Guest of the Month Club #1 – The YA Book Traveler, Sarah K.

I’ve recently decided to join the Guest of the Month Club hosted by Emily Reads Everything. Once a month, I’ll be hosting a fellow blogging friend right here for your enjoyment. This week, help me welcome Sarah K., The YA Book Traveler.
guestofthemonth-club-300x200 Continue reading “Guest of the Month Club #1 – The YA Book Traveler, Sarah K.”

This Week’s Five!!!

Copy of This Week's Five!!!

It’s time for another recap of five things this week that I enjoyed!

  1. This was the week of Thanksgiving here in the USA, so my husband got to be home the entire week! It has been so nice.
  2. I’ve spent a lot of time with family this week, which always brings a smile to my face.
  3. I ran into someone I used to work with and sometimes wonder about. It was good to see her and know that she is doing well.
  4. I recently admitted that sometimes I have problems with dialogue. Karen S. Conlin over at Grammargeddon! has a useful post I found myself referring to this week–Mechanics of Dialogue: Part 3, Interrupted Dialogue.
  5. Inner Glow,” a poem from Z. at Bedsheets and Canyons.
  6. Because one and two are so similar, here’s an extra. Oreos.

Thank you for stopping by to see what little things made me happy this week. What’s something good from your week? Are you looking forward to the next?

This Week’s Five!!!

Fall This Weeks Five

Five things this week that I enjoyed:

  1. Hubby’s Thanksgiving break has begun!
  2. A Dark So Deep released! (Review here)
  3. Overused Words You Should and Shouldn’t Delete from Lara Willard over at Write Lara Write
  4. This greenhouse (can I live there please?!)
  5. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time playing Blossom Blast on my phone these past couple of days. I haven’t been feeling well and the colors and sounds are pleasing, haha.

How about you, what’s something you enjoyed this week?

Review-A Dark So Deep by J. Leigh Bralick

Happy book birthday to the amazing J. Leigh Bralick!

Today she’s releasing A Dark So Deep, the second book in the Madness Method. I’ve been lucky enough to meet the awesomeness that is J. Leigh and to actually beta-read this new release! The fact that I got to see this story before its release for free has no effect on my review, it’s simply awesome, free or not.

If you haven’t read book 1, The Madness Project, check it out here, and here’s my review. If you have, and you’re ready for A Dark So Deep, it’s here.

This review may contain spoilers if you haven’t read The Madness Project, but I’ll try not to spoil anything from A Dark So Deep.

Cavnal stands on the brink of war. With the threat of insurrection from within and the threat of a world war from without, peace seems a fragile, distant dream. At the heart of the chaos stand Tarik—beloved Prince, rebel, traitor—and Hayli, the captured mage who knows too many secrets.

With the world falling into chaos around them, Hayli must struggle to save her sanity and escape her captors, while Tarik must wrestle with his own inner prison before he forgets his reason for fighting. Some believe he is the key to defusing the hostilities before they begin. Some believe he is the only one who can save the mages from annihilation. Torn between the bonds of duty and blood, Tarik begins to understand that his choices are never as simple as he believes, and some questions have no clear answers.

With alliances threatened, Hayli in the grips of the Science Ministry, and the line between loyalty and betrayal blurred, there is only one question that matters: If the price for peace is too high, is war the only option? (Goodreads)

I give A Dark So Deep 5 stars!

The madness turns dark as Tarik struggles to find his place in a world where things aren’t as they seem, and Hayli struggles to hold on to the secrets and truths the Science Ministry tries to erase.

There is seriously so much to this book. I almost don’t know where to begin…so I’m gonna reference my first review as a starting point.

The pacing: just as you think “maybe I can put this book down at the end of this chapter,” you’re proven wrong. There was never a good place to stop reading, the intrigue got twistier and turnier (you like that?) with every page.

The characters: I love that the characters struggle so much with what’s right, and what’s wrong, and what are their actual thoughts anyways? The darkness they are in seems so relatable to me, even if I haven’t been in their shoes. Even they don’t know if they’re good or bad, and I love that! There’s also some more exploration of the secondary characters and they are important to the story.

The setting: Even more exploration of Cavnal and mentions of other countries kept me interested in the setting. The steampunk remains an interesting element and I really loved it!

In keeping with getting to know some of the secondary characters better, we also get to see some of the other magic they use and it’s pretty cool and useful. Tarik has yet to completely understand his magic, and it’s heartbreaking and heart-pounding and hopeful and scary and I could just go on and on.

Spending time with the skitters and the mages means we get to enjoy the Cavnish slang some more!

Repeated images and lines that are very powerful, to me at least.

Despite what they’ve been through, the romance between Tarik and Hayli is beautiful, frightening, and dangerous.

There’s a lot of action in this book, and a lot of political players driving the events that are beyond the mages’ control, including Tarik.

The alternating POV between Tarik and Hayli continues to be strong and their voices distinct, their struggles pulling at your heart-strings and tear ducts. I love when an author pulls this off so effectively, and also still gives so much insight to the other characters that we don’t see the thoughts of. The writing is just absolutely beautiful and mind-bending and I hope you give it a chance, it will not disappoint!

Also, check out this tweet if you need any more reasons to read this:

 

This Week’s Five!!!

Oops, I missed Saturday, ohwell. Here are five things from this week I enjoyed.20151108_174553

  1. Playing outside with my son. There is more to this than just being outside. It’s that I’ve had the energy (mental and physical) to actually go out and do that, to laugh, and to enjoy it.
  2. Coffee has been exceptionally good this week.
  3. I went to my best friend’s baby shower yesterday, it was so cool. It was in the church we grew up in, and it was neat to think there would be another generation roaming its halls.
  4. I met Kate! #k8chatIRL 🙂
  5. Sweatpants.

Overall I’d have to say my week was pretty great, how was yours? Are you looking forward to something in the near future?

Resources! Punctuation and Capitalization in Dialogue

Have you ever said a word over and over again until you aren’t even sure what the word is? Until it loses all meaning and you begin to question the meaning of words at all, to question the meaning of life?

Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

Dialogue is one of those things for me. I know how to capitalize and punctuate dialogue, but when I think about it too much, I start to second-guess myself. It’s one of the things I find myself looking up from time to time because my mind has warped my thoughts to the point of feeling like I’ve never known a single thing about it. Usually, when I do look it up, I’ve been doing everything correctly, but it sure is crazy the power of the mind to make you second-guess something you know you know.

This post, Punctuation in Dialogue from The Editor’s Blog by Beth Hill is one I keep coming back to. In a single article it answers most of the questions I find myself asking, and is written clearly. I love that I can easily discern between examples and explanation.

There are some follow-up posts, More Punctuation in Dialogue–A Reader’s QuestionsEven More Punctuation in Dialogue–A Reader’s Question, and a downloadable Punctuation in Dialogue (PDF). I haven’t invested the 99 cents for the PDF, the articles are usually sufficient for my needs.

So, if you find yourself, like me, sitting cross-eyed and contemplating dialogue, I think these articles are a good place to start.

This Week’s Five!!! – November 7

This Week's Five!!!

  1. I was so happy to hear that BBC will be adapting His Dark Materials for TV!
  2. While I’m a bit behind on my NaNo ventures, I’m happy to see many friends and participants doing very well indeed!
  3. The weather is starting to cool off, and I can open the windows during the day. This makes me very happy.
  4. This tumblr post.
  5. This was a really hard week for me, but things are looking up.

So how was your week?

From the Vault – The Madness Project by J. Leigh Bralick

I’m so excited to bring this review back from the vault! J. Leigh Bralick became one of my favorite authors when I read Down a Lost Road (Amazon link) a few years back. Fast forward to this past year and I’ve finished out that trilogy, read The Madness Project (Amazon), and even beta-read A Dark So Deep (Amazon), which releases tomorrow! It truly is dark and twisted, but those are things for another day (like tomorrow, THE RELEASE DAY, perhaps). The Madness Project, the first book in The Madness Method series, left me desperate to know what will happen next. Y’all have certainly not finished hearing all about this series from me!

This review originally appeared here.

Cavnal has been at peace for nearly a century. Magic, once revered, is now the object of contempt. And anyone unfortunate enough to be born with its powers has been banned from the nobility and pushed to the fringes of society.

All his life, Prince Tarik has known that if the world discovered his secret—that he was born a mage—he would lose everything. But when a wave of violence in the city points back to an underground society of mages, everything changes. Only Tarik has the power to infiltrate their ranks. Only he can learn the truth about a plot that could destroy everything he loves.

But nothing can prepare him for the life of lies he will have to live to win a place in that society. Or for Hayli, a shape-shifter mage who is unlike any girl he has ever met. She might be the one to destroy all his plans…or she may be the only one who can save him from himself.

Together they face a dangerous web of sedition, crime and violent ambition, where nothing is as simple as either of them believed. And what they discover will challenge everything they thought they knew about loyalty and betrayal, love and honor.(Goodreads)

This fantasy steampunk world is filled with politics and magic.

Prince Tarik has, since the age of 5, been hiding the secret of being a mage. Now that he is 17, his father, King Trabin, has asked him to utilize the magery Trabin despises so much. Tarik has no idea what he’s getting into, and finds out that not everything is as it seems.

Hayli is a young mage, struggling with feeling like she doesn’t belong anywhere and learning how to control her shape-shifting ability.

Tarik and Hayli have several run-ins before Tarik is given his mission, and little do they know how large her role will be in its execution.

This story touches on topics of identity, race, and peer family, for sure, as well as disparity between the poor and the rich. It is written in first-person, alternating between Tarik and Hayli, which makes for an interesting read (and also forces you to read the chapter header to know who “I” is). Each of the characters were unique and distinguishable from the others.

So, a break-down:

Positve

  • Good pacing with a great storyline that kept me wanting to read on
  • Believable/unique characters
  • Interesting setting (I don’t think I’ve read anything steampunk before…)
  • Magic system explained enough to make sense but remain magical, and there is definitely more to learn in the upcoming books
  • Depth of thought put into Tarik’s magic, especially, to be able to accomplish his mission
  • Cavnish slang
  • Touches on topics related to issues in today’s world such as race, poverty, and politics
  • There is a line shared between Zagger and Hayli which (to me) was fairly powerful
  • Slow-burn romance
  • Adventurous and emotional

Negative

  • I don’t have any complaints about this book

Other

  • I want to know the rest of the story, but the other three book aren’t out yet

 

So, there you have it, I would definitely recommend checking out this book if you are looking for an adventure you won’t soon forget!

Julia

Review – Raining Embers by Jessica Dall

Palmer Tash always follows the path of least resistance. He has an unusual disability involving his hearing. But in theocratic Latysia, being different isn’t a good thing, so he conceals his problem.

Brier Chastain’s malady is even more debilitating, and she often must take to her bed for long periods. Her days are spent in meaningless pursuits as she awaits an arranged marriage.

When Palmer and Brier are kidnapped on the same night, they meet and discover that their so-called disabilities are actually budding powers. They are the incarnations of Order and Chaos. With their country on the brink of war, the two must step into their predestined roles and learn to take control of their own destinies. (Goodreads)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I give Raining Embers 3 stars! As much as I liked the story, it wasn’t enough to really suck me in or leave me with a “wow!” feeling.

Positives:

  • I thought the story was interesting and well put together.
  • I enjoyed the Italian and German(?) inspiration in the dialects.
  • The alternating POVs were easy to follow.
  • I enjoyed how Brier and Palmer were opposites, but worked well together.

Negatives:

  • Characters, although they did show a little growth, lacked complexity.
  • Palmer’s disability, mentioned in the first paragraph of the description, ceases to be an issue even after they leave Ruhegipfel.
  • With as much importance as seemed to be put on the “Church” in the beginning, it fizzled out quite easily.
  • In general, I think I would have liked more details. More insight to Brier and Palmer’s powers, how they worked together and apart, more world details.
  • The Goebel story line seemed to take a back seat for a long while, showing back up towards the end as convenient after several “months” of Brier and Palmer seemingly unconcerned about them.

Other:

  • I guess there’s a chance that some of my negatives could be solved in later installments in the series. As it is, I would read them, but I’m not sure I’d actively seek them out.

Stacking the Shelves – November 1

I’ve decided to join in on the fun that is Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. Instead of Saturday I think I’ll post on Sunday about the books I’ve hoardedcollected in the past week.

Stacking the Shelves

In case you’re new here, or just unaware, I have a serious problem with free books. Meaning I can’t keep from buying one if it catches my eye. Here are the freebies I picked up this week.
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Stupid Girl by Cindy Miles

I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace

The Sword & The Dragon by M.R. Mathias

Kaleidoscope by Mindy Hayes

Have you ever read or heard of any of these books? What did you pick up this week?