Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mid-Year Freak-Out Book Tag

Recently, I saw a post on Cornerfolds that introduced me to the Mid-Year Freak-Out Book Tag. I wasn't tagged, but I wanted to play along! Here goes!


BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017

Thank goodness we are starting out with an easy question!  Hands down, the best book so far in 2017 was A List of Cages.  That book played my emotions like a fiddle!



BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017



Yay! Another easy question!  This one goes to Queen of Destruction and A Bond of Blood and Fire.


NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT WANT TO


This question is such a teaser!  I want to read Strange the Dreamer and it is sitting right on my desk looking at me!  ACK ACK ACK!!!!  I seriously need more hours in the day.



MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR


Oh I have been doing such a bad job keeping up to date with the up and coming books.  The biggest reason for that is that my TBR is so freaking long already!  OY!  Anyway, I can't wait for A Poison Dark and Drowning.



BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT


I was really disappointed by The Amaranthine Chronicles.  I saw so much room for character and world development that was just left behind!




BIGGEST SURPRISE



Growth and Change are Highly Overrated has been the biggest surprise so far.  I hated the main character, but I felt like this book had the most important theme of all of the books I've read this year.



FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR



Calling Christopher Hansen and J. R. Fehr!  I am so in love with their The Magician's Workshop books and cannot wait to share them with my students!




FAVORITE NEW CRUSH



Oh dear, don't let my man see this one....I'm going to have to go with Damon from A Kingdom Forgotten and Jorah from Queen of Destruction.




FAVORITE NEW CHARACTERS



Everyone from Ahe'ey by Jamie Le Fay!  I fell so in love with everyone that it was hard to leave when the novel ended.




BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY 


Without spoiling the end, I will just say that there is a part in A Bond of Blood and Fire that had me weeping so hard that my man actually had to console me.  And then, I was so freaking mad at Karen Tomlinson for what she did to my emotions that I had to start bawling again.  Ms. Tomlinson, I'm not going to be sure if I forgive you or not until the next book comes out.  :P




A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY



It Started with Goodbye was a terrifically enchanting read!  My emotions didn't stand a chance and my heart was pounding by the end.  Thank you Christina June!




MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT SO FAR THIS YEAR



Caraval has been on my TBR forever!  It's still there, but at least I own a copy now!



WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BEFORE THE END OF THIS YEAR?

Ok, I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one who would want to read my extremely long list, but I'll share the top three.  None of these were mentioned in the answers above.  The Diabolic, The Graces, and The Bear and the Nightingale.



Monday, July 24, 2017

Promo Post! Veritas by Quinn Coleridge


Veritas
Quinn Coleridge
Publication date: July 13th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical
The ghosts are angry, thinking I’ve neglected them.
Do not forget us, they call out from the grave.
I won’t, I promise them. Upon my life, I won’t.

Being a demigoddess in 1892 Stonehenge, Colorado isn’t all one might suppose, especially when the dead are involved. Yet as Veritas of the Rocky Mountain sovereignty, it is Hester Grayson’s calling to help restless spirits cross over by bringing their killers to justice. Blind and pale as an albino, she dwells on the fringes of the nouveau riche, working with her telepathic beau Tom Craddock to catch the guilty.
When a young woman is brutally murdered, Hester and Tom are determined to solve the case as they have every other. But this one demands more. The killer wears many faces and wields greater magic than even Hester possesses. All sleuthing stops, however, when Tom is gravely wounded, and Hester is cast out of her parent’s mansion into the brutal squalor of an asylum.
At the mercy of an insane doctor, surrounded by agitated ghosts, Hester fights to maintain her own sanity by planning her escape and the downfall of her enemies. Can she achieve her goal and expose the madman who sent her to hell? Or will he continue his bloody reign in Stonehenge?
EXCERPT:
My prayer for relief goes unanswered, and faces flash through my mind. Those I saw in my last vision, the one initiated when the doctor touched my skin. Men, women, old, young—they appear and blur a moment later, shifting into the next person. All of Faust’s victims are deep-branded inside me. They are angry, thinking I’ve neglected them.
Do not forget us, they call out from the grave. I won’t, I promise them. Upon my life, I won’t.
The ghosts tell me to find the Book and steal it. Escape the asylum and expose Faust to the world. Let him answer for every crime, they say, condemned by his own words. If only these spirits could be a bit more specific. How exactly do I escape to do their bidding? Have they any suggestions? But the dead only wail and cry for justice. Blasted ghosts always leave the finer points of the plan for me to figure out.
Further enraged by my hesitation, they cause me to burn hotter. All right, all right, I reply through my psyche. As you wish, I so promise. Truth vibrates through the Pit, and the dead finally set my body free. They have accepted my vow, for the moment, but might be less forgiving tomorrow if I don’t take action. I work for a very impatient crowd.
Most people belong to another in some capacity, as a daughter or son, a sister, spouse, or neighbor, but the inmates of this place have been forgotten. They have no one to speak for them, or to avenge their wrongs. And so I’m here, dumb and blind, to serve as the mouthpiece of the wretched, whether I like it or not. That brazen hussy Fate does love a paradox.
Ironically, serving the dead gives me a reason to live, to go on breathing each day. It answers Hamlet’s eternal question of whether to be or not to be with an affirmative. That is why I crawl about the Pit on my knees, searching for a palm-sized piece of metal. It has been hidden and used many times by the inmates before me. I find the broken iron strip and turn toward the northern wall. The rough surface is covered with spider webs and dirt, but something else as well.
Words.
Hundreds of them have been scratched into the crumbling stone with this strip of iron. I trace the curves and the straight lines of the letters, as I did with my alphabet stencils at home. Of sound mind, one inmate wrote, never insane. In another place, I find Hungry, God Sees, and Died Alone. I scrape the iron against rock. Over and over, until each letter is formed, perfect and smooth. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I blow the dust away from my masterpiece, my call to arms.
LEX TALIONIS
YOUR DAY OF RECKONING AWAITS, FAUST


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tom Starita on the Nature of People

Hey everyone!  I'm very excited to share a guest post from Tom Starita, the author of Growth and Change are Highly Overrated.  I truly enjoyed reading and reviewing his book and strongly urge you to do so!
                                                                                                                                                                   


Contrary to popular belief, money is not the root of all evil. In fact, I believe that money is the victim of an unfair smear campaign run by people who profit off of you not having said money. But that is another blog post for another time. No, I’m here to tell you the root of all evil is the failure to understand the essence of someone else.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a friendship or a job, if you don’t understand the hows and the whys of that other person then you might as well pack up your stuff and start searching for higher ground. Far too often we get angry or frustrated with someone for being exactly who they are, instead of being who you want them to be.

The wisdom you just read isn’t a sudden realization, made by yours truly while sitting in a one man booth inside a faceless diner while the docile tones of Aimee Mann telling me how Voices Carry drift in the background. No, this is a truth I finally figured out in the wee hours of a snowy February weekend back in 2013. A truth given to me by a fully formed character who happened to appear at a pivotal point in my life. His name is Lucas James and I wrote a book all about him and his philosophies in my kind of but not really best selling book, “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated.”

Lucas James is a dangerous combination of charm and selfishness. The kind of man who has no compunction in asking you for your last dollar just because he has a hankering for a Snickers. He’s driving down the highway of life and if you’re going to ride shotgun with him you have to accept that not only does he control the radio but he’s also driving your car. And you’re probably paying for gas and meals too.

I know I know, sounds like the kind of guy every girl wants to marry.

Ah-ha! And there lies the rub. Because there are lots of us out there who are attracted to the “bad boy” type. It’s not just girls who fall victim for this type of merciless personality type. Men are just as easily beguiled by some vixen with the right words and a tight blouse. And both sides endure the anguish because they believe they are special. And if you’re special, then surely this selfish individual sitting across from you will recognize your brilliance shining through and BING BANG BOOM PRESTO CHANGO, the selfish becomes the selfless and everyone lives happily ever after the end and ever and ever Amen.

Well I’m here to tell you I wrote, “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated” to finally extinguish the flame of that horrible lie. People don’t change. They are who they are. Sure, there can be subtle improvements. A sloppy man can learn to pick up his socks. But does picking up his socks fundamentally change who that person is? No, no and no again.

I can already see the hair rising on the back of your neck. But people do change! My significant other changed/I changed for my significant other! Well I’m a man who never deals in absolutes, so sure I’ll believe there are cases here and there with the happy ending that stays happy. I also understand that for every happy ending there are houses being burned to the ground while someone stands outside cackling with glee.

At this point, even if you don’t necessarily agree with me you can at least see where I’m coming from. You would think that someone who wrote from that point of view would produce a book filled with too much negativity to make it an enjoyable read. And you would be wrong! It’s not just me saying that, Ms. J mentioned that too when she gave my book four stars! If she enjoyed it surely there must be something redeemable hidden in its depths.

“Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated” was the most fun I’ve ever had writing. Period. The time I spent listening to Lucas James speak to me were some of the happiest of my entire life, resulting in me rearranging my writing schedule so that I would be at Starbucks at 8am because I couldn’t wait to see what would be coming out of my fingers. I know this sounds insane but it's true. Lucas James, for all his faults, is a funny guy. A charming guy. The kind of guy you might not want living with you, but might enjoy at the end of the bar speaking loud enough so you can hear his stories from last weekend. That’s what this book is -- a way to keep him at arm’s length and enjoy his antics while still keeping your sanity.

So if you buy this book, what can you expect? Great question. You’re getting Lucas James, wannabe Rock God. A man who just lost everything when his fiancée Jackie, “My Apple Jack,” decides she’s had enough. When I say everything, I mean everything. From the apartment to food, from the checkbook to the knowledge of what having a checkbook means. For the first time in his life, Lucas James will have to stand on his own two feet.

Of course Lucas James is a master storyteller, so you get to hear stories from his past, about Jackie, about his family, about his stupid ideas and opinions, warts and all. You get to meet Ralph, a shining beacon of hope and friendship. You meet Lori, disinterested cashier. This book answers the question, have you ever wondered what the inner thoughts of an out of control Id sounds like? Well, wonder no more.

In my professional opinion you’re going to laugh. You’re going to be upset. You’re going to laugh again. You might get a little misty, perhaps even choked up at times. You will want to wring the neck of Lucas James but you will not want to put the book down.

And when you reach that last page, and read the final sentence all I want is for you to lean back and feel something. Happiness. Anger. Frustration. Whatever the emotion may be. There are trillions of books out there and the plots go zooming by. Books that go back on your shelf and are forgotten the next morning.

My only goal in writing this book is you remember mine.
Tom Starita wrote this post and the book, "Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated." And despite everything you may have heard or read he really is a decent fellow. A fellow with a dream. A dream to never hear an alarm clock go off for the rest of his life. Help him achieve his dream. https://www.amazon.com/Growth-Change-Are-Highly-Overrated-ebook/dp/B01N2SW2K8

Feel free to follow along:

https://www.facebook.com/TomStarita/

https://twitter.com/tomstarita

www.Goppygots.com - my personal blog

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33390028-growth-and-change-are-highly-overrated

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Growth and Change are Highly Overrated: A Review

About the Book

Growth and Change are Highly Overrated by Tom Starita

Genre: Fiction

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I would not suggest this novel for anyone younger than seventeen due to language and sexual content.

GoodReads Description

Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated is a classic coming-of-age story that takes a unique and comic look at what we all fear— having to grow up and abandon our dreams.

For a charismatic man like Lucas James, life is a breeze because everyone else provides the wind. This man-child front man for a mediocre cover band has been mooching off of his fiancée Jackie for years until she finally decides she's had enough. Faced with the reality of having no income to support his carefree lifestyle, Lucas James abandons his principles and gets a job working in the stockroom at, “That Store.” How does he cope with this new found sense of responsibility?

He casually steals...

In a life spent bucking authority how will Lucas James deal with his manager, 'Victor the Dictator'? How long can he survive Ralph, a starry-eyed coworker who desires nothing more than to be best friends? Will Lori, a twenty-something cashier, be like everyone else and fall for his charms? Will he ever find a place to live? And is “growing up” just another way of saying “selling out?”

With this hilarious and engaging novel, author Tom Starita perfectly captures a character we have all met and perhaps some of us know all too well.

My Thoughts

It's time to review this book.  Oh, boy.  This will not be easy.  I have been trying to find the words for it since I finished the book on Sunday.  Did I enjoy reading it?  Yes!  Did I think it was a realistic novel?  Definitely!  Did it make me lose faith in humanity, want to tear my hair out, and cry?  Oh, yeah, that too.  

After hours of thought and headaches, I finally realized what Starita did with this book.  I could only conclude that the little stinker had forced his audience to see that no matter how badly we want others to make the correct decisions, they won't.  We have to do that.  I hated the ending of this book, until I figured it out.  Some people don't change.  Some people would rather screw over the other guy before ever following a moral compass.  And then, there are people (like the ones who choose to read this book) that would make the right decision.  Starita may choose a striking and unorthodox way to do it, but he is using an apathetic dick (his word, not mine) to encourage mankind to take a deeper look at their morals, values, and decisions.  

What I Liked

I loved Starita's conversational writing style.  There seemed to be no division between the words on the page and the character that I could so easily imagine was sitting in the room talking to me.  This shows not only the ability to write, but to write well.

Starita also had a firm grasp on characterization.  He knew what he wanted his characters to be doing and their choices always made sense.  This was true for every character in the book, no matter how large or small their role was.

What I Didn't Like 

Lucas James.  Mr. Starita, if you're reading this, I'm sorry.  I hated your main character with a burning passion.  I can't believe that anyone can be that rude, selfish, or evil.  Then again, I also know a few people like that.  I wish I could have seen a larger change in Lucas James, but I think that would have been an unrealistic option.

Although I enjoyed the flashbacks that allowed me to learn more about Lucas James' background, I felt that they were too often and sometimes lacked connection to the rest of the story.  The plot would have been much easier to understand if the story took on a more linear plot line.

My Rating








Monday, July 10, 2017

Top Three Items: My Ideal Reading Nook

Earlier this summer, I was approached by Arhaus who wanted to know what my ideal reading nook would look like.  This post is my answer to their question.  I could spend HOURS writing about this. In an effort to save time and get to my favorites, I decided that a reading nook needs to be cozy and comfortable while still providing good light and plenty of room for all of my books. Below, you will see the top three items that I fell madly in love with in my quest to answer Arhaus' question.

The Perfect Chair

The ideal reading nook must be a place to spend hours reading.  I have never been one to sit in a chair and read.  Why?  Because every time something happens in the book-I move.  If I'm happy, I curl myself into a big ball and get as close to the book as possible.  When I'm mad, I tend to kick my legs out and spread out to get as far away from the idiot characters as possible.  Therefore, a chair usually doesn't hold me for long.  My bed is typically the most amazing place to stretch out, curl up, sit up, kick out, and whatever other motion is necessary for my reading motion spree.  It's not graceful and it's not pretty.  That was why I was totally excited when I saw this chaise on the Arhaus website.


I can definitely see myself all wrapped up in a colorful afghan and stretched out!  This is especially perfect as it can fit easily beside a window or alongside a wall to fit easily into a more compact space.

Bookshelves

Obviously, bookshelves can make or break a reading nook.  They need to be large enough to hold all of your books.  They need to be beautiful enough to fit with your ideas about decoration.  They need to be elegant enough to show off your personality.  I have always been a fan of the shelves from The Beauty and the Beast and heard the sound of my jaw hitting the floor when I came across this wall unit.


Now, I would definitely need something more than this unit to hold all of my books.  With it, I would be off to a tremendous start!  I love the sliding ladder!  I can easily see this wrapping around a corner and ending near a window with the chaise slid in front of the wall unit so I never have to leave my spot to pick up a new book!  


Mood Lighting

During the day, I would love to have the light of the sun to illuminate my pages.  At night, at least in Northern Minnesota, outside light is not enough to read by.  Therefore, I need a light soft enough to read by without encouraging me to stay awake all night long.  It took a long time for me to choose from all of their selections on the Arhaus lighting page!  What a collection!  Finally, I decided that this pendant lighting would do a wonderful job.  I love the brass color and believe that it would add a modern and colorful look to the beige of the chaise and the black wall unit.



It is so easy for me to picture these three items in my home. Now, I'm almost sad that I have to go back to a simple roller chair or my bed.


Let's Chat

What do you need in your ideal reading nook?  What would you like to get?  What do you think of my top three items?






Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Short Report!

The #ArtOfTwitter by Daniel Parsons
Published by Octavo Publishing in September 2016
Genre: Non-fiction, Technology, Social Media

I purchased this book and chose to do an honest and unbiased review.  Daniel Parsons and Octavo Publishing neither requested nor are associated with this review.

GoodReads Description
MASTERING TWITTER IS THE MOST POWERFUL WAY TO GET YOUR VOICE HEARD AS A CREATIVE PROFESSIONAL

In The #ArtOfTwitter, fantasy writer and Twitter coach Daniel Parsons explains how he grew a 90,000 strong army of loyal followers and gained real-world influence as an indie author. Breaking his tactics into short chapters and simple, actionable steps, he demonstrates exactly how any creative professional can achieve similar results.

Whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, or any other creative professional, The #ArtOfTwitter will show you how to:

- Understand the changing world of social media
- Avoid common mistakes
- Grow your popularity without being suspended
- Gain a bigger audience by using hashtags
- Build strong relationships with your followers
- Nurture follower engagement
- Save time with Twitter apps
- Implement a strategy for sustained growth
- Make money with Twitter ads
- Ensure every tweet is a hit
- Get real-world influence

My Thoughts
Before reading this book, I was intimidated by Twitter. It was so foreign!  I had no idea how to talk to people and if it was OK to talk to people I never met.  I know that sounds strange, but I am more of the "network in real life" kind of person.  A part of me will always worry that the connections I form over the internet are just people trying to be nice.  Parsons, however has completely convinced me to change the way that I see Twitter.  The techniques that he shared in this book helped me to feel more comfortable on this website, drive more traffic to my blog, and drive a larger audience to my Etsy page! 

My favorite things about this book are:

1. Parsons makes it so easy for any noob to follow. He even takes those extra moments to tell us what the terms mean and he reminds us what they mean again later!  
2. Each chapter ends in a recap. I used this so many times to go back and make sure that I understood every point in the chapter.
3. Parsons includes a section on how to grow a following.  After using the steps that he shows in his book, my Twitter following doubled in three weeks.  I went from 114 followers to 237! 

 Even if you feel like you totally understand Twitter, I would suggest reading this book to see how else Twitter can help you!


Monday, July 3, 2017

Humanity's Hope: A Review

Humanity's Hope by Pembroke Sinclair
Published by Stitched Smile Publications
Genre: YA, Fiction, Zombie, Horror, Dystopia

I received an eARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

GoodReads Description
Caleb, a 17-year-old boy, survived the zombie uprising, but he didn’t come out of the ordeal unscathed. He’s been scarred—both mentally and physically. The rest of humanity is trying to rebuild, to make the world normal again. Caleb is trying to return to a normal life also, but after all he’s seen, after the loss of his family and friends, the transition is difficult. The darkness that led him down a path of self-doubt and self-harm keeps trying to creep back into his mind.

Things only become worse when he discovers he’s immune to whatever makes a zombie a zombie. Fighting zombies was predictable. He knew what to expect. Fighting humans is volatile. They are malicious and treacherous. They won’t stop to get what they want, and Caleb has to figure out exactly what that is.

*Trigger warning: attempted suicide

Things I Loved

Caleb was a wonderful character!  I definitely felt the pain he carried with him.  His past was evident in the ways that he carried himself and considered his surroundings.  I don't believe that this story would have been nearly as scary in some parts if Sinclair had chosen a less intelligent MC.  Instead, we are given the wonderfully developed Caleb.  

The zombies were very vividly described! Usually, gross descriptions in books are something I can overlook as I am not actually faced with the picture.  Sinclair does away with her audience's ability to do that! I was forced to see them in my mind's eye and be faced with exactly the same things that Caleb was faced with.

Things I Didn't Love

The ending  was not what I expected.  I won't spoil it for anyone, but I REALLY think that could have been handled much better.  I felt that the ending was rushed and that Sinclair used a terrible ending on a terrific book.  There were small clues that it would end like it did, but nothing that was substantial enough to feel satisfying.

Several questions went unanswered. Why is he immune? Why is he actually running?  Why are characters that don't matter to the plot constantly brought up?


My Rating



Let's Chat
Do bad endings spoil a book for you?  What do you like about zombie books?  What are your thoughts on Sinclair's other works?


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Promo! The Last Dragon Rider


The Last Dragon Rider
Errin Krystal
(The Wild Realms of Véneanár, #1)
Publication date: August 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Trained as an elite warrior from childhood, the elven crown prince Flintathriël fights to bring a stop to a war that began before he was born. With the aid of his betrothed Sairalindë, a skilled mage and dragon rider in her own right, they must find the Book of Souls – an ancient and mysterious tome rumored to have belonged to the god Hath’Raal.
When the missing book turns up in the hands of Mnuvae, the bastard child of the dead king, Flintathriël finds himself fighting to not only save his people from this new threat but also trying to keep Sairalindë safe when Mnuvae takes over the dragons in her attempt to win back the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers.
The love Flintathriël and Sairalindë share shines pure and true, but when the smoke of the battle clears, will their hearts survive the aftermath of war or will their love become a casualty that cannot be revived?


Author Bio:
Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.
She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.

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