Wonderful First Collaboration

Lara Croft meets Highlander meets Indiana Jones… sounds like a bad bar meet up. Or the beginning of a bad joke. But in reality its one way to describe the main character of the new novel collaboration from Jasmine Walt and Ines Johnson.

Dragon Bones is the first Nia Rivers Adventure novel (with the next one following in mid-July).

Nia is an adventurer who travels around truthing archeological sites. But there’s a catch. She’s looking for her own origins. Still let’s not give too much away in this review though.

Instead… let’s talk about the non-stop action and wonderful writing. From the moment you open this book, Ms. Walt and Ms. Johnson plunge you into the thick of the story. It doesn’t let up through the first few chapters and only slows down a bit so that the reader (and Nia) can take a bit of a breath before diving right back into the action.

And then there’s the writing. Each character is well-rounded, even the minor characters getting their own chance to shine, while the major ones feel like old friends by the end of the book. Nia is quirky and adventurous, with her own little foibles that make her even more believable. Meanwhile Loren is wonderfully sarcastic and persuasive; persistent in a way that in any other situation could seem manipulative. Nia’s two suitors, Tres and Zane, have their own secrets. And Nia doesn’t know why she remembers one and not the other.

In short, if you like adventure, mystery, and just a touch of magic… pick up this book. And as a bonus… it’s on sale right now!

Just added, for the next few days, Ms. Walt is giving away a few copies of Dragon Bones! Click over to Amazon and see if you can win a copy!

Gripping Read

A very good friend recommended I read When by Victoria Laurie when she had to read it for work. Kate works for Scholastic and she had to read it for a book talk she did. Most of the books she reads for work, I’m like, nope too young for me, but something about this book drew me in.

Maddie Flynn has a unique ability, she sees things. (And now my brain is going “She sees dead people”.) She sees numbers on the foreheads of everyone she meets (and even on their pictures.) These numbers are their death date. The book follows Maddie as she deals with a mystery (disappearing children) and suspicion that falls on her and her best friend “Stubby”.

Victoria Laurie weaves a believable world that is inhabited mostly by teenagers. Maddie is a wonderful storyteller who shows the reader the way through her life. She seems a reliable narrator, although you are stymied by the fact that you don’t know any more than she does.

This is not a happy story, as evidenced by Maddie’s ability, and the mystery. Most of the truly awful parts of the mystery are shown only through Maddie’s eyes, but you also see the effects of her mother’s drinking though Maddie’s eyes and how teenagers react to bullying and even how teachers react to a student who is very different. I found this difficult to read as a teacher myself.

Overall, despite the ending bringing me to tears, I really enjoyed this book. And I highly recommend it!

Writing Anniversaries

I was talking with a friend (We’ll call her B for sake of… well everything) about anniversaries recently. Writing anniversaries to be specific. She had a semi-important one coming up (her one year anniversary in a specific fandom) and was working on hitting a milestone number of stories written and posted in that fandom in time for it.

I commented that I didn’t think I’d ever marked my writing anniversary like she and another friend tend to. In fact, off the top of my head I couldn’t even remember when any of my writing anniversaries are. The more I thought about it though, the more I wondered when my writing anniversary (anniversaries) are.

The date I joined my writing group is easily discoverable and actually I do sort of celebrate that every year, although the group calls it a “birthday”. I simply needed to log into my account and access my information. I’ve been a proud member of my writing group since May 28, 2003.

My other two anniversaries are a little more difficult to discover. Not because I’m trying to hide them, but because the information isn’t online. One part was never online and the other has been removed for the time being.

So my next step was to discover my fanfic anniversary—the day I published my first fandom story. That took a little hunting through jump drives since I’m in the process of changing computers and moving my stories between sites. The first day I published a fanfic story was August 6, 2007.

There was one more anniversary I was interested in finding. The day I started writing my very first novel. While that novel will never see the light of day, that day is very important to me. Luckily the actual day was not just the day I started my novel, but also the first day of Operation Desert Storm: January 17, 1991. Now this isn’t the day I started writing, just the day I started my first novel.

So how about you? Do you celebrate writing anniversaries? Do you do anything special? I don’t normally, but I’m considering doing something this year. I’ll be hitting my 14, 10, and 26 year anniversaries this year. So at least one milestone this year!

Short but Poignant (Tested by Magic Review)

Normally when an author offers up a novella, I worry that some of the story will get lost in the rush for keeping it within word count. That didn’t happen with Jasmine Walt’s offering Tested by Magic. The first “short” story in Ms. Walt’s Baine Chronicles, Tested by Magic is a fabulous introduction to the heroine, Sunaya Baine, and does not require reading of any other book in the series (which isn’t to say you shouldn’t read the others.)

Tested by Magic gives us a glimpse into Sunaya’s start as an Enforcer, showing a different side to the girl readers might have met in Burned by Magic and allows us to see what she was like before she begins her journey. It’s a slightly different Sunaya (but not really) who starts her first day as an Enforcer: making friends with Annia (another enforcer) and searching for a lost little girl.

Sunaya struggles with her morals in this book, which underlays a nice little bit to things that will come up later in the series and characters that will be major players are introduced, but for the most part, this is a nice little introduction. For readers who aren’t quite ready to dive into the whole series, this is a nice little toe dip.

Me? I’ve read the first book and have the second book ready to cue up on my Kindle. You? Can rush over to your favorite eBook retailer right now and snag a pre-order of Tested by Magic. I highly recommend this one!

Pledge Review

Pledge by Christiana Gardner (Book One in the Witches of Coventry House) seems at first glance to be a story about a group of sorority sisters starting out on a new adventure. But secrets lurk within the walls of Coventry House; not just with the new pledges, but also among the sisters and the house mother.

The story mostly follows the group of pledges: Eden, Sarah, Hannah, Rebecca, Paige, Talia, Lexi, and Julie. Although you also see a lot of the pledge leader, Alex, and the house mother, Carolyn. Just as you are getting to know the girls, they start failing the “tests”. There is no hazing in Coventry House, but everything is a test. And failing means removal from Coventry House.

Although the idea of the story was interesting, I found myself wanting to get to the meat of the story. There was a lot of buildup and false “mystery” in the story and the only reason to keep reading was to find out what was happening, not why it was happening. Ms. Gardner seems to want to leave her reader craving more. Although this can be a good thing, too much leaves the reader frustrated. And I reached that point.

I got to the point where I was starting to make guesses on what Eden’s “problem” was and predicting Sarah’s reactions to things. I also guessed things like the true meaning of Coventry House long before the characters in the book which left me with an almost unfilled feeling. (I didn’t read the subtitle so that didn’t clue me in.)

Taking the story at face-value, it’s a nice little college romp that happens to have some paranormal elements. While it’s probably not something I’ll continue reading (it’s the first book in a series), I don’t regret trying this one.

Magic Unknown Review

I received an ARC copy of Magic Unknown for a true and unbiased review. I did not receive any monetary or other compensation for my work. Please be mindful of spoilers below.

Magic Unknown by Caethes Faron picks up right where Magic Born leaves off. Ms. Faron drops readers right back into the action, hoping and expecting that they will remember where they were when they finished the last book. The story picks up with Kat Thomas and her shifter guard, Alex, debating what their next move is in the hotel dining room. It quickly jumps into the action and doesn’t let up until the last page, keeping you turning (or swiping if you’re on an e-reader) long after you should be asleep.

New characters are introduced as Ms. Faron takes the reader through a portal into Elustria and almost immediately into a confrontation with the Council, who Kat believes has sent assassins to kill her. She’s given an ultimatum; discover evidence of what her mother was doing or be banished to the Vortex.

Bouncing back and forth between Elustria and Earth, the pace never lets up as Kat, Alex, and Millbrook race to discover what Kat’s mother was working on and find evidence to clear Kat.

My only complaint about the book is how it jumps right back into the story. It’s been a while since I read the first book and I had to really dig into my memory to recall what had been going on. Still this was a gripping read, carrying on from the ideas created in Magic Born and building on the idea of the gaming world. Ms. Faron has created a worthy world, building on the idea of the game, and making a beautiful world out of it.

I highly recommend Magic Unknown, but make sure you read Magic Born first!

Crimson Death

I’ve been reading Laurell K Hamilton’s books since I got the first omnibus from the Science Fiction Book Club. These books were focused on Anita Blake and her hunting of vampires. It also focused on her work with the police and the cases she solved with them. Of lesser focus was her rising of zombies, although it did have a lot to do with why she was needed by the police.

 

The last couple of books have been quite the departure from the first few though. Many of the more recent books have focused on Anita’s relationships and her “men”. I recently picked up Crimson Death, Hamilton’s most recent book, and was hoping it was a return to the prior books when I saw how thick it was.

 

Unfortunately I was sorely disappointed. Instead of a book focused on a case and the evil vampire… it was almost 650 pages of Anita’s relationships and emotional problems and metaphysical issues (again). I say 650 pages because they did spend about 50 pages on the actual case. While at first I was thrilled to see Edward back, I was quickly disappointed because so much of the book was devoted to Anita and her relationships and the actual case was pushed aside. Seriously, it took over 350 pages to even get her to Ireland! Honestly I’m just tired of all the drama.

 

I enjoy erotica in the right place and in the right situation, but I started reading these stories because I liked how badass Anita was. She’s not quite so badass anymore and all the characters I enjoyed have because simply sex-fodder. While I like porn without plot as much as the next person, that wasn’t what I was looking for when I started this series.

 

I won’t be reading another one of her books.

Radio Silence

I apologize that y’all haven’t heard much in the last few months, I moved and started a new job. And that job has been kicking. My. Butt!

I’m enjoying my new house, still working on unpacking, but the job is… well, a job. For now, I’ll be doing my best to keep things moving, but please don’t expect much unless I get some breaks.

Meanwhile “What Happens When the Prince…” is still avaliable on smashwords and Amazon. If you buy and read, please review!

 

I’ve got a Halloween prompt and I’m hoping to offer it up before the actual day, but no promises! See y’all soon!

Announcing…

rebkreyling

 

I’m pleased to announce the release of “When the Prince Didn’t Come In Time”, a rewrite of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale… or is it?

What would happen if the Prince didn’t come to wake Sleeping Beauty from her 100 year nap? Sometimes happily ever after… isn’t.

The release date is August 2nd and right now it’s only available on Kindle, but I have hopes that I’ll be putting it out on a broader platform (smashwords so it’s available on Nook, etc). I most likely won’t be releasing this one in print ever because it’s so short.

I had planned to release the cover a few days ago and then do another release when the book was available for pre-order, but my life got away from me.

You can preorder the story here.