Category Archives: Book-It! Please send pizza

Book Review: Shameless Begging

Hey readers…quick request. If you read either The Cardinal Gate or The Waning Moon, can you pretty, pretty please go post a review for them? I don’t care if you didn’t love them. (If your last name is Cissell, though, you can’t leave a review.)

It doesn’t have to be much. Just pick a title (This book was aces!) or (I liked it alright) or (Meh), a star-ranking, and a couple sentences that make it sound like you actually read the book. (If you didn’t read it, don’t review it. That’s weird.)

You can set up an anonymous name and I’ll never know who you are. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like it. I’ve heard a lot of negative things about my books (and more than enough positive things to balance it), but reviews are really awesome to help indie authors like me gain traction.

I really appreciate everyone who’s supported me by buying, downloading, and reading…and I’d appreciate you so extra hard if you’d review.

(Pssstttt…I’m gonna be doing a HYUGENORMOUS giveaway involving three signed paperbacks and a few other fun goodies as soon as The Cardinal Gate gets to 50 reviews…we’ve a ways to go, though, so don’t hold your breath.)

In the meantime, I’m trucking along with writing and editing and eating regularly and sleeping and watching too many murder shows late at night when it’s windy and the branches scrape the house and things get blown into the doors. Still working on getting to my ideal state, but I’m feeling a little better about it today.

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Monday Brain Dump

It’s been a ridiculous week. I have a lot of thoughts in my head. I’m not gonna share all of them, but I’ve got some stuff for you.

You all know my kiddo was in the ER for a head injury Wednesday. We went for a followup visit Saturday and he is AOK – just needs to try to take it easy for a few more days. Limited screen time (I think, all told, we’ve had <45 minutes total for the whole Friday-Monday morning time), limited running, zero falling down and whacking his head any more.

Peak bruising was Saturday morning…it’s starting to fade to yellow, although it’s still spreading.

Friday, I took the Beer Guy to the airport for his 2.5 week trip to Belgium. I already miss him like crazy. (As does the Bean who was super disappointed that the Beer Guy didn’t make it home for waffles and bacon Sunday morning…”Mom, he loves waffles and bacon. Why didn’t he come back for breakfast? It’s because you didn’t buy enough bacon for everyone, isn’t it?” Yep…totes my fault on that one, kid.) So when I picked Bean up from kindergarten on Friday, I said I’d take him anywhere he wanted to go for dinner.

AB: “Oooh – Pizza Fino is good!”

Me: “Okay, let’s go there.”

AB: “But Atomic is even better. Can we go there? The Beer Guy will be so jealous because he loves it and we can take a picture and send it to him and he will miss us.”

Me: “Interesting motivation, but sure. Let’s go there.”

As we approach Atomic Pizza, Bean says, “Mom. I don’t really want the Beer Guy to be jealous. Let’s go to Lucky Lab. He won’t be sad that he missed that.”

Truer words, kids…

Lucky Lab dinner date. I don’t really like that place, either, but I’d said he could pick.

Saturday late afternoon/evening we got to have a play date. Well, Bean played with his BFF (and eventual roommate – he’s planning on moving into their basement when he graduates from high school) and I got to hang with my good friends and former neighbors who were gracious enough to have a kid the exact right age for play dates.

Yesterday was a mellow day. Bean was wiped out and needed a break (and I needed to finish up my editing project for a client so that I’d be ready to start edits on The Ruby Blade when it comes back this week). We putzed around the house, did lego projects, messed with the kitten, and had a pretty quiet (activity wise, definitely not volume wise) day.

We kept watching the sky for rain, and it came in fits and starts, but not quite what I was hoping.

I stayed up too late Saturday and Sunday (Friday, I was asleep on the couch by 9, dragged myself to bed about 10, and then woke up at 1:30 am and was awake for 2.5 hours…dammit.) but still don’t feel too exhausted.

I got the final cover for The Ruby Blade and will be doing an exclusive cover reveal preview for all newsletter subscribers in a couple weeks – so if you want to see before everyone else, sign up for the newsletter (check the sidebar).

tiny sneak peek

This week is all about writing and editing and reading (and work, of course) for me. I have a milestone on book 4 I really want to hit. I also want to – now that I’m starting to feel a little better physically – start moving again on the regular.

But mostly, I want to snuggle my Bean up tonight and tomorrow night before he heads back to his dad’s for 5 days.

Rainy Days and Mondays…

Book Review: The Art of Hiding

I’ve just started reviewing books over at The Lit Buzz and my first review went up this week!

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse made me choke up on the bus in the first chapter and was an insanely intense contemporary fiction book that left me gut-stabbed yet hopeful.

Head on over for the full review!

Book Review: The Silent

This is so much later than I intended it to be, and I probably owe Elizabeth Hunter an apology and a martini (or three), but here it is!

The Irin Chronicles (specifically The Scribe) were my introduction to Elizabeth Hunter. I’m pretty sure I read it at the insistence of my PSM, who occasionally introduces me to something good (and other times, according to my Facebook memories from today, insists I read shark-shifter romances that turn out to be not so good). She obviously hit the ball out of the park with this one.  Now here we are, 3 years later (I read it in 2014) and I’m reviewing an ARC of The Silent for you. (I’ve reviewed the third and fourth books in the series previously, in case you’re interested.)

The Blurb

They are called kareshta, the silent ones.
But the silent are waking.

Kyra has lived her life in the shadow of a powerful Grigori brother. She’s ignored her own desires for the good of her family, but an unexpected request from Thailand sends her on a mission that could change her life and alter the fate of free Grigori all over the world. Sons of the Fallen hidden in the mountains of Thailand have adapted an ancient human magic for their own purposes. Will this practice bring peace or lead to even greater danger for the Irin race?

A simple diplomatic mission sends Leo to Bangkok, but he didn’t expect to see a familiar face in surveillance photographs. He’s tried everything to drive Kyra from his mind, since he was convinced the gentle kareshta wanted to hide from the world. How did she turn up halfway across the globe, living with Grigori who may or may not be Irin allies?

Leo has bided his time. He’s given Kyra her space.

But this scribe is ready to hear a kareshta sing.

The Cover

 

The Review

Ugh. This was so good. (<—this was literally my entire review for a week.) I’ve never been to Thailand, and haven’t even much cared about the idea of going. There are so many other places on my bucket list that SE Asia doesn’t even register. But now? Now I want to go. So thank you, Ms. Hunter, for costing me future money. (Seriously. Thank you!)

Like all the Irin Chronicles, the world building in this book is just incredible. I’ve long enjoyed Leo but hadn’t much paid attention to Kyra before. I’m disappointed in myself and went back and reread The Secret just to make sure I could properly appreciate her.

I really enjoyed the character development of Kyra throughout this book as she goes from someone who is strong but willing to hide her light (out of necessity) to a commanding presence.

And the sex? Whoa. Elizabeth Hunter brought the goods this time. I wouldn’t have thought a “losing your virginity” sex scene could be so…steamy. *fans self*

The Verdict

I’m never not going to recommend that you head out and buy everything Elizabeth Hunter’s ever written. This series is so amazing, and trust me when I say you want to read every single book in it.

The Disclaimer

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Hashtag Blessed

 

I was nervous all day. I tried to convince my author group that I was probably going to die. (Spoiler: I did not die.)

The Beer Guy and I sat at home and had dinner before heading on over to the bookstore, and I spent the last 30 minutes before we left bouncing around our home, trying to practice reading without hyperventilating, and freaking out about the possibility that I would mispronounce “geas.” (My PSM’s sage advice: “It’s not ever really used so no one will know.” She also helped me figure out how to correctly pronounce it, because she is aces.)

My other pre-reading activity:

A glass of white while practicing reading.

At one point, it occurred to me that I read aloud almost every evening. Sure, maybe it’s to my five-year-old, but that counts, right? I decided to pretend I was reading to a bunch of children, and that actually really helped.

The Beer Guy and I got to the bookstore about 20 minutes before I was due to go on, and Elisa, who is one of the nicest humans in the world, helped me get set up and gave me more wine (and a bottle of water) to calm myself.

MY BOOKS! ON DISPLAY!

The room filled up with friends (thank you all so much), Elisa introduced me, and then it was go time. I’d picked out three selections. One from The Cardinal Gate to introduce Eleanor, and two from The Waning Moon.

It wasn’t until about 30 seconds into my reading that I realized that Eleanor swears like a motherfucking sailor. I mean, I knew she wasn’t avoiding the cursing, but until I had to read out loud in front of a roomful of people, I had no idea how many times she says fuck on a single page.

This is my “what? another motherfucking swear word?” face

I think it went well. I tripped over a couple words (but not geas!), but everyone laughed when they were supposed to laugh and no one fell asleep or wandered off. After I was done reading, there were questions. A fair few! And good questions!

My captive audience mingling while I was signing…

And then it was time for signing. I signed a dozen or so books, got to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a while, and apparently had a great time.

A few of us headed down the street to celebrate me surviving my first public reading with pink champagne (courtesy The Beer Guy, who really knows me well), snacks, and excellent conversation. The five people who joined me are five of my favorite Portlanders (I have ten favorite Portlanders…only half could make it), and it was so nice to see them all together.

A regret I often have is that I don’t take enough pics of my friends when we gather together…

It was an amazing evening, and I’m so glad I did it! I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends who gave up their time and money to come listen, ask questions, buy books, and spend time celebrating with me. One friend brought me the perfect tote bag:

So appropriate, because my uterus hates me AND my author group has termed itself the “illuterati”

My friend and fellow illuterati author Mel Sterling brought me flowers, gave me amazing advice, took some nice photos, and asked good questions.

At the end of last evening, I posted this on my Facebook author page:

And for everyone who insisted on photos and video – you have The Beer Guy to thank for that. He’s the one who uploaded everything to FB last night. He also calmed me down, carried all the heavy books, made the reservations for the post-signing drinks, and procured the bottle of champagne. There is no way I could’ve done any of this without him. I really am #blessedAF