Writing Update #17

Yeah, so, imposter syndrome hit hard this month.

More often than not, I felt like “what’s the point?”

Which is an awful feeling. It makes everything seem utterly worthless, and then the voices start whispering that no one is going to like or want to read your book, so why bother?

Needless to say, I didn’t actually make any progress on my SF WIP this past month. It seems dumb to be concerned about “what if’s” when your book is still a WIP and there’s no pressure in potentially disappointing people, but fuck, that’s exactly what I’m terrified of.

In an environment that is so damn quick to judge, cancel and attack, the desire to put something out there is severely diminished. It makes me doubt myself, my capabilities of telling a story that won’t upset the masses. Even though logically I know that my book won’t be loved by everyone. That’s a given and that’s okay! There have been plenty of books that everyone has loved that just haven’t worked for me. It happens!

But more and more, the book and writing community just feels less inviting.

Yes, there are legitimate concerns and complaints that I’m 100% behind and good with backing. I’m not going to say that there aren’t, because that would be dishonest. But sometimes it feels like an echo chamber, that just snowballs until telling a story starts to feel like “what’s the point?”

What’s the point when I see how readers and fans treat authors who are debuting, or established, how readers and fans treat others who don’t share the same opinions? Do I want to invite that king of negativity or toxicity into my life?

Now, I know that a lot of these concerns are coming from this mental block I’m currently in. I know that for all the negativity there are probably 2x as many people who champion, who bolster, who are there to offer their support! I’ve met so many wonderful people in both of these communities who yell “write your books! write your stories!”

The few people who have read my SF WIP have begged for more.

I love all of these people.

But sometimes you get into your head and it’s damn hard to get out of it.

I don’t not want to finish writing my story.

I don’t not want to see it eventually published.

But right now, I’m in this weird ass headspace where I don’t feel good enough, so why bother at all.

With all this being said, my brain has supplied me with two new Shiny Ideas.

Well, technically one is a new old idea that I found in a past journal. I really want to type it up and maybe expand it. It’s a dystopian idea, and maybe it could be my NaNo 2020 project. It’s still early, so we’ll see.

The other idea came from a dream. I’m not really sure if anything will come of it, but it was good, and potentially has vampires? All I know is that a group attacks, and I haven’t decided if they’re human or paranormal. I’m not sure what the genre would be, but I think it would make for a good story.

I so badly wanted this monthly update to be glowing, to have me saying I finished my revisions! Unfortunately, my life and my brain had other plans. Maybe July will be different, we’ll see.

I hope all you’re writing journeys are going well!

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag – 2020

So, maybe I’m a * tad * late in getting this post up. I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to do it, since June is basically over. Well, here we are!  June has flown by, which makes sense since time seems to be absolutely meaningless anymore, but it’s crazy to think that we’re coming up on July, with 6 whole months behind us already. It feels like New Years Eve was just yesterday.

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been reading a lot, and I’ve read so many good books already this year. I’m really excited for what the second half of the year is going to hold!

I stumbled upon this tag – I think over on Twitter – but I loved it! Sofi over at A Book A Thought did this tag, and while I wasn’t directly tagged, I wanted to do it. I’m using all the same questions she did so make sure you go check out her post to see her answers, it’s fantastic!

Now it’s time to jump right into this post, and I’ll get to do some reflection on the books I’ve read so far in 2020! Continue reading “Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag – 2020”

Currently Reading & Watching #16

I didn’t finish the book I wanted to review for today, so I’m shifting my schedule. I’ve watched quite a few things recently, and I just started a new book.

I’m actually surprised I’ve watched a few things, since right now, shows and movies aren’t really holding my attention. On the upside, this means I’m reading a lot, but I’m kind of feeling a tad uninspired from shows and movies? It’s weird and I don’t really know what’s causing it.


The Hollow Gods (The Chaos Cycle Duology #1) – A.J. Varna

I’m only about 20% into this book, and honestly, I’m not loving it. It’s kind of confusing and I’m not the biggest fan of the way it’s written. It feels very Purple Prose-y. Like the writing doesn’t feel strong enough for the sheer amount of elaborate descriptions. Also, the characters feel very surface, flat and basic. I don’t think I’m going to DNF, since it’s proving to be a really easy and quick read. But if something doesn’t change, I don’t think I’m going to end up really liking this book.


The 100 (Live TV)

Waiting each week for new episodes sucks. Also, the show has basically gone full Stargate, and I just have to laugh. I’m enjoying it and I’m legit already planning a whole series rewatch once this final season hits Netflix.

Farscape (Prime)

This is my favorite show, and whenever I watch it, it overtakes my life. Except this time and I don’t know why. I still absolutely love this show and if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out. It’s got a phenomenal plot line, fantastic character arcs and so much personality.

Alexa & Katie (Netflix)

I watched the final season for this show and I’m so upset it’s ended. Netflix struck gold with the show and the cast is perfect. The storyline is wonderful, and while it deals with some heavy topics – cancer, anxiety – it also perfectly captures what it’s like to be a teenager. It’s funny, there’s a light enemies to lover’s plot line, and it’s so wholesome. Do yourself the favor and watch this show.

Clueless (Netflix)

I love this movie, but it’s been half watched for about a week now. I don’t know why I haven’t finished it.

Avatar (Disney +)

This has been sitting half watched for about two weeks. Again, I don’t know why I didn’t finish it, but I didn’t. I did forget how much I love that movie, which makes me even more confused as to why I haven’t finished it yet.

Roswell (Netflix)

Season 2 just hit Netflix, and I got about 75% through episode 1 before I got bored.

I don’t know. I think I’m in this kind of weird funk, where I’m using reading as an escape and shows, and movies just aren’t doing it. Or maybe I just want a new fantastic show that I’ve never seen before. I don’t want to remember or even vaguely remember what’s going to happen next. So, if you have a good Science Fiction rec, or fantasy, or even comedic, let me know.

I really want to rewatch Falling Skies (it’s been about 5 years) but I don’t think it’s streaming anywhere. Maybe I’ll just have to buy it.

Let me know what you’re currently reading & watching! I’m always looking for new recs!

Book Review: The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2)

the traitor queenTitle: The Traitor Queen

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Pub. Date: February 7, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lara has only one thought when her husband is taken prisoner: I will do whatever it takes to set you free.

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared.

But as Lara and her companions formulate a plan to free Aren from her father’s palace, they soon discover that while it is easy to get in, it will be quite another thing to get Aren, and themselves, back out. Not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or for herself.

This will be a spoiler free review. But if you’ve read the first book, or have listened to this one, please feel free to slip into my DM’s over on Twitter, because I need to talk.

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Can incoherent screaming count as a review?

Because I’m still not over The Traitor Queen. It’s been almost 4 hours and I’m still reeling. Maybe binge listening to the last 3 hours of the audiobook wasn’t the smartest idea, because holy crap.

I wish I could form words.

But ho-ly crap.

Danielle L. Jensen is a word wizard and knows how to tell a really good story. Lara and Aren are

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I mean, seriously? The whole book was

Younger #Youngertv #Tv Land #Sutton Foster #Excited #Giddy #Happy ...

The Bridge Kingdom was a tension filled, steamy enemies to lovers. So, imagine having book two be another enemies to lovers plot, with the same two characters who have so much history and even more sexual tension.

Ugh. Give me more.

This book was so good. I’m still at a loss for words. I’m reeling back and forth between this book is so good and what the f*ck am I supposed to do now? I already know that I will 100% be re-reading these two books, and I’m probably going to download the audiobook for The Bridge Kingdom so I can experience it in that format. I can’t express just how good the production of The Traitor Queen was. I felt like I was watching it, everything so vivid and so alive in my mind.

Lara is badass. And I mean badass. She’s unwavering and tough and willing to go to the ends to the world if it meant protecting those she cares for. She will do anything for the people she holds dear. It makes her incredibly dangerous.

Speaking of those she holds dear, I loved getting to know her sisters in this book. Not quite as badass as Lara, but still so dangerous and so enjoyable. Sahrina especially. Her bond with Lara is great – Lara’s bond with all her sisters is great. I would totally read a whole book about them – like their day to day, cute moments, the petty sibling rivalry moments.

As for Aren. I thought I was in love with him from the first book, but omfg. Somehow his hurt and anger – all his conflicting emotions – just makes him more attractive. I can’t explain it without spoilers, but his pain, his hurt, his anger…let’s just say that Danielle knows her shit, and she created the perfect amount of tension between Lara and Aren. Paired with the harsher emotions, she sprinkles in tender moments, soft emotions that push past the negative ones.

It’s just so good.

And then there’s the ending.

8 mind-blowing Tweets that will make your head hurt – can you work ...

The ending.

I mean, The Freaking Ending.

Just when you don’t think the emotions could possibly get any higher, Danielle goes and does that.

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I mean, damn.

It’s one thing after another, and another, and another, and you think that nothing more could possibly happen, that these characters deserve a break, and then that happens.

I was nearly in tears, barely breathing, sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happens next, because this story couldn’t possibly end that way.

Danielle shattered my heart throughout this book, and that last scare nearly did me in.

With that being said, with how it all comes to a close, I loved it. I loved every single second of this book. Through all the hate, the hurt, the anger and self-loathing, love still found its way to the surface. While I’m sad though that Aren and Lara’s story is over, I am really excited to come back to this world with book 3. I have no doubt that we’ll see or hear from them, but I’m really looking forward to Kerris and Zarrah’s story. I’m sure it’s going to be just as good.

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The world Danielle has created is stunning, diverse and so vivid. It comes to life in your mind, and honestly – despite the war – sounds like a magical place. It’s so fantastical and intricate and unique. I highly recommend picking up The Bridge Kingdom and The Traitor Queen. You’re seriously missing out. If you’re a fan of enemies to lovers, high fantasy and just a completely fantastic read with a fantastic cast, then you don’t want to miss this book – this series. I promise you. So, make sure you go check out The Bridge Kingdom and The Traitor Queen. Come back and let me know your thoughts!


Journal Tours!

img_9815I’ve been sitting here wondering how to start this blog post for like 15 minutes. I’ve deleted and rewrote so many lines, hating them all. Nothing felt good enough, witty enough or striking enough.

So, you get this (probably) highly relatable opening to this post.

Though…I guess it’s kind of fitting since I use my journals as a way to work out words and what I want to say. So, here we are!

Instead of a book review (stay tuned for tomorrow) we’re diving into my Writing Journey – something I haven’t done in a long time. Well, outside of writing update posts, anyways. I started using a Journal in 2011 when it was required for a writing class in high school. Unfortunately, that journal is packed away and falling apart, so it’s not pictured. It’s also all written in pencil and fading, so I really try to not handle it too much. img_9858I do have all of my other journals and each are full of story ideas, some have inspiration pics, and even classwork. Through my final year of high school and all through college, I brought my journal everywhere with me. I used it for everything and anything.

I thought I’d do a brief; little walk through of each of these journals in order. Depending on the size and thickness of a journal, I usually go through about 1 a year – or when in college, about one every semester and a half. I definitely don’t use my journal as often. I really only use it when I’m feeling stuck or uninspired. Sometimes physically writing something down will help clear my mind.

img_9818Let’s start with Journal #2, started January 17, 2012:

I was a senior in high school, and I primarily used this during my Advanced Composition class. My teacher at the time had us writing in our journals daily, and he wanted us to start entries like this:




Something you’re looking forward to

I no longer write the place and something you’re looking forward to, but with any new entry, I date, and time stamp it. Sometimes I’ll add a Topic line, but that’s about it.

This journal contains first drafts of my SF WIP – which I didn’t remember were in this journal. I’m kind of terrified to read them. 2012 me, must’ve been on something – or just severely sleep deprived, because some of the lines in this journal are just…wow.

And before I dive into some examples, having now actually leafed through and read some of these entries, I did not do “something you’re looking forward to”. I did “write some random ass line that expresses something, or something you heard”.

Take this entry:

Feb. 28, 2012 : over the shoulder boulder holder, under the nut butt hut…awk

And…I can’t believe I just immortalized that line on this blog. Jfc, what was wrong with me? LOL.

And this:

March 19, 2012

Tetradactyl and the Banshee.

There’s legit a whole line that’s just a scream. I don’t know.

Or this winner from March 21, 2012:

Imagine if there was a hunger games prom.

We would all die.



Or this one from April 16, 2012:

Round top in Gettysburg.

It’s hot.

 They don’t understand. I look around me. I see the blood pooling around wounded and dead bodies alike.

…a bit macabre. We clearly had a writing prompt, but I don’t remember what it was.

Phew, that was actually quite fun! I honestly hadn’t gone through that journal since probably 2012. I didn’t realize the treasures (lol) it held.

img_9826Next up, Journal #3, and it starts on April 15, 2013:

Oh wow, I haven’t opened this journal in ages, and the first entry is from a writing workshop I did with Susan Dennard, Sarah J. Maas, Kat Zhang, Jodi Meadows and Erin Bowman. This ended up being my NaNoWriMo Project for that year.

The balance between good and evil, it’s unpredictable as getting snake eyes. Huge towering houses loomed up in front of me. Each intricately decorated with gold and ivy. It was the home of the Good – except they don’t exist – they haven’t for generations…

Ultimately, I fleshed out the world and the plot for NaNo, but this turned into one of my favorite fantasy stories I’d written.

This journal is actually quite full of SF WIP planning and plotting, diagrams and math equations. Writing a Science Fiction that has grounds in real world science means a fair bit of research.

Other than SF WIP work, I did start fleshing out that Fantasy that ended up being my NaNo Project. There’s actually quite a fair bit of this story handwritten in this journal. And it’s from when the Male MC’s name was Beau. That name ended up not feeling right, and I’m pretty sure I complained about his name not working on Twitter, and Brigid Kemmerer told me to change it. I listen to wise people, so I did. Then the story flowed much easier. Ugh, reading snippets and now I miss that world.

Between all the story writing and plotting, there’s a fair bit of classwork and notes, which isn’t surprising.  I would have been a first semester Freshman in College by about halfway through this journal – and there are definitely pages of figuring out class schedules.

Wow, there are so many poems in this journal…oh! and paper notes!

OH! The poem I had published in my college’s literary magazine…my handwriting used to be so nice. Now it’s just a mess.

There are even some actual drawings, including tote bag designs for The Darkest Mind Series, and the Shatter Me Series. I made all of them and gave the TDM bag to Alexandra Bracken at Apollycon.

img_9834Okay, Journal #4, and it starts on March 1, 2014:

This was the first journal where I started printing out story inspiration pictures and taping them into it. I remember one of my professors loving that I did this, and I remember her making me show it to the class. As an example of how to fill your journal and make it personal.

Arguably a journal is already personal, but go off I guess.

Apparently, I was writing some kind of mermaid story throughout this journal, but other than inspiration pics, this is primarily full of class notes. So far this is the least exciting journal in this bunch.

Oh, huh, this is the journal with my poem about family beach vacation. I used the steps of making my mom’s homemade salsa to show what our week at the beach is like. Damn, I was really proud of that poem. I ended up putting it in a beach book one year.

Yeah, this journal is a lot of class work, and honestly, I left that behind a long time ago. Moving on!

img_9830Then we have Journal #5 and it starts September 17, 2014:

I do not remember what’s in this journal. I was in college, second year, first semester, so really, anything could be in this one. In the moments I wasn’t actually paying attention in class, I was either writing stories, or doodling.

And this one starts with a story idea! This was for another fantasy book idea that I had, and I was fleshing out characters. This was another idea that I really loved, and I ended up working on it for NaNo. Actually, the character profiles and plotting were probably specifically for NaNo.

Oh, we have some Psych 101 notes, some English notes, lots of vocab and some study guides. Yuck, I don’t miss any of this stuff. OH! This was my first semester at UMBC! I had an English Professor who tanked my GPA the first semester. I don’t know why she didn’t like me, but she didn’t and always gave me D’s on papers. I had her for two English classes, and she loved me in the Shakespeare one, but hated me in the 300 level English class.

Ooo, I have some recorded dreams in this journal as well. And some Shiny New Ideas for potential WIPs.

…I just got caught up reading a potential story idea. It’s about a President’s daughter who was kidnapped. Definitely a dystopian feel. Now I want to keep writing it. I don’t have time for new ideas…well, old new ideas! Or is it new old ideas? Damn, there’s like fifty handwritten, front and back pages of this story…

Moving on.

Wait, I found more! This story is littered all throughout this journal…I was freaking dedicated! We’re three months in, and I appeared to be writing this story whenever I could. Oop, just hit November, so I set aside that Dystopian WIP for my NaNo Fantasy. So, now that’s littered between Class Notes. As the semester went on, I ended up doodling more, and more…and more.

img_9835Next up – Journal #6, and it starts on February 10, 2015:

New Semester! And we start off with some English Notes! Lots and Lots of English notes…oh boy. Oh, this was the semester of the Canterbury Tales…all that translating. I really don’t miss that.

Ah, there’s some SF WIP scenes! And doodles. I think at this point in my schooling, I was taking all English classes. Well, 2015…so maybe not? Let’s see what else the journal holds! I think I was in a creative writing class at this point, so there are going to be tons of story ideas.

HA, I replotted my SF WIP in this journal. I remember sitting in an English class, and when we were supposed to be talking about Great Expectations, I was busy replotting the entirety of my SF WIP. I remember no discussion from that book.

Ooo, another SF WIP scene. I love this scene and I’ve reworked it a couple of times since I wrote this version. It’s an all hope seems lost, let’s have a heart to heart and kiss, before doubling down on our resolve to get out the situation we’re in, scene. It’s great and maybe one day you’ll get to read it.

And now I’m planning for NaNo. It’s August and I’m shooting for a Peter Pan retelling. I loved the concept I came up with, my execution of the story was severely lacking.

Now we have “How to Write an Essay”. God, I remember my professors taking time out of classes to teach College Students how to write a freaking essay. The life of an English Major. I can’t tell you how many times I got that lecture.

More class notes. Boring. LOL how about some True Blood Fanfic? Oh my god, I forgot I wrote this. More specifically, Sookie and Eric fanfic and totally based off that episode where he drinks fairy blood and goes utterly loopy. I’m cackling. I 100% forgot this existed. Oh god, LOL. I clearly liked Eric over Bill and I cannot believe I wrote this during a class.

Well, let’s end this journal on a high note!

img_9836Journal #7 starts on September 21, 2015:

Well, after True Blood Fanfic, I don’t know where we can go, but let’s see what wonders this journal holds.

Notes, SF WIP scenes, oh this was the semester of the Gender Woman’s Studies class. I didn’t hate the class, but it wasn’t really my thing and it was a requirement…or it fit a requirement.

There’s a whole page of cursive f*ck’s…so clearly, I was having a bad day.

More SF WIP scenes and what I’m pretty sure are answers to a study guide.

Oh, there’s a memory from when I was younger – a winter up at my grandparent’s house in Western MD. They live on this giant hill and when there’s enough snow, it’s really fun to sled down.

More notes, homework lists, study guides, me trying to plot more of my Peter Pan NaNo story.

Lots and lots of doodling. Wow, I took so many English notes. So Many. I don’t even remember being this focused in class.

Well, this journal was boring. Not going to waste any more time.


img_9837This is Journal #8, and it starts on March 19, 2016:

This would be my final semester of college and I stuffed a lot into this journal. Shiny New Ideas, Notes, Inspiration Pics, doodles, basically anything and everything.

This was the semester of my Children’s Lit class, where I read a bunch of YA, convinced my Professor to let me read An Ember in the Ashes for an assignment and I got to make a brochure of Blackcliff Academy.

Ooo, Anastasia Fanfic! Honestly, up until this point, I didn’t realize I’d actually written any fanfic. Look at me, surprising myself. Oooh, it’s inspired by the ship scene where she nearly jumps overboard. I’m one for drama!


The things you learn. Smh.

Oh wow, the first draft of the plot of a fantasy idea that I worked on for two NaNo’s straight. I love that story and once I’m finally done my SF WIP, I’m going back to that one.

Lot’s more inspiration pics and looking through them all makes me want to write.

I’m kind of surprised there aren’t more class notes in this journal. There are definitely some, but I guess I was using my Mac a lot more in class that semester. It was also the last one, and you can still get Senioritis in college.

And to close out this journal, I did some re-plotting of my SF WIP and wrote a scene from the second book. All in all, a pretty solid journal and I’m going to have to go back and re-read that Anastasia fanfic.

img_9838Second to last, Journal #9, and it starts on January 4, 2018:

I want to say that there’s a journal missing, that it’s outrageous that between #8 and #9 is 2 years, but in my defense, #8 lasted well over a year. Since after graduation I probably didn’t touch my journal for months.

I loved this journal, it’s size, the pages. I hate that I didn’t buy more than one when I bought it.

This one starts with the full 3 book, story arc plot of a fantasy WIP, the same one I mentioned from #8 and that I worked on for two NaNo’s.

There really isn’t much diverse content in this journal. No class notes, but there are a few blog notes, or book notes/reviews. Primarily this journal consists of story ideas, scenes that I needed to work through long hand. There is a lot of SF WIP work in this journal.

I mean, that’s really about it. It’s not super exciting, but it definitely contains some crucial information.

img_9857And finally, we’re at my current one, Journal #9, and it started on March 9, 2019:

I’ve only filled up about half of this journal, and it’s taking forever. I’m not the biggest fan of this journal, and so I don’t really like writing in it. The pages are really thin and any good, decent pen just bleeds through.

This journal isn’t going to be very exciting either, I’m afraid. It’s full of book reviews, blog notes, lists of books and very few story ideas. There are quite a few taped in pages for when inspiration struck, and I wasn’t near my journal. There are a few for my SF WIP, but also for this WIP I’ve dubbed Frozen Hell. But this one is mainly just blog notes and stuff. I’m just trying to fill it up, so I can choose a new journal out of the million I own.

img_9859As a little bonus, I thought I’d share a quick photo of my sketchbook, planner and reading log. I take all these items, plus my current journal if I’m going somewhere…though I haven’t been able to go anywhere for months. But usually all these things are in my bag and go with me when I got some place else to write.

This post ended up being way longer and way more fun than I thought it was going to be. I had a blast flipping through the pages of past journals, stumbling upon amazing and weird things. I hardly ever go back through journals once I finish them – unless they have crucial info pertaining to whatever WIP I’m working on. They just end up on my shelf, gathering dust. I’d recorded time lapse videos of me flipping through each of these journals – it took me forever, but the quality when I upload them is atrocious. Sadly.

If you’ve made it this far into the post, I applaud and thank you. I expected this post to be semi-brief and a relatively quick walk down memory lane. I didn’t expect for almost 2800 words. So I’m going to end this here!


Book Review: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1)

where dream descendTitle: Where Dreams Descend

Author: Janella Angeles

Pub. Date: August 25, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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More! More! More!

I need book 2.

So, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to feel reading this book. I’d heard some mixed reviews, and my friend didn’t love it as much as she expected. With that being said, I was a tad hesitant, but kept an open mind. I’m a huge Moulin Rouge fan so this book appealed to that part of me. It also felt a little Phantom-esque and I’m also a sucker for that. And the whole time I was reading the book, I couldn’t figure out what other thing I was being reminded of. Well, I think I figured it out. Escaping from Houdini. I don’t know why it took me hours to realize that, that book is what I was thinking of, but it was.

So, really, if you’re a fan of any of those stories, settings, plots, then you’re probably not going to be disappointed.

I’m only disappointed that I have to now WAIT for book 2, and Where Dreams Descend doesn’t even come out until August. Why is the world so cruel?

I loved this book. I loved the atmosphere, the characters, the slow build plot. I binge read this book in like 5 hours because I couldn’t put it down.

The atmosphere of this book has the chaotic energy of Moulin Rouge, with the dark mystery of Phantom. It’s like this perfect blend of wonder and magic that has the story coming to life on the page. You’re sucked in, and suddenly you are there, at Spectaculore. The whole magician competition element is what reminded me of Escaping from Houdini – and the fact that both have mystery elements. There’s the whole dark undertone of it all, and anytime mirrors come into play…I’ve seen enough horror movies with mirrors trapping people and souls, that I just have a bad feeling, but I’m here for it, because I really want to know what happens next.

As for the characters, I think I’m honestly partial to Jack. He’s intriguing and while we basically know next to nothing about him, he seems to really care about Kallia. I don’t know, but I’m totally here for their dynamic, as imbalanced as it appears. I’m super curious to see what gets revealed. I have suspicions that I refuse to voice, but really want to know if I’m right. I really loved his moments, and how restrained and detached he comes across. I’m really thinking that’s a mask, and not who he truly is, but I guess I’m going to have to wait and see.

Kallia feels like Rapunzel, and I’m here for it. A total badass, not willing to take shit, but still a little naïve as to how the world works. Kallia is her own person, she defies the norms, and everything she does, it’s to prove to herself she can. If someone says she can’t do something, since in this world – women are kind of considered like second class citizens, to be seen and not heard – she defies them and does whatever they said she can’t do, loudly. She’s amazing and her balance between strong and vulnerable is so good. Honestly her whole emotional range makes you feel everything. Especially at the end where things start happening at a lightning pace.

I also loved her bonds with people – primarily Aaros. Their dynamic is so good, so enjoyable. For being pretty naïve, she had him pegged right off, and their friendship was so perfect. I don’t know if I can express enough how good it was, without spoilers, but he was just there for her, and cared, and I loved how he calls her “boss”. She entered into his life, and he just went with it. I can’t wait for the second book, so I can have more of him. Besides Jack, he’s my favorite character.

Oh, Demarcos. I’m always down for a rivals to lovers, which is kind of what their relationship was, tumultuous. I didn’t expect the twist at the end, and I’m really curious to see how that all gets explained. I feel like there’s still a lot we don’t know about him, but I have a theory. I just don’t know how it ties into everything else going on. I didn’t hate Demarcos and I really liked how cute he and Kallia are when they’re together, but I don’t know. I think I’m solidly Team Jack, so he doesn’t stand a chance.

I enjoyed the slow buildup of the plot. Glorian is this mysterious place, surrounded by a mysterious wood. There almost seems to be this glazed, willful ignorance to the past, the history of the city. Clearly something happened, but what? So many moving game pieces, but what’s the game? I was never bored reading this book. All the questions, all the unknowns, Kallia trying to navigate what is essentially, a boy’s club, while running from her past…I found myself pleasantly confused in the best way possible. I kept reading because I wanted to know. I needed to know. Then you get to the end, those last couple scenes and so much is happening, some questions are answered, but a bunch of new ones need to be asked. The Epilogue hooks you and really makes you hate that book 2 isn’t already out, because again, I have questions and I want answers!

I think this is one of those books, that as it sits with you, the more you realize how great it is. I’m sitting here writing this review and just thinking about the book. I mean, obviously, but I’m running through scenes in my head, thinking of potential outcomes, potential answers. All while sitting here, utterly in love with this book. I’m definitely going to preorder and will be doing that sometime today. I also have a really strong urge to watch Moulin Rouge, but I would kill to have a show/movie adaptation of this book.

If you’ve been on the fence about this book, get off it, and get to reading…or pre-ordering so you can read it the second it comes out in August. You’re not going to want to miss this book. Where Dreams Descend comes out August 25, 2020 so make sure it’s on your TBRs!

Book Review: The Awakened (The Awakened Trilogy #1)

the awakenedTitle: The Awakened

Author: Amanda Carol

Pub. Date: July 13, 2019

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Aria and her twin brother learned the hard way that some myths are very real. After a vampire takes their parents from them, they travel across the country, revenge their only thought. When their crusade brings them to New Orleans, they find out there are secrets that could change their lives. Forever.

Son to the Alpha of the NOLA Pack, Hunter has doubts about taking over from his father one day. While hunting a vampire in the St. Louis cemetery, he comes to the aid of what he believes to be two humans. Not everything is as it seems. As truths come to light, danger lurks in the shadows. When evil stalks the streets of New Orleans, can Hunter and his wolf pack help keep Aria and her brother safe, or will all be lost?

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to the author for a copy of her book, in exchange for an honest review.

Amanda reached out to me, through a mutual friend, asking if I would be interested in reading her book. I agreed, otherwise, we wouldn’t be here right now. My expectations weren’t wildly high, but my friend told me that he loved them, so I expected I would as well. And guess what, I did!

Not shocking lol.

This book made my Supernatural (the show), Greek Mythology and paranormal loving heart so happy. If you liked Vampire Diaries, Supernatural or The Oringinals, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It also gave me The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout vibes. That’s one of my favorite series, so I’m not complaining. I inhaled this book and I’m definitely going to be finishing the series. It’s a bit cheesy, but I happen to love cheese. You get sucked in, and the next thing you know is, you’ve finished book 1 and need book 2.

I need to know what happens next. In fact, as soon as I’m done writing this review, I’m purchasing book 2. I need more Hunter, and definitely more Bennett.

I mean, vampires, wolf-shifters and witches? What more could I ask for?

Not much. Honestly. I’m quite content.

Seriously, though. This book filled a void I didn’t know was even empty.

There’s even a unicorn. A unicorn named Sparkles!

I like Aria and Declan – their close bond that they have with each other. Their parent’s death bonds them, and they care deeply for each other. I love a close sibling bond in books. I also really liked how, despite being fiercely protective of each other, they still bicker and poke at each other in the way only siblings can. The, “only I can call my brother/or sister a dumbass, not you” kind of relationship – I have your back, it’s you and me against the world.

Ugh, that may actually be my favorite kind of non-romantic relationship.

I’ll get to Beta wolf Hunter in a second, but omfg I loved Bennett.

Comedic relief? Check.

All around good guy? Check.

Loyal? Check.

He had me actually ‘lol-ing” at some of his lines. He’s such a freaking cinnamon roll and I can’t get enough. I really hope he develops a really close friendship with Aria. I love their moments together. Even though the spot is filled by Declan, I think he’d appoint himself as an older brother figure in her life, and honestly, I’m here for it. He gives me major Cassian (from ACOTAR) vibes and I can’t ask for more. Other than, Amanda, please don’t do anything to harm him. I beg.

Now, Hunter. I mean, he’s the hot, swoony, 8-pack abs, love interest. He’s also a wolf, so he’s a tad possessive. He struggles with being second in command and has a difficult relationship with his father. I can’t say I didn’t like him lol. I’m also a sucker for a male character who is seemingly burdened with power he doesn’t want and struggles under the weight of expectations. He’s really cute with Aria, and I liked that he got along with Declan. Between the two of them, I’m surprised either of them have bottom lips left…if you like the “zeroing of gazes as the other pulls their bottom lip between their teeth”, look no further!

It was like someone turned the heat up every single time they were together.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next with the two of them. I think their relationship is a tad insta-lovey, but I’m here for it. I have a feeling it’s tied into who and what they are, so I’m not being too critical.  And even though their relationship felt like it progressed quickly, Hunter was patient and kind, and took the time to do things right and at a speed Aria was comfortable with.

While I absolutely enjoyed this book, the characters, the world, I do have two smallish technical complaints – other than the insta-love that seems to be every character’s relationship.

I don’t think either of these things seriously detract from the story or ruins it in any way.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the pacing. Days seemed to pass very quickly, or very slowly? I’m not entirely sure. There were a couple of instances where I thought Aria had been training all day, and then suddenly it would only be lunch time/midafternoon, or there would be hours left until dark. It’s kind of a minor thing, and didn’t pull me out of the story, but I did have to re-read 1-2 scenes to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

There was also a lot of repetition – phrases, words and just background information. It doesn’t really add anything to the story, but I don’t think it hurts it.

Overall, this book was fantastic and engaging and pretty solid as a debut. I would say it’s an Upper YA/NA read. The world is inviting and vivid, the characters are full of personality, and the plot will continuously surprise you. There were quite a few moments where, plot twist! It has a fresh twist on the creation of Vampires and with a heaping dose of Greek Mythology, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! If you’re a fan of The CW and its paranormal shows, then I really suggest checking this book out. Just sit down and read for pure enjoyment.

I know at the beginning of this post I said that I was going to buy book 2 after I finished writing this review, but somewhere in the middle of this, I paused and went on Amazon. I can’t wait to start Rising Moon! I need to know what happens next!

Book Review: Opal (Lux #3)

opalTitle: Opal

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub. Date: December 11, 2012

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well… There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different… And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger… and they know it.

This will be a spoiler free review.

Little side note – I’m still not done that epic, 742-page fantasy, so keep an eye out for that review in the future!

Now, onto the actual review.

It’s been so long since I read this book, it felt like reading it all over again for the first time. I love reading JLA books, because they’re just so enjoyable – Opal is no exception.

Stakes for Daemon, Katy and Co. are higher than ever, things are changing and ramping up. For each new answer the group uncovers, a million new questions arise. Tensions are high and and they don’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.

I kind of forgot how long this book is. It’s super enjoyable and leaves you with a oh my f*cking god, dread pooling in your stomach cliffhanger. I’ve already read book 4, but damn, I’m anxious to see what happens next!

It is kind of funny reading these book now, like 8 years later. They’re still wholly enjoyable, but it’s almost like an out of body experience. Let me see if I can explain that correctly…

Reading this series now, I can totally see why I loved it back when I first read it. It’s engaging, fun and Daemon is kind of the epitome of the book boyfriend. But reading it now, I can kind of see how absurd it all is and sometimes I’m sitting there (while reading) wondering why I thought these were the greatest books ever.

I’m really not knocking these books, or any of Jen’s books. I will forever be a fan and read anything she writes. Her books are like coming home, they’re familiar, fun and an absolute joy to read. Hell, if I’m ever in a reading slump, picking up one of her books will cure me of it. I love them. Jen knows how to write a good book, with engaging characters and she makes you quickly fall in love with them.

But, I mean, come on! Lol

Daemon and Katy are kind of ridiculous. Shit, I would have given anything for a hot alien to move in next door! But they’re teens! Okay, yeah, they might have alien powers, but come on LOL.

And I love Katy because she’s basically self-aware enough to realize that they are in fact just kids, trying to take on a government organization and what hope could they possibly have.

The way JLA writes her characters is one of my favorite things. They feel so real, so grounded, and often come across as pretty self-aware. They understand that the deck is stacked against them, but who cares? They also tend to be sassy af, and I enjoy that a lot.

Her books always leave you in love with the characters and in desperate need for the next book. I can’t wait to dive into Origin. I’m excited because I can’t remember a single thing that happened in the book, so it’ll be like experiencing it for the first time all over again!


New Books on My Kindle

img_9744Two days ago, I started reading a 742-page epic fantasy novel and deluded myself into thinking I was going to have it read by Wednesday night, to review for Thursday.

I was kidding myself. I forgot how involved and amazing this series is, and how it’s not a quick read. It’s a tad dense but leads to beautiful world building and character relationships. There’s no breezing through any of the books in this series – at least not in the, sit down and read it in one sitting, kind of way. I’m only like, 220 pages into this book, so it’s going to take me another day, at least. So, maybe you’ll have the review by Friday.

Anyways, I digress, as usual.

img_9745Throwing my blog schedule to the wind for the time being, I’m going to show you 5 books I’ve acquired over the last week or so, that now reside on my Kindle.

I’ve been really loving reading on my Kindle lately, and I’m seriously dying to get to all these books. My next TBR is going to be full of a lot of guilty pleasure reads. I kind of went on a Kindle book buying spree the last time I was on Amazon, a few are eARC’s, and some are freebies that I got via Booksy on Facebook.

I won’t be going over every single book in these photos, but my goal for this post, is to just bring some lesser known books to your radar!

shadow fallShadow Fall (Shadow Fall #1) – Audrey Grey

My name is Maia Graystone: prisoner, rebel, and reluctant savior of a dying world.
In exactly 552 hours, an asteroid will end life as we know it. Not that I’m counting or anything. Trapped inside a hellish prison with thieves and murderers, I have more current worries.
Like the brother I left behind or the not-so-friendly inmates or the fact that I’m wanted by the most powerful man in existence.
Then a mysterious benefactor breaks me out and offers the impossible: a spot in the Shadow Trials. Win and I’ll receive a coveted place for my brother and I on the space station in the stars.
But the opportunity comes at a steep price. Partner with a dashing psychopath, enter the court that once condemned me to death, survive the ruthless trials created by my own mother, and kill the Emperor–the very man who’s hunting me.
In this cunning game of life and death, nothing is as it seems and everyone expects me to fail. But they forgot one tiny detail.
Never underestimate the girl with nothing left to lose.

valkyrie landingValkyrie Landing (Valkyrie Allegiance #1) – A.J. Flowers

First Law of the Valkyrie… Don’t Fall in Love.
I failed my sisters and fell in love with William Johnson. I’ve watched him for three lifetimes and a little piece of me broke every time I had to let him die.
I paid the price for breaking the first law of the Valkyrie. I lost all the memories I had of Will. That’s why Sam is keeping tabs on me. She’s an ever-present shadow during my time at Mattsfield High. Sam is the perfect Valkyrie. Tall. Beautiful. Heartless.
I may not remember Will, but my heart does. If Freya thinks I’m going to be a good little Valkyrie this time around… she’s wrong.


feast of the motherFeast of the Mother (Witch of the Lake #1) – Miranda Honfluer & Nicollette Andrews

A witch. A murder. A curse…
Beneath the murky waters of the lake, an ancient being slumbers, and Brygida is its servant. Kept sheltered in the woods by her mothers from the nearby village, Brygida has never had so much as a friend—until the day she meets a charming stranger painting by the lake. He invites her to the village’s harvest feast, but her taste of the forbidden ends with a murder.
Called into service for the first time, Brygida must take up her ancestral duty as Reaper of Death and solve the murder within three days. If she brings the murderer to the lake on the third day, the being she serves will be sated. If she fails, Brygida herself will be drawn beneath the murky waters, and the village massacred. There’s only one problem: the main suspect is her charming painter, Kaspian.
As Brygida investigates, the dangers are many and answers few. The village and her family stand against her, and with time running short, the lake demands a price. Brygida believes Kaspian is innocent, but can she stake her life on it, when failure means condemning the rest of the village, and being dragged into the deep…?


lullabyLullaby (The Sand Maiden #1) – L.R. W. Lee

Naive… Crazy Risktaker… or Fool in Love. Who is Alissandra?
Alissandra, crown prince Kovis Altairn’s sand maiden, flees Dream realm to protect him and Wake from her father’s nefarious schemes. She only prays he can’t track her down. But her problems are far from over.
The prince, the most powerful sorcerer in the Altairn Empire, knows nothing about Dream realm, let alone his sand maiden. So when Ali is discovered naked in his bedroom, she is accused of malicious motives and being a spy. How will she convince him of her intentions, as well as the danger?
The Sand Maiden is a four-book NA Epic Fantasy Romance series with YA appeal. If you loved Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, Elise Kova’s Air Awakens, and/or Rachel E. Carter’s The Black Mage you’ll definitely love this.


the awakenedThe Awakened (The Awakened Trilogy #1) – Amanda Carol

 Aria and her twin brother learned the hard way that some myths are very real. After a vampire takes their parents from them, they travel across the country, revenge their only thought. When their crusade brings them to New Orleans, they find out there are secrets that could change their lives.

Son to the Alpha of the NOLA Pack, Hunter has doubts about taking over from his father one day. While hunting a vampire in the St. Louis cemetery, he comes to the aid of what he believes to be two humans. Not everything is as it seems. As truths come to light, danger lurks in the shadows. When evil stalks the streets of New Orleans, can Hunter and his wolf pack help keep Aria and her brother safe, or will all be lost? 


img_9746Obviously these 5 books aren’t everything on my Kindle – you can see that from the images. But these are 5 books that I don’t see on mainstream radar. I also have a feeling that these are going to be very enjoyable, easily bingeable and I’m going to want the next books as soon as I finish the first.

My next 3-month TBR is coming up, and quite a few books – the ones mentioned, and others – are going to be on it. So, stay tuned for that coming early next month! Let me know if there are any under the radar books you love, that I can check out! I love reading books that don’t have the same popularity of what I often see on my feeds. I’ve found some of my favorite books by taking chances on lesser known titles and authors.

Author Spotlight: L.A. Sees

Hey y’all!

I’m back with another Author Spotlight, since it’s been a hot minute.

We’re all always looking for new books to read, so I thought I’d introduce you to L.A. Sees and the first two books in The Nebula Trilogy! If you’re a fan of SF like me, then you’re probably going to really enjoy these two books.

I will say that this is supposed to be a trilogy, and the books have been out for quite a few years now. I haven’t heard anything or seen any kind of update on L.A. Sees’ website or social platforms, so I can’t tell you when book 3 will come out.

Believe me, I wish I could, because I’ve been dying for it for years. But, dread not, because Nebula and Interstellar are fantastic reads that will not disappoint…even if the wait for book 3 is undetermined.

I don’t remember how I found Nebula – how it hit my radar. I think it might have been on Instagram now that I think about it. The cover caught my eye and I went to go look it up.

So, of course I wanted to read this new SF debut.

I bought it and not shockingly, devoured it.

Between the believable character relationships that have you oscillating between rooting and wanting to tear your hair out, to the journey of self-discovery the MC goes on, and the solid writing, it’s pretty hard to not get sucked in.

But enough of me chatting, here is the cover and synopsis for Nebula, book 1 in The Nebula Trilogy!


I don’t know where I came from. I don’t know where I’m going. What I do know is where I’d like to be—safe within my mother’s embrace.

One girl’s search for truth may alter an entire universe in the spellbinding new science fiction novel, Nebula. Written by L.A. Sees, this young adult adventure proves the importance of being yourself no matter what galaxy you’re in.

Ree Lindbergh’s dream since she was a little girl is a simple one: to one day travel to Earth. Instead, she’s stuck aboard the Omega Centauri, a spacecraft used to patrol the borders of the Milky Way. Having spent her entire seventeen-year existence on board, Ree is a bit restless. But her mission is important: help keep Earth’s newly discovered alien species, the Bufoanthroid, under control.

By day, Ree enjoys spending time with her best friend, Zac Walker. But when night falls, she is continually tormented by memories of her mother, killed by a Bufoanthroid the day Ree was born.

Her world is turned upside down once again when Zac’s ship disappears. Determined to rescue him, Ree embarks on a frantic mission to save him. As events unravel and secrets are revealed, Ree soon realizes that achieving her dreams will mean facing the truth behind her nightmares. 

You can check it out on Goodreads, here.

So, I don’t know about you, but I now want to re-read this book. It has been an awfully long time since I read it, and I’m in a SF mood.

Now that you’ve been introduced to Nebula – and be honest, the cover is gorgeous – let’s jump into book 2, Interstellar. No, it’s not the movie with Matthew McCaughey…though that’s a pretty good movie.


After eighteen years on the starship Omega Centauri and with the cataclysmic events of Nebula still fresh in her memory, Marie “Ree” Lindbergh has achieved a lifelong dream—to live on Earth.

Ree quickly discovers Earth is very different from the old movies she loved to watch on the Omega Centauri. She’s an unwilling celebrity on the news and snubbed by her new schoolmates. Zac, her old friend and new boyfriend, moves to Australia, leaving Ree in America to deal with her own deeply fractured family. An alarming medical discovery only adds to the tension—and sheds some light on how Ree survived the brutal environment while she was held captive.

As Ree begins to realize Earth isn’t at all like her dreams, she also finds herself drawn to Jonathan. A newcomer to her school—like Ree herself—Jonathan seems perfect. He’s cute, creative, and unlike Zac, devoted to equality between humans and the often-oppressed Bufoanthroids. He’s also harboring a life-altering secret.

The second installment in L.A. Sees’s The Nebula Trilogy, Interstellar continues to explore Ree Lindbergh’s impact on the strained relationship between earthborn humans, Bufoanthroids, and an uncertain future.

You can check it out on Goodreads, here.

Do you want to read these books yet? I bet you do. I’m definitely biased, but you really should go pick these books up. I can assure you that once you finish Nebula, you’re going to want this book.

Now that I’ve introduced you to books 1 and 2, let me introduce you to the author who wrote them.

L.A. Sees was born and raised in New Jersey before earning a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

Currently working as a middle school history and English teacher, Sees enjoys writing, traveling, and browsing flea markets in her spare time. Her debut novel for young adults, Nebula, is now available.

You can check out this site for more info.

I wish that she was more active on social media, that was some kind of update on when book 3 could potentially be out. I check out her Facebook page from time to time to see if there is any news. I can only assume she’s still writing it, while going about her life. At this point, I’m okay with waiting, but if I do re-read the two books soon I might be saying something different.

So, what do y’all think? Have I convinced you, or at least piqued your interest? I’m always looking for off the radar books, especially in YA and these books definitely fit that category for me. I like finding hidden gems amongst the mass amounts of books constantly being released and Nebula and Interstellar in no way disappointed me.

I can only hope that y’all check out these books and this author and thanks for checking out this post! I really enjoy talking about lesser known books that slip past our radars. If you do end up reading Nebula (and getting hooked) let me know!