My Novels

My Novels
Click through to buy my books

Sep 25, 2014

Review: Unspoken


by Sarah Rees Breenan

Lynburn Legacy Book 1

My Summary:
Kami Glass has always had an imaginary friend, but she doesn’t talk about him anymore. Her idyllic town of Sorry-in-the-Vale is already a place she stands out but is accepted as the quarter Japanese daughter of one of their own. As the founder and editor-in-chief of her schools newspaper, she’s determined to get to the bottom of her home’s secrets and the family that’s returned after a long absence… a family whose name is whispered in fear and anger… a family to which her not-so-imaginary friend belongs.

My Review:
As a fan of sleuth things (Miss Marple is a kindred spirit), I waited to read this novel for two reasons:
1 – A trusted reader-friend told me I’d want to pick up the second book right away.
2 – After the cover changes that happened with the Demon’s Lexicon series, I didn’t trust the original hard back cover – I was right – and I prefer my Series to have complimentary covers all the way through if I can help it.

I enjoyed this book immensely, however I didn’t see what the fuss was over the ending (I won’t spoil it. If you know, you know). But then, I knew about it walking in, and I expected as much from SRB. I was pleased that – while it does have a bit of an open ending – it’s not the sort of book that forces you to get the next book to finish the narrative of the first. It leads into book two nicely.

The secondary characters were probably my favorite part of this book. Angela was certainly my favorite, but they were all a treat. And I greatly appreciated that they had realistic opinions about “this guy who seems suddenly obsessed with our friend” and that they expressed those opinions. Friends having friends backs: the stuff life should be made of.

It was a nice break from the more serious tones of things I’ve been reading lately, and really should come with a “Beware: Imminent Death by Laughing” warning. Okay, it’s not that funny, but it did make me smile like an idiot at times.

The addition  of magical elements from Kami’s heritage was… a little underwhelming. I really would have loved to see that expanded upon. As it was, they felt a little thrown in and I wanted more.

The reveal at the end was not as easily guessed as I thought it would be. I had two of the components figured out, but not the whole. That is always nice.

Sep 24, 2014

Why I Think It’s Important to Read All Genres… And Why That SometimesGets In The Way.

If you follow me on GoodReads, you’ll notice that I read just about everything. You name a genre… I’ve read something from it. If I haven’t, I’ve probably got something in my TBR pile for it. And if not, please give me a suggestion because I love exploring genres I’ve never heard of.

Reading well written books in a variety of genres helps me as a writer. It gives me an opportunity to understand the motivations of characters in situations that I may not have thought of. They give me the ability to explore settings and timelines I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

Really, I started reading divergent genres because I found myself surrounded by dialogs that disparaged one genre or another. Literary readers looked down on the SF/F/H genres. SF/F/H readers looked down on the YA set… and just about everyone who hasn’t read a good romance novel had terrible things to say about them. I didn’t want to be one of them. So I sought out new genres and you know what I’ve found?

There aren’t really any “bad” genres. There are bad books, but those are like weeds… you rout them out and you’re fine.

There are two reasons that reading everything can get in the way.

a) Occasionally, I find that I fall into weird genre slumps where I spend too much time in one genre. The only cure is to read something different.ed

b) Sometimes reading a book so far outside of my own project’s can make it difficult to insert myself back into the story I’m working on.

Sep 23, 2014

Review: The Exodus Towers

Exodus Towers 

By Jason M. Hough

The Dire Earth Cycle Book 2

My Summary:                                      
Trying to survive in Belem Brazil, the colonists find themselves in dire straits when a fanatical cult leader raids their newly claimed home and Skyler discovers a new version of subs that make the first version look like kittens. On the second elevator, supplies run short, forcing Tania to make a deal with Blackfield that leaves her in worse shape than before And Darwin comes under the control of a new master.

My Review:
This book is not for the faint of heart, and definitely don’t read it if you’re feeling overly empathetic. The first half is a bit of downer, and the second… doesn’t get much better. The external conflicts pile up and it really doesn’t look good for anyone involved.  With a single exception the pacing is break-neck throughout, which may or may not be a good thing.

Well written, if a little verbose, the second book is on par with the first. It allows for expansion on the characters we got to know in book one, while introducing more and providing the reader with an added setting in which to let a host of horrible things happen. Sadly, it doesn’t always hit the mark. Samantha was a disappointment, her strengths seemed to fade and in the end I stopped caring about her. The others… I’ll have to wait and see how I feel about them in the third book.

As with the first in the series, this ends with a cliffhanger – but it is once again completely acceptable because of the rapid-fire release schedule of the books.

Sep 22, 2014

Editing Tips – Big Issues: Taking it Chapter by Chapter

So you’ve finished your manuscript. Awesome! Seriously that is so cool. But… you’re so far from being done.

That realization is going to slap you in the face sooner or later. And it’s going to hurt.

You just created a book that is hopefully somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 words. That’s a lot of pages. Really, go look at the page count at the bottom of your document if you don’t believe me. I’ll still be here when you get back.

Now comes the fun part! Or the part that feels like pulling teeth.... Honestly, how much you enjoy editing varies from person to person, and no personal feelings toward editing are wrong (Except the desire to burn your manuscript. That’s dangerous and you’re going to set your house on fire. Where will your family live! Don’t be a jerk.)

Anyway, you’ve got this gigantic task ahead of you and it can seem SO daunting.  My biggest piece of advice: Take it chapter by chapter.

Sure, you have a lot of chapters (or maybe you only have 10? I don’t know, it’s your book.) and when you think of it as thirty chapters or fifty two chapters… that’s a hefty work load. But really, how many pages are in your chapter? Ten? Twenty? Five? That’s a much more doable number, right?

Take a deep breath and look at Chapter 1 all by its lonesome. Don’t worry about the fact that you’ve got the others waiting to be dealt with. Just work with chapter 1, then move to 2 and so on.

Sep 19, 2014

Five Covers I'm In Love With Right Now

Let's talk about some covers I'm in love with ...

All these cover images are snagged from GoodReads. If you love the cover as much as I do, definitely go check it out The titles are linked to their GR page.

1. Burning Kingdoms by Lauren Destefano

There's something super simplistic and gorgeous about this. Love the broken bust, the dynamic element of the cover, and the bright point in the midst of the darkness. Its rare that I like when a cover changes between the first and second book, but in this instance, I think the change up really works. (Bonus: this comes out on my birthday next year.)

2. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

I love a book that can be visually stunning with a very monotone color pallet. Even if I have no idea what's going on with this one... I cant stop staring at it.

3. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Snowflake? Sword? Both! Yes please! Seriously, I just keep thinking how cool a swordflake would be as a weapon. (Maybe Joe stole the idea from GRRM - it's what the white walkers use as weapons... but George snoozed, so he lost. Never mind, that would be depressing) And I love the lower leg of the K, it looks vicious.

4. Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

This whole series has a fun set of covers, but the final cover is just.... special. The first two have too much whispy stuff around the title, and the fire elements of this one speak of doom and the potential the ending climax may hold.

5.The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

I don't even know what's going on with that big red slash in the middle, but I love this one so much. Ignoring how AMAZING the book itself sounds, there's something incredibly intriguing about the woman standing front and center. I don't even need to read the back copy to know I want to know her story.

Note: Clearly I'm liking black, white and red right now. Odd, since red and I haven't been friends for the larger majority of my life.