Game Changers: Power – Control – Deception by Lorna Jackie Wilson

Summary

Carmen Fenton is a waitress at Greyton’s Grill. She is also a student studying to earn a college degree in marketing. Upon graduation, Carmen is seeking an internship at an executive firm where she plans to eventually climb the corporate ladder. Carmen is eager to complete college. She can barely wait to take advantage of the internship program NYU offers. Unaware of the competitive nature of the marketing business, she is ill-prepared for practices that are often high-handed and cut-throat. As she lands the job and begins to learn the business, she encounters an old flame, new friendships, and corporate sabotage. Meanwhile, she has become attracted to Ray Collins, a customer of Greyton’s Grill. She is reluctant to take the relationship seriously as she is career-focused at this point in her life. However, Ray Collins is not only handsome, but persistent. Ray is an architect and lover of the arts and he finds Carmen quite beautiful. Although Carmen finds a mutual attraction to Ray, she wonders if she can handle the demands of work, its related drama, and a new relationship. Carmen is determined to be successful as a marketing executive and mustn’t let anything get in the way of that. However, Ray Collins is determined to make her his own.

Characters

I didn’t like Carmen for the most part. I think the problem was she was trying to be too  many things so instead she felt like a blob character. Sometimes she is noble and sometimes she is petty. Other times she is friendly or determined while other times she is wishy washy and whiny. Hard to pin her down. I liked Nina okay (although she disappears for a huge chunk) but Caitlin didn’t feel like much of a friend. She kept throwing Carmen’s ex under her nose while she has clearly stated she liked Ray. What kind of friend keeps doing that? Also head hopping happened throughout the book. It kinda worked because of the writing style feeling more narrative than story.

Plot

I believe this is supposed to be a romance. I was very hesitant on the romantic aspects. In what world would a woman want to be called ‘young woman’ by her love interest? It totally threw me and BOTH men do it. Um…what? It made me wonder how old Ray is…like way older? However, Ray is mostly very much a gentleman and even though her ex is in the picture she mostly keeps him at a distance so the love triangle is luckily minimal.

It was interesting because the author clearly knew a lot about marketing and researched it thoroughly. I was impressed by the information that just seemed very natural. However, the college classes sounded more like high school and I’ve never heard of a restaurant who lets servers have weekends off. I know multiple people who worked at them (including myself) during college and you always had to work at least one weekend day but most did both because classes were during the week. Those little nonsensical pieces undermined the overall plot because they pulled me out of the story.

Overall

This book doesn’t read like a traditional book – it reminds me more of a play or movie script. Although I appreciated the brevity and consistent flow it was almost robotic at times. Very much all telling and zero showing. I also was a little unsure about many of the scenes and scenarios. The timeline also wasn’t clear. However, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next. There was some suspense that made me wonder what was going to happen next. I just wished it was more fleshed out. Also after all that build up there is a rush at the end.

Rating

2.5 stars (rounded up)

I was very split on this book (right down the middle). There were great aspects to it but just as many things that drug it down.

Where did I get it?

The author provided me a copy. This is a voluntary review

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Limbo by Laura Koerber

Summary:

Alyse died and she isn’t happy about it. She finds herself stuck in a ghost town occupied by dead souls with whom she has nothing in common. Her reaction to her sense of loneliness and isolation is to throw a neighborhood block party for her little outpost in the afterlife. In the course of her party-planning, Alyse experiences a series of revelations about herself and other people—lessons she had failed to learn while alive—which leave her happier and wiser at the end of the story.

Overall

The unique characters are the strength of this story. Alyse appears to be the primary character but many other supporting characters (Lily, Trey, etc. – even a dog named Dean). Each character is very unique and has a story of their death worthy of attention. That is where it starts to break down for me.

Like the limbo they are stuck in – the plot takes a while to form and isn’t concrete. Instead it relies on the reader to draw their own conclusions. At least in part. After introducing so many characters, it feels incomplete to only resolve a part of the established character plots. If this was part of a series (addressing other characters trapped in limbo) I’d feel differently but this appears to be the only one, so the ending (or non-ending) left this book feeling incomplete. Which if was part of a series would be a good thing – because I was curious to read more.

A major draw back is the constant head hoping. Although it appears the story is meant to primarily follow Alyse, we get glimpses at other ghosts trapped in limbo and then we get Point of View (POV) switches that zigzag back and forth. These POV swaps confuse the narrative.

The major plus for me was the overarching theme. I liked its overall tone that we live in the worlds we make for ourselves. We can accept what we are handed or we can change it. A powerful message and a redeeming aspect because it makes one think!

Rating

3 stars

Thought provoking although slow novella with unique characters. Take a trip to limbo and see the world Alyse decides to build for herself.

Where did I get it?

The author provided a copy to me. This is a voluntary review.

2018 – 2nd Quarter Writing Updates

It is that time again! Let’s how much progress I’ve made on my goals. Not as far as I want but The Nowhere Gate is all scheduled for release in two days! Also, I wanted to share this really pretty picture at a botanical garden I visited.

Goals for my writing for 2018:

  1. Finish getting The Gate Trilogy Ready
    1. Book 2 – Publish Summer August 8 of 2018 (The Nowhere Gate)
      1. Beta readers (First came back two are behind and I’ve scheduled a fourth)
      2. Schedule Cover Reveal (July 7, 2018)
      3. Professional editor
      4. Pre-order link: Amazon
    2. Book 3 – Publish Summer Fall of 2019
      1. Edit (August update: Lots to rewrite – nearly done!)
      2. Cover Completed
      3. Transcribe edits
      4. Beta readers
      5. Cover reveal
      6. Create Landing page
      7. Professional edtior
  2. Publish Audiobook
    1. Unfathomable Chance
      1. Release in 2018 – Release happened in May. 
    2. Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand
      1. Find voice
      2. Consider publishing 2019
  3. Focus on Unfathomable Plan
    1. Finish writing in 2018 (August Update: Hit 40,000 words!)
    2. Start editing 2018
  4. Work on other writing projects after Unfathomable Plan is done.
    1. Temporum: The Four Seasons – Book 1
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing
      3. Finish Writing 2018 (On Hold)
      4. Edit
    2. 1001 Islands 2
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing
      3. Finish Writing 20##
      4. Edit
    3. Seven Eves – Alaskan Supernatural Crime Novel (on hold)
    4. Demon’s Due – Paranormal Erotica/Romance
    5. Noble Chronicles Series (5 Books Planned)
    6. Zendar 2 (Added April)
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing (August Update: 5,000 words!)
      3. Finish Writing 2018
      4. Edit
    7. Write Anthology Short Story – (Part of Gate) – Romance
      1. Write!
      2. Submitted for review!
      3. If you are interested go to my new anthologies page: The Truest Gate
    8. Write Anthology Short Story – Epic Fantasy
      1. Write!
      2. Submit for review!
  5. Consider Publishing Love’s Metamorphosis in eBook
  6. An Honest Misunderstanding
    1. Publishing on Wattpad in 2018 – To come out over the winter! 
    2. One Beta Reader is editing
  7. Editing Projects
    1. Red Door
    2. Truthseer
  8. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018
  9. Work on Escape Room information.
  10. Keep up momentum on writing events, speaking events, and conventions.
    1. Book and Attended Steamposium CANCELLED BY COORDINATOR
    2. Book and Attend Arctic Comic Con (April 2018)
    3. Book and Attend SenshiCon (September 2018)
    4. Book Read Alaska
    5. Attend Read Alaska
    6. Submit Application for World Con 
      1. If I get in Attend WorldCon in San Jose.
    7. Apply for Emerald City Comic Con (2019)
  11. Read 503516 books before December 31st

Writing updates:

Now I’m over 40,000 words into Unfathomable Plan but I’ve been very busy getting the Unfathomable Chance audiobook done and The Nowhere Gate published. I’ve been busy! I’m going to have to focus on the last book in my trilogy which I’m tentatively scheduling for September 9, 2019.

Locally I’m also working on a project for a local escape room. They needed a writer to flesh out story ideas and, well, write. So I’ve been busy working on that and an accompanying short story. More to come on this, but I’m very excited. For those of you who don’t know what an escape room is, you should look into them. I’ve done quite a few at this point and I love them.

How is everyone else’s writing projects going?

Anthologies:

A lot has happened. The romance short story anthology (10K-13K) fell through and was turned into a serial romance series. When that happened the story was already written so I’ve had to find a different anthology. As luck would have it one of the participants recommended Crazy Ink Anthologies and they had an Anthology that fit the bill! The Curse. Woot! It is now scheduled for next year but I’ve already submitted it for review.

The Epic Fantasy anthology story is over half done. It has been fun and so far I have a working title – A Ghostly Gate. Just need to buckle down and finish it. I have two months before I have to worry that I won’t submit on time, but I know I can do it!

Audiobook:

Audiobook is published and now I wait to see if I want to do a second one. It is an interesting concept and I think it has lots of value, I’ll see how it goes. For those of you who are interested, it was done through ACX.

Reading Goal:

It is my goal to read 50 books. So far I’ve completed 34 reviews and have finished two more books but haven’t written the reviews. So technically I have 14 to go, but have the next 6 books lined up. I’m going to blow the goal out of the water.

Happy reading!

Logres (The Future King #1) by M.L. Mackworth-Praed

Summary

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

Characters

I had a really hard time connecting with Gwen. I think if I was a teenager this might have been easier but I am not. There is a lot of teenage angst in this book. Trouble and high emotions. The two love interests of Gwen aren’t that much better—Arthur is self-righteous and Lancelot overly jerkish. However, they both have redeeming qualities, just like Gwen. There are a lot of supporting characters but the author does an excellent job not overburdening the reader right at the beginning and doesn’t make every character super cookie cutter. There was some head hoping throughout the book – so be warned.

Plot

This is where a lot of my dislike but also like, comes in. I disliked all of the high school nonsense. Some was good, like a spoonful of sugar, but this was chock full of it. I believe it was more to develop the characters than the plot which caused drag in more than a few areas. Not to mention the sheer length of the book. However, that was broken up by the dystopian aspect of the novel which was the real winner. Especially how the author pulled in aspects that are truly happening today and warping them into the darker side of what our nations can become. Thought provoking for sure! Then of course there was the overshadowing of the Arthur/Gwen/Lancelot story. I’m going to be honest that I actually really dislike the original King Arthur stories and there are very few remakes that are good. This one was a little more on the nose than was necessary. I would have enjoyed it more if it had been more subtle.

Overall

This book was longer than it needed to be. There were some interesting conflicts and points of excitement but there was a lot of hum-drum high school days that left this adult wanting. Just when those began to drone on too far, there was a moment of action or some more world building on the dystopian side that sucked me back in. It was even worse because there is a huge cliffhanger ending.

This is for sure a YA novel. There is way too much teenage angst for it to be anything else. However, I do see high schoolers who enjoy King Arthur stories and dystopian novels, gobbling this up. This is for a specific target audience, but those that love teenage dystopian’s should still give this a shot. One big win in my book for Gwen was that even though there was the predictable love triangle, she so far hasn’t given in…but this is only book 1…

Rating

3 Stars

This is a dark read that reveals a future that could be – drawing from what is currently happening. I appreciated that message. If you love all the drama of high school, plus the overshadowing of a dystopian setting, this novel is a must read. It just wasn’t for me.

Where did I get it?

I received a copy from the author. This is a voluntary review.

The Ghostwriter’s Wife (Book 2) by Douglas Debelak

Summary

In author Douglas Debelak’s second novel, Jonathan Fry is still reeling from having his life taken over by an unknown force- possibly the Creator, Himself, in order to tell an incredible story. Just as things seem to be falling back into place, Jonathan’s wife, Annie, begins to experience strange influences, herself. It seems that whoever this unknown force is, they have much more to say.

The Ghostwriter’s Wife’s tale of life, love, tribulation and passion weaves together the supernatural with the natural, the impossible with fact, and finality with immortality. Its simplistic, everyday tone makes it both fun to read and believable. A reader is likely to get the sense that they are listening to a storyteller relate extraordinary secrets of the universe and of life, itself.

Join Annie in the awe and wonder of experiencing Jonathan’s story for herself, and the pain and joy of dealing with the consequences of her actions in The Involuntary Ghostwriter. Join the omniscient storyteller, himself, in his awesome journey to becoming who he truly is.

Characters

Jonathan is back but it is his wife, Annie who is in the spotlight. It was interesting to switch perspective like this for a second book. To see her reaction and account of the last year or so we’ve been with Jonathan, while also moving forward from that piece. It was also awesome to be back and see the rest of the story with the ‘creator.’ Gosh did this novel and its characters pull at the heartstrings!

Plot

Like before there are alternating stories. However, this one was not burdened by Jonathan’s writing and therefore flowed better. Instead it was wrapping up the creator’s story and resolving Jonathan/Annie’s story. It was great to see Annie get involved and begin to grow and change as she found herself again. Or at least something influenced her to let go and live a little. Either way, the two stories never truly intertwine, but are meant to leave one wondering.

Overall

The book flowed well thought it wasn’t as polished as the first novel. It had a punch to it that grabbed on and didn’t let go. Unlike the first book that took me a while to get into this one picked up right where the other one left off and you jog into the first book. My only real drawback was there were so many pieces left unanswered. There were major plot points from the first book that I thought died off in the second book and were never answered. Either it was too subtle or missing.

That being said I was very moved by the ending of the book. In many ways it wasn’t a true ending but a new beginning for all the characters involved, and there was beauty in that. Wondering what I mean by that? You’ll have to read them to find out. Also the ending was thought provoking, leaving me wondering what the author was implying (although I can guess I won’t so say so here).

Rating

4.5 stars (rounded up)

Wow! This had me hooked and I read it super fast. Then I was left to soak in what I’d just read, reflecting for days afterwards.

Where did I get it?

I thank the author for providing a copy to me. This is a voluntary review.

I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary Rescue by Laura Koerber

Summary

On the far side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, halfway between the mountains and the ocean, stands the little town of Forks. In that town, in a quiet neighborhood of modest homes and shabby businesses, there remains a dilapidated pink warehouse.

Packed inside that warehouse, living in deplorable conditions, were once over 120 dogs. Some of the dogs were kept in crates piled high on shelves, arranged in rows along the walls, and shoved into corners behind heaps of garbage and urine-saturated straw. Some of the dogs were confined to wire-sided or glassed-in kennels. One was kept in an old horse trailer. Dead ones were stored in a cooler.

In one of the crates was a black dog named Daisy. This is her story.

Overall

This is a harrowing tale of tragedy that could have been avoided. It educates the reader in addition to telling a story. If you love animals this will hit home – if you are human, this will be eye opening and heartbreaking. The narration was interesting and easy to follow. There were sections of supposition that felt unnecessary and undercut the strength of the story. It was smart to focus on one dog over others, it added an extra layer. Adding to the fact that the author was a small part of the protest and followed the story, that you could feel the passion.

This isn’t just a story about the pets though, it is also about the people. The fact that a few people who were seriously concerned got together and eventually made a difference. I don’t want to ruin the story but some do see a happy ending – which brings an overall positive dynamic to the story. Well worth the read!

Rating

4 Stars

If you like non-fiction books, especially about pets, this is a great read!

Where did I get it?

The author gifted me a kindle copy.

 

 

 

 

The Nowhere Gate – Cover Reveal

Hello everyone! Here is the cover reveal of The Nowhere Gate – book 2 of the The Gate Trilogy. I am so excited to share this with you and announce that The Nowhere Gate will be released one month from now – on August 8th. Keep an eye open, I’ll be putting it on pre-order a few weeks before the release.

Here is a glimpse at the back of the book:

The interplanetary gates originated from somewhere and nowhere.

Ki is lost on an unknown planet with no memories or body. Worse, an entity came through with him, something dark. It can’t hurt him, but no one else is safe. He doesn’t know how they arrived, but he knows one thing for certain—they don’t belong.

Elisabeth isn’t willing to leave a man behind, even if that man is lost among infinite possibilities. When Morhaven holds the answers to rescuing Ki, she takes Nanette with her to serve her term in the Netherworld. In turn Nanette must take a chance and trust a man she barely knows. 

How far is Elisabeth prepared to go to save Ki?

What do you think of the cover? Are you excited to find out the next step in Elisabeth and Ki’s story?

To celebrate this day, The Sixth Gate is #free on Amazon! Make sure to check it out: The Sixth Gate on Amazon.