Let’s Get Excited for…Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in NO WAY sways my thoughts and opinions.

If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

To add book 1 (Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Gloomwood Forest) to your Goodreads click here.

To purchase book 1 (Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Gloomwood Forest) click here.

To add Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword click here.

To learn more about the author, Keira Gillett, click here.

WAIT! If you haven’t read this series yet then I HIGHLY recommend you do so (see my thoughts on book 1 here). With that being said I promise this post will be spoiler free!

Initial reaction upon finishing:

This was a great continuation of the series and I was so excited to be able to dive back into the magical world of Norway. Keira has a way of telling the story that is straightforward. I can easily picture the world (even though I have not once been to Norway) and feel like I am transported there while reading it. My 3 points from my review of the first book CARRIED OVER to this one, which is not always typical. Sometimes you may think the main character is amazing in book 1 and then continue on to the next book only to find that you really don’t like them. That did not happen, and I applaud Keira for that! Here are a few things I loved about this book and reasons you should look for it on it’s release day (November 6th!).

  1. NEW ADVENTURES: This seemed like a new batch of adventures for Zaria and the gang. Yes, it was a bit of a continuation off of the adventures in the first book, but they faced new challenges. Fresh obstacles. It had the same general feeling as far as an adventure with Zaria does, but at the same time it was completely new and there were many things I did not see coming. I loved that Keira was able to stick with something and yet keep it fresh at the same time.
  2. EARN IT: I think this story is an AWESOME example of working hard to get what you want in life. Each challenge is an actual challenge for Zaria and all she travels with. Nothing is just handed to them as they waltz through like you sometimes expect. No, they work their tails off to accomplish things. They are challenged both physically and mentally to get to the end of their mission. I think it’s awesome for readers (especially in the age group that this is targeted at) to see that nothing in life comes easy, and that a main character in a book that they can look up to is proof of that.
  3. ZARIA: Oh gosh, Zaria is still awesome. I felt that more depth was added to Zaria in this book. She discovered who she truly is, and now she has to face some facts because of it. She has a whole new level of self discovery going on while this book takes place, and she struggles. She is still awesome, even at her worst moments. She is kind, brave, honest, and adventurous. She is truly fierce!

BONUS: The prologue was a recap (super helpful for someone who seems to need recaps, such as myself), magical/mystical creatures FTW!, you are still reminded that these kids are KIDS (you see them behave as kids do and not just as someone on a magical quest).

I really enjoyed getting lost in this book and in this world one more time. It was just so easy to get lost there and to feel like I was also going on these adventures. Loving this book at this age makes me wonder just how much my 13 year old self would love it (and the answer is probably that my 13 year old self would love it a lot, because this is definitely something that I would be all over). I love the relate-ability of the main character and the easy flow to the story. I love that I can get lost in the adventure from page 1. I love that I can look at Zaria and see a positive fictional role model for kids. 

If you haven’t read this series then I most highly recommend it. And then I recommend you give it to your kids (or nieces, or your friend’s kids, or your younger siblings or cousins). I think this is a PERFECT story for anyone that loves adventure and I really hope that this series gets in the hands of more and more people.

Thanks so much for writing an awesome continuation of Zaria’s adventures Keira! I am very excited for what comes next!

Blog Tour: Using Music to Set the Mood of Zaria Feirce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

I am so excited to, once again, have Keira Gillett on the blog. I have had her on here a couple of times to talk about her book Zaria Fierce and the Secret of the Gloomwood Forest and am so excited to have her back on to talk about the music that help inspire book two, Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword (out November 6th!). So without futher ado, I turn it over to Keira!

Hi everyone, I’m Keira Gillett! I’m so glad to be back here at the Midwestern Book Nerd blog. Emily so graciously invited me to talk about the playlist for the second book in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. She’s written an awesome review (it really made my day when I saw it go live) and hosted me for the first book tour, sharing 8 facts about the making of the book. You should really check them out. Don’t worry I’ll wait. 🙂

When I was at Liberty’s blog discussing the playlist for book one, I talked about how my listening habits changed depending on what I was doing – reading, writing, or editing. I also shared a little in the way of how music helped me write the book.

My musical tastes took a bit of a turn on the second Zaria Fierce playlist. Most of the light or upbeat classical music is gone and in its place you will find alternate, folk, cinematic, techno, and some other musical genres. I’m not really sure what to call some of it. I’ve never been particularly up-to-date on music trivia or pop culture. My boyfriend would be the first to tell you I was clueless as to who Aerosmith was (go ahead, laugh, he did). Apparently, I loved their songs, but had no idea that who sang them. Whoops.

So anyway, the change in the tenor of the Zaria Fierce playlist was intentional. The story is reaching its middle ground and it needed to reflect the change in the mood and pacing. It still had to be fairly background music to me – not as bad as elevator music, but not too obtrusive either. If the song had the feel of an adventure, I put it in my queue. If it could in anyway relate to Zaria’s mindset, I put it in my queue.

I found this switch up to be very helpful because setting the mood is crucial for storytelling. It helped me by giving me that first note, like a piano player gives to a singer, which I feel charged the writing, giving it added intensity. Whenever I switched to my book playlist, I was instantly transported to the story and was ready to write.

Below you can listen to the playlist for Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword. What do you think happens in the second book, based on a few of the sampled songs? I’d be interested in hearing your guesses!

Thanks again for having me here today.

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland SwordBook Two in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy

Summary: If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

Release Date: November 6, 2015

Pre-order: E-book

Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest (Book 1):

“Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers.” Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal

“A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today’s technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.” Kathy Haw, Goodreads Review

“A great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delight of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it.” Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book

“If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy, look no further. This book kept me on my toes with its many cliffhangers and plot twists; it was quite hard to put down at times.” Meredith, All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff

“I love when a story jumps right in and hooks me like this one did. I highly recommend you look into it if you are in the mood for a fun adventure. I also recommend that you get it for any book loving middle schooler you know.” Emily, Midwestern Book Nerd

Excerpt:

Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.

“How’re you getting down?”

“Hopefully with your stargazer.”

“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.

“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.

She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”

Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.

“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”

Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.

Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.

At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.

Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (zariafierce)

Thanks so much for stopping by Keira! If you haven’t checked out her book I highly recommend it. It is such a fun adventure set in modern Norway! Perfect for any middle schooler who loves fantasy (or any adult that wants to feel as if they are 13 again). Be sure to look for my review of Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword in the next week or two!

Cover Reveal…Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett

Are you ready for something exciting???? I sure am! I am so excited to be a part of the cover reveal for the 2nd book in the Zaria Fierce trilogy, Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword. Always fun to work with Keira Gillett and to see what she has up her sleeve next. So…without further ado…..

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland SwordAbout the Book:

Title: Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

Release Date: November 6, 2015 (11/06/2015)

Author: Keira Gillett

Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan

Narrator: Michele Carpenter

Series: Zaria Fierce Trilogy, Book 2

Summary in a Nut-Shell: Zaria Fierce must undo the damage she and her friends caused when they accidentally aided Olaf in his quest to release the dragon, Koll.

Full Summary: If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

Pre-order on Amazon: E-book

Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest (Book 1):

“Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers.” Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal

“A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today’s technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.” Kathy Haw, Goodreads Review

“A great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delight of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it.” Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book

“If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy, look no further. This book kept me on my toes with its many cliffhangers and plot twists; it was quite hard to put down at times.” Meredith, All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff

“I love when a story jumps right in and hooks me like this one did. I highly recommend you look into it if you are in the mood for a fun adventure. I also recommend that you get it for any book loving middle schooler you know.” Emily, Midwestern Book Nerd

Illustrations by Eoghan Kerrigan:

zaria2chapter2

zaria2chapter5

Excerpt:

Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.

“How’re you getting down?”

“Hopefully with your stargazer.”

“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.

“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.

She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”

Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.

“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”

Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.

Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.

At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.

Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

Pre-order on Amazon: E-book

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (zariafierce)

Eoghan Kerrigan IllustratorIllustrator Bio: Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures. He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects. He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website: http://eoghankerrigan.blogspot.ie/

Social Media: Twitter (eoghankerrigan), Facebook (eoghankart)

Michele CarpenterNarrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website: http://www.michele-carpenter.com/

Social Media: Twitter (michelecvoice), Facebook (michelecarpentervoice), YouTube (micheleyoutube)

I am just loving that book cover! So incredibly cool. Look for this awesome book on November 6th. And if you haven’t started this series yet you definitely should (check out my review Zaria Fierce and the Secret of the Gloomwood Forrest)!

I am very excited to see just what will be happening next with Zaria and the gang.

Zaria Fierce Blog Tour: 8 Facts About the Production of Zaria Fierce

I am so excited to have Keira Gillett on the blog today to talk about the awesome Zaria Fierce trilogy. I plan on reading this book and reviewing it for you all ASAP, but am so excited for her to give us a few interesting facts about the production of this trilogy. So…without further ado I give you Keira Gillett…

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Thank you so much Emily for having me here today at Midwestern Book Nerd! My name is Keira Gillett and I’m the author of the brand new Zaria Fierce Trilogy, about an American girl who meets a troll in the middle of modern-day Norway. And not the nice kind! Watch this trailer to learn more:

You might know that the first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest released in March 2015, but did you know that I recently finished the first draft for book two? Just last week! I’m super excited. To celebrate, here are eight numerical facts on the first book’s production from start to finish.

  • 2 First Chapters – were discarded (along with their plots) before the story arc of the trilogy was resolved… and because of world building in book two, I updated the last few chapters of the first book too!
  • 3 Days, 6 Hours, 40 Minutes – is the length of time it took to write the first draft of the novel if I had sat down in one sitting and typed the book from start to finish. Thankfully I wasn’t chained to the computer. A girl has to have her bathroom and food breaks occasionally. 😉 This writing was spread out over the course of two months.
  • 1 Day, 2 Hours, 57 Minutes – is the length of time spent revising and editing the novel. I still can’t believe that this was done over a one month period of time. The turn around was amazing!
  • 36, 200 Words – tell the story of Zaria Fierce and her first adventure in Norway. Book two is longer at 41,280 words (in it’s rough draft state.) So not only do you get to venture into Gloomwood, but you get to come back and stay longer!
  • 4 Months (from late November 2014 to early March 2015) – is the time it took to prep the book for publication in e-book, trade paperback, and audio book formats. It’s been a huge amount of fun and also a bit whirlwind. (I recommend a longer lead time so you can get more advanced reviews. Book bloggers are awesome.)
  • 9 Actors and Actresses – auditioned to narrate the book on ACX (an Amazon company). Michele Carpenter the narrator of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest outshone them all. Learn more about how I chose Michele to become the voice of Zaria.
  • 4 Hours 1 Minute 48 Seconds – is the length of the narration for the audio book. Michele did an amazing job and what’s more Michele voices the book trailer, and made it too! We’ve become good friends and I’m so happy she’s part of the world. Check out her fan-art for the book.
  • 16 Illustrations – drawn by Eoghan Kerrigan grace the beginning of each chapter for readers to feast their eyes upon. You can see previews of them too in the book trailer. Meet Zaria and the river-troll she meets along the way to Gloomwood Forest.

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood ForestBook Blurb

“Come here Princess, and let me eat you.”

On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Reviews:

Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers. 4 Stars – Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal

I really enjoyed Zaria’s story. It reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson series… Middle school children will absolutely like this one! 4 Stars – Anjie Basi, Love Thy Shelf

This book will have young listeners hooked right from the start. In fact, if parents are planning a driving holiday this summer, I highly recommend purchasing this audiobook. It will definitely keep the kids entertained while traveling. Michele Carpenter’s narration is terrific. 5 Stars – Amie Gaudet, Amie’s Book Reviews

Excerpt:

Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (keiragillett)

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Thanks for stopping by Keira and for sharing those facts about your book’s production with us. I honestly have no clue what goes on to get a book published and was very interested to see what went in to the production of your book.

So…Is this something you would love to read? The setting alone intrigues me. I would love to hear your thoughts!