Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review: Loving Liberty, by Belinda Boring

A few days weeks (?) ago, I was approached and asked to review Belinda Boring's new release, 'Loving Liberty'. My review for this book has been live on Amazon and on Goodreads for a little while, but I'm just now getting around to sharing the review here ... life has been busy! So without further ado ...

The Blurb
Liberty Montgomery is many things: A dutiful daughter. Perfect wife-in-training. Easy to manipulate. Compliant. But secretly, she wants more.

For years, Liberty has dreamed of a life filled with opportunities - a life where she makes decisions, living by her own rules. Unfortunately, her parents have other plans for her, ones that involved her submission and total obedience. Every attempt to break free from their control is met with threats, leaving her feeling trapped. Just when all seems hopeless, Liberty meets Oliver Nichols. With just two words, be brave, he stirs up her secrets longings for more ... friendship, fun, and independence. He almost has her believing her dreams are possible. However, taking a stand can be terrifying when you've spent your entire life pleasing others.

Are some chances worth taking? What would she risk for freedom?

My Review
I just have to start by saying that I really loved how incredibly real this book was. Sure, there were parts where the characters seemed a little young to me - but that's because they are young. There were places where the dialogue seemed a bit immature - but that's because the characters, as young people, were a bit immature at times.

However, none of that distracts from the beautiful love story. Oliver is a complete sweetheart, utterly respectful of Liberty as a lady. He doesn't swear around her, doesn't pressure her; he only encourages her to become on the outside what he can already see on the inside. She's spent too long being oppressed and sheltered and he steps in, in the sweetest of ways, to show her an entirely new side of life.

Oliver shows Liberty another side of herself too, helping her to take hold of her own inner strength. Liberty's life is a bit of a mess and she's been hurt by the people who should be her inner circle, people who should be her support system but aren't. Liberty is, in many ways, the classic damsel in distress; but don't mistake her for a weak character; Oliver certainly didn't!

And that leads me to my very favorite thing about this entire story: Oliver doesn't save Liberty from her life. He doesn't sweep her away from her troubles and become her hero. No, instead he encourages her, he builds her confidence, and he helps her to believe that she can be her own hero.

He doesn't save her ... but without swearing, without sex, without pressure, and without an overload of drama, Oliver simply helps Liberty to learn that she has what it takes to save herself.

I'm sure you can tell that I loved 'Loving Liberty'! If you'd like the chance to love it as much as I did, check it out for yourself on Amazon or Barnes & NobleYou can also learn more about Belinda Boring and her books at: Facebook / Twitter / Website / Pinterest

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thank You

So many good things have changed in my life since I first sat down and started writing To Love A Selkie in December 2012. I've made new friends, I've grown as a person - and, I hope, as a writer. I've learned a lot about networking and a good deal about business.

But I'm still learning how to talk to the right people in the right way, how to talk to people I don't know when they express interest in me or my work (because generally, I tend to be a bit introverted and a lot shy), and how to promote myself successfully. To that end, much of the progress I've made as an author is due to the support of the people who have fallen in love with my characters largely without my help. I am where I am because of the love of the people who have enjoyed my books enough to share them on the web, to tell their friends and families.

And I'm grateful. I don't even know how to express how much it means to me and how much hope I hold for my future in this crazy world of writing. But I can try.

By continuing to write new stories and create new characters my readers can fall in love with, learn with, and grow from knowing, I hope to express my thanks. Every word I write is for you, because every book sale and blog view is a blessing I hope to repay with the giving of myself.

My promise to you is that I'm here for the long haul. I hope you will be, too.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dreams Become Reality

The release of Fighting For Freedom was a big moment for me; somehow, it felt more real than any of my other books. It felt more meaningful, more exciting. Maybe because it was like a confirmation for me - like I'm really in this for the long haul. Like I can keep it going.

I mean, lots of people want to write, right? They long to pen that great novel, to be known for thinking up the next new craze? And that would be nice ...

But for me - at least, for the most part - it isn't the ultimate goal. When I wrote my first novel and published it in December of 2012, I did it in complete terror. Not fear of failure really, or fear of rejection by the public, but what paralyzed me, nauseated me, terrified me, was the possibility that that was all I had.

I remember talking on the phone to friends of mine and asking them, "What if this is all I've got? What if it's only the one book in there, and I can't do any more?" But then Fat Chance came to me, and I wrote it. And then Prescription For Love - and all along, Annie and Malik (from To Love A Selkie) wouldn't let me go. So I took them up again, expanded their story, ended up with Selkie.

After that, I released Fighting For Freedom in August, and celebrated a new top-selling month with my books. Now, I have to be clear here and say that I'm writing because I've always wanted to, because I love it ... but let's be honest with each other too: any writer, every writer, has a secret dream of being able to live on the income from their writing. We dream of being able to live well just like anyone else in any other profession, because we love it enough to want it to be our lifeline.

And just like with any other job, we celebrate the milestones. We jump for joy when we get that first real, non-friend sale. The first really amazing review. Sometimes, even the first really bad one. We celebrate the first check coming in the mail, the first hundred dollars, the first hundred sales. I'm sure I'm not the only one who celebrates when one month is so great that it exceeds all of the others. For me, the new top month was August.

I'm so thankful for the support of my readers, for the people who buy and review my books, for the readers who recommend my books to their friends. I've only been an author for around nine months at this point ... but it's already changed my life and become one of the things I'm most proud of accomplishing.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Book Review: Half Cast, by Lauren Dawes

It's here! It's finally here! Half Cast, the fourth installment in Lauren Dawes's Half Blood Series is now LIVE!

Half Cast breaks from the series pattern, starting up several months after the end of the Half Life epilogue. We're seeing Alex as he's wracked with pain, both physical and emotional. He's been bitten - and the wound is festering, killing him. Or so he thinks.

When Alex is discovered, lying alone near a tree in the woods, we're introduced to a number of amazing new characters. Most memorable is Casey, a cocky little redhead with more energy and bravado than anyone knows what to do with. She's got a soft side, but it takes a very special male to bring that out in her ... and he's an old favorite that we've all grown to know, if not love.

With Alex's determination to return to Buxton and seek out his past love, we're taken back to the Helheim pack and reunited with all our old favorites. Vaile and Larissa are parents now, Sabel and Ivy are happy together, and the Helheim pack is thriving under the strong rule of a new alpha.

This story branches away from the war theme we've been seeing so far too, and focuses instead on the recovery of the Helheim wolf pack. I suspect there is still trouble to come in the series as Lauren Dawes is always anxious to fill her writing with a sense of suspense and adventure, but this book was a breath of fresh air - a much-needed break from the war and the gore (for me personally), and a romantic fantasy come alive in the Helheim world.

This is by far my most favorite of the Half Blood Series, and I can't wait to see what happens next!!

Believe me: you want to read Half Cast. If you're a sucker with a soft heart for lost love, if you're an eternal optimist that believes "love will always find a way," or if you thrill to the idea of two broken hearts finding a way to heal each other, then this is it. This is the book that will win you over to Lauren Dawes's Half Blood Series for good. Go get it - you won't be sorry.

Lauren Dawes is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer and the author of the Half Blood Series and the Dark Series. You won't find any friendly vampires or werewolves in between the pages of her books; just blood, teeth and violence. When she's not writing, she's reading or teaching. She currently lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and cat. Follow her: Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website / Amazon / Goodreads / Pinterest

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: Half Life, by Lauren Dawes

Get ready folks, this is book number three, and book number four is set to drop TOMORROW!!

I've been working my way through reviewing the Half Blood Series by Lauren Dawes; I've already reviewed Half Blood, the first book in the series, and yesterday I gave you my review for Half Truths, which is, of course, the second book. As we count down to the release of the newest book in the Half Blood Series, today I've got the review for book three - Half Life.

Following the pattern set out with the second book, Half Life starts only a few days after Half Truths ended. The Helheim pack has suffered its first loss in the war between the packs, as an enemy seeking revenge takes more definite steps to fuel a feud that's been growing for some time. The war among the wolf packs is coming to a head, and no one can anticipate the tragedy that's coming.

During the course of this war, Sabel is struggling with his grief over the loss of his best friend as he tries to help protect his pack, to help protect his alpha ... and to earn the love of Ivy, a member of another pack (and the twin sister of Sabel's now-dead friend). Together, they seek revenge for Colton's death, but as the war becomes more and more ugly, lives are lost, homes are lost, and some things will never be the same again.

As we're taken through the story, we're introduced to a few new characters, and we're given updates on all the characters we've loved in the last two books. This is a story of war and blood, loyalty and love. It's an adventure you don't want to miss.

I have to say, Half Life by Lauren Dawes is a thrilling continuation
of her much-loved Half Blood Series. And so, I leave you with this:

Will the Helheim pack survive their struggles and losses? When a new alpha rises to the top, the pack will be changed forever, and there is still the ever-present challenge of increasing the ranks of the pack. I can't wait to see what happens next, and if you loved Half Truths, you'll love watching things come to a head in Half Life. You'll love getting to know the warmer side of Sabel, and you'll be in for a major shock when the war between the wolf packs reaches a boiling point. Big change is coming for the Helheim wolves, so get on over to Amazon, and get that one-click finger to clicking.

Lauren Dawes is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer and the author of the Half Blood Series and the Dark Series. You won't find any friendly vampires or werewolves in between the pages of her books; just blood, teeth and violence. When she's not writing, she's reading or teaching. She currently lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and cat. Follow her: Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website / Amazon / Goodreads / Pinterest