5 things I’ve been doing instead of blogging

Hello internet! My apologies for being MIA all last month. But I’m back!

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I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to during my hiatus.

1. Re-reading the ACOTAR series in anticipation for A Court of Frost and Starlight.31076583 (1).jpgThis shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. I’ve only ever re-read one series and it’s this one and it’s just as good every. single. time. Can’t wait to read ACOFAS.

 

2. Critiquing fellow writer’s manuscripts.

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I participated in #CPmatch again on twitter and matched with some pretty cool writers to swap manuscripts for a critique. It’s been super, super helpful for me and I hope I’ve been helpful to them. But it’s taken up a majority of my free time.

3. Presented at a PRSA Conference in North Carolina on Communication Planning.

PRSA_2018.jpegThis is the best picture I have of me and it kind of looks like I’m about to start dancing, but it’s mostly because I talk with my hands and most of the other shots were blurry. I’m a communications professional by day, and it was a huge honor to present at this conference. It’s also great for my career, but it ate up a lot of my time and attention.

4. Re-doubled my efforts to start querying.

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This is me. Trying to find an agent so I can meet my goal of being published one day. It’s an overwhelming process. Wish me luck!

5. Bought a whole lot of books!

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I didn’t read as much as I usually do, and I surely didn’t write any blog posts, but I definitely bought a ton of new books to read. Hopefully this will encourage some great reviews in the near future!

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Releases and Recommendations: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff, which will release on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

29456569.jpgOn an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Seventeen-year-old Eve isn’t looking for trouble–she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she’s on the local gangster’s wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she’s discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it.

If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it. The problem is, Eve has had a worse day–one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel–called a “Lifelike” because they resemble humans–will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie.

With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves… and learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.

Let me just start with: I LOVE JAY KRISTOFF! HE’S AN EFFIN’ MASTER.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me tell you why this new book sounds amazing. I like sci-fi, particularly with Jay Kristoff at the helm, and I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of artificial intelligence and whether or not a robot can feel emotions. Throw in a “handsome android” that’s basically illegal/forbidden and a girl with a rough past being pursed by bad guys and that’s a recipe for a hella good narrative. Looking forward to this one.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Can we talk about how no one hit me over the head with this brilliant book when it first came out to get me to read it? With the upcoming release in March of Obsidio, the third book in the Illuminae Files series, I had to get into this series.

Wow, Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman lives up to all the hype and more.

23395680.jpgThis morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Illuminae is unlike any other reading experience I’ve ever had. The story is told in recovered documents and correspondence from an incident deep in the galaxy involving a fleet of ships ferrying refugees after an attack on a faraway planet, a pursuing battleship and an out-of-its-mind Artificial Intelligence. I thought the removed perspective from the main characters would make it difficult to get into the story and feel what the characters feel, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I can’t get over the way these authors used text, graphics and white space to tell one of the most compelling in-space battle scenes I’ve ever read. The text was arranged in a way that it looked like fighter ships flying around shooting each other. You guys, I CRIED. I had big ol’ tears pouring down my face from the death throes and last words of fighter pilots, which was only made worse – or more impactful – by the way the text was arranged. It was heart-wrenching. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding and it was just so. Frickin. Good.

In addition to all the feels, including the gut-punching terror, soul-crushing why-god-why events and edge-of-your-seat anticipation, this book was also hilarious. The main characters, Kady and Ezra, were so funny – the kind of sarcastic people that love gallows humor and can lighten any life-or-death situation with a well-timed joke.

If you like YA Sci-fi at all, this is the book for you. My mind is completely blown. There is brain matter dripping down my walls as we speak. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, which will be released on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

34726469.jpgOND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

I love warrior women in my fantasy, and I’m particularly looking forward to the world-building with this one. The idea of fighting “clansmen” is more primitive than the typical YA fantasy and I can’t wait to see what it all entails. Plus, I’m all about the enemies-to-lovers trope, so I’m preparing the Eelyn/Fiske ship as we speak.

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

Anyone reading Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers series has been dying to read Becca and Nate’s story. It’s finally arrived with Brooklynaire and it was totally worth the wait.

35053870.jpg A sexy new standalone from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?

The best thing about Nate and Becca is the slow burn attraction that we’ve seen sprinkled throughout this series in other people’s stories. All their stories overlap a bit, and it seems everyone knows that Nate is in love with Becca except Becca. And to finally see it come to fruition made this book my favorite from this series. (Technically, this story is a standalone, but I’d recommend reading the other Bruisers books first. Who doesn’t want more Sarina Bowen?)

I particularly enjoyed the agonizing pace at which these two got together. It made their connection natural and more real. I also enjoyed the way the obstacle of dating your boss’s boss for a woman was portrayed. It’s a serious thing in the modern world, and it wasn’t just swept under the rug in an Oh-well-love-conquers-all way. Nate took her seriously and gave her the time she needed. Plus, I loved the way this was all resolved at the end of the book. Find you a Nate, ladies and gentlemen!

My favorite side character had to be Bingley – the Alexa-like Artificial Intelligence, but you know, ten times better because Nate designed it. Their conversations/commands with Bingley were downright hilarious and I particularly enjoyed the misunderstanding when Bingley thought Becca was talking to him during a particularly steamy session with Nate.

Brooklynaire was everything I wanted and more. It was romantic, practical and a fairy tale all wrapped up into one.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world!

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, which will be released on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

35144326.jpgA lush, unique new fantasy trilogy about a girl tasked with stealing the prince’s heart…literally, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lovely Vicious series.

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

Heart stealing? Immortal, unageing soldiers? A game of cat and mouse? I’m SOLD. I love me some YA Fantasy and this looks like it’s right up my alley. I’m very much looking forward to meeting this Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane and seeing what kind of havoc Lady Zera will bring.

 

Meeting Marie Lu and other reasons I’ve been MIA

Hi there, internet :: waves ::

I’ve been MIA as of late. I blame the horrendous winter weather. (Haha, just kidding. I live in the south! But it has been “cold.”) I’ve been doing more than documenting, including reading without reviewing.

As part of my personal resolutions as opposed to my bookish ones, I’ve been trying to focus more on myself and “self-care,” which means putting less pressure on myself to do all the things. Finding opportunities to “rest” and “relax” helps me “recharge.” (I’m using all the buzzwords in the hopes that it will make it easier. I don’t think it’s working. HA!) Anywho, I’m back. Cue dramatic entrance.

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Meeting Marie Lu

 

For the release of Batman: Nightwalker, I went to Parnassus Books in Nashville to see Marie Lu speak. She was so awesome and sweet in person. Per usual, I completely blacked out when I actually spoke to her but I believe I rambled about my love of Batman and how my car’s name is Bruce Wayne. I’ve yet to read the book but it’s definitely on my TBR.

Jan/Feb Reviews 

 2018 Reading Challenge Progress

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 I have read 15 out of 100 books.

Currently Reading

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Next on my TBR

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What I’m Listening To

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What I’m Watching

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I’m a proud member of #Bachelornation, and The Bachelor Winter Games was the most entertaining 8 hours of television I’ve ever seen. (In addition to the Bachelor, I was watching six hours of bachelor television a week. No wonder I went MIA.) Not only did it have our favorite cast of characters from various seasons of the Bachelor and Bachelorette, it included people from the international versions as well. The tongue-in-cheek way the Bachelor franchise replicated the winter Olympics, including sports broadcast-type interviews and winter sport competitions, was epic. I’m pretty sure I laughed my butt off the entire time. The show is over now, but its definitely worth streaming if it seems like your type of thing.

What I’m writing

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The main reason I’ve been MIA is because I’ve been in my writing cave. I’m trying to stay motivated to finish my manuscripts. I have three of them. I need to stop worrying about querying and finding an agent and just do it! I’m finalizing edits and looking for beta readers. Every day after work, I tell myself “I got this” complete with the SOA-inspired black eye from my own self-doubt. Wish me luck!