Monday, July 30, 2012

Haven (Winterhaven #1) by Kristi Cook

Read: July 25-28, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 401

When I started the book I'm not quite sure what I was expecting. Girl is given the option to either live with her Gran to stay in the same school OR move to NY and attend a boarding school. Hmm which option to choose? Obviously the boarding school. Once getting to said boarding school Violet meets a mysterious boy who later plays a big role in her new life. After meeting her roommate Violet is suddenly surrounded by an amazing group of friends which is unlike her past. She has always struggled to keep everyone at a distance because she has these visions or premonitions that tend to be about the people she loves. The kicker is they always come true, and they are never wrong. On the second day of school however Violet learns she is not the freak she has always thought she was. Turns out the boarding school is a school FOR teenagers with psychic "gifts". They are told to sign an agreement that they will not use their "gifts" to cheat or to expose themselves to outsiders. So having these magical abilities and attending a boarding school where they learn to use these abilities and where these abilities will be beneficial in life....I start thinking this sounds a bit to me like the whole Harry Potter deal. Not completely I agree, but the going to school away from home and finally feeling as though you fit in...yeah that whole vibe is here too.

Comparisons do not end there!

Remember the mysterious boy I mentioned? Let's see how to describe him....I would say he is super smart, gorgeous and also a loner. He has never given much attention to anyone, but enter Violet and suddenly Aidan is interested. They get put together thanks to some workings of the school and soon tension and a relationship start forming. For instance he starts saving her from little run ins around the school and becomes over protective. Sound familiar? Oh yeah it goes one further.....he has more than psychic abilities....hes also vampire. Yes he is a bit like the Cullen boy in that regard. At least her Kristi Cook plays around with the vampire traits and everything is not exactly the same.

As we need for there to be a story at all there is a conflict that begins and must be resolved within the last 20-30 pages while also creating a relationship between Violet and Aidan while still leaving room for an additional overall story arc that will allow the novel to become not a stand alone, but a SERIES! Of course its a series. We don't seem to write stand alone novels anymore!

Now will I pick up said series further? Yes I will. Why? Well for the same reason I continued the novel despite its glaringly similar elements....I liked the characters. I wasn't overwhelmingly annoyed with Violet as I am with another character who shall remain nameless. So would I recommend it? Yes. IF you don't mind the similarities and find the characters likable. Give it 30 pages or so. If you don't hate it continue it. That's what I did anyways.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

Read: July 11-24, 2012
read in 14 days
pages: 613

An exquisite journey with twists and turns that keep the reader intrigued and guessing just how all these pieces are going to fit together in the end. Felix J. Palma has crafted a beautiful written story set in 19th century London with genuine characters you really care about.

There are three parts to this novel and each part deals with a slightly different set of characters. The opening story is of Andrew Harrington and his beloved Marie Kelly. The story is one of heartache and lost love. Andrew wants nothing more than to escape the life he has been living the last 8 years. With the help of his cousin and the crafty, creative H.G. Wells Andrew finds the solace he is seeking. 

The second part is the story of Claire Haggerty and Captain Derek Shackleton. Claire is a woman who feels she does not belong in her time and longs to break out. She doesn't want to marry the "dandies" that are courting her. She longs for a love that is of another time and seeks it by traveling to the year 2000 via Gilliam Murray's Time Travel. Her antics cause a snowball of events that entangle H.G. Wells yet again. Once again his creativeness comes in handy. My favorite thing about this part of the book was the letters that are written. I love when letters are part of a story and these work very well in allowing the reader to get to know Claire while she does not appear too often in person in the story. I won't divulge the information in these letters, but the letter writing is what kept me reading by this point. The novel is quite long, BUT it is worth it.

The last part of the story made me wonder. I'm not entirely sure even now how it works with the rest of the novel. I understand parts and why they needed to be there, but I almost feel as though it was dream like because it was so surreal feeling. If someone else reads this or has read it let me know what you think is going on! 

The point of view works very well because the use of an omniscient narrator allows the reader to be privy to information they otherwise would have no access to. With that being said I think there is something with this narrator that makes the last section feel dream like. Being omniscient, we as the reader learn so much through the narrators observations that the characters don't learn until much later. Or at least I was able to figure out things before the characters come to their conclusions. 

Overall I think the novel is a great piece of work and I look forward to the next book in the series, Map of the Sky. I understand it has been published in Spanish already and is being translated. So this is exciting. I think this translation was great and I only found ONE typo so that was fabulous! 

Another key thing that I loved about the book is the setting and the historical parts of the novel. We meet so many characters from another time such as H.G. Wells and his wife, Jack the Ripper, John Merrick a.k.a. the Elephant Man and the characters and their individual stories are worked into the novel perfectly. I enjoyed reading about the characters and confirming the facts on line in my own research as I read along.

One of my favorite quotes that I thought was just beautiful was:

"Like a coat wearing thin at the elbows, night was beginning to unravel at one of the farthest edges of the sky, its opaqueness gradually diluting into an even paler blue, until a hazy light slowly began to reveal the contours of the world."

I encourage anyone who enjoys a good historical fiction novel with a twist to pick up this novel. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Look for the next novel The Map of the Sky in September 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self edited by Joseph Galliano

Read: July 22-23, 2012
read in a  few hours
pages: 134

This was a very quick read. I'm not entirely sure what I really expected from it. I guess maybe some interesting insight into people who are now well known accomplished people. I enjoyed a few letters more than others, but overall it is an ok read. I think aside from getting an insight into these well known people and to see what kind of advice or wisdom they would like to have known then is the fact that this is written in letter form. I always like to read letters in books and this was a really great set up.

I enjoyed the letters by J.K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Cassandra Peterson a.k.a. Elvira, Rose McGowan, James Belushi, Moon Zapp, Jenna Elfman, Michelle Rodriguez, ugh ok I'm not listing anymore...that was a lot of name dropping for sure. Either way the letters accomplish what I hope was their goal in that there are small nuggets of genuine insight that these people wish they could impart to their younger self.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mid-Year Favorites!!!

The year is half over and I'm working towards my goal of reading 85 books this year. I'm excited to see that so far according to Goodreads challenge tracker I am currently on track. Very good news since last year I missed my 75 books. Last year didn't end typically though so I have to take that into consideration. THIS year is looking much better. I haven't hit my lull at all. Do you ever have a lull? I am so used to having a weekend or two throughout the course of the year where I just get BLAH and can't focus on ANYTHING! Luckily that has yet to slow me down.

So looking back over the, well at this writing anyways, 45 books I've read so far this year I thought I could recap some of my favorite books and ask what are some of your favorite books you've read so far this year. I have to admit not all of mine are current releases, so I may not have anything that anyone else has read this year, but it is still fun to compare. We may even inspire the other to read one of our favorites!

Without further ado....The List!
(in no particular order!)

Really cool! I just stumbled upon the writer Heather Dixon's site and found a Q&A for her novel Entwined, which so happens to be on my list of favorites this year. So you can hop over there and check out her blog and some Q&A's about the novel.

Author's Book Blurb:
Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.

This novel is a sort of retelling of the Grimm's tale 12 Dancing Princesses. So fair warning.....LOTS OF DANCING. Now don't say I didn't warn you!! 

Check out my review here.

Author's Book Blurb:
ChimeBefore Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Have you heard of SARK? I had not until I stumbled across the most colorful book I've ever found in the non-fiction section. When I first picked it up I knew I needed to check it out. The coolest thing about this author's books is that she writes these books BY HAND! In multiple markers, pens and different colors. And wonderful little drawings that make the book so much more fun to read! This was quite a little book of inspiration and I encourage others to read it. While it is inspiring the reader to be a writer I think anyone could be inspired by it not just people looking for encouragement to write.

Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do ItAuthor's book blurb:
Write and share what’s in your heart! Let SARK show you how. Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper is your non-judgmental witness, resoundingly supportive friend, and practical guide to the craft of writing and storytelling. For anyone who knows that a writer lives within them but doesn’t know how or where to start; for writers who need new ways to work past their blocks and be reinspired; for anyone who loves SARK’s wise words and art, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper will help start the ink flowing and keep it going.

The coolest thing though I discovered that if you can't get your hands on her book very easily you CAN visit her website and get a taste of what I'm talking about.

Author's book blurb:
Faelorehn - Book One of the Otherworld TrilogyI never heard him come after me and even as I climbed the slope and stumbled onto our shaded back lawn, I didn’t look back. It was like the day the gnomes chased me all over again, but this time I was not escaping some horrible little creatures, I was fleeing from an incredibly good-looking guy who could very well understand me completely. I was either saving myself from that serial killer I always imagined lived down in the swamp, or I had finally gone over the deep end . . .

Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.

Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought.

Author's book blurb:
A Thirty-Something GirlLife has been anything but kind, and everything that can go wrong has. At an age when life should be coming together, and questions should start to be answered, Hope finds herself feeling very alone and terribly confused. As her life spirals out of control, she realizes she needs help. And she needs it quickly.

With the love and support of some dear friends, Hope slowly begins to find her true self, and along the way, she meets someone. Someone who makes her feel like living to see another day might just be worth it.

But with happiness, comes pain. Pain from a past that simply won't be forgotten. Walking a dangerously fine line between joy and utter despair, Hope wonders if happy endings really do exist. And if they do, is there one waiting for her?

Author's book blurb:
Wastes of Space (Wastes Series, #1)In the early 21st century, the Cold War between the American and Chinese Empires slogs on in a stalemate. There's a ceasefire in effect, but the peace is artificial—secretly enforced by an alien blockade that surrounds the planet. Earth is caught in a territory struggle between two warring factions: the Empire and the Resistance. Lacking harvestable talents, both groups classify Earthlings as Wasters. 

Hidden among the Wasters is an alien girl with the power of moving spaceships. She teams up with Rake, a drug-addicted ex-Astronaut, to join an intergalactic war that Earth did not know existed, but first Rake has to realize he's travelling with an alien to begin with.

Author's book blurb:
ImpossibleLucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil?

A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin.Inspired by the classic folk ballad "Scarborough Fair," this is a wonderfully riveting and haunting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy.

That is quite a varied collection thus far this year. Now the rest that I've read I've enjoyed as well, but these are a few that stand out in my mind as favorites. What are some of your favorites so far this year?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sh*t my dad says by Justin Halpern

Read: July 16-17, 2012
Read : in a few hours
Pages: 159

Another quick little read. Some phrases made me laugh out loud while others were just humorous. I kept thinking over and over this poor kid. Wow, I can't imagine who would make this kind of stuff up. This has to be non-fiction. I thought David Sedaris had some stuff to deal with....

The intro and the last story frame the book very well, and I really liked the layout. The stories are interspersed with funny little phrases his dad said on a variety of topics. I think of the stories though my favorite would have to be the one about Angus. I felt so sorry for the little guy when Halpern returned home from work. Luckily things worked out in the end for both parties.

Fair warning while this is a funny book I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. If you are offended by foul language, crude comments and shy away from blunt honesty....well just don't bother. Also if you are offended by curse words this one is not for you. I think Halpern's fathers favorite words are f*ck, sh*t, and @$$hole. No joke. And he couldn't give a you know what whether that is acceptable or if that fact bothers you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas

Read: July 10-15, 2012
Read: in a few hours really didn't take days
Pages: 128

This was a quick read with a lot of really good insight and suggestions on how to get started writing a memoir. The book is very casual and informal. From what I can gather the author carries a diary around with her at all times and makes random notes and observations which later serve to jog her memory and help with her later writings. This book seems to be compiled with a lot of these little musings that start with one detail or memory and spiral off into something else. After each story there is a writing prompt encouraging the reader to actively engage with the book and start writing down their own memories.

While I only did one of the exercises I intend to look back through for more exercises that I might like to write with a given prompt. I really liked the format and thought this was a great starting point for someone considering the idea of writing their own memoir. The author makes the point that really by the end you should have a lot of fodder for your own potential memoir if you simply follow her prompts to write. Then once you go back through these writings if you start seeing a theme or that most of the memories appear to be around the same time then you have likely found your beginning for your memoir. The job then becomes more focus around that particular time.

I really liked the following quote from the book:

"If you are plagued by the question of who is going to find it interesting, please remember that most of us are curious about each other's lives. My rule of thumb is that if you find it interesting, chances are good that is is interesting."

I liked this because it only encourages you to write. There is no discouragement in this book which is great! The way I always thought about it was that it would be great for future generations in the family to read about the person in their memoir. So that was a good reason to write. But this quote made me realize that just maybe other people would be too. 

I'll leave this with one more quote from the book which I think captures the idea of memoir perfectly:

"Writing memoir is one way to explore how you became the person you are. It's the story of how you got here from there."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Anxiously Waiting: 2012 & 2013 Releases

What'cha waiting for???

I've compiled a short list of titles I'm anxiously waiting for release either sometime the end of this year or sometime early next year. I really should compile a list of books ALREADY released that I haven't gotten around to reading just yet.

The Lamplighter's SpecialAuthor's Book Blurb:
Lizzie and her beautiful sister Ninna are forced to work in a huge Manor and on a steamship to support their family. 

They are caught up in several mysteries:

The squire’s oldest son cannot leave the attic
An old typewriter seems to move time and space
A passenger hides in a secret cabin
A beautiful visitor is plotting against them

And Lizzie discovers that she has a strange, new ability.

She and her sister must discover the secrets of The Lamplighter’s Special before their enemy catches up with them.

Expected release date: 2012

Author's Book Blurb:
Together We Are OneShe lost her sight and her family. He lost his hearing and all hope for happiness. Shunned from a society which once embraced them, Elizabeth and Thomas struggle to find purpose and strength each day. 

Held captive by a man whose name she doesn't even know, Elizabeth lacks the courage to break away from the misery that defines her daily life. 

Constantly humiliated, lonely, and confused, Thomas shuffles through a life he no longer controls. A life he prays will end each day. 

A chance meeting brings them together, but can they overcome the barriers of communication that exist between them and learn to live… and love again?

Expected release date: September 2012

Author's Book Blurb:
Sapphire BlueGwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

Expected release date: October 2012

Author's Book Blurb:
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)This book will feature Cinder and Little Red Riding Hood and will take place in France.

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Expected release date: February 2013

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)Author's Book Blurb:
In Clockwork Princess, Tessa and her companions travel all over the world as they race to stop the clockwork army before it’s too late. As Jem’s health worsens alarmingly and his friends search desperately for a cure, can Tessa choose between the two boys she loves—even if it means never seeing the other one again?

Expected release date: March 2013

I'm also excited and looking forward to reading Alan Bradley's new installment in the Flavia de Luce mystery series! This will be the 5th in the series with the title Seeds of Antiquity. I do not have a cover to share as there is not one showing on his site, however there is a tentative date of early 2013. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Author Highlight: Interview with Darcy Town

Hello all! 
I've had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Darcy Town, author of The Wastes series and the Morningstar series. She was gracious enough to answer some questions about not only TheWastes series but The Morningstar series as well. I am excited to be able to share the interview with you.  

What inspired you to write Wastes of Space?
I was inspired by a combination of a few things.  I saw a particular piece of artwork by an artist that goes by Hamlet Machine (I admire her art.  Her stuff is very adult…so forewarned).  The drawing is a simple piece: a girl and her protector in a sci-fi setting.  That character dynamic clicked with me.  My other published books are all about adults.  For Wastes, I wanted to write something that also featured young adults.  I play with ageism a lot in the Wastes series…aka judging a person by the number of years they’ve lived instead of what kind of years they’ve lived.  Ravil is the poster-child for this concept.  A reader doesn’t know how old she is, she doesn’t know how old she is, and when you think you know how old she is…you still have a lot to learn.  ;)
I also wanted to write dark sci-fi with a character that was a real anti-hero.  I see many “bad boys” in books that are basically just snide jerks and they’re labeled an anti-hero.  I wrote a guy that hasn’t just had bad stuff happen to him; he’s the one doing bad stuff and it is stuff that a reader might be uncomfortable with.  Rake’s a drug-addicted washout that sells his body to get his next fix.  He cheats people out of their money, he robs them, and he kills others with ease.  Ravil isn’t kidding when she says he grosses her out…and that feeling is supposed to be shared with a reader. 

The world of Wastes seems strange, yet it is very familiar to our world. Can you tell me a little more about the world you envisioned for the Wastes series?
Sure thing.  In my mind, the major difference between our two worlds is that the space race didn’t wind down.  Instead, it became intertwined with the Cold War as the major front of war.  To control space meant you controlled a vast spy, defense, and offensive network.  To that end, space exploration was solely for militaristic purposes. 
China, the USA, and the USSR began to gobble up smaller countries under the name of preserving their style of rule.  In the US, Barry Goldwater was elected President and the ultra-paranoid, hawkish nationalism amped up from there.  Instead of interfering with each other directly or preventing expansion, the big three empires focused on arming, getting into space quickly, and then defending what they controlled from on high.  They created various programs that brought children up prepared to be soldiers.  Rake, Katarina, Mica, Oro and the others were raised training to become pilots to eventually defend their empire.   
Besides that, things are pretty much the same. 

For some people, the novel may push the envelope a little too far and it really does a great job of exposing and exploring topics that may be uncomfortable, even unacceptable to some; what were your concerns if you had any when you began creating this world and these characters?
I’ve always had concerns that people might get weirded out by the drug use, prostitution, age gaps in relationships, and the things they might not see everyday like cross dressers, transgendered individuals, and hookers and throw the book down…but I want to make people think about why they go “Eww” or “That’s too much of X for me.”  I want people to read about and even have to identify with characters that take them out of their comfort zone.  I think it’s good to expand one’s viewpoint as opposed to always reading safe, sterile, “normative” characters.  Besides…writing “safe” characters isn’t my strong suit.  My other books have Lucifer as your sympathetic male lead.
But, I do worry that I’ll get hate mail someday for the topics I address…but I can’t write my characters any other way.  They are who they are, and they’ll love whoever they’ll love.

Wastes is peopled with a wide array of characters and I admit I love them all. When writing up your characters do you use characteristics of people you know or have met in your own life?
Yes, but I limit it to the side characters.  My main characters are generally wholly made up. 
When I do, do it, I take it a bit further than borrowing characteristics.  I write people I know into the story.  It’s a fun game on my part, because I generally tell my character influences who they are in the story.  That way they get attached to them and I can harass them by threatening their character in the story.  I suppose that’s mean, but it’s always meant to be fun and people seem to enjoy it. 
The real examples of that don’t show up until books two, three, and four in the Wastes series: Wastes Away; Waste Not, Want Not; Wasting Time.  There you start to get characters inspired by my friends, my sister, my parents, and even my cat.  Hunters are just big cats after all. 

I’m a big Star Wars fan and really enjoyed the references in Wastes of Space. What inspired you to add that element to your series?
I think I was maybe several dozen pages into the story when it happened.  I was over at a friend’s house playing table top dice games (nerd here).  One of my friends was considering running a Star Wars game next.  My friends started talking about the extended Star Wars universe, like ancient history and post movies stuff.  I was familiar with the original three movies, but not the other information.  As the conversation went past an hour and into a second hour, I realized I wanted to write a character (or set of characters) that was as into Star Wars as these guys.  I think it makes sense for my American astronauts, who’ve been training since they were children, to be huge Star Wars fans.  The concept went from there and expanded from Rake, to the squad, and now their love of Star Wars colors the whole series.  I play around with the quotes and their Star Wars call signs a lot.

From your blog posts, I gather you are working on another book in the Wastes series, any idea on a proposed release date, or when you would like to have it released by?
Books 1 through 6 are written.  Right now, I’m working on two things: finishing book 7 (Wasted), and proofing book 3 (Waste Not, Want Not).  I’m looking to have Waste Not, Want Not out this summer, hopefully late August.  My other project is Wasted.  It is the biggest book I’ve written and it’s not done at nearly 300k word count.  I’m slowly chugging away at that one.  I like to have a large chunk of material between what’s ready to be read by readers and what I’m actually writing.  It takes the stress off me.

I read that Wastes of Space is not your only published work, can you tell me about the Morningstar series?
The Morningstar Trilogy is a set of three books: Morningstar, Evenstar, and Daystar.  It is a dark comedy, much like Wastes, but instead of aliens, it’s angels.  The basic concept is that Lucifer Morningstar and his lover, Ladriam Evenstar, were parted long ago and she was imprisoned.  That imprisonment started the war in Heaven.  Losing the war, Lucifer was cast down to Earth along with the Archangels that had sided with him in their attempt to free her.  Fast-forward to today and Ladriam escapes Heaven, but loses her body and memories.  She’s reborn in a human, Dahlia, and goes through her life up until twenty-five not really knowing anything other than her constant dreams and nightmares about angels.  In book one, an angel falls and tells Lucifer of her escape, the pair meet again, hijinks ensue, and there is plenty of violence as the Heavenly Hosts are still out looking for their escapee.  Overall, I keep the book lighthearted, because books two and three can get quite dark.
It’s a lot like Wastes in terms of characters that are not the norm.  My fallen angels are ultra-violent, but they have a huge soft sweet spot for Dahlia.  They like shopping, baking cookies, partying, murdering humans, assaulting each other, and generally causing mayhem.  It’s different from Wastes in that instead of having Ravil keeping a secret from everyone else, in Morningstar all the other characters are keeping Dahlia’s real identity a secret from her…lest she freak out.  Books two and three dive into the ramping up of the war against Heaven, the return of their lost powers, and some serious battles with Archangels. 

How long would you say you have been writing, and was writing something you knew you always wanted to pursue?
I’ve been writing since I was eleven or twelve, but I didn’t start to consider it something I could do for real until I was seventeen or eighteen.  Even once I’d realized it, it still took me a good six to seven years to finish one book, but once that damn broke, I haven’t looked back.

Who are some authors you read that you feel really inspire you in your own writing?
Terry Pratchett, Storm Constantine, Tad Williams, Neal Stephenson, and Philip Pullman.


I am a writer and a University of Washington graduate living in Western Washington. I studied Comparative Religion and now I work at a bank, writing in all of my spare time.

I write what I enjoy reading/watching – which is fantasy/sci-fi with dark humor and a bit of romance. What I consider romance however is to some…a bit off (and kinked out). And when I say dark humor I mean black. But I always have lighthearted moments (I do not believe a story should be all one way or another). Gotta spice things up!

Speaking of…I like to write stories that cater to all sexual preferences in one story (as opposed to just writing gay/lesbian lit, etc). I have your typical male-female romances. I have male-male, female-female, transgender, bi-sexual, sub-dom, etc. This is mostly due to the fact that well…1. I like writing about it. 2. I see it in my everyday life. 3. I like having a well-rounded cast of characters from all walks of life.

I also love making cocktails and I’m a certified bartender in the state of Washington.

I want to send out a big thanks to Darcy for allowing me to read and review Wastes of Space and for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer what I thought was a few simple questions, but I think I really made her think! Glad she took the time and didn't call me crazy! Thanks for being a good sport and I look forward to reading more of your novels soon.

You can find Wastes of Space at AmazonBarnes and Noble and
You can follow Ms. Town at her blog Navigators and Demons and on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All You Desire by Kirsten Miller

Read: July 5-10, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 423

Book synopsis blurb:

Haven Moore and Iain Morrow have been living a blissful life in Rome, an ocean way from the Ouroboros Society and its diabolical leader. But paradise is not to last. The mysterious disappearance of Haven's best friend, Beau, sends the pair running back to New York, where they encounter the Horae, an underground group of women who have spent centuries scheming to destroy Adam Rosier. Only they can help Haven uncover the secret to Beau's whereabouts in one of her past lives. But their help comes at a price: Haven must infiltrate the Ouroboros Society, charm Adam Rosier, and lure him into a trap. It's a plan the Horae believe will save the world-but Haven and Iain fear that it may destroy the happiness they've been chasing for two thousand years. 

I decided to go ahead and pick up the second book in this series. I really enjoyed the first book and for me the ending was enough of the story that I didn't feel I needed to read any further with these characters....but I caved and did it anyway. I didn't have super high hopes because I didn't think that the story needed any more telling. For me it felt complete. 

When I started reading this book I realized one of the reasons I really liked this book. The characters or at least the relationships between the characters. I really like the character Iain. He and Haven make a great couple and I can buy into the whole being soul mates with one another. The reincarnation aspect was the other part of the book that I really liked. I just like the idea of there being people who have lived past lives. Granted its not possible that I am aware of, but it makes for an interesting aspect to the story.

There is a great mystery story to this novel which was great. At first I was a little worried that I figured out what was going to happen before the ending, but I didn't. Well I had the gist anyways but no clues that lead to the solving of the mystery. The novel was written well with this because even the characters were in the dark and had no idea who they could trust. This second book introduces a new cast of additional characters and the ending sets the story up for an additional novel should the writer decide to continue. I have a feeling that there will be because the new mystery has me wishing I knew what happens next!

Overall not a bad read. Wasn't my favorite this year and I'm not likely to re-read it, but I'd recommend it to those who read and enjoyed the first book The Eternal Ones.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wastes of Space by Darcy Town

Read: June 30- July 4, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 368

Wow! Now that was a excellent story! I'm 3 for 3 in contacting OUTSTANDING Indie Authors with unique voices and incredible story telling abilities!! I am so glad I stumbled upon this gem on and contacted the author about reading and reviewing the book. The premise of aliens, Earth and a war caught my attention initially. I had no idea what I was in for. Looking for adventure, adrenaline, sex, lust and romance with a dash of humor? Look no further. Ms. Town has packed it all into Wastes of Space.

I refuse to give details on the plot because I will not give away anything. The construction of the novel works well with the plot line and everything is revealed exactly as it should be. I admit that at least for the beginning, the build up is slow and gradual in filling in these gaps in information. This could bother some people, but let me tell you the novel is worth sticking with. You will not be disappointed. You get thrown into this strange new world that is somehow different but at the same time very familiar. It is filled with a wide variety of all these people and you get so little information about what is going on with them or why they do what they are doing. But I loved the way the author began introducing little snippets of information about her characters and where the story line could go. Very well done!

The cast of characters are very well drawn. I fell in love with all of them and root for each and every one of them. They are an interesting bunch of characters, and their lifestyles may push the envelope a little too much for some, but that was just one more thing that I loved about them. Something that struck me as I was reading was I kept thinking that these were they types of characters I would expect to find in a book by Clive Barker. There were no molds for these characters because let me tell you even if there were they not only broke them, they obliterated them. 

I can't believe the adrenaline rush this book left me with. Add that to the list of things I LOVED about the novel. There was so much action, so much tension building throughout the last half of the novel it keeps you reading wanting more more more! I'm really looking forward to the second novel and was pleasantly surprised to learn I can get my hands on the next installment. Far too often I'm left hanging for another year waiting for the next release. This is one time that will not be the case!

Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a really good science fiction novel with excellent world building. Oh and if you are a Star Wars fan like I am.....well you just may appreciate the novel all the more.

You can find Wastes of Space at AmazonBarnes and Noble and
You can follow Ms. Town at her blog Navigators and Demons and on Facebook.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Author Highlight: Interview with L.M. Stull

Hello All!

Today's blog features an interview with L.M. Stull, author of A Thirty-Something Girl. I recently read and reviewed the novel a couple weeks ago and was excited when she agreed to the interview. I want to thank L.M. for so kindly agreeing to the interview and for taking the time out of her schedule to tell us a little about her novel and herself.

What inspired you to write A Thirty-Something Girl?

One night after my ex-husband and I had split, I lay wide awake thinking about my life and all the good and bad things in it, all the good and bad things I did. And I knew this story needed to be written. I wrote it more as a therapy for myself. And also for other women (and men) out there. I felt (and still do feel today) that so many of us feel lonely (and very lost) at one point or another in our lives. And I guess I wanted people to know that they aren't really alone. Ever. And that being happy really is as simple as deciding what outfit to wear – it's a choice. You don't have to work at happiness for it to come to you. You simply need to choose it. 

How much research did you feel was necessary, or any at all, in terms of the depression that Hope is dealing with? Or was it more natural and organic as something you were able to use from experience, whether personal or through a friend, that you were able to capture the emotions as well as you have in the novel?

Sadly, I wrote from personal experience. The depression was extremely easy to write, because that is exactly how I felt for many years. All Hope's anxieties, fears, everything, were mine. The novel, although unbelievably satisfying to write, was also hard, because I submerged myself, once again, into the dark and lonely pits of despair, and from there I wrote from my heart.

Is there someone in real life that you would say you molded the character Hope after, or is she a combination of people you have met in your life?

Hope is most certainly modeled after me and my own life. While the events contained in the novel are mostly fiction, the emotion, especially the pain, that she experienced was written from a very personal place. A very dark place that was once my daily life.

About how long would you say it took you to write the novel?

It took me about two months to write A Thirty-Something Girl.

I read that you didn't know you wanted to be a writer. What inspired you to start writing and publishing your work?

Well, I've always been a writer of sorts – poetry and some short fiction when I was younger. But, sadly, for many years, I lost who I really was. I was at a book signing a few years ago and the author asked me, “Do you write?” and I can't explain it, but it hurled me into reality. I stood there stammering when trying to articulate my answer. I went home that night and realized I needed to do more than write – I needed to change a lot in my life, get back to who I really was. I sat down and began writing the first short story I had in years. After that, I began plotting my first novel and, well, the rest is history. Funny how just one  little thing can set you on a different course.

Are you currently working on any other upcoming projects, and if so is there anything you can tell us about it without spoiling the process?

I am very excited about my next novel, Together We Are One, which I am in the process of completing the first draft. Together We Are One will be told from two POVs – Elizabeth and Thomas. Both have lost something very dear to them – Elizabeth, her sight; and, Thomas, his hearing. Along with it, the life they once knew abandoned them. Both have hit bottom and find themselves wondering if they will make it. And a chance meeting brings them together.

My hope with this novel is to, again, show the importance of others in our lives. And the importance of never giving up.

In your bio on goodreads and your personal blog you state that you work for a lawyers office and that sounds like it could get pretty demanding. How easy or difficult is it for you to find a good balance between the office and your writing that allows you to write as often as you would like to?

It's actually easier to balance than it would seem. I mean, sure, there are times (most days), where I wish I could just write all day long, but c'est la vie. That being said, I have two distinct personalities, my legal self and who I actually am. My legal self pays the bills and affords me the opportunity to spend my free time doing as I please. When I exit my office building each day, I leave that part of me behind, head home, and write. Learning how to separate these two very distinct parts of my life has enabled me to make the most of my free time (whether it be a few hours a day, or only a few minutes).

A Washington, DC native, L.M. Stull spends her days chained to a desk at a law firm in southern Virginia. When she’s not feverishly taking orders from attorneys, she writes. Her stories tell of the human spirit – sometimes sad, sometimes not – most can relate to them on some level or another.

Author of A Thirty-Something Girl, and Contemplations. Her next novel, Together We Are One, available Fall 2012.

There are several ways you can go about stalking her on the web if your little heart so desires: Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. She also runs the Fellow Writer’s Group on Facebook.
L.M. also blogs about her own personal journey in life on her blog, Lisa’s Liberation.

A Thirty-Something Girl

Life has been anything but kind, and everything that can go wrong has. At an age when life should be coming together, and questions should start to be answered, Hope finds herself feeling very alone and terribly confused. As her life spirals out of control, she realizes she needs help. And she needs it quickly.

With the love and support of some dear friends, Hope slowly begins to find her true self, and along the way, she meets someone. Someone who makes her feel like living to see another day might just be worth it.

But with happiness, comes pain. Pain from a past that simply won’t be forgotten. Walking a dangerously fine line between joy and utter despair, Hope wonders if happy endings really do exist. And if they do, is there one waiting for her?

A Thirty-Something Girl is a Grub Street Reads Endorsed book.

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and iTunes.

If you have not checked out this author yet I highly recommend you do so. I really enjoyed the novel A Thirty-Something Girl and look forward to her next novel Together We Are One. I read a snippet and viewed the cover reveal and am excited to get my hands on it when it is released! 

Blog Hopping

I was asked to write a guest blog over at Indie Author & Artist Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's blog at :Jenna Elizabeth Johnson. This was a great experience and I look forward to collaborating with Jenna and other Indie Authors as well in the future! Drop in and check out the post and everything else Jenna's page has to offer!!