Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lost Days

Just a quick post since I was MIA last week. I intentionally skipped my normal Tuesday review because I... well.. wasn't ready to write a review yet. I figured I'd be able to get one up this Tuesday, and besides, I'm known for doing that anyway. Sounded like a good plan except I didn't expect to get hit with the mother of all stomach viruses on Sunday.

Oy... Just know these past couple days have been horrible. I will spare you the gory details.

Anyway, due to this virus rampaging through my digestive system, I lost three days of writing. Three days without a word! I was doing so well, too. It was almost certain I could finish the first draft by the end of the month, and I still think I can. We have 2 weeks left, and I only have 2 chapters to go. I think I can do it.. right? Yeah... I think I can do it. I'm getting back on that horse today.

There are a few upsides to being sick. I'm caught up on all my TV shows now (except for The Walking Dead, that one I just couldn't do.) AND I did got to watch the Game of Thrones premiere live. Oh, so excited for this season! I can't wait until Drogon finally makes his appearance.

Anyway, I'll be back later this week with my review. This one will be on R.A. Salvatore's Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf, and then next week I'll have an indie review for Mastic by Eli Constant, which I'm nearly finished with.

This post feels like it's been all over the place, but I don't have it in me to correct it right now. Sorries!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson


Can you actually read this?
BAM! Five Stars! That was a no brainer for me. Any book that keeps me up until 3am because I Can't. Stop. Reading, gets a top-notch review from me. Don't believe me? Check out my fitbit captured stats the night I finished Hero of Ages.

I'm crazy addicted to reading, guys. Totally obsessive compulsive, and I LOVE IT!

So, back to Mistborn. This will be a review on the first three books in the series, The Final Empire, Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages, since it's all one continuous story. I half read, half listened to the books. Michael Kramer once again narrates, but this time he also does the female POV's. Although I missed Kate Reading, Kramer does an excellent job as always. His character accents helped bring the story to life and were pretty consistent all the way through. There was also one character whose voice deepened by the third book, which I thought was an very good portrayal of growth, because... well.. that character had seen some shit by then. It was a nice touch.

The series is more of an urban fantasy, and is set in a world that was conquered by the Lord Ruler one thousand years in the past. There are Noblemen (the Lord Ruler's followers) and the Skaa (the slaves punished by the Lord Ruler for not following him.) Pretty simple set up.

The Lord Ruler is a very mysterious entity and Sanderson did a fascinating job with his slow unveiling of this particular big bad. The Lord Ruler is seen as a god, his powers in Allomancy (the worlds magic system) far greater than any of the Noblemen that follow him. The Skaa have little to no hope in achieving freedom until our antagonist, Vin, joins up with a Skaa thieving crew intent on the impossible task of overthrowing the Lord Ruler.

The three books mostly follow Vin, who is only sixteen when we first meet her, but the books span a few  years and she grows into a competent young woman by the end. Although some of the reveals were pretty heavy handed, I'll admit that Sanderson really had me wondering how he was going to wrap everything up. Not one possible ending that I thought up was even close to what happened, and that night spent reading until the wee hours of the morning was truly worth it. Tears were shed. I was so caught up in this world that I had to take a short hiatus before I started my next book.

Which is Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf. Can I get a WHAT WHAT from the Drizzt fans out there? Oh, yeah! (I'm already halfway through... Did I mention I'm behind on reviews? NEway...)

So Camp NaNoWrimo is starting tomorrow, and I've entered in the estimated 25k words I have left to write for the first draft. That should be an easy goal to hit, so a release by the end of this year is looking highly likely! Are you Phoenix fans excited yet? If you weren't aware, you can find the prologue online over here. Just a little taste of where this next installment is heading... at least for one of our loveable Phoenix, anyway.

Well, that's all I have for today! Have a great week and happy reading, as always!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Darkness Of The Womb, By Richard B. Knight

Here we are at another wonderful Tuesday! I hope everyone is enjoying their week so far!

Yeah.... nevermind. I'm not this cheerful in the morning. Honestly, it's dangerous to talk to me before 10am. I am not fully functional. There's a good chance I could have forgotten to brush my hair before I left the house. For best results for all parties involved, contact me after noon.

We should probably just move on to the review, whadaya say?

Recently, I finished another indie book, Darkness of the Womb, by Richard B. Knight. This is the first book by a very promising new author and one to keep an eye on.

Darkness of the Womb is a good mix of fantasy and horror, and it's the good kind of horror. Psychological. The story is about an unborn child who doesn't want to be born. He is on a mission to abort himself and the story details the journey of his parents as they try to save him. Human traits are personified as antagonists and unlikely heroes, each one identified with signature colors that result in a very vivid story.

Although the structure of the story felt weak in some places, it was still an enthralling read. Knight did an excellent job with his characters and I found myself invested in the side characters as much as the main. I would call it a dark fairy-tale, and it receives a solid 4 stars from me. I enjoyed the book so much, I will probably be grabbing his second novel as well.

When I finished Darkness of the Womb, I jumped into Mistborn... Man... what a wild ride that was. That will probably be my next review.

Aside from all the maniacal reading I've been doing lately, I've put in a lot of work on the consolidation of After and I'm pleased to announce that the paperback and e-book are available now! With a brand new cover! If you've already purchased all three books, the consolidated book doesn't offer any new content, although it might be a bit cleaner as far as editing goes. It does however, have the first teaser chapter of Dreamland at the back.

Oh my!

No need to rush out(over?) and buy it just for the teaser. I have a brand new page up for Dreamland updates alone, and you can find it there. You'll also notice I've finally added a timeline for publication as well as some interesting stats. That date isn't set in stone as of yet, but I do plan to be finished with the first manuscript by the end of April. Things have been going so well with the writing lately, I don't want to say anything else or I'll jinx myself!

Read up and enjoy!

And try to survive until Friday!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Maze Runner, By James Dashner

I am BACK! Woohoo!

Finally, the day job weekend conversions are OVER and I can get back to normal again. Well, I've already started that, actually, I just haven't made it over to the blog for a while. It seemed somewhat pointless since I didn't have anything to talk about but boring day job conversion weekends. No one wants to hear about those, my poor husband least of all. At least he was there to suffer through these trials with me...

Speaking of trials (cough) I did manage to finish The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, books 2 and 3 in The Maze Runner series. I read The Maze Runner sometime last year, but only reviewed it on Amazon... or Audible... I can't remember which. Way to be on top of my game, eh?

Anyway, The Maze Runner as a series gets a solid four stars from me. I really enjoyed the set up of the first book, but something seemed to happen with the second. I'm not sure what exactly, the book was good and there was non-stop action, but I felt a disconnect from some of the established characters. However, some new characters are introduced in book two that quickly became my favorites. I enjoyed The Death Cure as much as I enjoyed the first book.

*** Minor Spoiler Below ***

I've read some reviews that revealed a lot of people didn't like how book three ended. Some stated there was too much information left out, but I felt we got the perfect amount. No, we never end up finding out what motivated Thomas prior to joining the Gladers, but do we really need too? That wasn't our Thomas. Our Thomas started the moment he woke up in the box and we were with him from then on. The mystery that still lingers about his past was not something that I was missing from the story. Also, the whole tie up at the end with WCKD was brilliant.

I really want to say more, especially concerning Newt's storyline, but since the movies are being made, I'll keep that to myself. Those that have read the books will probably understand where I'm going with this.

In conclusion, I found this to be a very entertaining YA novel/series. I even recommended it to my daugher, who blew through the three books at top speed. I think she finished The Death Cure in one day. Whew!

Now on to other things, like what's going on with The Phoenix Curse right now?

Well, all three parts of After are now available for digital download across Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, Scribd, Oyster and a few others.

After - Part Three's paperback proof is in the mail now... WOOWOO!! Keep you're fingers crossed on that one, because I spent two weeks fighting with the cover for that before it got accepted. Oy, why does it have to be so difficult? Let's hope the cover is perfect when I get it, so I can hit that publish button right away.

Next on the paperback/hardcover list of things that are happening, After, the complete book one, will also have a wide release soon. I'm only waiting on one thing to get started on the formatting... The teaser chapter for Dreamland that is already in the hands of my beta reader!

Can I get a HELLZ YEAH??

Not to worry, (if you're the worrying type.) You won't have to run out to buy the full book to get the teaser. That will be posted on my blog as soon as I get it back. Yes, I'm anxiously awaiting that too.

And lastly (I like that word), some juicy tidbits on Dreamland. Mmmhmm. The book is shaping up to have about 9 chapters. I'm halfway through writing chapter 4, and plan on a spring break marathon to see how much closer I can get to number 9 this month. You might be seeing Dreamland - Part One by the end of the year! That's currently my goal, but if I can get it out to you prior to that, I will.

And that's all I have for now.

Except for this... The dress is white and gold.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson

Man... so what the hell just happened?

I guess I'll start at the beginning of my latest mind-boggling journey. As I've posted before, I finally decided to get over my worries of a different author taking over The Wheel of Time and finish reading the series. I'm so glad I did, because the final three books were an epic roller coaster of emotions that I'm not likely to forget anytime soon. The books were brilliant!

So, since I enjoyed the writing style so much, I started  The Way of Kings, book one of The Stormlight Archive by +Brandon Sanderson. The book started slow with a lot of juicy backstory-tidbits along the way, and I listened to it here and there. (Side note, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer narrate the books and they are AWESOME!!) The books are friggen HUGE though... like if you actually had a hardback copy, you could use it as a weapon huge.

But, anyway... Being huge and getting to know new characters in an epic adventure was a slow process for me. I refuse to lie and say that I fell in love with the books on the first page, because I didn't. The first POV's that are introduced are not the main characters, they're snippets into perspectives to add a bit of backstory and mystery. By the time I did get to one of the main characters, I wasn't sure how long I would be in their perspective... and then we jumped to another perspective... and then another... and then there were interludes.

Hrm...

Okay, so after all is said and done, I understand. I've even gone so far as to re-read these 'one-off' perspectives now that I've finished both books, because I understand, but man was I so hella confused and lost during the first half of book one that it put me off reading for a while. I'm not one to abandon a book, but if I was, I might have walked away from The Way of Kings... and it would have been a colossal mistake.

Then I hit the second half and Oh. My. God. Everything came together and shit started going DOWN.

At that point, obsessive mode got turned on, and I devoured the rest of The Way of Kings and hit Words of Radiance with a passion. Sanderson has securely made his way into the select few that I call my favorite authors. These books are amazeballs, full of brilliant imagery, solid characters and a vast world that feels real.

As soon as I finished Words of Radiance, I did what I normally do (don't judge me) and started searching message boards and reddit for discussion and theories on what I might have missed, as well as when book three is expected to release. I never imagined what I would find...

The... Cosmere? What the hell is that?

MORE BOOKS!! YES!!! So, Stormlight Archive is just one series of books set in the same universe, and there are a ton more words to read before book three comes out. So excite! My husband has already finished Mistborn, which I'll start soonish after I wrap up some other obligations.

Oh... um.. speaking of. I have some Phoenix Curse news, woot woot! It's probably not what you're looking for, but After is being released to multiple platforms this month. In fact, part one is already available at Smashwords.com and is currently FREE for the month of February. Grab it if you haven't yet!

Part two and part three will follow, and part three will finally have it's paperback debut! Keep you're eyes open for those.

One last thing, D.R.J. Publishing is also hosted Thief for free for the month of February at Smashwords, because... ya know.. romance and stuff. Hopefully Amazon will follow suite soon, but they currently still have the cost listed at $.99. Someone should probably send an email. *ahem*

So there is my very wordy, image free post, because I'm too lazy to add images today. Been sick since last Friday so please forgive me! Will be back soon with a review of The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I survived!

Last week was terribly, terribly crazy! The day job is working on converting to a new program, so that meant working through last weekend... Both Saturday and Sunday... At the office... Full days... So this Saturday was my first day off in 12 days.

Doesn't that sound crazy? That's not the end of it. My husband was away on a business trip all last week, so it was just me and the toddler struggling to survive. Somehow, I managed to make it through with both of us still intact. I survived on cereal and corndogs, cuz... Well, I can't cook. The boy lives on chicken nuggets anyway, and those are easy to throw in the oven. It did get scary there for a little bit cuz I had to break into my second box of cereal by the end of the week, but luckily my husband was able to catch an earlier flight home, so imminent crisis averted.

There's another conversion weekend coming up again in February... /sigh... I just need to sell more books. Working these 12 day work weeks is a real strain, mentally and physically. It's messing with my writing time, too. It drains me and zaps all the creative energy.

Well, I'm back at it this week. Currently I'm working on a wide release of After, tentatively scheduled for next month, once I'm released from Amazon's KDP Select. Oh, and I guess I have a little bit of news for you. Katlynn Rose has published her first novella! Woot Woot!

Thief: The Dove in the Darkness

So yes, that's my new pen name, and my first shot at writing romance. I'm still not sure how I feel about romance just yet, it's definitely out of my comfort zone, but there it is in case anyone would like to give it a go! Thief is currently on sale for $.99. As always, if you read it and enjoy it, please leave a review!

Short update today, but I haven't fully recovered from last week yet. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

30 Books

And we're back from the holidays! I hope everyone had a wonderful time and are well prepared for the New Year. It's getting cold down here in Texas! (and by cold, we mean in the 30s. How you people live up North is beyond me.)

My time working on other projects is over, and my focus is now turned completely toward The Phoenix Curse. I'm working on formatting the three parts into one complete book, as well as getting some more work done on Dreamland. Many many edits lie in front of me for what's already been written, and many many words still need to be put down on paper. It's become a bigger project than I ever expected it would be, but I'm happy about that. Dreamland - Part One will be completely written before I turn to another project. I'm also expecting this book to be a bit heavier than After by the time it's all said and done.
We all do this, right?
I'm preparing a little treat for all my wonderful Phoenix fans to be released at the end of February, so there's a little something to look forward to while the book is in the works. Yay! I hope that's exciting news for everyone.

I guess it's time for a little 2014 recap. Last year, I never got down and made any resolutions. I vagued it up, and vagueness is the cause of many a failed resolution. The only solid resolution was to complete NaNoWriMo, which I was able to accomplish with a little room to spare. Not much, but a little. My second resolution was to 'lose weight." Okay. I did that. And then I promptly gained it right back. That does not count in my book, so I'm done with any type of resolution to lose weight/work out. Not to say I'm giving up on that, I'm just not going to confine it to one small time-frame of the year that's normally forgotten by the end of January.

But I did accomplish one of my vague resolutions. "Read more." Check!! Okay, so most of it was listening to Audible books, but THAT COUNTS considering I don't have time to sit down and actually read as much as I would like. Some books were read, but Audible was available to give me a link to all the wonderful stories that I would otherwise be deprived of. Thank you, Audible!

Total count: 30. Resolution for 2015: 35.

I'm not exactly reaching for the stars here, but I'm keeping it reasonable. Also, you have to consider that nearly half those books from last year were the gigantic tomes called The Wheel of Time. Geez, but Jordan was not shy on his word count. And half of those were re-reads, but they still count! Except Crossroads of Twilight. I just read Leigh Butler's re-read on that. For those of you that have actually read the series, I'm sure you understand. Crossroads of Twilight was not counted in my total.

That pretty much sums up my actual resolutions from 2014, but what I consider one of my biggest accomplishments was not even a resolution. Yes, I finished my first real book and got everything published, and figured out how to start on a completely different story that will one day be another best selling novel (right?!?), but there was something else I did that was a major lifestyle change for me. It might seem small, but for as much as I loved it, it was a huge change in my life.

I gave up caffeine.

I was never a big coffee drinker, but for years the only liquid I consumed was Diet Coke, and large volumes of it. First thing in the morning, I had to have my Diet Coke. I'd be late for work because I'd stop by McDonalds just to grab one. Not exactly a good habit to have and very unhealthy. Stimulants do not go well with someone that has hypertension, so I dropped my Diet Coke habit in October and haven't had any caffeine since. I, however, switched to caffeine free Diet Coke for a while, but that is still not healthy, so I've even cut most of that out and have switched to water.

Water is boring and gives me heartburn, but I feel a difference, people! Dem fancy doctors and health nuts might actually know what they're talking about! (no offence to fancy doctors and health nuts intended.) So my vague resolution for 2015 is 'drink more water.'

And I think that about sums up my thoughts on this topic. I'll be back to posting a little more regularly (expect at least 2 posts a month), and there's a small announcement coming later this week, so be sure to check back!