Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday Reads: 4 Amazing Books!

These past couple weeks of reading have been GOOD. First, I read LADY MIDNIGHT by Cassandra Clare.

To be honest, I wasn't enthused to read this book. It's almost 700 pages, and I didn't know if I wanted to enter the world of Shadowhunters AGAIN. It took me a bit to get into it, but once I was, I was hooked. Cassandra Clare does such a good job of angsty relationships, and well-rounded cast of characters. I'm glad I read this book and I'll definitely read the next. (Though she could still cut down on the length, IMO.)

Next I read THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater, the final book in the Raven Cycle. So I have this thing where I flip through the book I'm reading and read random sentences. I usually end up spoilering myself on SOMETHING, even if it's something small. But with this book, and the prediction that Gansey is supposed to die, I had to keep telling myself NOT TO FLIP THROUGH. Luckily, I made it to the end without spoilering myself. It was a satisfying end to the series, and I love her writing like crazy. My fave book in the series still remains the first one though.

Then I read another series' final book, THE WINNER'S KISS by Marie Rutkoski. Ohmygosh this book. It was perfect. The whole series is perfect. It had me from page one all the way until the end. I can't even describe why I love these books so much, except there is not one thing wrong with them. Everything is perfection. A definite must-read trilogy.

Finally, I read SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys. I was really worried about the book that came after TWK- I mean, how could anything live up? But this book. Oh, it lived up, alright. Ruta Sepetys is one of my fave historical authors and she did it once again with this book. She wrote of an event where approx nine thousand people die- an event I had never heard of! Not only do I like learning about history, her characters completely pull me in, in a way that makes it real- like I'm living it with them. This is the kind of book that stays with you, that you just can't shake, nor should you. It was definitely one of my fave reads so far this year. And I really hope they make it into a movie. (BTW, can't wait for the movie adaptation of her other WWII book- BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.)

After these amazing books, I almost feel sorry for the books I'm reading next.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Taste of Local Authors

I'm taking part in this fabulous event this evening and I'm so excited! I read once at my local writers group, and once on the radio, but this is the first time I've ever done an event like this. I'll be joined by eight other local authors, plus a musician. If you live in the Calgary area, come on out for some readings, music, and refreshments. OR, come on out to see me try not to stutter and/or barf from nerves. ;)
It's going to be a great night!

Monday, May 16, 2016


My reading has slowed down a bit, as it does from time to time, so this past couple of weeks I only read two books.

First, SEE HOW THEY RUN by Ally Carter. This is a sequel to Carter's ALL FALL DOWN, and part of her Embassy Row series. Ally Carter is one of my fave YA authors. Her Gallagher Girls series is so fun, and I also enjoyed the Heist Society trilogy. Ally Carter writes suspense/thrillers. GG is about girl spies, HS is about thieves. The ER books have the same feel in that way, but I feel they're a lot more serious than her other books. For that reason, they're probably my least favourite out of everything she's written, but the books are still good. Always fast paced, with well-drawn characters and settings, and exciting plots. I wasn't disappointed by this sequel at all.

Then I read THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE by Heidi Heilig. The premise to this book is so cool: about a girl living on a ship that can travel anywhere, anytime, even mythical places, as long as they have a map. I did wonder, about a quarter of the way through, where the book was going, and actually wished they might have travelled a bit more rather than staying most of the book in Hawaii. But otherwise, there wasn't anything wrong with this book. It was a solid read, I loved the Hawaii setting and time period, and I'll definitely pick up a sequel.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday Writes: Guest Post with Author/Editor Noah Chinn

One of my biggest fears before I got published was what it would be like to work with an editor. Would we get along? Would he want to take away my voice? Would we agree on changes? Turned out, working with Noah Chinn, my editor at Samhain on SWAY was a not only a joy, but a learning experience. I'm truly sad that we won't be working on future books together, unless I decide to hire him on the side- he does freelance editing. He's also an author and recently had his own book release, a mystery called THE PLUTUS PARADOX. Here he is to talk about why he decided to set his series in the 1980s.

The Living Past: Writing Mysteries in the '80s
Being an editor means the time you spend as a writer tends to suffer, but it's all the sweeter when you finally have a new release out.  In my case, it's the second James & Lettice Cote mystery, The Plutus Paradox.
Set in Vancouver in 1985, it revolves around the sudden kidnapping of Lettice’s father, Harold–a man she thought had been dead for fifteen years. If that wasn’t strange enough, the couple is left to care for the missing man’s six-year-old daughter, Lettice’s sister, also named Lettice.
I have a fondness for 80’s era mystery shows, but why is it a good setting for a mystery novel series? It’s not like the books are chalk full of self-aware jokes from the era. There wasn’t a single Miami Vice joke in Getting Rid of Gary, despite the first couple chapters taking place in Florida (to be fair, though, that show didn’t start until 1987).
That’s because the books aren’t about making fun of the era. Before starting I thought about one of the most influential mystery writers – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
You may know that Sherlock Holmes was so popular that some people believed him to be real, or at least as real as a fiction person could be. Maybe they just thought him real in a Santa Claus kind of way, but we all know 221B Baker Street still gets letters for the great detective to this day.
But what was odd about this reaction was that Doyle’s mysteries were never written in the present day, it was always in past, years or even decades earlier. It struck me as odd that people would think about Holmes in a present tense even though the events being recounted were firmly in the past. As time leapt forward for Doyle, it crawled along for Holmes as he became more and more popular.
And I think the reason for that is because of the age Doyle lived in. Gaslight London was giving way to Electric London. Victorian England was rapidly changing, perhaps more rapidly than some would like.  The horse-drawn carriage was slowly to be supplanted by the automobile.
In this time of flux, there must have been something nostalgic and reliable about Holmes, a touchstone to a past that was increasingly romanticized even within the reader’s own lifetimes.
I think we live a similar age now. Only now the obsolescence of tech is sometimes measured in months rather than years, much less decades. I’m sure it’s hard for some people to imagine using a phone that isn't also a portable computer with touch screen.
And then there are things that have changed our lives so much just imagining a time before can be difficult. Think about how ubiquitous YouTube or Facebook is and remember that they only came about 11 and 12 years ago, respectively. Trying to imagine that you could be in the 21st century and NOT see these things around is mind-boggling.
And yet many of us grew up in a time before all this was (waves at the Internet) all this. And we got along just fine.

I think, much like Gaslight London of the 1880s and 1890s was for Doyle’s readers, the 1980s and 1990s are a similarly nostalgic touchstone, and will be for the foreseeable future. It’s a different time. It’s history. But one we can still touch before it slips away forever.
If you're interested in checking out THE PLUTUS PARADOX, you can find it on Amazon or better yet, start with the first book in the series GETTING RID OF GARY.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Loves: Team Cap!

I'm so excited to see Captain America: Civil War this weekend! All I gotta say is, TEAM CAP! When it comes to a choice between Captain America and Iron Man, I'm Team Cap all the way! Not only that, but a girl's gotta have her fave, and again... Team Cap. I know people like their heroes flawed, and Captain America isn't perfect, but I just can't resist a really good guy. A guy who is a true hero. Sounds cheeseballs, but it's true. Team Cap all the way.

Who are you rooting for?

Monday, May 2, 2016


STARFLIGHT by Melissa Landers was a great YA sci-fi. I'm not a huge sci-fi fan but I've been loving some of the YA stuff I've read lately. This book was fun, fast-paced, and exciting. I loved the slow burn relationship between the two MCs especially. They didn't hate each other just for the sake of some sexual tension, there was a real reason behind it, and then how they gradually become friends, then something more developed naturally and was really believable. I also really liked the secondary characters in this book. It was a great read and I'll definitely pick up the next book.
STILL LIFE by D.B. Kennison is an adult suspense/romance. I don't usually pick up this kind of book- the kind with the dead bodies piling up- I shiver just thinking about it. But I really enjoyed it. The female MC was my favorite kind- strong and feisty but with a vulnerable side- and the male MC wasn't this domineering jerk who we're supposed to love, he also had a vulnerable side which didn't take away from his strong male personality. There was a great mix between the romance and the suspense, but the suspense is really what made the book for me. I was on the edge of my seat, sick to my stomach as the tension built, and then the twist at the end... wow. Really well done.
LIFE AND DEATH by Stephenie Meyer is the gender-swap TWILIGHT. I kinda knew what to expect coming in, and the book met those expectations. I did have a bit of a hard time with the gender swap, I think because the book is so similar to the original. Every time I would pick it up to continue reading, I would have to remind myself that Bella is now a boy, and Edward is a girl. I never could quite lose myself in the story because of that. I did enjoy the book though, because it was interesting to see the story play out with all the gender-swapping. I also really loved the end, which I had no idea was going to happen. So yay for that.

What did you read this week?