Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Well, this has been a long time coming.  The author came to me with a review request last summer and I actually got it mixed up within my tbr pile and by sheer providence I began reading the first book, A Precarious Beginning, quite by accident one day when I was looking for something else.  I fell in love with the first book and the main character Hyla.  Then I found out that the two authors are father and then, 8 year old daughter...and here we are today.  Since there are two book reviews, a cover reveal and an interview, I'm going to keep my gibberish down to a minimum here.  Note, make sure you read to the end of each review, as there are ebook giveaways to link to on Amazon...and I promise, you'll want to get your name on that list for sure!

Book One - A Precarious Beginning
Ya Fantasy by Siena and Fritz Rollins

“There are only two powers in the universe that determine what a person will become in life — luck and willpower.” 

Orphaned at a young age and forced to become a pickpocket to survive, a chance meeting with the King’s Assassin is the lucky break Hyla needs. At the massive fortress city of Castlemount, Hyla discovers she is destined to become a Dragonrider! Training every day to understand her new role and the magical dragon bond, Hyla learns that mingling with the rich and powerful has its own dangers. Will her street smarts keep her alive? Join Hyla in the precarious beginning to her incredible adventure!

“A Precarious Beginning” is a classic tale of insurmountable odds, high adventure, and the power of friendship. It is sure to captivate readers of all ages.


What a sweet little story...really captured my attention and imagination. LOVE the lead character her! Although there are times when her sentences/responses seem to grown up for a child of her age (and background)..she doesn't always sound like a six/seven year old...but not to the detriment of the story. I don't know how I came upon this book, but I'm glad I did. And to know it was written by a father and his eight year old freaking cute is that! Just started book two...


Book Two- A Gathering of Liars 

Hyla and Fingers found a new home at Castlemount. They also found a web of lies! 
While Hyla continues her Dragonrider training, and Fingers studies to be a mage, the war with the Kingdom of Achor drags on. They will both soon learn that their greatest threat is not from a neighboring kingdom but from the people within. People they trust are telling lies, and the greatest liar of all holds their lives in his hands!

“A Gathering of Liars” is the sequel to “A Precarious Beginning” and Book 2 in the Chronicles of Castlemount. Father and daughter writing duo, Fritz Rollins and Siena Rollins, continue to weave their magic tale of adventure and magic.


Okay, so I just this minute finished this book...first of all, imagine my surprise when I turned the page and it read Epilogue! What? Seriously? This book was super quick...AND super fun! And it stopped on a perfect cliff hanger for Hyla. I went right to hunting down the third book and found this second book was just published! So, there you have it...waiting. AHHH!

The story is clever and fantasy driven, as well as emotional and well written (although I was surprised to be reminded that Finn is only 13! Their manner of speech is more grownup than it should be, but again, not to the detriment of the story). This book is even better than the first. Much more settled in the story, more action and intrigue, well developed characters...just a really good series. All the stories behind everyone coming to light...really enjoyed some surprises there.

And I forgot to mention in my review of the first book..I really like the names of everything. The cities, people, ect. So many fantasy books get way too involved in attempting to come up with clever names, and most the time I can't pronounce them, they're over the top, or simply ridiculous. Every time I came to a new name I thought, oh cool, that's a good one. Something worth pointing out in my book.

Very happy to have stumbled upon this series. VERY Enjoyable! And now we wait...damn!


Book Three-A Treacherous Path

Well, I suppose I need to start with the obvious.  I read a little bio on your site that tells how you and your daughter began writing together.  I really need you to share this incredible story.
Fritz: Hyla’s story began when Siena was just three years old. Of course, back then, Hyla was not yet pretending to be eight. She was just a three-year-old girl named Siena living on the streets of a nameless city. She would later change her name to Hyla, because she thought it would be too weird to write a story with herself as the main character. In fact, many of the characters in the story would change their names as the years went by. Sir Lancelot, for instance, a name blatantly stolen one night when I was too tired to come up with another name, would later go on to change his name to Sir Chardan. 
The initial story was just of the choosing, but Siena kept asking for more. So, I kept adding on. Hyla grew up, she fought wars, she fell in love. She traveled to an alternate world where she met her namesake, and they fought a dragon battle over Siena’s elementary school. Later they would even fight the dreaded pirate were-elephant, Captain Jack Sparrow. But always, Hyla would come back to the core story of Castlemount and her twin dragons.
This went on for years, until Siena finally told me she wanted to write a book about Castlemount. 
Had you thought of writing a book before your daughter brought this up for you?  Are there other genres that attract you, that you might think of writing…as a duo, or singularly?
Fritz: I’m an avid reader and have always been a fan of both fantasy and science fiction. The only books I’d ever really considered writing before were business books though. Right now the only books we’re planning on writing together are the Castlemount Chronicles, but you never know, we may write something else. I’ve had several ideas for standalone books I might pursue on my own once the Chronicles are finished.
What about Siena, is she planning on continuing on this journey or writing (on her own, or with you), or was this simply a fun project?
Siena: I definitely plan on continuing my journey as an author, both with my dad and without. My dad and I have been working on Castlemount Chronicals and we plan to continue it to a book five. As for my personal career, I've started many stories, but I've yet to find the perfect one that I'd gladly follow to completion.
How do you separate the working relationship from the daily child/parent growing pains?  Did you have disagreements during the process, a set of rules you adhered too, or are you just literally the perfect family?
Siena: We were able to find a relationship in between our regular father daughter one, and our working relationship. We agreed on almost all the major plot elements. It was the smaller details that we had trouble agreeing on.
Fritz: I never approached the first book as something to be published. If the only person who ever read and enjoyed it was Siena, I would have been perfectly fine with that. So, the first book is much more about me writing for her. It made most disagreements moot. If she was happy, I was happy. The only places I put up much resistance was when I’d ask, “Are we being true to the character if they take that action?” Our second book was more collaborative, because we now had to think beyond just one book to the plotline of the whole series.
This one is strictly for Siena. I would imagine you are  a bit of a ‘rock star’ now among your fellow classmates.  What do your friends and schoolmates think of your work?   Is there something special that you share with your mother, aside from being the perfect daughter?  What do you think you’ll tackle next in your life, what are you looking forward too?
Siena: Everybody has a story to tell. Just because I wrote a book first, doesn’t mean that they won’t write books in the future. Only one of my classmates read my books, and he said they were both amazing, and, like many others is waiting anxiously for book three. We're trying to finish the third book as soon as possible, but there are so many variables put into writing it.
My mother and I have had many ups and downs in our relationship, but it all comes back to one thing, we're family.
I’ve found a project that could take my whole life to complete — pursuing a career in the performing arts. I say performing arts, because I don't want to limit myself to only one thing. Having a career in the performing arts generally means you start out pretty young, so I've started with dance classes, piano lessons, and a theater production.
And the final question is always dedicated to..well, to the dedication.  Yours reads: ‘This book is dedicated to all those who have the willpower to succeed and the stubbornness not to give up.’…nice.  What does that mean to the both of you?  And who is Lady Kathryn, Brutus and Cinnamon? 
Siena: That’s like five questions, but here are my answers: having the willpower to succeed means that you’re pushing yourself to do something that you genuinely want to do, and having the stubbornness not to give up means that halfway into your journey, you don't give up, despite what's thrown at you. You continue on until you've reached your goal.
Fritz: I’m a very big believer in parents reading to their children and sharing stories. It’s through stories that we impart valuable life lessons. I started reading and telling stories to Siena before she could even understand what I was saying. In fact, to this day, nearly every night of the week, the last thing we do before bed is I read to everyone for forty-five minutes. There are many lessons that I’ve baked into Castlemount: the power of friendship, the fact that family isn’t about just blood relations, treating others with dignity and respect. The core lesson I wanted to impart to my daughter was that she can do anything she sets her mind to, whether it’s writing a book or becoming a world-class performing artist. It’s a recurring theme in the books, and the underpinning of the entire magical system. Angus sums it up best, “There are only two powers in the universe that determine what a person will become in life — luck and willpower.”

Siena: Lady Kathryn is my beautiful mother in dragon rider form, and Brutus was my mother's canine companion for 16 years before he passed away. Cinnamon is our three-year-old mutt and recently, big sister to our six-month-old puppy, Romeo. Cinnamon and Romeo get along pretty well most of the time, but Cinnamon can get very frustrated with Romeo because of his condition. When Romeo was younger, he suffered from brain damage and giardia (a stomach disease). As he got older he became handicapped: part blind, part deaf, and part anosmic (no sense of smell). Lady Kathryn bonded with Romeo at first sight, so now she takes care of her new little dragon.

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