Book Review: Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts


Oh my. *le sigh*

Last night I finished book three in the Nora Roberts ‘The Circle” Trilogy. And I was totally in love with it. As my mother said, it was delicious. (I love my momma, and every time she talks about these books, that is how she describes them).

Book Blurb:

The battleground has been chosen for the final showdown between those selected by the gods and the minions of the vampire Lilith. But there is one vampire who dares stand against her. And his love for the scholarly queen of Geall will complete the circle of six – and change the face of eternity.

Having traveled through the Dance of the Gods to the land of Geall, the circle finds themselves convincing then training the people of Geall to defeat Lilith’s vampire army. The Valley of Silence is a forbidding place for the battle of all battles, but the circle continues to prepare through magic and a few early stakeouts that test their strength individually and as a team.

Moira finds herself playing the roles of warrior and royal, as she follows the tradition of her people and prepares to take the crown before leading them into battle. And if that isn’t enough, she finds her thoughts turning to Cian more often than not.

So what’s a chaste and intelligent young woman to do when given less than a month with the man she loves, who’s not a man, but a vampire? And how will the people of Geall fare against an army of blood-thirsty vampires who have had centuries to prepare?

nora r

I have been anticipating this book since I started book two.

For starters, the epic battle between Lilith the vampire Queen and her army with the circle of six comes to ahead. I was afraid for our band of ragtag misfits. Even though they prepped, trained and prepared as much as possible, I wondered if they would make it. If they would all come home safe.

My favorite couple, Cian and Moira, FINALLY get together!!! I loved seeing them get their happily ever after. Cian was my favorite character from the beginning and he just got better and better. While all the characters grew and improved throughout the series, Cian was well developed right from the start.

I loved that we seen how Lilith was turned, and what happened to her in the past. The vicious and slightly mad vampire queen was well written. The battle ground itself felt like a character. I didn’t see it coming when Cian had to fight his vampire urges on site, but it added another level of danger.

It took me a couple days longer to read this book, simply because I wanted to savor it. All the lose ends were tied and good won over evil. And a goddess gifted a vampire with the gift of a life of a man with the woman he loved.

I am such a sucker for romance and a good HEA.

So now my problem now is this: what do I read next? 😉


How to Critique a Story When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing


It isn’t always easy to give feedback when an author, friend or otherwise, asks you to be be a beta reader. At least, it isn’t always easy for me.

I’m not used to critiquing. In the beginning, I was crap, no doubt about it. But over the years I have slowly gotten better at it. Between people reading for me and being a beta for others, I have grown better at giving helpful feedback.

Tip 1) It isn’t easy if you feel like you are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Just approach it with tact and know that the author needs your help. Writers can’t approve and grow if everyone keeps telling them “oh I loved your story” with no other input.

Tip 2) Read the story first as a reader. Don’t worry about picking out issues unless something catches your eye. Then read the story again, slower this time, and keeping an eye out for issues with characters, plot and even grammar. Not every beta reader will find every problem. Just do what you can.

Tip 3) Don’t focus on the negative. I try to point out one positive thing for every few points of constructive criticism. Writers need to know what they are doing right, along with the hiccups of their story.

Tip 4) Take notes. As you are reading, jot down what you like, the plot issues, etc…Then later on use these notes to organize your thoughts when giving feedback.

Tip 5) Make sure to let the author know if this is a genre you typically read or not. I know when someone is reading one of my vampire stories, if the supernatural isn’t their thing, then my sights are set low for how much they enjoy it. And that is totally ok. I am looking for issues with pacing, if I have a cardboard character, etc…

I hope this helps. I still don’t feel totally comfortable giving someone feedback, but I do my best. And after all, practice makes perfect. 😉


February Wrap Up


Check it out, two months into the year and I am actually keeping up with my goals. Woot woot! 😉 Today is also my momma’s birthday. She is an amazing woman and I love her to bits.

This month was good in a lot of ways. Winter hasn’t been nearly as harsh as usual, thinking more positive is making a big difference in me, and I am checking off goals and adding new ones.

Writing: I finished a short story which is now in the hands of my first round of beta readers. I am getting great feedback. The biggest thing for me is that my editing skills have improved a lot. Aside from some line edits, I don’t need to make any major changes. Now I am figuring out what to work on next: a fantasy novel I started a few years back, or finish a story I started last NaNoWriMo.

Blogging:  I have been keeping up with this little corner of my world. I love popping in here. It helps to organize my thoughts, and I love chatting to those who comment. 🙂

Positive vibes: This month has had some bumps. For instance, I have hit that wall where I just want my husband to be home. It isn’t easy that he has to work away. BUT, the way I view things now has most certainly gotten me through things. I still write at least one good thing a day in a journal, and when I feel my thoughts going down a bad path, I stop myself and can usually get myself back on track. I feel really frickin’ good, peeps! 😀

The Book Pile: I am now on book four of the year! My goal is to read fifteen, which is very attainable. If and when I go beyond that, bonus! Although I did break my reading rule. Instead of reading books only out on my table, I have been switching things up. But hey, i am in the reading groove again, that’s all that matters.

Other projects: I have been doing pretty good with keeping up on my pen pal letters. I have a couple to write, but they are newer. It feels good being more regular in my snail mail. I am hoping to make my own envelopes soon, or at least creating some mail art.

I hope you have had a great month. How are your goals coming along?

Book Review: Dance of The Gods by Nora Roberts


I devoured book two of The Circle trilogy in less then two days. I found it was even better than book one, on a number of levels.


He saw where the earth was scorched, where it was trampled. He saw his own hoofprints left in the sodden earth when he’d galloped through the battle in the form of a horse. And he saw the woman who’d ridden him, slashing destruction with a flaming sword…  

Blair Murphy has always worked alone. Destined to be a demon hunter in a world that doesn’t believe in such things, she lives for the kill. But now, she finds herself the warrior in a circle of six, chosen by the goddess Morrigan to defeat the vampire Lilith and her minions.

Learning to trust the others has been hard, for Blair has never allowed herself such a luxury. But she finds herself drawn to Larkin, a man of many shapes. As a horse, he is proud and graceful; as a dragon, beautifully fierce; and as a man…well, Blair has never seen one quite so ruggedly handsome and playfully charming as this nobleman from the past.

In two months’ time, the circle of six will face Lilith and her army in Geall. To complete preparations and round up forces to fight, the circle travels through time to Larkin’s world, where Blair must choose between battling her overwhelming attraction to him—or risking everything for a love that can never be…


I thought the writing style of this book was much improved. There was still a bit of back and forth with the PoV, but not near as bad as book one. When reading a characters point of view, we stayed in their mindset for a period of time, instead of several points of view on each page.

I loved getting to know the characters better. We finally get to see more of other characters, and I care about all of them now. I liked all of them at the end of the first book, but I love all of them now.

I loved the character growth from Blair, as well as the little queen. Moira has shown strength in a number of ways, while we see a softer side of Blair. Moira has shown strength in front of her people, both physically and emotionally. She is bound and determined to protect the people of Geall. Blair’s wall is slowly breaking down, which was put there by her father and a former fiance. It was great to see these characters grow and change.

I am also anxious for Moira and Cian to get together! I ship them so hard! They shared a brief, passionate kiss which thrilled me. So I can’t wait until book three…those two better get together! 😉

I am also anxious to know who the narrator of the story is. An old man is telling the tale to a group of children. My guess is that it is one of the three main characters, but a twist can still happen. So it will be fun to find out next book. (Although I feel like a hint was mentioned, I just haven’t put the pieces together yet).

My plan tomorrow after work is to start book three. Thank God for moms who let you borrow their books. 😉

What have you been reading?

Something for Short Story Lovers


I have been working on a short story for an anthology my writers group that my writers group is putting together. While brainstorming last night, I realized I never really touched base on my work and the anthologies I am in. (Yes, there is a little self promotion going on here too, haha).

When I was a kid, I didn’t think that having my very own story in print would happen. When three of my writing friends started Third Person Press, I worked my butt off and crossed my fingers that I would get a letter saying they liked and wanted my story.

They did!

Undercurrents Front Cover

From Third Person Press website:

A Cape Breton Anthology of Speculative Fiction (The Speculative Elements, Vol. 1)
The fourteen stories in Undercurrents ply the literary oceans of time and space, possibility and imagination. And while you may find familiar themes in these pages-love, change, greed, spirituality-you will discover that they take on a new perspective when viewed through the lens of the speculative. Inside are stories that ripple and swell with the unusual: fiddle-playing ghosts, malevolent cats, urbane vampires, and ordinary folks who have drifted into the realms of the extraordinary. Set your oars in these unusual waters and see for yourself what swirls in the undercurrents.

The urban vampires? That’s me. 😉

What I love about anthologies, are that short stories are a quick read. Also, while you may not enjoy every story, you are bound to love and like most of the book.

Third Person Press went on to publish a total of four stories in the Elements collection. (There is also Airborne, Unearthed and Flashpoint). I was lucky enough to be accepted into the rest of the books. My stories are all set in the same world, with new supernatural creatures and problems being added in the mix. I love writing the Lily and Quinn series, and have no plans to stop writing with them. (I will talk about them more in a future post).

I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished so far. When I re-read my stories, I can see where I grew as a writer, as each one went on.

They have also published a couple of other anthologies, one being Christmas themed and the other is ghost stories. And last year they published ‘Rise of the Mudmen’ by James FW Thompson. I have that on my book pile and plan to read that soon! 🙂

If you are interested adding to your short story collection, you can check out Third Person Press site and see what would be up your alley!





Book Review: Dark Beneath The Moon by Sherry D. Ramsey


Here I am, with my first book review of the year- woot woot! I should note this is more of a lighter/mini review. A few key points I enjoyed about the story.

So yes, I spent this weekend like any good weekend should be spent: curled up with a good book and snuggled up with a cat.

We all have authors that we just have to read. That author whose books we buy as soon as a new one hits a shelf. Sherry D. Ramsey is one of those authors for me. She writes a variety of genres, and I always find myself engrossed in the worlds she creates.

When I had my reading slump, that didn’t stop me from buying books and adding to my collection. Dark Beneath The Moon was one of the books taunting me to get out of my slump.

Here is the book blurb:

Luta Paixon has plenty of trouble on the Tane Ikai, with relationships in flux and the sticky problem of two captains on one ship. But when an alien artifact, the remnant of a long-ago war, shows up on the other side of a newly-discovered wormhole, the crew also find themselves pressed into the service of the Nearspace Protectorate. The Tane Ikai‘s task: covertly deliver an alien historian to the site to decipher its meaning—and possible threat.

Jahelia Sord is a woman with a grudge against the world, and against Luta Paixon and her family in particular. She has her own secrets to guard, and an alliance with the notorious PrimeCorp—one she’ll keep only as long as it suits her own hunt for vengeance.

When a mysterious attack leaves them stranded in an uncharted new system, Luta, her crew, and Jahelia must try to put their differences aside and decide who to trust, while they uncover a shocking truth about the Chron war and what their old enemies are so afraid of…


This novel is the second in the Nearspace series, being the sequel to One’s Aspect To The Sun, which came out a few years ago.

While I am not typically a reader of sci-fi, I found myself hooked from the start and had a very hard time putting the book down.

I love all the characters, especially Captain Luta. She is a strong, kick ass, smart woman who leads her crew with confidence. She is also very stubborn, so I often found myself grumbling at her as I read. If only characters would listen to you, right?? 😉 All the characters have their own individual voice, flaws and strengths.

As far as the plot goes, like I said, I couldn’t put the book down. There was always something going on: new aliens, a mystery illness, a character with suspicious motives, and more. There was a lot going on, but the story flowed really well and nothing was confusing. I found it very engaging. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but I think this one is my favorite.

This book also introduced three new alien types. The Lobor ( a wolf-humanoid), the Chron and the Corvid (a crow-like being).  Each were unique in appearance, communication and technology. The Lobor is my favorite, I think, because it appeals to my supernatural side.

The third book, Beyond The Sentinel Stars, is now available.  Which is great because I so need to get my hands on it! 😉

If you like spacecrafts, aliens, adventure and unique characters, this series is for you.

What books have you read lately?


January Wrap Up


I started the year with a number of goals, wondering how far I would make it. i wondered how many of my goals I would keep working with. Today is the last day of the month and I am really happy with how things are going!

Writing: I was late in the game with this one but this past weekend I sat down and wrote 1100 words on my newest short story. This is for an anthology my writers group is putting together. i am really happy with how it is going, and I’m having fun with it.

Blogging: My goal was to write at least one new post a week, if not two. I am happy that I have been able to manage this so far. Thanks to my followers for sticking with me, and a big hello to those who found me this month! 🙂

Positivity challenge:  A big thing for me this year is to think better, and remind myself daily of something good. I have a journal and I write at least one good thing about my day or how I am feeling. I have kept up with it. My journal is on my coffee table and every evening after supper I sit and jot in a note.

The Book Pile: Again, I was late in the game with this one BUT the other night I sat down with Sherry D. Ramsey’s Dark Beneath The Moon. It is a sequel to her One’s Aspect to the Sun. It’s a sci-fi novel that features Luta Paixon, captain of the Tane Ikai, a woman in her 80’s but looks like she is in her 30’s. There is always one thing or another keeping her and her crew busy, both on and off the ship. I will be doing a review once I finish the book.

So, I am pretty happy with how the month is going. On a bonus note: another month under the belt until my husband comes home from working away. We have more then half of the time under us now, thank goodness.

How are your goals/resolutions going so far?