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So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Month

May 2013

Teaser! The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

debby

THE PRINCE’S MAN

 Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN, has been described as ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’ – a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

Rustam Chalice, hedonist, dance tutor and spy, loves his life, never better than when he’s bedding a gorgeous woman.

So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Thanks to Deborah Jay for kindly allowing me to tell you about her newest book, coming out soon! Please keep an eye out here for notification of publication! Also, don’t fail to check out “Desprite Measures,” which I beta read and is reviewed on this site.

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

This summer will see publication of her debut novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN, the first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award. She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published under the name Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at www.deborahjay.wordpress.com or follow Deborah on twitter https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2 and facebook https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

Beta/Review: The Eagle & the Arrow – A.J. O’Connell

EagleAndArrowFinalCoverRGB96dpiDue out: June 11, 2013

Every leader, and every regime, and every movement, and every organization that steps across the line to terrorism must be banished from the discourse of civilized human life.

ALAN KEYES, speech, Apr. 21, 2002

The big threat to America is the way we react to terrorism by throwing away what everybody values about our country–a commitment to human rights. America is a great nation because we are a good nation. When we stop being a good nation, we stop being great.

BOBBY KENNEDY, O Magazine, Feb. 2007

What must we do, how far must we go, to preserve our way of life? Our very lives? And where, we must ask, should the line be drawn, the line which divides the moral from the immoral?

In this very short novel, A. J. O’Connell asks that question in the voice of one of those many minions of government placed in the position to make those tough decisions – who lives? And who dies? And like so many other of her stripe, it isn’t until much later that she begins to ask “And who, really, gets to make those decisions?”

I loved this little book. Of course, I am myself torn by the actions of our government, actions which, though often praised, should just as often be questioned. What is the true rationalization behind how certain governmental entities choose to address terrorism? Who makes the choices as to who is deemed a terrorist and how that decision is made? I should be quite clear in stating that I am absolutely and without question anti-terrorism of any sort.

Terrorism is, in my mind, the most savage and unworthy act a human can commit against others, no matter the reason. However, I am also not a fan of some of the methods we, as Americans, seem to condone in the so-called “War on Terror.” While I am not a Hawk, I am certainly not a Dove, either. There must be, as in all things governmental, a balance – a balance that is often sadly lacking in the management capabilities of those who are chosen to govern.

Ms. O’Connell puts it quite well in her introduction to this story:

Lastly, I would like to thank the U.S. Government for not coming to my house and carrying me off in the middle of the night while I researched this. I realize that my search history looks pretty suspicious.”

And that, my dears, is the whole point, in a nutshell. A. J. does a masterful job of placing her characters in a situation which has no right or wrong, no true good guys (though one true bad guy posing as a good guy who deserves to have very, very bad things happen to him . . . ) and no real winners in a situation spiraling totally out of control. As Hunter Thompson so succinctly put it:

The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

If your interests are the smart, the funny, the snide and the thoughtful, don’t miss this little book. It is a true gem of Modern Americana with a twisted mindset that has me looking forward to going back and reading the first book, as well as look forward to anything Ms. O’Connell writes next.

in the end

Raw Deal: The Amber Farrell Prequel – It is Out!


raw deal
“I’d lost my entire team, and nearly lost my life. In a way, I had lost my life, and was left with this—a tightrope walk between hunting down creatures people didn’t believe existed, and being locked up as one.”

It isn’t often that a writer comes along who really hits all my buttons. Of course, I am sort of an oddball myself. I like women characters who can, in a word, kick-ass, take-names, and generally stick up for herself – with a little help from her friends, and without having to have a male holding her hand and making the big-bad go away with her cheering him on. I like women characters with depth, who have a backstory that is tough, but that she makes it through on her own.

Amber is definitely tough, but she is also a good person, with heart and soul and a deep desire to do the right thing. She doesn’t lay down and cry because her life has gone into the toilet, but she doesn’t take it out on others, either. She is the kind of person that others immediately trust and believe in.

In this prequel to the Amber Farrell “Bite Back” series, Amber’s life is something of a walk through the fun house mirrors. Nothing is as it seems, only when it is. Her life has been turned upside down, ripped apart, and stomped on a few times for good measure by a government she once trusted. She is back “home” doing a job she never expected, with Big Brother watching over her shoulder, waiting with baited breath to snatch her back to a cold, concrete cell, never again to see the light of day, victim to needles and knives. It is enough to make the strongest woman cringe a bit.

If you have read the Bite Back series, this will give you the back story on Amber’s introduction back into Denver’s seedier side. If this is the first you have heard about Amber, grab this novella first, then move on to Sleight of Handsleight of hand

then on to Hidden Trumphidden trump

This is a killer series about a woman who is strong enough to know what she wants and goes after it, without walking all over everyone to get there. Buy the books (this one is FREE) and read them. You won’t be disappointed.

Beta Read – Desprite Measures – Debby Lush

Desprite Measures. Yes, that really is “Desprite” – it will make sense when you read the book. And when it comes out, you REALLY need to read this book. I am always positive when I start a new book. It is very much like entering a brand new world. A world of wonder and learning and exploration. Sometimes I am lucky, and the book is everything I hoped it would be. Sometimes – not so very much.

In this case I found another of the worlds I so enjoy visiting. I have a tendency to put myself in the place of the characters in books I enjoy, and that was quite easy with Desprite, on a lot of levels. The main character, Cassie, portrays, as odd as it sounds, an evolution of soul. The secondary characters are nearly as interesting as Cassie. Though with fully formed back stories, they still develop throughout the story in ways both fascinating and, in some cases, heartbreaking.

This is most definitely an Urban Fantasy, with all the myriad characters such implies. However, Ms. Lush goes deeper and wider than your everyday UF. She touches on real issues we are all facing today. And she does it in a way that weaves believably into her story. There are good guys and bad guys, and sometimes, the good and bad blend and meld in ways that make you wonder – where do the lines cross?

Relationships, beliefs, environmental and ecological questions. The beginning of this planned five-book series grabbed hold of me and didn’t let me go throughout. Keep an eye out, when Debby tells me when the book is coming out, I will let you know. If you like UF with a lot of action and adventure, fascinating personal relationships, and quirky characters, this is definitely a book to keep an eye out for!

****************

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

This summer will see publication of her debut novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN, the first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award. She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published under the name Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at www.deborahjay.wordpress.com or follow Deborah on twitter https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2 and facebook https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

 

Another finished quilt!

I make quilts too, which you can see if you want to check out my Etsy account at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/leiahcooper

This isn’t a quilt that is for sale, it is already gone, however, I just finished this one. Enjoy the pictures! (By the by, this is before it was quilted, but it IS done! LOL)

IMGP1582 IMGP1583 IMGP1584 IMGP1585

The Divine Vest Pockets – Huh?

DivineFrontOK, I admit it. Some knitting things I can do, no sweat. I love love love cables, which some people are afraid of even trying. Lace is fun, if the pattern is well written. (A little care from some people on pattern writing would be great! I have one lace shawl that I have tried over and over again, and the instructions just Don’t make sense!)

Since I am ready to block the Heather Hoodie before sewing it together (YEA!) and I need to clean off my blocking wall, which I have a partially pieced quilt on right now, I thought I would start the Divine Vest from Kristen Tendyke’s “Finish-Free Knits.”  Yes, I have the attention span of a 3-year-old!

I have gotten the pockets themselves done, all done in short-row, which is cool. However, I am now at the part that goes:

“Carefully remove waste yarn from provisional CO and place (#) exposed sts onto smaller cir needle. WIth WS of provisional CO sts facing and beg at edge of right pocket, join yarn and use a second larger cir needle to p37 provisionally CO sts, hold sts from other end of larger cir needle in front of the provisionally CO sts, then K2tog (1 st from each needle) until all sts are joined, p 37 rem provisionally CO sts (#) sts.” (Verbiage courtesy of Finish-Free Knits, Kristen TenDyke, 2012)IMGP1623

Aaaaannnndddd… I am stuck.I know I should understand what she is saying, but I am just NOT getting it! This is what I have knitted to this point.  I will get it, I suppose, but right now, it is busting my chops.

Funny how the simplest things can drive me out of my gourd!

3182 lustraThe yarn I am using is Berocco Lustra, colour 3182, a luscious red/violet colour. I love the colour, it isn’t a ‘flat’ coloured yarn. It has bits of black and lighter red/violet. Very pretty. I am questioning my use of it. It is a single ply yarn, 50% Peruvia Wool , 50% Tencel Lyocell, that has a halo to it that I didn’t notice when I bought the yarn. I hope it stays in condition, that it doesn’t fuzz up so much that it starts to look cheap. Like it’s name, it is a lustrous yarn that looks rich and elegant. Hope it stays that way!

If you have any idea what I am doing wrong with the pocket, could you let me know? I would really appreciate it!

Review: Patricia Briggs – Frost Burned

Audio is the way to go with Patricia Briggs!
Audio is the way to go with Patricia Briggs!

MONSTER FIVE STAR REVIEW!!!!

This is a review of the Audio Edition, which I highly recommended.

I have a confession. There are certain authors that, whenever they have a new book coming out, I go back and re-listen to all their books and short stories, in order, to prepare myself for the newest installment. It has always been my habit with series I love the most, allowing me to re-immerse myself into the series and all the characters. And, as always, Mercy (and Patricia, of course ((GRIN)) don’t disappoint in this newest installment to the series.
Mercy is tough. Tougher, smarter, and classier than nearly any other Urban Fantasy heroine out there today. She has been through hell in the last couple of years, and the quality of Patricia’s follow through and deep care for the development of her characters is still as amazing as always.

Mercy has been beaten, tortured, shot, burned and variously abused. And, she has been raped. Patricia’s handling of that rape was brilliant. She didn’t break Mercy completely, but she definitely is taking her time helping Mercy heal completely. Her handling of the situation across the last few books has been masterful, making me wonder if Patricia might possibly know someone who had this happen to her. The great thing about her responses is the way Mercy(Patricia) is so honest in her handling of the situation, and how her friends all gather around her, support her, and help her through it. She killed the person who did it to her – bully for her!!!! And it wasn’t someone she trusted and had a true relationship with. Unlike other writers, Patricia didn’t make it a close “friend” and she didn’t make her carry the blame for what happened. Sure, she fells at fault at first, but she isn’t made to wallow in guilt and shame. Her flashbacks and panic attacks are realistic, but she comes to realize that she is not truly at fault. Patricia gains my undying respect for that. But, that is another book, the story line carried into this book, but not overwhelming it. Mercy is getting better. Good for her!!

The story line continues soon after the events of “River Marked” where Mercy was once again drug into a situation outside of her control, and did her best to handle it as she always does – she sees what needs to be done, and does it, no matter the cost to herself.

As in her other stories, Mercy is strong, secure and focused. She knows, going in, that it is going to cost her for what she does. But she does it anyway, because it is right and good and true. She is the kind of person anyone could wish themselves to be. She doesn’t whine and complain, she just does the right thing. She is given what she needs to get the job done, and she does it. Often, at great cost – especially to her body, and sometimes to her very soul.

One of the other things I like about Mercy is her relationship with Adam. He is an alpha wolf and a strong one. But he doesn’t lord over Mercy. He doesn’t shove her around, force her to submit to his will. He loves her the way she is, tough as nails, scarred and beaten up and all. He knows that she does what she does because it is right and good. He doesn’t try to overwhelm, but he does give her the support she needs. In this edition, it is him and the rest of the Pack that Mercy is coming to the rescue of, and he knows without doubt that he can rely on her in all things. Very impressive in a writer.

Many of the other characters in the series make a stronger appearance in this edition than they have had the opportunity for in past books, and I love that. Patricia’s ‘extras on set’ are fascinating in their own right, with back stories that deserve all the attention they can get. She could go on writing this series for as many books as she wishes, and I would invest in every one. But I would also happily invest in books lead by some of the other characters as well – especially Zee. I was, however, heartbroken by the loss of a pivotal member of the story. I know, I know, losses are to be expected, and there has been little true loss through the story line, but the loss of this particular character had me in tears.

As for Stephen, Mercy’s vampire friend – well, I am prejudiced. It would be very, very hard for me to be friends with Stephen, no matter what. Hey, there has to be someone you can’t bring yourself to like, right? Well, besides Marcillia . . . Stephen has been around since that witch Marcillia first showed up in what was an undiscovered country back in their day – and had everything to do with the fact that Mercy is nearly alone as a Walker these days. Stupid vampires. Hate em, hate em . . .

Even though Stephen is a “friend” of Mercy’s, he is still just as guilty as Marcillia and the others of slaughtering Mercy’s people. No forgiveness here, Stephen! Of course, as a “Native” myself I am allowed to be bitter about the slaughter of our peoples, right? That is my excuse, and I am sticking with it!

Overall, Patricia’s series is quality all the way. As I always listen to her books, I can also assure you that Lorelei King again delivers an incredible narration. We have been blessed to have her brilliant voice as Mercy for each of the books in the series and she never disappoints. Much as Renée Raudman IS Kate Daniels, Lorelei IS Mercy. Talk about matches made in Heaven!

You can read “Frost Burned” as a stand alone. However, I don’t recommend it. You would be depriving yourself of a brilliant writer’s work, magnificent characters (even those you love to hate), tremendous world building and many hours of pure pleasure.

Highly, highly recommended – as in, however many stars you want to add on to the FIVE I give all of the Mercy Thompson books, you may still want to toss in a few, they are THAT good.

Here is a list of Mercy Thompson books, in order. I HIGHLY recommend that you start at the first and go all the way through. It is well worth it!

moon called

Moon Called: Mercy Thompson, Book 1

blood bound

Blood Bound: Mercy Thompson, Book 2

iron kissed

Iron Kissed: Mercy Thompson, Book 3

Bone Crossed: Mercy Thompson, Book 4 bone crossed

silver borne

Silver Borne: Mercy Thompson, Book 5

River Marked: Mercy Thompson, Book 6river marked

Audio IS the way to go with Patricia Briggs!!!
Audio IS the way to go with Patricia Briggs!!!

And I just saw on Patty’s website the name of her next installment:NIGHT BROKEN!!!!

Doesn’t say when, but it is going on my MUST BUY IMMEDIATELY FROMaudible  list!!!

22 Things Happy People Do Differently

I love this “22 Things Happy People Do Differently”

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