Thank you for letting me and my characters into your life - occupying your time - and caring enough to connect with me online. I'm forever grateful for you.
However, it is appropriate right now to make it official that I'm going to be taking a break from publishing and promoting. Why make it official? Really, I don't like unfinished business. It occupied my mind that I should be updating you all on something new coming out. The truth is, there is nothing new right now. I've started without finishing. My family and other career are in a time of constant nurturing. I know many of you know what these times feel like. So, I'm making it official.
Do I anticipate publishing in the future? Yes. I'm just not sure when. You will be the first to know!
Thanks again for embracing author Mandy. You fulfilled a major life dream of mine by giving my books a chance. See you later!
3. It's an adaptation of "White Rage" by the same author for young adults so it has a wide range of audiences. I would like to see high school students reading this book (for those interested, yes, my high school library will be carrying a copy of this book), but I would also really like to see adults reading it. The conversations that can take place would be valuable for everyone. I have a short list of teachers and friends I am going to ask to read it so we can talk about it together.
4. It seeks to inform and educate - not point fingers and preach. Now, if you feel preached at, that's something that is hitting home with you. I had moments that really had me shaking my head in disbelief. I couldn't believe that what I was reading actually happened! But it is documented and fact-checked. I even did a little bit of my own double-checking and digging into a few things. I appreciated the author's approach because, well, it was more comfortable and aligned with what I perceive as professional. I put the book down feeling like I just went to school. It's up to me how that makes me feel.
For me, "We are not yet equal" was a call to higher perception and an ability to see more where people and movements are coming from. I still don't condone violence and rioting. I have always loved a good protest. Now I at least see where the anger comes from and how desperately we as American citizens need to claw for equality of all types. The sooner we are all truly equal, the sooner we can fulfill our dreams to pursue life, liberty, and happiness together.
The Alinthia series by Siobhan Davis was a whole bunch of new for me. It was my first real foray into New Adult (NA) books from Young Adult (YA) books. It was my first any-kind-of-harem novel - this series is reverse harem. I'm kind of prudish and pure in my reading habits - regardless of what my Goodreads account may sometimes say! So, this series challenges me in a whole lot of ways that I like.
This volume in particular is one I am struggling with deciding how much I really enjoyed it. I think the subject matter itself is so uncomfortable that it's hard for me to say, "I loved this book and all the TORTURE! YAY!" You know? But it's all necessary!
But that doesn't mean I didn't like it. It was a rough read if you have come to care about any of the characters at all. That being said, I want to applaud the author for taking on the subject matter of male rape and sexual assault as well as a male as the victim in an abusive relationship. Yes, this is a voice deeply needed in modern fiction! Consent is handled very thoroughly, making sure to point out that everyone should make sure they have it, no matter who the initiator is (male or female), the duration of the relationship, and showing it as the basis of healthy relationships.
The action is UNBEATABLE. These are my favorite action scenes Siobhan Davis has ever written. She's killing it!
I'm eager to read the next installment. I want to see how a realistic version of healing plays out in so many of these characters and their relationships. "The Warrior Princess" is full of promise for dramatic character changes and is a breath of new life in the Alinthia series.
So Narra's father was a complete hard ass who raised her as a thief in the Guild - think "faction". After he dies under suspicious circumstances, he gets branded as a traitor, and Narra feels pressured to live a model thief life to clear her (and his) name.
Narra is a bit older than Bogle's typical heroines (mid-twenties), but her relationship with her father and his death have left her emotionally raw. Although Narra is a leading member of the Guild, helping train potential and new members, she reacts impulsively and tends to lash out. I anticipate that we will see her doing a lot of growing up and resolving her emotions.
The first time we meet Narra is a playful yet intense scene that frames the rest of the story just so. It's actually my favorite scene of the whole book. Narra's best friend Erik is her perfect complement. He has his own rough and tumble background which I will let you discover on your own. What follows this incredible introduction is nothing short of skilled storytelling and talented writing that feels very fantastical without necessarily being so. Packed full of action and sassy, "Queen of Thieves" is sure to capture your attention and imagination.
This story is a bit "older" than Bogle's usual works. However, nothing happens in this book that would make it unfit for Young Adult, New Adult, and high school collections.
EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN is a long and intense journey through a post-apocalyptic society, where two people who meet under terrible circumstances learn not only to work together and save one another, but to fall in love with each other as well. It’s no doubt that music played an integral role in the crafting of many scenes throughout the novel.
Here is the playlist for EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN, along with a few notes about which scenes were inspired by the music, and vice-versa.
PIERS FICCANI – A STORM IS COMING
JAMIE COMMONS – THE PREACHER
HOZIER – WORK SONG – A piece of the chorus: “Lay me gently in the cold dark earth” inspired one of Atticus’ quotes: “When you die,” I whispered, “you won’t need the soil to hold you, Thais, because I’ll be right there next to you holding you myself.”
MADONNA – LIKE A PRAYER – One of the songs they dance to in the cabin
THE SOUND OF SILENCE – JOY WILLIAMS FEAT. HUDSON TAYLOR
BOB SEGER – NIGHT MOVES – One of the songs they dance to in the cabin
KATE VOEGELE – HALLELUJAH – The main song I listened to while writing the book; also the song Thais is always signing to herself
IMAGINE DRAGONS – BATTLE CRY – The arena scene
MUMFORD & SONS – I WILL WAIT – I imagined this song when they were with the gypsies, dancing around the fire
GIPSY KINGS – TRISTA PENA
LED ZEPPELIN – GOING TO CALIFORNIA – Atticus hears this song in the cabin, while he’s thinking about Thais.
TREVOR MORRIS – VIKINGS 18 FLOKI APPEARS TO KILL ATHELSTAN – I thought of this song a lot during the most dramatic and intense scenes.
Thanks to Jessica Redmerski for sharing this insider info and haunting playlist with us!
Hey there! Welcome to my blog. This summer, I found so many unexpected things that I love, and "Everything Under the Sun" is one of them. I hadn't read a Jessica Redmerski book before, but the synopsis and cover won me over.
Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.
So much in there! Thais (which I pronounced as TAY-us), a virus that kills most of mankind, Atticus (one of my favorite literary names), shedding fear, claiming love?!? What isn't to dig about this?
One thing that really took me by surprise is that the writing style itself felt very "fantasy" while the storyline was action and dystopian. That made "Everything Under the Sun" feel like a special treat to me. I was glued to my screen, devouring chapter after chapter. For once, I liked BOTH characters who are telling the story! I also really love the switching back and forth within the same scene and in the same chapter. That really added to the story for me. Thais is such a strong female, but she lacks knowledge about how the new civilization works. Atticus is just a hot mess but a MANLY hot mess.
The slow, agonizing, self-questioning way these two fall in love is beautiful and very realistic. Atticus always feeling that he wants more but taking it slow for her; Thais feeling like she should be giving more but not ready to. Very relatable: BOTH of them.
I'm already on board for book two. Ready to go. Bring it on, Jessica Redmerski!
Keep reading for the blog tour and a giveaway!
This is my stop during the blog tour for Everything Under the Sun by Jessica Redmerski. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 30 July till 12 August. See the tour schedule here.
Everything Under the Sun
By Jessica Redmerski
Genre: Dystopian/ Post apocalyptic
Age category: Young Adult/ New Adult/ Adult
Pages: 683 pages
Release Date: 28 August 2017
You can find Everything Under the Sun on Goodreads
You can buy Everything Under the Sun here on Amazon
About the Author:
Jessica Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, international bestseller, and award winner, who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. Her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, has been optioned for television and film by actor and model William Levy.
She also writes as J.A. Redmerski.
You can find and contact Jessica here:
- Amazon Jessica Redmerski
- Amazon JA Redmerski
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Everything Under the Sun. 3 winners will each win a signed paperback copies of Everything Under the Sun, along with signed bookmarks and postcards (United States and Canada only).
For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am SO excited to share this with you guys! For the first time since I started publishing, I decided to work with a designer instead of doing the covers myself and holy hell am I glad I did!! Check out the cover reveal, new blurb, and link to the first 3 chapters now!! The cover was designed by Ravenborn, a kickass designer who specializes in fantasy covers! She's absolutely amazing and was such a pleasure to work with! I really think she captured Narra, and the look I was going for!
ABOUT QUEEN OF THIEVESRuthless commander. Cunning thief. Deadly blademaster. Narra is a second generation thief raised in the Guild by her iron-fisted father. Growing up, she dreamed his death would free her, but when he shows up dead in the wreckage of a train destroyed by the Revolution, the happiest day of her life is ruined by one word: traitor. Her father is accused of betraying the only thing she thought he ever really loved; the Thieves Guild. To prove his innocence, and remove the stain from her name, Narra will go to darker places than she ever thought possible and be forced to work with people she doesn’t dare trust. If she fails, she’ll lose more than her sanity or her life. She’ll lose the Guild. Set in a steampunk world on the cusp of civil war, Queen of Thieves introduces a dark tale where family lies, magic might be real, and thieves fall for revolutionary princesses. Queen of Thieves releases August 21st, and will be available for pre-order in the next few weeks!
Can't wait to start reading?
Part of the reason so many rapists are able to offend with impunity is that our adversarial system of justice "has erected formidable procedural obstacles to conviction,"...
Driving home the point that Missoula actually has fewer sexual assaults reported than the national average for cities of comparable size and population, Jon Krakauer delves into the justice system as a whole. This part opened my eyes. Why are lawyers not required to tell the truth, just like witnesses are? Why do we have an adversarial (defense/prosecution) justice system instead of inquiry-based that would allow more facts to come to light than answerable in "yes/no" questions? Would this system likely result in fewer false convictions also?
Much more than shedding light and making the Missoula rape and sexual assault scandal, "Missoula" helped me understand the justice system and how it works. More importantly, it gave strong reasoning for why our justice system needs to change as well as obstacles to change.
Reading/listening to this book also changed how I will talk to my own children about consent and made me more aware of teaching my kids about acquaintance rape. Another struggle I am having is deciding whether or not to introduce this book into my high school library's collection. It's graphic. It's jarring. It's a world they may not be ready for. But it's a world some of them already inhabit. It's a world they may want to avoid. It may teach about consent and encourage sexual assault survivors to come forward. It may discourage them also.
It's been a long time since I've wrestled so much with a book.
It's been a long time since a book has changed my perspective on the world.
If you have or someone you love has been sexually assaulted and need help, please visit RAINN for more information.
If I've learned anything over the past two years, it's that most people struggle with those same two gremlins: fear and feeling inferior. (Gremlins are legit scary to me, by the way, dating way back to when I was about six years old.) Sometimes, you've got them under control, and sometimes you spill water on them and they screw up your life. I've taken flying leaps before. Some that worked out and some that didn't work out. I've stopped doing things I love because of fear and an inferiority complex.
Roller derby, which was the love of my life, was the most intense relationship I've ever had. It was a flying leap to get into it. I constantly was pulling myself back because I didn't want to get physically hurt or hurt others. I remember those first few months just saying I was going to make it til the end of the season, then I was going to quit. But then I fell in love with the sport and my team and my identity as a rollergirl. But I never fully gave myself over to it. I always held back. I was terrified. I wasn't good enough. And I was right. The best players are brutal, strategic, well-practiced machines. I was not.
The one area of my life that I am the most certain of is library. I know, it seems weird. My life was in chaos with transitions on multiple fronts, and I couldn't have been more thrilled. I felt like I was moving forward after being encased in stone. While my sunshine-haired boy napped, I sat on my couch chatting with an accomplished woman whose reputation preceded her to our meeting. Ice pack wrapped around my ankle, I confessed to Dr. P (a woman who would later become dear to my heart) that I didn't think I could be a school librarian. I didn't think I was good enough to make it in the Masters program. I simply couldn't risk my family's finances because I thought library "sounded neat."
She took my trembling hands in her experienced grasp, stared into my eyes, leaned forward and said with conviction, "You would make an excellent school librarian."
Still doubting myself, I signed up.
Still doubting myself, I went to my first two classes two months later.
Still doubting, I took a job as a school librarian when I had enough hours for a provisional certificate. My interview had been a hot mess of me passionately talking about what we could make the program at this school. How we could provide in new ways for their staff and students. How I was the professional librarian they needed. I cried when I was offered the job on the phone a few hours later.
Because I felt worthy.
Through the interview process something had flipped in me. The more questions they asked, the more I realized I knew the answers. I knew my profession. I knew myself. I knew the district.
And when I drove to class that night, I ran into Dr. P's office, and she pulled me into a tight hug while repeating what she had said three years prior: "You're going to be an excellent school librarian."
And that time, I felt it in my bones.
That galvanizing strength encouraged me to take more risks.
Present at a state conference. Leap.
Serve on a state organization board. Leap.
Write a book. Leap.
Put it out there for the world to see. LEAP.
And every time I've leapt, it's been with an army of supporters at my back and a human net in front of me. Bandaging my skinned knees and slapping my back. "Get back out there."
I hope you have those people in your life. If you don't, please allow me to be one of them because I firmly believe that each one of you can make an impact. You have a purpose. Maybe you just need someone or something to whisper:
Leap. Success or not: I've got you.
I love reading books by new authors! It's made even better when I get to review the book as part of a blog tour. So, if you're visiting on this blog tour, welcome! Here are 51 thoughts I had while reading the Kindle edition of "Destiny's Gambit" by R.J. Wood:
1. Okay, this is a lot of description. We haven't met anyone yet. So we're gonna call it solid world building and move on.
2. There's Jake! Heeeey!
3. I love their imaginations! YES!
4. I'm officially old. My favorite character is the grandma.
5. "You weren't made with the same cookie cutter, and you don't like the shape you got? Well, I'll tell you a secret. All the cookies on the tray taste the same and that's a fact."
6. I love this woman, Jake's grandma. She's so deep, understanding, in tune, but she doesn't coddle him! I hope I grow up to be like her.
7. "Don't lock yourself in a box just because some person tells you that's where you belong. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open for you never know what's just around the corner."
8. I'm going to try to not make this whole thing grandma quotes.
9. She speaks mostly in catch phrases, but I kind of like it. I bet younger readers find it comforting just like Jake.
10. AHHHHHHHH! Jake's dad is awesome. Why didn't my dad leave me a box with a glowing talisman?????
11. Awwwww yeah. It's about to get good.
12. A boat......is going to bring.......Jake to his parents........
13. Creepy yet intriguing. Like I feel he's either heading for certain death or joining them happily ever after. There is no middle.
14. "As it did, it took with it a large bubble of air." Handy, because if it didn't, #13 would have been already accomplished.
15. OTTOMEYER RIVERSEND - my new favorite fantasy name ever. It's ridiculous, and I LOVE IT!
16. "He was four years old and had been mesmerized by a man selling green glow sticks. The hawker had the things wrapped all around his body." That sounds pretty sweet. In my mind, the hawker is Alan Tudyk wrapped in glow sticks. And I wouldn't mind paying to see that.
17. This is starting to feel very Moby Dick-ish. Boy on a pirate adventure. But this is cooler. With talismans and magic and space.
18. I bet Moby Dick would have been way more popular if it had talismans and magic and space.
19. Starla of House Silvertree.....is very serene. Almost too serene.
20. "Experimentation is a universal teacher." At 2:58am, that was when I knew I needed to sleep. I put the Kindle down and ruminated over those five words for far too long.
21. Okay, a few hours of sleep later, I'm back in. 51% through and a whole lot of questions.
22. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I love this kid. Trying to keep it spoiler free, but Starla hits him with some big news and Jake just looks at her and says, "Uh, not to be rude, but I'm twelve." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Okay, I'm totally back in. Jake is my kind of kid.
23. "The greatest threat is from the dark hearts amidst our own peoples." Isn't it, though?
24. I should probably stop using quotes. I mean, I hope you read it yourself. Or give it to your 10- to 12-year-old to read. They will love it.
25. The amulet is "safe". OF COURSE IT IS.
26. Can this poor kid finally just meet his parents already?
27. I mean, there's no reason (YET) why his parents can't be the ones taking him on this journey.
28. He hasn't seen them since he was an infant.
29. Come on.
30. I love the juxtaposition of the "good guys" and their ship name with the "bad guys" and their ship name. It makes it super easy to remember who is who.
31. Now I can't wait to see Aurora! What does she look like?
33. That's what she looks like?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
34. I feel simultaneously hoodwinked and like tipping my hat. Yes. I get it.
35. "You can just shut-up with your stupid little sayings!"
36. I'm dying. I'm dying.
37. Caves are always such good settings for this sort of thing. Well done.
38. Ah, someone had to touch it. See, if they had been human, they would have known from Aladdin, The Goonies, or Indiana Jones - you touch the treasure, something bad always happens! ALWAYS!
39. Starla has been the most chill character, but all of a sudden she is ROARING her words. The beast has awakened.
40. Dear dad,
How about you just tell Jake what to do instead of giving him clues? You haven't seen him since he was an infant! Now is not the time for dad jokes!!!
41. Wait, what?
42. Whaaaaaaaat is happening?!?
43. hehe Of course. Why are bad guys always so quick to declare a victory without any actual evidence?
44. Celia Sable is kind of amazing. Let the Captain think whatever he wants. She knows.
45. I suspect that the Favored One will be dead by Celia's hand before the series ends. She doesn't seem to want to put up with his stuff.
46. No rest for the wounded.
47. The Hardy Hole.... hehe Trying to not think about the Hardy boys.
48. Oooooh, shiny!
49. I love when a book's title comes up in the reading!
50. WHY ARE HIS PARENTS NOT THERE?!?!?!?!?!?
51. Celia!!!!! So hardcore!!!! I love it!
Okay, so overall, I liked "Destiny's Gambit". While I thought the details were bogging down the reading at first, it came in handy later to keep the action fast paced. So, it was a worthwhile trade off. The characters are fantastic and fun to read. The plot is solid and keeps with familiar beats while managing to feel fresh. The writing itself was accessible without being over-simplified. It didn't feel like the author was dragging anything out for page count - which I sincerely appreciate. So, if you like a new fantasy/pirate/space adventure, give this one a shot.
The one thing that makes me sad is that the book itself was published in 2015 and no #2 in the series has been published yet. I hope the author releases another one soon!
This is my stop during the book blitz for Destiny’s Gambit by R.J. Wood. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 5 till 11 February. See the tour schedule here. Destiny’s Gambit (The Voyages of Jake Flynn #1) By R.J. Wood Genre: Fantasy/ Science Fiction/ Sword and Space/ Space Fantasy Age category: Middle Grade/ Young Adult Release Date: January 24, 2015
Blurb: Jake Flynn’s parents disappeared when he was a baby. On his twelfth birthday, the mystery of why his parents disappeared begins to unravel when he discovers a glowing talisman with a message from his father. Jake is directed to a derelict sailboat in a field. He watches in awe as the talisman knits ropes and sails for it out of golden energy. Awash in light, the boat sails up into space, and the voyages of Jake Flynn begin. During the quest to find his parents, Jake encounters space pirates in tall sailing ships, channelers that can wield energy like magic, and evil cabalists led by a sinister snake-woman. Assisted by a young healer and her aged protector, a spirited cabin girl, and a salty space captain, Jake learns that he too can channel, and that he is central to stopping the cabalists from resurrecting a long-dead evil. Puzzles, a pirate asteroid, walking the plank, fantastic magic, traps, treasure caves, multiple planets and great ship battles – Jake must experience them all on this epic sword and space adventure. By the end, Jake will discover the truth about his destiny, realize that family can transcend blood lines, and understand that his own needs are sometimes less important than those of others.You can find Destiny’s Gambit on Goodreads You can buy Destiny’s Gambit here: - Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - Smashwords About the Author: R. J. Wood has been creating stories and adventures for others since 1979. A bard at heart, he trained in Drama (BA) and History (MA) while at university. He currently lives near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State with his wife and children. There he does a little fishing, some adventuring, and of course, his writing. Like everyone of my generation and beyond I have been heavily influenced by film. I like to think of my books as movies in my mind. I developed my creative writing through fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal RPGs. My degree in drama helps me with story, characters, and especially dialogue. Having an advanced history degree is excellent for plots and characters, but it also helps me with world building. You can find and contact R.J. Wood here: - Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon - Instagram Giveaway There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Destiny’s Gambit. One winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift card. For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Mandy Peterson is the author of "Before I Shatter". She is also a mother, wife, librarian, book reviewer, and self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseur.