Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading List 2016

Since I've gotten back into the swing of reading I'm going to keep a reading list of all the books I read this year with a quick note on what I thought about it. I'm going to start with the books I read last year since this really only kicked into gear around October.


1. Grave Memory - Kalayna Price (UF)

I love this series, I find so many similarities to my own book series! It's a fun, engrossing read and I can't wait for the fourth book to come out next month.

2. Succubus Heat - Richelle Mead (PNR)

This is a PNR so it's more on the romance side than the plot side, but there still enough of an interesting plot dilemma going on among the romantic angst. I enjoy the romance and steaminess. Looking forward to finishing the series.

3. If I Should Die - Amy Plum (YA Fantasy)

I was glad to get around to finishing this series. It was fun, but I found the plot not to be deep or high stakes enough and it was also somewhat predictable, I figured certain things out early on which took some of the intensity out of it.

4. City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare (YA Fantasy)

Another end to a series. It was a pretty satisfying ending even if I think some parts were unnecessary (the narrative jumps to different characters a lot and some I didn't think were needed). I liked how it set up the Dark Artifices series by introducing us to the characters that will be featured in that series.

5. The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater (YA Fantasy)

I love this series. The story says a lot without having to be overly descriptive. It has an element of leaving you wanting to know more, wanting the characters to say more, reveal more, so it keeps you reading. The story is definitely intriguing and you get wrapped up in the magic that's part of the character's live.

6. Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater (YA Fantasy)

See above. Loved it. Can't wait for the final book, The Raven King.

7. Eternally Yours - Cate Tiernan (YA Fantasy)

Another series ender. I love Nastaysa's narrative even though I think there are times when she can be too snarky and it was great to see her grow and change over the course of the book as well as get glimpses into her past seeing as she's had a long life. And the romance was pretty good too. I do wish the plot conflict was more fleshed out and there was more active action going on as opposed to speculation and preparation. It didn't feel that intense since the villain just popped up in the end after not being a part of any of the other books so I had no real reason to care much about the conflict surrounding someone that felt like a random bad guy even though he was given a back story and connection to Nas. But overall I did like this series.


8. Soulless - Gail Carriger (Adult Fantasy)

In progress

Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Year in Writing - 2015

This past year I can definitely say I have found my stride when it comes to fitting writing into my busy life. With a day job, an active toddler, and a million things to do every day, I have carved out my time to write, and made the necessary sacrifices I had to make in order to be able to do so (meaning I sacrificed more sleep than I had to give, /tears!). Thus, I was able to write two novels this year. There was a time when I thought work and mommy-hood would mean I might only be able to write one book a year. But two?! That's a precedent I can live with.

It would be nice to be able to have more flexibility with my days, but I do enjoy the fact that many things are scheduled. Finding a specific time and place for certain things means they will definitely get done. Such as reading. The first three quarters of the year I read absolutely nothing! And I was not happy about it. So I scheduled reading time for my subway rides to and from work, and with my trusty Kindle in tow, I have been able to read six books in the past couple months. That's a huge accomplishment for me.

But back to writing. This year I completed the third and fourth novels in my Reanimation Files series. The Ravaging In Between took about seven months to write and was DIFFICULT. In comparison, A Torment of Savages took exactly two months + 7 days and was the easiest book I have written since the first novel, Affairs of the Dead (the second book, Requiem for the Living, was also a difficult beast to write). I think having worked through two hard books back to back,  I learned a lot about how to build and pace my plots, how to handle twists, etc, so I took that knowledge and applied it to the fourth book. Therefore I was able to avoid a lot of the pitfalls I encountered with Requiem and Ravaging. I've been writing for over a decade, but there's always new things to learn! Especially when writing a series. A Torment of Savages restored my faith that the book writing process doesn't have to be difficult or long. Some books will just challenge you in different ways than others.

Moving into 2016, I am looking forward to publishing A Torment of Savages, and working on the fifth book in The Reanimation Files. I have also been thinking about writing a sequel to Black Widow Witch, so maybe that will be my next project. As long as a story comes to me and Reanimation Files #5 doesn't take over and demand that I write it instead!

This was a good writing year. It has made me feel confident that I don't have to sacrifice my writing career just because I am a busy, working mother. So I look forward to the novels I will produce in 2016, and the books I'll read on the train.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

These are a Few of My Favorite [Literary] Things

In the spirit of the season I thought I would share some of my favorite literary items that I've come across, which would make great gifts for the book lover or writer in your life. I love coming across cool or unique items, and when it comes to anything to do with being a writer or bookworm, that goes double. Here are a few things I'm really digging:

Writing Gloves

These gloves are from Storiarts. I already own their Pride and Prejudice and Secret Garden Book Scarves. I love these writing gloves! My hands can look stylish while I write.

Awkward Silence pillow

Ah awkward silences. Not good in read life, not good in a story. This Awkward Silence Pillow is one of the many adorable pillows from Awkward Animal. I already own the Koala, Giraffe, and Rhino. The intent was to buy these for my toddler, but if I'm being honest, they're more for me. I will definitely be adding the awkward silence (and many others) to my collection!

Book Worm Ring

I came across this Book Worm Ring while browsing Amazon and love how simple it is. And I love that it's from Amazon's Handmade section!

Kindle Cases

Let's face it, there are tons of cute Kindle cases out there, especially on Etsy. I've even made my own. I've been looking for a new case for my Kindle and this is one (of many) that I really like.

Handmade Journals

I came across this Handmade Journal seller while perusing Pinterest. I love hand-bound journals, as well as handmade paper. My Creative Writing teacher gifted me with one in high school, which I still have. Maybe in another post I will showcase literary things that I actually own!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Review! Claiming the Succubus by Lorien Lyn

Today I'm reviewing a fellow Etopia author, Lorien Lyn, and her novella, Claiming the Succubus!

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Book Description: 

Being a Succubus has its perks…until the hunter becomes the hunted.

For half-breed succubus Ava Hawley, hunting supernatural foes is worth all the risks and rewards. But when a wolf shifter is responsible for kidnapping her sister, the mission becomes personal. Ava is ordered to track down the bad boy and turn him over to her boss. That is, until she meets the dangerously sexy shifter and realizes her charm—the kiss of death—is no match for the charms of her opponent.

Alpha werewolf Killian Reid is on the run from a demon mistress, but someone else is on his tail—a stunning seductress with more sex appeal than any woman ought to have. And Killian can't resist her. Proving his innocence will be a challenge, but with every moment that he spends with her, Ava’s self-control weakens. And as their attraction grows, she knows she’ll have to rely on the shifter she'd been sent to capture, or they’ll both become victims to another predator…


Ava reached out for Killian's hand and pulled him to the side. The movement to touch him was 
 instinctual. “I can't let you risk it alone. This is my battle too.”

“We don't have time, love.” He took hold of her chin, running his thumb over her bottom lip. Not giving it too much thought—and because she wanted to—she thrust her tongue out and licked him. The taste of mornings in spring and mint burst into her mouth. She gasped softly and his eyes darkened. “Save it,” he growled low. “I know what you're trying to do.”

Her gaze lowered. Defeated.

“We'll talk later when this is all over.” He leaned forward, leveling his eyes with hers. “The part about us.”

“Won't happen if we go with your plan.”

“It's the only way to gain access into the estate.”

“What if it doesn't work?” Concern spiraled in her gut.

“We won't know if we don't try.”

She couldn't help but wonder if he was referring to them again. The thought of them together had crossed her mind a couple of times, but she couldn't envision being with the wolf. A possessive shifter was dangerous all around. The man's aura radiated nothing but danger and violence. The telltale hint of darkness and dominance gave it away. Besides, wolf shifters mated for life and Ava didn't know if she was ready for that.

My Review

Claiming the Succubus was a fun, and steamy read! We meet Ava and Killian: she's a succubus and he's a werewolf. From the moment they meet sparks fly and it's not long before things get hot and heavy. But they also have problems on their hands in the form of Ava's missing sister and the fact that it looks like a setup is underfoot by someone Ava thought was trustworthy. I enjoyed the balance between unraveling the mystery and developing Ava and Killian's magnetic attraction. The steamy scenes did not disappoint! I loved the back and forth between the two, Killian is seriously swoon worthy. Definitely give this one a read. 

Four Stars!


Lorien Lyn writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense with dangerously sexy heroes and equally strong heroines. Romance novels are her favorite as they push beyond traditional boundaries. When she’s not busy brainstorming up new stories, she enjoys action-packed movies and Fantasy Football with her husband and son in beautiful Southern California. 
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spotlight! Pure Justice by Liah Penn

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Book Description:

In an uncertain future where the Impures—genetic defectives—are banished to a ghetto territory, Detective Ina Stone and her rookie partner, Sam Fujimoto, constantly fight for survival. But when a murdered Impure is discovered in the projects with only a business card in his pocket, the clues lead them into the shadowy underworld of black market trade and human trafficking. After Sam is kidnapped by the Yakuza crime syndicate, Ina must hide her own defect to go undercover as a human trafficking victim. Accompanied by a Tebori master and a new detective with her own secrets, Ina must find a way to free Sam without exposing his role in the investigation, or getting herself killed in the process.


He lay face down on the pavement, his shoes missing, blood staining the concrete and forming an unlikely halo around his head. It was a fresh kill, and I was surprised it had been called in so quickly. A death like this could go unnoticed for hours, if not days, especially down here in the Rainbow Alley projects.

I felt a movement at my elbow. Melker had arrived with a new tech, Roselli, and they scurried to place screens to protect the integrity of the scene. I looked down at my feet. I hadn’t even put on protective footwear. I stepped back gingerly.

“Couldn’t wait for me, eh?” Melker tugged me gently out of the way. “Get your suit on before you contaminate my crime scene.”

He was right, of course. I should have waited until his arrival. I stepped over to the open tailgate of the Death Examiner wagon and dug into a supply box, pulling out a paper suit, shoe protectors, and a face mask. It was the middle of the night and I was dead tired. I perched on the wagon’s tailgate and put on the protective gear. My stomach churned while I waited for Melker’s permission to return to the body.

I felt the bile in my throat rise and I bolted around the side of the van, where I heaved my dinner into the gravel and dirt. I then pressed my cheek against the cool glass window and took several deep breaths. Damn, that was close. I swiped my mouth with my sleeve.

The two patrol guys who had answered the call were standing at the tailgate, waiting for me. They gave me a funny look as I emerged from behind the wagon.

“You OK, Ina?” Officer Jim Lee asked, his notebook in hand.

I nodded but I didn’t feel fine. My hormones were raging. I was only a couple of months in, but this pregnancy was knocking my socks off. I tucked my withered hand into a pocket. “What’ve you got?”

Lee looked down at his notes. His expression was passive, as if he saw this kind of thing all the time. “Called in at one o’clock, about an hour ago. I was here within four minutes of the call. Chuy was right behind me. The guy wasn’t dead yet.”

“He wasn’t?” I was surprised. I had been called out as a detective to an Unattended Death. “No paramedics?”

“By the time they got here, he was gone.” Lee fingered the pages of his notepad, then closed it with a snap of his wrist.

“So they left? I must have just missed them. I was here…”

“Within ten minutes,” Lee said, “I know. They got a radio call and took off. Sorry.”

I glanced over at Melker. Hadn’t he finished with the screens yet? The aged streetlight only partially illuminated the scene, coloring everything with an amber hue. I saw the new tech setting up a spotlight. It would be a few more minutes before I’d be allowed back over to examine the body.


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Award-winning author Liah Penn is an attorney who practices law near New Orleans, Louisiana.  A former prosecutor, she has worked in a major metropolis, an Indian reservation and on the Mexican border.  She is an accomplished artist and is active in numerous arts organizations and boards in the New Orleans area.

Author Links

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Blog Tour + Giveaway for Requiem for the Living

The two week tour for Requiem for the Living kicks off today! Check out the schedule below and follow the tour for reviews, interviews and spotlights! And there's a giveaway with cool prizes, including a grand prize. Make sure you enter!

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June 8th
Reviews with Emma

The Reader’s Hollow

June 9th
Boom Baby Reviews

June 10th
Reading to Distraction

June 11th
Pinky Pollock

June 12th
Stormy June

Happy Tails and Tales

June 14th
Around the World in Books

June 15th
Books are Love

June 16th
Pixies Can Read

June 17th
Kelly Smith Reviews

June 19th
Offbeat Vagabond

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A.J. Locke is originally from Trinidad and Tobago but has resided in New York City for over ten years. She knew early on that she wanted to be a writer, penned her first novel at fourteen, and hasn’t stopped since. Creating is her passion, and other than writing she enjoys drawing, painting, graphic design, and any other creative whim that may take her.

Author Links:

Requiem for the Living (The Reanimation Files Book 2) Buy Links:

Affairs of the Dead (The Reanimation Files Book 1) Buy Links:


 To go along with the tour I am having a GIVEAWAY! The Grand Prize winner will receive: A Yorkie Plush (in the novels, Selene has a pet Yorkie named Luna), a Rune necklace, a signed paperback copy of Affairs of the Dead an e-book copy of Black Widow Witch, and a $10 Amazon gift card.
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Note: In order to win the grand prize you must complete (and show proof) ALL the items on the Rafflecopter! The giveaway will run from June 8th - June 30th. 

If more than one person becomes eligible for the Grand Prize, I will use a random number selector to pick the overall winner.

You also have a chance to win great books from Etopia Press, Rune Necklaces, and Amazon Gift Cards. Those prizes do not require total completion of the items on the Rafflecopter.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Coming Soon -- Night Owl Reviews Scavenger Hunt

I'm excited to be one of the Sponsors of Night Owl Review's Scavenger Hunt taking Place June 12 - July 3rd. There are going to be a lot of great books for you to discover, not to mention prizes to win! 100 gift cards plus a grand prize $250 grand prize! Make sure you check it!

Night Owl Reviews Web Hunt