Blogging Break

Hello everyone! I’ve been pretty absent lately…from the blog, social media, everything! I hate to have to do this, but I’m going to be taking a few months off from blogging. With work and other commitments I just don’t have the time right now to dedicate to reading and writing posts.

Thank you so much for all of your support over the past year and a half. I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for that long. Take care and see you all in November! ❤

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Blog Tour: Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell

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9781946154002-WingsUnseen-EBOOK-COVER-FINAL_03Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell 
Release date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Formats: Paperback, eBook

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To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.

When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancee of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.

To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.


Author Guest Post: Top 10 Fantasy Book Inspirations

The following list is of my Top 10 fantasy world inspirations for my own epic fantasy, Wings Unseen. I’m certain these works of art influence me no matter what genre of fiction I’m working on at the moment. Most of them are books, but a few television shows squeaked in as well. Regardless of the medium, these fantasy worlds have been inspiring me for at least a decade if not two or three, and I doubt they’ll ever stop. I’m ordering them from most recent to the ones that have nurtured me since swaddling clothes.

10. Battlestar Galactica, the reboot: As much as this is a world inhabited by robots gone rogue, it is also a story of the fantastical intersection of religious faith, science, and the origin story. The power of an origin story is strong; in this world, it propels the homeless Colonists back toward their ancient home on Earth. And the history of Wings Unseen offers a similar heft. Their creation mythos is not simply a forgotten tale, but it provides a relevant understanding of the threats manifesting here and now.

9. Sir Apropos of Nothing and the Woad to Wuin by Peter David: The world of Sir Apropos is a silly one full of puns and poking fun at everything that constitutes a standard fantasy novel. But it is also a world full of appreciation for those very qualities it jabs at. The encounter with the unicorns is a must-read regardless of your opinion on mythical creatures! Books like these gave me permission to have my characters laugh at the absurdity of their own situations, however serious those situations feel to them. Life is ridiculous, whether fictional or real.

8. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin: With the award-winning and record-breaking show for HBO in its seventh season, it’s no surprise to find this fantasy book series on anyone’s list of inspirations. But I was first introduced to it by an ex-boyfriend back around 1999, and I’ve been devoted to it ever since. What’s most inspirational to me is how Martin effectively uses multiple point-of-view characters to tell his story as fully as possible. And yes, so does Wings Unseen.

7. Star Trek, the Next Generation: The optimistic future world that Gene Rodenberry envisioned is fantasy on the space opera scale, but one that I’d love to believe humans can grow into. In all its iterations, there are villains, battles, and terror, but above all, and most evident in the Next Generation, there is hope in diplomacy, kindness, and a love of exploration that extends to respecting the cultures encountered. For me, the worlds of Star Trek are an example of how morality can be woven consistently and inspirationally into narrative, complete with mistakes and great leaps forward for mankind.

6. The Belgariad series by David Eddings: Either you love how Eddings sinks himself fully into the tropes of the fantasy world or you run away as fast as you can. But what I remember most from this series is the swearing: “Torak’s tooth!” Torak is the evil god of the series, and using that construction as a curse always made me smile. It transfers over to Wings Unseen in two common phrasings, one for each religion of the bitterly divided lands: “Madel’s hand” and “Saeth’s fist!” Either are satisfying to yell if you need to curse without offending anyone nearby…other than making them think you’re a wee bit crazy.

5. The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien: The next two entries on this list are considered trite in this day and age, but they are here because no works are more formative for the early fantasy reader. And Tolkien’s Middle Earth combines the best of it all: prophecy, song, friendship, temptation, hard choices, and unerring devotion to saving anyone worthy at all costs, whether it’s a pair of kidnapped hobbits or a whole civilization. In the end, the small acts are just as important as the large ones, the taking of a ring as valuable as the felling of a Nazgul. Bravery knows no limitations here. And of course, this fantasy world gave us the blueprints for elves, dwarves, wizards, and other fantastical creatures from which to draw our own inspirations.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis: While fairy tales can claim their place as the originators of talking animals in tales, Narnia is the preeminent home of talking animals in fantasy. Some readers can’t take them at all, but I find Mr. Tumnus, the fawn, and Reepicheep, the warrior mouse, and all their friends rather charming. The qualities we prize in human characters can sometimes be more recognizable when inhabiting the body of an animal. But what I love most about Narnia is the sense that this world is much larger than we’ll ever fully see, and I take comfort in that. Even in exploring the ends of the world in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I always felt there was more just outside the borders of the map.

3. Alice in Wonderland, the 1985 miniseries: Alice’s shenanigans in Wonderland were some of my earliest introductions to the idea of fantasy worlds, whether through the Disney film or the Lewis Carroll books. But the 1985 miniseries that drew on the first book and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, is the one that has stuck with me in terms of writing influences. It had a star-studded cast and whimsy that came across a little less funny and a little more twisted than other retellings of the story. Especially through the use of the Jabberwocky, a monster in a nonsense poem in the book but a terrifying, existential threat in the miniseries. The intermixing of true horror with wild, and at times nonsensical, adventure is a combination that enthralls me. Though I hope Wings Unseen’s adventures make a little more sense. 😉

2. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power: I would be lying if I omitted these two cartoons from my collective fantasy memory. The main characters’ purposes may not have been complex – destroy Skeletor to save Eternia or the Evil Horde to save Etheria – but they were clear-cut, and I never doubted the commitment of those heroes to their quest. Sometimes they had the upper hand, sometimes Skeletor did, but the battle was always noble and worth a Saturday morning’s viewing. I may have first learned the importance of sidekicks from this series as well, for comic relief but also for moral and sometimes physical support.

1. Fairy Tales: I don’t remember the name of the collection of fairy tales I grew up with, but I remember the book. There were many illustrations, and it was at least 400 pages long and divided into sections of colored pages: green, pink, blue, and yellow—maybe orange, too. I learned my basics from these tales: the Princess and the Pea, Rumpelstiltskin, the Ugly Duckling, and all the other stories that are never quite as happy as you remember reading them as a child. The beautiful vibrancy of the pages helped sear their words into my mind. Wings Unseen contains only unconscious echoes of fairy tales, but any writer learns the basics of plotting from them. My next book, a post-apocalyptic romance, relies on fairy tales as an organizing principle. They are in our marrow, and their power must be acknowledged.


About the Author

beccagomezfarrellIn all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, the Future Fire, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and an upcoming story in theDark, Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut novel.

Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, The Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.

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Giveaway!

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a $25 Amazon gift card! Good luck!

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: ten hidden gems in the fantasy genre. Fantasy has always been by go-to genre. I can’t get enough of it! These are some books that I absolutely loved but haven’t seen too many people talking about. Seriously, you NEED to pick these up!

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you have any other hidden gems to recommendations?

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: ten diverse novella recommendations. Part of my goal this year was to read more diverse books. I stumbled upon a few earlier this year as part of a diverse read-a-thon. Also, through various Twitter accounts and blog hopping I’ve found several amazing novellas that you all should really read! I just loved them all ❤

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you have any other diverse novellas recommendations?

Mini Reviews: The Chaos of Longing & The Little Queen

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30369886The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson
Release date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

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The Chaos of Longing is a prose and poetry collection draped in raw honesty, ache, and eroticism. The collection explores trauma, love, heartbreak, and the realizations from it all.

The book is divided into four sections. “Inception” briefly examines formative years and its effects on how one loves. “Longing” reflects on love and sexuality. “Chaos” explores toxic relationships, unrequited love, and heartache. After chaos, there is order with self-love and healing poems in “epiphany”.

Some content may be triggering.

Over the past year, poetry has become one of my favourite genres. It has given me words that I can identify with, that I can hold close to my heart and know that I’m not alone. Others feel what I feel, others have gone through similar situations. It’s also showed me different perspectives, points of view that I perhaps wouldn’t have considered. It has opened up a whole new world for me, so I was very excited to read this particular poetry collection as it sounded similar to several other poetry books that I have recently read.

While K.Y. Robinson is undoubtedly a talented writer and her poems are beautiful, I didn’t really feel a connection to the words. It felt like I was a person looking through a window, I could see what was happening inside, but couldn’t do anything to interact with those on the inside. I wasn’t expecting such a sexually themed collection of poetry. I didn’t feel anything about those pieces, but I did enjoy her poems on self-worth, self-love, and self-confidence. The final section of the book was most definitely my favorite and the most enjoyable to read. It reminded me of The Princess Saves Herself in This One and Love, And You, two books I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

So, while I didn’t personally connect with much of the poetry on an emotional level, I am in awe of the author’s honesty. The collection is often brutal and painful, especially the beginning. Robinson has poured out her heart and laid herself bare. This is why you should give this collection a try. I will definitely be picking up her next book because while I wasn’t always emotionally invested in each poem, there was still enough to keep me curious and wanting more.


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

35440860The Little Queen by Meia Geddes
Release date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Poetose Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: eBook

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When her mother and father pass away, the little queen must figure out how to be a little queen. And so she begins her adventures, journeying away from her palace and into the world to determine how she should go about going on. The little queen soon encounters numerous folks who teach her a thing or two: the book sniffer, the dream writer, and the architect of silence are just a few. Along the way, the little queen finds friendship, love, and meaning in being a leader in her world. The Little Queen is a magical exploration of self-discovery, vocation, community, and home.

I completely adored this precious and beautifully written fairytale! I saw it recommended on various diverse Twitter accounts and thought it sounded like something that I would enjoy reading. And it was, it really was! I honestly wish I had the words to do it justice and truly describe how gorgeous it is. The writing was lyrical and had a magical quality to it that just brought everything to life. Plus, it featured cute illustrations that further added to the fairytale feeling. The mixture of the story and illustrations reminded me of the books I read in my childhood. It definitely made me heart happy!

The story is about a little queen who is unsure if she can properly rule her kingdom. So, she sets off on an adventure to explore her kingdom. Along the way she meets new people, makes friends and falls in love. I loved how the characters she met were women of various walks of life that show and teach her so much. I also really liked how this story featured a f/f love story. It’s so simple and pure…they were just so perfect together!

Another reason why I just can’t stop gushing about this book is its message of acceptance. The book and its characters embrace differences and never judges people for the way that they are. It promotes self-acceptance and choice. This is such a beautiful and important message for people of all walks of life, but especially young adults who will hopefully read this book.

The Mystery Blogger Award

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A big thanks to Laura at The Book Corps for tagging me! Please be sure to check out her lovely blog. Also, thanks to Okotoenigma for creating this fun award.


The Rules: 

  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and link it to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate between 10 to 20 bloggers
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions
  • Share a link to your best/favourite post that you have written

3 Facts About Me:

1. I’ll be teaching a new subject this school year. For the past four years I have been teaching English to 7th and 9th grade students. Now, I’ll be teaching a class called Leadership Skills and Global Issues (LSGI), which is all about global events, Model United Nations, public speaking, research and essay writing. I’m beyond excited! 🙂

2. I’m obsessed with making book and character aesthetic boards on Pinterest. I love doing it and just can’t stop! I spend a ridiculous amount of time on that site.

3. I’m afraid of ice skating after having a pretty horrible accident when I was in grade 3. We used to skate at the local arena in PE class. A bunch of us had our arms linked together and one girl fell pulling me down with her. The back of her blade went straight into my knee and all I remember is being in tons of pain. Now, the closest I’ll get to the ice is sitting in the seats during a hockey game.


Laura’s Questions:

1. If you could time travel to only one period of history, which would it be?
This is such a difficult question! I love history and so many different time periods. Umm…maybe ancient Egypt? There are so many things that I’d love to know like how exactly did they build the pyramids? I could learn so much!

2. What is your favourite TV show/movie? 
Hmmmm….right now I’m obsessed with The X-Files, Law & Order and The Last Kingdom.

3. What is your favourite country/city you’ve traveled to? And if you haven’t traveled, what country/city have you always wanted to visit?
Without a doubt, Scotland has been my favourite country to visit. I lived in Edinburgh while attending university and I just fell in love with it. My heart still aches for it. I really want to go back sometime soon. Work and budgets just keep on getting in the way. 😦

4. What classic novel have you always wanted to read but haven’t/or DNF’d?
I’ve always wanted to read Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. The were quite successful when released in the 1800s, but have now been overshadowed by the books released by her older sisters.

5. Is there a book that you wish you had come up with instead of the original author?
There are so many! I really wish I could write like Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë. Their books were absolutely brilliant, especially since 200 years on people are still reading them!


My Favourite Post:

I used to post Bookish Mixes on the blog and these were by far my favourite posts. They were so much fun to make! They were also really time consuming so I kind of stopped making them. But I do have so more on the way! Yay! 🙂


My Questions:

1. Which book has surprised you the most this year? Why?
2. When going on a trip, which item must you have with you? Why?
3. If you were writing a book, what would it be about?
4. Which diverse book are you most excited to read?
5. If you could change a book cover that you hate, what would you do to improve it?


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Blog Tour: The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember (Review)

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I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34738792The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember
Release date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: eBook

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Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

Julia Ember has blown me away yet again! Her books are always unique and interesting. The Tiger’s Watch is the second book she’ll release this year but I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Last September I hosted a cover reveal but then had to wait what felt like ages to finally read it. Well, the wait was well worth it because I devoured this book in one night. It was honestly that good!

Here’s why you really NEED to read it:

  • It features magical people called inhabitors. These people have their souls bonded with animals and use this connection to become warriors and spies. The connections are deep and allow both sides to experience situations that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Tashi’s connection with Katala, a rare golden tiger, is was one of my favourite aspects of the novel. Tashi’s bond with Katala pushes them to become better, to stand up for what they believe in and protect those that they love. It’s not a bond of abuse or power, it truly improves the lives of both sides and wasn’t made by force but free will. 
  • Free will and choice are also major themes of this book. Tashi’s life has pretty much been planned out for them. They were given over to the monastery at such a young age that they don’t remember their family. Tashi really didn’t have a choice in becoming an inhibitor. Their story in this book is all about making their own decisions. What is best for them and the people that they love? Tashi faces some difficult choices and while I didn’t always agree with what they did, I appreciated how they followed their heart. 
  • None of the characters are really what they seem. Nothing is black or white but various shades of grey. The story’s villain, Xian, kept my on my toes the whole time! I felt just as confused as Tashi did when he appeared on the page. At times Xian comes across as kind and caring, just trying to do his best under difficult circumstances. Other times he was just cruel and angry. My heart flip-flopped so many times…I just don’t know I feel about him! I character I did absolutely adore was Pharo. Loyal, wonderful, big-hearted Pharo. He’s one of those characters that just wiggle their way into your heart. You just have to love him!
  • The world is so rich and wonderfully written. I’m always amazed by the author’s ability to create fully formed fantasy worlds in under 200 pages. The Tiger’s Watch was inspired by Ember’s trip to Bhutan. Much of the story happens in an isolated monastery. This in a way limits the amount of characters and creates a simple plot. The world isn’t complicated but is a reflection of our own with people fighting over resources.
  • It’s fast paced and relentless. From the first page the reader is thrown into the action. The first chapter has a lot going on in it and I found this a bit disorienting. Too many new names and too much information! It was a bit of a shock but everything calms down by the second chapter. At first I was confused but looking back I can see why the author chose to do this. It matches what’s going on and really helps you understand how the characters must feel.
  • It features a genderfluid protagonist. Now, I can’t speak for the representation, but what I did enjoy was how Tashi’s genderfluidity was not what the book was about. It was who they were and never used as a plot device to create drama or generate interest. There were also scenes where Tashi was misgendered but this was always corrected by other characters.
  • The ending was quite abrupt, which could be a negative thing, but not here! It was a perfect cliffhanger. I could have used more though. That’s always my complaint with books by Ember. They are always so short and I’m a greedy reader. I always want more and more.
  • The cover artwork is beautiful! My heart is so happy whenever I see it. I can’t wait for what this series has in store.

I can’t recommend this book enough! It has so many amazing things happening for it — a diverse cast of characters, drama, battle scenes, romance! YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! And also pick up Ember’s other books because once your done with this one you’ll fall in love with her gorgeous writing, loveable characters and lush worlds.


About the Author

15037326_10157714059105285_2165799410648686596_nOriginally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss was released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

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Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win one of two (2) signed paperback copies of The Tiger’s Watch. Good luck! ❤