Category Archives: Books

…Because Who Doesn’t Love the Smell of a Book?

Sometime last year, I was involved in a discussion about whether the “packaging” that a book comes in is important or not.  More specifically, this meant was a book any better for being printed on paper instead of being produced in ebook format?

My answer, if I was listening to the logical angel on one shoulder, was no.  A good story is a good story.  It doesn’t matter if it has a great cover, or lots of marketing, or what it might or might not be printed on.  These factors affect how well the book sells and who buys it, but they don’t change anything about the story itself.

The passionate angel on the other shoulder thoroughly disagreed.  Sure, ebooks are convenient, good for the environment, cheaper, blah blah blah.  But you don’t get the same sensation of holding the book.  You don’t hear that beautiful scrapey noise of the pages turning.  You don’t get the sweet, comforting sensation of reading words that are permanently imprinted on paper.  Most of all, you don’t get that smell.  It doesn’t matter if they’re new or old, books smell amazing.

I’m thinking about this right now because I just requested the cover edits for my upcoming book.  Like always, I’ll release it in both formats.  Like always, I’ll be excited to see the listing on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and various other platforms with my name and a thumbnail picture of the book.  But I will be absolutely thrilled to actually feel the hard copy of it in my hand and to smell the fresh ink on those crisp, white pages.

What do you think?  Is there a difference to you in how the book you’re reading is packaged?  I’d love to know!

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A Review of Out of Time by Monique Martin

I truly believe that you should read in the genre in which you want to write.  My most recent foray into this principle concerns time travel.  Once I finish up the sequel to The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping, I have an outline that I’ve started for something a little different.  I don’t have a title for it yet, but it’s based on a dream I had once and revolves around (you guessed it) time travel.

During a quick little shopping trip to Amazon, I found Monique Martin’s Out of Time.  Since I always try to support other indie authors and it had good reviews, I decided to download it.  I haven’t regretted it.

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Elizabeth and Simon find themselves transported to 1920’s Manhattan.  While they search for a way back to their own time and place, they have to face some major challenges.  Not only do they have to blend into this new world, but there are vampires to fight as well.

The characters are well developed and experience genuine arcs as the plot progresses.  Martin lets the reader into the minds of both of the main characters throughout, bringing their emotions right to the forefront of the story.  Martin fully employs her descriptive powers, whether she is letting us in on the in’s and out’s of what life was like in the 1920’s or simply waxing literary.  One of my favorite lines from the book:  “Umbrellas blossomed like black flowers in a potter’s field.”

I noticed that another reviewer on Amazon stated that the vampires seemed to come out of nowhere in the story and were a bit misplaced.  I humbly disagree.  I think the problem is simply that Ms. Martin plunges the reader so thoroughly into the time period of the story, that the reader forgets what the book is actually supposed to be about.  It’s a rare occasion that the author does such a good job that we forget what’s going on.

I highly recommend Out of Time to anyone looking for a great sci-fi romance! I look forward to reading further into this series!

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New on Amazon: The Art of Deception by Christine McLean

I recently had the pleasure of reading Christine McLean newest release, The Art of Deception. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, because it always bothers me when reviewers do that!  I like to read the story for myself, and you’ll want to do the same.  This high-energy thriller is edgy, suspenseful, and raw. It’s always great to read a book that starts quickly, and this is one of them. It takes off right away and keeps going until the end. There is always something happening, with lots of characters and subplots. McLean takes seemingly random events and characters and brings them in to an interconnected web of unforeseen connections.

The experience of writing The Art of Deception was amazing for McLean.  She fell in love with her characters and truly enjoyed creating the intricate plotline.  A sequel will be coming down the line, but the date has not been set yet.

McLean’s first book, Becoming the Best You- Ten Pressure Points that Lead to a Successful Life has received four and five star reviews on Amazon.

You can also check out Christine’s blog here.

 

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Tempted by the Re-read…Lev Grossman and the Chronicles of Narnia

Generally speaking, I’m not a re-reader.  Yes, I did read Treasure Island somewhere around three times in junior high, but that was then.  There are just too many books out there that I haven’t read yet.  I love to go to the library and wander through the aisles until a book jumps out and begs me to read it.  I love the smell of an old, musty book that has been in the library for thirty years and the brand-new ink-and-paper smell of a fresh book from the bookstore.

Yesterday I finished reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman.  It follows the story of Quentin, a young man who feels a bit lost in life and is about to enter college.  Even though he ends up stumbling upon a college for magicians, he still finds himself dreaming of Fillory, a world he read about as a child.  Basically, Fillory is Narnia.  Grossman changed the names to protect the innocent, but it’s all there.  Instead of a lion there are two rams, the Watcherwoman takes the place of the White Witch, and there are fantastical creatures galore.  The young boy in the books even gets to Fillory through an old grandfather clock, which is just a bit reminiscent of the wardrobe.  While I can’t say that The Magicians was my favorite book, it was good.  The characters were very well fleshed out, the imagery was great, and I wanted to see what happened.

Take a peek at my personal library, won't you?

Take a peek at my personal library, won’t you?

There was just one problem:  I finished it, and I didn’t have anything else to read.

This isn’t a problem that I’m usually faced with, since I usually have something lurking around the house that I’m interested in.  There are a few books on the shelf that I haven’t read yet so I scanned through them, but they just didn’t appeal.  What I did have on the shelf was The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

I’ve read them before.  I loved them.  Several times I’ve thought about re-reading them but have always resisted.  Reading about the pseudo-Narnia that Lev Grossman created made me want to re-read them even more.

I went to bed without deciding.  Today, when I’m done with writing, working, cooking, cleaning, and the general chaos of life, it will come down to the final choice:  Narnia or the library?

Which would you choose?

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Rule of the Bone

Since I’m such a book nerd (try not to stagger in surprise at that revelation) I usually don’t mind mandatory reading.  In fact, I’ve come to think of it as a great excuse to do what I love to do anyway.  No guilt!  What?  The dishes aren’t washed?  Well, I have this mandatory reading that I’ve got to do, so too bad!

I decided last year to go back to school and (finally!) finish up my degree.  I haven’t regretted my choice for a single second (again, I’m a nerd….I LOVE SCHOOL!).  I have, unfortunately, regretted some of the mandatory reading I’ve had to do.

Now, I like reading lots of different kinds of books, so really being forced to read something should never be a problem.  Throw me some chick lit, sci fi, fantasy, mystery, romance, etc. and I’ll be just fine.  These classes have involved lots of nonfiction reading about writing and book publishing, which I voluntarily read on a pretty regular basis anyway.  Yay for reading assignments!

Then I had to read this book.

Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks

Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks

Rule of the Bone, by Russell Banks.  I had never heard of this book before, and I didn’t even get around to seeing what it was about before I started reading it.  (WARNING:  If you think you might want to read this book someday, stop reading this blog post.  It contains spoilers!)  Our protagonist is Chappie, a fourteen-year-old boy who is “heavy into weed but I didn’t have any money to buy it with so I started looking around the house all the time for things I could sell but there wasn’t much.”  And that sentence pretty much sums up what the first part of the book is about:  doing whatever he needs to do to get high.  How uplifting.  Oh, but it gets better, because we find out that his mom and stepdad are alcoholics, and his stepdad has been sexually abusing him.  With this wonderful family life as his basis, Chappie takes off into the world to find himself.  He finds a gang of bikers to live with until they try to kill him, a little girl that has been sold to a porn producer, a Rastafarian that is too busy growing and selling weed to make any good decisions in life, and general chaos and destruction.  Chappie also finds his real father, who happens to be quite the piece of work himself, but Chappie consoles himself by having sex with his father’s girlfriend. In the end, he only finds inner peace when all the people he has ever truly cared about are dead.  Also, there’s no punctuation to get in your way.  Our protagonist can’t be bothered with commas or quotation marks to clutter up his enchanting tale.

I’ll bet you can’t wait to read it, right?  I mean the New York Times Book Review says it’s “a romance for a world fast running out of room for childhood.”  Um, no.  It’s not romantic at all, and it only drives childhood further out of the picture.  I hope whoever wrote that got a frowny face memo, cause they obviously didn’t read the book.

I have to say that I don’t like to rant about books.  I’m a writer, and I know that reviews are important.  Nobody wants to hear how totally crappy their book is.  I’m thinking, though, that Russell Banks will probably never see this, and if he does he won’t mind since his book has done very well.  And I’m not saying the book was poorly done.  While the lack of punctuation will drive any typical English major crazy, it creates a style that fits in well with the story.  I just really hate the story.  I don’t want to read about drugs, child porn, crime, and sex between people that really shouldn’t be having it.  So good for you, Russell Banks, but I am not a fan.

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Dragon Tears…The Mourning Period

As I’ve mentioned before, The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping is a project I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  It’s changed names, characters, and even the basic plot, but it’s still a dream come true to know that very soon people will be reading it!  It seems, however, that I am in book mourning.

You know that feeling when you finish reading a book, and it’s so good that you just can’t possibly turn right around and pick up something different?  Like it would be an insult to the characters and the story to move on to something else so quickly?  Well, it’s the same way when you’ve finished writing.  And I’ve spent A LOT more time writing this book than anyone will ever spend reading it.

Sure, I have other book projects that have been floating around for awhile, waiting for their turn.  The sequel for The Graveside Detective  (for which I also mourned greatly….I was so attached to Frank) is just begging to be written.  But for the moment, it’s going to have to wait.  I need some time to get over this one.

Want to help me cast off the black veil?  You can pre-order an autographed copy here and join my release event here.  May you mourn as I do.  🙂

 

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Release Event for The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping

Hello everyone! I’m sure you know by now that The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping, a book that’s been in the making for over 15 years, will be released on Amazon at the end of the month! I’m inviting you to come join my release event on Facebook.
What will you get out of it?

-You’ll be among the first to purchase this awesome book (which is enough in itself, right?)

-Purchasing The Wanderer’s Guide as soon as it comes out means you get it for the special release price.

-Joining this event automatically enters you in the upcoming giveaways! (FREE STUFF!)

Why am I having this event?

-What better way to get the word out there than having a party?  (Okay, there won’t be a disco ball or any spiked punch, but you can bring your own and come hang out with me anyway.)

-The more people that purchase this book within a short time frame the better its ranking will be on Amazon, which leads to more sales, which leads to me bringing you more delightful reads!

Thanks in advance for all of your support.  Feel free to share this event with your friends and invite them to join the party as well.

Every girl needs a dragon.

Every girl needs a dragon.

 

 

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A Dragon Dream Come True…Cover Reveal!

When I was about 14, my brother gave me a copy of The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley for my birthday.  It was my first foray into fantasy novels, and the beginning of an incredible stage of my life.  I absolutely fell in love with the genre, and for many years would read almost nothing else.  There have been other genre addictions (historical fiction, chick lit, and that time where if it didn’t say “Stephen King” on the cover I wouldn’t touch it), but fantasy has got to be the longest running and most influential one for me.

Shortly after my addiction started, I decided I would write a fantasy novel.  I had always loved to write and had notebooks full of poetry, so this wasn’t so much of a stretch…except that I hadn’t written anything of that length before and really had no idea how to go about it.  I wrote the first chapter, and there my dream died for many many years.

Earlier this year I decided to revive that old dream.  I have long since lost that first chapter, which might be a good thing because I’m sure it’s terrible.  The story has evolved quite a bit, but nevertheless I am thrilled to be releasing The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping at the end of this month!  Be sure to visit my Facebook page to pre-order!

Now here’s a special treat for my fantastic followers:  COVER REVEAL!

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Welcome to The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping. You no doubt have stumbled upon this book due to a great need, whether realized or otherwise. You are a very select individual, placed in a very exclusive position of responsibility. Dragon keeping is not for the faint of heart.

 

Aubrey Goodknight is alone. Orphaned at a young age, she long ago stopped believing in the fantasies and mythical creatures she had so loved as a child. When she’s diagnosed with breast cancer, she’s certain things couldn’t be more desolate. That is, until she stumbles across The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping, which changes her life completely. Raising a baby dragon in a modern, non-magical world isn’t a challenge she’s sure she’s up to. Now, Aubrey must learn that seeing isn’t always believing, but believing can be the most powerful kind of magic.

 

Enjoy this post?  Check out more of my work on Amazon!

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A Special Reward for my Followers

I want to thank my wonderful fabulous followers with a very special present:  you are the very first to know about my new release at the end of August!  The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping is set to come out August 31st.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about it…well, actually, I’ll be doing just that in an upcoming post, because this book really means a lot to me.

Here’s what you need to know with this exclusive insider information:

-Throughout August, I’ll have oodles of dragon and fantasy posts on my Facebook page, as well as a giveaway!

-Also on Facebook, I will have the ultimate pre-sale!  You can order AUTOGRAPHED paperback copies of The Wanderer’s Guide directly from the Product tab on my page, before they are available on Amazon!  (And because I love you, the autographs are free!)  Stay tuned for more details!

Coming up next:  cover reveal!

Old open book with magic light and falling stars on wooden table

Enjoy this post?  Be sure to check out more of my work on Amazon.

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The Mockingbird No Longer Teases Me

I have a secret that has recently been forced out into the light, so I may as well share it.  It’s not the deepest, darkest secret in existence, but it’s embarrassing.  There is something most people have done well before they are in their thirties, and sadly I never had.

I never read To Kill a Mockingbird.

I’m not sure how this happened.  I could blame the various schools I attended, because I’m fairly certain most kids are forced to read this book whether they like it or not.  It was certainly nothing that was presented as part of the curriculum and I skipped out on it, because I love to read even if it’s assigned.

I discovered the discrepancy when a discussion arose about To Kill a Mockingbird during a class I’m taking, and I was certain I was the only person who hadn’t explored this typical tome of teenage tutelage.  So I checked it out from the library (hoping not to have to make an excuse and say it was for my kids, who are far too young to read it).

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I finished the book last night, and here’s what I have to say:  Wow.  Just plain, flat out, wow.  Where had this book been all my life?  There was so much voice, the characters were amazing, and I found the plot gripping.  To Kill a Mockingbird addresses every kind of prejudice available:  white vs. black, class vs. class, and even disabled vs. not.  It’s a story of growing up and realizing how the world around you really works.  I can see why this is part of (most people’s) education.

As I finished the last page and shut the book, I made my spouse pause the movie he was watching so I could tell him how amazed I was.  The poor thing probably didn’t really care, but he humored me and told me he was glad I liked it so much.  This book has started a trend for me of catching up on the classics.  Sure, I’ve read Treasure Island three times, and absolutely adored Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but my booklog is sadly devoid of many of the classics.  That’s kind of pitiful for a bookworm like me.

Next up?  Don Quixote, followed by Kafka’s Metamorphosis.  If you have other recommendations, feel free to hurl them my way!

 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out more of my work on Amazon.

 

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