Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Vision in Crimson Blog Tour

I'm proud to announce my blog tour schedule for A Vision in Crimson, the first book in my new epic romantic fantasy series, fraught with passion, peril, and vampires! My hearty thanks go out to Bewitching Blog Tours for coordinating this for me. Hop along with me during the tour, and you'll find all kind of cool tidbits about me, sneak peeks at my new series and starring characters, and secret intel my current projects. There will also be some awesome prizes, including notebooks to fuel your own creativity and a swanky keychain!


May 29: Guest Blog- A Gaggle of Giants
Full Moon Bites

May 29: Spotlight
Just Another Bookaholic

May 29: Spotlight
Reads 2 Love

May 29: Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

May 29: Spotlight
T's Stuff

May 29: Spotlight
Don't Judge, Read

May 30: Spotlight
Ramblings of a Book Nerd

May 30: Spotlight
Illuminite Caliginosus

May 30: Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!

May 31: Spotlight
Ogitchida Kwe's Book Blog

May 31: Interview
Author's Secrets

June 1: Guest Blog-The Sweet Spot: Gothic Romance
Whiskey With My Book

June 1: Spotlight
The Authors Blog

June 1: Spotlight
Lisa's Loves (Books of Course)

June 1: Spotlight
Books, Dreams, Life

June 2: Spotlight
Traci Douglass

June 2: Spotlight
Lisa's World of Books

June 2: Interview
Supernatural Central

June 3: Interview

June 4: Guest Blog-An Undead History
Fantasy Literature Expanded Universe

June 5: Interview
The Book Junkie Reads...

June 5: Guest Blog- The Strong, Silent Type: Vampires in A Vision in Crimson
Roxanne's Realm

June 6: Interview
Literary Musings

June 6: Guest Blog-The Dark Corners of the Earth: Lovecraft's Effect
Thoughts on Fantasy

June 6: Guest Blog - Not Your Average Heroine: A Profile in Pictures
Fang-tastic Books

June 7: Spotlight
Literary Musings

June 7: Spotlight
Simply Kelina

June 8: Review
Magical Pages Book Blog

June 8: Spotlight
Lisa-Queen of Random

June 9: Spotlight
For Love of Books4

June 9: Review
Fantatical Paranormal Romantical

June 10: Spotlight
Reader's Handbook

June 10: Spotlight
Lovely Loveday

June 11: Spotlight
A Fold in the Spine

June 11: Review
The Simple Things in Life

June 12: Spotlight
Cloe Michael's Reads

June 12: Spotlight
HeadTripping Books

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

An Awful Truth- Gilded Needles

I came back for a second helping of Michael McDowell after reading the new edition of The Elementals, released by Valancourt Books. I picked up Gilded Needles. The sinister cover art, along with the premise of a family invited to their own funeral, sucked me in.

It did not have the supernatural ambiance of The Elementals, which was disappointing, but it was no less dark for it. It painted a grim, painstakingly realistic portrait of New York at the end of the nineteenth century, and pitted two families against one another to the bitter end. The book showcases the discrepancies that still run rampant in cities such as these. The well-to-do Stallworths care only for their reputation and meteoric rise to influence among the the city's social and political elite, targeting the Shanks family for their depravity, and inciting a heinous, (and ultimately rewarding) revenge for stealing the lives of those confined to the Black Triangle: the nexus of New York criminality.

Black Lena, as the Shanks matriarch is called, could have taken it even further, but I suppose that's part of the point. When she exacts her revenge on each member of the Stallworth family in turn, I cannot help but grin. McDowell's deft hand makes it clear at every moment just who are the villains here, and exposes the dark underside of the wretched city in every rank. It is also perfectly plain that these families are more intertwined than they believe themselves to be, just stuck in different corners of their urban cage.

Gilded Needles was not the triumph of mood or atmosphere that I was hoping for, but it is successful in its intention-to pinpoint the true nature of humanity, of depravity, of vanity and false righteousness, and the details of his all-too-real world are delightful. Those select few who can write characters that are vivid, those who linger after the tale is told, are worth second and third looks. I'm certain that I'll be returning for more.

K Rating; 7/10
Image result for old lady american gothic
Add some dirt and about two hundred pounds, and you've got Black Lena

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Your Next Favorite Author: Kathryn Troy

A little ahead of my blog tour (details forthcoming), are some details about me and my fiction at Your Next Favorite Author- check it out!

Your Next Favorite Author: Kathryn Troy

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Reading Patterns: The Novice

The more I read of Trudi Canavan's work, the more I'm beginning to see the patterns in her fiction. That doesn't make it any less enjoyable, but perhaps some things didn't come as so much of a surprise. I read The Novice, the second installment of the Black Magician series, which follows Sonea, the girl from the slums who broke the protective barrier around the Magician's Guild simply by throwing a rock. The first book, The Magician's Guild, is about the race for Sonea to escape the magicians, who are feared more than respected, and their quest to find her before her out-of-control magic destroys her and the whole of Kyralia.

The Novice: The Black Magician TrilogyBy the end of the first book, Sonea decides to become a novice of the guild, to learn to use her power, despite discovering that Akkarin, the High Lord, practices a forbidden blood magic. The Novice tells the story of Sonea's first year in the guild, and the growing pains of being the only intake from the slums, where most magical ability hails from the great houses of Kyralia. I've always appreciated the authentic, compelling social structures in Canavan's work, and in that regard The Novice was no different. Here, she deals with two things new to her fiction: bullying, to the point of out-and-out harassment and assault, and the ostracization of gays.

The story of Guild Ambassador Dannyl traveling abroad to trace Akkarin's old steps, and perhaps find a way to stop the High Lord, was a really slow burn. His tale was repetitive for the most part, and his segments did not drive the plot forward. The adventures he and his librarian sidekick Tayend encounter were not half as compelling as the drama between Sonea and Regin, another novice who gangs up on her time and again, escalating from classroom pranks to prohibited actions that can get her killed. This made the book unbalanced, because I only cared about Dannyl's quest some of the time. And the payoff wasn't spectacular. Him revealing that he's had the feelings he's been rumored to have for so many years, and that he enchants himself into asexuality, is heartbreaking. But it constitutes all of 5 lines.

Image resultI cared much much more about the fact that no one, including the magicians who should be monitoring the novices, especially the guardian to the ringleader Regin, do nothing to stop the harassment. It reinforced for me the idea set forth in the first book, that the class divide is so strong that even mature magicians from the houses feel the same way as the novices. They just don't act on it. It was infuriating, and considering how strict the Guild is supposed to be about training their novices, it didn't make sense that this activity went on for months unchecked. The one or two people who do care are depicted as absolutely helpless-not just to help Sonea, but to help themselves as the High Lord becomes more and more proactive about protecting his secret. I caught hints of The Raen in Akkarin, Canavan's "High Lord" character for her new series Millenium's Rule. The Raen is hard, sometimes cruel, but an effective leader because of the difficult choices he makes. By the end of The Novice, we're left wondering if Akkarin really is the villain, so again we're back to that idea of perceptions. It's a very strong, cohesive concept.

The High Lord: The Black Magician Trilogy by [Canavan, Trudi]
Ultimately, Canavan is best at developing characters who take hold of your heart and don't let go. The third volume, The High Lord, is on my bookshelf, but I must take a breath before I finish it, to savor it all the more.

K Rating: 8/10