Weekend Writing Prompt

Your character wakes up one morning. Something feels different. When they stumble into the bathroom, they discover that they are 10 years younger. They still have all the memories from those missing 10 years. How did this happen? What will they do next?

Advertisements

Going camping!

th (2)

 

Hey bookies! I am off on a big adventure with my family. We are taking our first actual family vacay in years. We are heading out to a cabin by the lake for some relaxation and recreation. It’s not too crazy, but I am SO excited! Actually, right now I am exhausted! Packing and planning for a trip is hard work.

However, I have a few posts planned for you until I get back. I hope your weekend is great and I’ll see you soon!

The Archimage’s Fourth Daughter: A Review

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions remain my own.

36353709

The Archimage’s Fourth Daughter by Lyndon Hardy, Magics # 4

Excerpt:

Alodar placed his hands on Briana’s shoulders, paused for a moment more, and then said softly, “The answer is no.”

“You can’t do that!” Briana yelled back. “Even the Archimage has limits to his power. You admitted as much yourself. You cannot order me around like some serf of an Arcadian lord.”

“I do not order you to stay because I am the Archimage,” Alodar said. “I do so because I am your father.”

Briana felt the anger well within her like a brush fire suddenly out of control. She clinched her teeth so as not to say more. The library page had a key to this council chamber, she thought fiercely. It might take more than a single kiss to get it, but that is what she would have to do.

Brief book description:

A group of residents from a magical world have found a way to pass into another realm, but then lost contact. The archimage and his council need to find out what happened. They plan to send someone to find out, but his youngest daughter instead journeys there to discover a new world without magic. Instead the residents use technology. Briana has to find these offworlders and find out what they’re up to. Then she has to find a way to keep them from destroying her world.


Y’all. This book. I don’t even know where to start.

Let me start with the good: The part I really liked was when Briana came through to the “new world,” which was of course, modern Earth. Briana is has grown up in a medieval male-dominated style world, living a sheltered and privileged life due to her father’s status. She has servants, she has magic, and she has money.

When she gets to Earth, she has none of that. Instead she winds up living on the streets and in shelters at first, because she doesn’t understand how money works, she has no documents, and knows no one. She’s befriended by a homeless man named Eddie who takes her under his wing and shows her how to survive. Before long, she’s finds a place where she can wait tables and earn a little cash while she tries to figure out her next move. This was definitely the best part of the book. Not only was her struggle real, but it gave the author a way to discuss some modern day social issues, like the problem of homelessness, the divide between rich and poor, and problems with unjustified police engagement. I think this could have been taken even further, and really would have made a great book just by itself.

But it wasn’t the main part of the book. We then get into these bad guys. Who are they? Why have they been on earth so long and what is their problem? I don’t really know. They were just really unpleasant. I had a hard time seeing them as much of a threat. They never come above ground! How much damage can they do? And I’m not exactly sure what they looked like. The writer said they had tusks or something, they weren’t human. I’m not sure Briana was either, but she passed as human. I didn’t really get it. How had these dudes managed to survive for a hundred years, living underground with their weird wasp things?

Briana finally meets some humans who can help her with her quest, which I had almost forgotten by this point of the book, and that brings up the next set of problems I had with the book. Briana. I just didn’t like the girl. When she was lost on a new planet, I felt sorry for her. I could only imagine how disorienting that must be. But for someone who’s supposed to be smart, she sure took a long time figuring stuff out. She’s so stuck in her old world way of thinking, that she can’t tell when a man is hitting on her.

She chats up a guy because well, plot, and the next thing you know, she’s invited herself to move in with him. He’s kind of a creep, so he thinks, “Hey, hot girl I barely know, sure you can move it with me if you move into my bed.” Like she’s JUST introduced herself and he’s already trying to get her clothes off. But honestly, what would most guys think? This strange girl wants to move in with you? Slow down!

So sure, he’s a creep. But then she is all offended that he expects sex. She just wanted to move in with him and have him drive her places and buy her food. In return for what? Does she help with school work or house work? No. This other random dude who moves in too does that. She accuses him of using her, but he’s just there to solve her problems.

I really lost interest in the second half of this book. The plot sort of limps along and the bad guys are bad and we get an epic battle at the end, but it wasn’t worth it. I was really disappointed. This is book 4 in a series, but the series has been on hiatus for a long time, and I was assured I could jump in at this point, so I didn’t read the previous book. It might have made a difference to me, but I just can’t imagine that I’d want to go back and read them now. If you are into magic-based fantasy, I would say don’t start with this one. Try his first book, Master of the Five Magics, which I guess is about Briana’s father. But I’m moving on.

The Wandering Land: A Review

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions remain my own.

40003673 The Wandering Land by Jamie Killen

Book Description:

The Maze House. The Fox Woman’s Garden. The Caverns of the Queen. These are the things that await you in the wandering land. 

On a summer night in a sunbaked desert city, the wandering land appears. A fairytale village nestled in dense forest, it is a place of ruined castles, abandoned treasures, and strange creatures living in the shadows. Brought together by this impossible place are five visitors: failed painter Eli; art professor Amal; young lovers Darcy and Wes; and mysterious, haunted Coyote. Together they explore their own secret village, an entire world hidden in plain sight. 

But there is darkness beneath the magic, a force pulling the visitors deeper and deeper into the place’s mysteries. As the boundaries between the secret land and the outside world begin to collapse, each of the visitors is confronted with visions of an otherworldly child, a child whose existence holds the key to understanding everything about the place that has drawn them together. 

Who is this child? Why did she choose them? And will she ever let them go?

I love a good, creepy story. My idea of great horror is something that takes the familiar and makes it slightly but definitely other, then taking the story and letting the otherness grow until the whole story is just horrifying. It doesn’t even have to have supernatural stuff in it – a creepy, suspenseful story is always immensely satisfying. One example would be We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I loved the book description on The Wandering Land, and I was really hoping the story was just as good.

I was right. Killen delivers a very satisfying story with a truly creepy payoff. The story starts with five different people who all discover a way into a hidden world. Each of the five is creative in a different way – an artist, a writer, a cartoonist, an editor, and a musician – and they discover that through their art they can create new and sometimes unsettling changes to this hidden world.

As they redesign the world, they are given tasks to complete, all at the direction of a hidden queen. The further they progress in their tasks, the more the world begins taking hold of their every day life as well. Soon it becomes almost impossible to separate the two. They have to dive deep to uncover the history of this wandering land if they are all going to be able to free themselves from its spell.

There was so much to enjoy about this book. First, I loved the concept of a hidden world that chooses its new residents. It’s set in Tuscon, and I think that’s a great place to imagine a portal to a hidden world. The desert is definitely a landscape where you feel like anything could happen.

But my favorite part of this book was the characters. While the story was great, well-imagined and original, the characters were the part that really made this story shine for me. I loved that the author was able to get such diverse group of characters  without making it seem like she was just checking off boxes for the sake of diversity. Lovers Darcy and Wes work together on a comic, but they have to work hard to overcome the differences in their upbringing. Eli has a family to support but he can’t help feeling this connection to the wandering land that threatens to overshadow his responsibilities. Amal is a professor who has just moved in with her girlfriend. And Coyote has no family, only one friend, and lives only for her music. Each character has a compelling back story and a unique voice.

In short, I’m really glad I had a chance to read this one. I haven’t read any other books from this author, but I would definitely recommend this one.

 

Weekend!

It’s a three day weekend here in the US and we’ve already had a great time. I got a massage today and got to see —maxresdefault

This movie! I went with my husband and our son and his wife and we all agreed it was a really good movie. Was it perfect? No, but I liked it a lot. My favorite part was the relationship between Han and Chewbacca. That moment when they first meet – so good. It also features this guy:

mcdsoas_ec060

Yeah, you know you want to see that! And he was every bit as good as we all expected. What about you? Have you seen the movie yet? Are you planning on going?

Friday Flashback!

This review appeared earlier.

gray concrete triumphal arch surrounded by flowers
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com
Themes: royalty, family, ambition, religion, commerce, politics, love
Setting: 13th century EuropeGreat story about four wealthy and powerful sisters who changed the fate of Europe. They were the beautiful and charming daughters of the Count of Provence, Raymond Berengar V, and each one of them became a queen: Marguerite, the eldest, became Queen of France and married Louis IX, Eleanor married Henry III, Sanchia, the saddest story of them all, married brother to King Henry, Richard, who became King, but not Emperor, of the Holy Roman Empire, and Beatrice, who married Charles of Anjou, brother to King Louis, who became the King of Sicily by conquest.

Despite all the royal names and politics involved, this one was an easy read that was more like a modern family drama than a dry historical treatise. There was plenty of feuding, an occasional war, going on Crusades, a rebellion here and there – it was certainly not a boring time to live. This is a great one for the RTT theme this month.

I could have used more maps, but even without them, I really enjoyed the book. Maybe somewhat slow to start, but once the first couple of sisters were married, I couldn’t put it down. I’m not really familiar with this time period, although I recognized a lot of the names, so I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. 4 stars

Anatomy of Evil: a review

lighted candle gray scale photo
Photo by Matej on Pexels.com

Title: Anatomy of Evil (Barkder and Llewellyn, book 7)

Author: Will Thomas

There’s an unwritten rule that any Victorian crime series must have a Jack the Ripper episode. The Cyrus Barker detective series is no exception. Robert Anderson, New head of Scotland Yard, asks for his help in tracking down the Whitechapel killer. It’s 1888 and all of London is terrified. The killer seems to be targeting prostitutes, but there’s a sense that he’s lurking out there with a knife and no one is safe.

Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewellyn take temporary jobs at Scotland Yard. At first, they try to get to know the area. They travel the streets on foot, night after night. They get to know the bars, the factory workers, the alleys, until they are thoroughly at home. Then they set about finding a killer.

I enjoyed this book, and I liked the characters as much as I did in previous books. We get a glimpse into the royal family in this one, which was good. I listened to it, and the narration really added to my enjoyment of the book. In the end, though, there was something lacking. I’m not sure what it was, but it just wasn’t my favorite. Still, I really like this series and I’m looking forward to the next book.

5 Thrillers in my TBR

Thrillers are so hot right now. I haven’t read a ton of them, but there are definitely times when I’m in the mood for a book that will have me on the edge of my seat. Here’s some I’m looking forward to.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay.

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

White Bodies by Jane Robins

A page-turning work of suspense that announces a stunning new voice in fiction, White Bodies will change the way you think about obsession, love, and the violence we inflict on one another–and ourselves.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect–much like the silent companions themselves.

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt

A contemporary gothic from an author in the company of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, Mr. Splitfoot tracks two women in two times as they march toward a mysterious reckoning.

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds

In a novel of mounting psychological suspense, a young mother follows a dangerous path to find her missing husband.


What do you th ink? Any that catch your eye? What thrillers are you reading?

 

 

There Is Something about Edgefield – a Review

36563882

Title: There Is Something About Edgefield: Shining a Light on the Black Community through History, Genealogy, and Genetic DNA

Authors: Edna Gail Bush and Natonne Elaine Kemp

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions remain my own.

Genealogy has become something of an obsession for many people today. There have been shows about it, Ancestry makes lots of money off it. It seems that more and more people are driven to discover their ancestral roots.

I am no exception. I am a Latter-day Saint, and honoring our ancestors is an important part of our beliefs. I think this made me a good choice to review this book. In this little book, the authors, both of whom are African American, describe their attempts to uncover more of their family heritage. They combine family stories and photographs with the latest research techniques and new sites that use your DNA to pinpoint your unique heritage.

They also go through all the records they search, looking for the slightest clue to how their ancestors lived and what they experienced. Land records, census, court and probate records all work to complete a fuller picture. It’s not all pretty. Since like many African Americans, some of their ancestors were enslaved and some were the slaveholders, it shines a light on a dark and ugly chapter of American history.

As far as the writing and the style goes, I’m a little torn. They definitely could have summarized more of the steps they took to find out the information, and just included what they found out. Sometimes the actual research parts – what records they found and where – was a little boring. On the other hand, I think this book could also be viewed as an instructional book for other African Americans trying to find out what records exist for their history. I think it could be very valuable in that way. I loved all the stories they included and they way the writers reached out to living family members to hear the stories they grew up with.

In all, I would say this book is not for everyone, but if you are interested in researching your family tree, and especially if you have southern African American roots, this book would be one you’d want to read.

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

33142013The Things We Learn When We’re Dead
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Humor
Publication Date: January 26, 2017
Summary:
With elements of The Wizard of Oz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Lovely Bones, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.
On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?
At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33142013-the-things-we-learn-when-we-re-dead?ac=1&from_search=true


Hey bookies! I was asked to review a new book, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw. This was a quick read that had me trying to puzzle together the events in our main character’s life to see what lead her to being in HVN. Lorna is a soon to be lawyer on the cusp of a solid career when she’s struck by a car. After that, things get, well, weird. Turn out, Lorna didn’t survive that collision and now she’s figuring out what the afterlife is all about. Turns out it’s NOTHING like she expected.

Lorna has a lot of time to remember the significant events in  her life – vacations with her family, her first love, good times with her best friend Suze – but it’s the final week of her life that she can’t seem to work out. Which is too bad, because it looks like that’s the key to figuring out what she’s supposed to be doing next.

This was a slow, quirky book. I thought the characters were the best parts. Lorna isn’t very happy when she’s alive, but she did seem like a real, well drawn character. The employees at the Happy Mart – great name, BTW – all seemed real too. I felt like it took a little too long to get to the end, but I’m glad I had a chance to read it. And I love the rocket on the cover! So cool.

You can win a copy of this book right now!

Giveaway: 2 Print Copies of TTWLWWD Signed by Author
Embed:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f35/?

Blog Tour Organized By:

r & r

http://www.rrbooktours.com