Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ello, Loves!

I just wanted to drop by today to leave a really quick note. This summer has been way busier than I expected with vacations, big birthday bashes, and the release of Overwatch and Pokemon Go. Oy, I am NOT going to hit my reading goal this year, I just know it.

Before I get on to my spoilery fangirl gushing, quick update on Dreamland - Part Two status. Things are moving along pretty well. My goal is to finish all my rewrites and beta edits next month, and send the manuscript off to my copy editor. As I said, this summer has been busy, so my editing time has gotten squished down a bit, BUT the time I do have left to dedicate to the rewrites is actually going smoother than anticipated. So, yay!... I think?

NeWay...

THIS POST CONTAINS GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS!!!

Here is a quick rewind of what I've been up to since the last post. Game of Thrones. Oh. My. God. I know the hype has died down since the season finale aired, but man... It was epic. I loved loved loved this last season. It was practically flawless (if we ignore No One) and soooo satisfying. That shot of Young Ned holding his nephew and then the switch to Jon... Not gonna lie, but I dropped my head and just cried for a moment. I was so overwhelmed. I had no idea how invested I've been in these books and theories until it was all finally served to me from the TV screen. It was a wonderful moment. Also, my money is on Lyanna naming him Jaehaerys, btw! (I'm probably wrong.)

And Cersei... Oh, you go girl! I have never watched someone go so completely batshit crazy in such a fabulous fashion. I am so excited to see how her story line plays out next season. I am really going to miss Margery, though. Her death was very quick and unexpected. I think I'll miss her the most, even though Hodor hit me the hardest.

Man... That night was brutal.

After my crazed experience of dealing with the GOT void last year when season 5 ended, I was prepared to distract myself this year. I picked a show to binge watch and dove in, fully committed... and watched all five seasons of Fringe in two weeks. Somehow, I knew I would be watching it someday and managed to make it through all this time without any spoilers. I thoroughly enjoyed the watch and got a new shirt to add to my ever growing collection of fan t-shirts!


I'm not crying. You're crying!

It's my favorite thing. My very favorite thing.

And now... I don't know what the hell to do with my life.  Le' sigh...

Guess I'll have to keep occupying myself with Overwatch until I find a new passion, -- Junkrat of course, because I've never been able to aim to save my life -- and I have found myself spending an exorbitant amount of time in local graveyards lately thanks to Pokemon Go. Still haven't found a damn Pikachu yet.

The search continues... as does the editing! Happy reading, everyone! Will try not to be too long before another update rolls around. Until then... Cheers, love!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kiss Me Dead, By Dale Ibitz

Hello out there! It seems like it's been a terrible long time since I last got a review posted, as well as an update. I was able to enjoy a brief vacation at the end of May, ya know... right after I finished the Dreamland - Part Two first draft. Yeah? Is that the crowd roaring I hear out there? Good, good. Enjoy that little bit of excitement there, cuz the editing is already underway!!

So, not only do I have that taking up blogging time, but Game of Thrones just totally sucks me in. This season has been astounding, and I've honestly found it hard to think about anything else. With the show surpassing the books, and us long time book readers finally getting some answers, I can think of nothing else! I mean, on one hand I can write a blog post, but on the other, I can read another crazy fan theory how Ned and Lyanna Stark are somehow still alive and hiding in the swamps!! Oy. It's not even a conscious decision, it just happens. I am looking forward to the end of this season, where I plan on cracking open my post from last year and seeing what theories got shot to hell.

Aside from that, I have still been reading and listening to my audio books. I've started Harry Potter (again) and have a couple other indie novels I need to get reviews up on. I'll get back into the swing of reviewing with Kiss Me Dead, by Dale Ibitz.

I picked up this book after going on a mad search for Angel mythos. I did find a few that dealt totally with our feathered friends, but somehow Ibitz caught my eye with this tale about a reaper-human hybrid. The book doesn't have many reviews, so if you do pick it up and take a fancy to it, please do a fellow author a favor and smack a review up there on Amazon or Goodreads, or your platform of choice. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, good reviews mean the world to us!

Now, on to this juicy little tale and my three star review.

This book was really delightful. I know that the three star review might seem a little low for a book I like, but it is a really good story, and it is also told well for the most part. There were just a few issues that I wasn’t able to overlook that I hope my review can be constructive on.

As I said before, this is the book I chose to fill the void that’s been deepening for angel lore, and I think it was a taste of what I wanted. It mostly deals with reapers and reaper mythos, which Ibitz gives us enough to really sink our teeth into. There was not a lot to the angel side of the story, just a few bits sprinkled in here and there, but it was well crafted to what the story needed. The two found a really nice balance and fit perfectly together.

The book is structured really well, too. Ibitz grabs our attention right off the bat with two points of view intricately woven together during two separate time periods. We get Christian the reaper from 1938, and Brooke from present time. The chapters alternated between the two, giving us a parallel story until it finally met in the middle. I have to say, the way these two individual arcs lined up and fell together at the end really kept me turning the pages.

The way Ibitz knitted these stories together really showed her skill as a writer and was one of, if not THE, high point of the book for me.

Now, let me explain why some of those stars didn't get filled in.

My first issue was due to the overuse of flowery prose. Now, some flowery prose is needed and refreshing in a book or manuscript, but there were several instances where it felt the prose went a little bit overboard. Everything was flowery, and it was sometimes hard to decipher descriptions which led to an exhaustive read for something that should have been simple. Prose needs to be changed up some. Highs and lows, ebb and flow. Flowery and simple. A book needs them both.

Never underestimate the use of simplicity. "It was cold."

Need to be a little bit more descriptive? "It was cold."

It’s simple, but the emphasis gets it through to the reader. Then the flowery statement of how the MC or POV is handling this coldness can follow. Not every noun needs to be personified with a feeling of its own to describe the scene. Like I said, it got a bit exhaustive. The flowery prose was good, just a little overdone.

The next issue I had was heartbreaking. 

So, as I mentioned before, there were two point of views for this book. One of those POVs had a climactic scene that was building, and building, and building and then… Nothing.

We find out what happened by way of someone telling another character. We didn’t get the fulfillment of seeing the scene play out in front of us, and the culmination to that storyline was extremely unfulfilling. I don’t think it did the characters justice.

I guess this should go along with my first nitpicky review, but I also had an issue with how everything was just so intense for anything the main characters were feeling. I guess this was mostly Brook, but every thing she felt was just mega intense. It resulted in a lack of space for her to crank up the emotion when the really big confrontation finally happened. It left that scene a little bit underwhelming.

This book was good enough that I immediately checked the author’s page to see if I could find out any more information on another book in the series. Unfortunately, there isn’t one yet, but there is one in the works. Yay!

I followed Ibitz on Amazon. Her work is definitely worth it, and a preview of Kiss Me Dead is below for your convenience. Gives it a clicky and see what you think!

That's it for my review and now I'm only two books behind on reviews! Double yay!! That is, until I finish reading my next book... Oopsie.

Welp, all you Game of Thrones fans out there, hold on to your butts for Bastard Bowl next week, and I'll be back soon with my thoughts on this season!

Until then, Happy Reading!!! (and... watching?)


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Vampire Within, By Johi Jenkins

Happy May! Is everyone ready for summer yet? It's hiding just around the corner, maybe closer than we think. Us Texans can definitely feel it already. Springs here are very short, but I can't wait to get out in the pool!

As nice as today is, I dropped by the ol' blog to poke around a bit, leave a juicy review, and remind my giveaway winners to make sure they check the email they signed up with to claim their free copy of After! Not all the coupons I sent out have been claimed yet, so here's a list of winners once again. If you're on this list and haven't already, CHECK YOUR EMAIL! You have a free book in there collecting dust!
  • Taylor Hess
  • Jones Dodson
  • Vicky Wallette
  • Shannon Modrak
  • Wanda Ritter
Now that we have that out of the way, lets jump into the review.

Once again, I'm behind on getting these posted. I actually finished The Vampire Within by Johi Jenkins what seems like months ago. It's sad that I can read a book before I can post a review. Or, in this case, three books. Yeah. You heard right. I'm three books behind and closing in on finishing the fourth.

So, anyway. Let's get to it. 

The Vampire Within is the third novel in the Thirst Within series, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Definitely a guilty pleasure for me since I don't typically read this genre, but after I finished the book (way too fast, I might add) I ended up on a book bender trying to find another story of the same calibre. I had no luck, so if anyone has any suggestions of a good supernatural romance (maybe throw in some angels) then I'm all ears. 

When I first started this book, there was a part of me that really wanted to know how the story would end, and another part of me that really wanted the story to keep going. By the time I reached the end of the book, it was evident that the story was going to continue. However, I did not expect the cliffhanger that followed. Dammit. I'm going to be dying until the next book is released.

Here's a little history on this book series. It starts out with Thirst Within and follows up with the prequel, Corben's Thirst. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it is a true series and you will need to start with book one so that you can get to know the main cast. By the time you get to book three, you'll be so enthralled with the characters, you're not going to want to let them go. I can't really go into the plot of The Vampire Within without spoiling Thirst, so I think I'll just leave you with all my glowing accolades. 

Not sure which one is my favorite of the three books, but I just can’t wait to read more from the series. Remember, I'm still on the hunt for a good angel mythology book!

And yes, I'm very excited for the Preacher debut on AMC here in a couple weeks. Read those graphic novels over a decade ago and really enjoyed them. Can't wait to see what AMC, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have in store for us.

Aside from that, work on Dreamland - Part Two is right on schedule. I'm thinking I'll be hitting about 10 chapters for this installment, and I've already got 7 of them written. It's moving right along!




Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Giveaway Reminder!

Or possibly, first notice... I apologize for that. I was not aware that Networkblog is no more. This was a service I relied on to share my blog posts to my Facebook and Twitter followers. I found a new service that I'm trying out that looks promising. If you were shown the way here from Facebook/Twitter, then it's working wonderfully.

So, here we go... A current giveaway is underway already for 5 eBook copies of After, the COMPLETE book one of The Phoenix Curse. The winners will be gifted their copy through Amazon.

Already have all three parts separate? Who cares! Sign up to get the complete book for your convenience. (It might actually have less typos in it.) Know a friend who might want to read it? Both of you sign up to increase your chances. The gift code is not specific to your email or Amazon account.

 The giveaway has been running since the 15th, and so far has a very poor turnout. Your odds of winning are pretty damn good if you sign up now. You still have until Friday, BUT it is possible to get an extra entry per day if you tweet about the contest! Since it's possible we lost a few a days due to my failed promotion of the contest, you can send an email to drjpublishing@gmail.com and I'll make sure those extra entries get thrown into the hat.

There is one small hurdle to enter. You do have to sign up for rafflecopter as they are hosting the giveway, but don't worry. It's quick, free, and they do not spam you. (I won't spam you either.)

Remember, the object of this giveaway is to get the word out about the book, and get a copy into the hands of someone who hasn't read it, so sign up and share share share! Visibility is key and if you win, the gift code can go to any one of your choosing.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 15, 2016

It's Giveaway Time!!

To celebrate the completion of FIVE WHOLE CHAPTERS in the Dreamland - Part Two first draft, we are giving away FIVE ebook copies of After - The Complete Book One. (Not really. The Giveaway was already planned. This was just a co-inky-dink.)

To enter, please choose as many options below as you like. Apparently, you do have to sign up for rafflecopter if you don't have a Facebook account, but it's free and they don't spam you. (I don't like spam.)

Already have all three parts of book one? This is a good opportunity to get your friends who haven't read the books yet to enter and win a copy.

Or maybe you just want a copy of the full book one for yourself? Oh, the possibilities!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 1, 2016

Who Censored Roger Rabbit, by Gary K. Wolf

So, did anyone else know that the beloved movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit was actually based on a book? I was not aware until late last year. When I found out, I promptly downloaded the book and began to read. I was very excited, but unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations. We always hear the saying, 'the book is better than the movie.' In this case, it was not. The movie is a cherished memory from my childhood. The book... yeah... well... not so much.

Now, I don’t normally give one or two star reviews. The reason is not because I want to always say, I love this book. or I like this book, or even this book was okay. It’s because when I start off with a book, and I think it’s going to be a one-star/two-star review, I never commit and finish it. There are far too many books out there and not enough time. It isn't fair to an author to get a critical review from someone who didn't finish their book, so that is why I don't give many low-star reviews.

Who Censored Roger Rabbit totally caught me, though. It didn’t turn into a two-star review until the very last pages.

Now, I did like the concept of this book. Apparently, a lot of other people did as well considering it was turned into a brilliant movie. There are some differences of course, as the book is filled with comic strip toons. You still get Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, the weird baby, and a multitude of other toons. Again, not cartoons, but comic strip toons, complete with word bubbles and all. This was an okay change between the mediums. The cartoon characters in the movie were wonderful, and the comic strip characters worked really well on the page.

Now, for me to really give this book a full review, and to my reasoning as to why I could only find a couple starts to throw at it, I would have to spoil the entire book. I guess I will go ahead and do that, so consider this your warning.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Like, major spoilers. The whole book kinda spoilers. Only read this post if you don't ever plan on reading this book.

Got it?

Here we go.

So, when you start reading this book, you fall into the perspective of Private Investigator Eddie Valliant. It is a true gumshoe novel and a classic case of whodunits. I don’t read a lot of these books, so I was amused with the phrasing at first. However, I started this book last year, and I actually read it instead of listening to it. (I normally have a book I’m reading, as well as an audiobook that I’m listening to at the same time.) I think this was the perfect book to let sit on the back burner as it didn’t seem to demand my attention.

That should’ve been my first clue. Yet I pressed on.

Now, the flowery gumshoe prose was really creative, and I did like it, but it got to be too much at times. Every sentence was a gumshoe phrase. That is why I’m going to give this book an extra star. It took some creativity to come up with all the phrasing used in this book, and even though it came off as a little heavy-handed, the author gets props for that.

But then... We start off with Roger Rabbit dead. What? Yeah, you heard me. Roger Rabbit is dead. That didn’t happen in the movie. If he’s really dead, how is he in the other books the author has written? That’s a very good question. One I thought the end of the book would answer and yet… No.

So, in the book, toons have doppelgängers, The doppelgänger can do chores, run errands, handle all the dangerious comicstrip stunts so the real toon doesn't get hurt. It just takes a little effort and some concentration, and BLAMO, they've got an identical replica of themselves ready to do their bidding and that will dissolve within a couple hours. Oh, the possiblities... 

Okay, that’s interesting. So, supposedly, the original Roger Rabbit is dead, and we are solving his murder with his doppelgänger that he created the day he died. The doppelgänger apparently had a little extra juice thrown his way, so he was able to stay alive and help Mr. Valiant through his case. Now Jessica Rabbit and Roger Rabbit are estranged at the beginning of the book, and somehow, I kept thinking the book was going to turn around with some plot twist that showed Jessica and Roger were truly in love. I mean, he makes her laugh, right? Apparently, only in the movies. Jessica Rabbit is actually just a shallow whore who hates Roger with all her being. Like... For real. She is BAD and it wasn't the way she was drawn.

There goes a little bit of my childhood.

So, it looks like Jessica killed Roger. Roger, who actually is very much in love with Jessica, does not believe it. He needs Valiant to not only solve the crime of who killed some other dude that I don’t even care about, as well as make sure everyone knows Jessica did not kill Roger.

Also, there’s a teakettle everybody wants. The mystery around this teakettle is actually what kept me coming back for more.

Well, turns out, this teakettle is actually a lantern. Like, I’m talking Aladdin-style, I dream of Genie in a bottle, grant me my three wishes, lantern. This was revealed very late in the book. Like, climactic scene late. All the suspects that we were interviewing and trying to solve this case on? Yeah, completely pointless. The magical dues ex machina was the true killer all along. Oh, didn’t see that coming? I don’t know why. Everyone should always see the magical genie was the one who did it. The one that wasn’t supposed to ever exist. The one that you didn’t learn about until the last three pages of the frigging book.

Oh, and do you wonder how hard it is to destroy an evil, all-powerful Genie? Only the pure of heart dumping the lantern into the ocean can kill a Genie. Everyone knows that! It's sure going to be hard since our town is landlocked. Also, where are you going to find someone who's 'pure of heart' since everyone in this book seems to be a gigantic asshole and our hero is a raging, cynical alcoholic?

Turns out, it wasn't as hard as it sounds. Good thing alcohol only destroys the liver and not the heart, but what about the ocean??

Oh, Valiant just happens to spot a conveniently placed saltwater fish tank that just so happened to be right in the room evil Genie was released in. Poof, dead evil genie. In three pages.

What?

And the worst part? No, the genie being the killer wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that Roger Rabbit was actually a huge douche. There was no pah-pah-pah-please Eddie. Roger was actually trying to frame Valiant for the murder that Roger committed, because... Roger is evil and a murderer. 

Hello. My entire childhood has been destroyed now.

I think I have a movie to watch to refresh some displaced memories. 

Okay, this book really, really annoyed me, and I know a lot of people have asked for reviews from me because my reviews are passionate when I like a book. I believe that’s true, because when I like a book I go on and on and on and on about it, but as stated before, I normally abandon a book that would be a one or two-star review.

Now, here is what happens when you get a one or two-star review for me. Equally as passionate, although probably somewhat offensive to the original author. That's something I don’t want to do, being an author myself. Those low-star reviews really hurt. So, here is what I’m going to do. I know Who Censored Roger Rabbit was the very first book that was published by this author. As you know, first books can sometimes be a really rocky road. I will give this author another chance, and pick up another one of his books. The reason why I will do that, is because this book did have promise. It’s possible that the beloved movie skewed myy perceptioin of the book. (Ya think?) So, this review might not be totally fair, but it's truthful. I think the author deserves another chance.

Man, do I hate giving one star reviews.

Oy...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mistborn: Secret History, by Brandon Sanderson

Not more than five minutes ago, I finished the Secret History and I have no words incredible enough to describe how I feel right now. I'm attempting to get my awe, my sadness, and my mind-blown emotions down on paper before they fade and realize I'm not able to do so. The words simply don't exist.

So Secret History is not a novella you can just pick up and start reading. This is a companion novella to the whole Mistborn series, specifically for the original trilogy, although it contains minor spoilers through the second trilogy up to the Bands of Mourning. The novella covers a unique perspective through the original Mistborn timeline that gave us the answers to some lingering mysteries, and brought back ALL the emotions I experienced during that one late night/early morning obsessive reading session that left me sobbing in a fetal position gasping for breath.

These books are good, people. I can't stress that enough. I absolutely love Sanderson's work, and I feel a deep connection to his characters. I didn't start reading his works until last year, so that is such a short time to become such a dedicated fangirl, but it's happened.

And now there's a void inside me I'm struggling to fill.

I need another book to devour... STAT!!!