First thing's first - IT'S ALIVE!!!  My laptop, which was the victim of a hydro-accident (I spilled water on it) last week, has recovered.  Thank God!  Thank you to everyone who sent positive thoughts and prayers its way.

The Goodreads giveaway for a free autographed copy of Out of the Shadows - A steampunk tale of deception, discovery, and much tea - is still going on.  Go here to enter for your chance to win!

And speaking of Out of the Shadows, we are less than a month from the release!  Hootie hoo!!!  Roll on October 28th!  It is included in the Kindle Match program, so if you buy the print version, you can get the Kindle version for free.  Go here to do that thing.

Right, that's housekeeping taken care of.  Next, a book review!  So there's a series by the name of Once Upon a Time that I absolutely love.  They are my fluffy, romance story go-to's.  I've read a bunch of these, including but not limited to The Storyteller's Daughter, The Crimson Thread, Midnight Pearls, and Water Song.  They're all really sweet and super-quick reads too.  I finished the latest one (to me) in the series in an afternoon.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...Wild Orchid!


Okay, so this one was a bit different for me because a lot of them are pretty straightforward in the romance-y bit.  Girl meets boy, they fall for each other, maybe some pre-romance ensues, final conflict, happily ever after! <-- This is massively over-generalizing the very fine work of the contributing authors and does not do their writing justice, but I'm trying to cover a lot of books here in a very small space.  No offense meant.  I'm quite picky about what I read, so the fact that so many of these tales have been given valuable and limited shelf space, shows how much I admire and respect these authors.  Okay, clarification done.  Back to the book.  Wild Orchid did not follow this format, as the culture in which the story takes place does not allow for that.  It's based on The Ballad of Mulan and set in ancient China, so (in my understanding, which is pretty limited), a passionate, whirlwind romance would not have been appropriate to the story.

Now that I've had some time to ruminate on the story, I really appreciate how it was handled, even it was not what I was expecting.  I think it was handled respectfully and I could tell a great deal of research had gone into it.  I also was impressed by how Cameron Dokey handled the whole battle/war issue.  Wars take time, so I was really curious as to how she would fit the saving of China into such a short book.  I won't give away any spoilers here.  Suffice to say, it was very clean and well done.  There was one thing that made me sad (again, no spoilers), but I was mostly sad because I saw it coming.  There is an event with a character that I saw coming a million miles away, and then it happened, and all I could think was "Dangit!  I knew it!  I just knew it."

All in all, very good book.  I give it 4.5/5 stars.  The lost half a star was because of the aforementioned non-spoilered "Dangit" moment.  The attentive readers of my blog might notice this is the first time I've used a star rating.  I honestly hadn't considered using one previously, but I think I like the idea of it.  They're concise, tidy.  You will be seeing them more in the future.

Remember, less than a month for Out of the Shadows.  SO EXCITED!!!

Thanks for reading!

Outlining Madness

Outlining Madness

When I wrote papers in college, I usually waited until the night before, sometimes had half an idea of what I was going to write about, and would then start pounding away on my keyboard with some Mountain Dew to keep me company...I currently have outlines written up for three separate books.  *Gasp!* I know.  I'm shocked too.  I've never actually written a book with an outline before, so knowing where I'm going and what I'm doing beforehand is kind of blowing my mind.

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