Recent Reads: Dreams of Gods & Monsters and Raging Star

*It’s been a while since I’ve done a Recent Reads, so I thought it was about time.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter? 

What I loved about this series was how in-depth the world was. There was so much visceral detail and Laini Taylor didn’t disappoint in this last book of the series. Karou is such a strong character, and her and Akiva’s love is so strong, you can’t help but root for them. Of course, my favorite character is Zuzana with her spunk and ability to jump into a kasbah full of chimaera and feel (almost) right at home.

I give it 5 stars.


 Raging Star by Moira Young

Raging StarHer passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo…until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he’s gone undercover, feeing Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she’s not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

The second book was a bit of a disappointment for me, but this third and final in the series made up for it big time. I don’t want to get too into the book specifics, but I will tell you to grab a box of Kleenex and be prepared for some serious water works. Moira Young really pulled through with this one and kicked me right in the feels.

I give it 5 stars.

What books have you read lately?

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Review: Shadow Swarm by D. Robert Pease

Aberthol Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that had raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that could not be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, or that his mother died while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that he once saved his great, great, great grandfather by defeating the black enemy on the slopes of a volcano.

Aberthol doesn’t know that he beheld the creation of the world, as his grandfather eight generations before took the planet, ravaged by a war of the gods, and began anew.

All he knows is that he awoke in a coffin deep within a tomb, and now the whole world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.

(I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.)

When I first read the description for the book, I thought it sounded like a fun read and it was. It was also a little predictable, and as long as I didn’t try to reread some of the confusing dialogue more than twice, I did fine. Alberthol was an interesting character, but one I really didn’t connect with. Elise was as I expected her–a love interest.

I thought it was a fun read, something that stirred my imagination, but not much. All in all, I’d give the book three stars. I wasn’t thrilled with the story, but I still enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it to others because, as always, this is a subjective review, and I know plenty of other people will absolutely love it compared to my shoulder-shrugging.

Three Stars

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My #PitchWars Mentee Bio

I’ve been away from the #PitchWars hashtag for a week while I took part in #GISHWHES. I had a blast, but it’s time to get back to work! While I was away, a lot of other hopeful mentees wrote their bios and I thought, why not?

So, a little about me first.


1. I’m married with two kids (the youngest of which started kindergarten last week), a cat, and a dog.


Little Man and Princess on their first day of school. He’s happy, she just wants me out of the room.

Oz & Charlie

Charlie Pup and Oz Cat during a rare time when they get along.

2. I participated in GISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) for the first time last week and discovered a few minor skills I didn’t know about (Arm wrestling, Power Point, and video editing). I don’t know what I can do with them, but it’s good to know :-)

I had to arm wrestle a movie theater employee for a ticket to see a movie. Guardians of the Galaxy was AWESOME by the way=)

I had to arm wrestle a movie theater employee for a ticket to see a movie. Guardians of the Galaxy was AWESOME by the way=)

3. I am addicted to Mountain Dew. Seriously. I think an intervention may be necessary.

This is my text message alert. Really.

4. I can’t stand ear buds. They hurt and easily fall out of my ears. I will occasionally wear them, but prefer my teal headphones.

5. I love exclamation points (don’t worry though, I avoid them in my MS) and often talk with exclamation points as well. So much so that on a trip to a concert it became a thing that every time I got excited about something and exclaimed about it, people would shout “EXCLAMATION POINT!” So, just be prepared to see plenty in our correspondence;-)

What you will get from me as a #PitchWars mentee:

I love feedback. All of it. You tell me something about my story sucks and I get incredibly excited (“EXCLAMATION POINT!”). I’ve always seen critique as a way to improve, not just the story, but my ability to tell a story–even future ones. I take everything to heart while keeping the subjectivity involved in mind. I will devote the time necessary for my story to make it better and to make us both proud. This is a collaborative effort after all. You’re in it to help an unagented writer and I’m in it to learn as much as I can.

Anyway, if I’ve already picked you it’s because I think we’d mesh well and I think you and I could make my story really shine. Now, it’s your turn to pick the mentee. So…

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#IWSG: Waiting

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). The brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG is a way for writers to offer their support and inspiration to others or to share in the insecurities plaguing them. You can sign up on the blog and join the Facebook Group.


I have several things happening this month. Some of it crazy busy work, some of it normal busy work, and the rest of it not busy at all and not really work either…

First, the crazy busy work.

It’s only going to last until Saturday, when #GISHWHES ends. So far, I’ve done a few items, including arm wrestling, a bunch of emailing, and making odd requests to people over the phone (that poor, poor medical receptionist). The last few days have been exhausting with the amount of stuff I’ve had to do just for prep and the actual completing of tasks, it’s a miracle my muscles work well enough to type this out.

It’s so much fun though! I’ve made a few new friends from all over the world. And I’ve discovered that I really have no pride whatsoever, lol! I am more than willing to humiliate myself in front of anyone and everyone just to see a smile on their faces=) And that’s the best part. All the smiles, not just from friends and family, but from strangers who have no idea what’s happening, but love it anyway. It’s helped restore my faith in humanity=)

Second, the normal busy work.

You know, the writing and editing and revising and fixing and spelling and deleting and retyping and highlighting and marking and penning and staring at screens and… Well, I think you get it. It’s the normal every day stuff of writers. I’m doing well on my edits for Orchids and Ash and I’ve started brainstorming a sequel (a series actually, but I’m concentrating on the sequel for now). I can’t get back to editing until after #GISHWHES, but then I’ll have the rest of the month to work on it.

Third and last, the not really busy because it’s not really work.

Waiting sucks. Big time. But, it’s part of wanting to be a published writer, whether traditional or self. Patience is a virtue I struggle with. Which means that the 18th can’t get here soon enough so I can submit to #PitchWars. As of now, I’ve picked two mentors to submit to, but I’m still whittling down the rest of the list to get to four. After the 18th, the wait will continue as I stalk the #PitchWars feed and the mentors looking for any hint of my submission. Then, on September 3rd, I won’t have to wait anymore. Either I’ll have a mentor, or I won’t.

Good thing I have things to keep me busy while I wait!

Happy August!

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#GISHWHES and #PitchWars

I need to try and get as much done on my WIP as I can, because Saturday is the first day of #GISHWHES.

Don’t know what that is? No problem. I’ll try to explain.

Basically, it’s a wild, crazy, silly, awesome, wacky, fun, splendiferous, and crazy (did I say that already?) scavenger hunt. You form into teams of 15, made up of people from all around the world, and complete tasks set by Misha Collins (Cas from Supernatural) and the GISHWHES coordinators.

This video will explain it better than I can (though all those adjectives are quite accurate):

[jwplayer mediaid="3953"]

If you didn’t start tearing up at about the 1:54 mark then you should get your tear ducts checked. Just sayin’.

Anyways, a couple of friends and I started a team and by Tuesday night, we had a full 15! I’m thrilled with my teammates too=) We’re comprised of people from 4 different countries and 9 states within the US. GISHWHES runs August 2-9 and I’m super excited to get started!

That gives me a week of being too busy for nerves while waiting for #PitchWars. It’s a little different than the last time I tried (two years ago) when you could only submit to three mentors, but the number of mentors has grown and so submission increased to four. Whether I will be a mentee or not is anyone’s guess, but it will be interesting (and nerve-wracking) to watch all the mentors tweet hints.

On August 4th, the mentors will post their bios and the types of stories they’re interested in, and on August 18th, hopefuls will send in their queries to the mentors they believe will best suit them.

Time’s going to fly until then, but on the 18th, it will suddenly slow down to a snail’s pace. #GISHWHES is a great distraction from #PitchWars, even if it’s only a week.

Anyways, I’ll probably regale you with the story of my #GISHWHES experience once it’s over. Until then, I’ll see you for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post next Wednesday!

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Edits, Reading, Crits, and Children

Since I decided to put my scifi story on hold until I have a much better idea of where I want to go with it, I’ve begun editing another project. It’s not a long project, by any means, but it’s one that I want to flesh out a bit, add some content that will make the story richer, and fix up some inconsistencies I’ve noticed. I’ve also come up with an idea for a series of novellas where the project I’m editing right now is the first. I’m excited to write all of the books, though I don’t know exactly how many there will be just yet.

Raging StarI’ve done a lot of reading lately. I need to update my Goodreads, but I’ve never been good at keeping it current. At the moment, I have Defy by Sara B. Larson up on my “currently reading” shelf, but I haven’t started it yet. I had every intention of doing so when I put it up there, but I got distracted by Moira Young’s latest Dust Lands novel, Raging Star. I’m in love with the series and couldn’t not read it. So, Defy will happen, just in a couple of days.

I’ve also been working on crits. I’m so far behind on them though, it’s amazing the people I’m critting for haven’t started hurling virtual rotten lettuce at me. I’m getting there though. Slowly but surely.

It’s amazing how much I plan to do during the summer months when it’s the worst time for me to get anything done. I love my kids, but they demand attention all but 10 hours a day, and that’s only because they’re asleep, and I’m also asleep for about six of those hours. Four hours seems like a lot of time, until you factor in a shower, adult conversation, and any errands that you want to run without having to repeat “Don’t touch that!” and “Put that back!” until your voice is hoarse.

School will start in just a few short weeks though, and this year, both of my kids will attend. Last year, Little Man went to preschool three hours a day, four days a week. Those extra twelve hours a week made a huge difference in my productivity. This year, I’ll have thirty-five extra hours during the week to get more done.

I just need to remember this summer for next year and plan accordingly.

How do you plan your summers?

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Death Knocks Cover Reveal

When faced with a Monday, what better way to deter the blues than with some awesome?

My Monday Awesome is the cover reveal for the Paranormal Thriller Death Knocks by Miranda Hardy and Jay Noel.

Death Knocks Cover

Who knew a knock at the door could rupture your entire world? They don’t demand money or possessions…they want much more than that, they want your life.

Maverick is preparing for senior year: he’s no longer stuck in the “friend-zone” with the girl of his dreams, he’s looking forward to choosing the right college and being on his own, and he plans to have a blast along the way.

But a knock on the door changes all of that forever.

Maverick begins a mind-altering, life-changing journey to discover the truth—a truth that certain individuals will do anything to keep hidden.

Death Knocks is a Young Adult paranormal thriller about the strange global phenomenon known as the Black-Eyed Kids. Take a creepy and exciting ride in a world where myth meets reality.

Death Knocks is scheduled for publication on September 26, 2014 by Quixotic Publishing.

I’m thrilled and can’t wait! Also, check out this trailer: