Tag Archives: books

The August Want List

Standard

Sorry for the delay in posting! August was an insanely busy month. Whew! I look forward to a more relaxing September.

Now for the fun!

For my lost ’80s gamer days:

tetrisYep, Tetris tights!¬† So fun…there are very few occasions where I’d actually rock these leggings but to name a few…Comic Con, 80’s Dance Party at Canal Room…well, actually, I suppose the list goes on. ūüėČ

For saying Goodbye to Matt Smith as Doctor Who:

doctor who

It is sad to say goodbye but at least we have the anniversary and Christmas specials to soften the blow.

Just because it’s a jeweled octopus pillow:

pillow

Gorgeous!

For a glamorous night out, perhaps at a classic speakeasy with the bf in tow:

shoesI love these JCrew ’20s inspired t-strap heels! I want, I want, I want…oh wait, did I say I want yet?!

And because Fall is on the horizon:

tightsAdorable tights! Necessary for the cool days approaching.

The September Want List will be on time, I promise.  Fingers crossed.

Photo credits (top to bottom):  wanelo.com, etsy.com, dotandbo.com, jcrew.com, denisesalceda.com

Advertisements

Ministry Protocol Cover Is Revealed Plus Giveaway!

Standard

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels are a multi-award winning steampunk series, which tells the story of the government agency committed to keeping citizens safe from the strange, the unusual, and the bizarre.

In a very successful Kickstarter in July, the Ministry Initiative was funded, allowing the creation of both a roleplaying game and a brand new anthology.

Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences is a collection of short stories that will take readers across the Empire and all over the world, revealing new facets of familiar characters and introducing new agents, allies, and enemies from the Ministry’s colourful history.

The authors of this globe-spanning anthology include Delilah S. Dawson, Leanna Renee Hieber, Alex White, Jared Axelrod, Tiffany Trent, Peter Woodworth, Jack Mangan, JR Blackwell, Dan Rabarts, Lauren Harris, Karina Cooper, and Glenn Freund from The League of S.T.E.A.M.

And one of the Ministry’s creators, Tee Morris, presents the origin story of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences itself.

Look for the ebook coming in August, with signed print editions to follow.

Feast your eyes on the cover art from the Ministry renaissance man, Alex White, and spread the word about the anthology by entering the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

protocol_medium

Book Review: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Standard

Star-Cursed-final-200x300

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood is the one of the most satisfying sequels I’ve read lately.¬† Before I tell you why I think so, we’ll take a moment to recap and acquaint ourselves with the basic plot.¬† Oh yeah, and if you haven’t read the first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, Born Wicked, I suggest not reading any further until you do!

In the opening pages, we discover little time has passed since Cate Cahill sacrificed her own dreams to protect her sisters, Maura and Tess, by joining the Sisterhood.¬† Cate isn’t sure she is the foretold witch the Sisterhood believes her to be but she makes an effort to embrace her new life anyway.¬† Meanwhile, terrified of the prophecy, the Brotherhood enacts new laws denying women the right to read, to attend school, or to work outside the home.¬† The changes wrought by these laws and the arrest of a friend and fellow witch prompt Cate to realize that her sisters are safer within the Sisterhood than outside of it.¬† She requests they join her but the sisters’ happy reunion is short-lived¬† when it becomes evident that Maura yearns to be the prophesied one and lead the Sisterhood to victory, regardless of the cost. With the Brotherhood’s quest to find the prophesied witch intensifying and the Sisterhood splintering over how best to react, Cate will have to rise up as a leader and decide who is worth trusting as the future begins to unfold and more of the prophecy is revealed.

Born Wicked introduced this amazing alternate world, but Star Cursed is where Spotswood’s world-building really comes alive, adding to the mystery surrounding the Sisterhood as well as revealing tantalizing new details about the prophecy.¬†¬† These new elements build texture to the overall mythology and story arc.¬† Character development is also paramount as we learn more about Maura and Tess.¬† Their characters grow.¬† Tess matures.¬†¬† Maura, well Maura, doesn’t really mature so much as develops in a new direction.¬† But through it all, we gain insights into their personalities and dreams.¬† The author makes it easy to identify with the characters and understand why their relationships are transforming in certain directions.¬† Their dynamic as sisters¬† is the cornerstone of this installment, driving pivotal moments both for individual characters and the larger community.¬† Old resentments and secrets continue to divide the sisters despite the prophecy’s dark prediction that one sister will murder another before the turn of the century. It is as though they cannot stop themselves from racing toward their respective destinies regardless of what it means for themselves or each other.

As in first book, Star Cursed has a healthy does of romance and Finn, the boy Cate was forced to set aside when she joined the Sisterhood, reappears but I’ll let you readers discover how their relationship evolves.¬† All I will say is Spotswood does an amazing job of weaving romance into the fold without sacrificing any essentials.

Deep breath.

I need a minute to rant about the Brotherhood.

After spending the entire novel angry at this fictional organization, I want to freely admit that I abhor them.¬† Irrational I know, but isn’t it a great feat when an author can provoke a visceral response from the reader?¬† I, for one, was deeply affected.¬† Part of why it is so easy to despise these men centers not on their fictional beliefs/actions or the historical link to the notorious witch trials or past women’s rights battles.¬† Simply, I was disturbed because making the leap to similar transgressions in the modern era isn’t difficult. At all. Today, there are still countries where women are denied these basic freedoms. ¬† Even here in the US, women have access to an education, the ability to work and support themselves but continue to fight for others. The consistent and continued fight to be able to make decisions for our own bodies is just one but there are many more.¬† The politics in this book will keep you thinking long after you’ve read the last page.

Darker and more foreboding than its predecessor, Star Cursed is well-developed and fast-paced.¬† It is an amazing second novel with enough unexpected twists and turns to delight any reader.¬† I can’t wait to see how it all ends!

Go out and buy it from your local brick and mortar or hop over to an online retailer today!

Online retailers:

 Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 iBooks

Writing Update Plus Insignia

Standard

photo

This is it! The basic Insignia for Cardinal Airships!

***Cardinal Airships is the commercial dirigible company that The Fly Tower‘s heroine, Captain Bettyna Marin, owns and operates.

The designer (also my boyfriend) finished the insignia concept last week.¬† Now he just has to add the treatments.¬† Eventually, there will be three versions:¬† weathered, metallic, and 3D/raised texture.¬† Can’t wait to see the finished products! ūüôā

As for the novel itself, I have been making some real progress.¬† I’m almost done with the second round of complete edits.¬† I also have a couple of minor POV chapters finished.¬† Very on track for my end of June deadline though I’ll probably need the month of July for some additional cleanup before I start sending query letters to potential agents.

Also, I sent off the first five pages to a freelance editor for a sample hard edit (content plus copy-edit).  My plan/hope is to have the first few chapters hard edited since most agents/publishers tend to buy off the first 3-5 chapters.  (Or at least they used to.)

I still have a long journey ahead of me but I feel really good about the progress.

The Ministry Initiative Blog Hop and Giveaway

Standard

BlogHop02 copy

I’m very excited to be part of The Ministry Initiative Blog Hop!

A little over a year ago, I discovered The Janus Affair by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine and my journey into the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences (MOPO) world began. This first novel had me hooked and eager for more.¬† Yet it was their second novel, Phoenix Rising, that catapulted Agent Eliza Braun and Archivist Agent Wellington Books¬† into two of my favorite characters ever.¬† These books are amazingly fun and well-crafted steampunk adventures.¬† In addition to the novels, Morris and Ballantine have published an entire host of short stories to keep fans¬† patient while we wait for the third title in the series, Dawn’s Early Light, to be released in 2014.¬† If you aren’t already avid readers of Morris and Ballantine, check out The Janus Affair.¬† You won’t be disappointed.

But what is the Ministry Initiative, anyway?

Galileo Games and Imagine That! Studios have teamed up to bring you an ambitious steampunk project! The Ministry Initiative is a two-part creative endeavor that will not only premiere new fiction from the steampunk world of the Ministry but also present a brand new role playing game from the makers of Bulldogs! and the ENnie Award winning game Shelter in Place. Thrill to the tales in Ministry Protocol anthology, or join in as an Agent in The Ministry Initiative RPG.

Find out more about this endeavor and support the Kickstarter here: http://bit.ly/ministry-initiative

In support for the Ministry Initiative Kickstarter project, I’m offering a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner.

To enter, simply submit a comment related to this post and you’ll be entered in a random drawing for the prize.¬† Only one entry per person will be counted.¬† All entries are due by midnight EST on May 29, 2013.¬† Winner will be notified by May 31, 2013.¬† Open to US/Canada Participants Only

To continue on the blog hop, visit these sites:

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences J.R. Blackwell Jared Axelrod
PJ Schnyder Leanna Renee Hieber Pete Woodworth
Tee Tate Karina Cooper The Galaxy Express
Tiffany Trent Alex White Delilah S. Dawson
Simply Ali Wicked Little Pixie Books Make Me Happy
MamaKitty Reviews Thats What Im Talking About Kathryn Camisa
Krista Cagg Seleste deLaney Pauline Creeden
The Pen Punks Melissa Pauline Baird Jones
Vivid Muse Robert C Roman Jack Mangan

New Book Releases

Standard

The 2013 publishing year is underway, and more release dates have been announced.¬† Here are a couple of new and/or updated dates for series I follow.¬† If you haven’t read any of the earlier titles, I highly recommend giving the first book in these series a try.

YA:

The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles #3)

May 28, 2013

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Finishing School #2)

November 5, 2013

Update to the Divergent series by Veronica Roth (Book #3)

Title still unspecified but the release date is now 10/22/13.

Adult:

Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke (Immortal Empire #3)

November 12, 2013

A Little Finishing School Goes a Long Way

Standard

I had been dying to read, Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in Gail Carriger’s new Finishing School series ever since her adult series, the Parasol Protectorate, concluded last spring.¬† I even pre-ordered it, something I almost never do because I was so darn excited‚Ķmaybe it was the book trailer that suckered me into actually pre-ordering but then again who am I fooling? I was planning to download the book on its release date anyway.¬† But I’ll let you decide for yourself‚Ķwatch this trailer and tell me if it doesn’t make you want to run out and buy (or download and read as in my case) this book.

video source via Youtube

I don’t plan to prattle on like I usually can during a book review, particularly because Carriger’s books are reviewed pretty extensively and really I just want to gush about a few points and be done with it.

Here’s the cliff notes version:

Basic summary: Fourteen-year old Sophronia Temminnick is a bit of a handful who likes climbing trees and tinkering with gadgets more than refining her ladylike manners‚Ķmuch to her mother’s great chagrin. So said mother enrolls her daughter in a finishing school but it’s not your typical finishing school‚ĶI mean, yes, the girls do learn the more genteel manners like how to execute a perfect curtsy but they also learn how to finish the finer points of espionage, diversion and sometimes even how do dole out death. Thereby that’s how we find ourselves following Ms. Temminnick and her friends in their first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality as they help discover and thwart a fiendish plot.¬†

Review:

–Adorable adventure romp filled with lots of droll humor and witty conjectures just as one expects from a Carriger novel

–Very Steampunk meets Harry Potter with lots of classroom scenes where Sophronia and her friends learn how to curtsy, flirt, pick locks, spar and all other forms of relevant finishing school courses

–YA novel not focused on boys, dating and the inevitable love triangles! Amazing, I was so happy about this!

–Delightful dirigibles, gadgets, inventions, mechanimals, spying‚Ķneed I say more?!

–Acts as an almost prequel to the Parasol Protectorate series, where the reader discovers the young versions of Beatrice Lefoux, Sidheag Maccon (aka Lady Kingair), and Genevieve Lefoux.¬† For me, it was as though I was able to peak behind the curtain at their early life even those I am well aware of how it all turns out. It gave even greater depth to their well-remembered adult characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the next installment, Curtsies & Conspiracies, this fall.

Available at your favorite online retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks