Friday, August 25, 2017

ARC Review & Author Interview: The Shift of the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy

Series:     Uncharted Realms #3
Pub. Date:Aug. 29, 2017
Publisher:Brightlynx
Length:251 pages
Source:Author

The Shift of the Tide is the third book in the Uncharted Realms series, a spinoff of the Twelve Kingdoms trilogy. I have really been enjoying the Uncharted Realms, and I admire Jeffe's ability to build complex and magical worlds that draw me in and make me want to hang around. 

Our heroine, Zynda, has been around for several books now. Zynda is our Tala shapeshifter sorceress who is a little bit trickster, a little more vulnerable, and a whole lotta self-sacrificing. She has assisted all of the new queens to keep the realms safe, but she also has her own agenda to save the Tala race. This agenda has Zynda returning to Nahaunu to seek out Dafne's dragon, Kiraka. Zynda was definitely noble and determined to help her people, and you had to admire her for that. She was a bit stubborn when it came to the romance, but I understood her reasons and empathized with her for the sacrifice.

Our hero in this installment is Marskal, one of Ursula's hawks (guards) at Ordnung. I have to say that I can't remember much about Marskal from previous books, so he definitely did a good job at blending into the background. He is quite a good spy! It seems that our very observant Marskal has been loving Zynda from afar, and she hasn't really noticed him. (Or has she?) Marskal finally gets the kick in the pants he needs to reveal his feelings to Zynda, and he was determined from that point forward. I loved Marskal's tenacity to build the relationship no matter Zynda's objections, and I loved the little ego boosts he go when he realized she cared in various ways.

The relationship between these two was not quite a slow burn - it built at a good pace with the story. And the focus was not entirely on the romance, our royal families (and loved ones) are still trying to prevent the Temple of Deyrr baddies from taking over the world. This saw Zynda and Marskal traveling all over the Thirteen Realms to complete tasks, meet families, and talk to dragons. I particularly liked the time that we spent with Marskal's family - it revealed much about his character, and the family seemed like lots of fun. 

I do wish that the ending of the story would have been drawn out a bit more, because I loved how things turned out. I would have liked lots more information about Zynda and her big plans. However, I know we are likely to get glimpses of this couple in future books, so I have that to look forward to. 

Keep reading below for a tidbit about where the series is going. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the author.

About the Author

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award.

Her award-winning fantasy romance trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms hit the shelves starting in May 2014. Book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose received a Top Pick Gold and was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014. The third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books followed in this world, beginning the spin-off series The Uncharted Realms. Book one in that series, The Pages of the Mind, has also been nominated for the RT Reviewer’s Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and won RWA’s 2017 RITA® Award. The second book, The Edge of the Blade, released December 27, 2016, and is a PRISM finalist, along with The Pages of the Mind. The next in the series, The Shift of the Tide, will be out in August, 2017. A high fantasy trilogy taking place in The Twelve Kingdoms world is forthcoming from Rebel Base books in 2018.

She also introduced a new fantasy romance series, Sorcerous Moons, which includes Lonen’s War, Oria’s Gambit, The Tides of Bàra, and The Forests of Dru. She’s begun releasing a new contemporary erotic romance series, Missed Connections, which started with Last Dance and continues in With a Prince.

In 2019, St. Martins Press will release the first book, The Orchid Throne, in a new fantasy romance series, The Forgotten Empires.

Her other works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion; an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera; and the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, which includes Going Under, Under His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Author Interview

Readers, I hope you will give a warm welcome to the lovely Jeffe Kennedy on the blog today. I am fangirling a bit over having one of my favorite fantasy romance writers giving us her time... but then when I saw that Jeffe lives in Sante Fe, I did a little fist pump. Now that I am moving to Arizona, hopefully I can attend some of her signings (in a non-stalkerish way... maybe). So without further ado.... here's Jeffe!

What's the plan for the Unchartered Realms series? How many realms can we expect to visit? Do you envision a continuing series or might there be spinoffs into the new realms? 

I never know how many realms there will ultimately be! I keep discovering more as my characters do. Right now I know there will be another book in this sequence, THE ARROWS OF THE HEART, and I have an idea that there will be another after that. It depends on what happens in ARROWS. Also, I’m writing a high fantasy trilogy for Rebel Base books, that will go back in time and tell Jenna’s story of growing up in the Dasnarian empire. (Those who’ve read THE EDGE OF THE BLADE will know who I’m talking about.) What happens in those stories will intertwine with this timeline. I imagine there will be more spinoffs like Jenna’s Tale. There are so many threads I’d love to follow! 

My favorite hero of yours has been King Nakoa KauPo, who was absolute perfection. What makes a good hero in fantasy romance? 

You’re not alone in loving Nakoa best! But I think it’s funny that so many readers do love him so when I feel like, of all my heroes, he’s the most inscrutable. We don’t really know all that much about him. But, hey, maybe that’s why we love him so! I think a good fantasy romance hero is strong and capable of fighting off the monsters, in whatever form they may occur, and he might have magical abilities, like sorcery or shapeshifting. But for me he’s also an enlightened man—he’s not bound by cultural ideas or caught up in his own ego. He has integrity and compassion, a man who fights to help people. He also sees in the heroine what makes her shine. He loves her for her strengths, magic, compassion and insight. Because of this, he’s always willing to help her do what she needs to in order to fulfill her own hero’s journey. 

You have created many different races and cultures in your fantasy romances - do you have a favorite people? If so, who and why? 

Hmm. It’s probably no surprise that I love the Tala best. My Irish blood loves the tricksters and shapeshifters. I also love Annfwn, which is paradise to me. Second to that might be Jepp’s people from THE EDGE OF THE BLADE—I’d love to explore that community. I’m also intrigued by Nix’s people from HEART’S BLOOD. I have an idea of a story that might take people there. 

Do your writing quirks/processes differ when you are writing contemporary vs. fantasy romance? If so, how? 

For whatever reason, contemporary romance generally writes faster for me than fantasy romance. When I say this, people reply “because worldbuilding,” and maybe so? I do love to write flirting, banter, and sex, and I slow down more in action scenes and such like, so that could be part of it. In fantasy romance I have to check my details more, too. Especially in The Uncharted Realms, because I have so many braided storylines going now. The overlap gives me a headache! But overall, my process is the same, no matter what I’m working on: I write primarily in the morning through early afternoon, walking at my treadmill desk. I do hour-long sessions, taking minor breaks in between. I’m most comfortable writing 3-4K/day. 

You are always wearing the most fabulous hats. Enable us with the best places to shop for fantastic headwear, and show us your most prized chapeau! 

I tend to pick up hats as I see them, though I do love San Diego Hat Company for getting exactly the kind I like. I just got this one there for the RWA National Convention and I love it!

LaTessa Montgomery with Jeffe Kennedy

Twelve Kingdoms / Uncharted Realms


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