Monday, August 31, 2015

Writing Hangover


You other authors know what I'm talking about. Finishing the draft of a manuscript, sending it off, and then having that haze over you while you play the waiting game.

For like two days my I wandered around not knowing what to do with my strictly scheduled free time. It almost feels like the first day of summer vacation when you still feel like you have homework to do. One night the hubs lost his shift for his work from home job and was excited to make plans with me. I was like, "That would be nice, but if you're not hogging the computer I should really work on my...Oh wait..."

We had a pleasantly rare evening. We went out to eat at one of our favorite local places and played a card game while watching a movie after we put the kid to bed. The whole time I felt like there is something I should have been doing, writing wise.

Of course there is. There is always book stuff that needs to be done. I've come to accept that I will die without writing all the books that I need to write. Next on the to do list while I'm waiting to get my manuscript back is finishing Bloodstones, the second book in the Onyx Moon trilogy. I paused in the middle of the first draft to get Sigil in Shadow out before my head exploded. And of course, once you publish a book, you can never stop promoting.

And I will. I'll get back to all of that. But for now I think I just need a short sabbatical to rewire my brain. I'm still so rooted in the kingdom from Sigil in Shadow that it's hard to think of anything else; In the real world and in my head. The world of Alethia seems so out of reach. I see it, but it's just far away at the moment.

I just need a week or two in reality. I need to play outside with my daughter more now that the weather is becoming tolerable. And read more "gooks" to her, if that's even possible. My husband also deserves a little more attention. He's so patient and supportive of my need to write on a daily basis. He's given up a lot of game nights and set back watching "our" shows so that I can get things done on time.

I also need to reconnect with my friends. I am a terrible friend and I know it. A lot of times, instead of going out I'll think, "well, I really need to get X and Y done..." before you know it, my friends forget what my voice sounds like.

Don't worry, I'll still be reading and reviewing. I don't think I could ever quit that. I should have the next review up in less than a week. But for now, I'm going to take a few guilt-free naps and socialize a bit before I retreat back into my chaotic head for several months. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: The Key by Jennifer Anne Davis

Book 1 in The True Reign series



Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake−this is no fairytale.

His father's kingdom is on the brink of upheaval and at the center of it all is an ordinary girl who could be the key to its undoing. When faced with the ultimate choice, will he choose the girl he's falling in love with or the kingdom he has sworn to protect?

An ordinary girl with an extraordinary past... All she wants is to be free. What she doesn't realize is that freedom comes with a price she can't afford to pay. She's forced to accept the proposal of a prince she despises, even though her heart belongs to someone else... his brother.

Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king's son and Commander of the King's Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father's bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.

When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik's brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik's interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family.

As Rema is taken to the palace with the Crown Prince, Darmik confronts the growing rumor that a legitimate blood heir to the throne exists and is trying to overthrow Darmik's family. In Darmik's quest to hunt down and kill the threat, he discovers that nothing is as it seems. Locked in the king's castle, Rema finds herself a key player in a massive power struggle. When Darmik shows up, she's not sure if she can trust him. The line between friends, enemies, and loyalty becomes blurred. As truths are unlocked, Rema understands that she just might be the key to finding the rightful heir and restoring peace to the kingdom... if she can manage to stay alive long enough.


I found out this book was free after I visited the publisher's website. It sounded like my kind of book so I downloaded it right away.

The prologue is gripping. I fell completely into the story, immersed in a fantasy realm with an interesting hierarchy and a rich history. The POV was third person, which I find rare and a little more difficult for a good writer to pull off. Davis has a steady voice and a good flow for storytelling. Rema is definitely a relate-able protagonist, and Darmik is easy to fall in love with, and Lennek is easy to loathe. Maybe a little too easy. I wish the evil characters would have been just a bit more rounded out; given some little hint of sweetness to soften their edges and make them more believable. I wanted to understand why Lennek felt the need to be so cruel, and why the king didn't really care for Darmik, his second son.

The Key was a page turner, mostly because I enjoyed being in that world so much. The kingdom and Rema really resonated with me. I wanted to return to it as often as I could, which to me is the sign of a great book. I was able to decipher the "clues" in the story long before the characters figured them out, but I get the feeling the reader was meant to have a head start. But there's still a lot of enticing mystery to fill up two more books and I'm very much looking forward to them. 

Especially because the ending really wasn't an ending at all! I'll admit I was a little miffed when everything just went black, without an explanation. I understand the hook of a cliff hanger, but I don't really feel like any aspect of the story was wrapped up. And from what I've heard, the sequel is the same way. So even if I wasn't planning on reading the second one, I definitely am now. I'm grateful the first three chapters of Red, book 2 in the True Reign series, are included at the end of the ebook.

So definitely download The Key if you love lords and ladies and princes and sword fights, but don't expect to get any sense of resolution out of it.

4 stars
     * * * *     

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cover Reveal Giveaway

Below are two possible covers for my upcoming novel, Sigil in Shadow. Help me decide! Vote for your favorite in the comments or on Facebook. A voter will be chosen at random and win the first signed copy! Winner will be announced next month. 

Both covers designed by Clarissa Yeo @

Ellary Dane knows she deserves to die

- but not for a crime she didn’t commit.
She thinks her 19 year streak of bad luck is over when she accidentally saves the life of a highborn officer and is taken to court to study under the tutelage of the most renowned healer in the kingdom. Suspicions surround her sudden presence, making her more enemies than allies. She soon finds herself ripped from her warm palace sheets and thrown into a dank prison cell.
As nobles vie for their spot on the throne, Ellary learns she is bound to a secret history that could change the kingdom forever. If she is going to break her chains, she must trust the stranger labeled as her accomplice and face the lie that pushed her into the silent warfare of highborn society.

Vote to enter!                         A.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Book Review: Tainted Energy by Lynn Vroman



 For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town's throwaways isn't exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can't keep his fists to himself doesn't help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.

When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can't explain it all away... until one day dream guy does find her.

Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime. However, someone else has already found her... and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights to keep her safe so she can live the only life she's ever known--even if that life doesn't include him.






I won an ecopy of this book during the online release party for Kingdom From Ashes. I have to admit, I went back and forth on this book a lot. Had I not won it, I might not have picked it up on my own. The cover is enticing, but I'm just kinda over the whole "mysterious man who visits me in my dreams" thing. But this series and author came highly recommended so I was excited to start it.

I really appreciate strong side characters, and Tainted Energy has that with Wilma - a seemingly unimportant lunch lady and Jake - Lena's boss/friend. I love the relationship Lena has with each of them and it is well illustrated.The love story could have used more. It is a unique situation where Lena doesn't remember her paramour from another life, but Tarek, the mysterious dream man, has been spending every waking moment of two decades searching for her. It's hard to really understand why they love each other without more of a background. A flashback or two might have helped with this. I would have really enjoyed some sort of window into their past. I'm hoping for that with the next books. 

More than anything else, I was sucked into the dynamic of Lena and her dysfunctional family. For anyone who grew up in a troubled home, especially a trailer, this story may sting a bit. It was easy to look at Lena as just a normal, relate-able teenager and feel for her mother, a battered housewife. I was genuinely afraid whenever her father was in a scene and looked forward to see how things would turn out. Personally, the story could have focused mostly on the trailer park and I would have loved it. Once other dimensions are introduced, the book looses me a bit. It's very Sci-Fi, which I usually adore, but the information of how Energies and worlds work was a lot to take in. I kept getting confused on the difference between a Protector and a Guide. I don't fault the author so much for this however, as I read a lot of this book with an 18 month old in my lap who happens to be fascinated with the squishyness of my eyeballs. When I got to the ending I found a glossary explaining these terms more clearly. It's very helpful. I recommend the reader glance at this periodically.

And speaking of endings, this is a great one. I love Vroman's writing and voice, but was frustrated with keeping up with the different worlds and their environments. The ending is what really pushed Tainted Energy from a 3.5 rating to a solid 4. (VAGUE SPOILERS) I was very happy with the fact that it's not all gift wrapped but still leaves you with a sense of closure. Lena doesn't spend time pouting because things didn't turn out perfect. She has way too much life happening to spend all her time worrying about a boy. She just holds on to her hope that they will find each other again and moves on. I'm proud of her. This is a series, after all, so I've no doubt they will.

If you're a fan of Sci-Fi and long lost love, this book is for you. Book 3, Fractured Energy, recently hit stores and Book 4, the conclusion to the Energy Series is in the works.

4 Stars
      * * * *      


 This book is currently free in the Kindle store