Review: Assistant to the Villain
Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Assistant to the Villain (Assistant to the Villain, #1)Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's been a while since I've had this much fun with a romance novel, but Assistant to the Villain was a superb read! A great balance of comedy and romance with a dash of mystery to spice things up.

The one thing that I would warn people of: this book has a MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER. There isn't much in the way of resolution at the end, so the novel reads more like the first half of a larger story. If you don't like cliffhangers, don't start this book until the series is finished. That said, the dreaded cliffhanger was not enough for me to lower my rating for this otherwise well-written book.

The highlight of the story was definitely the colorful characters. Both the two narrative characters and their supporting cast were well-realized, with distinct personalities and hinted at or explicit backstories that help perpetuate the world outside of the events of the main plot.

Top Ten: Co-op Video Games
Monday, January 29, 2024

My husband and I are always on the lookout for co-op video games, so I'm putting together this list of our top ten recommendations. If you're like us and want to work together toward a common goal rather than battling it out in your games, give these a try:
  • Terreria
    Type: Sandbox
    Plaform: We play this on Steam.
    Why it's on this list:
    This is probably one of our all-time favorite games to play together. We've played it probably a dozen times, together, with out friends, with our family. When you play on Steam, each person needs their own copy of the game, but they're usually pretty cheap, and around the holidays you can often score a four pack to share among your firends. The game itself is fairly basic, but there is beauty in its simplicity. You mine for materials, craft what you need to upgrade your weapons and armor so that you can survive harder and harder fights, build a fortress, and arena, and anything else you like. There are seasonal events, killer bosses, and oh so much to explore. This game is an easy way to spend 100+ hours.
  • Review: Rhenn the Traveler
    Tuesday, January 16, 2024

    Rhenn the Traveler: Legacy of Shadows (Eldros Legacy, #3)Rhenn the Traveler: Legacy of Shadows by Todd Fahnestock
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Another great story in the Eldros Legacy series! This book is the third in Todd Fahnestock's "Legacy of Shadows" arc, and the books absolutely need to be read in order. So I'm going to assume that if you're looking at this review, you've already read books 1 and 2. If not, go read them.

    This book picks up shortly after Rhenn was abducted at the end of book 1, Khyven the Unkillable, and possibly overlaps the events of book 2, Lorelle of the Dark. Rhenn has been living as a "guest" in a foreign land. She's not exactly a prisoner, but neither is she free. Even as she makes a life for herself as best she can, she never wavers in her desire to go home. So when an opportunity arises that might let her do just that, she jumps at the chance despite it being a truly terrible idea. She pays the price for her choice, as do those around her, but that's what makes the story feel real.

    Review: Ruin and Rising
    Thursday, December 14, 2023

    Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3)Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This was a satisfactory conclusion to the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I liked that a lot more happened in this book than the previous one, though there was still a considerable amount of time set aside for lengthy descriptions. If you watched the second season of the Netflix adaptation of this series, pretty much everything from book 2 and book 3, along with the crows story arc, were combined to make that show.

    Alina and Mal are on the run, as per usual, which is good. It's always fun to have your protagonist against the ropes. Alina is getting stronger in her powers but, whether due to youthful arrogance or some dopamine addiction caused by her use of merzost, Alina continuously makes really terrible decisions.

    Game Review: Forgotten Waters
    Saturday, November 25, 2023

    If you're in the mood for a laugh-your-ass-off pirate adventure, check out Forgotten Waters!
    I got this boardgame for my birthday, and it's been a ton of fun. You play as a member of a pirate crew and can have up to six friends join you as you play through various scenarios.
    Game Mechanics:

    The gameplay takes a little getting used to, but after a round or two it actually goes pretty fast. The game's "board" is actually a book with multiple locations in it that you flip to depending on what's happening in the plot. (If you've played Stuffed Fables, it works like that.)

    Review: Circle of Magic - Briar's Book
    Monday, November 13, 2023

    Briar's Book (Circle of Magic, #4)Briar's Book by Tamora Pierce
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    The four books in the Circle of Magic really do a great job of building on each other and growing the characters as the stories progress. As the final book in the quartet, Briar's Book did not disappoint!

    Once again, the antagonist of the story is more what than who. The basic plot is that there is a plague outbreak (a situation that I believe we can all empathize with a little too well these days). Briar and his teacher Rosethorn are at the epicenter. Pierce does a great job of describing what it's like to be in quarantine, the difficulties of finding a cure, and the stress and paranoia that sets into a society when they can't tell who might be sick and who is not. She also dealt tactfully with the fact that not every person can be saved in such a situation. Sometimes people have to make hard decision.

    How'd We Get Here?
    Wednesday, November 8, 2023

    Hey all,

    I was recently invited to write an article about my "author journey" for the Colorado Authors League. I'm sharing it here for my blog readers. So if you're curious about how I ended up writing books, here's the answer (at least the broad strokes).

    Technically, the first book I ever published was a pop-up book that I made as a visual aid for a research project in the ninth grade. I meticulously wrote out my thoughts in rainbow markers and embossed glitter, constructed elaborate movable parts to enchant my audience, and bound the whole thing in the panels of a repurposed shoebox stitched together with twine. Obviously that book didn’t become a bestseller (though I did receive an A from my very impressed English teacher).

    Personal Demons Excerpt: Partners
    Saturday, October 28, 2023

    Mira has promised to give this whole "partner" thing with Ty an honest try... but change is hard.


    Moonlight streamed in from the building’s skylights, casting long shadows from the crisscross of scaffolding onto the concrete floor. Several large bay doors that would once have allowed trains to pull in were boarded over, each sporting the tag of a local artist. Steel tracks set flush to the floor created a ladder effect across the pitted, dirt-crusted surface.

    A figure crept along the far edge of the building. Long, matted, white hair draped their shoulders and obscured their face save for the profile of a beak-like nose. Pale, wiry limbs moved amid tattered strips of soiled fabric, fingers nearly scraping the floor as the hunched form slunk from shadow to shadow between patches of moonlight.

    New Release: Rise Anthology
    Wednesday, October 25, 2023

    Queer Sci Fi has a new flash fiction anthology out: Rise, and my story is a part of it. And there's a giveaway too.

    RISE (Noun, Verb)

    Eight definitions to inspire writers around the world, and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell:

    1. An upward slope or movement
    2. A beginning or origin
    3. An increase in amount or number
    4. An angry reaction
    5. To take up arms
    6. To return from death
    7. To become heartened or elated
    8. To exert oneself to meet a challenge