Review: THE MAGICIAN KING by Lev Grossman (Magicians #2)


This novel was easily my favorite in the trilogy, for a few different reasons.Continue reading “Review: THE MAGICIAN KING by Lev Grossman (Magicians #2)”

Review: THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman

THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman

First of all, let’s get a few things straight. (1) This is a literary fantasy novel. (2) This novel was much more influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia than by Harry Potter. (3) I read this trilogy because I adore the television show currently airing, so my review is going to be linked to that bias to a certain extent.Continue reading “Review: THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman”

Netflix Tag

Original creator: [unknown]. Stolen from: Camryn at The Writing Crafter.

A portion of my current Netflix main page. I really don’t understand some of those Top Picks…

Some context for this tag: I enjoy visual storytelling as much as the written version. Therefore, though it comes in waves, I spend and an awful lot of time watching television as well as reading. Though my husband and I still have cable, Netflix has also become an essential part of our lives.

As I writer, I spend a large portion of my life sedentary in front of my computer (I can’t get into the whole standing desk thing). For a long time, I also had one of the common health problems that writers get: shoulder, neck, and upper back pain. I started seeing a massage therapist once a month, and that helped a little bit. When I joined a small gym near my house for access to the treadmills, I took advantage of the free evaluation from a personal trainer and thought, “Huh. There’s something to this.” So between a combination of monthly massages, regular cardio by walking on a treadmill, and strength training, my back pain has almost completely vanished!

Except that I can’t listen to music while walking on a treadmill and staring out at a parking lot. It’s just too boring. Luckily, my gym has wifi, and I can watch Netflix on my phone! Part of my exercise motivation is having one television show that I can’t watch unless I’m on the treadmill at the gym.

Do you watch more TV shows or films on Netflix?

Television shows. For some reason, it’s easy to justify watching an episode or two of a show, but settling in for a movie is just too much of a commitment on a random weeknight.Continue reading “Netflix Tag”

Review: BLOOD RED by Mercedes Lackey

blood red
BLOOD RED by Mercedes Lackey

It’s always fun to return to one of my favorite series, and it’s even better when that series manages to consistently surprise you. Though there have been some departures,  Lackey’s formula for her Elemental Masters series has been “Traditional fairy tale retold in historical (mostly British) urban fantasy setting and concludes with female elemental master living happily ever with male elemental master of appropriate opposing element.”

Blood Red, though it happily exists in the same world as the rest of the series, takes that formula and happily shakes it around a bit. In this retelling of the “Little Red Riding Hood” story, Rosamund is a badass earth master who hunts monsters for a living and has a particular grudge against werewolves. But the fairy tale allegory ends early on in this novel, and we’re left with the story of the main character growing up and coming into her own.Continue reading “Review: BLOOD RED by Mercedes Lackey”

Review: MAGIC SHIFTS by Ilona Andrews

magic shifts
MAGIC SHIFTS by Ilona Andrews

Part of me keeps waiting for anything about this series to get stale or boring or overdone, because it can’t possibly keep being this damn good. Sure,  not every novel in the series  is the best thing I’ve ever read, but one thing I appreciate about Ilona Andrews (referred to as “they,” since it is a husband-and-wife writing team) is their absolute dedication to telling a damn good story, packed with action, drama, and humor.Continue reading “Review: MAGIC SHIFTS by Ilona Andrews”

Review: CRUCIBLE edited by Mercedes Lackey

CRUCIBLE, edited by Mercedes Lackey

Favorite story: “The Note” by Phaedra Weldon. While many of the stories in this anthology rated between 3 and 4 stars for me and were cute and enjoyable but not amazing, this penultimate tale punched me right in the feels. There are so many things about the life of a Herald that are explored in this tale, even though the story’s point of view is the mother of a (deceased) Herald. Reading this story is worth the cost of the anthology alone.

Story that I wish would be expanded into a novel: “Never Alone” Dayle A. Dermatis. Valdemar has been my go-to escape world since I was 12 years old, which is over half my life at this point. Though the books are marketed as adult fantasy, there was so much that spoke to my teenage and young adult self that definitely shaped who I am as a grown-up. But as an adult today, it was lovely to see the tale of a very nontraditional Herald in the form of Herald trainee Syrriah. The story itself is sweet and delivers a strong message in itself, but the underlying implication that it’s never too late for any of us to be Chosen is what stayed with me.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (0%)

STEEL MAGIC cover reveal coming soon

The official release date for Steel Magic, book 2 of the Steel Empires series and direct sequel to Steel Victory, is July 2016! This novel features the first solo adventure of Toria and Kane, journeymen mercenaries of Limani, as they embark on a magical quest.

Soon I will be hosting an official cover reveal to coincide with the announcement of the pre-order link. If you would like to participate by featuring the book cover image and pre-order link on social media (blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), please like this post or leave a comment and I will contact you with details soon!

Brad Sharp is the cover artist for Steel Magic as well, and I didn’t think it would be possible for him to create a cover I like more than the first. The two are very similar stylistically, while also bringing into focus the different elements and locales that make my second novel dramatically different from Steel Victory.

Here’s the gorgeous Steel Victory cover:


Here’s a teaser for Steel Magic. The colors are different! There’s no moon at the top! And…is that the tip of a sword peaking up next to the R?

I figure my name itself isn’t much of a spoiler.

Please consider volunteering to help in any small way. As an indie author, my marketing team consists of me alone, and any assistance means potentially reaching readers that I might not have found on my own. I am always happy to return the favor and do the same.

Review: THIRD PATH (Stargate Atlantis) by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham

third path
THIRD PATH (Stargate Atlantis) by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham

And thus, we finally come to the conclusion of the Stargate Atlantis Legacy series, which continues the story past season 5 of the television series. Overall, this novel was both a bittersweet and very satisfying ending to a much larger and more complicated story line. Continue reading “Review: THIRD PATH (Stargate Atlantis) by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham”

Review: STEAMPUNK WORLD edited by Sarah Hans

steampunk world
STEAMPUNK WORLD, edited by Sarah Hans (Note: The version I own is the Kickstarter Exclusive edition and your cover may differ.)

DISCLAIMER: I share a publisher with one of the authors discussed below. However, I purchased my copy of the book at full price from the anthology’s editor, not the author, and I do not consider our relationship to have bearing on my review choices. I was not a contributor to the Kickstarter campaign that initially funded the book.

Favorite story: “Good Hunting” by Ken Liu. This was a delicious mix of steampunk and fantasy, with both elements very appropriate to the chosen non-Western setting. The characters and their conflicts were poignant. Closing the anthology with this story also leaves the reader with a bittersweet feeling that I felt spoke for the tone and intended theme of the collection as a whole.

Story that I wish would be expanded into a novel: “The Leviathan of Trimcomalee” by Lucy A. Snyder. Though the story itself is self-contained and has a very satisfying conclusion (including monsters, marvelous inventions, and a Tesla name drop!), I feel like it could be just the beginning of the adventure for the main character and the world she inhabits.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: Crucible, edited by Mercedes Lackey (0%)

The Real World Returns…

Can’t beat the view! Photo credit: Husband.

My husband and I are home safe from our amazing vacation. We spent a great 10 days aboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, which sailed out of Baltimore to tool around the Caribbean for a few days. The time was well-spent relaxing and recharging and just spending some quality time together before the husband leaves for 5 months of training in May.

Though I brought my computer along, I wrote a whopping 250 words. But as you can see by the above picture, I was never without a book to read. (After about a week, one guy would shout “The reader!” every time we crossed paths. He was not intoxicated each time, but still found himself to be hilarious.) I tore through the trilogy that a television show I’m enjoying is based on, caught up on stories by a few favorites, introduced myself to a new author, and goaded my husband into reading his Star Trek books faster.

My final reading tally, in no particular order:

Tomorrow, it’s back to the real world–including the first day at my new job! Check back regularly as I post reviews of the books listed above.

Bare feet and reading make every vacation perfect.

Currently reading: Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2), by Ilona Andrews (37%)