Tag Archives: books

Happy 2017!

Yay! 2016 is over! I already feel better!

It’s the beginning of the new year. The year I’ve been looking forward to starting for approximately 367 days.

Celebrating my New Year

I am totally a New Year’s Resolutions type of person. I love the idea of a blank slate, and I usually do pretty well with the annual goals I set for myself.

So what? I’m a Buffy nerd…(let me know if you get it!)

So, without further ado, here are my

2017 Resolutions – aka The Year of Me take Two

  1. Publish two novels
  2. Write two novels
  3. Complete two races
  4. Take two just for fun trips
  5. Volunteer two times
  6. Try two new things
  7. Read two times as many books as I read in 2016 (2017 goal: 185) – one of the ways I’m planning on doing this is taking my PSM’s 2017 Be Better Book Challenge (please note that one of her resolutions is to come visit me, which would, not incidentally, fulfill one of my #40before40 goals!11!!!!!)
  8. Log twice as many exercise hours/month as I logged on average in 2016 (3.5 hours/week OR 182 hours)
  9. Take two minutes each day to be grateful for what I have (it’s #365happydays v2.0)
  10. Brush/floss/moisturize 2x/day (most days) (it’s really the moisturizing I need to work on…and flossing more)

I probably should’ve included “procrastinate half as much,” but I didn’t want to set myself up for failure right off the bat! (Please note that my New Year’s resolution post is going out on the evening of 1/3/17…)

I feel so positive going into this year. I’m going to turn 40, publish a couple books, move in with my boyfriend, hang out with my PSM, get a new job, and get healthier…

Life is pretty fucking good right about now.

 

Cover Reveal: Elizabeth Hunter’s “The Staff and the Blade”

This will come as a shock to no one, but I’m pretty excited about Elizabeth Hunter’s next release.

“The Staff and the Blade” is the newest in her Irin Chronicles, and it steps away from Malachi and Ava and concentrates on Damien and Sari. I’ve been following the development of this story as Elizabeth’s been posting about it on social media, and you guys! I am already buying stock in Kleenex in preparation. I think Ms. Hunter is going to rip my heart out and stomp on it a little.

*sigh*

SB Facebook banner

Synopsis

Warriors. Lovers. Enemies. Legends.

The Staff and the Blade

Damien and Sari. Their union became pivotal in Irin history. But to understand their ending, you must go back to the beginning. A young singer and a hardened warrior meet and mate, but their life is torn apart by violence, betrayal, and grief.

Yet no matter how much pain and anger stain their lives, bonds in the Irin race cannot be abandoned. Damien and Sari will never truly leave each other, because those who are destined cannot be ignored.

The Staff and the Blade is a novel in four parts. It is the fourth book in the Irin Chronicles.

“She hates me as she loves me. Wholly and completely. Sari never does anything by halves.”

Wattpad readers: Read the first novella in The Staff and the Blade: DREAMS in serial format. A brand new chapter will post every Thursday until the final book releases. Please visit: https://www.wattpad.com/user/ElizabethHunter for more information.

Excerpt:

“You’re calling me naive?”

“Yes.” She leaned forward. “You may be older than me, but you’re still the noble Irin warrior of ages past. This world is not black and white. It never has been.”

“You think I don’t know that?”

“You think every scribe has a conscience and a code of honor because you do.”

He looked away from her.

“Not every scribe is noble. Not every Irin wants the Irina back. Not every one of your brothers would sacrifice himself to protect me or any of my sisters.”

“I know I’m no saint. None of us are.”

“No, you’re honorable. And decent. And good.”

“Sari—”

“And I love that about you,” she continued, even as her throat started to close. “I love your honor. I love your decency. But Damien, the world is not like that. It’s a hard, cruel place with countless shades of grey. People are selfish and weak. We do things…” She choked. “We do horrible things because we think it’s the only way to survive.”

Damien turned back to her. “There is nothing you can do that would make me love you less, Sari.”

She gave him a bitter smile. “That’s because you don’t know what I’ve done.”
~
Copyright 2016, Elizabeth Hunter
All rights reserved.

 

See what I mean? ONE EXCERPT AND I’M ALL EMOTIONAL AND CAPSLOCKY!!!!

Dammit.

Anyway. You’re really here for the cover and that thumbnail up there didn’t do it for you, did it. Let’s get on with it. It is so gorgeous. Those shoulders. Those forearms. The tattoos. I am totally judging this book by the cover.

The Staff and the Blade - Ebook Small

 

You know you want it almost as much as I do, don’t you? Well here you go.

Pre-Order Links

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/StBKindle

iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/SBiBooks

B&N: http://tinyurl.com/SBNook

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/SBKobo

SW: http://tinyurl.com/SBSmWords

GR: http://tinyurl.com/SBGoodreads

Wattpad: http://tinyurl.com/EHWattpad

SB_ Facebook Cover graphic-2

40 Before 40 – Update the Second

The first couple months of my fortieth year have been a little on the rough side. I was sick in March, and then I herniated a disc earlier this month, which has really cut into the activities I was planning – the hot hatha, pole dancing, and barre classes.

Because life is constantly in flux, I may do some switching around. I’ve been cleared for pilates but not yoga; walking but not running; and swimming but not pole dancing. (To be fair, I didn’t ask about pole dancing. It just seems like maybe that’s not something this gazelle wants to try while rehabbing a back.)

So I’ll try a pilates class instead of the hot hatha class I was going to do. I’ll walk a 5K in May instead of run one. It’s all about compromise.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering if I got anything done in the last month.

I most certainly did!

I ate a cheese. That’s right – I go for the hard stuff. (heh.)

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

I’m 2/2 in cheeses/month!

I also finished my first award winning book (and then reviewed it!): Evernight.

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I’m very nearly finished with my second, so I should be back on track with that by the end of the week.

One of the more exciting things I got to check off the list in April was meeting friend in the computer Elizabeth Hunter. You may remember Elizabeth from my frequent reviews of her books. We got to meet and hang out a lot while we were both in Vegas for the 2016 RT Booklovers convention. She is just as wonderful IRL as she is via the internets.

2016-04-13 16.45.27

 

The next month will have more books and more cheese and more pie! I also need to make my hard cheese so it can sit in the cheese cave and age gracefully. I’m signed up for my Habitat for Humanity build, but am contemplating pushing that back (ha!) because of my disc problem. I’m going to get my hairs done all purty-like to check that off the list. And it’s possible that going to a concerty show thingie counts for an item on the lists since I almost never go to those types of things. Possibly.

The #40before40 project

Update the first – March 2016

 

BONUS CONTENT!

How am I doing with my 2016 goals, you (almost certainly did not) ask:

Well, the big ones:

 

  1. More sleep – after the four days of no sleep at all in March (you guys! I started hallucinating!), things seem great in comparison. Still not as good as I’d like, but better than they have been.
  2. More writing – Yeah….I need to get my ass in gear here. I have things to do and people to impress.
  3. More movement – stupid sick and messed up back!
  4. More job satisfaction – no comment. 🙂

Mini-goals:

  1. More water – YES! I am a hydrated water monster! (Or something)
  2. More gin – I’ve been doing well here, too. I love the taste of success.
  3. More love – I think this is doing quite well.
  4. More laughter – There have been some decent laughs. I have the best friends, y’all!
  5. More time outdoors with the Bean – We’re two blocks from a park now! And we planted a garden! And my back yard is fenced in (although not kid proof – he loves to leave the back yard and come through the house to freak me out)
  6. More unicorns – I am wearing these RIGHT NOW!  13043390_10154218257939410_1189946415125501668_n
  7. More letting shit go – Still a work in progress
  8. More reading – Not more, per se, but I still read a fair amount.
  9. More cheese – YES! my #40before40 is helping immensely with this
  10. More beer & cribbage nights – I need to work harder on this. I think there’s only been one cribbage night this year so far…slackers!

 

40 Before 40 – Update the First

As I mentioned Tuesday, I’ve spent most of the time since my birthday sick. That’s really cut into my #40before40 project. While sick, I couldn’t even read – which was one of the saddest parts of being ill.

However, I have managed to knock one item off the list.

Item 34: Drink a bottle of extravagant champagne.

On March 2, I opened a bottle of the most expensive bubbly that my local bottle shop had. And lo! it was good. Very good.

Toasting the new house with an extravagant bottle of bubbly. #40before40

Toasting the new house with an extravagant bottle of bubbly. #40before40

 

I also am making progress on the cheese-tasting (such a chore, that one):

2016-03-22 14.01.26-1

Red Dragon Wales

 

And I have a stack of award winning books (all kinds of awards) from the library…

SO MANY BOOKS!

SO MANY BOOKS!

I’m hoping to have a more productive month going forward. In the next month, I’ll do that 5K (Saturday!), try another cheese and read a few books, I’m going to get to a hot yoga class (next Wednesday). I want to make a pie (and a birthday cake for that Bean – he’ll be four soon!) and some bread, and maybe, if I’m super ambitious, I’ll make a cheese.

Month one of 39 was not the best month ever, but I’m hopeful things are just going to go uphill from here.

Working on goals 37 (feeling good about fitness) AND 38 (self care) by getting back to one of my favorite things...trail running.

Working on goals 37 (feeling good about fitness) AND 38 (self care) by getting back to one of my favorite things…trail running.

Book Review: Imitation and Alchemy

Of course, I need to start with a disclaimer. I received an advanced copy of this book. As per usual, I tried to pay with my first-born son, and as per usual, Elizabeth Hunter cruelly denied my offering. It’s almost like she has no idea how much fun almost 4-year-old boys are.

This is the second in the spin-off Elemental Legacy series and it features my second favorite Elemental World character: Tenzin.  (My heart will always and forever belong to Carwyn…sigh…)

ANYWAY!

Bonus: it’s set in Italy. I’ve never been, so it was fun seeing it all through Ben and Tenzin’s eyes.

The Blurb: All Ben Vecchio wanted was a quiet summer before his last semester of university. Was that too much to ask?

All Tenzin wanted was a cache of priceless medieval coins that had been missing for several hundred years.

And some company.

Phrases like “never again” don’t mean much when you’ve been a vampire for several thousand years. And promises made in the heat of anger don’t outweigh the lure of gold. Ben Vecchio thought he knew everything there was to know about the immortals of Italy. But when Tenzin tempts him into another adventure finding a cache of rare gold coins missing since the nineteenth century, he’ll discover that familiar places can hold the most delicious secrets. And possibly, the key to his future.

The Cover:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00068]

The Review: Because this is a book by Elizabeth, you know right off the bat that I’m going to praise her world building. This book, like everything she writes, is the perfect combination of fantastic world-building, brilliant writing, and complex and interesting characters.

It was so well-written, in fact, that it sucked me in and I read it in one sitting – once again forgetting to take the time to mark things that specifically appealed to me. That, of course, meant that I had to read it again. For you guys! Not for my own pleasures at all.

One of my favorite things in this world of ageless creatures is watching Ben grow up and change. His relationship with Tenzin has always been delightful and as he’s grown from a child to a young man, so has their relationship. For as much as she is continually getting him into trouble, he goes into it willingly knowing what he’s getting into.

The characters, some of which have been present for most of the Elemental World books, are so very consistent in their actions, words, and behavior. Elizabeth crafts her worlds so well that her characters never waver or wander (unless they are wanderers by nature).

Each book I read, regardless of series or setting, is an improvement over the last – even when that should be nearly impossible to do.

In addition to being completely delightful watching Ben grow up, it’s equally delightful to watch Elizabeth’s writing continue to develop and get better and better.

The Quote:

“…it’s Louis singing ‘A Kiss to Build a Dream On.’ On a record player. [Ben] swung [Tenzin] into his arms and began to lead her around the entry hall. “In the most perfect house in Venice. We have to dance.”

 

Go forth! Read the book – read them all!