A Matter of Perspective


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I love YA books.

There, I said it. I’m not a teen (or anywhere close to that age, ahem) but I love the genre and gorge on it regularly in all its forms (Mature YA, YA/NA). All books include an element of self-discovery and reflection, but it’s my opinion that these themes are especially poignant when centered around a protagonist living those years when you’re still unsure of who you are.

Something I’ve noticed about the YA/NA genre is it tends to be written in the first-person, present-tense point-of-view (POV). Seems logical since first-person POV can feel more intimate (the reader follows the protagonist’s direct voice) and present-tense lends a sense of immediacy–And young adults definitely (at least what I’ve witnessed from my teen nephews and cousins) live in the Right Now with some rough sketches of what the future might look like. It’s the charm and the madness that is them. And hey, those are tough years as they try to get a grasp on what the hell this life thing is about and how they should handle it…That’s what I remind myself of when one of them makes a creative move on the highway and narrowly avoids causing a massive collision that would’ve resulted in twisted metal, shattered glass, and calls to First Responders.


Currently I’m about halfway through a draft in the first book of a planned YA/NA Fantasy trilogy titled Sundered Kingdoms. Each book will be centered around one character’s perspective and thus I put things in the first-person, present-tense form. I’ve done first-person, past-tense before in my first novel and enjoyed the process. Switching into present-tense takes some attention but I do like the immediacy of it.

And then…

One of my (very) early betas came back saying that he found it difficult to engage with the first-person, present-tense format and felt it was throwing off the read for him. Granted, early drafts are ugly bastards by nature with rough sections of monologue-ing and info dumping which will be mopped up in subsequent drafts, but the commentary did give me pause. The plot is most definitely through the eyes of a single character and I want to keep it in her voice. I took that to mean it should be in first-person, but does it have to be?


There are a lot of opinions out there as far as when first person vs. third person POV is best. So, let me ask all you readers and writers out there:

If you are reading a story that is from a single character’s perspective, do you expect or prefer it to be in first-person? Or are you cool with a single third-person POV throughout a novel?

Sorcerous Moons Series


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lonenswar oria


Title & Author: Sorcerous Moons Series: Lonen’s War (#1), Oria’s Gambit (#2), The Tides of Bára (#3), Jeffe Kennedy

Genre & Publication Date: Fantasy Romance, Lonen’s War – July 16, 2016, Oria’s Gambit – August 18, 2016, The Tides of Bára – October 29, 2016

Book Description: (I’m including Book One: Lonen’s War only to avoid spoilers)

“Book One in the adult fantasy romance series, Sorcerous Moons. The novel, Lonen’s War, is a paranormal kindle book of magic and sorcery – and a war culminating in a marriage of convenience between enemy kingdoms.

An Unquiet Heart

Alone in her tower, Princess Oria has spent too long studying her people’s barbarian enemies, the Destrye—and neglected the search for calm that will control her magic and release her to society. Her restlessness makes meditation hopeless and her fragility renders human companionship unbearable. Oria is near giving up. Then the Destrye attack, and her people’s lives depend on her handling of their prince…

A Fight Without Hope

When the cornered Destrye decided to strike back, Lonen never thought he’d live through the battle, let alone demand justice as a conqueror. And yet he must keep up his guard against the sorceress who speaks for the city. Oria’s people are devious, her claims of ignorance absurd. The frank honesty her eyes promise could be just one more layer of deception.

A Savage Bargain

Fighting for time and trust, Oria and Lonen have one final sacrifice to choose… before an even greater threat consumes them all.”

First Line: (from Book One: Lonen’s War) Oria squinted from the heat shimmer rising in the distance beyond the high walls of the city.

My Take: Books were provided to me from the author for review.

I’m a big fan of Jeffe Kennedy’s work, particularly her Twelve Kingdoms books (trad published) so I was super excited to see new books under her self-publishing imprint, Brightlynx Publishing. This series is as spectacular as the others and my fangirl adoration continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

Something that is very difficult to execute well when it comes to romance, in my reader opinion, is the chemistry between the central protagonists. We’ve all seen bad romance movies, right? You know, where you think, “Jeez, these two make a terrible match on screen. They don’t compliment each other at all.” (Read: The Avengers’ Black Widow and the Hulk…What the what happened there??) Well, it’s the same struggle on the page, and this author has spectacular talent at making two seemingly incompatible people come together in a way that leaves all doubt behind.

But this is a fantasy novel too, so let me expound on this unique world of magic, war, and intrigue. The conflict between the two peoples is as complex as it can get, and both sides are guilty of some truly ugly acts (though I’ll admit to my own bias towards the Destrye’s plight). Drought is at the core of it all–and isn’t that easy to believe in a very non-fictional sense. From a story standpoint, all this delicious turmoil makes for a really interesting setting, particularly when the book begins with a huge, bloody battle…Yes, I realize it’s a tad ghoulish to delight quite so much in that, but such is the zest that is me.

The magic system is quite something as well. Oria’s people are the sorcerers, whereas Lonen’s people are not magical at all (hence the view of them as mind-dead barbarians). Interestingly, there’s a gender divide as far as how magic is performed. The women absorb magic, as a river does the rainwater, whereas the men wield it, drawing their power from the women like a well. It’s a sort of balance between the two. Naturally, I found myself wondering why women couldn’t wield magic. Why were they just the tool and never the smith? Ah, but there’s a central question to this series. I don’t want to give anything away, but that topic leads in fascinating directions.

Now the romance, I love it! At turns a friendship, at turns a rivalry, both tender and difficult, it unfolds beautifully in the books. Lonen doesn’t understand magic, how it works, or the systems in place around it but he can translate concepts beyond his ability into a more earthly logic so he can help and understand Oria better. His tenacious efforts/struggles/frustrations with magic he knows nothing about are in their own way some of the sweetest displays of affection I’ve seen in a romance. Gents, forget flowers and chocolate. Making the honest attempt to understand what a woman is facing is the surest way to her heart. And okay, we’ll take the flowers and chocolate too.

The Magical: The ribbon and scarf scene in Oria’s Gambit (Book 2), holy hell that was sensational! No, I’m not going to elaborate. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. Trust me, it’s worth it…Um, just don’t read it while on lunch at work. I came back to my desk with flaming cheeks and people assumed I was getting sick. I did not correct them.

The Mundane: As with any romance that is a slow burn, my NEED for them to get together begins to drive me a tad crazy. I have this under the ‘mundane’ but at the same time I embrace the pain of waiting.

Summary of Thoughts: The first two novels are $2.99 on Amazon with the third coming out on October 29th. The series is going beyond three books and I’m enthusiastically looking forward to the next installments. Seriously, if you enjoy a good romance set in a fantasy world, if you have been searching for a story so good you’ll end up with a book hangover, get started on this series ASAP!


Many thanks to author Jeffe Kennedy for providing copies of the books for review!

Curious what others thought? Check out Amazon’s reviews of Lonen’s War (Book One) here

Want to know more about the author and her work? Explore her website here

What Gives Self-Publishing a Bad Name


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Everyone knows it’s tough to get noticed when you’re an author just starting out. This is true for traditional authors as well as indies. It takes time to build up your catalog of work, newsletter subscribers, ARC review list, learn how to properly launch a book and market it, etc. etc. etc. All this requires repeatedly telling yourself that this is a long game, not a sprint. Like anything worth doing, it’s going to take time and practice, something difficult to remember in a field where impatience, insecurity, and frustration abound.

Enter the bottom-feeding-puss-suckers that try to capitalize on these emotions and lure authors into cutting corners with the promise that it’ll jump start their dreams of a writing career. The other day I got an email, Subject: Your Book–My name was never mentioned so I was a BCC to probably dozens of others, if not more–in which “Jamie” (no last name) wanted to offer me so-called marketing packages that were little more than dressed-up methods of fraud.

Some of the options in the a-la-carte menu (this is directly from the e-mail):

  • I and my team of reviewers can provide up to 40 reviews per author. Each review will highlight all the positive aspects of your book and enlighten your future readers regarding the real essence and worth of your book. The book review is written by an avid book reader and Native English speaker so you can be assured of quality. NOTE: You are NOT paying me for the review but for the amount of time I am investing in reading your book. The rating may range from 3-5 stars. I don’t post negative reviews.  I can also write an editorial review as well as create a video testimonial for you.
  • I can promote your book on up to 40 high quality websites EXCLUSIVELY devoted to promoting free kindle books – on Kindle free days. I can also promote your book if it is on Kindle countdown promotion (please note that it is up to each site’s owner to decide whether to list your book or not. If your book listing is approved, it will be shown ONLY during the promotion period). In addition, I can also offer you up to 200 GUARANTEED free Kindle ebook downloads or book purchases (in other words, you can ask me to buy/download your ebook for as many times as you want, for a nominal fee). This in turn can boost your rankings even further!
  • I can add 30 likes to your positive reviews on Goodreads. All likes come from unique accounts and multiple IPs.
  • I can add your book to 70 popular listopia lists by voting for them.  All votes come from unique accounts and multiple IPs.
  • My BESTSELLER SO FAR: I will rate your book on Goodreads, post as many honest reviews as you want, mark your book as ‘read’, become your fan and add your book to the listopia list of your choice. I and my team can offer up to 50 reviews on Goodreads


Yeah, so, whoever “Jamie” is, he might claim he’s not selling reviews, but come on, yes he is. And “honest” reviews? Please. Probably he trolled through my back-list, saw I don’t have tons of reviews, and is trying to tempt me into taking the easy road. But listen, I don’t want to “appear” successful, I actually want it to be real if it happens, and compromising in this way is NOT going to get me there. It’s possible that others may feel cutting corners is what they should do. Maybe they think, “Well, businesses all over the world participate in unethical behavior and make lots of money doing it, why should I miss out?” It’s a valid question, but just because others have lowered the bar, doesn’t mean we should join them there. There’s a quote from a West Wing episode in which the characters were discussing this very behavior:

“We foster, we obfuscate, we rationalize. “Everybody does it”, that’s what we say. So we come to occupy a moral safe house where everyone’s to blame, so no one’s guilty.”


THIS is what gives self-publishing a bad name–this collecting fake reviews and likes and follows in an effort to dupe readers into thinking a book is more popular than it is. And readers are getting wise to it, lending strength to some of those big publishing house arguments that say self-publishing is vanity publishing, and that indie books lack quality writing. How can we argue if authors participate in these practices? It’s better to have only a few true reviews than ones that were purchased.

Self-publishing is a tough beat on a good day, but not impossible. It takes hard work, determination, perseverance, and a lot of practice in the art of keeping your chin up. Maybe we’ll get the success we hope for. Maybe not. Maybe we’ll have a small group of loyal fans. Maybe we’ll have loads of them. There isn’t a lot of control over what happens when it comes to the arts. Here’s the important thing though: the type of author you decide to be is completely up to you. Don’t wade into the murky waters and lose your path among the bottom-feeders. You’re better than that. As authors, the Word is our temple. Let no one sully it with lies.

Book Sale Alert: Thorn is 99 Cents this weekend!


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Need a great fantasy read? “Thorn” by Intisar Khanani is on sale this weekend only for just $0.99! I’ve read it and it’s an awesome story you don’t want to miss out on, especially at this price. Go get your copy!

If you’d like to read my reviews of Intisar Khanani’s other works (all 5 stars, by the way), you can check them out via these links:

The Bone Knife

Sunbolt (The Sunbolt Chronicles Book One)

Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles Book Two)

She was also interviewed on Amid the Imaginary. You can check that out here


For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies—and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

$0.99 Only This Weekend!

Stars Across Time


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Title & Author: Stars Across Time, Ruby Lionsdrake

Genre & Publication Date: Sci-Fi/Time-Travel Romance, March 15, 2015

Book Description: “Can love take root in the cracks of time?

Air Force pilot Andromeda “Andie” Kim dreams of being chosen to join NASA so she can go to space. Instead, she’s stolen by savage kidnappers from a dystopian future where fertile women are needed for breeding purposes. One of her kidnappers, a man named Mace, goes out of his way to protect her from the other slavers, but she’s not about to trust him. All she wants is to escape and find a way back to her time before she’s sold as broodstock and stuck in this ruined world forever.

Colonel Aloysius “Mace” Theron of the Cascadian Alliance is a battlefield commander, not a spy, but after twenty years of service, he’s also trusted by his superiors. That’s why they choose him for a top-secret mission: to infiltrate an organization of thieves using a time machine to plunder the past. He’s supposed to find and destroy the machine, not fall in love with one of the captives, but Andie is as much of a fighter as he is, and he’s drawn to her from the beginning. Yet if he fights too hard to protect her, his identity will be discovered and his mission will fail, leaving criminals to terrorize the past, perhaps irrevocably changing history and endangering everyone he knows and loves.”

First Line: Andie Kim dug through her pack in the dark, mashing her fingers against a canteen, packets of dehydrated food, a first-aid kit, and something gooey on the bottom–she didn’t know what that was and decided to embrace the ignorance.

My Take: I loooove time-travel stories. Altered timelines, paradoxes–grandfather and otherwise–I just enjoy the crap out of them. I might try my hand at one sometime…if I can keep all those shifting events straight. Seriously, I have abundant admiration for those that can keep things complex enough for that type of plot but still comprehensible enough for the reader.

But anyway, on to the book in question: I’m a bit torn on it, to be honest. For a romance it definitely has plenty of action and adventure in it to make things interesting and not just one note. The heroine is a straight up awesome gal who has strength of character, empathy, and a few good butt-kicking moves, not to mention her smart-ass sense of humor (always a win in my book). The hero is likable–and not just because of his muscles. Their banter is well-written but my trouble was I just couldn’t quite believe their love story. There was too much danger going on to buy into their building connection, especially for Andie given that she’s been kidnapped, strip searched, and pawed at by the other miscreants in charge of the kidnapping. Would she really be of the mind-set to notice that scruffy, good looking guy over there or even have sexy stuff going through her head? Um, no. Assault does not leave one feeling turned on.

And by the way, why is it they need to abduct ONLY women for breeding purposes? If there’s an infertility thing going on, wouldn’t that affect men as well? Why aren’t they rounding up the young and strapping too? Maybe that wouldn’t be as titillating of a plot as women being kidnapped? If that’s the case, there’s really something wrong with our society, but I suppose we already knew that.

What’s that, you say? I’m getting off track again? Yeah, that happens around here. Back to it.

The book is well written for what it is–a speculative fiction premise woven into a romance. There’s good action and twists and sentimental scenes scattered throughout. I liked the dystopian future and the world building. Would’ve been nice to read more about that but this appears to be a standalone so unfortunately it didn’t have much room to expand on that aspect.

The Magical: The main characters, and even the side characters, are well drawn. I liked them a lot and rooted for them all the way. There’s also some witty humor in this one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Mundane: The Sci-Fi fan in me was irked by one or two missteps when it comes to time-travel rules. At one point, while in the future, they looked up Andi’s life and her importance in the timeline…except, HELLO, she wouldn’t have a recorded life if she were kidnapped to the future. She would’ve disappeared that day, never to be seen again unless she is returned to her time. Given that this is a time-travel book, the author should have caught this.

Summary of Thoughts: This book is currently $3.99 on the Kindle (also available on Kindle Unlimited). In all, it’s an enjoyable read for those looking for something that doesn’t stretch the mind too much and has some romance with a Sci-Fi twist. If that’s you, I’d recommend this book wholeheartedly.


Curious what others thought? Check out Amazon’s reviews here

Want to know more about the author and her work? Explore her website here

NOTE to my readers: For a little while you might frequently see Sci-Fi Romance reviews on the blog as I’ve recently learned about this genre (I know, where have I been? For more on that, check out Candlelight in the Cosmos). I’ve strapped on some knee pads, secured my helmet, and am diving head first at the genre to get a feel for it. I think it’s going to be an interesting ride.

Free Book Alert: The Raven


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Happy Tuesday, all!

Are you drowning in rain like Minnesota is right now? If so, then there’s a silver lining: Author Aderyn Wood currently has her novel “The Raven” available for FREE now through September 30th (that’s this Friday, people!) on Amazon!

You know you like Free! Go get your copy!!

On a side note, Aderyn has been a guest on Amid the Imaginary a couple of times with some pretty awesome articles. Check them out below:

Self-Published Fiction and the Quest for Quality

Self-Published Fiction and the Quest for Quality: Part Two


A lonely outcast is forced to reveal her secret Gift – but will such power bring acceptance?

When a foreign tribe attacks the peaceful Onan people, a lonely outcast is forced to reveal her secret Gift – but will such power bring acceptance?

It is the darkest time in winter, when suns, moons, and stars all wane from the sky. In the Wolf clan, a baby is born with a powerful Gift, but dangerous omens brand her an Outcast, and the Elders name her Iluna.

Iluna struggles to find her place in the proud and distrustful Wolf clan, and as her powers bloom, she discovers a mysterious friend.

Dark magic, war, and treachery soon jeopardize the life of every clan member; many suspect Iluna and her Gift.

Is this Outcast girl to blame, or is she salvation?

‘The Secret Chronicles of Lost Magic’ is a collection of histories that will take readers on a journey into a rich new fantasy world. Enjoy stepping into the dark days of time in this sweeping prehistoric fantasy. ‘The Raven’ is the first Chronicle in a collection set in a vibrant new world by Aderyn Wood.

Get it FREE on Amazon!

Winners, Updates, and Sci-Fi Related Snark



The blog has been busy of late with giveaways and writing contests. I’ve been remiss in updating you on who won and what’s going on, for which I beg forgiveness. All I can say is I’ve had some version of the plague (okay, a bad cold/flu but it sucked) and my husband’s best friend is staying with us on a visit. By the way, any time you get more than one Dutchman in a house, particularly these two since they’re practically brothers, silly, Gouda eating shenanigans ensues–none of which I mind, though between this and being sick, time on the computer has been limited. On a side note, Dutch people are the best house guests you can ever have. They’re so courteous and helpful, and when I had to get something out of the guest room closet, I found the windows open to let in fresh air, the bed made, the suitcase squared away, and his bath towel hanging up to dry. Impressive. Anyway, if you have to have house guests, I recommend the Dutch.

Back to business:


Congratulations to Leslie who won the Kindle Fire Giveaway which included a Kindle Fire and the first two books from my Insurrection series!! Leslie chose the tangerine version. I’m now regretting I took plain old black for mine, but c’est la vie.




Congratulations to Aria E. Maher whose story “Pearls” won the Micro Fiction Writing Contest! Her story will be published in the newsletter coming out next month and on the blog sometime this fall. She also has her debut novel coming out in October titled “Behind Her Mask was Death”. For more on that, check out her website here.




Cover 4_Assasin

I’ve gotten a couple of inquiries as to when the next installment of Insurrection is coming out. Never fear! I’m currently in final edits of Assassin and release is on schedule for the end of September. This novelette is chubbier than the previous installments and is heading into more “novella” territory but I’m rolling with it. At first I tried to keep it to the correct length for a novelette, but then thought “F*k it, the story has to be as long as it has to be.” This being the fourth installment of the series, there are a lot of reveals, twists, and space action and adventure soooo…


For those following along with the series and wanting a look at what to expect from book four, the book description is up on the blog if you’d like a sneak peek. Click here to see it.

Now that I’ve got all of that out of the way, you might be wondering what particular aspect of Sci-Fi I’m in need of snarking about. Well, the story begins thus: My husband and I decided to see the newest Star Trek movie, Star Trek: Beyond. I had my concerns after seeing the preview, but remained hopeful, figuring they did a lot of one-liners and blow-it-up action scenes to entice people to go see it. Good marketing, right? So, we bought our tickets, arranged babysitting for our three littles, and hustled out to see the thing.

And it sucked. Friends, I don’t know where to begin with my hate of this movie. I know a lot of people loved it, and if so then the following is probably going to annoy you, but I can’t help but vent on this. For the love of God, J. J. Abrams, Star Trek–and Sci-Fi, in general–is about more than just blowing sh*t up. Not that I mind stuff blowing up but I’d prefer that to happen around an actual plot that makes sense.

A few SPOILERS ahead so if you haven’t seen this garbage–I mean, movie–proceed at your own risk:

The film begins with Kirk pretty much bemoaning the mundane day-to-day life aboard a starship–because, you know, seeking out new life and new civilizations is a really boring job. But wait…isn’t that the same crap they had this character whining about the last TWO MOVIES??

“I don’t know if Starfleet is for me.”

“I don’t think I’m the right guy to captain the Enterprise.”

Can we get a new character arc here or are we just going to keep recycling the old one? And yes, I understand that this is a new timeline and things are different but still, let’s reach for new ground for the main freaking character.

I think that was my main problem with this movie and its predecessors. They keep doing basically the same formula over and over again. No unexpected twists, no new angles, just the same thing: Kirk is a reluctant leader. Gets pushed into doing something dangerous but heroic. Betrayal! Big Bad shows up. Enterprise gets destroyed (I’ve lost all shock value from that at this point). Scrappy crew has to work together while bickering and providing the occasional smart-ass remark (Literally, the only entertaining part of these movies. Please keep whoever is writing the jokes.).

At the 75-80% mark, the motivation of the antagonist still isn’t clear. If he’s just evil, then say so, but NO, they want it to seem semi-noble/misguided or something, and it always comes off as half a loaf and unrealistic. You know, I always said I’d go see even a bad movie if Idris Elba was in it. I can now say that I have. It’s a sad day when I feel that the character an actor played as a cartoon animal is more interesting than the human antagonist they starred as in a huge Hollywood production.


(If you want great Idris Elba, go see Luther and ignore this idiot film completely.)

Some of you might be wondering, why all the jumping up and down? It’s just a movie. You’re right, it is, but this is Star Trek. If you’re a Sci-Fi fan, you know how important the Star Trek franchise is to the genre. It just seemed utterly abused in these recent adaptations, as if they’re slapping on a label to get people to come see it without any thought to quality storytelling, and in my mind, you don’t do that to Star Trek.

Now, I’m not one who has ever shown up in costume at a convention or had posters of the show up on my walls, but I grew up watching The Next Generation series (as well as having seen all the other Star Trek movies and shows). It taught me that Science-Fiction is not just a platform for awesome space adventures and cool tech, but also has the capacity to have us examine our own humanity and ponder mankind’s future in the context of a greater destiny. There sure as hell wasn’t any of that in the movie we went to see.

Are you a Star Trek fan? Have you seen this latest movie? What did you think?


Fantasy of Frost (The Tainted Accords: Book One)


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Title & Author: Fantasy of Frost (The Tainted Accords: Book One), Kelly St. Clare

Genre & Publication Date: YA Fantasy, January 14, 2015

First Line: I weave my way around the layers of semi-circle tables where the court members sit, ignoring their whispers as I pass.

Book Description: “I know many things. What I am capable of, what I will change, what I will become. But there is one thing I will never know…

The veil I’ve worn from birth carries with it a terrible loneliness; a suppression I cannot imagine ever being free of.

Some things never change…

My mother will always hate me. Her court will always shun me.

…Until they do.

When the peace delegation arrives from the savage world of Glacium, my life is shoved wildly out of control by the handsome Prince Kedrick who, for unfathomable reasons, shows me kindness.

And the harshest lessons are learned.

Sometimes it takes the world bringing you to your knees to find that spark you thought forever lost.

Sometimes it takes death to show you how to live.”

My Take: There was a lot to love about this book. The two kingdoms, Glacium and Osolis, are in fact two worlds separated by some kind of treacherous, floating rock formation in between. One is hot, the other cold, and they spin independently of each other. It was unlike any other fantasy setting I’ve read about. Yeah, you have to suspend anything you know about astrophysics to buy into it, but that’s why they call it Fantasy, right?

The author did a stellar job depicting the differences between the cultures of the two worlds as well. The way names are conjugated differently depending on the intimacy of the relationship, the complex system of etiquette on Osolis compared to the more blunt way of saying things on Glacium. It was all very detailed and gave me a feel for each place and their people.

The inciting incident in the story was a huge shocker. I haven’t had my jaw drop that far since Ned Stark. It completely changes the story and the direction you think things are going to go and emotionally you’re left floundering, trying to figure out where the hell this train is going to go–All to the good because Olina, our main character, feels the same way so it’s a moment in which the reader really connects with her. The words, “I’m with you, girl. I can’t believe that happened either!” went through my head frequently.

Now, the second half of the book left me disappointed. Things started to drag a bit and, as is sadly becoming the norm in YA Fantasy, the romantic interest is a complete dillhole. Why must alpha types be depicted as raging jerks with boundary issues? The guy kept slamming doors open and shut, bursting into her chambers even though she has told him it wasn’t okay. He’s controlling, he bellows, he has a wicked temper, and oh yes, he frightens her too. Toxic much? But we’re still supposed to like him for our heroine because he’s got a nice face and muscles. WHYYYYYY? And honestly, even if he behaved like that for a logical reason, and even if she resists his attempts to control her, this kind of adversarial romance just pisses me off. When I read these things in YA it always feels like such a wasted opportunity to show young adults (especially girls because they seem to be the target audience here) what a healthy romantic relationship looks like. I’m not saying the guy has to be without flaws, and I’m not saying there shouldn’t be conflict, but the dynamic should not be of an abusive nature. Ever.

The Magical: The two worlds, their politics, their leadership structures, and their distinct cultures.

The Mundane: I think I sufficiently vented about the romance aspect, but the ending felt way too open with nothing resolved, almost as if it cut off in the middle of a senten–

Summary of Thoughts: Currently this book is $0.99 for the Kindle. I loved a lot of aspects of it and the story kept me turning the pages, but what could have been a five or at least four-star rating sank down to three (barely) because of the toxic relationship that I just know is going to be played up in the sequels. Maybe the author intends to temper the guy in the next installments. Given how popular this series is, I really hope so.

3 Star Rating

Curious what others thought? Check out Amazon’s reviews here

Want to know more about this author and her work? Explore her website here

Writing Prompts


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Sometimes you come across a writing prompt thread that is so awesome you just have to share it. Since I have this blog and amazing people who come by on occasion to read my burbling, I feel the need to trumpet it to you good folks.

Here’s the prompt and one of the responses. Link at the bottom:


For the record, I would totally go see this movie if someone made it. Click here to read the rest of the thread on Imgur.

Couple additional notes:

Thank you to those who submitted for the Micro Fiction writing contest! Judging is almost complete so I will be sending out communication soon.

And a reminder that there are still a few days left to enter the Kindle Fire Giveaway I’m hosting. To get in on it, click here

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

The Scribe: Irin Chronicles Book One


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Title & Author: The Scribe: Irin Chronicles Book One, Elizabeth Hunter

Genre & Publication Date: Paranormal Fantasy, October 15, 2013

Book Description: “Ava Matheson came to Istanbul looking for answers, but others came looking for her. A reckless warrior guards her steps, but will Malachi’s own past blind him to the truth of who Ava might be? While ancient forces gather around them, both Ava and Malachi search for answers.

Whispering voices. Deadly touch. Their passion should be impossible… or it could be the only thing that will keep them alive.”

First Line: “You’re going to think I’m crazy.”

My Take: Okay. This was an awesome book. (I’ve had such a huge patch of awesome reads lately that I’m almost afraid to say it out loud *giddy hand flailing*) Obviously Elizabeth Hunter is an Indie heavyweight, but this book really shows how deserving of her success she is. Talk about an amazing premise with mind blowing execution. But enough gushing, let me get on to the review (warning: there may be more gushing).

First off, our story takes place in modern day Turkey. Ahhhh, thank you for a landscape that hasn’t been done to death in paranormal fiction. The streets, the buildings, the food, the sights, even the weather all felt so well drawn and detailed. And no, we don’t start in Turkey and then head off to Western Europe or the U.S. by chapter three. This story takes place in Turkey, in its cities and its countrysides, and I loved it. Given that the plot has much to do with the Nephilim (called Irin in this tale), keeping the plot in a place that is rich with ancient history makes so much sense–The Nephilim, for those who haven’t brushed up on their Book of Genesis recently, are the children of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of Adam”. In other words, they’re the offspring of fallen angels and human women, so they’re mortal but quite powerful.

I can go on and on about the plot and the incredible world building and legacy of these Irin, but that would require another three paragraphs at least to convey how happy my little reader heart is, and I want to keep this spoiler free and be sure to talk about our main protags.

Ava is a great heroine. Strong, independent, smart (both academically and in her travels), I was all the more drawn in by her daily struggle with hearing voices. It’s not voices telling her what to do, rather she hears the inner voices of everyone around her. Not their thoughts, but their souls. So, that guy in a traffic jam who is blaring on his horn and cursing at the driver in front of him, his mind might scream anger, but if Ava were listening, his soul might be telling her anguish, or fear, or despair, which she then feels right along with him. No wonder she keeps people at a distance and never stays in one place for long.

Then there’s Malachi, one of the Irin who has sworn to fight the Grigori (equally powerful beings pledged to dark enemies–more of that intricate history I mentioned). After a terrible massacre, the Irin are essentially a race of men, one that is dying out. Malachi was such a great hero. Strong, decisive, but also uncertain, gentle despite the devastating losses he’s been through. The deep sorrow and loneliness of all Irin really reaches out from the pages.

I was in it people, so, so in it.

The Magical: The tattooing the Irin do on their bodies has to be one of my favorite elements here. The arduous and ceremonial process involves imprinting their bodies with script in the language of the angels to endow themselves with speed or strength or focus, etc. Cooool.

The Mundane: The author impaled me and then shoved me off a mountain with the cliffhanger at the end. I haven’t been this pained since “The Desolation of Smaug”. It’s been a few days since I finished the book and I’ve still got a limp.

Summary of Thoughts: This book is currently $0.99 on the Kindle. Of course, when I say $0.99 what I should really say is to expect to spend that, and then whatever the cost of book 2 and 3 are, because you won’t be able to stop with just this first one. As much as I abhor cliffhanger endings like this–and there will be agony if you read this–it really was a great tale with a unique setting, a sense of immense history, and a beautiful love story between two lost souls. Absolutely 100% recommended.


Curious what others thought? Check out Amazon’s reviews here

Want to know more about this author and her work? Explore her website here