Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Booker Award!

The Amazing and Lovely Julie A. Reece has nominated me for the Booker Award!!!!  And like her, this fits me completely even though my husband would complain about it. lol.

I'm excited, can you tell.  First of all, one of my FAVORITE authors nominated ME.  Te-he, I'm a bit giddy, so you'll have to bear with me :)

So here's the deal:  The award targets literary and book-centered blogs. The rules are simple: post my top five books of all time, post the booker award icon, and nominate other bloggers to do the same.

This is actually harder for me than it should be, both for nominating others and pinning down my favorite books.  I feel like I should be listing all the classics, but (shame on me) I don't remember reading most of them.  You see, I grew up with Dyslexia and it wasn't until my adult years that I really discovered my love for reading.

However, I did have a few amazing reads growing up and I'm going to list a few of those here.  I'm counting down becaus I can't seem to get this post to post right :)

My Number 5.  Okay so I guess I'm going to have two classics on here, but I can't help myself.  Jane Austen was a genius!  I could pick any of her books, but I'll stick to the one that made me love her.

There's no real blurb to share, but I'm sure you all know the dets.

Mr. Darcy was my first intorduction to Bad Boy and I think his is the epitome of the misunderstood rebel.  Austen was just genius, like I said before, when she created the banter between Elizabeth and Darcy.  As an author, all I can do is hope my characters have such chemestry! lol.

My Number 4 is special to me for many reasons.  Not only is Julie Reece one of my favorite authors, she is a great friend who I've been grateful to get to know better.

My number 4.  This becomes harder and harder as I count down beacuse there are just so many great books out there.  Since I'm giving you the books that have influenced me the most, I'll keep at it.
She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.

Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night. 

In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich, and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her.

Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together. 

Her heritage did.

Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

This book is pretty new, yet it has left an indellible mark on me.  I love Julie Reece's voice.  Birdie was an amazing character and the reason the story was so interesting.  She was plenty feisty, but she had a realism that made her reactions and journey so easy to follow.  I learned a lot about character by reading this and I hope it translates into my own writing.

My number 3 might bring some raise eyebrows, but this book, no series, made me think more than any I have read.
She should have run. Now, she'll have to fight. Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she's surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host and she grabs some with the idea she'll be able to buy dinner that night. In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone's viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her. Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them until she realizes fate didn't bring them all together. Her heritage did. Now, with only twenty-one days left, she's got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she's only just met.

This is a fairly new release but it has had a profound impact on me, both the book and the author.  I LOVED this book for its uniqueness and for the life questions it asks and answers.  Birdie is amazing, and I loved her from the start.  It was so easy for me to relate to her, and I love that in a book.  The story was intriguing and I thought about it for days afterwards wondering what it had that made it so special.

Julie Reece has a way of writing that sucked me in without any effort on my part, and from my experience, that is special.

My Number Three.  Because it made me question story and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I actually became a bit obsessed.

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….

So truth here.  I was a bit uncomfortable reading this series.  It gets kind of steamy, okay, over the top steamy, but the story was just AMAZING.  The world, the characters.  Even though I sort of hated Mac in the beginning, I got to know and love her.  She was so real that I understood her motivations even if I didn't like them.  And V'lane made me think about the Fae which led to me writing my own books about them.  Actually my Elemental Enmity series has been said to be the YA equivalent of the Fever series, and I'm so okay with that ;)  They started from one question:  What if the fae were misunderstood?

My Number 2.   Because it ignited a burn for books I will not be able to quench no matter how hard I try.

Bella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear.

Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

I know there are a lot of Twilight haters out there, but I am firmly not among that group.  I loved Twilight.  It sparked my love for reading and I will be forever grateful to Stephenie Meyer for that.  I think it's easy to look back at this book and find faults, but the mystery surrounding Edward and the down to earth nature of Bella captured the hearts of a generation.  I don't think any author could aspire for more.

So my all-time favorite book has to be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Doesn't that just say it all?  I know people hate on Twilight now, but I will always love it.  It's easy to look at it now and judge based on what is available today.  However, when Stephenie Meyer wrote this best seller, things were a bit different.  I don't know about you, but I devoured it and wanted more, unfortunately, at the time there wasn't much that I found that gave me the same sense of connection.  Through this book I discovered my love for story, so there! lol.

My Number 1.  Because it ignited my curiosity for books.  

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope. This edition includes all seven volumes.

Despite my dyslexia, I devoured these books.  I remember feeling the magic and wonder still to this day, and I will always have a special place in my heart for C.S. Lewis.

I'm going to cheat a bit here because I believe J.K. Rowling is a modern day Lewis and I'll leave it at that.
They open a door and enter a world
Narnia ... a land frozen in eternal winter ... a country waiting to be set free.
Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia -- a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change ... and a great sacrifice.
I'm sure it will come as no surprise, but I loved falling into the world of Narnia.  Even with how difficult reading was for me, this book transported me into a fantastical place full of strange and amazing creatures.

So there you go.  Did I suprise you with my choices?  What books have influenced you the most?
Drum roll please...My nominees are (in no particular order).  I'm listing a few authors I love, but also bloggers, too.  I hope you guys will give me a link to your posts.

Happy Reading Everyone!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Post--S.M. Boyce

I'd like to thank Boyce for dropping by today to talk to us about the importance of reading, especially when you want to be a writer.  Stay tuned for a great post!

S. M. Boyce writes fantasy and paranormal fiction. She’s a sarcastic twit, but she still has friends because some people seem to like that. She is currently working on the Grimoire Trilogy. Lichgates, the first in the series, is already available and its sequel is due this fall. Feel free to connect with her online or check out more about writing on her blog.

A quick thanks to Christie for letting me steal her blog for the day. I’ll return it in roughly the same condition I found it. No promises. J

For those authors out there who like debate, I’d like to discuss an important component of developing one’s writing style. Not too long ago, a writer on Twitter told me that she barely ever reads, preferring instead to simply write. I cringed and bit my tongue.

Thing is, you can’t be a great writer if you don’t read far more than you write.
I usually try to avoid absolutes. I mean, there’s always bound to be an exception, right?  While that sentence proves to be a paradox, let’s move on to the core issue here: can a writer excel if they don’t prolifically read?

I say no. Ever.

We as writers can’t improve if we don’t learn from other authors’ successes and failures; thus, why reading is so important. Though getting feedback on your work is a necessity (don’t publish without an editor!), there’s only so much a writing critique circle or even a professional editor can do.

I’ve studied the craft and even have a shiny degree in Creative Writing. That doesn’t mean I’m an expert or anything, but I did learn a lot in my classes. The best prompts I was ever given involved analyzing the techniques in short stories and discussing how I could use them to better my own writing.

Most writers have encountered that prompt before. It’s been around for ages, but it’s a classic, and here’s why: the more you read, the more you learn. In each book you read, you encounter new techniques, character archetypes, styles, and voices. The more of these you come across, the broader your perspective becomes. With a broad perspective, you will naturally develop a relatable voice.

Transitive property for the win! Or something. I’m not that great at math anymore.

My default setting is to analyze techniques and style as I read. I look for cases where the author breaks the rules of writing and dissect them to see if it was a success. I watch characters as they evolve and look for their defining characteristics or quirks to see if it’s something I can emulate with my characters. I look for stylistic choices that work and cringe when they don’t, making mental notes all the way. When I see something that failed, I push myself to think on it until I can make the leap between failure and success.
While dissecting my reads does diminish the natural bliss of simply reading for pleasure, it has taught me a lot about my own writing. Every book I read is a lesson.

So what about you? Are you shaking your screen right now because you think I’m crazy wrong, or do you maybe agree? How often do you read? Are you a read-for-pleasure sort of person, or do you dissect the books you come across?

Thanks for having me, Christie! I’ll do my best to stick around and check out the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction author who likes sarcasm and cookies. You can find her books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Grab Your Copy of Lichgates

Lichgates Extras

Connect with Boyce

Good to have you here, Boyce.  I hope you'll drop by again.  I absolutely loved Lichgates and I was lucky enough to get in on the beta stages of Treason, the second book in the Grimoire Trilogy.  I liked it even better than its predecessor, and that is saying quite a bit.

Happy Reading Everyone


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Now In Print...

I have great news to share with you all today!  Five and Dark Matter are now in Print.  It's been a long time coming, and I have one very special friend to thank.  Rebecca Hamilton, you are such a great friend!  Thank you for your general awesomeness!!!!

Okay, so here's the scoup.  Five is listed at $11.99 and you can get your copy right here, or go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble if you prefer.

Dark Matter is also available in print, and I'm hoping to get Genesis up for you all soon.  Dark matter is listed at $13.99.  Get your copy here, at Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Happy Reading Everyone!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Author Interview--Thomas Winship

I'd like to introduce a very special friend of mine, Thomas Winship.  I met Tom online and he is such a great advocate for Indie Authors, I am proud to be named among his friends.  I reviewed his debut novel, Vaempires, a while ago and couldn't wait to interview Tom.  You'll see why when you read his answers.  He is just a great guy and a talented writer.  Welcome to my Book Obsession, Tom.

1.     First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a native New Yorker, living a little over an hour north of New York City. I have a BS in Business and an MBA in Management. I recently changed careers; after fifteen years in Corporate America—specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training—I moved into academe, where I now serve as MBA Director for a local college. I also teach courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. And I write, of course …
2.      What do you do when you are not writing?
I have many hobbies: I read, I listen to music (my iTunes library has 150,000 songs), I watch movies, I go to rock concerts, I attend Broadway shows.
3.      When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Well, I started writing at a very young age. My memories are quite cloudy, but (apparently) my parents and the public school officials insisted that I learn to write.
The truth is: I’ve always been an avid reader, but I never gave much thought to writing. About a dozen years ago, creative writing courses taken in college started to open my eyes to the possibility… but something always seemed to be in the way.
My wife, Elaine, deserves credit for finally pushing me to follow my dream. In early 2007 she convinced me that it was time to stop wasting time, and I listened. I dusted off a short story from those college days and expanded it into a novel. It was completed during 2008.
4.      How did you choose the genre you write in?

I’m pretty sure the genre chose me … nevertheless, I love that my genre has virtually no barriers or boundaries to deal with. I‘m subjected to the limitations of my imagination and talent, instead of genre formulas and expectations.

5.      Where do you get your ideas?

I steal them from creative people. Let’s face it—some people are great “idea” people, but when it comes to turning an idea into “reality” … they just don’t have the wherewithal to make it happen.

That’s where I come in. I take those great ideas, tweak a few facts here and there in a half-hearted effort to conceal their origins, whip them into something resembling a finished product, and then present it to the world as my own.
Now, I’m not saying it’ll work for everyone, but I have no complaints.

Haha! I assure you that there isn’t a nugget of truth in that. In fact, the truth is much duller: I have no idea where my ideas come from (I’m just happy they do!). 

6.      Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Not yet. Oh, I have days in which finding each word is a struggle, but never a day in which words aren’t there. I’d like to say that I hope I never experience writer’s block, but how else will I ever feel like a “real” author?

7.      Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Up until now, most of my writing has been ‘just writing.’ I really navigated by feel and flow, letting the story more or less tell itself. Yes, some parts were plotted in broad strokes, and some small pieces were outlined in great detail, but none of it mattered once I started writing.
I am beginning to incorporate more outlining into my upcoming work. The wonderfully talented S.M. Boyce, author of The Grimoire Trilogy, has taken me under her wing and really turned me on (proverbially speaking, of course)—get your minds out of the gutter, you paranormal romance junkies!—to the benefits of outlining.   
8.      Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Stephen King influenced me the most. I grew up on his writing. He was also my introduction to horror fiction. I find everything about his writing—his character development, his attention to detail, even the way he foreshadows disaster—appealing and enviable. I realize there are readers who argue that he is too descriptive, but I disagree. In fact, when reading the works of other authors who are less descriptive, I often feel as if I’m reading an outline instead of a finished product. 
I’m also influenced by JRR Tolkien’s ability to create a new universe, Jack Ketchum’s fearlessness, R.A. Salvatore’s ability to portray action, Seanan McGuire’s ability to blend drama and humor, and many of the Star Wars authors.
9.      Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Well, my first book is still unpublished. It was a mystery/legal thriller that I entered into contests while shopping it to agents. Although it was a finalist in a nationwide contest, it didn’t win. Similarly, while many agents expressed early interest, it just never gained any real traction.

The big culprit was that the novel didn’t meet the formula for either genre. Faced with choosing between a major rewrite or moving on … I chose to move on.
After some fits and starts, I completed Væmpires: Revolution late last year. During the process, my (former) editor suggested I self-publish. Given my (a) earlier experiences with the traditional route and my (b) relative impatience, I took his advice.
The challenges continue, though (and they are plentiful!): it’s a vampire novel in an ocean of vampire novels; it’s an urban fantasy novel in a sea of paranormal romance novels; it’s more of a NA or adult series than a YA series … etc.

10.  If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I would’ve started making social media connections much earlier. I really didn’t do anything before the book was released and moved slowly post release. I didn’t even start a book tour until the novel had been out for six months—much of which was lost time.

11.  How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I try not to over market—which is pretty easy, since I’m not very good at it, anyway! I have a Facebook fan page, a YouTube channel, a Twitter profile, a Pinterest somethingorother … all of which I try to remain active in/on.

Book tours have worked wonders, in terms of increasing exposure and getting the word out, but the real value has been in the people I’ve connected with. Authors, bloggers, and readers … they really are wonderful people who make the whole endeavor worthwhile.

12.  Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

Yeah, I love that mystery/legal thriller and would love to see it become a reality. However, it needs so much work that it will probably never happen.

13.  Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I’m working on book two of the væmpires series. Væmpires: Revolution ended with a massive, shocking cliffhanger, so fans are growing quite impatient.

Because I’m not a very patient guy myself, I decided to release a novella that picks up right where book one ended. It’s titled Væmpires: Zombie Rising and will be available in October, although a pre-release book tour is set to begin on September 10th.

Here’s a sneak peek—a short snippet (a short, unedited snippet) from Væmpires: Zombie Rising:

Crimson blood spurted as the body and head fell in opposite directions. Hot, væmpire blood that smelled like rancid meat hit the sidewalk in uneven splatters that reminded Linq of a drunken frat boy urinating in a back alley.

Then two things happened at once: he sensed a væmpire—yet another new arrival—closing in, while Ray yelled, “Watch out!”

Before he could react, Linq was grabbed from behind. Strong arms encircled him; hot, sweaty væmpire arms that felt like steel pincers. Linq’s own arms were pinned to his sides as his adversary squeezed him like a vise.

The pressure was tremendous and Linq panicked, throwing his head back in an attempt to crush the væmpire’s nose. He knew it was a mistake as he did it, but his reaction was quicker than his thoughts.

The væmpire dodged the blow, and then did the unthinkable: his head flashed forward and he sunk his fangs into Linq’s exposed neck.

Every cell in Linq’s body erupted in unmitigated pain. Nothing in his education, nothing in his imagination—in his nightmares, perhaps, but not his imagination—nothing in his experience or training had prepared him for such pain.

His eyes rolled back in his head and his jaw snapped shut, his fangs slicing deep into his tongue. He didn’t even notice.

Then the væmpire drank.

14.  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Everything is pure fiction.
15.  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite chapter (also one of the hardest to write) is the book’s final scene.
It was really tough to write because there was a lot riding on it. Yes, there’s always a lot riding on a book’s ending … but this was my book. I’m a firm believer in strong endings—I detest books that deliver the goods all the way through … and then drop the ball at the end, so I needed to please myself as a reader. And I did. It came out better than I dared hope and darned close to what I envisioned.
I’d like to offer a very special “thank you” to Christie for inviting me to her site. I hope everyone enjoys the interview. I’d love to hear what you think of it and/or answer any additional questions you may have. Post comments or questions below and I’ll be sure to respond.  
Feel free to stop by my website and reach out. I’d love to hear from you if you check out Vaempires.
Take care,
Thomas Winship

About the Author
Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY (USA) and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as MBA Director and adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.
Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.
He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.   
He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.

Thanks for being with us today, Tom.  I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.

Happy Reading!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Booya Book Review--Blood Debt by Nancy Straight

The Cover: 

SOOO BEAUTIFUL! Once again, Nancy Straight has delivered a stunning cover.  Just love it!  And it goes with the story, too.

The Blurb:

Her whole life, it had just been the two of them. Before her mother’s last breath, she gave Camille the information she had craved her entire life: the identity of her father. Daring to contact him, Camille was welcomed by an entire family she never knew existed. But nothing comes without a price, as she discovers when her family claims a legendary heritage tracing back to a centaur touched by Zeus.

As she learns the secrets of her Centaur bloodline, she is drawn into a forbidden love with Drake. Her life may be the blood debt required to pay for her mother’s transgressions. The same person who once held her mother captive, and forced her into decades of hiding, now controls Camille. Her only chance is to seek a piece of her mother’s past that will win her freedom and the life she desperately wants.

My Review:

I have to admit when I first read the blurb, I went, huh? Centaurs? I'm coming clean here. The word "herd" made me flinch everytime I read it, but I LOVED THIS BOOK so much it didn't matter.

I don't know why but every time I think of herd, things like elephants and sheep come to mind, not HAWT TO THE CORE MEN THAT MAKE ME SWOON, LOL.

On the latter, this book was filled with HAWT men. The amazing part was there wasn't a bad boy among them. Imagine a world full of rich, successful, beautiful men that all want you, that all hope to entice you into picking them. That's all the spoilers you're gonna get out of me. Oh, and if you HATE love triangles, good thing Blood Debt doesn't have any of that.

What it does have is MAGIC! This book rocks my socks in so many ways. I've never seen anything book other than Harry Potter with Centaurs and this is nothing like that Wizarding World.

The mythology is fresh and the storyline refreshing. I actually got so into this book I considered taking a day off work to finish it =0D

It was painful for me to get to 85% and then have to stop. I picked up where I left off on my way home (Can I just say, I love kindle's text to speech option?). Anyway, I had to get some groceries, so I was still listening to the computerated voice read the narrative when, suddenly, I was like, what? That can't be right. No. NOOOOOO.

I think I may have actually stomped my foot with that last declaration that the world was sooo not right. I took a deep breath and said...there is no way Ms. Straight would do this to me...and kept listening. To my delight things worked out, and, like I said, I'm in love with this story!!!! My Happy Little Reading Cloud still hasn't let me down yet.

So if you are still reading this review, YOU HAVE TO BUY THIS BOOK!!! So worth it, and I'm salivating for the sequel.

I really enjoyed Ms. Straight's Meeting Destiny, so I'm going to have to settle for catching up on the Destiny Series until Blood Ties comes out, but I'm telling you it's hard to wait for this one.
Blood Debt gets FIREWORKS status from me!!!!!

Happy Reading Everyone!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review--Entangled by Nikki Jefford

The Cover:  Such a pretty cover.  I've seen people say that it has nothing to do with the story, but after having read this book, I think they are wrong.   Without giving away spoilers, which I refuse to do, I will use the blurb to explain.  Resurrection spell--the white and snow to me represents death and the flower rejuvenation.  Is the girl accepting the flower or offering it?  I'm not sure, but I'll leave it at that.  You can be the judge after you have read the book :)

The Blurb:  

A Resurrection Spell Gone Wrong

Two months after dying, Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body. As a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her daughter back to life? Now Gray is stuck sharing her sister’s body in twenty-four-hour shifts.

Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell, and worse—her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

The race is on for Gray to find a way back inside her own body before Charlene purges her from existence.


This book is intended for older teens. (Christie says: I agree with this disclaimer. Mature subject matter, not over the top though)

My Review:

So I've been hearing a lot about this book from reviewer friends and goodread friends and other online friends and you know what?  There is a basis for the hype!

I loved Entangled.  The Perez sisters are as much like sisters as a guppy and a lion.  I'm not saying that one of them is a guppy and one is a lion, but it's close.

First you have Graylee, our main protagonist.  Gray is fun and realistic.  She has a soul, unlike her sister Charlene, who seemed to have lost hers somewhere in the birthing canal.  All I have to say about that is I am so glad none of my sisters are like Charlene.  Sisters are supposed to support each other, and being a twin...shame on you Charlene.  Okay, rant over.

Entangled is just that...a mixed up mess of people doing things to people they shouldn't and accidental situations gone horribly wrong, but more than that it is about emotions and connections.  I liked the way Ms. Jefford made me question stereotypes, and my own judgements.  Also, how a good situation can flip to bad in a nanosecond just from a misunderstanding.We can never fully know the motivation of someone else, but oft times I think we assume ill intent when none was meant. 

Not so in this case.  You sort of get a bit of Charlene's character from the blurb.  Why would Charlene want to purge her sister?  I'm not going to get into spoilers, but Charlene has no right to be miffed about sharing a body with Gray.  Yet from the start we see the shallow side to Charlene.  I had hoped to see a deeper level to her character emerge.  At times, Charlene did seem to be a bit two dimensional as we didn't get her point of view that often.  It would have been nice to know why she thought it was okay to let her sister slip into the afterlife without even a wave byebye, especially considering how she got displaced from her own body in the first place, but, unfortunately, this go around we didn't get those answers.

Raj is mentioned in the blurb, and I have to say he was such a great character.  Multidimensional to the core, he was easily relatable.  Of all the characters, I think he is the most real.  Yet the book was full of great interaction, believable dialogue, interesting situations, and flat out entertainment.

So my experience reading Entangled went something like this...Who are these people and what do they have to do with the plot...oh....ooooh...what?...she did, I hate that, I love that this ever going to work out?, I really hate that way did that just happen...phew...aww, so cute. LOL.

Entangled is a great read full of fresh characters, for the most part, and an engaging plot.  It was a bit 90210, but I like that :) The best part about it was that it was full of emotion.  So if you haven't guessed by now, my rating is...

Get your own digital copy of Entangled for $2.99
or find out more about the book on goodreads.  Be sure to add it to your to-read shelf

Happy Reading Everyone

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest Post--Nikki Jefford--The lavender business is more calming than a newsroom.

Why I Gave Up Reporting to Work in a Shipping Department
…and other odd jobs

“While one is learning one’s craft, then practicing it and hunting for an agent, then waiting for mail with the agent’s return address, one must somehow make a living. Every writer hopes, like a medieval Christian, that after his period of honorable suffering, bliss will follow as a reward. So the writer takes some miserable part-time job, or lives off his parents or spouse, and writes and prays and waits. One day, the writer tells himself, the big break will come, and his money troubles will be over.”
-         -  On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner

In September of 2002 I landed what I thought was my dream job – editorial assistant at my local paper’s weekly entertainment magazine. One of the paper’s photographers snapped a portrait of me and it appeared every week inside the front cover of the magazine. I was on top of the world… for a week.

Like papers across the board, The Anchorage Daily News was crying the financial blues. Advertisers were going out of business or taking their business online. The news department worked on a skeleton crew, which meant there was no one to replace you if you got sick. The sound of typing, hacking, and ringing phones filled my days.

Each morning brought in a fresh avalanche of press releases, spilling out of my wall cubby and chocking my email inbox. The only phone calls I received were artists and event organizers complaining about my wording of their event or performance.

Then I was assigned my first story. Then another until I was writing for several sections of the paper. Don’t get me wrong, it was a thrill – at first – until I admitted to myself that I was burnt out with driving across town on icy roads late at night to cover a dart tournament in a seedy bar or spending my weekend at the bowling alley talking to kids about why they preferred neon bowling over every day bowling.

What really did it for me was when I realized I was losing the joy of writing. Always being on deadline for the paper sucked out any enthusiasm I had to work on my own stories. That’s when I knew I had to get out.

I remember my first writing professor, Richard Chiappone, author of the short story collection Water of an Undetermined Depth, express the importance of the dull day job in not hampering the creative spirit. He painted walls for a living.

Since Spring of 2003 I have worked as a buyer for my family’s seven retail souvenir shops in Anchorage, delivered foreclosure notices in Central Oregon (hideous, but I got to make my own schedule and it didn’t interfere with writing), pulled weeds and other chores for a self-made millionaire on Orcas Island, booked appointments and checked insurance policies as a receptionist for an eye doctor on Orcas and San Juan Island, and for the past year have worked with a local lavender company on San Juan where I spend a lot of time packing orders to be shipped.

Do I fantasize about writing full time? Every day! The next best thing is finding jobs that don’t block my creativity.

Nikki Jefford is the author of the Spellbound fantasy series. Entangled (book one) is a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012 YA category. Nikki is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada. She resides with a Frenchman named Sebastien and a Westie named Cosmo.

I'd like to thank Nikki for Being here today.  I'm in the middle of reading Entangled, and I'm loving it so far.  Look for a review later this week.

Here's the blurb:

A Resurrection Spell Gone Wrong

Two months after dying, Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body. As a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her daughter back to life? Now Gray is stuck sharing her sister’s body in twenty-four-hour shifts.

Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell, and worse—her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

The race is on for Gray to find a way back inside her own body before Charlene purges her from existence.

Want a copy for yourself?  Get Entangled from your favorite eretailer for $2.99. Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Smashwords

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Review--Her Sweetest Downfall by Rebecca Hamilton

The Cover:

So Pretty!  I love the covers in this series, and the new cover for the Forever Girl is even more breathtaking than the original.

The Blurb:

Ophelia's been successful at hiding her true identity, until the mark of the serpent appears on her neck—a death sentence, should it be seen by anyone in her town. Hiding the mark might save her from falling victim to the witch hunts of her era, but the scorching sensation it carries can’t be ignored.

When the mysterious Ethan is sent to collect her for a life of something more, she learns concealing the mark is the least of her concerns. She’s destined to do a new task—to join a dark, supernatural world and protect the future of people she may never meet.

What she doesn’t know—what she learns too late—is that her initiation won’t be complete until she kills the man who’s captured her heart.

My Review:

Rebecca Hamilton has once again wowed me with her writing in her latest release, Her Sweetest Downfall.  I fell in love with Hamilton's characters in The Forever Girl , so I wasn't too surprised when I found Ophelia's story enthralling.  We are introduced to Ophelia at the end of the Forever Girl.   She plays a crucial role in helping Sophia, and now we get to see why that is.

We drop into Ophelia's life as she heads off to run an errand for her employer.  But on her journey into the woods she hears a violin playing.  Her experience turns to terror when she is chased by a stranger who whisks her away from her ordinary world.  The man informs Ophelia that she has been chosen for a higher calling.  Ophelia is drawn to her captor and the resultant romance between she and Ethan is fulfilling.  The only thing I didn't like about it was how much Ophelia's conflicting emotions resemble Stockholm syndrome.  I think this is mainly due to this being a novella.  We don't get to see as much of the motivation and interaction as we would in a full length novel.

That being said, I was engrossed in the mythology of the Crurors, and Shifters, and Fae.  I found Ethan a fantastic hero, and Ophelia a realistic protagonist for her time where women had to be a bit meek to survive.  Even though the story was relatively short, it felt natural and not rushed at all.  I have to admit that the experience wasn't as exciting as reading the Forever Girl, however, I would still give it 4.5 stars because of the feelings it invoked from me.  I thoroughly enjoyed stepping into this world once again, and I can't wait for the continuation of Sophia's story in 2013.
Can't come soon enough for me =0D

You can get your copy for $0.99 here
Also, see my review for the Forever Girl here

Happy Reading Everyone