Return of the Absent-Minded One

Heya Book-Kooks!

You may not remember me, it being ages since I posted, but it’s me, Aramia. Apparently,  I’m not dead.

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Yeah, I know, it’s amazing!

You see, I suffer this serious problem  in which I disappear of the face of the Earth and have to be badgered into returning once more to real life or, in this case, blogger life. So please thank Hardcoverlover, for without her I would still be visiting Underhill, Beneath, and a variety of different worlds and dimensions. Due to her constant poking, I’m here. Really, several times I’d wilt in shame when she’d ask me if I had posted. “Yeah, about that…umm, no.” And then the silence would be suffocating.

So, yes, I have been reading many books in my absence (this year I’m averaging about 21 books per month, proof that I need a life), I just haven’t brought myself to write any reviews.

I know, that’s quite selfish of me.

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Also, I must give an apology to all of the Book-Kooks. On my last post, I promised to start posting weekly reviews on the Chronicles of Narnia, but I never did. It’s not that I don’t like the CoN, because I really do, it just was that the urge to review was like a week old soup noodle, soggy and super-limp. And for that, I apologize. A thousand pardons.

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I will post in a few day, but it won’t be on the CoN. Sorry. I do that one later on. It’ll be over one of the books I’ve recently read. I’m still not sure which one it’ll be, so think of it as a surprise!

So see ya soon-ish!

Review: The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

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Hi bookies (those of you who travel without moving)! Another week has gone by! Hope it was a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed mine. I’ve been making an effort to  read book after book and not lose steam. Since I recently discovered April Henry’s works, I have been checking out several of her books. The latest one I have read is “The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die”. Here are the facts:

Title: The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
Author: April Henry
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller, Adventure
# of pages: 213

I must say, April Henry is really good at making titles that immediately catch your interest. From the cover, I thought this book would be too scary and horror-like, but since it was middle-school-level, I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did. This book was a great read. Take a look at what it’s about:

“Take her out back and finish her off.”

She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.

And that she must run.

In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive.

Besides loving anything to do with time-traveling, I have also had a fascination with the mind, memory, and mental powers. I also love to learn about new things and try to understand what I don’t. So amnesia has always been a mystery for me to decipher, since even scientists still don’t have all the answers on what is the exact cause, why each case differs from person to person, and what it actually is. Like I said, fascinating, right?

Imagine now not only not remembering who you are, but also having your life in danger at the same time. Can the excitement increase any more? Apparently, it can, because that is precisely what April Henry achieves with this book. Like the blurb said, it throws in some murder, and biological warfare so you don’t get bored. Not enough? Ok, ok. Throw in a manhunt, doubts about the protagonist’s sanity, a fake ID, a fire, and a hint of martial arts. Now you see why I finished this book in a single sitting? This book is good, really good. It’s definitely fast-paced.

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Ok, so let me give you a concise summary of the story plot without giving anything away. (Always a challenge!) The teenage protagonist of the story has amnesia and doesn’t even know her name or age. The story starts off with her coming to this realization after she gains consciousness. Apparently she had been unconscious due to the torture she just went through and the first thing she hears is that the men who did this have decided to kill her. (Man, and I thought I had a rough time just getting out of bed!) Anyway, she may not remember anything about herself, but her body remembers some things. She knows how to walk, talk, and use martial art moves to get away.

But her captors won’t let her go so easily. When she runs for help, she learns that her captors are… mental institute workers who are treating her schizophrenia? Or are they? With her sanity in question, “Katie” doesn’t know who to believe or where to go. Can she figure out where she’s from, where her family is, and what is going on? Have fun figuring out! I sure did.

I loved getting to know “Katie” and the companion she picks up on the way. Their relationship progresses slowly and that adds realism to the story. I would have enjoyed getting to know “Katie’s” family and the villain of the story. He seems a bit flat after all the adventures “Katie” goes through. He is just basically the psychological profile of any big-time bad guy. Despite these little details, the book is very enjoyable and would be good for basically any adult or adolescent. Maybe even kids.

So to sum it all up, read this book! You’ll enjoy it. I give it a 5/5 for being adaptable to anyone, enjoyable, an easy read, and a bit factual and informative within the frame of the story. Tell us bookies, do you like scary books (unlike me)? How do you react in the most exciting or scary bits? What do you think of April Henry’s books? Your comments are much appreciated!

My Town’s Public Library

I love my town’s relatively new library. When I first moved to this town about 8 years ago, I was disappointed to find that both the school and public libraries were so small and limited. Not surprised, because I figured such a tiny rural town would be thus limited. And it was so.

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Honestly, I had to really, really search in order to find books that I had not read and that caught my attention. Many times I would end up with my small pile of books. Not books that I intensely wanted to read as is my normal and preferred state, but instead the books that I would settle for. The ones that were alright or mildly interesting. The ones that I had that lukewarm interest for. So sad… Not to mention that the library itself was very dark and old, with the smell of mildew and stains on the carpet. A small open area exposed to everyone, crowded…Not exactly the type of place you wanted to stay in and not somewhere you could find a cozy corner in which to sit and read.

Fortunately, about 2 years ago, we finally got a new library. Ah, the new library! Of course I have seen fancier and bigger libraries, but this one is our town’s library and it is exponentially better than the old one. First of all, it is 2 stories! Score!

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And it was modeled in a very nice, modern way. No longer do you have to put up with humid heat and the smell of mildew. It’s kept cool and air-conditioned and smells like new books and fresh wood and paint. The lobby is huge, open, with comfortable armchairs and sturdy tables where you can just sit and chill. Now we have a proper children’s section with a good selection of books and a small activity corner. No longer is it a simple, foldable table with a few crayons. We have a whole room dedicated to just young adults (my go-to place) with the newest popular series and books, as well as manga. There is another room which serves as a computer lab. Feel like checking out the upstairs? Do you want to take the stairs or elevators? See more comfortable armchairs and chairs with a swing-out desk. Large fancy restrooms for your convenience. About 4 or 5 different rooms for private business or meetings. (You have to ask permission to use these, but they are usually empty.) Best of all, the upstairs is usually deserted, so you have it all to yourself. Read there to your heart’s content in a cozy corner, maybe by the window with a view of the town. Use the free, fast wi-fi on your phone, tablet, or laptop for 2 hours. Not enough time? No worries. Disconnect, reconnect, and you’re golden.

About once every 2-3 months, the library has a book adoption day or a book sale day. You might be wondering, what’s the difference? Well, book adoption day, which is my favorite, is when you can choose from a special room full of books any books you want to take and then just give a donation. Anything you want or think it’s worth. On book sale day, you can the room is filled with books once again, but this time, each type of book has a certain price. Some are $1 or $2, some are $0.50 and a few are $0.25. Pretty cheap. I think I probably spend more money on book adoption day than book sale day. Then why do I prefer book adoption day? Well, there’s no pressure. Don’t want to give a lot of money? Don’t. Feel like being generous? Go right ahead. Last time I went to book adoption day I even got a free backpack out of it, in which to stick my 4-year old niece’s free books. Now she doesn’t like anyone to mess with that book-filled backpack!

As you can tell, I am absolutely smitten with the new library. I can’t go as often as I like, but when I do, I enjoy it so much. I nearly sigh with relief and contentment. If I could improve it, I would recommend putting a suggestion box for the buying of new books. That and maybe adding some bean bags by those cozy upstairs corners and the children’s section. Maybe a few more educational toys in the children’s section.

What do you guys think? What are your town’s libraries like? What changes do you wish you could make to them? Which is the best library/bookstore you’ve ever visited and why did you like it? I can’t wait to read your comments below!

My Dismay with Publishers

You know that terrible moment when a book’s release date gets pushed back? This is story-rant.

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Heya Book Kooks, It’s Ink&Scales, back with literate masses with a rant in mind.

This feeling has been floating in my head for quite some time now, and since I have you Book Kooks to talk to, I thought I’d get your feedback.

The Situation: 

There’s this new series that came out a while back that I really got into from the get-go. It really wasn’t in my best interest to do so, but I couldn’t help myself. The first book came out and I read it about a month after the release. IT. WAS. GREAT. So much so that I keep re-reading it at odd intervals to keep the details fresh in my mind and, well, because I can’t keep my electronic mitts off that e-book. I kept checking Illy A’s (Author nickname, see if you guys can guess who and what book) website, so I was totally hyped as the publishing date drew nearer and nearer. And then, calamity struck. The book was not coming out, not then.

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That was bad enough, but then I found out that it wouldn’t be published for until some time in 2017! OVER A YEAR LATER!!!

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I was foaming at the mouth. The anger, the agony, it was too much to bear. Truly, I was an inch from the “depths of despair,” to quote Anne of Green Gables. It hurt me, deep in my soul, as I cursed those people with bunions and kidney stones and bratty kids/nephews.

Apparently, Illy A missed a deadline and that pushed her publish date back a year and some. The reason was that the publishers had several other books scheduled and they didn’t want to release too many at one time.

As it is, the plan is to relaunch the first book (new cover and some extras), 3 months later the second book comes out, and 3 months after THAT the third book will be released. At least, that is plan. It’s great that the wait between #2 and #3 will be minimal compared to most series releases, but still. TWO AND A HALF YEARS. That’s how long the wait will be in all of its entirety, IF there are no further mishaps. 2 1/2 years without another fix from this new addiction.

You should never cut an addict off cold turkey. I’m surprised I haven’t died.

Nine months down, 11 months to go...

 

And now…

The Question: 

So now that the stage is set, I present my question to you, my fellow literature addicts: Why? Why can’t they release it at the same time as other books? Is it a question of money, exposure, …?

 

Read, Like, Comment.

Don’t bite your tongue, you know you want to.   😉

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P.S.: I planning on reviewing the Chronicles of Narnia in my next posts, one book at a time. Look forward to my thoughts on the first book, The Magician’s Nephew, next week!

P.S.S.: I beg of you, please respond. The miasma has returned and I need something to distract me from my despair.

 

Author Interview with Jeffe Kennedy

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Hey Book Kooks, Ink&Scales here, saying “Long time no see!”

Hardcoverlover and I were able to score another author interview. Hooray! This time around, we were able to interview Jeffe Kennedy, author of the book series The Twelve Kingdoms, Covenant of Thorns, Master of the Opera, and a few others, as well as several stand-alones. She has written a lot of different works, such as essays, poetry, and some non-fiction. Hardcoverlover reviewed the first book of The Uncharted Realms series, The Pages of the Mind, some time ago, and the next one in the series is to be published in December of this year.

As we can see, Jeffe Kennedy is a prolific writer, and now we have the opportunity to get to know her a little better. So without further ado, let the interview commence!

Ink&Scales: First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. So far, we have only read one of your books: “The Pages of the Mind”. Tell us a little bit about it.

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JK: This is the first novel in The Uncharted Realms, but really the fourth in this world, which began with The Mark of the Tala. This book picks up in the aftermath of that trilogy with one of the secondary characters, Dafne the Librarian.

Ink&Scales: How did you get the idea for this book?

JK: Dafne was a consistent – and much-loved – presence in the first three books. So many readers wrote to ask if she’d get her own story that I knew she’d be the natural choice for the next installment. Because language, words and knowledge are so important to her, I knew I wanted to put her in a situation where she couldn’t use those skills – married to a man she couldn’t talk to.

Ink&Scales: How did you come up with the title?

JK: I originally suggested The Pages of Fate – for Dafne’s bookish ways and the way destiny takes a strong hand in her life – but the books are all titled The Something of the Something, so my agent suggested The Pages of the Mind and that worked too!

Ink&Scales: I’ve seen you have written another series called the Twelve Kingdoms. I suppose that the events of that book unfold before the events of  “The Pages of the Mind”, is that correct?

JK: Yep! Pages picks up in the aftermath of that trilogy.

Ink&Scales: Would you like to tell us a little bit more about that series, to give us a bit of background information?

JK: That trilogy is about the three princesses, each more beautiful than the last, daughters of the High King. They begin to discover that their lives, the king and the Twelve Kingdoms are not what they’ve been raised to believe. They take hold of their own destinies and change the world. (Which also creates a big mess – lol!)

Ink&Scales: Dafne is a very interesting character and one that I think a lot of readers will relate to. Tell us- what does your protagonist think about you? Would she want to hang out with you, the author, her creator?

JK: I’m pretty sure she has no idea I exist! But I like to think we’d be good friends.

Ink&Scales: To be good friends, you’d have to know them very well. If you were to imagine them in our world for a change, what sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee or some sort of complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?

JK: It would depend on the character. Dafne is probably a Flat White kind of girl.

Ink&Scales: I’m sure most readers have enjoyed getting to know Dafne more in this book. Would you like to tell us what we can look forward to in your upcoming book?

JK: The next in this series is The Edge of the Blade, which is told from the point of view of Jepp, a scout and warrior who accompanies Dafne on her quest as a bodyguard. When Dafne is waylaid, Jepp must pick up her mission, and also deal with a foreign prince she committed a bit of an indiscretion with.

I’ve also got a new series coming out – called The Sorcerous Moons – and the first book, Lonen’s War, comes out in July. It’s about a sorceress whose city is attacked by a barbarian race, and a warrior forced to deal with a magical city. There are also dragons.

Ink&Scales: Dragons? Awesome! I love dragons, hence the “scales” in my name. Man, with Edge of the Blade and this new series coming out, there’s a lot of to look forward to. Now, I’m sure that everyone wants to know about your writing process, so we have to ask: how long does it take you to write a book?

JK: I’m pretty fast now and I write full time. The Sorcerous Moons books are shorter, at ~60,000 words and I can write those in about 35 days. Books like The Pages of the Mind are twice as long and take pretty much twice that time to write. About 1,700 polished words/day, including days off and revision time, works out to be the average.

Ink&Scales: Wow, that’s some pretty fast writing. Where do you get your ideas, your inspiration?

JK: A lot of them from dreams.

Ink&Scales: And how do you name all your characters?

JK: I name them for friends or readers who support my Patreon. I look up name meanings and pick names that convey their personal qualities. Sometimes the names just come to me with an idea of the character.

Ink&Scales: So we can see you take time and research for your character names. What about the story line? Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

JK: I write for discovery and seem to be incapable of pre-plotting or outlining. I have a general idea of the direction of the book and what will happen, but the details – particularly how problems are solved – always come to me as I write.

Ink&Scales: So how involved are you in your story? Do you fall into the world as you write it or do you just see it from the outside?

JK: Oh definitely very involved! I feel like I ride around in my point-of-view character’s head and discover things as they do.

Ink&Scales: And once you’ve finished the rough draft of your book, do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

JK: For both my traditionally published and self-published books, a series of editors does that for me. Outside editing is crucial.

Ink&Scales: Where do you write? Is your workspace the definition of  “neat freak” or do you prefer to keep a “controlled chaos” atmosphere?

JK: Hmm. Neither really applies. I have a dedicated writing office with a treadmill desk that looks out over a valley and distant mountains. I like my desk to be relatively clean and free of detritus or clutter, but I’m far from a neat freak.

Ink&Scales: So basically, you have a comfortably clean place to work. What about goals? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

JK: Always.

Ink&Scales: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

JK: Counting only novels, including those not yet published, I’ve written about sixteen. A lot more than that with novellas and short stories. It’s hard to pick a favorite. The Talon of the Hawk, the third Twelve Kingdoms book, is very close to my heart – and not just because it won Best Fantasy Romance of 2015 from RT Book Reviews, although that helped!

Ink&Scales: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

JK: I don’t know? Maybe that each one is difficult to write in its own way – and equally rewarding in its own way.

Ink&Scales: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

JK: Yes – I’m still working on it!

Ink&Scales: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

JK: It took me years and lots of revisions. Eventually it ended up published by Carina as Rogue’s Pawn, my first Fantasy Romance, which then became the first in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy. But I published erotic novellas before I was ever able to sell that one.

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Ink&Scales: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novels, either writing them or getting them published, that you would change?

JK: No – because things happen the way they do for a reason. My path is my path and all that occurred led me here.

Ink&Scales: What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

JK: Reviews are for readers and it’s good for people to express their opinions. Reviews are also growing to be more and more key for discoverability on sites like Amazon, so I always appreciate any review a reader takes the time to leave. I don’t read many of them.

Ink&Scales: So reviews don’t really impact your writing. What about other books? Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

JK: Tons! I often cite Anne McCaffrey, Tanith Lee, Patricia McKillip, Anne Rice and Robin McKinley as major influences. There are many more.

Ink&Scales: I love Anne McCaffrey, especially her Dragonriders of Pern series, and Robin McKinley also has some great works. And you, as an author, do you have any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

JK: Write every day is the very best advice I have. The sooner you build the habit of producing words, the more your career will grow.

Ink&Scales: Now, you’ve been getting a bit bombarded with all these questions about your books and your work. Let’s relax a little. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do when you are not writing?

JK: I read. I like to take walks and garden. My husband and I watch movies and stream some shows and series. Really I have a pretty quiet life.

Ink&Scales: What about when you were younger? What were you like at school? Were you part of a clique? If so, which one?

JK: I was a total nerd – National Honor Society, French Club, theater.

Ink&Scales: If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

JK: Well, I did write an essay collection about my life experiences – it’s called Wyoming Trucks, True Love, and the Weather Channel.

Ink&Scales: That’s an interesting title. And speaking of interesting, which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

JK: Living, I really want to meet Neil Gaiman and Tina Fey because they’re my heroes. Dead, I’d pick Tanith Lee and Anne McCaffrey, because I never got to.

Ink&Scales: I assume you like reading since you’re an author and you’ve mentioned various other authors. What book are you reading now?

JK: I am reading Grace Draven’s story, The Undying King, which appears in our duology, For Crown and Kingdom. I didn’t have time before it went live and now I’m like the last person to read it! Of course it’s awesome, as everything she writes is.

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Ink&Scales: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

JK: I read M.A. Grant’s Honour Bound and really liked it – would love to read more from her. I also recently read Kelly Robson’s Nebula-nominated Waters of Versailles and greatly enjoyed it. I’m really looking forward to more from her!

Ink&Scales: And now to the nitty-gritty. We have a series of small but fun questions your readers want to know the answer to. I hope you don’t mind. Here they go.
Pen and paper, or computer?

JK: Computer all the way – anything else is too slow!

Ink&Scales: Chocolate or vanilla?

JK: Chocolate in everything but ice cream.

Ink&Scales: Light or dark chocolate?

JK: The darker the better.

Ink&Scales: Tea or coffee?

JK: I like them both!

Ink&Scales: Favorite color?

JK: Green – on the emerald end

Ink&Scales: Dogs or cats?

JK: Cats, two, Maine coons

Ink&Scales: E-reader or print book?

JK: E-reader is my preference. Saves my bookshelves and instant gratification is the best kind.

Ink&Scales: Favorite movie and tv show?

JK: My go to comfort movies are Pride & Prejudice (Keira and Matthew, thank you), Clueless and Legally Blond. Fave TV shows right now are Outlander and Game of Thrones.

Ink&Scales: D0 you like manga?

JK: I don’t dislike it, but I don’t seek it out.

Ink&Scales: How would your best friend describe your personality?

JK: I asked my husband of twenty-five years. He said: witty, charming, thoughtful, informed. He’s the reason we’ve lasted this long!

Ink&Scales: What’s your stance on creepy-crawlies? Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?

JK: I am a bug relocater or coexister. Spiders are welcome in my home. The only critters I don’t care for are banana slugs.

Ink&Scales: Once again, thank you for your time. I appreciate that you were able to answer our questions, and I’m sure all our readers appreciate it too.

JK: Thanks so much for having me!

 

Also, if you like to have a look at her bio or check out her website, see below.

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.
Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and the third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind May 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, and was followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

Co-Author Introduction

Heya, you Nook-Kooks. You’ve never met me before, so for my first post, I would like to introduce myself. So here it goes.

“Greetings, my blogger name is Ink&Scales. I’m a true book dragon, a lover and hoarder of books. If that name is weird for you say out loud or in your head, just call me Aramia instead. As hardcoverlover has said, I am one of the blood, as is BookHarpy. I’m the between sister, younger than hardcover and older than Harpy.  And now, for an insight into my character: Young, crazy, snarky, and reclusive; basically me in a nutshell. Smart-aleck is a way of life for me; I will snap a comeback at the drop of a hat. That being said, I am not innately malicious. I’m just one of those asocial, hermit-on-a-mountaintop kind of person. But I LOVE books, so I will accept social exposure in order to spread the love of books. I enjoy books in their many forms, but prefer it in paper format, even though ebooks are very portable (you can take hundreds of books with you without any problem). I read sci-fi, fantasy, western, and many more. Favorite authors include Tamora Pierce, Anne McCaffrey, Jack London, Louis L’Amour, and more. Since I love reading, I urge others to do so as well. That is the reason I agreed to help my sister.  So now, we will move on to the set up of my reviews. I will give details on the story plot (but hopefully not too many), and my exact feelings/thoughts will appear in Bold so others can understand why I rated it as I did.”

Whoo! wipes forehead At least that’s done. I think introducing yourself is one of the hardest things to do on blogs and such. I mean, really, it took me about a whole hour to set up that “formal” intro, because I really didn’t know what to say and what not to mention. Oh well.

My next post will be less awkward, I think. It’s a book review, which is to be expected on a book blog. It will be over H J Lawson’s book Infinite Time. I hope you look forward to it.

And now to end this post, I’m putting a list of book series I really like. Feel free to comment on them or mention your own favorites and why.

Great Series: Dragonriders of Pern, Sackett, the Immortal series, the Dark Material trilogy, Acorna, Psy-Changeling, Kate Daniels, Elemental Assassin, Mercy Thompson series, Alpha & Omega, Dark-Hunters, the Arcana, Drake Sisters, Night Prince series, Sisters of the Heart, New Species, Midnight Breed, Elder Races, Leopard series, Carpathian Series, Goddess Summoning Series, His Fair Assassins, the Healer trilogy, Black Jewels series, Temeraire, and so many more.

Read, Like, Comment.

Don’t bite your tongue, you know you want to.   😉

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