Just a beggar

Hey peeps, today I’m here to beg, again, for your vote for my book.

Most votes last time didn’t go through due to their precaution (against cheating) system, and the votes are about to close on august 20th. I’ve been on the lead since April, and I wasn’t going to post about it again, but today I discovered I’m in a tie with another book.

Please help!

Here’s a step by step instruction on how to vote:

1- Click on the link below

2- Go to page 8, fantasy category (there’s a 1/16 with arrows to go back and forth through the pages. Click on the arrows until you get to 8/16)

3- Click on my book, Heir of ashes by Jina S. Bazzar

4- Choose which platform you want to use to vote – Twitter or Facebook

5- Confirm your vote by clicking on your account name

 

Once you’ve done those steps, your vote should’ve gone through. There’s no need to create any accounts or sign up for a newsletter.

 

If your vote went through the last time, two things may happen when you click on my book:

 

1- You’ll be sent to page 9 to vote in that category.

2- You’ll be shown the number of votes I have.

Link: https://www.tckpublishing.com/2019-readers-choice-voting-page/

 

I really appreciate any support I get at this stage.

Thank you very much!

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Philosopher Vs. housewife

I was doing the dishes yesterday, one huge pile of dirty glasses, plates, utensils and pots to one side; the empty dish rack on the other when the philosopher in me reared her head up and spoke.

The dishes theory states that: Dirty dishes are inversely proportional to clean dishes, the same way clean dishes are inversely proportional to dirty dishes.

This means that, like the high and low of see-saws, for every pile of dirty dishes stacked, there’s an equally low stack of clean dishes on the other side. The opposite is also true. For every stack of clean dishes piled to one side, there’s an equally low stack of dirty dishes on the other.

In simpler terms, washing dishes only make them available to be dirtied once more, while dirtying dishes mean you’ll only have to clean them again.

***

Sorry folks, just a little venting for today’s post.

I’m equally frustrated and amazed that the faster I clean, the faster everything is back in the sink!

 

Two more!

The reviled book cover

The Reviled – Dark Fey #1

By Cynthia A. Morgan

 

4/5 Brilliant twist on the battle of good and evil!

I enjoyed this story very much – the ultimate war between dark and light, good and evil, and how things aren’t always what they seem to be.

Ayla is a powerful fey of the light, her abilities rare even among her peers. She was kept isolated growing up, being trained to use her abilities and become a guardian. The author gives us an introductory insight of the background fairly early on in the story, so when I started reading, I had a good idea of how each side, the dark fey and the light fey, worked.

That said, I’m not quite sure how to write this review. I both liked and disliked the main characters – admired Ayla (light fey) her tenacity and disliked the way she froze in the face of danger; Admired Gairynszvl (dark fey) and his need to leave the legion, disliked the way he seemed unbalanced at times, wanting to cause Ayla harm but being compassionate at the same time. I suppose he was meant to be portrayed this way, as he was both fighting the dark and the light within himself.

There’s a brush over a love triangle in this story, and like any other love triangle, you end up feeling sorry for the one left out.

I liked the way the story ended up in an optimist note, the way you get an idea of what’s coming on book two.

The writing was dramatic, vivid, and with a lot of original flourish, the pacing fast at times (the kind that makes you flip page after page), slow at others, but it’s only a 170 pages book, so it’s a quick read all around.

I recommend it!

Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/29843327

Or get your copy on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Reviled-Dark-Fey-Book-ebook/dp/B00RZMVNQQ

The cracked altar book cover

The cracked altar

By Timothy J.R. Rains

 

4/5 stars! Entertaining read with lots of intrigue and mystical aspects.

The beginning of this book grabbed me right off. It reminded me a little of a cross between Brave heart and Kingdom of dreams – world-wise, I mean.

I liked that I could visualize the scenes with no trouble. I liked Hinkle and her character. But if I’m honest, I wasn’t sure if the main characters were supposed to be portrayed as villainous – because that’s how I saw Sir Gilkrist – arrogant, self-serving and infuriating. And then we have Kerstin, a witch everyone feared and disliked and who actually acted the part of the bad guy – save for when she was asked to save parts of the village. But the author cast enough shadow around Kerstin’s character to make one wonder about her ulterior motives, and that twist at the end just made me more curious.

The battle scenes were vivid and packed with action – which I enjoyed very much. And although I didn’t like the way Sir Gilkrist treated Hinkle, I know that’s how men from a past era treated their servants.

The plot was a little confusing at first, I couldn’t figure it out – Sir Gilkrist stated his goal was to find the missing princess, but he didn’t seem to be giving much thought about her. And Kerstin, also one of the main characters, only showed up later in the story.

The spellbook was only mentioned later in the story – I wouldn’t have known it was a major point if the blurb hadn’t mentioned it. Those were my only– niggles, as a fellow friend likes to call them, otherwise, the book had my attention all the way.

The writing was simple and easy to understand, and save for a few creepy scenes, there wasn’t any trigger points in the story. It’s suited for readers age 12+, but I think it’d appeal to an older target, maybe 16+.

Add it to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/43729619

Or get a copy from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cracked-Altar-Timothy-J-Rains-ebook/dp/B07KQNNZ4H

 

Weird

 

Back a while I read a Goodread’s review for a Thai cookbook. At the time, though I found it weird, I told myself a cookbook was still a book, so the rules for rating still counted.

The other day, again on Goodreads, I saw a 3 star rating for another cookbook, and the weirdness of it came back.

How do you rate a cookbook? What do you take in consideration?

I recalled all the cookbooks my mom had and remember reading them when young. What’s there to rate?

Is it based on how great the recipes are? Is it based on how the recipes are explained? Or the yummy pictures? Do you have to cook all the recipes in that book before you rate it? If you think not, then why not? You’re reviewing and rating that book based on its quality, right? How can you tell the quality without trying all the recipes? Maybe the ones you didn’t try – for lack of ingredients, or because you didn’t feel like trying that one, or because it took time – were exactly the kind of food you like to eat. Wouldn’t that then, be unfair to the author who wrote it? Wouldn’t it be like rating a book without reading it?

What if you find only one or two handful of recipes you enjoy, but they’re great recipes that you now cook for every special occasion?

Would you rate the cookbook you have, or do you think it’s weird too? I’m seriously curious, guys, how do you rate a cookbook?

Pun, fun and carefree

It was the strangest summer of my life. It started with a wedding invitation that required me to leave my comfortable, quiet hills for a week in the noisy, stinky and crowded city.

The first incident happened when my designated chauffeur, a guy from overseas called Bartholomew, affectionately dubbed Barth the Moo for his quirky character, arrived at the airport in aunt Crozella’s ancient van – the one she used to pick us from the school’s playground when my parents were out of town.

Climbing into the passenger’s seat, I noted the pack of carefree panty liner, sitting open above the dashboard at once. If Barth found it strange, he didn’t say anything as he climbed into the driver’s seat and thumped the door shut with so much force, the van rocked for a few seconds.

“Ac ain’t workin’ so we gotta leave the windows down,” he said as he started the ignition. The old van farted, burped and finally roared to life, the sound like of those old western trains chugging along the railroad. And god, just as loud. I could just see myself dying in half an hour from a headache, or a heat stroke (temps were over three digits!), maybe even an accident when the old metal can exploded with us inside.

I saw it then, how could I miss it? Barth had a panty liner stuck to his right palm. He grabbed the steering wheel with both hands – the thing looked like it needed a sailor to navigate – unaware that he had something glued to his hand.

I recalled Cousin Deloris talking about Barth’s prostheses, but I was pretty sure it was the left leg, not the right arm. And then I saw the second panty liner, stuck to the headrest of the driver’s seat. And when I pulled away, there it was, another one on the headrest of the passenger’s seat.

“Uh, Barth?” I said, unsure how to say this. How did you tell a guy he had a female sanitary napkin stuck to his hand?

Barth noted my flushed face, gave me a reassuring smile that showcased white, crooked teeth, swiped his right palm over his face, patted the sweat from his neck.

“You’re hot?” he asked, reaching for the carefree box and offering it to me. “It’s great absorbent,” he dropped the box on my lap. “It’s perfumed as well, so you don’ smell sour either.”

I stared at the box in horror, and all I could think was that I had an entire week ahead.

***

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a ‘sanitizing napkin’ ad. The first thing that came to mind was something that killed germs and bacteria. The previous line started with ‘highly absorbent’, so my mind produced the image of hands rubbing a tissue between sweaty palms. It was only when I read the entire paragraph and the word ‘female’ and ‘pantyliner’ came up that I realized what I was reading.

This is just a piece my muse spat out amidst the edits – I know, we need a break!

Hope you had fun!

 

Every Love

I haven’t read a poetry book since my high school years. But that doesn’t mean I stopped liking it. On the contrary, every now and then I come upon a particular piece that captures my attention and echoes in my mind long after I’ve read it. Every love has many pieces that reverberates and ricochets inside the brain for days after you finish reading.

When I was asked to read “Every love”, I said yes, knowing I was long past due for a poetry book.

This one is the kind of poetry that – I felt – bears the soul, gives glimpses of the sweet and innocent, to the dark and ugly, to the hurt and joy of unconditional love.

“By not saying a word, You tell me all, By the look in your eyes, I’m ready to fall.”

But love isn’t all and life goes on, no matter what we go through and what events will stay with us, what will change us.

“We’re paper on water, we float till we’re full, Drown in the wet, the mess, We bend we fold, Fragile, We trust the hands that hold us, We must, We get squeezed and we crinkle, We get ripped, we tear, A steady state of uncertainty, What mood shall it be? What colors will mark us for eternity?”

I’ve read this part so many times, I’ve memorized it. Isn’t that true to us all?

“ Dress this way, dress that, with faces so polished. Realities masked, real emotions demolished. When life catches up, it’s a slap in the face. Because life doesn’t care about our popularity race.”

Oh, isn’t life so fickle? Don’t we care, even a little, how the world will see and judge us… only to realize, sometimes too late, that we spent too long pleasing others and forgetting that we live only once?

“If time were a bubble we held in our hand, Would it pulse or move, change in color or expand? Would we hold it dear, with love, knowing it’s precious? Or would we consistently poke and abuse, be vicious?”

I picked up this book one morning as soon as I woke – and every one was still asleep. It took me only thirty to forty minutes to read from start to finish, but I’ve gone back twice more since.

Every Love will be released on July 21st, 2019 and it’s a great Sunday backporch evening read. I recommend it – especially to all women out there.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45682047-every-love

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07QWPWX74

Marika (Chronicles of Tonath #3) by Mari Collier

Blurb: Tonath is a planet in danger of being torn apart. Only one can inherit the knowledge to one day save the Tonathian people, and her name is Marika.

It’s been seventeen years since her father passed.  Coming of age, she inherits a cattle hold, a trust account, and many gifts. One special gift is a chest, which comes with instructions that will guide her to the Bergman Mountains.

With a spaceship and the knowledge of three ancient civilizations, will she have time to access it all.. or will the Star Shifts hide the information, and drive her into the arms of her childhood love?

My review: A great read! An emotional journey of a half-alien girl with ambitions and wisdom in a failing planet ruled by men.

This is the third installment in the Chronicles of Tonath by Mari Collier. I didn’t read the first two books, and although there were times in the book where I wondered what was behind the scene – with Jack Donald and with The Silver and the Green – I didn’t need to reference back to understand.

This story follows the life of Marika, a half human, half alien girl with big ambitions in a world falling apart, a world ruled by men.

Because of Tonath’s proximity to a black hole, shifts happen that cause shattering earth quakes as well as the planet to burn every so many years.

Marika’s journey is the kind to elicit all kinds of emotion from the reader. There were times I couldn’t put the story down, needing to know what was going to happen next, others when I had my teeth gritted, others when I was biting my nails. And then there were the times where my eyes pricked – though I assure I’m woman enough to keep those tears from falling in front of my kids.

It’s a slow burn story, but the pace remains steady throughout the entire book, with plot twists, ups and downs I couldn’t predict.

The writing was good, the visualization vivid, the tone captivating. I recommend ages 15+.

 

Add it to your Goodreads

Or get a copy on amazon

Uh, I can’t do that

A while back, I was talking to this guy and I let it escape *coughs bragged *  that I’m a published author. He was impressed, asked me if he could read it, and of course, I forwarded him both books + the short story, with the promise to gift him with an early copy of the final book when it’s completed.

While we talked, and he checked the books and the reviews on goodreads, he said he’d like to arrange a small gathering for me to introduce myself and my books to help with marketing.

I, of course, introvert that I am, said no way.

My mom said I was a fool (gotta love family bluntness), that there was nothing to be shy about, and that I was letting a great opportunity go.

And I know that.

But I’m just not wired that way. I can be the joker in the room filled with friends and family members, I can be outgoing whenever I meet someone new by accident. But put me in a situation where I’d be questioned by a room filled with strangers about a particular subject and I’d simply blank. I know, because that actually happened to me before – at work when I was presenting a project to half a dozen donors. Granted, it wasn’t my project or my presentation, but the fact remains that my mind simply disconnects and I can’t, for the life of me, grasp a coherent thought when I’m put on the spot.

I’ve been asked by family members “what’s your book about?” and my answer is always, “Hmmm. It’s fantasy.”

“Yeah?” they’d ask, “What kind?”

And I’d say, “Urban fantasy?” Are they asking because they’re trying to be polite? I always wonder.

And when I’m asked to elaborate, I go on about this girl who’s maybe half human and half fae, but she isn’t really half human but something else. And she’s taken to a facility where scientists conduct all kinds of experiments on her but she manages to escape nine years later. But the book opens after that. And she’s being attacked by hired mercenaries that the scientists send after her and she’s trying to find her mother to find out why they’re all trying to capture her, but her mother, well, she isn’t who she thought she should be.

Here I’d stop, because the room’s gone quiet and I can feel everyone’s eyes on me – and I have this sense that the ones who don’t think I’m a little loony (there’s not one single reader among my friends and family) are actually wondering if the book is as bad as I make it sound.

And remember, those are the friends and family who consider me the joker of the bunch

 

So when this guy said he could put together a small gathering of readers to help me out, my answer was a resounding no.

I can’t do that, even though I know it’s a great opportunity passing by.

Is it a necessary step for an author? A quick internet research said that it’s a great tool one should explore – and that’s actually sad. I just want to write and be read, I don’t want to be famous, and I don’t want to make a lot of money – though the latter would actually be nice.

Would you do it – stand in front of a bunch of people and answer their questions about something that took you years to complete? Or, better yet, have you ever attended a book event where the author made the story sound uninteresting and boring?

Here’s what the fuss is about:

Sorcery of Thorns By Margaret Rogerson

 

I have so much to say about this book but first let me get one thing out: WOW (hear me squealing!)!

Have you ever picked up a book, started reading and reading, and when you reach the end, you look back and search for another page? Maybe it got ripped off? So you read that last page again and as if it were a continuation to the story, continue on to the author section and back cover? Then you go online and take a look at what people are saying, all the while saying under your breath, “let it be a series, let it be a series, pleasepleaseplease.” That was me with this book.

I saw this book around in so many tbr lists that I got curious. And then a friend practically threw it at me, thank you Amira, for lending me this book – it was more than worth my time!

Let it be known that I was so caught in this story that I put everything aside – including my edits – and just read. Of course, I kind of lost the rhythm in the edits, but, well, it’s summer and if I can’t take a few days to relax and read, then I’ll never be able to.

I started reading this around 10pm, just a quick peak to see if the first few pages called to me. It was about 3am when I put it aside, because there’s no sleeping in for me, no matter how much I wish so. By 7am I was up and reading where I’d left off. I’m sure if I hadn’t paused to eat or drink or see to my kid’s needs and home, I’d have finished the story way before 2 am the next morning.

So, magic library, sorcery, conflicting heroes, evil villains, romance and action. What else one could ask?

I can honestly say that up to now, this is the best book I’ve read this year so far – there is not a single thing to complain about this book except for: I want more!

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42201395-sorcery-of-thorns


And then I picked up Illuminae.

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Hmm, now this one is a mystifier. I’ve read so much about this one that I decided to read it – out of curiosity about the fuss. I admit that going into it, I thought this was going to be similar to These broken stars (a great read btw).

And in a way it was, since both were dark, creepy at times, and thoroughly captivating. I just couldn’t put it down – and God, I wanted to.

That’s right, I had a strong urge to throw the book – my laptop – at the wall through most of the book, and yet…. I’m not sure if this one was just so confusing for me, all the ims and smh and different formats – let me just say that I had my teeth gritted through most of the book. My reader read the whole thing as if there were no punctuation whatsoever anywhere, save for when the ‘illuminae group’ were giving their account of the events. I seriously contemplated putting the book down and forgetting about it, but man I wanted to know what was going to happen!

It was a surprisingly great read, but I’m sorry to say I don’t think I’ll be picking up the second book – because of the format, not the story. I don’t think I can go through another entire book through ims and smh and multiple formats.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23395680-illuminae

Ever read either of these books? If so, what did you think? Have you ever read a book where the format was so weird it just put you off?

**Note: I was unable for some reason to save a copy of the cover for Sorcery of Thorns to use on this post.

Back from the grave – urr, the cave

Schools are out and summer is here and most are already going on trips, or to the beach, or hiking and camping, enjoying a vacation – to say it better: having fun.

But me? I’ve spent the most part of the past two months inside a cave… my editing cave.

Edits and revisions have never gone slower for me. I decided early on last month to change my tactic, which was to attack my manuscript top to bottom over and over. Seeing I wasn’t doing much progress with that approach, I decided to simply create a new file. Then, on to the manuscript, select and cut the first chapter, paste it on the new file. Then edit and revise that chapter to an inch of its life. What I did, exactly, was this:

1-Read and revise whatever I felt didn’t sound write.

2- Correct all the spelling and grammar.

3- Delete anything extra that wasn’t adding to the sentence – that, a, just, the -ly words and so on.

4- Rewrite sentences that could be shortened.

5- Read the whole thing until there was nothing left to add, delete or change.

6- Take my mind off the story by reading something else – so I could start in the morning fresh.

 

Once done with that chapter, I’d head back to the manuscript, select the next chapter, cut and paste it on that new file. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat…

My RISD (Revisionitis Intolerance Syndrome Disorder) is still going strong, but I’m managing it. So far, I’ve done more than half of the manuscript, about 65k words from 110k+ yes, I’m still on round 1.

 

Still, as you can imagine from #6 in that list, I’ve read quite a number of books this past 7 weeks, and here’s a list, in no particular order:

My reviews can be read on goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/63306583

  • Muse of nightmares (Strange the dreamer #2) by Laney Taylor

 

Well, I admit I put off reading this one so long because of the way that book one ended – I mean, that ending? I could practically write book 2 from it. But, I needed to read something that wouldn’t give my tortured brain shock waves, so I picked this one (after all, didn’t I already know what was going to happen?) Boy was I wrong.

Well, not entirely wrong, mind you, this book started exactly the way I’d thought it would. Had I not been in the mood for this sort of predictability, I’d have put it down on the first few pages.

But then things started evolving, and shock and shock, it wasn’t what I was expecting, and I ended up at the edge, wondering when that twist was going to happen and all my premonitions would come true. But it didn’t and I ended up enjoying this one more than the first, save for one little thing – SPOILER AHEAD! And yeah, I didn’t like that Sarai remained as she was in the end, but there was enough doubt thrown at the end to make one believe there was hope for her still.

 

  • Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1) by P. Dangelico

 

Nothing really special about this one, but that’s because I’ve read so many romance books, this one is just another one. It was a normal good read though, and I have no complain to make.

 

  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

 

I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik a while back and enjoyed it very much – especially the length. So when I found this one, I pounced, ready to enjoy another great read. And yes, it was great, but not as great. Maybe it was the thrill of that first book, the knowledge of the danger from start to finish, maybe it was the magic of the world building of the first … Actually, no, there was magic in this one as well, and the words were captivating too. Maybe it was the fact that the reason for the endless winter in this one came too late in the story? Still, all in all, I enjoyed it very much.

 

  • Diary of a Bad Boy by Meghan Quinn

 

Very well written, but I don’t like the part where girl falls for the guy who treats girl poorly. There’s no reason for him to be an ass aside from the fact that he’s an ass.

I mean, come on to this side of real life. A guy acts like a jerk? You slap him and walk away, not fall in love. But I actually read this one through to the end – well, I listened to it all the way through, and if I fell asleep on some parts, it was still ok.

 

  • King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo

 

Alright, I actually enjoyed this one very much. I’m not a big fan of Bardugo – gasps – but I don’t have anything against her either. I did read the first book in the Grisha, Shadow and bone, and I did like it, but I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I started reading the second book there, didn’t feel the mood and let it go for a later time (that still hasn’t come). My second book by this author was Wonder woman, and yes, enjoyed that one too. But I gotta say this one takes the cake. It was really good – and I did recognize a few names from Shadow and bone, enough so that the references made me want to go back and finish the Grishah trilogy? Series? And yes, intend to, sooner than later.

 

  • Blood of the Earth (Soulwood #1) by Faith Hunter

 

Did I ever say I was a fan of Jane Yellowrock? I was, and when the last book in the series (#12), was released, I was… sad to read it, knowing there wouldn’t be any other coming.

So when I realized Faith Hunter had started another series in Jane Yellowrock’s world? My first instinct was not to pick it up, knowing it wasn’t going to be as good. Well, it wasn’t as good, but different enough that I ended up enjoying it nonetheless. I already have book 2 in my cue to be read next.

I’m curious about Nell and who she’ll end up with, as well as about Rick – because, and this is probably an unpopular opinion, I wanted him to end up with Jane. So now I’m wondering if Nell and Rick are meant to be?

 

  • The Culling Trials (Shadowspell academy #1, #2, #3) by Shannon Mayer and F. Breene

 

This is a 3 book short stories that I read, one after the other. I enjoyed it, but I admit, I don’t like when convenient things happen when the protagonist is facing a difficult situation, and it did here, on all three books. But I like the adventure and obstacles that were thrown on the way, and the story was written for a much younger audience (teens and probably mg) so I took that in consideration. And all three were intriguing enough to keep me going all the way. I think though both authors should have made the three into one full novel.

 

  • Obsession in death (Naked in death #40) / Devoted in death (Naked in death #41) / Brotherhood in death (Naked in death #42) By JD Rob

 

Sometimes I have a penchant for police/detective work and JD Rob never fails to deliver. Romance – check. Action – check. Great visualization – check. Humor – check. Dark – check. A little fantasy – check.

Yes, it ticks all the boxes, hence the reason I’ve read 42 books in the series so far.

 

So that’s that. I see myself doing more of the above for the next month, unless someone manages to fish me out of that cave – by force – to do something else. So, readers – have you read any of those books or any books by those authors?

Authors? Do you have a different way for editing your work?