WWW Wednesday What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I just started Gamble (Nightforce Security Series #2) by Staci Troilo.  I’m reading these out of order, but this is a novella and I’m pretty sure they’re standalones.

Sometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

I just finished Love and Squalor by Jessica A. Scott.  This one took longer than I’d expected – not because it didn’t hold my attention, but due to lack of time.  Such a wonderful and thought-provoking premise – and it was just released yesterday on Amazon!

Luthertown Heights isn’t anyone’s idea of paradise. Gangs run the streets, fighting and killing to claim territory, and the other residents struggle just to get by.

While most of the population hides behind ragged curtains and chipped concrete walls, one woman dares to venture out into the streets. As the leader of an after school care program at the local YMCA, she strives to teach the children of this embattled city that there is more to life than violence and hate.

The only thing she wants in return is someone, anyone, to call her by her real name.

Known only as “White Girl” to her neighbors, she wishes so much to be embraced by the community that she loves. Instead, though, she finds herself thrust into the middle of a war between two of the city’s most lethal gangs.

Armed only with her indefatigable optimism and the unexpected protection of a mysterious gang member known only as Slipknot, she must fight to ensure a better future for her city – and herself.

The closer she grows to a solution (and to Slipknot), the more she has to lose as the city becomes a war zone. Can she find a way to convince her community that Luthertown Heights is worth saving? Or is it useless to think that she could find love amongst the squalor?

Next, I’ll be reading a NetGalley ARC of Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong.

Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there’s no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn’t a victim; he was a shooter. 

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don’t heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend–Skye. 

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can’t resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.


Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen #bookreview #YA #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late? – Goodreads.com

Where the first book in this series leans more on the competition between the recruits, Nyxia Unleashed introduces us to Eden, its inhabitants, and how Emmett and the other recruits learn to trust each other and become a family of sorts.

The world-building is exquisite and explained well.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Eden along with the characters.  Much time is spent on describing this world, its culture, and people, which can seem like filler (as is the case with many second books in a series), but I feel like that in-depth knowledge is needed to understand the stakes these characters are facing and the reasoning behind their choices.

As with Nyxia, diverse, fully realized characters continue to be a strong point with this series.  With the competition over, the recruits are able to relax a bit and allow relationships to grow and develop.  Unexpected twists are sprinkled throughout, and although pacing lagged a bit in the first quarter of the book, the last quarter is filled with nearly nonstop action.  Bring on book 3!

This book is scheduled for publication July 17th, 2018.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.



SOKY Book Fest, #Alexa, and #TheCrossing

After three fun-filled, heavenly days surrounded by books and book lovers at the SOKY Book Fest, I’m tired, but not complaining.  Not even from the 250+ unopened emails waiting for me.  My knuckles are a little sore from gripping the table so tightly in an attempt to prevent me from buying more books.  Only two!  I met so many authors, talked with readers, and chatted with locals I hadn’t seen in a while.  I nearly fan-girled upon discovering my tablemate was Geoffrey Girard, author of Cain’s Blood (my review here), Project Cain (my review here), and most recently, Truthers (which I bought this weekend).  If dark and twisty, serial killers, and conspiracy theories intrigue you, these books will quench your thirst (maybe not a good thing to say when mentioning serial killers).

Anyhoo – here are a couple of pics with readers.  The one holding Sarah got a kick out of the title, because her name is Sarah!  A couple of readers bought The Gemini Connection because their astrological sign was Gemini.

I think my Alexa echo dot is becoming self-aware.  It was bound to happen, I guess – you’ve probably seen AI movies and know their capabilities.  Alexa usually sits on the vanity in my bathroom and reads books from my Kindle while I’m getting ready in the mornings.  One evening, I walked into the room and her blue light was on (if you don’t have an echo dot, that means Alexa is listening to you).  But no one was there or had been in the room.  I asked out loud, “Who’s talking to Alexa?”  She replied, “I don’t know what you mean.”  Raise your hand if you think that’s a little freaky.  This was around the time many users were complaining about their Alexa echo dots laughing at random times.  Also freaky.  Now she’s occasionally stopped responding to my commands and does her own thing.  If I had a smart home, I might be worried about the control she had over me.

Has anyone watched The Crossing on ABC?  When I saw Stephen King had tweeted favorable things about it, I knew I needed to check it out – and was a goner after the first ten minutes.  A sci-fi thriller about refugees from a war-torn America’s future traveling back in time and genetically-enhanced humans with super powers?  It’s almost as if were made just for me.

With no more book festivals until July, I need to strap myself in and get some hard-core writing done this week.  That’s the plan, anyway.  I’ll let you know how that went next Monday.


The Writer’s Reading Corner: Robbie Cheadle #childrensbooks #cookbooks #anthology

Today’s post may send you searching for snacks.  I know every time I visit Robbie Cheadle’s blog, my stomach begins rumbling from looking at all the enticing creations featured.  She and her son, Michael, have also written several children’s books together.  Welcome, Robbie!

I’ll be at a book festival today and tomorrow, so I may not be able to get to comments until Sunday.  Happy Friday!

I listened to the audio book of The Box Under the Bed and right up front I must say that I really enjoyed the narrator, Lia Frederick. Her voice and style of reading really complimented this book.

The Box Under the Bed is an anthology of creepy, unusual and sometimes quite horrifying stories. This anthology was edited by author Dan Alatorre and his professionalism and talent shows through in this polished and slick collection of short stories.

I enjoyed each story but my personal favourites were as follows:

  1. Passion by Jenifer Ruff – My word this story was completely horrifying as the main character’s calculated and carefully consider actions seem so very possible. Brooke is a beautiful and clever medical student who is on holiday with her family in Cancun. She manages to sneak some alone time away from her family and indulge in her own very grim and bloody hobby.
  2. The Clearer by Allison Maruska – I have read another book by this author and I really do enjoy her style of writing. Allison contributed a few of the short stories in this collection and they were all excellent but this one really played on my nerves. Imagine arriving at a friend’s house to housesit while she is away and discovering all sorts of strange and weirdly dressed people around both inside and outside the house. No wonder her friend has had a breakdown but what do these people want?
  3. The Right Place by Curtin Bausse – A small girl’s birthday celebration with her parents goes awry when she sees a ghost in the bathroom mirror of the restaurant where they are having lunch prior to going on a boat cruise. Is the ghost warning her of impending doom? Will her family make it back alive? Or is there something even more sinister afoot?

I rated this book five stars out of five on Amazon.

Robbie’s Next Release in 2018

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet journey to the sugar crystal caves to collect the sugar water they need to make their soda pop. To get to the Chocolate Chip Hills they must cross the Chocolate Mousse Swamp infested with alligator sours and a meringue ghost. When they arrive, they discover that the sugar crystals are melting, and something needs to be done to save them. Learn how to make some four fun creations out of biscuits and the sugar crystals too.


About Michael and I:

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books. Robbie is also the author of the new Silly Willy series the first of which, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, is now available.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli #bookreview #YA #LGBT

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. – Goodreads.com

I remember wanting to read this book when it was released, but just never got around to it.  Because of last month’s book club category, reading a book recommended by another member, I read it.  And soooo wish I’d gotten to it sooner.

Can I say how much I love it?  Simon’s voice is what hooked me.  Humorous, self-deprecating, snarky, and a die-hard Harry Potter fan.  He’s impossible not to adore – I just wanted to hug him.  From his loyal friends to his supportive family, it’s like they rose from the pages as fully living, breathing, secondary characters.

I’m not a huge romance fan, but romance isn’t the only focus of this novel.  Yes, things may have wrapped up a little too neatly at the end, and it wasn’t difficult to figure out the identity of Blue, but none of that detracted from me thoroughly enjoying this book.  Can’t give it a high enough recommendation.  5+ stars.

Opal (The Raven Cycle #4.5) by Maggie Stiefvater #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

An enchanting story from Maggie Stiefvater featuring Opal, Ronan, and Adam from her bestselling Raven Cycle, taking place after the events of The Raven King. – Goodreads.com

I nearly cried at how amazing it felt to be back in this world with these characters – I didn’t want it to end (can’t wait for the Ronan books!)  I love this author’s writing style – the way she puts words together, the emotions they evoke – so impactful.

Opal is a treasure – sweet, funny, curious, loving, and exceptionally mischievous.  Just a treat to read.  Ronan and Adam?  *heavy sigh*  A couple of my all-time favorite characters.

If you’re a fan of The Raven Cycle don’t miss this – it’s a short novella (under 40 pages), and every minute spent reading is sheer pleasure.

Author Fair, #AlteredCarbon, and Lois Lowry #bookfair2018

This past week flew by, and I don’t feel like I have anything to show for it.  I added nothing new to the WIP, but spent more time promoting The Gemini Connection and getting ready for a book fair I attended Saturday.

This was my first time at Kentuckiana Authors Book Fair in La Grange, KY, just outside Louisville.  Because of the rainy day, attendees weren’t stampeding the doors, but I made a few sales, met some new authors, and spoke with a couple I knew from other bookish functions.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the day was meeting Lucas, a huge fan of Sarah!  He and his mom read the book, then discussed it in ‘book club fashion’.  He thought it was really cool that my cat had inspired the plot for Sarah, and was excited to begin reading The Gemini Connection.  Hearing how readers enjoy your book makes up for all those frustrating writing sessions.

I’m about four episodes into Altered Carbon on Netflix, and knew in the first ten minutes of beginning the series that I’d be finishing it.  Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad, House of Cards) is compelling in this blend of sci-fi, futuristic thriller, and dystopia, and I’ve been a fan of James Purefoy since The Following.

Last Thursday night, our local library hosted Lois Lowry, author of The Giver, and I, along with hundreds of other people, had the pleasure of attending.  She spoke about her personal writing journey, revealed snippets of a current WIP, then shared early rejection letters she’d received from publishers and humorous letters from fans.  Such an enjoyable evening!  Sorry the picture is so small, but that’s the best my phone could do from that distance.

I have a lot of bookish events coming up this week.  I’m thrilled to be participating in the SOKY Book Fest this Saturday here in Bowling Green, and in connection with that I’ll be attending a literary salon on Thursday night, Children’s Day Friday, and an author reception that evening.  I’ll definitely be adding to my TBR – already have the list made!