Review: Glass Sword ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

If I could sum up my entire experience ofย Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard in a single gif, it would be this one:

If you’ve spent any amount of time at Round Robin Writes, or listening to ourย Podcasts, you know how much of a fan Jess and I are of Victoria Aveyard. We fell in love with Red Queenย last year, andย Glass Sword delivered as many emotions as its predecessor. Maybe even more.

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Review: Beyond the Red ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

29282402When it comes to the broad sibling genre of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, I’ve always been more in the favor of Fantasy. Butย Beyond The Red by Ava Jae showed me a whole new world within the Sci-Fi realm, and I have fallen in love.

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. Sheโ€™s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, sheโ€™s determined to protect her people from her brotherโ€™s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesnโ€™t stop him from defending his people, at least until Koraโ€™s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. Heโ€™s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identityโ€”a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Erosโ€™s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

– Goodreads

I’ve been a long time follower of Ava Jae’s writing advice Writability (and you should be too!), and when I heard that their debut was coming, I was ecstatic. Surely, someone who gives such great and dependable writing advice should have written an amazing book, right? And Ava delivered, beyond all expectations.

Reading the book of someone who you hold in high regard due to their advice can feel like you’re walking on a fine line. On one hand, their book could not hold up to your expectations, and fall flat, thereby disillusioning you to their advice. It could be just plain bad and you’ll forever doubt any sort of advice they may try to give, because clearly their advice wasn’t good enough if they didn’t follow it. But, like in the case ofย Beyond the Red, it could be everything you could have ever hoped for and more.

I felt deeply connected to Ava’s characters, rooting for them from the start. Ava’s writing is rich and powerful, and their prose is almost lyrical when read. The book has a strong set of characters, all with their different agendas, and the story itself has the potential to become a classic and a staple in the sci-fi/fantasy community.

My one and only gripe comes from the sudden end of the book, which sets up for a sequel, and perhaps it comes from my deep need to know more and submerge myself in the world of Sefara. I want more world-building, more stories, a comprehensive guide to the Sephari language, a history of all things Sephari and how humans came to the world. I essentially want this to become as wide and detailed asย Harry Potter orย LoTR, where I can learn the language and read everything there ever is to read about this story.

Goodreads . Amazon . B&N . Indie . Author Page

Review: California Skies โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

26806313California Skiesย by Kayla Bashe is an endearing and exiting Western romance featuring Maggie Valerian, a spirited heiress and author, and California Talbot, the most dangerous bounty hunter in the West, and Maggie’s childhood friend.

Bandits came looking for the legendary emeralds belonging to Maggie’s family, killing her older brother and scarring her face. She can’t change the past, but finding the jewels will help her injured sister recover. In need of reliable muscle, she goes to an old friend of her brother’s: tough-as-nails nonbinary bounty hunter California Talbot.

While Maggie expected hard roads and violence, given the tragedy that provoked the journey, she wasn’t expecting the bar fights, snakes, and bandits to be the easy partโ€”and the difficult part to be a growing attraction to someone who’d probably never look twice at her mutilated face.

ย – lessthanthreepress.com

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Mother Nature Will Never Decide

Remember how I said that spring was coming? Yeah–Mother Nature made a liar out of me!

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It’s not much, but it’s enough to miss the few days we had of 50+ degree weather. I’m perfectly ready for winter to be done. While I love sitting at home, watching the snow fall and curling up with a good book, I still have to go to Day Job, and driving in the snow is my least favorite experience.

On the plus side, since it’s March, one of my favorite people in the writing community, Ava Jae, released her debut novel,ย Beyond the Red, wp-1457115705727.jpgon the 1st! My pre-order came in the
mail yesterday afternoon, and I’m very excited to read it. Once I can’t up with my ever growing TBR pile, that is.

Those are just a few of the books I’ve picked up recently! I think I’ll do a book haul post sometime in the near future, maybe when I get my new bookshelves. Which I hope is soon, I’ve run out of shelf space!

Back toย Beyond the Red, I’m pretty sure I’ve gushed about Ava Jae in a prior post, but she offers some amazing writing advice, and is a staple in the writing community. I highly recommend reading through her blog, Writabilty, and grabbing a copy ofย Beyond the Red! You can even enter to win a signed copy, plus some swag and other fun stuff, in her Twitter giveaway. So yay, fun and free book stuff!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything. I finished a draft of my most recent YA story, and I put it aside to marinate for a while, and I’m finding it hard to go back to either that or to start a new story in the meantime. Part of it is, I’m sure, my depression, and another part is procrastination and fear of failure.

I’ve been debating quitting my Day Job, but with impending student loan repayments just on the horizon, and an incredible (and expensive) train trip I’m taking with my best friend JM Tuckerman, I just don’t think it’s feasible for me to quit right now. Working there drains so much out of me that when I come home, all I want to do is collapse on my bed, curl up with my puppy and sleep for 10 hours.

If only I had someone in my life to pay for a year’s worth of expenses just so that I could write all day long, sort of how Harper Lee wroteย To Kill a Mockingbird.

But that’s unlikely. So, back to the work grind!

Spring’s Coming!

It’s been so gorgeous the last couple of days in my neck of the woods. Sure, it’s only been in the high 40s, low 50s, but it’s better than freezing my butt off in the snow! So, of course, with the coming warm weather, I’ve decided to knit myself a new scarf and fluffywp-1456879719737.jpg hat. Because, what rational adult dresses for the weather, am I right?

I know it doesn’t look like much, but that blue scarf is going to be pretty darn cute, and if anyone else knits, I’m using Purl Soho’s free pattern – Dovetail Scarf!

I’m also going to make a red one to use as a Scarlet Guard scarf for the next time I meet Victoria Aveyard, which will be at BookCon in May! I’m so excited. I’m tempted to either keep the red one, or give it to Victoria, if she’s able to take it.

I wanted to make something for her the last time I saw her, at a book signing she did with Sophie Jordan in Bensalem, PA a few weeks ago for the Glass Sword book tour. I finished readingย Glass Sword there, and at least I was able to cry in a crowd of fans who understood my pain. (Don’t talk to me about chapter 26. I’ll never be okay again.)

wp-1456879934743.jpgI didn’t have the time to knit something for the book signing, since I completely forgot about it until a few days before, and by then it was too late. I might have been able to finish up one of my fluffy hats, since those take just a few hours to knit up, but I had left my hat knit at home.

On the bright side, BookCon is two months away and that’sย plenty of time to knit things for my favorite authors!

I pre-ordered Ava Jae’sย Beyond the Red, which should be coming in the mail any day now, and I’m soย beyond excited to read it. I’ve been following Ava’s blog for ages, and she’s given some great advice, and her occasional giveaways are a hoot. Her book is out today, March 1st now! Go get it!

Speaking of getting books, I’ve become super obsessed with monthly book subscriptions. Which is a bad thing for my wallet, but good for my growing library! A friend of mine has been subscribed to Bookcase.Clubย for a while, and I was intrigued, so I signed up for their Sci-Fi/Fantasy box, and hopefully I’ll be getting next month’s books in the mail in April. Maybe this month’s if I got in just under the wire. Mwahaha!

But I also subscribed to Uppercase‘s book box too, and I’m a little too late for their March box, but I can’t wait for the April box! Since Uppercase specializes in YA books and my Bookcase.Club subscription is for SF/F, I’ll be getting everything I love every month! Not to mention the half dozen books I already buy when I go out to B&N. I should probably budget my money better, but hey,ย have money, will spend (on books)!

Snow Monster 2016

I live on the East Coast, specifically that part of the East Coast that just got more than two feet of snow this past weekend. I’ve been snowed in for more than 48 hours.wp-1453746868956.jpg

On the bright side, I haven’t had to go to Day Job since Friday, but sadly, that’s over now that the snows areย sort of clear again.
But just look at all this snow! This was the middle of Saturday afternoon, when we were in the roughest part of the storm. We weren’t even halfway through the blizzard.wp-1453746864131.jpg
I commend the people trying to backhoe the
snow away, but it didn’t help much. The street was covered again within the hour.

But on the bright side, my dog loves the snow. She’ll run through it and around it and it’s so cute. The only problem is she’s like half a foot tall and there’s snow drifts that are four feet tall or taller. So we keep losing her in the snow.

 

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Sunday afternoon, when the snow stopped. Nala loved looking out for new snow mounds to romp around in.

 

A Recent Trip to Longwood Gardens

My family and I took a trip recently (about a week ago, act
ually. I’m just very bad at this “blogging” business.) to Longwood Gardens. Longwood is a pretty well known botanical gardens on the East Coast, sitting pretty about thirty miles south of Philadelphia.

And let me tell y’all,ย it is gorgeous.ย 

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