Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

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My Rating: About 50…or Maybe 60…of 5!

After re-reading The Raven Boys, Book 1 of the Raven Cycle, I remembered all over again why I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing.

After reading The Dream Thieves, Book 2 of the Raven Cycle, I have decided that I want to BE Maggie Stiefvater when I grow up.

There are no words to convey how powerful and moving her writing is. And I know a LOT of words. Just none that do the job adequately.

I enjoyed her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. It was sweet, and spooky, and an unusual take on werewolves. I LOVED The Scorpio Races, a dark, hauntingly beautiful tale of young love, unfolding on the backs of the capaill uisce, or water horses of Celtic legend. But the first two books of the Raven Cycle are simply beyond my ability to explain. With lyrical precision, and dark imagery, Stiefvater creates a cast of characters unlike any I’ve ever encountered. The four Raven Boys are a disparate, yet tightly bonded, group of young men who attend Aglionby Academy. They are at once admirable, flawed, driven by needs too complicated to explain here, and made alternately strong and weak by those same needs.

And then there’s Blue, the non-magic girl in a house filled with seers and diviners, and whose gift is amplifying the magic of others. Once Blue becomes part of the group of Raven Boys, things change in so many unexpected ways, it would be hard to keep up, without the skillful plotting of the author. Her lyrical turns of phrase aren’t the only thing at work here, though to be sure, it’s her writing that makes the tale as powerful as it is. Her story line is terrific, but her words are positively inspired. As I said in an earlier post, Stiefvater  can lay open a character’s soul more efficiently than a boning knife, and often, with equally painful results. Her words left me gasping more than once, because, quite simply, her writing has a kick like a mule.

I can’t recommend this series highly enough. Hands down, the best two books I’ve read in several years, and I’m counting the days until I can read the last book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, coming October 21.

The Dream Thieves

Book Signings? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em?

Marcia:

Any writers here who’d like to respond to this on The Write Stuff?

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

I’m planning to do my first book signing at a library in a little town south of Orlando, in January. I have no idea what to expect, but I wanted to get some experience with the idea, and thought it would be a good place to start. (Plus they invited me! :D ) Have any of you done signings? Can you share any of your experiences with us? I know Evelyn Cullet & Ned Hickson have, so I hope they’ll pop in here, but how about the rest of you? And if you haven’t done any yourself, have you gone to any for other authors you’d like to tell us about? Caitlin? Anyone?(Caitlin, I’d love to share your photo with Ilona Andrews, if you wouldn’t mind.)

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Sunday Night Giggle, Just Because.

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Introducing Ned Hickson

Marcia:

Check out Ned’s Intro on The Write Stuff!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

I’m so happy to have my cyber-friend, Ned Hickson, joining us here on The Write Stuff. Ned is a funny, funny man, and an all-around nice guy. If you don’t follow Ned Hickson.com, you really should. He makes me, and a whole lot of other people, laugh every day! I decided to use Ned’s About Me page, entitled Let Me Explain Myself,  as his intro, because it’s far funnier than anything I would come up with.

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Ned Hickson is an editor and humor columnist for the Siuslaw News,
a small Oregon newspaper where the motto is:
Your dependable source for local news. Twice weekly. Unless we lose count.

After graduating from high school in Florence, Ore. in 1984, Ned moved to Dallas,Texas, where he found groundbreaking work as a bus boy. He eventually made his way into the kitchen and was promoted to corporate chef for L&N Seafood…

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Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

 magicbreakssmallMy Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again, the husband and wife writing team that goes by the name of Ilona Andrews simply can’t write a bad book. Only varying degrees of good. And this one has managed to vary its way up even higher than the last installment of the series. More action, more drama, more revenge (and so richly deserved), more sturm und drang between Kate, who is finally coming into some major, kick-butt powers, and His Furriness, Curran, the Beast Lord.

The title alone hinted there were about to be some important changes in the story line, and of course, the preceding book set us up for just that. I don’t do reviews that recap plots, so I won’t tell you what things are about to happen, but I will tell you that the dastardly Hugh D’Ambray shows himself once again, in full-on Evil Villain Mode, and the biggest, baddest of them all follows suit. Oh, my. The things that Roland can command are…well, just as awful as you might imagine. Kate and Curran have their work cut out for them, and the choices they make by the end of the book are surprising, but perfect for this time and place in their story.

Personally, I hope to see some of these changes be temporary, but whether they are or not, the story is fantastic, and the two of them, as always, so much fun. They really are doing just what they have to do, and taking names while they’re at it. (And don’t let anyone tell you that the book smacks of the end of the series. In my opinion, it blatantly set us up for the next installment, and left no doubt in my mind that their Happily Ever After hadn’t arrived yet.)

And one more thing. This book includes a Character List in the beginning, to describe each of the man characters in the books to date. I really loved having that reference. It also had a recap of the story line, cleverly told in a way that worked as part of the book. Both of these things were fun, and meant I didn’t have to skim through the last book to refresh my memory of where each character fit into the plot. Genius! I wish this type of thing were in the front of every long-running series out there, because my head is overcrowded, for sure.

In summation, when I read the first book, Magic Bites, I thought, okay, pretty good. Definitely has possibilities. Now, after reading Book 7, I thought, holy moly! It doesn’t get much better than this. My recommendation? If you are already a fan, but haven’t read this one yet, what are you waiting for? You should fix that now! And if you haven’t yet been introduced to the world of Kate Daniels, read that first book, enjoy it for what it is, and know that it gets better and better in each succeeding one.

Magic Breaks

 

What Are You Reading Today?

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It’s that time again…time to tell the world what you are reading. I’ll go first, shall I? :)

I just finished Book 2 of The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater, and will soon be doing a review on that. Assuming I can find the words to describe how powerful her writing is. She astounds me. I’m on the opening page, literally, of the final Rachel Morgan/The Hollows book, Kim Harrison’s The Witch With No Name. Been holding off on it for a couple of weeks, because I really hate to see the series end. I also have reviews coming up for Magic Breaks (Ilona Andrews), and The Winter Long (Seanan McGuire. Not to give away too much, but all of these rated 5 stars with me, so I can’t wait to get the reviews up for you.

Now it’s YOUR turn! What’s new on your Kindle, or your reading table? As always, inquiring minds wanna know, so share! I’ll be taking notes, here.

Introducing Aimee Easterling

Marcia:

Aimee Easterling’s Shiftless is on sale. Read the details here.

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

I’m very happy to have Aimee join our group. She’s published several books, and has learned a lot of marketing tricks that can help us all, especially those of us who are self-published but struggle with the concept of self-marketing. I know you’ll enjoy reading Aimee’s future posts, and today’s introduction to her work includes the fact that her novel Shiftless is on sale through the weekend. I’ve read this one, and it’s a fun YA Urban Fantasy, with an unusual take on werewolves.See my reviewhere.

Take it away, Aimee!

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A huge thank-you to Marcia for giving me this opportunity to share with her readers!  I’ve promised her a more marketing-related post in the near future since I’ve spent a few years figuring out a lot of tricks relating to the world of pricing, promotions, covers, and more.  So feel free to leave a comment if you’re…

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Thor’s Day Joke #3

One last bedtime giggle! Sweet Dreams!

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Introducing Evelyn Cullet

Marcia:

Sharing Another Author Intro from The Write Stuff

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

The Write Stuff is very happy to introduce another new member of the group, mystery writer Evelyn Cullet. I hope Evelyn will share some of her experience with us over the weeks ahead, and I can’t wait for everyone to get to know her better. I also hope you’ll all check out her newest book. (And don’t forget to reblog, Tweet, and Facebook all of our Author Introductions! Thanks!)

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Evelyn Cullet

Evelyn Cullet has been an aspiring author since high school when she wrote short stories. She began her first novel while attending college later in life, and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. After college, she continued taking writing classes. Now, with an early retirement, she finally has the chance to do what she loves best: write full time. As a life-long mystery buff, she was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society, and is…

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Thor’s Day Joke #2

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Guess What? It’s THOR’S DAY again!

Time for some Thor’s Day jokes, though I’m not sure why I decided the God of Thunder and other things Badassery was a good choice for Joke Day. I reckon I just wanted an excuse to say and/or think about Thor at least once a week. Today, I thought about him so hard, my blog header changed! Hahaha.  I’m going to be out for a while, heading to the High Banks Marina and a visit with the good Captain Jeanne Bell, my inspiration for the character of Maggie Devlin in Swamp Ghosts. Captain Jeanne was so helpful to me when I was researching what it would be like to run an eco-tour boat on the St. Johns River, that I can’t thank her enough. But I can take her an autographed copy of my book, and let others know that going on one of her tours is a great way to spend a couple of hours on a beautiful day.

I’m leaving you with something to make you smile, and when I return, I’m sure I’ll have some more for ya. Have a great day!

When Pelicans Go Bad

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Magnificence

Marcia:

Beautiful!

Originally posted on leaf and twig:

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her majesty
saves a place for me
while holding up the sky

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Listen

Marcia:

Love checking out Callum’s poetry from time to time. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Callum McLaughlin:

Though my words may often hide
behind the wall of my locked lips,
it’s the pen wrapped beneath these fingers
tasked with freeing my truest thoughts.
Overcome me with your valiant shouts,
I dare you.
It’s when my mind is read it truly roars.

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Introducing Patti (PJ) Fiala

Marcia:

Meet PJ Fiala on The Write Stuff

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

NOTE: So happy to meet Patti! She has sent me a lot of good stuff to share with you guys, and I hope you’ll pass it along via your own blogs, Twitter, or Facebook–however you want to get the word out. Patti will do the same for you, I’m sure, when you have news to share.

Patti Fiala

PJ Fiala

I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri named Bridgeton. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, and played kickball and endless games of hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my grandmother, Ruth, are the fondest childhood memories for me.

At the age of thirteen, my family moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! That was interesting. Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm with twenty-eight cows purchased from the humane…

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How to Narrow your Google Image Searches

Marcia:

Since I don’t have an Author Interview for Today, I thought I’d share some blog posts that have been interesting, helpful, or funny. I’ll reblog several during the day, starting with this one from one of my favorite How To blogs, Sharechair. Who knew?

Originally posted on sharechair:

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 7.54.12 PMI am always amazed at the power of Google. Type in almost anything and you have your answer in seconds.

I took an online course last year on Google searching. My purpose in taking the course was to experience an on-line course….NOT to learn how to search on Google. Oh, no. I thought I knew that. Silly, silly, me. There is SO much more to google searching than meets the eye. It is truly astounding. Much of what I learned I’ll never use, but some things are quite helpful. (Gradually I’ll include some of these things on this blog… like today. :) )

Almost anything you search for can be refined. Let’s look at a search for Astronauts.

If you google “astronauts,” and click on “Images”, you get a page that looks like this:

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Now click on “search tools.” A new row of options appear.

Select “type,” and a drop…

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Attention Writers!

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Are you a writer? Would you like more exposure for your work? Would you like it to be FREE? Join me at The Write Stuff, and I’ll be happy to help. I’ll be glad to post news about your books, promos, sales, even excerpts of your work. The Write Stuff is a brand new (2 days old) blog focusing on writers and writing, and looking for folks interested in getting to know other writers for discussions, debates, tips, and support. Stop by today and click that follow button. And email me (or respond, either here or there) regarding how you can take part in what I hope will be a fast growing community. I can’t wait to meet you!

PS…NO CATCH. I just want to have a blog that benefits me and my fellow writers, especially new writers and indies, though certainly not limited to that. Come on by!

The Write Stuff

mmeara@cfl.rr.com

 

World Blog Hop

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I am happy to say that one of my favorite bloggers, Mr. 23 Thorns, himself, nominated me for the World Blog Hop a short time ago. (Okay, it’s perilously close to being a long time ago, now, but it’s not my fault. I swear. All right, mostly it IS my fault, but I couldn’t help it.) For those who have never read 23 Thorns, all I can say to you is that you don’t know what you’re missing. 23 (I have permission to call him by his first name) is one of the funniest people out there, and I highly recommend you check out his blog. Maybe you can encourage him to get back into the habit of posting more often. He’s been on a wee break, but I have it on good authority that he’s weakening, and could be coerced into brightening our days with his droll observations once again.

The first thing the World Blog Hop asks for his a quote. Where someone who shall go nameless, but whose first name is a two-digit number, has trouble with being a non-quoty sort of person, I have just the opposite problem. I have quotes on my desktop, pinned to my bulletin boards, and stuck in my brain. I love them. Picking one would be terribly hard, because I don’t know whether to go with the truly meaningful, or the truly hilarious. Since I can’t make up my mind, I’m going to go for the one that keeps me truckin’ along, even though it’s a comparatively recent addition to my collection. It’s from the 2000 movie, Cast Away, with Tom Hanks, and it’s what his entire experience alone on the island taught him: “I gotta keep breathing, because tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide could bring?” And that, folks, is the secret to a long life. Just keep on breathin’, and check to see what’s washed up each morning.

BTW, my runner up would be just this: “If you really want to be happy, NOBODY can stop you.” Choose happy. It’s so much better than the alternative.

Now for the questions.

 Why Do I Create What I Do?

I’ve created many things over the years, from afghans to zinnia beds, and I can’t honestly tell you the reason for any of them, except that it makes me happy to do it. I like to garden, I like to crochet, I liked having and raising my children, I like painting. I don’t like creating dinner. When I create something, I want to shellac it and hang it on the wall, or wear it for a few years, or watch it turn into an interesting human being. I don’t want it gone in ten minutes. So, cooking is work, not creating, for me.

Of all the things I’ve ever created (except for my kids, of course), nothing has made me happier than writing. I don’t care that I’m not writing anything of astonishing literary merit. I care that I have stories I want to tell, and I’m finally telling them, after all these years. And people seem to be enjoying reading them. It’s far more satisfying than any painting I ever sold, and certainly makes me happier than any afghan I ever crocheted. So that’s it, I guess…it makes me feel good.

How Does My Creative Process Work?

In fits and starts, with scowling and laughing, and lots of repetitive stress syndrome from typing too long. There might be swearing involved, too. I’m VERY creative when it comes to that. I am at my computer within ten minutes of arising every day. I answer my email, check my blogs, and then open either Word, or lately, Scrivener, and start making notes of what I want my next chapter or scene to accomplish. Once I’m clear on what I need to do to move the story along just that far, I start typing. Six or eight hours later, I stop to fix dinner. In the evenings, I sit back down and do some more. Unless there’s dancing on the tv. I love dancing. It makes me happy, and it’s just about the only tv I watch any more, except for the Olympics, which also make me happy. And that’s how I do it. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, words appearing in front of me…rinse and repeat.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

This implies I actually know what my genre is, when I’m really still guessing at this point. For want of a better idea, I’ve ended up in Romantic Suspense, which does fit, but which is a hugely broad category. When Wake-Robin Ridge made amazon’s Top 100 best seller list last month (and stayed there for several weeks, yay), it was in the Fiction/Ghosts category, though I wouldn’t call it a traditional ghost story, myself.

What I think makes my work different from most in the basic genre is that I’m not interested in writing graphic sex or violence, even though I do want plenty of love and passion, and violently evil characters in my books. Just not the gratuitously graphic bits. I took a hard look and found lots and lots of romance novels out there of the rather tame sort that didn’t work for me. I found even more of the sort currently called Mommy Porn. That didn’t interest me, either. I think there is an audience for both of those types of book, believe me, and I in no way fault anyone who writes them. I just wanted to find something for myself that fell in between both extremes. More passion and mayhem, including true evil, than the sweet little romance novels that have been around forever contain. But less anatomical references and/or torturous gore than so much of today’s fiction has. So…maybe the answer to this question is that I’m trying to forge a middle of the road kind of path. My grandmother would say being neither fish nor fowl is a pretty boring way to go, but I hope in this case, it’s not. We’ll see.

What Am I Presently Working On?

I had no sooner finished Wake-Robin Ridge than people were asking if there would be a sequel. My intention was to set several more books in Darcy’s Corner, but to have them each about other people. I thought Sarah and Mac’s story was done. Little did I know. Sarah whispered in my ear one night that there was a little boy lost on the mountain, and I needed to tell his story, so that’s the first thing I’m working on. A Boy Named Rabbit is the sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge, and I hope to have it out this fall. It involves a ten-year old boy who has been raised in the wilderness with no interaction with any humans, other than his grandparents, and no knowledge of the world at all. When he finds himself alone, his journey down out of the wilderness brings him straight to Wake-Robin Ridge, and Sarah and Mac find their lives in turmoil, yet again. So. A more traditional sequel than what I had planned, yes, but you just don’t ignore those voices that whisper in your ear in the dead of night.

I’m also writing the sequel to Swamp Ghosts, my second novel. This one is keeping more in line with my original concept. Maggie and Gunn’s story is over, and their friends, Hunter Painter and Willow Greene, are the focus of Book 2.  The book is called Hunter, and should be published shortly after the first of the year.

The third thing I’m working on is not a book, but my newest blog, which is called The Write Stuff, and is going to be focused on writing and writers, allowing Bookin’ It to resume its original intent of being primarily focused on reading. The Write Stuff just went live yesterday, and I hope some of you will check it out. I have a lot of fun ideas for this blog, and hope it will appeal to writers everywhere, and their readers, as well. It will be a good place to get updates on my work, as well as lots of other authors, as well.

And now it’s time to nominate some folks I think would enjoy taking part in the World Blog Hop. A caveat, here…I nominate blogs/bloggers I find interesting and would love to hear from. BUT. I understand that not every enjoys taking part in these types of things, for various reasons. If you don’t care for the idea, or if you just don’t have time, simply ignore the nomination. The worst that can happen by my mentioning your blog here is that you might get some new visitors, and that’s a good thing. There is no need to participate if it’s not your thing!

Here are my nominees.

Evelyn Cullet

Marcia Strykowski

Yvonne Ventresca

Good Morning!

Marcia:

Name change on new blog, already, ha! Read about it here, and please think about following. ESPECIALLY if you are a writer. I will use this blog to get as much additional exposure for you and your books as I can. Thanks!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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First, a big thank you to those who have already followed me. You will forever more be known as the ones who have been here since the very first day, and I’m so grateful for your support.

Second, you may have noticed that I changed the name of the blog already. :) WordPress assured me that I didn’t need to overthink the name while setting things up, and could change it later, so I have. I wanted to better reflect what the blog is about, namely writing and writers. Including me, of course, so I’m in the tag line, since all of my book info, news, updates, and excerpts will be here now. But I want this to be about other writers, as well. Especially, though not limited to, those newbies out there who are looking for as much exposure as possible. I will be offering that for them, via…

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Sunday Night Giggle #2

Okay, ONE more, but that’s IT!

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Sunday Night Giggle!

Long, hard weekend. I need a laugh, and I’m sharing it with you!

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Well, That Was Quick!

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I finally bit the bullet and just paid for the upgrade, giving me the control over fonts I wanted. Now, my new blog looks much better, and while I’ll be tweaking it for some time, I’m sure, it is probably ready for Prime Time. Please stop by and see what you think, and I’d love it if some of you decide to follow this one, as well.

The main difference between Marcia Meara Writes and Bookin’ It, is that MMW will be focused primarily upon…tada!…writing, where Bookin’ It was always meant to be primarily focused on reading. As I mentioned, there will be some overlap, but I’m hoping to concentrate on reviews, author interviews, discovering new authors, cover art, and release dates on Bookin’ it. On MMW, I want to talk more in depth about self-publishing, writing practices and roadblocks, news about my own books, promos, and discussions with other writers on the kinds of things that crop up when you are actually trying to make a living doing this.

I think there are a lot of you who would enjoy both blogs (fingers crossed), so I hope you guys will stop by, Follow Marcia Meara Writes, and see what shakes out in the weeks ahead.

Thanks so much, and…as you were, folks! I’ll be back later with a new review. Just need to finish Chapter 26 in A Boy Named Rabbit. I’ve left those poor people in the lurch!! Must get back to that mountain and sort things out.

Have a great Sunday!

Marcia Meara Writes

My Newest Blog

Bear with me, folks. Some of you have found my new blog, already, and that’s great, but I want you to know it’s not done yet! :) Still tinkering with font sizes, display stuff, and content. I realized, even my “test” Welcome post doesn’t cover all the things I hope to do on that blog. For one thing, I want to get some good discussions going there with other writers, things which may or may not be of interest to those not trying to make their way into the business. I’ll be posting a formal announcement when I think it’s really ready for Prime Time, but I welcome anyone who heads on over looking for a sneak peek. You guys rock!

If you do stop by, be sure to let me know, and be RE-assured it’s going to get lots better! Oh, and while you’re there, feel free to go ahead and click that Follow button! :) Things will be happening soon that you might not want to miss. At least, that’s MY plan! ;)

As for Bookin’ It, this change will let me focus on book reviews, Author Interviews, and reading-related posts, here. Yes, there will be some overlap, but removing lengthy posts about what’s going on with my books will make navigation easier for those who want to read more about new book releases and other more general book-related posts.

Hope this all works out as well as I envision…wish me luck!  

New Blog News

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After struggling for some time to get the Menu above organized and several new links working properly, I had to admit defeat. So, I decided to create a new Author’s Blog where I could focus on my own books, news, excerpts, promos, etc, and forget about trying to make it all fit here. Oh, I’ll still keep this blog updated about new promos, etc, but this will let me use Bookin’ It the way I originally intended, namely for book reviews and posts on other people’s writings. It was just getting too cluttered up with my stuff all over the place, too, especially when the links either didn’t show up at all, or didn’t work properly.  

Of course, I spent a whole day trying to remember how to set up a new blog, and get the theme I wanted operating properly. It’s still a work in progress. But once it’s done, I’ll be posting the link here, so that any of you who want to follow my books a bit more closely can do so. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy both blogs enough to follow each. I’ll do my best to make them both worthwhile, and I’ll keep you posted!

What Are You Reading?

Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys Book Cover

It’s Friday again…LATE Friday, but still…it’s Friday, and Friday is What Are You Reading Day. Me, I’m about half way finished with Book 2 of The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves. I finished re-reading The Raven Boys a few days ago, and started right in on this one, and with every single page, I’m reminded yet again what a powerful writer Maggie Stiefvater is. Lots of folks write pretty good YA books and fun Urban Fantasy series, but very few people reach the level of writing Stiefvater does. She can lay open a character’s soul more efficiently than a boning knife, and often, with equally painful results.  I want to say more, but I’m restraining myself. I’ll be reviewing these two books soon enough, so no need to go farther at this point.

Your turn, though. What are you reading, and are you enjoying it? Let’s ask that, too. *tapping my foot, here, eager to know*

thedreamthieves

A Favor?

 Extra-Extra-Read-All-About-It

If you enjoy my Wednesday Author Interview feature, please remember to share it. On Facebook, Twitter, by reblogging, or any other way you can get the word out. I would really like for these interviews to increase exposure for the authors who are kind enough to participate, and any help you can give them would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for considering this. Let’s get the word out! :)

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One Woman's Adventure On the St. Johns River of Florida

Wild life.

A light-hearted look at South Africa's wildlife.

author linda rue quinn

Writing is cheaper than therapy

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