Heartborn by Terry Maggert (Shattered Skies #1) (DNF)

Title: Heartborn
Series Title: Shattered Skies
Date Added: July 3, 2017
Date Started: October 9, 2017
Date DNF: October 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 9 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Heartborn coverPages: 239
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.


Before the end of Heartborn’s first chapter, the main character’s brother cuts off his wings and pushes him out of “heaven,” and I was so ready for the promises of Paradise Lost references with a heavy helping of Revelations.  The chapter ends with Keiron’s fate unknown, and I didn’t miss another possible homophone reference in his name with Charon, the ferryman of the river Styx, who not only dwells in between but also serves as a sort of guide for those thrust into that liminal state.  Since this novel’s blurb indicates Keiron as a “guardian angel,” it’s a cleverly benevolent subversion to the original, darker paradigm.

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The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson

Title: The Diamond Tree
Author: Michael Matson
Date Added: January 26, 2016
Date Started: September 28, 2017
Date Finished: October 1, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Short Story, YA/Mid-Grade

The Diamond Tree coverPages: 70
Publication Date: July 12, 2010
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Media: eBooks/Kindle


Dall is eager to prove himself a worthy prince, but what do you do when your older brothers have already slain every dragon and rescued all the princesses? You heed the advice of an old woman and set off on a quest! When Dall starts finding diamonds along the way, he discovers his quest may have a more unique ending than he had planned. Ages 6-12 and great for parents to read with their children.


This is a cute, little fairy tale with all the proper elements.  I could’ve done with a bit of something different from the typical Rescue Romance, but there might have been some Tarot references within concerning main character Prince Dall (The Fool), a literal Hanged Man, and a wise old woman who could play the part of The Hermit.  Regardless of its foibles and cliches, it was a fun, quick read.

3 stars.

Master of Crows by Grace Draven (Master of Crows #1)

Title: Master of Crows
Series Title: Master of Crows
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: May 25, 2017
Date Started: August 31, 2017
Date Finished: September 27, 2017
Reading Duration: 27 days
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Romance/Paranormal Romance

Master of Crows coverPages: 276
Publication Date: July 13, 2009
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Media: eBook/Kindle


What would you do to win your freedom? This is the question that sets bondwoman, Martise of Asher, on a dangerous path. In exchange for her freedom, she bargains with her masters, the mage-priests of Conclave, to spy on the renegade sorcerer, Silhara of Neith. The priests want Martise to expose the sorcerer’s treachery and turn him over to Conclave justice. A risky endeavor, but one she accepts without hesitation–until she falls in love with her intended target.

Silhara of Neith, Master of Crows, is a desperate man. The god called Corruption invades his mind, seducing him with promises of limitless power if he will help it gain dominion over the world. Silhara struggles against Corruption’s influence and searches for ways to destroy the god. When Conclave sends Martise as an apprentice to help him, he knows she’s a spy. Now he fights a war on two fronts–against the god who would possess him and the apprentice who would betray him.

Mage and spy search together for a ritual that will annihilate Corruption, but in doing so, they discover secrets about each other that may damn them both. Silhara must decide if his fate, and the fate of nations, is worth the soul of the woman he has come to love, and Martise must choose continued enslavement or freedom at the cost of a man’s life. And love.


“What nobility is there in being a false god’s puppet?”

Grace Draven has a habit of writing stories with the same paradigms as FFVII and ASOIAF.  The titular character is being seduced by an evil god with dark promises?  Sounds fantastically familiar.  He’s also a powerful dark wizard?  Sounds a great deal like Song’s Three Eyed Crow.

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The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (Book of Ember #1)

Book of Ember

The People of Sparks (BOE #2)–>

Title: The City of Ember
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Date Added: June 28, 2016
Date Started: August 30, 2017
Date Finished: September 12, 2017
Reading Duration: 13 days
Genre: Mid-grade/Young Adult (YA), Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrauPages: 270
Publication Date: May 13, 2003
Publisher: Yearling Adventure
Media: Paperback


Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness….

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?


“But what if they don’t find them? What if they never come out again?” “I think they will. People find a way through just about anything.”

The City of Ember is a marvelous example of the necessity of a prologue in some cases since it lays the foundation of the story to follow: how Ember came to exist, created by the mysterious and long dead Builders to harbor humanity from some unknown disaster two centuries ago.   The only record they left of their existence was a timer box set to open in 200 years with instructions therein.  Each mayor of Ember was supposed to safeguard the vessel, passing it on to their successor when their time came to an end, but as things often go, the vital information was lost ad now Ember is dying.  Food is growing scarce and famine is imminent, but even more dire is the instability of their aging generator, because if it fails, Ember will go completely dark.

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The State of the Writer: 4/22/18

<–The State of the Writer: 4/8/18          The State of the Writer: 5/6/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2

Book Review: The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare – 4/21/18
List: Games Alive – 4/22/18

Ugh…the Games Alive list posted in February because I accidentally published it back then before it was completed.  I forgot WordPress keeps the original publication date unless you schedule it.  I was wondering why the hell I wasn’t seeing it recently.


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,491
Prior Word Count: 261,548
Word Difference: -57
Status: Revising
Progress: Second edit of Chapter 3

My hunt for this picture’s source revealed that this is not technically one of Sephiroth, but rather of someone else who shares similar features.  I think it looks a great deal like him with blue lilies in his hair, so I’m going to allow it.

Something very interesting happened to me recently.  I received a contact from someone who thought I was the author of The Broken Orrery, the best written fanfiction I’ve ever read, written CymbelinesHalo.  It’s been over a year since she updated, and the message I received asked if was the author as they implored me to please remedy this.  I was quite flattered that someone had mistaken me for this writing genius, but I had to set the record straight and inform them that I was the author of Northern Lights (TBR isnt on Fanfiction.net; it’s way outside of their draconian censorship stipulations), and I, too, was waiting with bated breath for TBO to be updated.  They haven’t gotten back to me, so I hope their disappointment wasn’t too heartfelt.

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The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

Title: The Winter’s Tale
Author: William Shakespeare
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: August 14, 2017
Date Finished: September 11, 2017
Reading Duration: 28 days
Genre: Drama, Tragedy, Comedy/Romance Classic

The Winter's Tale by William ShakespearePages: 171
Publication Date: May 15, 1611
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Media: eBook/Kindle


One of Shakespeare’s later plays, best described as a tragic-comedy, the play falls into two distinct parts. In the first Leontes is thrown into a jealous rage by his suspicions of his wife Hermione and his best-friend, and imprisons her and orders that her new born daughter be left to perish. The second half is a pastoral comedy with the “lost” daughter Perdita having been rescued by shepherds and now in love with a young prince. The play ends with former lovers and friends reunited after the apparently miraculous resurrection of Hermione.


The cover I used above is not the cover of the version I read, but since that one is boring (it’s just the play’s title and the Bard’s name on white a green.  Oh hell…

The Winter's Tale (boring cover)See.  Boring), I decided to use a festive piece.

The Winter’s Tale has a tragic/dramatic beginning and a comedic end, comedy, in cases like this, meaning there’s a happily resolved romance, as opposed to his more famous Romeo and Juliet, which while possessing a romantic element (if you want to call it that…), is generally classified a tragedy.  I’m unsure how comedy and romance became conflated, but in examining The Seven Basic Plots, that is how it’s described.

Hero and Heroine are destined to get together, but a dark force is preventing them from doing so; the story conspires to make the dark force repent, and suddenly the Hero and Heroine are free to get together. This is part of a cascade of effects that shows everyone for who they really are, and allows two or more other relationships to correctly form.

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Dweller by Jeff Strand

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2017
Date Finished: August 31, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days
Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Pages: 292
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Publisher: Leisure Books
Media: 
eBook/Kindle


When Toby Floren was eight years old, he discovered a monster living in the woods behind his house. A ghastly, frightening creature with claws, fangs, and a taste for human flesh. As he ran out of the forest, Toby felt that he’d been lucky to escape with his life.

Years later, Toby finds comfort with the creature. It’s his own special secret–something that nobody else in the world knows about. Somebody to talk to. Somebody to confide in. Sure, Toby has concerns about his own sanity, but really, what boy wouldn’t want to be best friends with a monster in the woods, especially if he’s being tormented by bullies? The creature, who he names Owen, may be the answer to his problems…

From Jeff Strand, the author of PRESSURE, comes the story of a macabre, decades-long friendship. A relationship that will last their entire lives, through times of happiness, tragedy, love, loss, madness, and complete darkness.


I almost gave up on this one (even though it’s pretty much like Harry and the Hendersons…if Harry was a flesh-eating monster).  There was a lot of bullshit victim blaming and bullying that was played off as “just the way it is” or “boys will be boys.” *gag*  One of the greatest follies is the deep set idea that if you’re being bullied, you need to handle it yourself.  It’s a core tenet of many 80’s and 90’s movies.  I mean, there’s literally a series called Revenge of the Nerds (which has more problems than just this concept) where reciprocity is the name of the game.  It cultivates an almost hazing culture where children are expected to “take their lumps” because of the falsehood that it “makes you a better person” (whatever the fuck that means), but the fact of the matter is, it’s okay to go to an adult if you’re dealing with that.  That’s literally their (or I suppose our) job: to aid and educate the younger generation.  So this idea:

But there was a code of honor at Orange Leaf High: you didn’t rat out your peers.

is horse shit.  There’s no honor in it, BUT given the era this story occurs in (the 80’s/90’s), it’s an understandable sentiment.  Once I put myself in that place,  the vibe of the writing began to resonate with me, and I realized a great deal of my reluctance had to do with being able to identify with the bullying Toby endured far too well.

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