I’ve been tagged for the Coffee Book Tag by Cait from Paper Fury; since this tag combines books and coffee, two of my favourite things, I decided to get on board—although posting it has taken me a while due to Things (TM).
My post won’t be as beautiful as Cait’s. She took photos of all the books she mentioned, some of them artfully arranged with coffee beans or on lace backgrounds. This includes a photo of Isla’s Inheritance that is one of my favourites ever. Go check it out. I’ll wait.
As an aside, I can’t help but notice the last three “coffees” in the list are actually tea. I’M ONTO YOU, TEA! (Note: I like tea.)
name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I really wanted to love this series, but I found it really hard to get onboard with. I think for me the problem was a combination of a lot of points of view, and the fact that some of those points of view were from people I wanted to punch in the nose…
I had the paperback of this, but eventually I gave up and gifted it to my then-housemate.
name a book that gets more popular during the winter
or a festive time of year
I’m not that aware of popular trends, so instead here is a book that I think of when I think of peppermint mocha and other wintery foods and drinks: Running Home by Julie Hutchings. Hutchings’s vampires use scent as a means by which they attract fated future vampires, and because it’s set in winter the descriptions of Nicholas from Ellie’s perspective are, well, mouth-watering.
what is your favourite children’s book?
The Stone Cage by Nicholas Stuart Gray is a long-term favourite. I read it when I was in primary school, then again in year eleven, and then again as an adult. It’s the story of Rapunzel told from the perspective of the witch’s cat, and I LOVE it.
Double shot of espresso:
name a book that kept you on the edge of your
seat from start to finish
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. Most of Wendig’s novels are action-driven, but Miriam is the sort of character that ploughs into and through obstacles, because she just wants to keep moving. She’s racing against time and against herself and her own inner demons, and she doesn’t pull punches.
name a book you see everywhere
Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James—or at least that series. For a while it was the books, and then the books with the new, movie-inspired covers … and now it’s the next book in the series. (There used to be a Starbucks in Canberra, but it went out of business. Make of that what you will.)
That hipster coffee shop:
give a book by an indie author a shoutout
There are so many to choose from here (and I already mentioned one above), but it’s hard to choose just one. So here is a small pile of awesome indie love: The Problem With Crazy by Lauren K. McKellar, Shh! by Stacey Nash, and Immagica by K.A. Last. Yes, I have all of these in paperback, and SIGNED. You so jealous.
Oops! I accidentally got decaf:
name a book you were expecting more from
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’ve heard good things about this author, and I liked this book … but given the premise I really wanted to love it. The biggest flaw for me was that I found the protagonist so reckless that I swear I left an imprint of my hand on my forehead more than once.
The perfect blend:
name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet,
but ultimately satisfying
All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey made me cry and cry. And cry. But when I read it (as a teenager), I loved the way it wrapped everything up and finished off the story of Pern … more or less. I really want to re-read this series, although part of me is worried that I might not enjoy it as much, since I’m a much more critical reader than I was all those years ago.
name a book or series that is quietly beautiful
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I listened to this as an audiobook, and it was sometimes like listening to a poetry recital. Beautiful is really the only way to describe this book, even though parts of it are ‘ugly’ in the traditional sense. Miller doesn’t spare us any details of the bloody violence of war, just as she doesn’t spare any details of Achilles’ nimble feet or his golden hair. It’s a tragic story with an eternal romance and an uplifting ending. Perfect! <3
name a book or series that makes you
dream of far off places
I really wanted to name a book set entirely on a beach … but I’m sitting here drawing a mental blank. Aaaah! So instead I’ll go with Hogwarts, and name the Harry Potter books. Now there’s a place I’d love to visit.
What do you mean, Hogwarts isn’t real? Wash your mouth out! :p
Earl grey: name your favourite classic
I haven’t read it (or any classic) for years, but it would have to be Dracula by Bram Stoker. Maybe I’m hankering for the days when vampires were soulless demons instead of hot potential boyfriends? Nah, there was a bit of that in Dracula too…
Tag, you’re it!
If you want to take part in this tag, then I just tagged you. (It’s TOTALLY legit!)
Are you a coffee or tea person? What books would you have gone with instead of my choices?
After writing like crazy during the week, I’d intended to write like crazy a little more on the weekend. But instead I sorta kinda read like crazy instead.
This weekend I finished:
- Black Magic Sanction (The Hollows #8) by Kim Harrison
- Ensnared (Splintered #3) by A. G. Howard
- Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
I say finished, because I started Ensnared over a month ago, and I’ve been listening to Black Magic Sanction as an audiobook for the last two weeks. I’m not going to review the latter, because it’s book eight in the series and I figure by this point you’re either committed to it or you’re not! I give it four stars, though. (I did review the first book in the series, Dead Witch Walking, here, if you’re curious. The series is a sexy adult urban fantasy with some awesome worldbuilding.)
Onto the other two…
Ensnared by A. G. Howard
I found the start of Ensnared a little hard to get into, but this might be a situation of “it’s not you, it’s me”. If you read my review of the previous book, Unhinged, you’ll know that I read it in 2013, in the hospital immediately before and after having surgery. In the intervening 18 months, I basically forgot the entire book. I’m not kidding — I could remember the events in the first story, but was really confused by the way the third one started, because it was like the second one never happened.
Damned general anaesthetic and awesome pain medication.
However, it did give me the chance to test A. G. Howard on her ability to seed back-story, and I can happily report that she included just enough that I didn’t get totally lost, without being over the top.
Once I got party-way through — probably around about where Morpheus shows up, which I’m sure is a TOTAL coincidence — I really got back into the story and the world. At that point I finished the book in only a couple of days and really enjoyed it. Alyssa really comes into her own, Jeb finally redeems himself in my eyes, and Morpheus… Sigh. He’s Morpheus. <3
Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
This beautiful little piece of book mail arrived a while ago and got bumped to the top of my to-read pile, because I have a bit of a crush on Dawson and her work. Her last book, Servants of the Storm, blew my mind with her writing and the WTF twist at the end. (I’m still hanging out for a sequel, BTW!)
Hit didn’t disappoint.
The genre is dystopian, but it’s the kind of dystopian we don’t often see except in zombie fiction — the kind where the world is just starting to collapse. The government has been taken over by an Evil Corporation (TM) and no one has realised yet. No one except Patsy, the main character … and presumably a bunch of other indentured assassins, although we don’t really get to see them.
Patsy is given five days to confront ten people who have defaulted on their debts with Valor Savings Bank. They have the choice between paying their debts (which they can’t), agreeing to be indentured assassins themselves, or being executed. The book has one chapter per victim, with the chapter title being their name. (I loved that touch so much.)
Of course, there’s even more going on than a seventeen-year-old girl being forced to shoot people and having a slow nervous breakdown, and the sense that there was a greater, overarching scheme takes this from The Hunger Games set in small-town USA to “can I guess the conspiracy theory” hijinks. (For the record, I guessed some of it.)
Like Servants of the Storm, Hit is a book in dire need of a sequel. I loved how it ended, but I need to know what happens next. NEED TO.
Written by nine authors, Never Be Younger is a Young Adult collection of Shakespeare retellings. From Othello to Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet to The Winter’s Tale, each story has been crafted with a new spin.
From the halls of a high school to hip night clubs to the depths of space, Never Be Younger gives Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets a fresh spin for a new audience. Nine authors pay tribute to the Bard by taking his timeless tales to new heights, entrancing readers all over again. A Shakespeare story by any other name still reads as sweet.
All proceeds from the sales of Never Be Younger go to United Through Reading, a charity dedicated to uniting military families through reading.
To Undreamed Shores by Cortney Pearson
I bask in the brisk air, hands aching while the pocket of pain still gnaws at my shoulder.
“That moon shines on those other places, just like it does here in Bohemia. I want to see it from somewhere else. To see what it’s like, knowing something so constant is with me no matter where I go.”
Cove stares at the moon. After several moments he says, “I have something I’d like to show you. Will you come for a ride with me?”
“What, you mean now?”
He laughs, “Yes, now.”
“But I’m—” Sweaty, dirty. Dreadfully behind on this order. If I have any chance of going with Christabel in a few weeks, I’ve got to step it up—I haven’t even started on her pots yet.
Cove takes my hand and, as with last night, I’m instantly aware of how smooth his skin is against the rough spots on mine.
Enter for a chance to win a suite of prizes, including a Nook, several books, an Amazon gift voucher, and more!
About the Authors
S.M. Johnston: Star Crossed Lovers and A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare
Jessica L Pierce: A Day of Errors
Jessica is a somewhat crazy – yet loving – blond. She lives in Green Bay, WI, hates the cold, and loves her completely awesome camo coat. She is passionate about football, baseball, photography and writing, and won’t go near cooked peas. (Raw peapods are fine.)
She is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and will graduate in December 2015 with a degree in Communication with emphasis in Journalism. She is a sports photographer and her work can be found at: http://www.studio52photos.com
Cortney Pearson: To Undreamed Shores
Cortney Pearson is the author of Phobic and Such a Secret Place, a mother, musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles.
E.L. Wicker: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare
E.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and two children. Fueled by the bossy voices in her head, she writes New Adult fiction with a side of romance. You can find E.L. on Twitter, and her website.
Nicole Zoltack: Any Way the Wind Blows
Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys, with another little one on the way. She enjoys horse riding (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead.
Olivia Hinebaugh: Mark The Music
Olivia Hinebaugh spends her free time writing. Obviously. The rest of her time is spent playing and reading with her two young children. She also loves: watching Sia’s music videos, quoting Mean Girls, and folding laundry. She actually really does. You can find Olivia
Adrianne James: A Witch’s Life
Growing up Adrianne James couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up the majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.
During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked up in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.
As a New Adult Paranormal (and sometimes contemporary) author, Adrianne James writes strong women, powerful magic, and love that lasts a lifetime.
Christina June: The Scarf
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and the world’s most rambunctious four-year-old.
I missed last week’s Top Ten Tuesday on 2015 releases because I was in my writing cave, but I really kinda wanted to write a post about it. So I’m doing it this week BECAUSE THIS IS MY BLOG SO NYAH!
There are a few books in the works that I want to add but I’m not 100% sure about release dates for some of them, or they don’t have covers yet (or both!), so I haven’t included them here.
The Aussie Authors
(Also, these covers are all earth tones — what’s up with that?)
Burn (The Rephaim #4) by Paula Weston (June)
How to Save a Life by Lauren McKellar (July)
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (October)
The Rest of the World
(Brought to you by shades of blue…)
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day (August)
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer (November)
Untamed (Splintered 3.5) by A. G. Howard (December)
I only discovered about the Felicia Day memoir and Untamed by reading Paper Fury’s Top Ten Tuesday post last week, which I’m pretty sure is why I either should or should not read posts like these. I guess it depends on your thoughts on me owning more books than I could read in a year… (I could totally read them all in a year if someone would keep me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed, of course!)
Now’s your chance to make it worse! What books am I missing?
Lucid Dreaming, my adult urban fantasy, is scheduled to come out in November this year. Like the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, this book is set in Australia, and deals with complex family relationships and the bridge between humans and the supernatural. Unlike Isla, though, Melaina already has a clear idea of her place in the world and is content to make her way within it.
But her absentee scoundrel of a father is an Oneiroi, a Greek spirit of dreams, and is wanted by his own kind — a fact that gets her in all kinds of trouble.
The manuscript is currently with my wonderful editor, and the cover is more or less done thanks to KILA Designs, so it’s all starting to feel real. I’m thrilled at the idea of finally sharing this book with you. I adore Melaina’s story, and I hope you will too.
In the meantime, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite.
Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?
Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.
But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning — before the nightmares come for her.
Lucid Dreaming is also up on Goodreads, and if you add it to your to-read list, I’ll be forever grateful. Really, I will. There’ll be dancing and everything.
This week I’ve been on a long-anticipated mini writing retreat. Only I didn’t stay in a house by the beach, or in a rainforest cabin, but in my own home. I took this week off work, which meant that because of the public holiday on Monday I had four days where my son was at school and I could write in peace and quiet.
And it was basically the best week ever.
For a start, I got to drop the boy off for class every day. Usually he goes to before-school care because I work full time and, although he loves it, we’ve both really enjoyed me being able to walk him up to the playground where they do the morning “meet and greet”. We’ve gotten there early every day so I could get a carpark, and even though it’s been below freezing as often as not he’s enjoyed showing me around the place, playing games while I watch, and insisting I listen to the announcements every morning. (I think so I have to suffer as much as he does?)
Another awesome thing is that, the one time I was exhausted after a writing stint, I was able to have a nap before I picked him up. And I also got to read in peace and quiet.
But the best part was all the wording that happened. I wrote over 9000 words during the past four days (I’m hoping to sneak in another thousand on the weekend, because … round numbers.) Given I usually manage 2000 at best in a week, I’m over the moon about that. My current WIP has been in progress since October last year, so I’m mad keen to get it finished.
I’m not quite there. But I’m close. So close. I should be able to knock it off in the next few weeks.
And then there will be celebrating. Oh yes.
The only sad thing about all this, of course, is that I’m back at work next week, which means it’s back to my usual snail’s pace. So if someone could see their way clear to paying me to write full time, that’d be awesome! [INSERT PLEA FOR PEOPLE TO BUY AND/OR REVIEW MY BOOKS HERE KTHXBAI]
For those of you reading this who are writers, have you ever been on a writing retreat, genuine or otherwise? Was it as awesome as mine?
Before I finish, in case you missed it, last Tuesday I was at Aussie Owned and Read, talking about ellipses and semicolons. It was really interesting, I promise! Check it out.