical artifact, conscious sacrifice, and the ties that bind. Severe and tragic, this gritty and emotional debut is absolutely fantastic. SEE FULL REVIEW

The Violent Fae Tour

Phil Williams' The Violent Fae Tour

Phil Williams reached out to twelve blogs to help him present a series of short stories, labeled the Ordshaw Vignettes, and Whispers & Wonder was lucky enough to be chosen to participate! These short stories, one posted each day for twelve days, led up to the release of The Violent Fae, the final entry in the initial arc of his Ordshaw stories, The Sunken City Trilogy. Each snippet gives further insight into this dark and dangerous world he has created, so make sure to give them all a read!


Ladies of Grimdark

It’s no secret my poison of choice is Grimdark/Dark Fantasy, and the majority of what I read falls into these subgenres. I realized that whenever I’m asked to list my favorite authors, they’re all well-known male authors that dabble in the dark shadows of the Fantasy genre, but there’s a severe lack of women authors on that list. Cue the birth of Ladies of Grimdark – a review and spotlight series celebrating the women that write these bloody and gritty tales. I plan to read at least one Grimdark or (very) Dark Fantasy book each month, and interview the lovely women that bring us these incredible stories.

This month I was joined by both ML Spencer and Timandra Whitecastle to kick off this new feature, and it turned out AMAZING. Spencer’s Chains of Blood caught me so off guard, quickly becoming one of my favorite reads of the year, and Whitecastle’s Touch of Iron (which has been on my TBR for faaaaaar too long) gave me everything I could ever want in a story, leaving me jonesin’ for book two more than I care to admit. I LOVED both books, so go read them. You won’t regret it.

AUTHOR: ML Spencer
BOOK: Chains of Blood

AUTHOR: Timandra Whitecastle
BOOK: Touch of Iron

Cover Reveals

I was invited to participate in two cover reveal tours presented by The Parliament House, and both books were quickly added to the ever-growing TBR. Phil Williams also reached out to see if I’d like to host the the exclusive reveal for his collector’s omnibus The Sunken City Trilogy. My answer: uhhhhh, OF COURSE! Beautiful covers for a group of incredible authors incoming!

The Nightshade Cabal by Chris Patrick Carolan

Steampunk, necromancers, and a curious mystery?
Uh, all the yes!


Shadowed by Despair by Candace Robinson

The third and final entry in Robinson’s Laith series – *spoilers ahead!*


The Sunken City Trilogy by Phil Williams

A collector’s omnibus containing Under Ordshaw, Blue Angel, and The Violent Fae!


Windows Into Worlds

Windows Into Worlds continued this month with extra special guest Amir Zand, extraordinary illustrator and concept artist. It was truly an honor to welcome Amir to Whispers & Wonder, and I’m grateful he allowed me to bombard him with all types of artsy and bookish questions.

Windows Into Worlds: An Interview with Amir Zand

Amir Zand chats about his favorite part of his artistic process, where he pulls inspiration from, what pushed him to enter the world of book cover art, and an ongoing project he’s taking part in.

Call to Arms

This month we had another couple of great contests. Two lucky winners snagged some pretty sweet loot after exhibiting their awesome gif game. You can see more details about the individual contests below, or you can check out the Call to Arms hub. Also visit our Circle of Champions, where the coats of arms of our winners will live on for all of time.

Onslaught of Madness by Jesse Teller
THEME: Badass Kids



Spit and Song by Travis M. Riddle
THEME: Foolish Musicians

CHAMPION: Clayton Snyder


That’s all I got for ya! I can’t thank you enough for all your support, and I hope you’re having as much fun with all the reviews, interviews, spotlights, and gif battles as I am. I’m going to continue with these different features this month, but I’m hoping to bring you some fresh and interesting new things in 2020! If I don’t talk to you beforehand (chances are I most definitely will), I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season, and a Happy and Healthy New Year! ❄️

Happy Reading!

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