Monday, September 25, 2017

Pesto, Pancakes and Chapter 21 | #WeeklyMenu Week #216

Hello Monday! It's me again. Wow, its been a long rough week. There's just too much going on right now and not enough time by myself to get my head on straight. I think my family is suffering for it. I'm sorry guys, its not really my fault.

Writing actually happened this week. I made a lot of progress on my WIP even though when I first sat down to write I wasn't feeling it. It was like magic. When the pen hit the paper, the ideas began to flow and I have a good direction to finish my book. Chapter twenty one is done. 

Well, enjoy this weeks menu!

Monday

Tuesday
- Sloppy Joes

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday
Tuna Sandwiches

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Interview with an Author | Ed McDonald is on the Blog

I have had the amazing opportunity to ask the author of Blackwing a few questions about writing, being an author an life in general. Luckily, I was able to snag am ARC copy of this awesome book and couldn't put it down. Check out the interview below... 

So, what have you written?

Blackwing is my first published work and will be hitting US shelves in October. It’s available on Amazon and the other usual sites for preorder now. I also run a blog at www.edmcdonaldwriting.com and have had a number of guest-posts featured on blog websites during July.

Where can we buy or see them? 

You can read my guest posts at some of the blogger websites on the graphic below:

Image result for blackwing blog tour

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Ryhalt Galharrow is forty, a functioning alcoholic who has conflicted feelings about the things that he has done in the past. He’s not very honest with himself and wants to believe that he’s heartless because things would be so much easier if he could let things go. He’s a big guy, measured, not very friendly, but he’s deeply loyal to the few friends he can stomach. Oh, and he’s also in eternal servitude to an immortal called Crowfoot who exists as a raven tattooed on Galharrow’s arm, and whose method sending him orders is distinctly painful.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m at work on the second instalment of The Raven’s Mark series, of which Blackwing is the start. It’s written, but I’m in the process of doing some significant editing to get it into shape. I’m also working on a few other projects including a YA post-apocalyptic novel, a screenplay for a sci-fii thriller and a script for a graphic novel. Those are all very much in their infancy though – book 2 is the priority.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

I love thinking about this stuff! Ray Stevenson is my main choice for Galharrow, in part because he’s 6’6 and Galharrow is a big guy. Alternatively, Mike Colter would fill the role pretty well.


When did you decide to become a writer?

I was fifteen. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I was doing it through my whole childhood too. There are stacks of comics at my mom and dad’s house that I drew with my brother, exercise books filled with stories I wrote. I think I probably started writing at age 3. My mom told me that I was reading at 2, but she might be making that up…

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

Blackwing is part of The Raven’s Mark series. Each book stands alone – there’s a full plot that has a resolution – but that all fit together into a larger narrative.

Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?

I don’t get to read as much as I used to. If I’m mentally alert enough to be reading, then I feel compelled that I should be writing instead. But I still get through maybe a book a month. My favourite authors are probably Robin Hobb and Joe Abercrombie, but Joe better not see this because every time I see him I tell him that I’m stealing his place in the genre and I don’t want him knowing that I love his books. We did karaoke together in Helsinki recently, and he can sing as well as write good books. Grrr.


What book/s are you reading at present?

Currently I’m reading Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. I love fantasy but I find reading it difficult now, because I’m so hyper critical and deconstruct it all. I am also enjoying Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight – his prose are just brilliant. The last book I finished was Mike Carey’s The Girl With All The Gifts which was excellent.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t put up with anything that makes you less than happy. Always work harder to make your life better.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Legend, by David Gemmell. It’s the only book that I’ve read seven times, and it literally changed my outlook on life. It still influences me today.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The more you think about your book as a great work of art, the less you’re going to be able to make the important decisions. It is a great work of art, but the Mona Lisa still has the figure centered, there’s still a particular palette of colors used, and Da Vinci used a brush, not his fingers. Writing a novel is as much like building a car engine as it is about dreaming a landscape. The pieces have to fit together. Be practical and pragmatic and listen when people tell you that something isn’t working for them.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Buy my book and read it! Or listen to the excellent e-book narrated by Colin Mace. I blog a bit about swordsmanship (which I train) and other writing related stuff.

Twitter: @EdMcDonaldTFK


Thank you to Ed McDonald for stopping by the blog. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your answers and I can't wait for the next installment of the Ravens' Mark series.  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Who likes their Stories to Bite! | Sookie Stackhouse Stories by Charlaine Harris #BookReview

Title: The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories
By: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288
Release Date: November 21st, 2017
Publisher: Ace

Summary from Goodreads: For the first time together in one volume, the complete short story collection starring Sookie Stackhouse—with a new introduction from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the series, Charlaine Harris. 

For the first time together in one volume, here is the complete short story collection starring Louisiana’s favorite telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse—from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Charlaine Harris. New fans can fill in the gaps in their Sookie lore while old friends can revisit some of their favorite moments and characters. From investigating the murder of a local fairy to learning that her cousin was a vampire, from remodeling her best friend’s house to attending a wedding with her shapeshifting boss, Sam, Sookie navigates the perils and pitfalls of the paranormal world.

Belly up to the bar at Bon Temps’s favorite watering hole and hear stories that will make you wish Sookie never left, including...

“Fairy Dust”
“One Word Answer”
“Dracula Night”
“Lucky”
“Gift Wrap”
“Two Blondes”
“If I Had a Hammer”
“Small-Town Wedding”
“Playing Possum”
“In the Blue Hereafter”

This definitive collection is the perfect binge read for people who like their stories with bite!



Review: AH! SOOKIE STACKHOUSE! Big fan of true blood here and this compilation was awesome. Every story pulls you back into the world of Sookie and the vampires. Each so different, but along the same lines. Loved it!

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.




Thursday, September 21, 2017

Before Terror Turns to Murder | Closer to the Chest by Mercedes Lackey #BookReview

Title: Closer to the Chest
By: Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 381
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Publisher: DAW

Summary from Goodreads: Herald Mags, the King of Valdemar’s Herald Spy, has been developing a clandestine network of young informants who operate not only on the streets of the capital city of Haven, but also in the Great Halls and kitchens of the wealthy and highborn. In his own established alternate personas, Mags observes the Court and the alleys alike, quietly gathering information to keep Haven and the Kingdom safe.
His wife Amily is growing into her position as the King’s Own Herald, though she is irritated to encounter many who still consider her father, Herald Nikolas, to be the real King’s Own. Nonetheless, she finds it increasingly useful to be underestimated, for there are dark things stirring in the shadows of Haven and up on the Hill. Someone has discovered many secrets of the women of the Court and the Collegia— and is using those secrets to terrorize and bully them. Someone is targeting the religious houses of women, too, leaving behind destruction and obscene letters.
But who? Someone at the Court? A disgruntled Palace servant? One of the members of the Collegia? Someone in the patriarchal sect of the god Sethor? Could the villain be a woman? And what is this person hoping to achieve? It isn’t blackmail, for the letters demand nothing; the aim seems to be the victims’ panic and despair. But why?
Mags and Amily take steps to minimize the damage while using both magic and wits to find the evildoer. But just as they appear to be on the verge of success, the letter writer tires of terror and is now out for blood.
Mags and Amily will have to track down someone who leaves few clues behind. They must thwart whatever plans have been set in motion, and quickly—before terror turns to murder.
 


Review: This book started off a little slow for my taste. I'm used to a lot of world building and intricate story lines, but for some reason, I just couldn't get into this one. It was that the writing was bad, because it was really great. I felt like the story was just a little lack luster for me. Fans of Mercedes Lacky will probably enjoy this book. 

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.




Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When the music stops, the dance begins | The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz #BookReview

Title: The Midnight Dance
By: Nikki Katz
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 320
Release Date: October 17th, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads

Summary from Goodreads: When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.


Review: You all know that I have a special place in my heart for anything dance related. I was really hoping this book would take me back to my ballet years... in a strange way. Although the story was enticing, it lacked the dance element that I was hoping for. The story moved fast, a little too fast at times. There wasn't much world building to challenge the mind, but when I really got into the story, it was enthralling. The characters were ok and the writing was well done. I was just hoping for more.  

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Game of Deception | Forgotten by Kristin Smith #BookReview

Title: Forgotten
By: Kristin Smith
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 321
Release Date: January 23rd, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen

Summary from Goodreads: The epic tale of Sienna Preston continues in this second installment of the exhilarating Deception Game series.

Seventeen-year-old Sienna is no stranger to heartache and loss. But this time, it's different; someone―or something―has tampered with a loved one's memories, and she's determined to get answers.

The trail leads her to the glittering skyscrapers and modern luxuries of Rubex, the Capital of Pacifica, where she infiltrates the government's Agency for Intelligence and Genetics. But answers are not always easy to come by, especially when her own memories may have been altered. Luckily, Zane Ryder is there to help her put the pieces back together, his devotion and concern muddying the waters between friendship and something more.

When Sienna gets too close to uncovering dark Agency secrets, she's framed for the murder of a prominent government official, sending her on the run. Sienna's heart may be torn about who she loves, but none of that really matters anymore―because the only thing that awaits her now is a death sentence.



Review: I was excited to dive back into the world of Sienna and the game of lies she's been thrown into. In this second installment from Kristin Smith, we learn that no one is safe from the reach of the Capitol. People are having their memories altered. I was kept guessing through the whole book and nearly bit all my finger nails off wondering who was going to regain their memories. 

I loved this book and am excited to read what happens next.


Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


Premonition by Leigh Walker #BlogTour @joinTheDivision


Premonition
Leigh Walker
(The Division #1)
Publication date: July 19th 2017
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
When Riley heads off to boarding school for a summer work-study program, she knows it’ll be demanding. What she doesn’t expect? To be thrust into an intense physical training program described as special, exclusive and worst of all–top-secret. She signed up for tuition assistance, not to be held in a secret government facility for boot camp…
Welcome to The Division, the government agency that’s so classified, most United States senators have never heard of it.
The Division wants Riley bad, but she can’t figure out why. Skeptical of what she’s being told, Riley’s determined to uncover the truth. Boot camp is intense, physically and mentally draining. The upside? One of her new teammates is the cutest boy ever. Watching Finn hit the gym wearing a tank top doesn’t suck–although sometimes his brooding attitude does. But when training forces Riley to confront her tragic past, even Finn’s big biceps aren’t enough to make her want to stay…
Beware: The Division isn’t something you just walk away from. You better run.
Riley realizes her capabilities and strengths are greater than she’d ever imagined. But she also learns she wasn’t just chosen for this special program…
She was made for it.
INTERVIEW WITH LEIGH WALKER
Q: Wow, you’re interviewing yourself…how pompous!
Right? It’s to tell people more about the series, lol. Although I should admit that I normally talk to myself a lot, so this isn’t much of a departure.
Q: Tell us about “The Division” – it’s a bunch of teenagers with psychic powers, right? How did you get inspired?
Everyone on the team has psychic powers, yes. I was watching “Stranger Things” on Netflix and I WAS SO PSYCHED they were testing poor Eleven for psychic powers. But I was also like, YEEHAW! Because I LOVE psychic powers, and I can’t remember the last time I saw or read something that included them. I’ve always been obsessed by the concept, and there’s so many variations of powers, so many incarnations it can take… Anyway, after watching that show and having that reaction, I thought, other people must love this stuff, too, I can’t be the only one. So I wanted to give us all more!
Q: Tell us about the main character, Riley Payne.
Riley is a ‘normal’ girl dealing with a lot. Her father and sister died in a car accident and her mother started drinking heavily after it happened. She just wants to get out of her house and go to boarding school, but she gets more than she bargained for when she abruptly gets recruited into a secret agency…
Q: The ‘secret agency’ is The Division, correct?
Yes. It’s a secret cell of teenagers who were genetically engineered with psychic gifts. They work for the American government to combat domestic terrorism.
Riley thinks they’re nuts, of course. Until she unlocks her powers, then she’s blown away by what she can do.
Q: As the series goes on, you get into genetic engineering, fated love, eco-terrorism, loyalty, isolation, human nature, climate change…some pretty heavy themes. But would you describe the series as a difficult read?
I don’t think so, but certainly some parts were hard to write – like about Riley missing her dad and her sister. I still cry when I read those parts. And in the second book, an eco-terrorist is introduced, and some terrible things happen in the book. So yeah, there’s definitely a heaviness to some of what the characters are dealing with. But they’re teenagers, and their youth is sort of a tonic against everything they’re dealing with. They still care about their friends. They still want to hang out, tell stories, joke around. They are still very interested in falling in love. I think my writing style is naturally light and breezy, so it’s sort of a counterpoint to the storyline. If that makes sense, lol.
Q: What’s your favorite part of this series?
Riley and Finn’s relationship. They have so much on their plates, and they’re so young, but they genuinely care for each other in a way that makes me ache.
Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have three large, unruly boys who like to play every sport and eat as much food as possible. When I’m not at my computer, I’m busy carting them around and grocery shopping. But I also love to relax with a great book or television show – I am currently completely obsessed with Riverdale, OMG!!!
Thanks for having me! Happy reading!!!

Author Bio:
Leigh Walker lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. She has a degree in Journalism and a law degree. She's never been to the Naval Shipyard prison in Kittery, ME, but she's driven by it...and boy, is it creepy!

Leigh has lots of books planned for The Division Series. Sign up for her mailing list at www.leighwalkerbooks.com to be notified of the next release in the series! You can also find her on The Division's FB page: https://www.facebook.com/divisionbookseries/

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Monday, September 18, 2017

#WeeklyMenu Week #215 | #EBookLove with Read an E-Book Day

Good morning and happy Monday! Did you miss my confessions yesterday? Make sure you check it out to read what's happened this last week. 

I was kind of upset with Outlander last night. I wan't Claire and Jamie to get back together, but they are really taking their time pushing the story 20 years into the future. I kept screaming, "No, don't sleep with Randall," But they didn't hear me.

Anyway, today is national read an e-book day. You know I will be reading an e-book, that's all I really read these days. What will you be reading today?

Enjoy this weeks menu!


Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday
Tuna Sandwiches

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekly Confessions #7 | A Plague, a Drum and Cactus Socks

First off, lets start off with a... Hello there!

The drums of Autumn are right around the corner and with it the plague has arrived. It happens every year. I use all my vacation time at work staying home with sick kids. At least I had a good book to read and some quiet time with the boys sleeping. Now, on to this weeks confessions.

I think I read too many books this week... If that's even a thing... On Mondays, while I'm working around the house, I like to pick off some of the shorter books on my TBR pile. So, this week I devoured The Spiderwick Field Guide, The Tales of Beedle the Bard and I Give you my Body, which taught me many words for my private parts and got me thinking about the real meaning of "Fanny Pack." I don't think it means what we think it means. It was a strange Monday...

Anyway, checked some books off my TBR list. A Murder in Time, which was just strange and not my kind of book. I didn't even finish Black City because it was so bad. Drums of Autumn... Sigh, Jamie, and Fracture which I totally read by accident. I had another book with the same name that I was supposed to review and I grabbed the wrong e-book from the list. I was wondering why the story didn't match up with the rest of the series. Surprisingly, the one that I read was excellent.

Reviews this week blew my mind. Sometimes, I dig through my review books and most of them are just king of blah, but I have to read them anyway and give my opinion even though I choked on the words trying to get them down. This week was nothing like that. One of the awesome authors I've been blessed to review in the past sent me an advanced copy of her new book Forgotten. I was glad to
reconnect with Sienna and her crazy world.

Another book that I've been dying to read and was lucky enough to get a chance to review was a book by Carrie Fisher called The Princess Diarist. Oh boy, was this one fun. Ms. Fisher has a great sense of humor and dives into her affair with Harrison Ford during the shooting of Star Wars. You have to heck this one out.

Last but not least is... FRACTURE! The one that I actually meant to read. I'm
still in the middle of reading it, but its by another author that I've been blessed to connect with. Just a heads up. So far... It's awesome.

Enough with books, whats next.


I have to confess, it's been a long week. The boys came down with the plague, and in their usual fashion, they couldn't all get sick all at once. It started with the oldest, two days later, the medium boy was out for the count and then the next day, baby boy is practically in a fever coma. He made me hold him for four hours straight while he slept. When he finally woke up I was sweaty and my back hurt. Poor boys. I think we are finally on our way to getting well.

Maybe if we were all well again I could work out some more and lose more weight. I'm already proud with the 11 pounds that I've dropped in the last 10 weeks, but I'm still not down to my goal weight. 9 more pounds to go.


Well, I'd like to say that my writing has taken great leaps toward becoming a book, but sadly, there just wasn't time this week.

I am working on creating a character cafe where I post short stories from my characters perspective and invite other authors to join in, but that's still in the concept stage. I'm also looking for illustrations of my characters to use in promotions. So if you are an artist or know one that is willing to trade and e-book for a picture, let me know.


I know this is your favorite part of the post. A recap of what I shared this last week. Here we go...



Ok, that's all that I have to confess this week. Until next time, I will leave you with this gif...




Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Look Beyond Star Wars | The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher #BookReview

Title: The Princess Diarist
By: Carrie Fisher
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 257
Release Date: October 18th, 2016
Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Summary from Goodreads: The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Warsmovie. 

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager. 

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.


Review: I've always heard that Carrie Fisher is an excellent author. This book didn't disappoint. It was hilarious and well written. Most of the story centers around Star Wars and her affair with Harrison Ford. Fisher goes into enough detail to give you a good picture, but not make things awkward and uncomfortable. I loved it and can't wait to read another book by Carrie Fisher. 


Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


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