I had the honor of beta-reading this one, and even if Stephanie keeps it exactly as it is, I will recommend it to anyone who likes Regency fantasy. I...moreI had the honor of beta-reading this one, and even if Stephanie keeps it exactly as it is, I will recommend it to anyone who likes Regency fantasy. I absolutely adored Kat already, but seeing her at eighteen makes me wish for more and more books.
**Spoiler alert** If you haven't read the three Kat books already out, go away and read those. Right now!!
Kat Stephenson is a young lady making her debut in society with the help of her two sisters, each of whom owe their own happy marriages to wayward, headstrong Kat. While Kat is being fitted for her gown, she is summoned to the Golden Hall, and you immediately see what her life is like. Keeping up appearances is a full time job when she has to wink into another dimension on magickal business.
Her coming out will serve as cover for a mission the Guardians have tasked her with: to find an Illusionist stealing valuables from vulnerable young ladies. One of her associates in the mission will be none other than Alexander, the only boy who has ever turned Kat's head. Only he isn't a boy anymore, and Kat's now an eligible woman with a dowry seeking a good match. Unfortunately Alexander does not have a title, so he is entirely out of the question.
When Kat arrives at the ball, who should run up to her but Lucy, Kat's cousin and one of her dearest friends. And so you have it, three of the biggest magickal troublemakers in all of England at one ball, one night, with one villain to catch.
I did my best to make it a 5 star, at least - otherwise it wouldn't be on its way to print as I write this.
This book centers around Lizzie (Kyra Armjo's roommate) and Devon, so although it is in the Fairytale universe, it doesn't have too much overlap. I had every intention of writing Fairytale 3 when this story took hold of me and wouldn't let go.
I hope you love Lizzie and Devon as much as I do! And that you find their story a fun ride.(less)
Did I ever love this one!!! My favorite characters from Shadowy Horses and The Winter Sea unite in two love stories, one present, one past. This book...moreDid I ever love this one!!! My favorite characters from Shadowy Horses and The Winter Sea unite in two love stories, one present, one past. This book has the same rich, evocative writing I've come to expect from Susanna Kearsley.
Nicola is an art dealer in present day London who is hiding her psychometry - her psychic ability to learn things about objects' pasts with just a touch of her hand. One day when a terminally ill Scotswoman comes in with a precious firebird carving, hoping to sell it for enough money for an around the world cruise before she dies, Nicola is put in a bind. With a touch, she knows this firebird was a gift from the Russian Empress Catherine to the woman's ancestor, but there is no way to prove it with hard evidence. Moved by the woman's plight, Nicola pays a visit to Rob McMorran, a talented psychic whom she believes can help her track down some clues that will prove the carving's authenticity.
He's also Nicola's ex-boyfriend, a man she loved but ran from when it became clear that being around him required being open about her psychic ability, and she doesn't want to live the rest of her life being called a "freak". Only, they didn't exactly break up. She just took off after a date and never spoke to him again. Now, when she sees him again, he's still wearing a cheap watch she bought him as a joke years ago. He agrees to help her, for reasons she doesn't want to deal with at the moment, and together they set off in search of the carving's past.
Their first connection is to a young girl, Anna Logan, who lives near Cruden Bay in Scotland, during the worst of the Jacobite conflict. And so the quest begins.
I actually bought this in paperback before even reading it, that's how confident I was in Kearsley's ability. It wasn't as good as I expected. It was better.(less)
Loved it, of course, and can't wait to see where Susan takes this series next.
In this book, Penryn's at center stage for much of the text. It's just h...moreLoved it, of course, and can't wait to see where Susan takes this series next.
In this book, Penryn's at center stage for much of the text. It's just her, her cannibal-demon little sister; her schizophrenic mother; and her archangel sword, Pooky Bear. She has to fight other humans, human abominations the angels call "locusts" (but which are actually more like flying scorpion people who suck the life out of their victims), and of course, more angels.
When I first saw this book, it looked like one of the last things I'd want to read, because I'm allergic to tortured men and women who save them stori...moreWhen I first saw this book, it looked like one of the last things I'd want to read, because I'm allergic to tortured men and women who save them stories. But thank goodness for the indie writing community and the accessibility of authors like A Meredith Walters. I got to know her peripherally on Facebook, and could soon tell she wasn't some starry eyed girl with fantasies about moody, dark men. In fact, she is a former mental health counselor. The more I learned about her, the more intrigued I became with her writing, and so I picked up this book.
Life got in the way time and again, and it took me months, literally, to finish it. Not because it wasn't good, but because, ironically, I got to corresponding with the author and she even helped me with research on a novel I was working on at the time. I then asked if I could buy a copy of the FYITD books for a giveaway, and she explained she didn't have them out in paperback, so I fired up InDesign and tried my hand at formatting some for her. Once I did the paperbacks, I reformatted the ebooks, which in turn led to a deluge of formatting requests from other writers, a new business, bringing in three more formatters on contract, and very little time to read anything. A good book is one you have to finish in a day. A great book is one that sticks with you for months when you can't spare a moment to read. I never lost track of the story or the characters that entire time. Every chance I got to pick it up again, I remembered where in the story I was and who was whom.
Now that I've finally finished it, I'm beyond impressed with it. This isn't some silly tale about a moody guy and a hapless girl who have some torrid love affair. It's a very difficult and honest story about mental illness and young love. While Maggie, the female lead, does get sucked into Clay (the male lead's) tortured world, she has friends and family behind her the whole way who tell it like it is. They point out how unhealthy her relationship is and even help Maggie stand up to Clay's issues herself. The love story is both heartwarming and painful, and the book finishes where an affair like this would inevitably end. I'm glad this book was as successful as it was. It restores some of my faith in humanity to know that young women in the tens of thousands read this and recommended it to their friends. The characters are well rounded and layered and real, and I look forward to formatting Maggie and Clay's Christmas novella, which I've been granted the privilege of doing.
But yes, I do buy these books, and will be buying that one too once it's out.(less)
My only complaint is that it's disgusting how well Caisey can write. When I found out this novel was a NaNoWriMo project, I figured I had to become fr...moreMy only complaint is that it's disgusting how well Caisey can write. When I found out this novel was a NaNoWriMo project, I figured I had to become friends with Caisey or else I'd hate her guts from jealousy. Fortunately, she's also a lovely person, as well as being a talented writer.
Kylie Ryans has nothing, which means she has nothing to lose, so when she gets the chance to tour with troubled, formerly platinum selling star, Trace Corbin, it's her one shot at achieving her dreams. The problem? Trace is in the process of drinking himself to oblivion and destroying his career, so Kylie will do whatever it takes to prevent him from taking her down with him.
I absolutely love Kylie, her spunk and her strength. I loved the way she stood up to Trace, spoke her mind, and demanded control over her own destiny. Strong women are a popular trope these days, but they are often just women who are mouthy and irascible. Kylie's the real deal. Tempered by family tragedy and driven by her love of music, she makes increasingly difficult choices to remove every roadblock between her and success.
It'd be easy for this story to just be about her facing down Trace, but the third act takes the story to a whole new level. In the end of the day, Kylie's biggest obstacle is herself and her big mouth. Overcoming that shows the true strength of her character. I can't recommend this highly enough. A few days ago I got to meet Abbi Glines briefly. She and I talked about her career and mine, and I had the chance to hand her a book. I could have handed her one of mine. I handed her this one instead.
I just hope the cover I designed doesn't hold it back! (less)
My only real issue was that the climax was told in flashback. The dragons are flying and doing cool stuff, and then we cut to Althea and Brashen and A...moreMy only real issue was that the climax was told in flashback. The dragons are flying and doing cool stuff, and then we cut to Althea and Brashen and Alise summarizing it! But I love these books and devour them every time a new one comes out.(less)
I didn't know how this one ended (I live abroad, don't watch television, and my contact with the author tends to be of the 140 character tweet variety...moreI didn't know how this one ended (I live abroad, don't watch television, and my contact with the author tends to be of the 140 character tweet variety), and I'm glad I didn't because I love the way Shubaly sets up a story and controls the flow of information. His prose is noticeably stronger and smoother - it's been getting that way with each piece he writes.
Not to spoil the story, but suffice it to say, it's clear why CBS did not want to let him write about his experience. He sees straight through the strange and sick phenomenon that is reality television, and he does so as a self described 35 year old adolescent. I confess, I've often wondered if people just forget schoolyard cruelty, or just fall for it when it's dolled up as entertainment for grown ups.
As with all of Shubaly's Kindle Singles, I highly recommend this one.(less)
For those who prefer books without sex/premarital sex, avoid this one, obviously. It leaves nothing to the imagination. The story isn't about the sex,...moreFor those who prefer books without sex/premarital sex, avoid this one, obviously. It leaves nothing to the imagination. The story isn't about the sex, though, but rather love, acceptance of others' mistakes, and finding your one true love (though let me be clear to my more conservative readers, there is a lot of skin and cavorting around). I geekily took notes about how far Abbi could have the characters go while still maintaining the romantic suspense, took note of how much the relationship progressed as the percentage-read display ticked upwards, and mulled over the pacing and story inertia.
And yes, enjoyed the story too ;-) I don't have as much of an emotional connection to the characters who are more physical, which explains why I approach love stories the way I do, but for an example of a love story that uses physical acts to demonstrate devotion and attachment, few write them better than Abbi.(less)
I had the opportunity to beta read this novel. The aptly titled DROWNING IN YOU opens in a hospital where Charlee's father lies near death. Her mother...moreI had the opportunity to beta read this novel. The aptly titled DROWNING IN YOU opens in a hospital where Charlee's father lies near death. Her mother is already deceased. They were both victims of a ski lift accident, and the lift operator was none other than Charlee's high school crush, Dexter. The two of them have long been attracted to each other, and this tragedy simultaneously brings them together and drives a wedge between them. Everyone in town blames Dexter for the accident, so there will be no sympathy for Charlee if the two get together. And then there's the sweet, mild mannered Eliot, who works in a nearby restaurant and wouldn't mind getting to know Charlee better.
All in all and angsty set up that develops into a story that's by turns steamy, tragic, and suspenseful. Highly recommend!(less)
I wrote this story for The Dragon and the Stars, an anthology of writers from the Chinese diaspora. In this story you'll see a lot of me - the half-Chinese main character, the homage to linguistic anthropology (the field of my beta reader, Char Peery), a tribute to the Athabaskan people (of which there are several in New Mexico, along with Tanoan and other language groups), and fun science fiction/fantasy. There is no steam power in this one, so it's not steampunk. I guess it'd be powder punk (gunpowder).(less)