I'm so excited to share this review with you! A few months back I reviewed a book called Empath by Becca J. Campbell and I loved it. So much in fact, that I stuck it's younger sibling, Outsider, on my "Ooh Ooh, I've Gotta Have it!" shelf on goodreads. Imagine my excitement when the I found an ARC offer in my inbox. Thank to finals, graduation, and my wedding, I had to push back my reading but my wait was well rewarded. [goodreads]
Book two in the Flawed Series follows Josh, a friend to the first book's heroin Jade. Josh is surrounded by extraordinary people with newly acquired supernatural abilities and he's got a bad case of the normals. Things get even worse when he realizes his sister's new roommate is just his type with one big problem, she also has special abilities, so how can he possibly be enough for her. For the most part Josh is a pretty standard character, though he does tend to be a bit moody and sulky rather often.
Alex is a California rocker who needed a change of scenery. She decides to move to Colorado with the hopes that college will give her the fresh start she's been looking for, but for a girl with super speed that turns out to be more of a challenge than she initially expected.
The journey these two go on to discover themselves is true to life and relatable even with the supernatural threads woven in. The writing is clear, concise, and easy to read. Coming in at just over two-hundred pages makes this a wonderful afternoon read and easy to devour in one or two sittings. The story takes place in the same location as Empath, and because of that, the continuity between the characters and the timeline makes it easy to pick up directly after the first book.
My one complaint is for the pacing of the story. Josh's story seemed less urgent and more leisurely that Jade's and the climax was a pretty mild blip of excitement. However, the villain(s) in Outsider were just as creepy and interesting to read as in Empath, some of there scenes were probably the best in the book.
There's talk recently of the effects technology has begun having on our human bodies, poor posture from cell phone use, disrupted circadian rhythm from blue lights, and even being too busy can be seen as a disease. All of which I agree with. Just like any other addiction, moderation is the key to battling anything, removing it completely is not always a necessary response. My addiction is organization, and in 2015, I am working to channel my addiction into helping guide me, not create more anxiety.
I love schedules. I have schedules for my schedules. Really, I do. I have my 9-5 calendar for work and at 5 it switches to my home calendar. I have paper calendars, whiteboard calendars, digital calendars, multiple email ones, and sticky reminders and digital ones too. And to answer your question, yes I know I have a problem. Over the years I have tried many different ways to streamline my schedules and consolidate, even give them up entirely, but I can do it. I'm a coordinator for a group of people whose job it is extremely important, and that makes my job valuable and my scheduling fascination an asset.
Write, write, write, and then write some more. You can never write enough. Write all the time, and try to do it everyday. Even if it's a short stream of consciousness, write it down. Writing improvement requires practice and even though it may fill silly sometimes writing about nothing, do it anyway.
Create a schedule. Yup, you heard me, a schedule. Knowing that every Monday I have a commitment to publishing a blog/article/news post for you keeps me on track 90% of the time. I have those events scheduled, giving me some boundaries. But I've also created a few more relaxed boundaries too, such as at least one book review a week. This commitment I don't have tied down to a day of the week, but a seven day range is plenty enough of a guide rail to keep me going.
A while back I read and reviewed another book by J & L Wells, Untimely [my review]. When the author reached out to me to read another of their work, I jumped at the chance to read Disturbingly Beautiful. [goodreads review]
Nell Dodsworth is a young governess without a child to look after and in need of a letter of recommendation to help her escape the painful memories trapped in the manor she calls home. When the young master of the manor instead of granting her request confesses his love for her, Nell must stand strong and learn to listen to her heart. Nell's adventure is one of heartache, love, and self discovery. Through her accidental use of time travel where she meets a broken man looking to save himself through his time traveling, Nell learns to accept her fate and confront her suitor.
Nell's character is pretty typical for a woman in her native time period, easily influenced, mild mannered, and concerned with her modesty. As she time travels her stances change on all of those qualities and she begins to stand up for herself and even gives into her desires. It was an enjoyable character arc to read and one that felt believable, however, there were holes in it. Particularly in the time travel segments.
The act of actually time traveling was not explained nearly at all and left the reader unsure for a few paragraphs what time they were reading after the switches had occurred. Both characters that time traveled to the future from the past were also extremely accepting of the changes in the future from their time. There was very little awe and fear and both were quick to trust anyone the met in the future.
Though there was a love story, it was very light. Little to no romance, and Nell gave in to her forced destiny with the qualities of a woman of her time. Which I understand and agree with, but I was rooting for her to take charge, even if it would have been out of character.
I look forward to the second book in the series as I'm sure the author will continue to improve.
Reading. One of the only hobbies on the planet that can both transport the reader to a world created by another and at the same time give them the freedom to design their own.
But for an avid reader, and a speedy one at that, keeping a well stocked library is sometimes hard to do. Add in being a student, unemployed, or even just in a low-income household and it can become even harder. Everyone deserves to read and yet authors deserve and need to make money, so where does the line get drawn?
A daily email full of customizable options for discounted and free book. Pick categories, favorite authors, and more to narrow your choices. Every morning you'll receive a book packed mail with around ten choices and links to multiple distributers (if offered) Amazon, Apple, and Barns and Noble.
~I've used this site's services many time, in fact it can be quite addictive and you'll have more books than time rather quickly.
Everyone's favorite site has quite a lot to offer in the way of free books. One resource is the Ebooks section. Here there are quite a few books ranging for fan fiction, anthologies, and public domain works. Goodreads also has a section of books for giveaway, there are often limited numbers of copies to be won and the chance is random with a small increase if you review the books you've won in the past.
~Both of these service are great and one's I've used in the past, I highly recommend them, but remember, an author thrives on honest reviews.
Book Review Buzz
This is a site dedicated to bringing authors together with willing reviewers. They provide a service to both authors and readers to provide books in exchange for honest reviews on blogs, purchase sites, and goodreads. A mail will arrive in your inbox on a customizable schedule with the genre you've selected and you're good to go.
~This is a service that can be amazing... but for me, falls flat. It's rare that I find books that interest me through this site, but I keep my eyes peeled, you never know.
100 Legal Websites
Higher Perspective has a list of 100 legal websites to download free books from. Separated into categories ranging from children's to fiction to textbooks. When all else fails, here's a list of resources that may be able to help.
~A great list of resources to peruse when time allows and one I keep handily bookmarked.
What are your favorite ways of getting your story fix? Amazon, community bookshop, or some other way.
Share your ways below.
A few months ago I received a hard copy of "Story Girl" by Katherine Carlson and its been sitting on my nightstand lovingly grumbling at me to read it. At least while it sat there it was a beauty to look at. [goodreads review]
Story Girl follows the few weeks after Tracy Johnston turns thirty and, according to her mother, her life ends. Thirty, jobless, and without a man, Tracy feels lost in her life, pulled in one direct by her heart and in the other by her mother. When a men enters her life that has the power to clear the fog from her inspiration and change her life forever, she lashes out. Story Girl is a quirky tale of a woman who finds her spirit, helps heal hearts, and learns to be comfortable in her own skin.
Story Girl's plot is paced in a way that makes the reader feel as if they are physically there with Tracy through all of her heartaches. I experienced her family struggles and cried with her and wanted to yell when she yelled. She's a smart mouth and unafraid to speak her mind, however, her mind often boarders on cruel. She treats those around her with an acidic tone that stems from her unhappiness with herself and it gives the whole book a more immature feel than what I think the author was aiming for.
Thanks to my Mom for visit over the winter and bringing me the third and final book in the Nora Roberts Cousins O'Dowyer Trilogy, Blood Magick [Full goodreads review]
The third and final book in Nora Roberts Cousins O'Dowyer Trilogy is a captivating and engaging journey with the last couple in the circle. Branna and Fin have grown as the two previous books progressed and after watching their love grow and flex it was incredibly rewarding to finally see their story through their eyes.
Branna is the typical older sister, always taking care of those around her, cooking, focusing on the magical plots, and keeping a clean home for the other five in her circle. She's dependable, uptight, and closed off to the love Fin has for her. Until this book.
Fin is a wildly successful business man who's journeyed far and wide in search of a respite from his love for Branna and his lineage though his circle was never far from his mind. His unwavering loyalty and strong moral compass is refreshing to read even when the reader is screaming at Branna to pull her head from her bum.
As always, the setting and descriptions in this universe are amazing, I swear I could smell the candles Branna was making as I read. The conclusion of the trilogy's main story arc was fulfilling and rewarding. However, this leads me to my one complaint; the end. Or rather, it just ends. No wrap up for the three siblings from the past, no after battle for Connor or Iona, and Fin and Branna have half a sentence that leads them off the battle field and home safe. After three books I was involved in these characters, their hardships and their love. All I wanted was an epilogue... just a few pages of how Fin and Branna turned out and the highlights of Iona and Connor's wedding. Something about the siblings too would have been wonderful.
Recommendation: Readers of romance, fantasy, and Irish lore will enjoy this story. The characters are lovely, the settings are hauntingly beautiful, and the plot is deep and twisted. After the previous two segments of story this one was an enjoyable finish and has actually provided me with enough enjoyment to pick up another series from this author.
I found this witty gem of an article a while back and fell in love. Writing prompts, free writing, and other mini exercises are great tools for banishing writer's block and this author has some great tips! As always, below are some of my favorite parts, but you should really check out the whole article.
A personal blog is another excellent outlet for creative writing.
Here are some other writer's block tips that friends and colleagues have proffered:
Put procrastination in its place
Keep a calendar. It's not that hard. You need to keep a calendar if you want to hack this procrastination thing. Use it for setting appointments; but more importantly, for setting deadline reminders.
Here are some quick tips to increase your productivity when working from home:
As 2015 really beings to ramp up, I wanted to take a look at some of the achievements and positive things we've accomplished in 2014.
Just like the few years before, this one was filled with schooling, only in 2015 I don't have to go back. After quite a few difficult years at a school in Washington State, this December I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts in Digital Art and Production Animation. I can finally check this life milestone off of my bucket list.
Thanks to a lot of reasons and people, in 2013 I begin writing, which was something I never thought I'd have the courage to do. When I started that journey over one year ago I never thought my passions would become what they are today. Since then, I have accomplished so much and I couldn't have done it without you.
[Check out some of my stats below and scroll down for more exciting news!]
Thanks to you and your support we've accomplished something I never imagined. My twitter network has grown to over 450 followers with over 1,300 tweets posted to friends, followers, and fellow authors all over the world. An with my new Facebook page, I can reach even more followers now.
A bunch of other really amazing stuff happened this year like family members being given a clean bill of health, my husband shipped an amazing game (full of storytelling!) called Never Alone, and speaking of husband... In December we finally tied the knot!
2014 was a wild ride, and one I wouldn't change for the world, but with it in the rear-view and 2015 laid out ahead, lets buckle up and get going!
Did you have something totally amazing happen to you in 2014?
Share your story with the world in the comments below.
January is always a special month for me; the time to set a new reading goal, to create a plan of attack for the years hobbies and writing, and a time to look at what's coming in the year ahead and get excited. Let's see what's coming up in January 2015!
2015 crystal ball