Review

Book Review: My Heart Shook Like a Drum

I don’t often leave full reviews, but this one I felt was important. It’s not an easy one to find (I got my copy from the author directly), but worth the effort.

Being honest, if I were rating this book from a technical perspective, it would not be quite as high. The frequent repetitions of details and stories, which could have been cleaned up with edits, do sometimes take away the OOMPH of the point, but at the same time, it’s exactly those imperfections that lend a deep authenticity to Alice’s story and give a solid emotional punch.

And emotion is where the 5* comes in. I was in my first year of university whem I learned that the residential schools in Canada existed. 18 years old! After 6 years of high school Canadian history classes, I was appalled that such an important part of our past had been left out.

So when I met Alice at a book event this summer and she told me this book is her personal story of her time at a residential school, I had to pick it up. She is a lovely woman with so much joy and warmth in her heart, which is all the more incredible when you read what she and the other Indigenous children of that 120-year time span had to endure for the sake of “being civilized”

It’s not a subject you see often as told by the people who lived it, so Alice’s courage and honesty is that much more remarkable, and I feel an important story for anyone to read who wants an insight into the lives so many of us never new existed.

If you know of any other such histories that you’ve read and think worth sharing, please send me a recommendation!

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Devin O’Branagan’s Pretty Sacrifices: a review

In the post-apocalyptic world following a pandemic, dark angels arrive in Glory’s small hometown to claim the eternal souls of her loved ones. Targeted by evil because of her heroism during the great plague, Glory fights back with the help of gutsy young witch Kaia, inexperienced guardian angel Sasha, and her intrepid demon-fighting dog Hallelujah. Complicating everything, a rift in time reunites Glory with an old flame and forces her to pay a huge price for love.

The legend of Glory continues!

***

I’m so excited about this book’s release. Really excited. Having had the honour and pleasure of reading a preview copy, I couldn’t wait for it to be available for everyone to read so I could finally get around to raving about it.

What I love most about this novel? The subjects feel new. There’s a lot of huge YA coming out these days with some impressive female heroines, but Pretty Sacrifices refuses to mimic. It stands on its own as something fresh and unique.

Pretty Sacrifices starts up where Glory ended – the pan-plague has ended and now the world is dealing with the effects. Having gone through the first mission with Glory to stop the plague, I as a reader felt so much compassion for those who survived. They don’t know the whole story, all they know or care about is that their loved ones are dead and their lives will never be the same. This grief is described with such realism, it’s impossible not to be moved.

But the calm doesn’t last for long, and that’s where things get interesting. The main villain of the novel is the demon Nyx, who first makes an appearance in Glory as the embodiment of pure evil. She maintains that role in PS and she is fantastic. Creepy enough to be memorable, but it’s what she does more than what she is that makes her the perfect antagonist for Glory’s goodness. It’s a battle of souls and a battle of wills, and characters you’ve grown to love across both books are caught in the middle of something they can’t control and don’t know how to stop.

I was also excited to see so many of my favourite characters come back, especially the very awesome-sauce vampiric Goth Girls. It was like getting together with old friends, and not always easy to hear how they’ve been: young witch Kaia, facing her pending death; guardian angel Dominic, choosing between love and duty; and 17-year-old Glory, once again needing to find the strength to save the people she cares about – even if it means turning her back on the one thing she’s wanted her entire life.

Usually with O’Branagan’s books, it’s the characters more than the plot that keeps me reading. Though fictional, her characters walk so easily off the pages in into my living room. With Pretty Sacrifices, the characters got me invested but I needed to know what happened. And then came the jaw-dropping ending.

Thrilling, emotional, mysterious, amazing – you will not be able to put this book down. After reading Glory and now Pretty Sacrifices all I can say is – I want Genesis now!

Find more information about the book and where you get it here

Q&A: T. James “My Mirror Self, and I”

An integral part of my twitter collective, I’ve watched T. James develop from a man puttering with a few words into an author with a novella under his belt. I had the honour of reading a few draft of “My Mirror Self, and I along the way, and I’m so pleased that it’s finally out where everyone can read it, too. By the end of this interview, hopefully you will be too!

***

Hiya TJ!  What do you think of my new place? I, personally, think the wallpaper is fabulous, but the carpeting needs to go.

It’s stupendous dahling! I agree, I love the intestine print, but the zombie feet with verruca weave is completely hideous.

Why don’t we start with a bit of T. James Bio? Anything we should know about you? 

We could have started with my bio, but I understand you are excited about your new website and wanted to talk about that first. Besides, by establishing the setting before exploring characterisation you provide a context for our dialogue and actions, giving our readers a greater sense of place and involvement in the scene. 🙂

Anything you should know? When asked that, the first answer that occurred to me was, “No, nothing.” Then I remembered this is an interview and that would probably not have been a very helpful answer. I have no criminal convictions and I do not feel I am a danger to myself, or others, if that helps.

I don’t know if you want to know, but I can resort to humour when I am stuck for anything profound or interesting to say. I am more comfortable being a writer as opposed to an actor, as I can let my characters speak through me while I meld with the background. I hope my writing is imaginative, but underneath I can be very analytical. I am approximately human shaped on the outside; inside is anyone’s guess.

[For an equally entertaining but different variation of TJ’s bio, click here]

When we first started chatting, you hadn’t even made up your mind yet if you were a writer. What made you decide to go down this path of sleepless nights, endless post-its and neuroses?

I didn’t start out by deciding to ‘be’ a writer, it was more that I’d been searching for something new to try. After not writing anything fictional since school, I had the crazy idea that I could try stringing words together into stories.

I’m actually quite driven as a person and I decided that I would try it for a while to see if I actually had any skillz (I try and stay down with the kidz so I will be able to talk to my son in ten years when he’s a teenager). I’m generally not happy with anything I do unless I can achieve at least a competent standard, so getting some positive feedback from readers was important to me. There are writers and other creative types who do what they do entirely for their own enjoyment. For them, that’s wonderful. For me, art of any type has a communal element to it, and if I was wasting reader’s time with my writing then I figured I was wasting my time too. Fortunately, some people say they like what I do, which is good as I now enjoy writing so much I don’t want to stop. It took a while before I felt comfortable calling myself a writer, and after more than twelve months it can still feel a little strange.

FYI: My sleepless nights shall remain my own affair as I don’t see myself ever being that sort of writer. 😉 I don’t use post-its in my writing process as they aren’t cool. Also, I have absolutely no neuroses whatsoever. I am a completely emotionally stable, rational human being – if I say it enough times, I hope it will be true one day.

Considering how much effort you put in your latest project, you must be a person who perseveres to complete anything you put your mind to. If it’s not writing, what else have you tried?

I wish that were true! I tend to be selective about what I give my time to, and I like to think of myself as a reasonably objective person. If I think what I’m doing is worthwhile, then I’ll try to see it through to the end. I left a well-paid job as a trainee actuarial analyst (best described as a sort of pension scheme accountant) several *cough* years ago when I realised I wasn’t a round peg. The pay when you are qualified is great, but I wanted something more engaging and I left to do volunteer work for two years while I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’d already taken a science degree and I combined this with the volunteering when I decided to train as a therapist. Until I started writing my creativity had been on-hold since I left school.

Let’s talk about “My Mirror Self, and I”, shall we? I’ll admit, I still can’t stop calling it “Cassie” It kinda stuck with me. A story about a woman with relationship issues fighting breast cancer. What inspired you to get into her head? It can’t have been easy.

MMSaI, or “Cassie”, was a story that wanted to be told. I imagine that anyone who has been writing for a while has had one of those: a story that just gets fixed in your mind. Despite how difficult it might be to write, irrespective of whether you think it will find an audience or fit into a particular genre, it takes hold of you and compels you as a writer to make the attempt. It came as a surprise to me because I’d never had anything take hold of me quite like that before.

The fact that it was going to be a real challenge to attempt appealed too. Up to that point I’d been tinkering with writing fantasy, but I wanted to find out if I had the ‘it’ thing that makes a decent writer. I wondered if I could do a convincing job of writing from a woman’s perspective, using an unfamiliar real-world setting, about topics that are extremely emotive and intensely personal. If readers liked what I’d done, then I felt I would’ve earned my first set of stripes so to speak.

I also have some experience working alongside those who are affected by depression and breast cancer, and avenues of research open to me so I had a shot at realistically representing what living with the implications of these conditions is like. It was a little of writing what you know, and a lot of thinking myself into a very different worldview; a challenge, but I learnt an incredible amount from doing it.

Was there any aspect to the story that was particularly difficult? Easy? Fun?

Getting into Cassie’s head wasn’t easy. I literally lost count of the number of re-writes I did: changing sub-plots, style, third to first person, character motivation, fact checking etc. Writing Cassie’s story, I went in deep enough that when I had finished it felt as though I was coming up for air. It was never fun, but it was frequently moving, especially during the research phase – the women’s own accounts were full of honesty, candour, courage, and finding hope in the face of potentially overwhelming obstacles. Unlike these women, as a writer I was able to walk away from the implications when I finished the final line. These women don’t have that freedom, and by the end I wanted to honour their courage by trying to make Cassie and her experiences as authentic as possible.

Honestly, I’m having a bit of trouble coming up with questions about the novella because all I really want to do is yell at you for the emotions it evoked and praise you for how much I loved it. Anything else you want to say about this project?

Thanks Krista, men aren’t supposed to blush… I just hope others are as moved reading it as I was writing it. Oh, to any potential readers: please buy it. J

Aside from the writing, what was the most challenging step of the publishing process for you?

 The editing. I’m someone who likes to feel I am making progress, and I naively hope that what I write is going to make it unchanged into the final manuscript. I get frustrated when I have to go over the same ground again because something isn’t working or I’m correcting mistakes. However, I know that repeated editing is unavoidable if you want the finished piece to be any good, but that doesn’t stop me grumbling about having to do it.

 Now that “My Mirror Self, and I” is finished and out there, what’s next on the agenda? Another writing project? Moving on to the next “can I”?

Yes to both. I still have a lot to learn about my limitations as a writer, and the only way to find the answers is to write. I’ve heard writing good comedy is hard and coming off the back of finishing Cassie I want to try something lighter. My next “can I” is a YA farce. I’m only a few thousand words in at the moment, and I’m still getting a feel for the setting and the characters. Whether it will be good enough to publish I won’t know until I’m much further into the project and some beta-readers have had chance to chew on it.

Any advice for other writers determined to get their books on the virtual shelves, or everything that comes after?

 I’m only repeating advice that’s been given to me, but that I’ve found to be true from my (limited) experience:

Firstly, know what you want from a writing project. There were hundreds of things I could have tried that would have been easier to write, and with more commercial appeal than MMSaI. It will probably never make a best-seller list and divides reader opinion. I knew what I was getting into at the start, and writing MMSaI has taught me an incredible amount and given me a great feeling of satisfaction to complete.

Secondly, and it sounds obvious, but don’t submit anything less than your best, regardless of whether you are self-publishing or going the more traditional route. I was tempted on more than one occasion to just ‘go with what I’d got’, but none of the earlier versions of the piece were as well rounded or as strong as the version I finally released.

Oh, one more thing, remember to say, “Thank you,” to those who have helped you along the way, and given up their time and blog space. Thank you, Krista. 🙂

**

For more information about TJ and My Mirror Self, and I, click here

Devin O’Branagan’s Show Dog Sings the Blues: a review

Talisman, a pampered show dog with attitude, has a play date with her sister Maddie, who is a hardcore cowdog. Through an unfortunate mixup, the two dogs are switched and Talisman has to cowdog-up for the day.

It is an Australian Shepherd Freaky Friday!

A hilarious spinoff from the RED HOT series of comic novels, told from the dog’s perspective.

A portion of the proceeds from this novella will be donated towww.AussieRescue.org

An uplifting, inspiring tale for humans of all ages!

Show Dog

A bonus post! Why? Two reasons: a) Red Hot Liberty and Show Dog go hand in hand, so I didn’t want them to get separated by too many posts, and, more importantly, b) Show Dog is a novella in a class of its own and deserved its own spot. Plus, I have a feeling that Talisman would enjoy having a special day all about her. She’s that kind of dog.
Reading Show Dog Sings the Blues conveniently coincided with this month’s flash fiction contest on Devin’s forum (I’ll take a moment to plug – go, read, vote! I’ll wait until you get back), where the prompt was to write from the point of view of an animal. I decided to contribute and realised it’s not nearly as easy as I thought it’d be. To get into the head of a being we don’t really understand and make them real without taking away their innate animalness.
This is not a cheesy story. It’s not a children’s tale where the characters just happen to be animals. Tali explores the world exactly the way a dog would. The decisions she makes are based on instinct, on training, and on her understanding of her purpose as a dog. She demonstrates the importance animals have in the human world, the healing power they possess when we need it most.  I experienced her fear, her intuition, and was rooting for her from the moment she was cast out to work for the day. 
Both Red Hot Liberty and Show Dog follow the same theme of choosing what you want to fight for, but Talisman grabs hold of this theme even better than the characters in Liberty. Through her decisions and actions, she really brings to life the words of her heart person, Val DeMitri: “Courage is a choice”. 
This novella is worth the read. Especially at the end of a really hard day (and let’s face it, that usually sums up most Mondays – Fridays, right?), when all you want is to lose yourself in something fun, something that will make you laugh and make you feel warm. Does it need to be read with the others in the Red Hot series? Not necessarily – it holds up as a cute story in its own right – but when taken as part of the whole, there are so many more layers to it. It offers a better understanding of what makes Tali who she is. Honestly, though? I don’t think Red Hot is what holds up Show Dog. I think it’s the other way around. Tali always does steal the show. 
For more information, click here

Devin O’Branagan’s Red Hot Liberty: a review

Molly O’Malley’s new assistant, Robin Knight, is a sexy Englishman with mysterious psychic abilities and the gift of animal communication. This comes in handy when Molly’s dog becomes depressed over romantic problems, and when she wants to tell her humans the details of a haunted dog show event known as The Twilight Bone Incident.

Robin’s mission is to help Molly learn that it is an enchanted world where all things are possible. However, the men in Molly’s life are threatened by his powerful presence and pressure her into making difficult choices.

Further complicating her life is new client, Liberty True—a tin-foil-hat-wearing, conspiracy-theory-believing, rebel patriot—who invites Molly to a different kind of tea party and drags her, kicking and screaming, into the revolution. Soon, Homeland Security is following Molly and she receives death threats.

Coming to her aid? A Goth colleague who lives on the dark side, a charismatic cowboy preacher who lives on the light side, a quirky psychic who lives between the worlds, and the departed spirit of her best friend.

A sassy tale about a woman on the verge of losing everything, who undertakes a quest to slay the dragon of fear and become her own hero.

Review

Sequels often go downhill. My suspicion (and experience) is that the author spends so much time plotting out the first one, falls in love with the characters and wants to do more with them, but doesn’t spend nearly as much time plotting out the second, so it becomes a series of random events made up for the sake of keeping characters alive.

Occasionally, an author gets it right, and the second book lives up to the first. Even more occasionally, the second surpasses the first. That is the case with Devin O’Branagan’s Red Hot Liberty. Perhaps an example of how more time with a character leads to the author knowing her better, Liberty goes deeper into Molly O’Malley’s character, giving her more dimensions as a human being. New people are introduced, old favourites come back for a visit, and once again it becomes a matter of fighting what you believe in, or playing it safe to protect the ones you love.

Liberty also brought into my life another great character to laugh with and love: the goth chick Babylon (I really seem to have a thing for O’Branagan’s goth characters…). She’s tough, dry as sandpaper, knows what she wants and is not afraid to go after it. With her extreme kick-ass ability, she and Molly bring out the edgy side of women that never fails to appeal to me.

Once in a while sliding into the more paranormal, Liberty for the most part stays grounded, focusing on real problems of relationships, politics, grief, and puppy love – literally.

Again I laughed, again I cried, but this time around it was with characters I already knew and have laughed and cried with before, which made the experience that much sweeter. Summer is just around the corner, ladies and gents, and this book should definitely be added to your “summer reads” list.

And of course one of the best parts about this book is that it gave O’Branagan the opportunity to write her novella Show Dog Sings the Blues, which I will be reviewing on Saturday, so come back!

Find more information about Red Hot Liberty here

Robert Chazz Chute – Sex, Death & Mind Control: a review

This is perilously close to a how-to book about your favorite things: sex, death and mind control. This collection of eight short stories twists into a deliciously dark warning of how dangerous seemingly ordinary people can be. You might even be one of the dangerous ones. Each tale of psychological horror packs a gut punch of surprise every time. (Two award-winners are included in this collection.)

You’re thinking about buying this book, but you’re not sure. Look behind you. Make sure you’re alone. Now look again, because the truth is, you’re never alone. They’re watching through the keyholes and your computer. They use the pipes under your toilet for antennae. Let them know you’re on to them. Make them think you’re one of them. Click “BUY.”

No? Bad news: I’m the grim-faced man standing behind you with something behind his back. And I am not happy.

Yes? Welcome to the revolution, friend.

When I picked up Robert Chazz Chute’s “Sex, Death and Mind Control (for fun and profit)”, I braced myself for strangeness. This is, after all, the author of a book called “Self-Help for Stoners” and, from the little contact I’ve had with him, is a quirky and hilarious guy. I was prepared for humour, for the absurd, and indeed the introduction, the preface, even the dedication made me laugh, giggle, or roll my eyes.

Then I hit the stories.

On a recent post, I talked about my aversion to horror. It prevents me from sleeping and usually leaves me a bleary-eyed mess in the wee hours of the night. Perhaps I should be more specific. It’s physical horror that gets to me. Bugs, ghosts, masked people with chainsaws. *shudder*.

Psychological horror, on the other hand, I love. Hannibal Lecter is probably my favourite “villain” of any thriller film/novel. The way he gets in your head and twists around thoughts until the irrational seems rational. Sure there was the physical element too, but it was secondary.

That’s the best comparison I can make to Chute’s collection of short stories. Fortune tellers, psychiatrists who master in hypnotic suggestion, PTSD victims, these shorts are full of manipulation, powerful suggestion and psychological disturbance. In some stories you’re on the side of the mind-bender, wanting his words to sink in, wanting the other character to be twisted around to his will. In others, you take the place of the victims and suffer along with them, just wanting it to be over. While all of the stories kept me reading, some caught me off guard with how powerful they were. “End of the Line”, “Jack and Diane”, and “Sidewalkers”, grabbed my attention and even (prepare yourself) made me think about the message behind him. Thoughts about human nature, my own perspective of the world around me, whether I would ever answer a telephone again – the important questions.

These stories involve very little sex and a fair amount of death, but by the time you finish reading them, you’re left wondering if the mind control was something that happened to the characters…or to you.

I’m not sure if the author is working on any other projects of a similar ilk at the moment, but when he does I will be there to read them.

Find it on Amazon
Learn more about the author

Devin O’Branagan’s Red Hot Property: a review

Molly O’Malley is a plucky rookie real estate agent who is learning to swim with the sharks at the town’s most cutthroat agency. A former cocktail waitress, Molly uses her street savvy to avoid being eaten alive by vindictive office staff, neurotic colleagues, crazy clients, and an abundance of sexy men. A hilarious tale of a woman trying to become more than she believes possible, and discovering herself in the process.


Interested in purchasing? Find more information here.

I never realised that real estate agents led such excitinglives! From the first scene to the last, O’Branagan keeps the reader hookedwith a blend of suspense, violence, heartbreak and, most prominently – humour. Red Hot Property is comedic chick lit atits best. It’s been compared to the style of Janet Evanovich and, while I cansee where the comparison lies (I’m a big Evanovich fan myself), O’Branagantakes a unique twist that makes it something entirely new.
As always, Devin has created a full cast of loveable (andhateable) characters that you could easily believe you’d meet in the course ofa day. Molly O’Malley the feisty main character, is a perfect example of awoman trying so hard to get what she wants out of life – love, a family, asuccessful career – that she loses focus on why she wants it. How many of uscan say that we haven’t experienced that kind of tunnel vision at one time oranother. It’s easy to feel empathy for the Lead’s experiences, and that empathysucks you right into the rest of the story.
But don’t expect Molly to be the one to keep your interestthe whole way through. There are so many fantastic secondary characters and allof them steal the show. It comes as no surprise to me that Valentino DeMitri – “TheQueen of Real Estate” – and his dog Talisman have become such favourites ofDevin’s collection. I’m so glad that I finally got to meet them and find outwhat all the fuss was about. They certainly deserve it.  
The first in what will soon become a trilogy, Red Hot Property is a great start toMolly’s story. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel Red Hot Liberty, and Talisman’s exploits in Show Dog Sings the Blues

City of Hell Chronicles – Vol 1: A review

There is no god, no saviour.
Mankind is without salvation and on the cusp of total annihilation.
During an eruption at Yellowstone, the Great Maurr, an ancient god, rose from the bowels of the earth and brought a bug apocalypse with him.
Swarms of giant ants, centipedes and diabolical hybrids swept the planet consuming the animal kingdom and destroying human civilisation in a matter of weeks. Nothing could stop their relentless genocide.
Just a few cities remain; a handful of human survivors in London, Moscow and Hong Kong scuttle about in the darkness forever fearful of being caught, eaten by the solider ants, or worse: made to breed in the City of Hell to produce hideous hybrid creatures.
Can these last remaining humans find a way of surviving and ultimately fight back in this nightmarish dystopia?

For the complete synopsis and purchasing info, click here


Review
This anthology is made up of 8 short stories by 8incredible authors, all of the stories following the plot above – of the GreatMaurr the insect God, here to reign terror down upon the world.
Did I enjoy thiscollection of gruesome, warped, horrifying stories? NO. And I’ll tell you why:

1)  Ihate horror. The last horror movie I saw was in 2000, and it’s only now Irealise that was 12 years ago. TWELVE YEARS. That’s a really long time to avoida genre, and yet even twelve years later I can’t shower at night withoutbeing afraid some little freaking girl ghost is going to be standing there toterrify me when I get out. I also can’t sleep with my back to the door.
2) Myapartment is infested with carpet beetles. That’s right. I have bugs. In myhome. All. The. Time. As well as some kind of grey bugs that the people in theoffice weren’t able to identify. In my old house, we had centipedes, which Iaffectionately termed “Skitterbugs” as I stood on the chair in my office pokingat a pile of clothes with a stick waiting for it to run back out because therewas no way in hell I was going to stand on the floor and move things around tofind it. The only good these things did was help me get over my arachnophobia.The only thing worse than a creature with eight legs is one with a hundred.
So, combine these two little tidbits together and you maywonder what the hell I was thinking, then, picking up a horror anthology aboutgiant, six-foot long centipedes and ant-human hybrids? That is a very validquestion.
I was showing my support for the editor and all of theauthors who took the time and effort to put these stories together. For them, Ispent hours reading through the cracks in my fingers, on the verge of vomiting,fighting off the growing hysteria that my carpet beetles were hiding in kitchencupboards growing at an alarming rate and would come into my room one night andbite off my head.
So for that I say: Well done. Despite it being crafted outof everything I can’t stand, I was compelled to read through all of it. Each storywas engaging, and each one sucked you in until you were begging for the lastsentence to be done and the dark hopelessness to be over…only for the cycle tostart over again with the next story. 
Colin F. Barnes’ intro story Genesis was a great kick-off – a perfect combination of eerie and maniacal, with a neat twist of mystery thrown in. And it all went downhill from there. Each author brought a differentperspective to one unified event, all of them with characters you were rootingfor, in situations you were oh-so-glad youdidn’t have to cope with. It’s a perfect example of the sadism writers havetowards their characters – and apparently their readers.
So here I am, a non-fan of the genre and of bugs, saying that although reading this was not a relaxing, pleasant experience, I loved everything that made it what it is, and all of the authors should be proud. My recommendations: 1) read this book; 2) donot eat or drink anything at least one hour before opening the front cover.
CoH Volume 2 will be out this year. All I can say to thatis: Yes – I will read it. And Yes – I will keep several canisters of RAID nextto me for the rest of my life.  

Somnium – Keri Lake: A review

A work assignment in Kittery, Maine should be routine for Allie Lynch; nothing more than to prove herself as a brilliant engineer. Instead she finds herself torn between two men: a gorgeous military guard, Colton Briggs, and her devilishly handsome colleague, Drew Costa. To resist temptation, Allie does the only thing she can: she throws herself into her work.

But fate has other plans for Allie. Women are going missing all around her, Allie is struck with a series of life-threatening mishaps, and she becomes the obsession of a local deranged psychopath.

Thrust into a dark world that she can hardly fathom, Allie must fight for her very survival, open her mind to new realities – and open her heart to the possibility of love. Because both of these men are trouble – but one is a greater danger than she could ever imagine …


I fell for this book. Hard. 
Maybe it’s because of my own personal situation, maybe it was inevitable, I don’t know and I do not care. I fell in love with this book the way a smoker inhales his first puff of the morning. Okay, so maybe it’s more an addiction than true love, but the passion is the same. 
I was caught in the very first chapter by the suspense the author immediately works in. As the mystery built up, though, it was the emotions of the main character, Allie Lynch, that really kept me reading. For one thing, her reactions to her “real life” moments were hilarious, charming and adorable. You know, those situations that would totally happen to someone in the real world, but that authors sometimes avoid writing about because it detracts from the dignity of their main characters? Keri has no fear – she bandied those situations about like they were more excerpts from a personal diary than fiction, and it really worked to make the main character likable and down to earth. 
Even more than Allie’s…I don’t want to say goofiness, but shall we say “blush-inducingness”, was her emotions to the two main men in her life. The way Keri describes the leading males, and the feelings that pop up in Allie whenever one of the two, or both, are around, that’s what really got me. To the point where I would fight in hair-pulling, nail-scratching hand-to-hand combat with Allie to get one of their attention. Um…yum! Keri’s descriptions were impeccable. Skin-crawling, oil-feeling-in-the-stomach at times, and then a jump to words infused with such desire I was amazed my Kindle didn’t melt. 
Keri went with the decision to self-publish, and I strongly feel she has proven a very valuable lesson of writing. It’s not the publisher that makes the book, but the passion of the writer. The cover art is beautiful, the story even more so, and it is with bated breath that I wait for Requiem to be ready. 

Devin O’Branagan’s Glory – A review

Seventeen-year-old Glory Templeton’s blood holds the cure for a deadly pandemic-plague and she embarks on a quest to save humanity. When evil forces conspire to stop her, three supernatural beings are assigned to be her guardians. Forbidden love, ancient secret societies, mysterious astronomical monuments, witches, angels, vampires, and demons all contribute to the high adventure that tests the character of this remarkable young woman.

The legend of Glory begins!


Glory – Devin O’Branagan
It’s been a long time since I’ve read YA fiction. Why? Well,mostly because I never really read much YA fiction. I jumped into the big-girlstuff from a pretty young age. Fortunately, you’re never too old to read a goodbook, because once again the mind of Devin O’Branagan has given me something todelight in.
There’s a lot of love about Glory – both the character andthe novel. You’d think that being young adult fantasy, it would lack some ofthe depth and darkness that her novels Threshold and Witch hunt delved into -but you would be mistaken. It’s just a bit more subtle. Good vs. evil; hope orhate for humanity; whether a dog can really save the human race – it’s allthere.
The characters in Glory are fun, that’s what kept bringing me back to it whenever life forcedme to put it down. Each man, woman, anthropomorphically flexible being, andcanine have his or her own species-specific dilemmas, their own completestories going on as an undercurrent to the main narrative, and I wanted to knowmore about all of them.
Another perk is that, in a day where “Team Vampire vs. TeamWerewolf” stories abound, O’Branagan takes an…angelic twist that I findrefreshing and charming. This is one battle in which I wouldn’t be able to choosea side.
I have to say that my favourite characters appeared right atthe end, the lovely Goth Girls: Jinx, Jade, Jasmine, and Jezebel. These ladieskick all kinds of ass and I want to be their friend. Please?
Fine, well even if I’m not given that opportunity, then Ican at least look forward to their return in the sequel to Glory – which iscurrently being on worked by Ms O’Branagan (permission to hop up and down withexcitement)?

For all official Glory info, including character bios and a novel trailer, click here!