Thursday, January 30, 2014

Big announcement!

I am so excited to announce that I have officially been offered and have accepted a contract from Etopia Press!  I don't think I need to tell you, but I am so excited about this! I have personally read several books published by Etopia so I can speak as to the quality of their work, and their covers have a reputation of being some of the hottest around town.

So how did I come to even have my work considered by them, you might ask?  By a contest, of course!  Remember back at PitchMAS when I had some bites from editors?  Etopia was one of those fishies, friends.  I am living proof that these things work.  And since I am still unagented I will absolutely be utilizing them again in the future.  Coming up in March is Pitch Maddness and I'm finishing up my latest manuscript right now and fellas, it's even better than my first.  It's the first in a series, actually, but that's a different post for a different day.

To mark the occasion I started my very own author page on Facebook *all kinds of feels*.  So if you feel so inclined to show some love, come on over here to keep up with the latest information on HEALING THE BAYOU's release.  Right now, you can see what makes my Paranormal Romance so uniquely me.  Cheers!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson

The Tyrant's Daughter 

Category/genre: Contemporary/Young Adult

My star rating: 5/5

Scheduled release date: February 11th

**I received a complimentary advanced readers copy from Knopf Books/Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Goodreads blub: When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations? 
J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics. 

THE RAVE WORTHY: Every once in a while you come across a book that slaps everything into perspective.  This book was one of those books.  As Americans, so many of us are so blissfully unaware of how good we have it, and we also seem to push away the realization that so many of the countries that we are in conflict with (as well as many that we aren't) have so much less than we do.  Carleson forces us to confront this and so much more through the eyes of a 15-year old girl from the middle east.  I was instantly interested in Laila's story, and empathizing with her was effortless.  How can you not feel badly for a girl in the middle of a culture shock crisis that is also having to deal with the shattering reality of the truths in her family's filthy closet?  She is planted right in the middle of the all too familiar war of American vs. middle eastern ideals and her struggle to recover and relate was gripping.  The writing is simple but powerful; I truly felt as if I could have been reading the pages of a very mature teenage girl's diary.  I don't generally get into contemporary fiction, but I am glad that I made an exception for this one.

THE GRUMBLE WORTHY: It's hardly worth a mention, but I did feel that Laila seemed a bit older than 15.  This could easily be explained by her experiences and the higher expectation of behavior of young girls from her culture, I'm just afraid that first world young adults might not catch this. 

WHAT WILL STICK WITH ME: I am not a political person.  I know my stances on key debate issues, but as far as the specifics of foreign policy and interaction I am grossly undereducated.  Carleson has made me want to remedy this and I whole-heartedly believe that the majority of people that read this book will have the same reaction.  This could be a game changer.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout

Such Sweet Sorrow 

Category/genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

My star rating: 4/5

Scheduled release date: February 4th

**I received a complimentary advanced readers copy from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Goodreads blurb: Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.
In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…

THE RAVE WORTHY: The first thing I thought when I read the blurb was, "Holy crap, this woman is out of her mind!"  Taking on such beloved classic characters as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet is insane. Seriously, we're talking potential career suicide if it's done wrong.  But Ms. Jenny Trout, you killed it.  I almost never read prologues, but I read this one and you should too.  It sucks you into the heart of the story immediately.  The mingling of the worlds was done beautifully, I would even say the building of the underworld is some of the best world building I've ever read.  The story is written in a way that is dreadfully dark and still romantic at the same time.  The characters were created just as delicately: Hamlet was wise without realizing it and lent just enough humor to break the tension when needed with out making it seem forced, Romeo was a bit of an arrogant, desperate hero (and apparently a bit of a womanizer back in the day, who knew?) and Juliet was given a spice that made me love her even more than I had before reading this book.  If you let it, SUCH SWEET SORROW will take you on a heart-pounding, page-turning adventure through the underworlds of ancient mythology that you never even knew existed, and I guarantee you will have nightmares about the places Jenny has taken you.  And the ending of course leaves you knowing that there will be at least a sequel, and I will be per-ordering it when available.

THE GRUMBLE-WORTHY: Okay, so I know that I said the prologue sucks you in, and that is 100% true, but once you get to chapter one things really slow down.  I felt like the first 3 chapters were nothing but filler and had enough back story that if cut down the same information could have been condensed into one slightly more exciting chapter.  I found myself skimming to find dialogue or excitement.  Honestly, I had to push myself to read past them and I'm super glad that I did because the story takes off again after them.  Also, this is being marketed as a young adult book (because of the main characters' ages I suppose) but this is perfect example of why age shouldn't be the only factor when the category is decided.  Although is impeccably written, it's not written like a young adult book.  The language, to me, is better suited for an adult audience.

WHAT WILL STICK WITH ME: The terrifying imagery of the things the three main characters face will haunt me for a long, long time...and that's AWESOME.  With out giving too much away I just want to say wait until you come across "The Washer".  Seriously guys, this one particular menace made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I was covered in goosebumps. 

Monday, January 13, 2014


So I thought I was contested out, Pitchmas was a little overwhelming for me but since I haven't heard back from any of those that requested I decided what the heck?  Let's dive into Pitchmas' virtually identical cousin, PitMad. 
Although not as busy as Pitchmas, I managed to score 3 more requests!  I had recently revamped the first few chapters following the advice of my PitchWars mentor, Cora, and was really excited at the instantly noticeable progress.  Two of the requests were partials, and with in an hour both of the responded back asking for a full. Weeee!

excited gif photo:  image-29.gif

So, Internet, how was Pitmad for you??

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Book Review: Echos Of Balance by Cally Ryanne

Echoes of Balance (The Ways Trilogy, #1) 

Category/genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy

My star rating: 5/5

Goodreads blurb:  For Chloe Moraine, fighting wild bears– and the occasional vampire– is a better pastime than the tediousness of keeping the universe in balance. But balancing is the family business. It comes with being one of the last in the ancient line of Naimei.
So when the impending return of the Original Demons threatens global harmony, Chloe is obligated to help. Even when that means the dull-as-dirt task of following a human girl who “might be involved, maybe,” instead of the thrilling hunt she craves.
With their powerful magic and ancient Ways, Chloe’s family is unconcerned, certain they’ll quickly fix the imbalance while she’s preoccupied with human high school. But when the Ways start to fail, the threat becomes more serious, and the only person that seems to know anything is a debonair vampire with an offer to help.
If Chloe chooses to trust him, and the darker side of the supernatural he represents, she’ll betray her family and risk losing them, and herself, in the process. But if he’s right, he may just be their only chance to stop the return of the Originals and save the world.
Maybe high school won’t be so boring after all.

THE RAVE-WORTHY: First off, let me just say that I did something with this book that I have never done before.  I bought it with out even reading the blurb because I was so turned-on by the cover.  The artist(s) over at Reuts Publishing really know what they are doing, I mean LOOK at that cover!!  Luckily, the story provided as much nourishment for my mind as the cover did for my eyes.  I've been trying really hard to do these reviews with out spoilers, this one will be difficult because I loved it so much I just want to tell you everything, but I will try to be good.  I was so relieved that this was not just another vampire story and I was kind of afraid it would be.  Chloe introduces you to a world filled with familiar (and some not so familiar) paranormal creatures seamlessly coexisting both with each other and with humans.  I found it refreshing that the vampires, shifters, even demons still have a grip on their humanity with out it being a big, dramatic struggle.  The exciting journey that you take with Chloe is enhanced with simple, convincing dialogue and astounding character development that doesn't rely on a romance to move the story along.  My favorite part was that the MC isn't who I necessarily believed to be the real heroine in this book (there are two more books to come in this series I believe, so Chloe will have her chance) but rather she is solely responsible for pushing the leading lady into her role.  For me, Aurelia was the one deserving of the "hero" award.  I mean, who else could say they could face being suddenly thrown into a world of magical creatures who are shouting about impending doom without missing a beat?  

THE GRUMBLE-WORTHY: It was really, really hard to find something to grumble about but I suppose if I must list something it would have to be the lack of originality when it came to the vampires.  Reminiscent of Twilight (yes, I am a proud fan of the books..the movies are another story but lets move on) and even True Blood, Cally's vampires are super fast and at their strongest and most chaotic when they are first turned.  I might've liked to have seen a different side of the sharp-toothed fellas.

WHAT WILL STICK WITH ME: This is a debut author? Seriously??  Cally should be proud of herself, and I'd venture to say that she is an author to keep your eye on.  Reuts, you should be proud of yourselves, as well, for recognizing her talent.  Kudos to all of you.

If you would like me to review your book, feel free to use the contact form to the right or email me directly at 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Review: Slow Burn: Zero Day by Bobby Adair

Slow Burn 

Category/genre: Adult/Horror 

My star rating: 3/5

Goodreads blurb: A new flu strain has been spreading across Africa, Europe, and Asia. Disturbing news footage is flooding the cable news channels. People are worried. People are frightened. But Zed Zane is oblivious. 
Zed needs to borrow rent money from his parents. He gets up Sunday morning, drinks enough tequila to stifle his pride and heads to his mom’s house for a lunch of begging, again.
But something is wrong. There’s blood in the foyer. His mother’s corpse is on the living room floor. Zed’s stepdad, Dan is wild with crazy-eyed violence and attacks Zed when he comes into the house. They struggle into the kitchen. Dan’s yellow teeth tear at Zed’s arm but Zed grabs a knife and stabs Dan, thirty-seven times, or so the police later say.With infection burning in his blood, Zed is arrested for murder but the world is falling apart and he soon finds himself back on the street, fighting for his life among the infected who would kill him and the normal people, who fear him

THE RAVE-WORTHY:  I'm a sucker for a good zombie story, but it's difficult to find one that isn't basically the same old done-to-death plot with the MC's name being the only real difference.  SLOW BURN offered a few new elements into the mix that I haven't come across yet.  First of all, immunity was introduced and handled as a main source of conflict.  He was scared of the other "infected" and the uninfected were scared of where does that leave Zed?  This book also gives up a tiny glimpse into the world of being a zombie, which was pretty cool.  The imagery was fantastic, I could actually picture myself slipping and sliding in blood and guts...that's a good thing!  I was a little nervous going into this book because I had read so many reviews that complained about the lack of character development, and I have to say that I couldn't disagree more.  Zed isn't your typical love everything about 'em protagonist.  Actually, in the beginning, he's a flat out a jerk.  But he had his reasons for being a jerk and I found him to be totally relatable and realistic.  Plus, bonus!  He becomes less of a jerk as the story goes on and "develops" into the hero.  The fact that you aren't immediately on his side was a little refreshing.

THE GRUMBLE-WORTHY:  From what I can tell, this book was self-published.  And unfortunately, you can tell.  The MC speaks like no twenty-something man I've ever met, and the narrative/dialogue is a bit repetitive.  In parts where the text should have (and COULD have if it had been pushed just a little more) jumped off the page and made your heart pound I found myself going, "Oh, look.  Another dead guy.  Meh."  Like I said above, the imagery was there, what it was lacking was urgency.  I also found myself being put off by the way race was handled in the book.  When the MC finds himself in jail he's suddenly surround by POC and for at least an entire chapter one cellmate is constantly referred to as "the big black guy."  But, to be fair, the person to which he was referring did become one of the critical motivations for my eventual affection for Zed (hard to explain with out inserting spoilers, so I'll leave it there).  Bottom line, a little editing and slightly more delicate handling of a pretty big issue (for me) could have taken this book from good to great. book review, reading, writing

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Debut Author Challenge


You may or may not have noticed that I added a link at the top that says "2014 Reading Challenge" and if you click on it you'll see that in 2014 I've committed to reading a measly 25 books.  After coming across The Story Siren blog I've decided to combine this with the Debut Author Challenge.  I think this is a wonderful way to draw attention to up and coming authors and it excites me to no end to have the opportunity to discover all the fresh talent!  At least half of my book reviews will be done on books from debut authors to meet the 12 required to participate.  Let the fun begin!