Thursday, March 21, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Love on Lavender Lane, Karis Walsh

★★★ 1/2

Love on Lavender Lane is about Paige, a consultant who helps businesses improve profit margins, and Kassidy, a lavender farmer whose dad pays for a consultation from Paige. Though Paige is more accustomed to working with bigger companies, she relishes the chance to get away from Portland, work in the countryside for a bit, and get her hands dirty. Kassidy, on the other hand, doesn't exactly care for her estranged father's gift, and she thinks Paige will advise her to sell the farm. Their attraction is pretty immediate, and although I wouldn't categorize it as insta-love, part of me wish they'd spent longer in the almost-rivals stage.

I'd definitely classify this as a soft story. Not a lot big happens, and I'm very okay with that. The characters are the main focus here, and Paige and Kassidy are both lovely. I liked Paige a little more because she was more outgoing and funny, but I connected with Kassidy more because she's more reserved and likes to stay in her comfort zone. They spend a lot of the book learning about each other, and they both deal with past baggage in a believable way. My biggest complaint about that is the black moment was a little too dramatic. I had some trouble following Kassidy's logic there and wish the characters would've talked it out more.

This book also features a loveable dog named Dante, who was my favorite character--hands down! I only wish Kipper the cat had featured a bit more, too, but Dante stole the show. Although it didn't blow me away, this was a pleasant read with an interesting premise and an even lovelier setting.

Thanks to NetGalley, Bold Strokes Books, and Karis Walsh for the e-copy!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Happy Release Day to WOLF SMOKE


Now available in paperback and e-book from Sky Forest Press
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever books are sold, or ask your library to purchase a copy

Add it on Goodreads today, and check under the cut for an excerpt

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Road to Book Two--Part 3

It's certainly been a while since I've talked at length about Book Two! That's partly because I've had other projects to work on, and I want to give the Sky Forest Press projects proper attention. But it's also because I get embarrassed to talk about my slow writing pace. Though it sounds so silly when I write it down, it seems like other people churn out multiple books a year while it takes me at least two years to write one epic fantasy. That sometimes makes me feel like I'm less of a writer, which I know I'm not! As Baymax said, "I am not fast." That's all there is to it.

Now for the news: Book Two is almost done! Getting close to the end means it's easier to see the end result, and I'm happy to report that I'm proud of this book. I hope readers will enjoy reading it!

Check under the cut for a look at the cover, designed by me and my friend Erica Hogan. She also created a map of the world, which is incredible and something I've been asked about often. I'm excited for you guys to see it. If you're interested in connecting with her for her map-making skillz, you can find her on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Happy Galentine's Day!

In celebration of my second favorite holiday-that-came-from-a-television-show (the first is Treat Yo Self Day, of course), I'm featuring a few of my favorite books that include female friendships.

credit: www.bustle.com
1. Lumberjanes Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy, Noelle Stevenson
A cute story featuring five girls at the Lumberjanes summer camp, where they get caught up in supernatural shenanigans.

2. The Legend of Wonder Woman: Origins, Renae de Liz
I think this excerpt from my Goodreads review sums this up pretty well:
"But my absolute favorite part of this was her friendship with Etta. Etta and the Holliday girls are fiercely loyal and brave even without Wonder Woman's powers. It's so refreshing and great to see the central relationship be a super supportive one between women."

3. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
Beware, though! This one's sad, but I still love that the driving force of this story is the friendship between Maddie and Queenie.

4. Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery, Kurtis J. Wiebe
Hannah the Elf, Violet the Dwarf, Dee the Human, and Betty the Smidgen make up a guild called the Rat Queens, who kill magical monsters for booze money, basically.

5. Beauty Queens, Libba Bray
A plane crash leaves the fifty contestants of the Miss Teen Dream pageant stranded on a deserted island, where they fight to survive both the island and each other. This satire tackles female friendship and all the uncomfortable issues that come with being a teenage girl head-on.

What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Delivery of Flesh (Bulletproof Witch #1), F.J. Blair

★★★ 1/2

As an indie fantasy writer, I love to find other indie fantasy writers who are new to me. I can't quite remember how I came across this novella, but I'm certainly glad I did! This is a fun, quick read with an interesting world and shades of Wynonna Earp. It's about Temperance Whiteoak, whose grandfather was the first Pistol Warlock, people who can make and use hex bullets. Now, though, the Pistol Warlocks are lawmen, and Temperance isn't interested in that nearly as much as she's interested in revenge against the demons who slaughtered her town and family.

But getting revenge means Temperance needs hex bullets, and hex bullets mean she needs money. She agrees to help a marshal escort a prisoner to Benson City in exchange for payment. Things get complicated, though, when the prisoner's men chase them across the wilderness thanks to a magical brand.

Because it's a novella, the plot is pretty straightforward, but I think where the story shines is in the worldbuilding. Little by little, Blair sprinkles in interesting or cool details that add to the world. The concepts of Pistol Warlocks and hex bullets are vital to the story, and the further in you get, the more you know about both. I especially liked the tidbit when Temperance refers to making and casting the bullets as an art form. But even the details that were less important to the plot made the world seem more developed and less cookie-cutter. My favorite was Astor the horse, Temperance's familiar, who can communicate telepathically with her and frequently does to tell her she's making bad decisions.

My biggest complaint is I didn't think Temperance was fully fleshed-out. Part of that is just the length of the story. It's hard to fit a lot of character development into 100 pages. Mostly, I want to know more about what drives her--outside of revenge--and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next novella takes us.

Friday, February 1, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Pursuit of Happiness, Carsen Taite

★★★

Pursuit of Happiness is the third book I've read by Taite. Actually, my first ever NetGalley book was Taite's A More Perfect Union, which came out December 2017. I'd requested it on a whim and ended up really enjoying it to the point of seeking out more books in the lesfic genre. This one features a few recurring characters from A More Perfect Union and an earlier Taite book I haven't read, but you don't need to read those before reading this one.

As you can probably guess from the titles, Taite often writes about politics and the law. One thing I like about that is her stories feature strong women with tough jobs. In Pursuit of Happiness, Meredith is a Democratic senator and and Stevie is a public defender. Both are career-driven but find themselves drawn together after meeting at a senate hearing. But things get complicated when Meredith gets a last-minute opportunity to run in the primaries for the chance to be the Democratic presidential nominee, and Stevie's not sure she wants the exposure that would come with dating a presidential candidate.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Short Story Round-Up

In late December, an anthology called Fall Into Fantasy 2018 came out from Cloaked Press. It collects 13 fantasy stories, including "Steeping Spells," which is mine! Check it out on Amazon in paperback and e-book.



I have another story, "Lonesome," coming out in an anthology called Gunsmoke & Dragonfire, a collection of fantasy westerns. Here's the blurb for my story: 

An elven veteran is called back to face her demons when a little girl is snatched to serve the army that destroyed her…

Although the anthology doesn't come out until March, it's available for pre-order on Kindle for just 99 cents for the month of January! Then, the price will increase in increments until it reaches full price upon the release in March.

Pre-order it HERE.