Guest Post: Michael Grey on Patreon vs Wattpad

Hey, you!  Yeah, you there with the hair, come here!  You reading this?  Great….

…now I have your attention I am potentially one quarter as successful as I was publishing my writing on Patreon, and all I had to do was be a bit rude.  Sorry about that, but it was a necessary example which will be apparent why as you read on.

But first perhaps I should back up.

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May 1, 2016 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: RUINED by Amy Tintera

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Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

I found this to be a really interesting book, although I confess I’m still not 100% sure what I think of it.

First, it has to be said, the plot is nothing new. But that familiarity just gives more room for exploring the characters, really. There are quite a few I enjoy and several that I don’t – Em herself being one of them. I find it impossible to not find the positives in pretty much everything and Em is quite the opposite of that. She’s very true to herself, but so angry all the time, and I found that exhausting. Cas on the other hand counteracts her nicely, and I did like him a lot. Watching his development was fantastic. I look forward to seeing him really come into his own.

The worldbuilding is done well, although I do hope we get to see more of the backstory in book two, especially for one particular character that I won’t name for spoilery reasons. Suffice to say that I’m both horrified and intrigued and I need to know more.

While this book didn’t blow my mind, it was a very solid read, and there are enough points of interest that I’m definitely keen to read the next book and see how it all goes.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

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

Apr 28, 2016 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: CITY OF MASKS by Ashley Capes

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Waking in Anaskar Prison, covered in blood and accused of murder, nobody will listen to Notch’s claims of innocence until he meets the future Protector of the Monarchy, Sofia Falco.

But Sofia has her own burdens. The first female Protector in a hundred years, her House is under threat from enemies within, the prince has made it clear he does not want her services and worst of all, she cannot communicate with her father’s sentient mask of bone, the centuries-old Argeon. Without the bone mask she cannot help anyone — not herself, and certainly not a mercenary with no powerful House to protect him.

Meanwhile, far across the western desert, Ain, a young Pathfinder, is thrust into the role of Seeker. Before winter storms close the way, he must leave his home on a quest to locate the Sea Shrine and take revenge on the people who drove his ancestors from Anaskar, the city ruled by the prince Sofia and Notch are sworn to protect, whether he wants their help or not.

Guys, this book is fantastic.

My favourites are the Pathfinders, and I really need to know more about their culture and magic and … well, everything really. Notch is also a lot of fun, I really like how he approaches things. Sofia is my least favourite, I find her to be quite whiny and self-centred, but she still has time to grow.

The bone masks themselves are also quite fascinating, and I’m looking forward to learning more about them as the series progresses. The few snippets dropped are incredibly interesting.

Ashley Capes has a very engaging writing style, and even though I was reading it in small chunks while commuting, it never took long to sink back into the story each time I reopened it. The worldbuilding was equally seamless, which is not always an easy thing to do, especially considering two very different cultures are equally represented.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something a bit new and fresh in their fantasy, it’s well worth the time.

Purchase: Amazon

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

Apr 27, 2016 - Waiting on Wednesdays    No Comments

Waiting on Wednesday

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The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue’s gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.

Joe Abercrombie is one of my favourites and I love the First Law series, so I’m very very happy to be returning to that world!

Add to your to read list on Goodreads, or buy at Booktopia, Book Depository or Amazon.

Guest Post: Lynette Hill on the origins of The Glass Singers

Thank you Belle for letting me share a little about the origins of my fantasy series, The Glass Singers. The first two books, Halfnote’s Song and Octavia’s Journey, are available on Amazon. The third book, currently titled Prelude, will be available later this year.

Every two years the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. holds a folk life festival celebrating the customs and traditions of a particular part of the world. In 2002, at the urging of world renown cellist Yo-yo Ma, the festival focused on the countries and cultures that hosted the fabled Silk Road of Central Asia.

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Apr 24, 2016 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS by George R.R. Martin

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Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne there was Dunk and Egg.

A young, naïve but courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals – in stature if not experience. Tagging along with him is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg – whose true identity must be hidden from all he and Dunk encounter: for in reality he is Aegon Targaryen, and one day he will be king. Improbable heroes though they be, great destinies lie ahead for Dunk and Egg; as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

I first picked up Game of Thrones as a teenager, and the few books released at the time were a staple of my fantasy collection. As long and unwieldy as they can be, I’ve always enjoyed Martin’s writing style. One thing I hadn’t done though, was read any of the novellas or short stories, so when I received this collection, it was my first time reading through them.

The book contains 3 related novellas, and I really liked how they worked individually but also as a greater whole. I really enjoyed Dunk and Egg, and it was great to see a side of Westeros before it all really goes to hell. I also really enjoyed seeing the less-crazy Targaryens, which is not something you get much of in A Song of Ice and Fire.

The Hedge Knight and The Mystery Knight were my favourites, but while The Sworn Sword felt a little weaker in terms of plot, it was really good for character exploration, not just of Dunk and Egg, but the supporting cast as well. I also loved the illustrations throughout the book. They weren’t intrusive, and enhanced the writing nicely.

I did spend a lot of time trying to untangle geneaology while reading, I really should have saved myself the headache and just looked it up, but it was also fun connecting the characters in the novellas with the stories and legends that follow them.

If you haven’t already started on A Song of Ice and Fire, these novellas would be a great way to dip your toes in and see whether the world is something you’ll enjoy. If you have already read the series, they’ll deepen your knowledge of Westeros history, and provide great entertainment to boot.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

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

Apr 20, 2016 - Waiting on Wednesdays    No Comments

Waiting on Wednesday

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Excommunicated cleric Saker returns from exile in the Spice Islands to find his homeland in chaos.
A dark sorcerer controls the ear of the King, turning him against his own son and heir, while a corrupted army gathers in the shadows.

With the illusionist Sorrel and islander Ardhi, armed with magic from Ardhi’s homeland, Saker now must stand between his city and the corruption that threatens to cripple it before it is too late . . .

The third and final novel in an epic fantasy trilogy from Glenda Larke, author of the Stormlord series – full of scheming, spying, action and adventure.

 

Look at this beautiful cover. I’m a smidge behind on this series, but I’m still very much looking forward to picking this up and cuddling reading it!

Add to your to read list on Goodreads or buy on Booktopia, Book Depository or Amazon.

Guest Post: The Courage to Really Live by Erin Rhew

Thank you to Belle for hosting me today, and a big hello to Belle’s readers! <waves> I’m currently on blog tour with my husband, Deek Rhew, to celebrate the release of his book and the spotlight feature my publisher is putting on my trilogy, The Fulfillment Series! Stay tuned for information on how you can enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!!

In 2007, I thought I was going to die. Not in the “OMG, I’m going to die” figurative sense, but in the literal “I’m sick enough to actually die” sense. I’m thankful to have a huge family and tons of friends who supported me through many surgeries and on the long recovery road.

This girl is dying.

Because of the great advances in modern medicine, I—thankfully—recovered. But what I discovered from my brush with death is the importance of truly living. So often, we walk through life with a long bucket list, but why wait? Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Instead, take the bull by the horns and do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Put a concerted effort toward saving to go where you want to go (I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan—budgeting is amazing), make the time to do what you want to do, and always, always spend time with the ones you love.

In 2011, I started writing a trilogy, and by 2013, it had been published. I’m a huge grammar nerd, and I always wanted to work for a publishing company. Now I do! A big romantic a heart, I’ve always wanted to meet that special someone who looks at me like I hung the moon and treats me like a queen (and of course, whom I feel the same way about). When I found that person, I married him! Deek is the most wonderful man in the world. The two of us have always wanted to travel, explore, and adventure, so we do. We’re saving money toward our long-term dreams (of being professional vagabonds and living in lots of different places for six month stints), and we explore and adventure all the time. In fact, we’ve been across the country several times—by plane, car, and train!

What’s on your “to do” list? What have you always wanted to do but never have? Start making plans to do those things today. Why wait? Life’s too short to not truly live!

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Apr 14, 2016 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho

It’s been a little while since I finished this one, I had hoped waiting would help me figure out what I think of it, but it hasn’t really.

There were a lot of things I liked about it – the way it dealt with racism and sexism, the whole magic school for ladies and Zacharias himself. The entire construction is perfectly delightful Regency. The premise was more than enough to keep me interested the whole way through. These would normally be enough to have me raving but I’m still quite ambivalent about the whole thing.

I was not a fan of Prunella at all. I find it very baffling that someone as determined to not learn as she is, manages to swoop in and fix everything on such a regular basis. As much as I liked Zacharias, he sometimes felt a little flat. On top of that, it’s Regency nature meant that sometimes the plot meandered a little too much.

I’ll be reading the rest of the series, I’m definitely interested in seeing how it all pans out, but I can’t see myself rushing out to get them.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

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

Apr 13, 2016 - Waiting on Wednesdays    No Comments

Waiting on Wednesday

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Trapped in a city no one knows exists, Squid lies dying as Nim fights for their lives. With every minute, their hope of getting the vaccine back to civilization is fading. From the brink of death and the edge of the world, Squid must once again conquer dangers even more sinister than the undead – the future of humankind depends on it.

But Squid’s efforts will be wasted if Lynn cannot keep the people of Alice safe until he returns, and Lynn is now a hostage of the Holy Order. Forced to face punishment at the hands of the High Priestess, Lynn is at the mercy of the mad cult, as beyond the wall the undead horde continues its relentless approach.

Caught between madness and mindlessness, the odds are stacked against Squid and Lynn. Will they triumph or do they already walk in a world of ash?

 

I confess I actually read this a couple of weeks ago, but I am waiting to hold it in my hot little hands so that definitely counts. If this blurb doesn’t convince you, hold tight for my review next week!

Add to your to read list on Goodreads or buy on Amazon.

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