Friday, July 29, 2022

Book Review: This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi


I enjoyed this book immensely, especially as set against the backdrop of Persian mythology. It’s the typical-for-YA coming of age plot with a main character who is hiding from her grand destiny. In this case, Alizeh has been waiting for it so long that she’s basically given up on it ever arriving. She survives as a servant until a chance meeting with the prince of that country sends her life into a spiral of danger and she is forced into the open.

The book kept me reading and wanting more so I was quite disappointed to reach the final 10% of the book and realize that it must have a sequel. It is, in fact, book 1 of a duology so I must wait for the second book. I wish book series were more upfront with series numbering on books. Going into this, I had hoped for a nice standalone fantasy novel. Oh well.
The book leaves off on a literal cliffhanger (I won’t say what it is exactly so as not to spoil it) and with our heroine on a detour which is taking her in a direction she never wanted to go or had planned on. And it ends with two male leads, neither of which I’m terribly fond of as they are both jerks in different ways. I’m looking forward to seeing if Mafi ends up redeeming one of them enough in the second book for me to appreciate the happily ever after she seems to be aiming for.
All in all, a near perfect book in my opinion filled with myths and legends not commonly found in English fantasy. It’s a breath of fresh air.
The formatting for this book on the printed version (I read the hardback) is particularly lovely. The chapter titles have a whole page with filigree designs and the numbers are in both roman numerals and what I'm assuming is Arabic numerals. I like to see books that are creatively laid out so the books themselves are art

Oddly enough,
very shortly after reading Woven Kingdom I had a chance to lightly skim another series by Tahereh Mafi: The Shatter Me series. It's a 6 book (plus three novellas) YA dystopian sci-fi series with a superhero/mutant type twist. The plot is intriguing enough, but the fragmented stream of conscious narration in 1st POV threw me off (and there are multiple POVs too with varying degrees of "mental instability" and fragmentation). It's a unique read if it's your type. However, it's not mine. I just find it interesting how the same author can write two so very different styles of books. Shows a wide range on her part.
Have you read The Woven Kingdom? Do you want to? I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequel "These Infinite Threads" when it releases in February 2023. I'm very glad this is a duology so I only have to wait for one book!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Mid Year and Juggling

Photo licensed from Depositphotos
It's already July. Wow.

I'm astounded at how fast time is flying past this year. I thought it was time for me to do a check in on my writing goals I set back in January. How did I do? Some I accomplished and some I won't. I'm not displeased, however. Rolling with the punches is the best way to stay on track the best I can with my scattered brain.

Writing goal #1: releasing a new social media story. 

Status: Checked off and it's still running though I took a break from it for a while. No Return is live on IG and Patreon every Sunday.

Writing goal #2: launching the webnovel Kagerou.

Status: The novel is being rewritten and edited. I'm still on track to begin releasing it sometime later this year.

Writing goal #3: Finally completing and publishing book 1 of Märchenverse.

Status: Most likely won't happen this year. I had too much of a delay earlier this year. I have made progress on books 1-3 however. I haven't yet started draft 2 of book 1 but I have started to line things up that need fixing or adding. Book 2 is slowly pushing its way out the chrysalis to show me the new form it will take during the rewrite. Book 3 has almost completely replotted itself and just needs more work on the middle section before I can start it again from scratch to have a much more horrifically terrifying story that it was before. Wish me luck. I am NOT a horror writer...

Writing goal #4: Attending my first 20booksto50k conference in November.

Status: Car decided it wanted to use up all my available funds so, alas, I must postpone this until 2023. I shall attend virtually and still take days off of work to focus on that, however.

And why all the huge delays and postponements this year? 

That all comes down to my one non-writing goal: to land a full-time job. 

I did it!! Back in January I finally received an offer to start a full-time job at *drumroll* a library! Yes, that was the job I was hinting at in the previous post. I'm now a Library Assistant who gets to hide in the central library's basement doing cataloguing. It's fantastic and right up my alley, but it did require a move and a complete halt on the writing front for months while I unpacked and got settled into my new job and city. So, now that my brain has had time to adjust, I'm finally getting back into the groove for writing. 

First up on the writing schedule? Finish Kagerou and get that ready and waiting in the wings to start. July marks the running of Camp NaNoWriMo and I'm hoping to use that to motivate me enough to accomplish at least half the rewrite.

Second, back to Märchenverse and try to get as much of that done as quickly as possible so I'm prepared for any other road blocks that may pop up.

While you are waiting, I would suggest popping over to my patreon. I recently finished updating the patreon library and I've started posting occasional book reviews. I'm hoping to post a little more consistently over there with new content. But, writing comes first before updating here or on patreon so please forgive me for inconsistency. 

Happy 4th of July and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Photo licensed from Depositphotos

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Book Review: Queen's Peril by E K Johnston

Time to bring back an old (very old!) topic of mine on this blog. Book reviews! This time around, I'll be much more casual with the reviews, however. They won't be super detailed but I hope you find them useful. If you want more book reviews, click on the book review tag to read my other reviews.

First up, the new SW series by EK Johnston focusing on Padme Amidala. I didn't pick up the first book when it came out so this review is only on the second book which is technically the first chronologically as it covers her life from election as queen through the events of Phantom Menace. What started out as a really engaging plot fell flat for me the minute it hit the movie part of the timeline. The first part of the book was creative and intriguing as you saw her "creating" the persona of the queen while gathering her merry band of handmaidens. And then the author decided that of course her readers must have watched the movie and the plot ended up being far too disjointed as it interwove tiny fragments of scenes from the movies with some new material in a method that made logic go out the window. The last two thirds of the book would make zero sense to anyone who hasn't watch the movie. It's more like a behind the scenes rambling diary of the queen and select handmaidens without enough plot to sustain it. So, alas, I must drag the rating down to 3.5/5. A full star off for the above atrocity. As for the half star off? Only cosplayer/costumers will understand this part. Amidala has those incredibly intricate costumes in the movie and this book attempted to create new outfits as well as describe the ones from the movie. The latter were so badly described that it would have been better to just leave out any details and describe them vaguely. (For example, the one I've studied the most is the purple traveling dress and she described it as having the opening up the back. IT IS NOT.) Her costume advisors failed her miserably. Queen Amidala's costumes and their descriptions are basically on the level of handwave "magic" sci-fi science which bugs the costumer in me as these costumes were actually created for the movie using real couture techniques. (Yes, I do get passionate about sewing and costumes as I do costuming as a hobby. Random fact about me you never knew.) Also, random period scene?? Why? Please no. Just no. My rating stands as it is. Enjoyable as an addition to the movie, but don't expect a book that holds together as a standalone. Will I read it again? Probably not. Will I read the other two books? Depends on whether those are as dependent on the movies as this one was. If they are, probably a hard pass.
Thoughts? Comments? Want to tear my review to shreds? Have at it in the comments. I'd love to hear what you thought about the book and the series. (Just stay respectful please!)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

No Return: A Social Media Story

Hiya! As I hinted in yesterday's post, I have a brand new story for your reading. The first post is up on IG now and I hope you do enjoy episode 1. One episode will release every Sunday so it is a slow burn story. Enjoy the ride!

For more information on the story, or to find links to each of the episodes as they release, check out my website. Click here to access the page for No Return.

What is this new story about?

"Forced to flee from Earth to outrun the sun going supernova, a young woman must figure out how to survive amidst a crew of strangers as they seek a new place to call home."

Genre: Sci-fi 

Click here to read it on Instagram. Or, if Patreon is more your thing, click here to read it!


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Looking Ahead to 2022

I can hardly believe that 2021 flew by so fast. I landed a new job, got rid of an old one, and the time flew by in a blur while I was adjusting. I didn't get much written in the last half of the year due to that, unfortunately, but I'm finally reengaging now that the holiday season is over (thank goodness that it is! I definitely burnt out during it).

And so now, as I face down the coming year ahead, I see a year full of potential and possibilities. And that also means change and lots of it. Some decided and actioned by me and some foisted upon me to which I must adapt. So I thought I would officially write down my goals for the year so that you might have a glimpse into what possibilities I see lurking in 2022.

Writing goals:

1) The first goal I wanted to accomplish this year was to whip up a new social media story to air on my Instagram. It's a small experiment that I hope you all enjoy. I can check off this goal starting tomorrow when it begins releasing!

2) The second goal is a bit further out. I know I've been promising to finally get around to relaunching the rewritten Kagerou novel for quite a while now. I'm aiming to get it started this year (possibly spring). No idea when I'll get around to writing the second novel as that depends on where in my crowded writing schedule it could fit.

3) The third and most important goal: the completion and publication of Märchenverse. Book 1 is still needing rewriting and editing and I'm midway through the little prequel. Book 2 need a complete overhaul of a rewrite and I'm in the beginning stages of writing Book 3. That said, I am hoping to publish Book 1 in the fall of this year. *crosses fingers* So, I would hope to have books 1-3 written and edited by then so I could write book 4 during NaNoWriMo.

4) The fourth goal (numbered so by virtue of being the last scheduled to happen), is to save up for and attend the 20booksto50k indie publishing conference in Las Vegas next November. If I accomplish goal #3, then I can hopefully participate in the book signing event at the end of the conference and sell some physical copies of my new shiny book. But, I will need to save up the money! It isn't cheap and I've got publishing costs to pay before then.

Non-Writing goals:

I only really have one big goal for this year and it's the same one I've had since before the great plague killed the job market: get a full-time job! I've been switching from part-time to part-time for jobs and I'd like to nail down one that is full-time so I can finally get full benefits (and possibly finally latch onto the bottom rung of a career track). Now, if I do get that job, that's the big unknown factor as to how the writing goals will progress or if they even will progress at all for a time. And I might be completing this goal sooner rather than later as I currently do have a possible job (with a move!) lined up at present. We shall see what happens and I shall roll with it. If I go radio silent for a while, that probably means I got the job and am completely focused on adapting to the new situation and learning the ropes. 

Hopefully I'll remember that I wrote this post at the end of 2022 so I can see how much I checked off, or not, over the course of the year. As with any goal setting, I'm aiming to knock off every single item on the list! 

Do you have any goals you want to tackle in 2022? If you don't mind sharing them, comment below! 

Happy 2022 to you all and may this year be better than the last for all of us!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Patreon Exclusive: The Twelve Part 7

 "Thompson found that it opened into a rough natural passageway in the rock which led downward and to the northwest. His tracker isn’t working that far down in the rock because we didn’t equip him with a powerful enough one to penetrate that deep, but he used his suit’s software to create a rough map."


Part 7 marks the halfway point! I've finally got the rest laid out and ready to post and it will be a total of 14 parts or chapters that will run until the end of April. I hope you are all buckled in because the roller-coaster picks up in speed from here on!

Have you figured out which fairy tale inspired this story yet?

Subscribe here for the password:

Then read here:

Tune in next Monday to read more!



Monday, March 8, 2021

Patreon Exclusive: The Twelve Part 6

"Instead of meeting two days later, Brig. Gen. Brantley was rudely jerked awake by a priority message alarm in the middle of the night. He groggily hit the button to activate a voice only channel and barked, “What is it?” "


At last! Answers to the mystery! But that just leads to more questions in this next part of "The Twelve". Comment below with where you think this story is heading.

I've been working on a new sci-fi short story this week (the one that was supposed to be posted as this month's story in Speculative Scribblings), but it's still not quite done as I ended up with no time for it. Instead, I celebrated a week of birthday stuff, work, and a full on burnt, two day fudge disaster of a birthday dessert. It has been a week, let me tell you. I'm ready to get back to normal this week (and finally make a successful chocolate dessert to feast on!)

Subscribe here for the password:

Then read here:

Tune in next Monday to read more!




Monday, March 1, 2021

Patreon Exclusive: The Twelve Part 5

“Sir, as I said before, I have no solid facts to present, but I did decide to...go off the beaten path so to speak and search for any similar happenings in the past. Of course, I found absolutely zero similar events in the history of our military or the GU, however, I did find something curious in the history of this planet."

Welcome to March with Part 5 of The Twelve! Finally, there's a breakthrough, or rather, a clue, in the case. 


Subscribe here for the password:

Then read here:

Tune in next Monday to read more!

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