Wings of Blood: A Review

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by Miranda Martin & Nadia Hunter

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy, Adult, Shapeshifter, Romance

Pages: 194

ASIN: B07D1CVKMG

Format: eBook, Kindle

Publication date: May 10th 2018

Series: The Phoenix Wars #2

 

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

The Story:

Rising from the ashes isn’t as easy as it sounds…

Finding out just how special my bloodline is wasn’t the best thing to ever happen to me.

The Phoenix Clans are on the verge of open war. As the Consort of the Phoenix King, I’m sheltered, protected on all sides. It’s frustrating because I should be helping. When two flocks have a skirmish, I’m the only one with the skill to solve it.

Or so I thought.

Things aren’t working out quite the way I hoped. It’s about to get bad, so bad I’m not sure even my miraculous blood will save me. Or if I’ve seen my King and love for the last time.

The Introduction:

I chose to read Wings of Blood by Miranda Martin because 1) I was in awe with the cover 2) Phoenix stories are so rare and I love the concept! It looked like a story I would enjoy.

Only downside was a mistake on my part: I didn’t see it was the second book in a series, so I was a bit at a loss, although it didn’t stop me from having a good time reading it.

The Positive Sides:
Generally speaking, the humor and light tone used are very enjoyable. Moreover, the cover is quite beautiful and eye-catching (it’s what truly got me interested in reading the summary.) There are a few phrasing gems sprinkled in the story that made me either impressed or emotional. The point of view switches between Adara and Sven are good and entertaining to read. However, the best point of Miranda Martin’s Wings of Blood is the undeniable tension and seemingly never-ending conflict either underlying the story or just plain to see! It made me notice I actually care about Adara and Siro and the fact I want to see what happens next. And isn’t this just what an author wants?

The Negative Sides:
Unfortunately, this book also has a few notable flaws. While there are a few phrasing gems like I mentioned above, most of the vocabulary is simple. Too simple. Since this is obviously an adult book (it’s not in the children’s/teenagers’ section and it has at least one sex scene), the words used to convey the story should be more mature or elegant. I read Young Adult stories with more developed and complex vocabulary! So, I think it could be improved for the target readers (adults). On the same topic, I’ll mention the explanations of actions and thoughts (even emotions) are too numerous and there’s a lot of “telling” instead of showing, which makes me feel like a child again. I’m sure the author simply wants the story to be extra clear and doesn’t mean any harm, but it should be more subtle in order to be excellent. Also, I hope it went through one last round of proofreading because I saw several mistakes that made me cringe. But that is not the main flaw, so if you don’t mind them, go ahead.

In Conclusion:

Overall, the characters are sweet and lovable and the story keeps me on the edge of my bed (I read mostly in bed, it’s so comfy what with a good book). Nevertheless, the negative sides are too important to me to overlook. Honestly, I give Wings of Blood a rating of 3 stars for the emotional attachment I feel towards the characters and the constant conflict I so love, taking into account the easy vocabulary and too much telling.

Now, would I recommend it? If you don’t mind a simple vocabulary, sex scenes (I wish the author had mentioned there was one in the book’s description), and a few mistakes, but crave lovely characters and tension, then please do read it! I’ll just say I won’t read the sequel, but I welcome anyone to try it for it’s not bad. It just needs more work in my opinion, because the story at its core is great!

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If you want to learn more about the authors, Miranda Martin and Nadia Hunter, and their books, please visit Martin’s Web site. You can also add Wings of Blood to your Goodreads shelves and follow her Goodreads author page!

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Beta Books and Beta Readers (Tip + Update)

Hello, peeps!

I hope you enjoyed my last book reviews. As always, it’s a pleasure to read and give my opinions of them to you.

Don’t fret: I’ve also got news!

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I’m still a long way from publishing my Nightshade series; however, I now have TWO beta readers for my short stories and Nightshade in particular! One of them is my best friend, but don’t go thinking he’ll be soft with his critiques… Trust me, he’s not. And it’s a very good thing for me!

As a tip for you guys and gals, here’s what I use to manage the beta reading:

BetaBooks.co

I found this cozy site months ago in its infancy. It wasn’t even open to the general public, imagine that! So I waited… But it sounded like such a great idea! So I waited some more.

Then, it opened. Admittedly, I didn’t sign up until two weeks ago because I thought they were charging even the basic features. I was surprised! You can still create a free account. Isn’t it neat?!

If you do, you’ll be able to upload ONE story and invite up to THREE beta readers and some “fancy” features are locked like the inline comments. Nevertheless, most of what a budding author needs is handled pretty well with the free account, let me tell you. If you go over the limits, you’ll enter the first paid subscription tier (which, I think, is reasonably priced, $14.99.)

Want to know what else you can do with a free account?

Here:

  • Track reader progress
  • Collect reader feedback
  • Reply and discuss feedback in-app
  • Triage and categorize with our feedback marking system
  • See all your feedback in one screen
  • One Book
  • Up to Three Readers

Again, if you want to test this lovely service, sign up at BetaBooks.co for a free account.

Did I mention all of the feedback given and received is private when you invite your beta readers?

See you next post, lovelies (it will be a book review)!

 

Updates on My Writing

Follow my blog with Bloglovin (P.S.: I just created it, so I hope you’ll check it out and help me over there! :))

Ahum.

Hello, lovelies!

I hope I find you all well and happy. Several major updates about my writing are coming your way!

Let’s start:

  • I’m currently working on three poems I’ll soon send to a poetry journal in Ireland. The first two are nearly complete (only a quick revision and they’re done) whilst I still need to write the third one. But I should be finished at the end of the weekend, so I can send them next week. Yay!

 

  • Speaking of literature magazine, I’m working on a short story that I find rather entertaining and poignant. Once it’s done, I’ll send it to two Canadian literature magazines (yes, they do accept simultaneous submissions). I’m excited!

 

  • As for my main writing project, I’ve finally found the big plot and ending of my Nightshade series! Moreover, I’ve even got a few extra ideas about the settings, powers, creatures, worlds, etc. featured in it. I’m so powered up and I am working hard at writing it all down and revising (a.k.a editing) what I’ve already done! If I didn’t do that, let me tell you there would be major plot holes and stuff like that for my beta readers to… not enjoy, that’s for sure. Once I’m done revising the first 7 chapters, I’m going to… WRITE! YES!

Here is a picture featuring an interview with Rosellia’s father, Ryan Lovelace:

  • Surprise: I’ve decided to write a free novella for you! Yes, I’ll distribute it for free on via sites like Instafreebie, etc. once it’s ready. You’ll have nothing to purchase. Nada. Exciting, isn’t it?! I ran a poll on Twitter (The Novella Poll) in order to know which story idea between two I had people prefer. The answer was straightforward: the two of my poll participants voted for a retelling of Persephone’s kidnapping! Yes, the Persephone from Greek mythology. I’ve always been a huge Greek and Egyptian mythology nerd, so I was quite surprised and immensely overjoyed they chose that particular idea (I promise, I didn’t sway them! Otherwise, what’s the point of a poll?)

I intend on using a new angle—something we’ve yet to see done with Persephone’s kidnapping. Oh, and it’s not a romance story! I didn’t want to do what most of the other authors are doing with it. It’ll be more an adventure/drama story. I already have the main storyline, so I just need to come up with a few scenes and the outline, then I’m on my way!

 

I’ll keep you updated about all this, don’t you fret!

Pinky swear!

What do you all think of my progress?

Are you as interested in the free novella idea as I am?

Please tell me in the comment section!

See you next post, lovelies. Muah!

 

Breaking Order: A Review

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by Catherine Kopf

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

B&N

Goodreads

Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy

Pages: 244

ISBN: 9781981781324

*I was given a free e-copy of Breaking Order by the author. Thank you!*

The Story:

Dreams, Creativity, and Magic are all gone under a single order.

Banned from the things that make you different, people must conform to a dull and practical lifestyle.

The daughter of The Regime’s Head Executioner is expected to follow in his footsteps, but fourteen-year-old Calista Knight is curious about creativity and dreams. It doesn’t help that she is isolated and bullied at school because of her asthma. When the new boy, Wes, encourages Calista to stop taking the medicine preventing dreams and introduces her to creativity, a new life opens up to her. Magic becomes very real, and with dreams and creativity intertwined, limits are endless.

But the Regime wants no one to dream.

Calista is a threat to the order, and she only has two options:

Overcome her own personal fears of dreaming…

…or end up just as compliant to the Regime as others around her.

The Introduction:

Read that summary? That’s what got me greatly interested in reading this book as well as the gorgeous cover! All about this book screams creativity and dystopia and I so wanted to see how it was dealt with. Also, you said magic? Here I am! I must say Breaking Order delivered. How about we review it together?

The Positive Points:

Let’s start with the positive sides. This story introduces us to a terrifying and very controlling dystopian reality in Fortress (that’s the city’s name. Lovely, isn’t it?) Creativity and ambition (a.k.a dreams) are outlawed and their penalty is death, no less. In other words, you mustn’t stand out in a crowd nor think much for yourself. What’s better is that Calista’s own father is the Head Executioner. Now that makes for drama! Also, I’ve got to say the villain in this story is quite vile and cruel, which makes them totally my style. I didn’t think they could go to such lengths but… Yes, and it was wonderful (in a gasping, shocked-sort of way).

Their dreaming confers the Dreamers, the radicals and rebels who dare to dream and be creative, powers from the likes found in fantasy stories. How interesting is that?!

As for the writing, it is smooth and the vocabulary quite developed, which is a delight. Moreover, a few foreshadowing moments are woven into the exact words the author chooses to describe the story. It shows Miss Kopf really thought it through and gave it the attention it deserves!

Honestly, I spent days either wanting to go back to reading this book or flipping through its pages, engrossed in the story! The reading is eased by the good writing and ongoing action and drama.

The Negative Points:

As for the bad points, there simply are two. A few mistakes and typos, but nothing too troublesome. Also, there’s the issue of fighting being way too easy for the children against trained adults. I know the kids have military training, but two of them (those who don’t have offensive powers) can take down several guards without batting an eye or at least much of it? That’s the only weakness of this story.

In Conclusion:

You’re probably expecting an excellent rating for this one and you’d be right. I give it a rating of 4.5 stars because it’s amazing but too easy for the teens’ gang. Besides that, I can assure you you’re in for an entertaining ride! The villain, the mysteries, and the sheer creativity of the story are worth it, in my opinion.

I recommend Breaking Order without hesitation and now I’m patiently waiting for the sequel, i. e. I want it. Right. Now!

Is it out yet?

If you want to learn more about the author, Catherine Kopf, and her books, please visit her Web site , Twitter and Wattpad accounts (where you can read the first draft of the sequel, yay!). You can also add Breaking Order to your Goodreads shelves and follow her Goodreads author page!

P.S.: You’ll notice on Web sites where there are no half points possible that I’ve given this book 5 stars. I think it deserves more a 5-star rating than the loss of a whole point. Thank you.

My Certification Is on Its Way!

Guess what, peeps?!

You know I am an ESL teacher for my local immigration center, right?

Well, as my upcoming graduation gift, I have received the money to enroll in Oxford Seminars’ TESL Certification course in Montreal this summer! It starts in July and I need to go spend three intensive weekends in a classroom for practicum and then I’ve got a big theory module with relevant books and an examination at the end.

I’m so excited!

This means that I’ll soon be a certified English second language teacher! How neat is that?!

It’ll help me greatly in finding a teaching job, but also being accepted into Concordia’s Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics. I’m currently gathering the required letters of recommendation from my professors and typing my letter of intent to be ready when November comes around for the application process. I still haven’t decided if I’ll specialize in psycholinguistics or sociolinguistics (both up to the PhD level) or teaching languages, but what is certain is I’ll have this Master’s!

So, great news indeed!

tenor

A Little PC Issue…

Hello, lasses and lads!

If you’re wondering why I’ve been so silent lately, it’s not because I lack reviews and post ideas.

It’s because my computer broke. (What a bummer!)

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Since I’m a distance university student, I needed a new one as quickly as possible! And so I went shopping for a new PC this week.

Please bear with me as I’m transferring everything from my external hard drive to this new computer…

However, fret not!

I’ve still got you covered: writing progress as well as book reviews and other writing-related posts are coming!

They’ve just been delayed by this… minor… incident.

You should expect a new post later during the week.

Thank you all, lovelies!

 

Colliding Skies: A Review

36428272

by Debbie Zaken

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Indigo

B&N

Goodreads

Oftomes Publishing Official Web Site

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance, YA

Pages: 380

ISBN: 9781999963309

*I received an ARC for free by Oftomes Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*

IMPORTANT: I was kindly given this book for reviewing. However, I’m not one for sci-fi and even less sci-fi romance. BUT this is NOT a negative review; it is quite positive, on the contrary! I just want to tell you that my opinion might not be trustworthy when it comes to the sci-fi romance in this book. So, I will focus on other interesting elements and simply skim the actual romance to make a fair review for everyone to read.

The Story:

Since Skye Reilly can remember, she has been looking up to the stars. With high school graduation upon her, her telescope in one hand and her college acceptance letter in the other, she has life as meticulously mapped out as her star chart. That is, until the Celeians arrive and she meets Ethan, an alluring alien. Ethan collides into her like an asteroid, causing a gravitational shift in Skye’s trajectory and hurling her life into a cataclysmic collision course of interplanetary proportions.

The Celeians promise many things. An end to disease, global warming, and famine. The knowledge to help humankind. Despite the suspicions surrounding the intriguing aliens and rising anti-alien protests, Skye gives Ethan her trust, and eventually her heart. The very heart he could stop with a lethal electrifying touch of his hand. 
When the Magistrate, a council of alien leaders, threatens to put an end to their interspecies relationship, following her heart could cost Skye her life and the lives of everyone she loves. 
Not even light can escape the pull of a black hole.

The Negative Points: 

Let’s start with the two negative points for they’re few, as you can see. Best to go through them to better enjoy the positive ones. Whenever the story got a bit slow, new tension or problems arose from all sorts of situations. Also, the more we kept reading, the worse they became (a nice touch in my opinion!). The last point is how the romance sometimes looks… a bit too forced and quick. I mean, yes, there is development, but in a month? And for them to be willing to sacrifice everything for the other one? I sometimes find it too much for such a short time window. However, like I announced before the review, please take my opinion on the romance with a grain of salt.

The Positive Points:

Now, let’s dwell on the positive sides of this awesome story, shall we? First, it’s just marvelous! There, I said it. To me, who usually dislikes sci-fi books AND sci-fi romance even more, this is huge. I loved it so much that I talked my bestie into purchasing his own copy, can you imagine?! My jaw hit the floor when I realized my growing love for this book. You’re not surprised, I am! The main character, Skye, deserves praise. Not only is she courageous, she’s also brilliant! Something I rarely see in female MCs and I always complain about the lack of them. But no-oh in this story! Plus, she’s a real geek and loves all things astronomy and physics-related and I… I just love her, okay? Women are seldom shown loving things that have to do with numbers and such, so this was fun and refreshing. I’m a huge astronomy geek too so the references and the right terms used made me squeal with enthusiasm! No, seriously, Skye always means to call astronomic events by their real name and it makes my day, okay? She won’t settle for less than the truth. That’s my girl! As for Ethan, her interstellar love (a Celeian), he’s both amusing and loyal. He’s even got a funny side, though he can be extremely protective. I like him too. Nonetheless, I think he’s way too ready to give up everything for a mere human—the Celeians are a superior race, so this seems strange to me.

However, I liked how they’re depicted: gorgeous, calm and peaceful. Humans who meet them can hardly look away for they’re that stunning physically. They’re also quite intelligent, which could make or break it. Because are they on Earth for good or evil?

Something else that makes me adore this book? The humour!  Actually, it was the first thing that caught my feelings and interest. It’s full of sass and intelligent twists. Speaking of twists, the ending is surprising! I mean, I saw some of the big ‘’revelations’’ coming, BUT the main character does get hurt (and a lot)! Can we all just appreciate that? Usually, main characters get lucky or they’re just SO good and skilled and awesome that they don’t even have a scratch on them at the end of the big battle. Realistic? Hm, no. But in Colliding Skies, let me say I was pleasantly taken aback! It deserves an award for this. The award for ‘’Finally, the MC Gets Badly Hurt Physically’’.

There’s more: it ends with a cliffhanger. A lot of you hate those, but I genuinely couldn’t live without them. They’re fun and only increase my need to know more, which is good for the author (and for me, if I care about the story). It’s nice—there are so few books with cliffhangers it makes me sad. But fortunately, there’s this one.

The Conclusion:

In conclusion, Colliding Skies by Debbie Zaken receives a rating of 5 out of 5 stars from me! It surpassed every expectation I had and it also made me enjoy something I (let’s be frank here) hate. So, if you ask me, it’s quite impressive. This sci-fi romance is, believe it or not, one of the best books I had the pleasure of reviewing. Congratulations, Debbie! Also, dear readers, buy yourself a copy and read it with an open mind, just like I did. You’ll see, it’ll be rewarding in both fuzzy feelings (for those who love romance) AND adventure (for those like me who love to explore the universe).

If you want to learn more about Debbie Zaken, head over to her Web site, Twitter account, Facebook acount  or her Instagram account.