Burner (Affinity Series, #1) by J.S. Lenore

Summary:

Homicide detective Kim Phillips isn’t like the other officers of the Chicago Police Department. She’s quiet, isolated, and she can speak with the dead. Born with the ability to see into and interact with the afterlife, she is a Burner: a person tasked with hunting down dangerous spirits and sending them to the other side.

When Kim exorcises the ghost of a young girl, she’s dragged into a new and unsettling case, one where people like Kim are being killed. The only problem? There’s no connection between the victims, and no proof that they were murdered in the first place. Kim has to catch the killer before he finds his last victim and unleashes an unknown evil on the world.

Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is a dark exploration of how life and death are only separated by a single breath and how even those with power can be powerless.

Characters

Kim is a bit of a mess, but in a charming way. Her stubborn, almost self destructive drive to make things right and do them her way, is perfectly balanced by Priya. Priya is a bonded ghost (like a supernatural partner) and a sweetie! Cross is a very distinct character and I loved him almost more than Kim. The author created wonderfully diverse characters that, despite their flaws, were easy to love and even relate to.

Plot

The author built a complex world with lots of mediums and types of mediums that is pretty easy to follow. It is confusing a few times in the first few chapters but I got into the grove. Found out there is a glossary in the back that confirmed everything I had figured out, I’d recommend taking a peak there first.

There is a complex detective story that was decent. I figured it out pretty quickly but mostly enjoyed the journey and the action. Boy was there a ton of great action! I also liked the building romance between her and her new human partner…you’ll see how cute they are and I hope to see more of them!

Overall

Wonderfully written. I loved the way the author started the book – right into the action. Besides some repeated paragraphs in the earlier chapters, it was nearly flawless. I wasn’t sure what the point of the random pictures were throughout the book and actually though they could all go because they were distracting.

Relate-able characters, great plot, easy to follow world in an urban setting, and a great balance of romance and action. The ghost scenes were awesome! I wasn’t bored and every word was written with economy. I was very impressed all the way around. I kept wanting to read what was happening next!

Rating

5 stars

I loved this book. I was initially drawn to it because it said it was like the Dresden Series – and it was in many ways – but there were a lot of unique factors that just had that edge. For sure will be looking for more from this author in the future! If you love ghost/supernatural detective stories this is a must read!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Sixth Gate Release – Prequel #Free

Hello everyone! After two years of labor I’m very excited to announce the release of The Sixth Gate, book 1 in The Gate Trilogy. This is a Young Adult Dark Fantasy.*

Summary:

The interplanetary gates have existed between the five planets and the Netherworld for as long as living memory.

Dr. Elisabeth Avery is a woman caught between two worlds. Little does she know that others like her, other half-breeds, are being hunted. When a creature drags a princess into the Netherworld, Elisabeth is determined to save her by any means necessary.

Meanwhile, on the planet of Hystera, a Keeper and his assistant investigate a grisly string of suicides and are in need of someone with Elisabeth’s skills. The Gate Guardians and Elisabeth are aware that something is coming and know that it has something to do with the Netherworld bleeding through to the planets, but not why. 

Will Elisabeth be able to come to terms with who she is in time to face the coming threat?

Goodreads

Amazon

In honor of the release of The Sixth Gate I’ve made the prequel free. That’s right – free! If you’d like a short story introduction to The Gate Trilogy – this is the best way to do it. The Gate Guardian’s Daughter introduces Elisabeth when she is a child and her adoptive father Malthael who is a reformed demon.

You can get it here for free: I’m Free on Amazon! Also free on Kindle Unlimited!

*Includes graphic scenes involving suicide.

Judge by the Cover (Hafu Sans Halo #1) by Melissa Abigail

Summary:

Haruna Mitsukai is an overachiever with dreams of attending the University of British Columbia.

Ryu Debiru is a bad boy whose only desire is to escape this ridiculous prison called “life.”

Both attend Shady Glenn Academy and despite their similar “hafu” identity, they couldn’t despise each other more.

Years of avoidance come to an end when a major assignment on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice pairs them together.

Just as everything reaches a breaking point, revelations about an old East Side mansion called “Heaven” causes Haruna to question everything she thought she knew about him.

As for Ryu? Well, all that glitters is most certainly not gold.

Characters

Haruna is a very annoying character. I felt like the author tried too hard to make her unlikable. She doesn’t really improve with the book either until right near the end. Ryu is a different story. He is very complex and well thought out. He had all the character depth that Haruna lacked. He was a shining star in this otherwise bland cast of characters.

Plot

This book tried way too hard to be mysterious. The problem is the first half of the book is so boring. I was actually not enjoying the whole high school plot with Haruna and her friends. It was rather repetitive at times and I felt like the first half of the book could have been cut in half with the second half being expanded.

Also I get that Haruna and Ryu went to school together but sometimes I felt like Haruna and Ryu being thrown together too often. Like they were two bouncy balls tied together by a string that kept contracting and pulling them together. I believe this was worse because it felt forced at times.

That being said the plot after about the 60% point really picks up! I after that I rushed to finish it because the main POV switched from Haruna to Ryu and his POV was much more interesting. There were some aspects of his chapters that fell short, but they were much more lively. I wondered if the contrast between Haruna and Ryu was purposeful to show the gab between them even more, but it felt too wide.

Overall

The writing could be sharpened but was find for a Young Adult read and had limited errors. The setting was flat. Although the characters weren’t all interesting, but some of the characters were fantastic. They could be given some work to polish them up and make them more realistic. Haruna was complex but she also felt fake to me – again this could have been on purpose but to me it was distracting and annoying.

I had a hard time marrying up the first half of the book with the second half of the book. Where the first half of the book was dull and difficult to get through, the second half of the book was gripping and interesting. The pacing of this book could be greatly improved. It was a decent Young Adult novel and for those who like high school based novels with a twist, this is a good read.

Rating

3 stars

I didn’t love or hate this book. If you like books that develop slowly, this book is for sure for you, it just wasn’t for me. It earns 3 stars because I like the root premise of this book: Don’t judge a person by how they look.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

At First Light (Mount Kiernon #1) by Suzanne Paschke

***This book does not stand alone***

Summary

Having escaped the clutches of her abusive and controlling husband Cheryl Prescott flees the city she grew up in to live a new life under a false name. Years later when her car breaks down in the small town of Mount Kiernon, Cheryl – who is now better known as Sarah Walker – is forced to spend the night waiting for it to be repaired.

Discovering a town that is hurting as much as she is, Sarah decides to settle down and call the town her new home, opening a cafe along with her heart to the people of Mount Kiernon. As relationships with her customers grow, so do the feelings she has for the local mechanic, Jamie.

Will Sarah open her heart to let Jamie in, or will the new life she has built on lies crumble when her past threatens to return?

Characters

Sarah is a super strong, but damaged character. She is very emotional but is completely understandable. The author does a great job bringing back her to her struggles over and over again. Her internal struggles make her previous life seem real – so when Jamie comes along it makes sense that she isn’t ready. Jamie is such a heart throb! Love him. There was a bit of an issue with POV switching between Jamie and Sarah – sometimes in the middle of a chapter with no clear break. It was very confusing sometimes.

The supporting characters very much feel like a small town. I’ve visited a few small towns and they aren’t always as friendly but they are very similar to what the author portrayed. I really liked Jamie’s friends but some of the dialogue was a little too similar between characters.

Plot

I felt like the plot just went on and on. After a while it was a little repetitive and I couldn’t always understand why some parts of the story were told, while others were just skimmed over. I don’t know if all of the chapters actually advanced the plot, which made it difficult to hold my attention the entire time. The worse part was I expected some sort of resolution at the end for how long the book was and how much redundancy was built in – all to build the character up – but there wasn’t. This book cannot stand alone.

Overall

The writing could be fleshed out a bit, particularly the POV switches mid-chapter, but overall was enjoyable. The author did an excellent job with the main characters, and some of the secondary characters, but the dialogue could use some tweaking.  The plot could use some condensing – particularly pieces that didn’t advance the plot or were repetitive. Honestly I don’t know why this was split into two books…if it was for the cliffhanger at the end that is absolutely not necessary and is one of the biggest reason this book is getting the below rating.

The author brought a high level of emotion to this book. I was choked up more than once! I really rooted for Jamie and Sarah to work. This is for sure an unpolished gem that would really shine with some clean up. It was very sweet. I’d hope the second book gets more into Sarah’s strength and not so much her broken side. I’ll admit that sometimes Sarah’s actions really pissed me off but the author did a great job of having Sarah correct it quickly enough that she was quickly redeemed in my eyes every time – which is not easy to do so I applaud the author!

Rating

3 stars

This book has so much potential and excellent character development but needs to clean up. I also don’t think this should be two books based on the excess content of this book. That being said I absolutely love Jamie and Sarah and hope they get their happily ever after!

I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

The Sixth Gate – Back of the Book

Good day, good day!

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve finalized the back of the book for The Sixth Gate, book 1 of the Gate Trilogy, which will release on July 7, 2017. I’ll be doing a cover reveal soon too! Yay!

The interplanetary gates have existed between the five planets and the Netherworld for as long as living memory.

Dr. Elisabeth Avery is a woman caught between two worlds. Little does she know that others like her, other half-breeds, are being hunted. When a creature drags a princess into the Netherworld, Elisabeth is determined to save her by any means necessary.

Meanwhile, on the planet of Hystera, a Keeper and his assistant investigate a grisly string of suicides and are in need of someone with Elisabeth’s skills. The Gate Guardians and Elisabeth are aware that something is coming and know that it has something to do with the Netherworld bleeding through to the planets, but not why. 

Will Elisabeth be able to come to terms with who she is in time to face the coming threat?

I’d love feedback! This isn’t 100% set in stone yet so any feedback would be much appreciated. 🙂 Just a reminder that this is a YA friendly Dark Fantasy.

Where the Waters Turn Black (Yarnsworld #2) by Benedict Patrick

Summary

When gods and monsters battle, her music will not protect her…

The Crescent Atoll is a remote string of tropical islands, connected by long canoe journeys and a love of stories.

When Kaimana, a young ocarina player, discovers the lair of a taniwha – a legendary monster – she finds herself inspired. The song she is composing about their encounter will be her masterpiece, but her disturbance of the beast attracts the ruining gaze of the god of war. She must convince the taniwha to trust her if they are both to survive.

Where the Waters Turn Black is a standalone novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. Inspired by the myths and legends of South Pacific island cultures, this book is perfect for those seeking fantasy stories with a hint of the unfamiliar.

Characters

Kaimana is a likable character but more importantly she feels real. Her decisions aren’t always perfect but there is something of a dreamer in her that is to be admired. Rakau is the tanwha and has a big personality. He reminds me of a big intelligent dog. The supporting characters are varied but most seems to be morally reprehensible characters. From her parents that can’t understand to her ‘mentor’ Eloni (who is a real twit).

Plot

This book was such an array of themes. At its core I felt this was about the power of love/friendship. That it doesn’t matter how different  you may be from another person/creature, sometimes there is a connection that only you and the other person/creature can understand. It was a beautifully refreshing novel. There wasn’t any romance, it was just the story of a girl and her monster.

There were Gods, and constant threats from all sides, and awesome scenes. The concept of the Knacks are back in this Yarnsworld novel, which was pleasant. The author took a completely different but enjoyable feel/plot without completely leaving the writing style or world that I loved in They Mostly Come out at Night. A fantastic adventure that not everyone will come out of the same or even survive.

Overall

The world building was breathtaking and the transitions clear. I was a little disappointed that the fairy tale like stories didn’t connect back into the story more, but it did well enough to be fantastic. The Gods were varied and complex in their own right. I cannot give this book enough praise. I don’t want to give anything away, you’ll just need to read it!

Rating

5 stars

If you love Folklore stories even a little this is a must read! I couldn’t put it down and once I started reading it I had to finish. A must read!

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.

Writing Update and Mailing Lists

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I started off with a terrible head cold that laid me up for days. I sincerely hope most of you started off 2017 better. On that note here are all the updates for what I plan to do in the new year.

Goals for my writing/the year:

  1. Building Mailing List – I’d like to get a mailing list so when I have giveaways and such, I can let everyone who is interested know.
  2. Finish Writing The Gate Trilogy (I expect this to happen within the next month)
    1. Get all 3 covers done for The Gate Trilogy, reveal the first one.
    2. Publish The Sixth Gate on July 7, 2017
    3. Finish editing all 3 books – get ready for Beta readers.
  3. Choose which book to have done for Audio Book
    1. Find a ‘voice’ for the audio book and pick a date for release next spring (2018).
    2. Send a poll in the fall for which book through Mailing List
  4. Start writing next book. Decide between 1001 Islands #2, Unfathomable Chance #2, or the new YA Fantasy novel – Temporum: The Four Seasons.
  5. Work on Seven Eves – Alaskan Supernatural Crime Novel
  6. Edit and get to Beta Readers An Honest Misunderstanding and consider publishing (maybe just on Wattpad).
  7. Breathe new life into my Historical Mystery Novella. Finish writing ‘The Red Door’ – SO MUCH REWRITING/EDITING!
  8. Editing/rewrite Truthseer 
  9. Participate in NaNoWriMo
  10. Keep up momentum on writing events, speaking events, and conventions.
  11. Read 45 books.

Mailing Lists:

I have created two mailing lists. One for Romance readers and another for Fantasy/Sci-fi readers. I’m hoping to send out discounts, deals, giveaways, sample chapters, and cover reveals of all my books. Not to mention upcoming releases and my decision on which books will first go to audio (that’s right!). I’m preparing for a giveaway shortly, make sure you get on the list!

Sign up here: Mailing Lists

Writing Plans:

I am painfully close to finishing the last book in The Gate Trilogy. Book 1 releases on July 7, 2017. I had the artist who said they were going to do it bail so I need to find a new artist, I may have a line on one of them to do all 3 covers. I’ll get everything ready for publication over the next 5 years.

After completion of The Gate Trilogy I’ll be ready to start on my next project. There are three items that are at the forefront of that race. In no particular order these are my possible next writing projects:

  • 1001 Islands #2
  • Unfathomable Chance #2
  • Temporum: The Four Seasons A new project that I want to do for my good friend Nicky. It is a YA Fantasy that is contemporary and involves the main character ‘falling’ into another world.
  • Another project that I’m working on as well is Seven Eves. An Alaskan Supernatural Crime Novel. This may move to the forefront of my attention until I can make a decision on what of the above projects to take on first.

I also have a few projects I’d like to revive. Namely Truthseer (a book I wrote for my sister but needs to be fixed/worked on before future publication) and The Red Door (a historical mystery novel set in New York City, 1899). I finished rewriting/editing An Honest Misunderstanding some time ago, but I’ve decided to look at publishing. Either to eBook or on Wattpad…or maybe both!

Audiobook:

I’ve decided that one of my published books is going to go to Audiobook. I have to decide on just one and I’m very torn. I’ll be sending out a poll to help decide so I’m hoping everyone will sign up to the mailing list and help me make a decision Fall 2017.

Local Events:

Happy to announce that I’ll have other writing events around town and in the Southcoast area in Alaska. I’m very excited about all these events. SenshiCon was amazing last year and I hope to meet as many amazing  people this year as I did last year! My first one is next weekend which is Yuki Fest – here is their Facebook Page.

Reading Goal:

It is my goal to read 45 books. Goodreads Reading Challenge is all set up and tracking me. Apparently I’m 1 book ahead of schedule – yay! I want at least 50% of these to be indie authors so make sure to check out my submission/review policy page if you’d like me to consider reading/reviewing your book.