Help Wanted

banner for contestYou guys get the early bird heads up…

The Emblazon authors are hosting the giveaway of the decade during the next two weeks–a brand new touch screen Kindle preloaded with over 50 of our books. That’s a $300 value and hours of entertainment! You are all welcome to enter. I’ll post the Rafflecopter on Monday.

In the meantime, we’re also looking for bloggers to help us spread the word during the giveaway. Anyone want to share with their readers? We have this ready-made banner (top of page) AND a premade post with all the details if you’re interested. All you have to do is copy, paste, and publish! Just email me at misenhoff (at) hotmail (dot) com and I’ll forward the content to you.

And of course, y’all are welcome to use the share buttons at the bottom of this post as well. ;)

Thanks everyone!

The Gypsy Pearl 2: Craggy, by Lia London

craggy gypsy pearl 2I rushed to get a copy of this sequel. Book one is my favorite by author Lia London to date. I liked the space frontier settings, the sensory details, and the humor and spunk of the heroine. Book two has all of the above plus a deepening of the adventure as well as the stakes.

Caz journeys to Craggy, the second of three planets she must visit to cycle the gypsy pearl, free the fanep race, and bring justice to the Granbo system. Her gifts of strength and memory serve her well during several narrow escapes. She must sort through the cast of characters and their intensions. Who is a friend? And who wants her dead?

In particular, I really like the surprises Caz finds hidden within Craggy’s bleak landscape. (I can’t give away more!) I also appreciate the revelation of some of Caz’s history and the way the villain’s plan and motivations begin to make sense, allowing me to begin making some book three predictions.

Craggy did not evoke as much emotional response in me as book one. It’s really, really hard to develop a hero’s character in a sequel. It’s already been established in book one. Caz is so powerful in that story. She maintains her quirky character, and I see hints of a broadening of her bewilderment and dread and a deepening of her commitment to her cause, but her motivating factor is mostly survival. This makes for some great action, but it didn’t leave as much of an emotional footprint. In addition, a certain extremely significant individual makes an appearance, but the backstory lacked the strength to move me toward tears or anger when I think it could have. It does surround the individual with a sense of mystery—and that might have been the author’s intension. Said person feels like a bit of a wildcard who might increase in significance in the trilogy’s conclusion.

All that aside, I have to praise my very favorite element of Lia London’s stories—her writing style. It’s so smooth and eminently readable. And she likes to bury little gems for us to pull out and admire. Like this beautiful description: I couldn’t guess ages of the miners based on their wind carved faces, but their muscles and gaits spoke of tired youth. Or this perfect takeaway thought dropped so naturally in the middle of a conversation: “Haven’t you ever known something without learning it logically?” “Trust,” he said. “What do you mean?” “That’s trust,” he said, looking at me intently. “Trust is when you know—like I know it’s a good idea to stick with you.”

Want a great story with beautiful style? Grab up this series. Looking forward to the third! Recommended for ages 10+

Kindle versions of The Gypsy Pearl:
Craggy (book 2) – $1.99
Caren (book 1) – $.99

In My Inbox

I’m currently working on a few changes in preparation for a new marketing campaign aimed at teachers and classrooms. I’ve had rather poor success at reaching kids directly in the past, but I’m hoping this will bring about a little more interaction. On that optimistic note, I’m beginning an irregular feature called “In My Inbox” where I highlight recent correspondence. With any luck, future IMI posts will highlight kids. In the meantime, I’d love to share a recent review from an Amazon reader.

“I literally cried during and after this book. It is so beautiful & touching. It’s absolutely amazing. Not only did it touch my heart, it also widened my horizons. I would give it many, many more stars if that were possible. Absolutely perfect. I couldn’t think of any way to make it better.”

Thanks “Boooooooo!!!” for your take on The Candle Star. You made my day. :)

New ‘do

I’ve been updating! Yes, when I should have been writing yesterday, I was creating a new blog header and background. I considered changing the name, too, but Bookworm Blather has been around a long time now and I still sort of like the whimsical sound of it. So the name stayed. I might impliment a few more small changes in the next several weeks to make my online hangout a little more kid friendly. I’d like to court some teachers directly over Twitter and interact with more classrooms. I plan to hand out this address.

Song newOne of my books also received a facelift this week. Last spring, I replaced my original (and terrible!) Song of the Mountain cover with a new one of my own design. I loved it! I still love it. It captures Li Min and the mountain setting perfectly. However, browsers on Amazon didn’t seem to agree with me, as “sales” of the free book equaled only one tenth of those by my free historical fiction title, The Candle Star. Part of this is genre-related. Historical fiction is pretty popular. But fantasy shouldn’t lag that far behind. Sigh. Who’s drawn to the image of an old man?

So…you guessed it. I hired it done.

I wasn’t crazy about this new image at first. I still don’t think it captures the spirit of the book as well as the old one. But it’s exciting, and it’s grown on me. With some tweaking, we ended up with a cover that should gather more attention from customers browsing the fantasy category–especially kids. A few days is too small of a sampling to draw sure conclusions, but since swapping it out, daily downloads have increased. So, yay for increased exposure! Maybe more people will go on to purchase Fire on the Mountain, which will be re-covered soon to match.

SongOfTheMountain_cover_v3new

Yes…sigh…I am one of those people who’s always moving furniture around, too.  How’d you guess?

New cover image by D. Robert Pease of Walkingstick Books.

 

Since

What Dreams May Come, by Beth Honeycutt

what dreams may comeI read and reviewed What Dreams May Come at the request of the author, whom I had met online through the Clean Indie Reads group this past spring. I really enjoyed it! As an afterthought, I realized it would also be totally appropriate to feature here on Bookworm Blather.

I was a little hesitant to pick this one up. My regular readers have probably already figured out that I rarely read romance. Usually they’re too heavy on the smexy or they contain so much sappy mush that I’m gagging by the end—if I make it that far. This one is delightful sweet. And the paranormal adds a nice bit of creativity.

But I was especially appreciative of the prose. It’s smooth, readable, and just a little snarky. Ms. Honeycut has a style that is quite literary in nature, with lots of great word pictures and comparisons. I really enjoyed that. And the voice stays upbeat, even when the heroine is struggling with some heavy issues. There were times I wanted to shake the lead character and tell her to buck up, or I’d roll my eyes a bit at one of the more gushy scenes, but I kept on because I just plain liked the story. Kudos to a very fine writing style.

The editing is excellent, and the language and content are clean and innocent…so that I passed this one along to my teen daughter. A sweet and delightful YA paranormal. Ages 13+

Fall Clean Indie Reads Sale

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I am part of the Clean Indie Reads group (we have flinch-free fiction in all ages and genres), and our fall sale is becoming an annual event. If you don’t like a lot of gratuitous sex, violence, and language in your books, you won’t find it here.

We’ve got middle grade and YA books!

I’ve discovered some great titles among these authors! Hop over there and check it out!

The sale runs from Oct. 5 – 11.

 

Trusted: Dragons’ Trust Book 1, by Krista Wayment

trusted

Another dragon book. That was my rather reluctant thought when I picked this one up. There are a lot of dragon books out there, more than I realized when I wrote my own. But I’d been told this one was good…

I liked it more than Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, the dragonesque Newbery honor book I reviewed a few weeks ago.

Okay, I have to admit Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is arguably better literature, in that it makes better use of literary devices—word pictures, sensory details, a circular package where the story’s head comes around to bite its tail, if you know what I mean. But if I compare that gut feeling of contentment that settles over me after I close the back cover, Trusted wins, hands down. I just liked the plot and characters better.

It did take a little while for this one to grow on me. Fourteen-year-old Renick finds himself stranded in a huge, unfriendly wilderness with two other passengers who survived the flyer wreck—twelve-year-old Lainey, who aside from some chatterbox moments that don’t really remain consistent, usually seems older, and Thane, the sometimes stand-offish son of a nobleman. Together the three children discover a baby dragon and must avoid the dragon hunters, who come off quite stereotypically. (Think Disney’s evil dogcatcher type.) Also, I sometimes found it difficult to distinguish which of the three kids was talking when they were in a group. However, once the kids make it to the dragon city high in the mountains, I was completely hooked. The action and characterization just kept getting better and better. I came away really liking Renick, in particular.

This is a story of nobility, honor, trust (which you can probably discern from the title), and attempts at reconciliation between two ancient enemy races—dragons and humans. It’s one of those hopeful, feel good tales that leave you smiling at the end. But it’s also a survival story that will fill that craving for adventure. Two thumbs up! Appropriate for listeners as young as 7 or 8, but recommended for readers at a fourth or fifth grade level.

Grab a copy of Trusted for just 2.99.