How To Be a Savage and Other Tales by Daley Downing

This is a lovely little collection of short stories which I really enjoyed! I adore Daley Downing’s work, which always has a heart and turn of whimsy which I absolutely love. Her fantasy novels are fantastic, and I really enjoyed these contemporary short stories!

The first three stories touched my heart and were absolutely gorgeous, while the third one was super exciting. They’re all so good.

The first one (How to Be a Savage) is a longer short story, and it’s my favorite in the collection! It’s an #OwnVoices tale about an autistic protagonist who is a mother and writer, about her day-to-day life. Also, I love how, despite being a contemporary, there were still fantasy references, and the main character is a writer. It was just utterly charming and beautiful and it made my heart happy! ^_^ With warm humor–which sometimes made me laugh, particularly the flashback when they were driving on a dark road and joking about werewolves, and the shenanigans of the main character’s children–and down-to-earth writing and events somehow infused with so much heart and a smile and the author’s signature spin on all her stories, which I can’t describe but I love it!

The two middle stories (In the Rain, and Last Day) are flash-fiction and full of feels and strong emotions. Gorgeous writing.

The fourth one (Zombie Apocalypse Survival) was so exciting and surprising and had a lot of twists–it’s a zombie story, which isn’t usually my thing, but it was very interesting and intense. It’s the debut of Daley Downing’s teen son! Which I think is super awesome. 😀

The stories (particularly Savage itself) made me laugh sometimes and relate several times and made my heart smile. ^_^ (Well, the zombie one made it panic, but in a good way. XD) I would have loved to see more of each story, but the short and sweet length was part of the charm. 🙂

Disclaimer: I copyedited this anthology, but I wanted to share my honest review because it’s a delightful little book and made me happy! I totally recommend checking out this author’s work. 🙂 (Currently available in paperback through B&N’s website.)

LINKS

You may also enjoy . . .

 

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Mini Review: Dear Author by Laura A. Grace

(Photo featuring a quote from the book and a sneak peek of one of the illustrations — I just love the girl reading the book! And my favorite new necklace because it was in my Instagram picture that day. XD)

I have a mini review to share with you guys for something a little different — a nonfiction book for writers!

Title: Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl

Author: Laura A. Grace

Illustrator: Hannah S. J. Williams

  • Date read: October 27, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Nonfiction // Writing
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author and chose to share my honest review.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

This short and sweet little book (the first book from Laura A. Grace!) is such a lovely, inspiring read! It consists of fifteen letters from a bookish “fangirl” and is written to writers and authors.

As a reader, I related to the fangirl’s point of view in loving books and appreciating the authors who write them.

As a writer, it was inspirational and encouraging. I imagine it would be more-so for published authors, but even as a writer who aspires to publish someday, it still resonated with me. ^_^

It’s a quick read and is so charming. The ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams complete the book. I just love it! It makes me smile. 🙂 *hugs book*

If you’re a writer, I totally recommend checking this one out — or if you know any writers, it would make a great gift. I’m looking forward to more books from this author someday!

(I received an e-ARC of this book from the author. All opinions are my own. :))


About the Book

Think your words might not matter? Think again.

Words have the power to change lives, especially when they are used to create meaningful stories. In this collection of letters, bookish fangirl Laura A. Grace addresses topics related to every writer’s journey. From “character conversations,” to embracing one’s unique writing style, to celebrating a release day—there is a letter for every author no matter where they may be in sharing their story with others.

“Dear Author” includes six illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams.


Thanks for reading! 🙂

Bookish News: December 2019!

Oh, hello! Yes, it is December and has been for an alarmingly long time and I’m aaalmost recovered from NaNo, I think. XD So it’s time to share about some book Ishness and releases and what I’ve been reading!


DECEMBER(ish) RELEASES

So, a couple of these were at the end of November, but anyway. XD

  • The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson — Another Hagenheim book! It’s gorgeous and I’m excited to read it!
  • Between Homes, book #8723648763876 in the City Between series by W.R. Gingell. XD — Okay, actually book 5. I still need to read the first book and every time I think I’m going to, I end up farther behind because Some Authors write way too fast. XD
  • Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by Laura A. Grace — Delightful little nonfiction book which I just wrote a review for which I’ll share here in a day or two! ^_^
  • Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig — I read some sample chapters of this one in a booklet I got at Realm Makers and it’s space opera from Enclave Publishing and looks interesting.
  • Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean — I have a smol Geraldine McCaughrean obsession so I’m really excited to try this one. XD I loved The Pirate’s Son, Peter Pan in Scarlet, and The Death-Defying Pepper Roux, and I need to try more from her. Very curious about this based-on-a-true-story book.
  • Hollow by Kyle Robert Shultz — I edited this novella and it just came out at the end of November, but anyway… It’s really good. 😀 I don’t think I’ve recovered from it yet. XD

NOVEMBER READS

I didn’t have time to read much during November, because NaNoWriMo… It’s kind of hard to read many books when you’re writing one of your own! But I got a few reads in — mostly small things. 😀

  • Hollow by Kyle Robert Shultz — Hollow just came out and OH MY GOODNESS. It’s so good and mind-blowing! Sleepy Hollow meets Wonderland with time travel and feels. My review.
  • The Boggart Fights Back by Susan Cooper — I found out there was a third Boggart book and there was much shrieking. I got it from the library and read it immediately. XD Contemporary Scotland and magical shenanigans. So much fun! I loved it and I totally recommend reading The Boggart if you haven’t!
  • Compass South by Hope Larson — So… this is a graphic novel? I haven’t really read graphic novels?? But I had so much fun reading this one! I saw it at the library and it wanted to come home with me and it was delightful! It’s a fun, clean, historical fiction graphic novel about two sets of twins and I loved it. ^_^ I just got out the sequel and I’m excited to see how their story ends.
  • Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson — Actually I think I mentioned this in the last bookish news. XD It was okay.
  • Arbrook Huxley and the Miraculous Confection by Mollie E. Reeder — (Reread) I love this short story so much. XD I read it back in the summer when it first released and I re-read it aloud to my younger siblings this month because it’s so fun. 😀
  • The Shortest Day and The Word Pirates by Susan Cooper — (Picture books) Fun picture books by an author I enjoy. The second one was writerly so I enjoyed it more. 🙂
  • Little Angel by Geraldine McCaughrean — (Picture book) Cute Christmas picture book by another author I like. 🙂 (See above smol Geraldine McCaughrean obsession. XD)
  • King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson by Kenneth Kraegel — (Picture Book) THIS BOOK!!! It’s one of the most fun picture books I’ve read (I don’t read a TON… but I do tend to pick up more during November, because who has time to read long things during NaNo. XD) and I highly recommend it! It’s about a little boy (great-great-great-great-etc.-grandson of King Arthur) who goes on a quest to “have ado” with various monsters… but they have other ideas. IT’S SO FUN. XD I love it so much. 😀

Not pictured:

  • The Black Claw by Jessi L. Roberts — I edited this and it’s a really good space opera novella, releasing in a month or two, I think. Sequel to Hand of Steel.
  • Two Jeeves short stories by P.G. Wodehouse in two different collections, because I was in a Bertie Wooster mood. XD
  • Another Jayden and Dana short story! *cue heart eyes* There are now twelve of them and I’m ecstatic. 😀 They’re my favorite!
  • Casters’ Court by Calley Jones — A superhero serial on Tapas.io which is Wattpad-ish. IT’S SO MUCH FUN, HALP. I’ve been keeping up with it and I’m addicted. The author is a very good NaNo friend of mine and there has been much chatbox insanity during NaNo concerning these superhero characters of hers. XD (I need to interview them on here someday…) Anyway, if you like superheroes, it’s a super fun serial to check out! I will talk more about it someday. (Also, Mage is my favorite. And there’s a shapeshifting Phoenix. And yeah. :D)


CURRENTLY READING

  • Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge — I’m borrowing this from a good friend and slowly getting through it. It’s one of those rich books you have to take slowly and savor it and all the descriptions! But I’m getting a strong flavor of all the settings and characters and really enjoying it and hoping to finish this week…
  • The New Emperor’s Concerto by Hazel B. West — I’m beta-reading this and it’s coming out in February! Check out a sneak-peek on the author’s blog. It’s set in futuristic London and EXCUSE ME I think this is one of my favorite genres. XD It’s really good so far! 😀 Also hoping to finish this soon but we’ll see how time goes.

Also, Hazel is raising money for cover design, and selling some scrumptious-looking books to do so, so check out her sale!


TBR

I have several review books but I am kind of tired right now so I might wait to read them until after Christmas. Taking a break from certain responsibilities might be necessary to stay sane after such a stressful and busy NaNo season… Anyway, I have about five of those that I will either read soon or in January. We’ll see. I’m excited to read them! I just sometimes find that being “supposed to” read and review something is something I don’t have the mental space for when I’m really busy or tired.

Oh, and I have Knife’s Edge (sequel to that Compass South graphic novel) and a Jeeves book from the library…

I’ve also been reading Christmas stories — small ones so far — and that’s been delightful. 😀

I might have to share a Christmas-books list post in the next week or so…

Basically I want to read many things! We’ll see how the month goes. 🙂


That’s all I have today! Just a few bookish things. Anything catch your eye? Thanks for reading!

Phoenix Fiction Black Friday Weekend Sale!

(My PFW paperback collection! <3)

Guys, check out the fabulous Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale that the Phoenix Fiction Writers are having right now!

They’re a group of authors who include Kyle Robert Shultz, E.B. Dawson, Beth Wangler, K.L.+ Pierce, Hannah Heath, Nate Philbrick, and others, and to celebrate the second anniversary of the Phoenix Fiction Writers, they have tons of ebooks, paperbacks, and bookish merch on sale this weekend!

Check it out HERE!

Read on for recommendations/shoutouts!

(PFW swag from Realm Makers)

Shoutout to K.L.+ Pierce, Hannah Heath, and Beth Wangler, who I got to meet at Realm Makers! One of my favorite memories from the conference this year was hanging out with them. 🙂 They are all awesome people and you should check out their books! ^_^ I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read from them so far and need to read more!

Shoutout to Kyle Robert Shultz, author of the Afterverse books, which I edit; the Afterverse is probably one of my favorite fictional universes. XD If you haven’t read any of the Beaumont and Beasley or Crockett and Crane stories yet, you are missing out! I highly recommend picking up any of them!

And shoutout to E.B. Dawson, who writes the most INTENSE AND GORGEOUS sci-fi short stories, some of which I fell in love with earlier this year and you totally need to read so you can die from the beauty like I did. XD (Head in the Heavens collects all six of the stories which I reviewed separately HERE.)

Shoutout to Nate Philbrick and his book Where the Woods Grow Wild which I adored even before he became a PFW author, and which I believe is 99 cents right now and you need it! (It’s whimsical and fantastical and reminds me of Lloyd Alexander.)

I haven’t really read the other PFW authors yet but that totally is about to change. XD And if you want to sample all of their writing, there are PFW anthologies, Antiheroes and Strange Waters. (I’m reading Strange Waters right now and it’s delightful!)

Just drop by and peruse the books and I’m sure you’ll find something delicious to try reading!

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, and that you have a bookish weekend! If you’re doing NaNo, YOU CAN DO IT! (I finished on Monday. XD) Thanks for reading. 🙂

Hollow by Kyle Robert Shultz!

There’s a new Afterverse book (novella) out today, guys! *cue muffled screaming*

Hollow by Kyle Robert Shultz

(Crockett & Crane, #2.5)

Sleepy Hollow meets Wonderland with dashes of time travel!

Featuring Ichabod Crane (ancestor of Todd Crane) and intriguing cameos from various Crockett & Crane and Beaumont & Beasley characters (aaaahh!).

HOLLOW is a novella about half the length of a usual Afterverse novel. It’s set after Horseman and Deadwood (so it’s Crockett & Crane 2.5), but also technically set a hundred years before, in the 1790s (and also in the future . . . and various other times . . . because TIME TRAVEL), and it has extremely important ties to the Beaumont and Beasley books!

It’s SUPER EXCITING and epic and edge-of-your-seat, and a bit more somber than the other Afterverse tales, so hold on to your feels and brace yourselves. 😉 (SO. MANY. FEELS.) But there are still a few funny parts (if fewer than in previous installments), and it’s all TOTALLY worth it because it connects some things and just — AAHH! *muffled screaming* IT’S. SO. EPIC.

There are mind-blowing reveals and further hints, and it deals with important questions touched on at the end of DEADWOOD and in other Afterverse books. You’re not going to want to miss this one! (Especially if you just finished reading DEADWOOD and need to know Things in answer to that explosive final line!)

But I don’t want to give anything away, because spoilers, sweetie. So I’m going to stop talking. Just go read it! 😀

(Disclaimer: I copyedited this book, but the above review is unbiased and written merely as an avid fan of the Afterverse. I was in no way required to write a review, and these are my FEELS-INDUCED but honest opinions. XD)


About Hollow

It’s time for answers.

Ichabod Crane made a sacrifice to save the future.

Now the future has come to Sleepy Hollow, and it threatens to take even more from him.

Ichabod must embark on a dangerous journey to save his family and his legacy…

…but he’s not prepared for the nightmares that await him.

The Queen of Hearts reigns supreme. The Horseman rides again.

And in the shadows, the Hollow Ones are waiting.

Only Ichabod can stop the gathering darkness…

…but sometimes, darkness wins.

A Crockett and Crane novella, set between Book 2: Deadwood, and Book 3: Westenra. The series begins with Book 1: Horseman, available in Kindle Unlimited and on Audible. This story also ties into the Beaumont and Beasley series by Kyle Robert Shultz.

Available on Amazon in ebook (paperback coming soon!)

Also, here on Goodreads.


You can also read Kyle’s latest post, about Hollow and its release, an exciting Phoenix Fiction Black Friday sale (which features many of the Afterverse books, and which I’ll be sharing about in more depth later), and some updates about book covers and other things!

But aaahh! GUYS! THIS BOOK. It has so much going on, despite being a novella, and just. *muffled screaming* I need you guys to read it so I have people to talk to about iiiit! XD

Thanks for reading and I hope you all (er, Americans anyway?) have a good Thanksgiving! 🙂

Bookish News: November 2019!

Heya friends! Happy November! (And NaNo, to those doing it! *raises hand*)

I probably won’t be blogging much this month, due to trying to write 50,000 words of a novel, but you never know. XD

Meanwhile, here’s a book ishness update, featuring this month’s releases, a free short story, a cover reveal, and what’s been up in my bookish/reading life!


NOVEMBER RELEASES

Here are a handful of books releasing sometime this month that I have to share with you!

  • Burnt Silver (H.A. Titus) — Celtic urban fantasy with fae! This series is on my very-excited to read list. 😀 Currently on preorder.
  • Death Warden (C.J. Stilling) — YA fantasy about a reluctant assassin girl. This is from a Realmie author and sounds really cool. Also, that cover! ❤
  • Head in the Heavens (E.B. Dawson) — AWK! So, this is a collection of all the sci-fi short stories from this author, which I binge-read and shrieked about on my blog earlier this year. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Even though I’m not a huge sci-fi person! They’re now collected in one beautiful anthology which released this last weekend and I’M SO EXCITED! You can find it here!
  • Thirst (Jill Williamson) — Apocalyptic and dystopian stories aren’t my favorite, but look, a new Jill Williamson book! 😀 *cheering* It’s part one of a prequel duology to her Safe Lands series!
  • A Very Bookish Christmas — This is a limited edition anthology of four bookish Christmas novellas from four authors: Sarah Holman, J. Grace Pennington, Rebekah Jones, and Kate Willis. I’ve loved books from all these authors! In this collection, I read Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones (since I edited it), and it’s an absolutely delightful Holmes-inspired cozy Christmas mystery, with a modern desert town setting and characters I adored. It was utterly charming! Also, the mystery/treasure hunt was SO unique! I’m sure the rest of the stories in the collection are just as fabulous. 🙂 It’s releasing on Thanksgiving, I think, but it’s up for preorder now!
  • Kate’s Christmas (Sarah Holman) — I beta-read this and I LOVE THIS SERIES! Christian FBI mysteries with characters who stole my heart and a good dose of fun mixed in throughout the mysteries and questions of faith. And this one has cozy Christmas parts which make me happy! Releasing on Thanksgiving. (Preorder.)

And the next middle grade superhero novel from Bryan Davis is supposed to come out this month too! It’s not on Goodreads yet but there’s a preorder up on his website. My younger brother and I are really excited to read this one! (Read my review for book one.)


SHORT STORY FREEBIE!

Kyle Robert Shultz has this short story available for free on his newsletter! Check it out!

It features Nick Beasley and Cordelia Beaumont encountering the Afterverse versions of certain Asgardians, including a version of Thor and Loki, who are masquerading as Nick and Cordelia! It’s hilarious and I love it so much. XD


RECENT READS

  • Ghostlight (Rabia Gale) — I mentioned this in my last bookish news but it was sooo good! Regency-esque fantasy, fun and witty but spooky (but just short of too spooky for me), and with characters I ADORED. I’m hooked and can’t wait to read the next book! *bumps it to the top of my wishlist* I had a bit of a book hangover after this one. Ghostlight was the book of the month for my favorite bookclub, Fellowship of Fantasy. ❤
  • Pumpkin Spice Pie-Jinks (Selina J. Eckert) — This novella I edited is the ABSOLUTE ESSENSE of Fall! It’s so cozy and I absolutely adored it, with the magical pies and the dash of Hansel and Gretel and the modern setting mixed with fantasy and the fae prince and the harassed magical baker heroine and a smidge of adorable romance. It just FELT like autumn and was absolutely delicious — plus, it made me want to eat delicious pastries. XD Check it out if you’re a Fall person!
  • Dark is the Night (Mirriam Neal) — *SCREAMING* A new Mirriam Neal book is out! I won’t make you go through all the squawking I did in my review again, but I’m Very Pleased that Skata and Angel’s book is out in the world now! ❤ So much snark, my word. 😀
  • Magician’s Gift (H.L. Burke) — I got to beta-read this delightful short story featuring Jericho and the other characters from the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy! AWK! It was so fun and full of magical shenanigans and a dash of “aww!” and it made me sooo happy to see Jericho, Auric, and Rill again, years after the end of the trilogy! ^_^
  • Strayborn (E.E. Rawls) — This one was SO fun and exciting, and a tiny bit spooky, and adorable, awesome, and totally unique! I had so much fun reading it, and you can check out my review if you missed it!
  • Dancing and Doughnuts (Rachel Kovaciny)This one was my rather small attempt to do something for Twelve Dancing Princesses month (!!!) since that was the fairy tale of the month in October over at The Fairy Tale Central. It was a fun, non-magical, western novella retelling of the 12DP story, which was definitely unique! It also made me want doughnuts. 😛 I had won a copy from the author and finally read it and it made me smile! The only other 12DP thing I did last month was write a flash fiction for a prompt, and I posted it on my other blog. It was so fun but now I want to write a whole book about it! Oh well. At least I did two small things to celebrate my favorite fairy tale! There just was NOT enough time in October!
  • Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl (Laura A. Grace) — Scroll down for the cover reveal for this one later in the post! It’s her first book, releasing December 3, and I’m SO EXCITED! I read an ARC of it and it’s short and sweet, fifteen letters to writers/authors (and including ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams!). I loved it and hope to review it soon. 🙂
  • (Re-read) House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones) — October was stressful, and I went on a short re-read stint since cozy favorite re-reads were how I coped with all the stuff going on. I had a blast re-reading this one (aloud! with the voices!), especially rediscovering Charmain and Peter, and TWINKLE. XD
  • (Re-read) The Boggart (Susan Cooper) — If you haven’t checked out this contemporary fantasy, set in Scotland and modern-day (ish; ’90s, when it was written) Toronto, you are missing out! This was the first time I read the physical book, but I’d listened to the audiobook twice before and I LOVE IT. It’s so much fun and one of a not-very-long-list of modern fantasy I love. I devoured it in an evening, sitting by a campfire, and it was a delight. ^_^
  • Highway Robbery (Kate Thompson) — I actually read this in November, unlike the October books which are all the rest pictured. It was a short, quick read, with illustrations that were half quirky, half realistic (LOVED the horse art! GORGEOUS), and the story was very intriguing though I wanted more of it and wished it’d had somewhat of a different outcome. Still, it was cute. (I got it at a libary sale and ended up reading the whole thing the night of the 1st of NaNo, which says something about how curious I was to know what happened. XD)
  • Not pictured, I also edited or beta-read some books and novellas and short stories — all good! I’ll have to share about them when they’re available. 😀 (Watch out, Afterverse fans! There’s an epic storm coming. *cackles*)

CURRENTLY READING

  • I just started The Scorpio Races, FINALLY. Everyone has been telling me to read this for so many years. XD I keep meaning to read a Maggie Stiefvater book (goodness knows I own like seven of them. XD) and I finally started one. I’m only a few chapters in but it’s very interesting! I figured November is the right time to read it. 😉 We’ll see if I can get through it and also keep up with my writing!
  • I’m really enjoying Strange Waters (Phoenix Fiction Anthology — see my spotlight for more info!) and Mardan’s Anointed (part of the Mardan series I reviewed)! Both are review books and I hope to finish them this month, but we’ll see. I’M EXCITED. ❤

TBR

It’s always dangerous having a To-Be-Read list during November, because between writing a 50K novel, going to writing events, having Thanksgiving, and all the other things life throws my way, I often find myself with no time to read.

But here are some that are up next on my radar!

  • Death Warden — This YA fantasy about an assassin is releasing this month and I have an ARC and it sounds super interesting! Can’t wait to dive in!
  • Sword of Soter — Sequel to Armor of Aletheia (read my review), and I’m suuuper excited to read this one! (Also an ARC. I know, I’m behind on review books!)
  • Green Dolphin Country — Actually, this is also on my currently-reading, I just hadn’t put it on that shelf on Goodreads. XD It’s really interesting so far, just HUGE, so I haven’t had time to finish it yet!
  • Beyond the Shadowed Earth — Releasing in January! I have an ARC and I’m sooo excited to read it (THIS AUTHOR WROTE ECHO NORTH! And Beneath the Haunting Sea! And I love her writing so, so much!), but also nervous because the main character is someone from Beneath the Haunting Sea who I didn’t like. XD But I can’t wait to jump in when I have some time! Possibly not in November, but December for sure if I don’t. 😀

BOOKSTAGRAM: 5 Straight Months, 500 Followers, & Phone Woes

I just hit 500 followers on my bookstagram and I’m so excited!! Thanks to everyone who follows me there! ^_^

I also posted every day on there from June 1 to October 31, five straight months of posting (only skipping one week while I was away for Realm Makers) and I’m pretty excited about that. 😀

However, my phone died and I haven’t gotten the replacement in yet, so I’m currently cameraless, and after I post a couple of books pictures I still have ready, I’ll not be posting on there for a bit. Also, since it’s NaNo, I’m stepping back from posting anyway. XD

So that’s what’s up in my Instagram world!


COVER REVEALS

Here are a few cover reveals I’ve shared recently around my social media sites but want to share here as well — including one reveal from TODAY, namely for Dear Author by Laura A. Grace!

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl
Laura A. Grace
Genres: Self-Help, Motivational
Publication date: December 3, 2019

About the Book

Think your words might not matter? Think again.

Words have the power to change lives, especially when they are used to create meaningful stories. In this collection of letters, bookish fangirl Laura A. Grace addresses topics related to every writer’s journey. From “character conversations,” to embracing one’s unique writing style, to celebrating a release day—there is a letter for every author no matter where they may be in sharing their story with others.

 “Dear Author” includes six illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams.

Signed Paperback — Amazon — Barnes & Noble  Book Depository (Coming soon!)
Pre-Order Goodies Form

About the Author

Laura A. Grace had a lifelong dream of getting to know authors behind the covers of her favorite reads. Little did she know that one day she would become an author too! Now an avid book blogger at Unicorn Quester and writer of clean, Christian manga, Laura creatively balances her passions of supporting indie authors and feeding her readers new stories. In between, she wields plastic lightsabers with her children and binge-watches anime with her husband. Join her quest to find wandering unicorns for your favorite authors at unicornquester.com!

Website — Newsletter — Facebook — Twitter — Instagram — YouTube


More covers

I had so much fun taking this picture for Burnt Silver!

My old review of Retrieve!

Merchant of Menace on Goodreads!


NANOWRIMO

It’s not super bookish but it is somewhat — even if it’s writing instead of reading. XD As I mentioned, I’m doing NaNoWriMo! I’m writing a secret project under the codename Operation Foxtail, which I shared just a little about on my other blog, here and here.

So that’s what I’ll be busy with for the rest of November! If I’m around less, or don’t read as much, or take awhile to reply to things, it’s just because I’m busy writing! 😉 *hangs sign: Busy Writing a Novel; Will Be Back in December* XD

It’s going well so far — I’m at 5K at the time of writing this (hopefully more when this posts) and having a blast so far! I’m just waiting for it to turn difficult. 😛

If you are doing NaNo as well, I’d love to be buddies over on the site — you can find me here! GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE! YOU’VE GOT THIS! And I hope all of you who are not doing NaNo have a beautiful (and sane) bookish November!

Whew! That’s all the news I have for you today. Anything here you’re excited about? Thanks for reading!

*disappears back to writing and pretends this post wasn’t a full NaNo day’s worth of words, because that’s just awkward since they don’t count toward my goal* XD

Dark is the Night by Mirriam Neal: Tour/Review!

(image credit: Morgan Farris)

GUYS. A NEW MIRRIAM NEAL NOVEL IS RELEASING THIS WEEK AND I. CAN’T. STOP. SCREAMING! 😀 I’m super excited to be sharing my review for it as part of the blog tour! (Also, is it not GORGEOUS?)


Title: Dark is the Night

Author: Mirriam Neal

  • Date read: October 12, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy / Southern Gothic / Christian Fiction
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Series: Salvation, #1
  • Fave character: Skata and Angel!
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author as part of the blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. (No vampires, werewolves, hunters, or shifters threatened me into saying nice things about them. XD) All opinions are my own.

Attention, world! Author Mirriam Neal has a new book out and it. is. spectacular. (Of COURSE.) I love this author’s writing so much (Paper Crowns being one of my top-ten favorite books ever), so I was ecstatic when I heard she had a new book releasing! *muffled screaming*

I don’t exactly read vampire books so imagine my surprise when I read this one and genuinely enjoyed it. I actually beta-read an earlier version of it several years ago, so I’m DOUBLY excited about this book being released to the world, because now I get to shriek about some of my favorite characters and y’all get to read about them—finally! 😀

So, this one is what you might call a Christian vampire-novel.

(I just reeeally wanted to use this gif. XD)

That may seem odd, but this author did a stellar job weaving themes and deep discussions through a paranormal adventure/mystery set against the Southern Gothic setting of modern-day South Carolina. And it’s delightful Urban Fantasy (small town . . . rural fantasy?), too. It features the small town called Salvation, inhabited by vampires, werewolves, shifters, and other people/creatures, fantastical or otherwise.

This is a story about PEOPLE. The multi-faceted characters totally make this book. I LOVE THEM SO. It features a fairly large cast, and every one of them has their own story, some merely hinted at but all totally real. Trying to wrestle out everyone’s motives and secrets and relationships was the best.

For the main characters, we have Skata (vampire-hunter), Angel (vampire house-mate; ooh, awkward), Colton (epic-est preacher of all time), and Easton (who I can’t really describe but she’s the best, okay). They are MY FAVORITE, especially all their interactions/relationships/banter/pasts.

Okay, but ANGEL AND SKATA, THOUGH. Skata is a tough, no-nonsense vampire-hunter on the path of revenge, who ends up stuck in this little dead-end town. Enter Angel, who is the sassiest, snarkiest vampire ever, and happens to have a huge mansion that Skata ends up staying at.

THEY ARE HILARIOUS TOGETHER. I love buddy stories so much, and this is like the ULTIMATE one. (No, I will not stop screaming in caps about them. You can’t make me.) Their snark-offs are my absolute favorite. Angel is so full of himself and his favorite thing is baiting Skata or simply Not Caring. It’s so hilarious.

Meanwhile, Skata is Totally Done with Angel and it’s a miracle neither of them kills each other the minute they meet, let along through the plot. XD I JUST LOVE THEM, OKAY. They are the best thing in this book. 😀

(Skata being Totally Done with Angel 110% of the time)

I love how Easton is sometimes confused about stuff, sometimes tolerates their shenanigans, and at other times is Total No-Nonsense. Simultaneously sweet and also watch-out. Everyone needs an Easton. And a Colton! He’s the most fascinating preacher character ever and I love how he has words of wisdom one moment and a shotgun or a stake to help out with, the next, and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. He’s unassuming and helpful, but can snark alongside Skata with the best of them, and may have a bit of an anger problem occasionally, but he’s the solid one in the middle of the uncertainty, and let’s just say the bad guys better watch out for this man of God.

There are also FASCINATING side characters, who you spend some of the book not knowing whose side they’re on or if they even have a side, which makes it terribly interesting. But they’re all such vivid characters! A certain… erm… well, Skinner, who’s spoilery but OH BOY; Gideon and Jackson (hothead), vampire brothers (Gideon being the Most Refined But Can Totally Snap Your Neck If He Feels Like It gentleman-vampire of all time); Rukiel, who is mysterious; Cassis, gentle part-vampire who is Too Precious For This Earth; Shannon, the sheriff’s shotgun-wielding daughter; Spencer, techno-genius kid and energy-drink-aholic (energolic)… The list goes on. Seriously though, I love these characters so much! I mean, even the scary ones are fascinating. They are SO ALIVE. (Even the dead ones. *cough*)

Angel and Skata and their banter are my number one favorite thing about this book. (Shhh, I know that’s three things.)

There is so much snark and banter in this thing (I’m pretty sure I highlighted half of the book in my Kindle app because it is SO QUOTABLE) and if there’s one thing I love, it’s hilarious books. XD The snark and sarcasm in this book is A+ and MAKES MY DAY. Everyone just has the best lines and it’s great. 😀

The plot itself is full of twists and mysteries (including murder-mysteries) and totally keeps you on your toes. The shadowy, mysterious “feel” of the book, just a bit gothic and spooky, but not too over-the-top, is pretty cool. Also, the different classifications/levels of vampire was really interesting. Things get kind of gruesome occasionally and there’s a very real, gritty feel, but it never gets to be too much, because of the humor balancing it out, and all intertwined with themes of faith or redemption that fit together perfectly.

I never would have thought that a book could be so dark but funny but inspiring all at once, with a good dose of feels thrown in on top. Even if I wasn’t sure about a thing or two, and want to know what happens with some loose threads, I still absolutely loved it! It left me with a feeling of “I just read a really good book” and that’s all I can ask of any story—aside from laugh-aloud humor, and characters I just want to HUG. Which this book definitely delivered!

Content warning: lots of blood/violence, a smattering of recent-Marvel-movie-level language, and general scariness.

Conclusion: This is a dark book (I mean, it has it in the title. ;)) but there’s humor and redemption and other good stuff to set that off. Nothing felt there “just” to be creepy—it all fit well into the plot and the feel and the impact. And, I mean, SKATA AND ANGEL. I had a total blast reading this and couldn’t put it down. Even if you’re not into vampire stories, this is a genuinely good, if gritty, book, which is tons of fun. Now WHERE is the next one? I have some suspiciously loose strings that need to be explored and I NEED more with these characters! *grabby hands*


About Dark is the Night

Skata only has one goal in life—to seek out the vampire who turned his wife and kill it. When he finally tracks the vampire to the small nowhere town of Salvation, South Carolina, he realizes he has stepped foot into something bigger than himself.

He’s going to need help—and that help may come in many forms. Between the vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, and an unusual preacher, Skata may be in over his head.


Book Links

Don’t forget to head on by Mirriam’s blog for all the tour stops!


About the Author

MIRRIAM NEAL is an author frequently masquerading as an artist. When she’s not scrubbing paint off her hands, she’s thinking about writing (actually, if she’s being honest, she’s always thinking about writing). A discovery writer, she tends to start novels and figure them out as she goes along and likes to work on several books at the same time—while drinking black coffee. She’s a sucker for monsters, unlikely friendships, redemption arcs, and underdog protagonists. When not painting fantasy art or writing genre-bending novels, she likes to argue the existence of Bigfoot, rave about Guillermo del Toro, and write passionate defenses of misunderstood characters.

To learn more about her fiction and art, visit her website: https://mirriamneal.com/, where you can find a full list of all her social medias, or join the Citadel Fiction newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/b1h5v9


Well, what do you think? Let me know in a comment below! Thanks for reading! 🙂