Guest Post – Wendy Garfinkle

Today we’re joined by Wendy, who has recently re-released Serpent on a Cross. Not only is she a poet, an editor, and a crime analyst (!!), but she’s an avid reader, and she’s going to share how her love of reading led her to becoming an author. 

Hi
Belle! Thank you for having me on your blog today. And hello to all of Belle’s
followers! *waves*

I don’t remember specifically which book(s)
got me hooked on reading. To hear my mother tell it, as soon as I learned to
read – so sometime in Kindergarten at about age 6 – I devoured every book I
could get my hands on. So Dr. Seuss probably paid a big role in my addiction to
reading. Otherwise, I DO remember going to our local library on a weekly or
every-other-weekly basis to check out yet ANOTHER stack of books to enjoy. I
would read to my long-suffering parents (who were of course quite capable of
reading on their own), and my little brother, who wasn’t yet himself an
independent reader. My favorite stories were fairy tales and myths – and not
the watered-down stuff either; I wanted to dark, tragic details along with the
happily ever after.

Likewise, I don’t remember specifically which
book(s) made me want to write. It was probably more a few people who inspired
my writing chops: my first college English professor, and my father. When I
first started writing essays and the like for school papers, my father was my
editor. He’d had the opportunity to pursue a degree in English, but decided
against it for reasons I still don’t quite understand. But he’s an awesome
writer and reader. If the desire to read and write as a profession can be
passed through the bloodline, then mine would come from my father. He was my
harshest critic, and his praise, though never effusive, always made me feel
like my accomplishments meant something.

My first college English professor was
likewise tough, but I learned so much about writing and interpreting writing –
both my own and others’ – from her.

What has resonated with me through the years
is a desire to write the books I never could find to read. Like my own series
for instance: how many historically-based fantasies with female Jewish
protagonists have you read? I’ve done extensive research on this, and other
than Lisa Goldstein’s middle-grade novel, THE RED MAGICIAN, I don’t know of any.
I don’t really lean toward middle-grade or young adult, though. I think the
emotions and visual images I paint in my stories are a bit too far on the dark
side for that.

Life is complex; good things happen to bad
people, and bad things happen to good people. Even fairy tales and mythology
teach us this. Finding that spark of goodness that triumphs over evil and the
sun rays that burn away the tumultuous storm is what makes the messy emotions
and tragedies of a good story worth it in the end. This is the type of story I
want to tell.


To find out more about Wendy, and Serpent on a Cross, you can visit her at the following places:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

Mar 1, 2015 - Giveaways    No Comments

I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway for Wendy’s book, Serpent on a Cross! From goodreads:

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon, who is allied with her greatest enemy.

One lucky winner will be receiving an ebook copy of Serpent on a Cross, and the giveaway will be running throughout March. 

Rules:

  1. While you don’t have to be following me, it will give you more opportunities to win.
  2. You must be over 13 to enter, a) for privacy reasons and b)…
  3. You must be prepared to give me your address. 
  4. No giveaway blogs, please.
  5. Only entries via rafflecopter will be accepted. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 28, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

Weekend Wrap Up

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Weekend Wrap Up was originally published on There’s An Inkspot On My Page!

Feb 22, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: DEMON CHILD by Kylie Chan

Kylie Chan is one of those authors that has burrowed right into my brain by writing books that I simply can’t get enough of.

Demon Child is book 2 in the Celestial Battle trilogy, which is the 3rd trilogy to continue the story of these characters. And it is just as brilliant as the 7 books preceeding it.

It’s very much a “middle series” book, everything is starting to ramp up, many plot lines are smack in the middle of their span, and not much is unexpected as far as the overall story goes. That doesn’t make it boring or predictable, however – the writing style and pacing keep everything nice and fresh.

There are a lot of battle scenes in this one, but that’s the nature of the story. There are plenty of things going on around the fighting, including the introduction of a new and precocious character – I don’t want to spoil anything, but she’s adorable. On top of that, I love any time the Tiger comes out to play.

If you haven’t read any of the previous books, I strongly recommend going back to the beginning and picking up White Tiger, although I take no responsibility for any addictions that may follow.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository
White Tiger: Booktopia | Book Depository

Feb 21, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    1 Comment

Weekend Wrap Up

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Feb 17, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS by Kristi Charish

I enjoy urban fantasy. It always makes a nice, and usually light, change from the epic fantasies I usually prefer. I never quite seem to enjoy it as much though, and despite being a very good read, Owl and the Japanese Circus doesn’t really do it for me.

I liked the premise – Owl is an ex-archaeology student who found herself on the wrong side of a professor, and now makes her living well and truly outside academia. Everything inevitably goes pear-shaped, and she needs to find a way to save the day.

The pacing of the story is – I can only assume – meant to be action packed, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat right until the end. It’s something that Jim Butcher and Matthew Reilly do incredibly well. This does not reach the same level though. Many parts felt rushed, and for at least the first half of the book, I wasn’t sure why I was supposed to care about Owl or her predicament(s).

Much of that is probably to do with the fact that I’m not a fan of Owl herself. More than once, I found myself rolling my eyes at her thoughts and behaviour. She comes across as whiny, and there’s a trend of not taking responsibility for the situations she finds herself in.

Highlight of the book for me was Captain, Owl’s vampire-obsessed cat. He was a thorough delight throughout the whole book and I’ll keep reading the series just for his antics.

Overall, it was a good book, and I’m far from hating it. I just look forward to less whining and more character growth from Owl.

Purchase: Book Depository | Booktopia

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

Feb 15, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: CANNONBRIDGE by Jonathan Barnes

Cannonbridge is really two different stories, all muddled up and co-dependant. First, we have Matthew Cannonbridge, named as “the most influential creative mind of the 19th century” and his encounters with various well known authors of the time. Then, we have Toby Judd, whose life is not going as well as it could be – and that’s before he realises that Matthew Cannonbridge is a hoax.

The book alternates between the two main characters, and I did find that a bit hard to get used to. Some of it has to be chalked up to the ebook I received, but a portion of it is because of the abrupt changes, especially when leaving Cannonbridge himself.

I enjoyed both threads, Cannonbridge is particularly intriguing, and the way the story was drip fed as the book progresses definitely keeps you reading. Toby’s story was a lot more straightforward – more like a standard action/thriller type. That doesn’t make it less interesting, though. There were a few times where I wished that the two stories weren’t intertwined, because there is so much more that I wanted to see happening.

And the ending. Oh my goodness. No spoilers here, but suffice to say I didn’t see it ending the way that it did. That’s partly because I get so caught up in the story that I never see anything coming, but also because it’s on the “well, that’s a thing!” side.

All in all, it was well worth reading. I’m very curious to see Jonathan Barnes’ other work now, to see how it compares.

Purchase: Book Depository | Booktopia

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

Feb 13, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Many moons ago, I lived in Christchurch.

While I was there, I read a series that left me feeling a bit fuzzy at the end. I couldn’t quite decide whether I liked it or not, or if I had any idea what was happening. I had always intended to go back and read it a second time, to try and figure it all out, but like so many things in that period of time, I completely forgot the specifics. In my head, it became “that weird series with lots of crows and stuff”. 

Definitely not helpful when doing a google search. I know, I tried. 

But! There’s some good news! Tor have just announced their new novella/short story imprint, and afflicted with curiosity as I am, I just had to check out their upcoming publications (you can see them here, if you’re interested). The very first title/author on the list is by K.J Parker. The name looked familiar, so of course I had to check and see what else has been written and BAM! There it was! The weird old crow book! 

Looking at the reviews on goodreads, I’m definitely not the only one who had such an ambivalent reaction, and that makes me a bit hesitant to go in for round two. 

TL/DR: I finally found the book I was looking for and am really excited about that, but I’m not sure if I want to read it again. 

Feb 7, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

Weekend Wrap Up

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