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It’s been ages since I last posted a regular old blog entry! So here’s a little update on what’s new with me in writing land.

Everything is pretty much set for the June 16 release of Darkness Reigns, book 2 of the Darkness Trilogy. I’ve been dividing my time between writing book 3, Embrace the Darkness, and another YA fantasy novel of a new trilogy.

Book 3 of the Darkness Trilogy is about 5 months behind schedule, which is significant considering it takes me 8 or 9 months to write the first draft of a novel. Here’s my confession: I came really close to giving up on writing, not just on writing book 3, but on writing altogether. I expect the odd bad rating/review, but for some reason there was a rash of them all at once. I decided to stop looking at the ratings, which has definitely helped save my sanity. The worst thing though was all the negative stuff I was hearing from people I know – to my face! They’d lend my book to someone and then tell me later, “They thought it was so-so,” or “They didn’t like this part,” and “They found this part confusing,” etc. It wasn’t constructive and it just made me feel bad. What almost became the final nail in my author coffin was the feedback from one of my beta readers. They pretty much hated everything about book 2 and weren’t sure they could stand to finish reading it. After all the other negative comments, that almost did me in. But two of my other beta readers said they liked book 2 even more than book 1, and initial feedback from the bloggers reviewing my book has been really excellent. So I picked the little pieces of my self-confidence off the floor and started writing again.

This brings me to my “secret project,” which even has its own progress meter at the side of my web page. My husband suggested I try writing something completely different, to get me back in the swing of things. I have tons of ideas floating around in my head, so I wrote the first two chapters of a new fantasy series. The initial reaction to my new stuff has been incredibly positive, so I’ve decided to continue with it. I’ll be dividing my time between the two projects and hopefully maintain my current writing momentum!

The Darkness Reigns (Darkness Trilogy Book Two) blog tour is scheduled to run from June 16 to June 21, 2014. Hosted once again by Xpresso Reads, there will be giveaways, excerpts, and reviews by several awesome book bloggers! You can check out the tour schedule below:

Darkness Reigns Tour Schedule

Darkness Reigns is also available for pre-order from Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords, and will soon be available for pre-order from Kobo. Paperback copies and eBook copies will be available for purchase via Amazon as of June 16, 2014.

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)Blood Red Road by Moira Young

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This was a very entertaining book! Set in a bleak, future version of the world, the author did such a good job describing the environment, you can practically taste the dust and feel sand blasting you in the face. The main character, Saba, is one tough cookie. Nothing is going to stop her from traveling across the wasteland to rescue her brother – not even mercenaries, cage fights, or evil overlords.

The bizarre dialect of this book was quite distracting at first, and the weird style without quotes around the dialogue. After a while, you forget about it though, and besides being very unique and actually pretty darn cool, it really adds to the flavour of the story.

I definitely thought there was a Mad Max feel to this book. I would recommend it to fans of dystopian fiction who enjoy a gritty tale full of action and adventure. There’s a touch of romance, but it’s not the focus of the story. The ending absolutely compelled me into reading book 2!

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Obsidian (Lux, #1)Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I had pretty high expectations going into this one because of the huge number of rave reviews. There were some aspects about Obsidian I enjoyed, like the alien-next-door premise and the overall world building. I feel like I missed something though because I don’t get the appeal of Daemon at all.

At the beginning of the story, Daemon is an arrogant jerk, just like it says in the book’s synopsis. By the end of the book, he’s … still an arrogant jerk. I get the appeal of a bad boy, but this guy is so rude and disrespectful to poor Katy, he completely leads her on, sending her such mixed messages it seems almost cruel. Of course, just by being around Katy, he’s also endangering her life due to his alien nature and the horde of enemies out to get him.

I have a feeling I won’t get around to continuing this series, which apparently makes me the odd one out this time.

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Requiem (Delirium, #3)Requiem by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I think Lauren Oliver is an extremely talented writer, and book #1 (Delirium) was pretty much my idea of the perfect novel. *spoilers for book 2 ahead* Oliver did such a good job making me fall in love with the characters, I spent all of book #2 wondering when Alex was going to make his reappearance. By the time he showed up literally on the last page just in time to witness the result of Lena and Julian’s insta-love, I felt really let down. I wondered how on earth that love triangle mess could possibly be resolved.

So onto book #3… while the writing style is still fantastic and the world and the story outside of the love triangle (square?) are so well done, the mess between Lena, Julian, and Alex made it impossible for me to truly enjoy the book. I didn’t have that spine-tingling feeling I normally get at the end of a series, but I don’t know how you can skip book #3 after reading the first two.

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These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a compelling sci-fi/fantasy novel – I thought it was great! I’d love to know how two authors manage to write a book together. These two authors apparently make an excellent team. :)

These Broken Stars is an intriguing adventure, which begins on more of a sci-fi note on a spaceship, and becomes a fantasy journey across an unknown planet. One of the main aspects of the book really reminded me of a particular episode of Star Trek Voyager I saw ages ago (I guess I can’t describe the episode or I’ll give away an important part of the plot). There was also a similar feel to the TV show Lost, where things certainly aren’t as they seem to be at first glance in this jungle-like setting.

I fell in love with Lilac and Tarver and their captivating experiences in this story. I’m sad the next book in the series isn’t focused on them, only because I enjoyed reading about them so much. I’m definitely looking forward to meeting the new cast of characters in book 2 though. I highly recommend this book!

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Here it is, the full cover for Darkness Reigns (Darkness Trilogy Book Two), due out June 16, 2014. The cover art was created once again by the talented Derek Murphy of Creativindie Covers.

I’ve included the back cover blurb at the end of this post as well as a handy little button you can use to add Darkness Reigns to your To-Read list on Goodreads. A big thank you to all the book bloggers who participated in the cover reveal – you guys rock!

Back Cover Blurb

New York City is a wasteland. More than eight million people are dead or worse…infected.

After their failed attempt to stop the spread of a virus that turns people into zombie-like, human-vampire hybrids, Reed Hennessy and his ragtag crew are scrambling to stay alive. To make matters worse, the human authorities are close to proving the existence of vampires and blaming them for the disaster in New York.

Their storm of trouble is already spinning out of control when an old enemy reappears to issue a challenge–an ultimatum that will mean certain death for at least one member of Reed’s group. With their mountain of problems growing exponentially and a host of enemies closing in, they flee for their lives, desperate for a miracle. Will they survive and avoid the world’s scrutiny, or will darkness prevail?

Darkness Reigns (Darkness Trilogy, #2)

Thornhill (Hemlock, #2)Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s rare for me to like the second book in a series even better than the first, especially when the first was so good, but I really loved Thornhill! I mean, wow – everything about it was so fantastic!

The prison-like setting of the rehabilitation camp gave the story a dystopian flavour, which I found utterly captivating. The plot was intriguing and the action non-stop. The various characters and their relationships with each other were unique and felt genuine.

I can’t wait to read book 3! I definitely recommend this series for all fans of YA fantasy fiction.

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Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Normally, I decide to read a book based on its attractive cover + intriguing synopsis + overall good ratings. I find the cover of this book a bit boring because it’s mostly just text, and the reviews are mixed; however, the back cover blurb sounded interesting and there was so much hype over the series I was curious.

Beautiful Creatures is fairly long, but I found the writing style made it easy to read and I enjoyed sinking into its pages. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was a male first-person point of view because that’s my favorite narrative style. The paranormal elements were nicely done – no one seemed to be all-powerful, just quirky and different enough from the run-of-the-mill humans. I also loved the southern atmosphere and setting.

While I didn’t find the plot or action terribly gripping, the details in between made the story work for me. I’m not racing out to read the next book in the series, but I’m definitely planning to continue with it.

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After Eden (After Eden, #1)After Eden by Helen Douglas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m surprised this book has such mixed reviews; I really enjoyed it! It was a quick, easy read and I found it entertaining, plus I absolutely love books with a time travel premise.

It was refreshing to see the relationship between Eden and Ryan unfold naturally – no insta-love, no love triangle, no girl falling for a guy who acts like a jerk half of the time. The pacing of the story and the gradual unveiling of Ryan’s secret was just right. The ending was exciting and satisfying, and I’m very curious to see what the future holds for this series.

I’d definitely recommend After Eden if you’re looking for a fun YA book about time travel. Another fantastic book I’d recommend if you enjoy this genre is All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, which is darker than After Eden, but riveting!

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