Letters from Emily by M.L. Pennock Cover Reveal!

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Hey all, it’s been a bit. But I’m here with exciting news! Letters from Emily by M.L. Pennock is coming out on October 2nd, and today is the day of the cover reveal!

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On Oct. 2, Emily Long’s letters will finally be revealed. The story that began in To Have culminates with Emily’s side of the tale, a tale that is heartbreaking at times.

Letters from Emily by M.L. Pennock

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When Emily Long agrees to be in her friend’s wedding, she doesn’t plan on backing out a few weeks before the ceremony and merely going as a guest.

Being charmed into a one-night stand with a flirty groomsman also wasn’t on her list of things to do. But the morning after the wedding, she finds herself hung over and wrapped up in Brian Stratford’s bedsheets.

Several weeks, a positive pregnancy test, and an ultrasound later, Emily finds herself on Brian’s doorstep questioning how her life ended up where it is.

As the new couple processes how to co-parent without loving one another, Emily’s fate takes a turn for the worst.

It isn’t until years later when Brian finds out what happened …

and that Emily left letters behind for the people she loves most.

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Pre-order Letters from Emily

Universal Link: books2read.com/LettersFromEmily

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/LettersFromEmilyUS

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/LettersFromEmilyUK

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/LettersFromEmilyAU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/LettersFromEmilyCA

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/LettersFromEmilyBN

iBooks: coming soon!

Kobo: http://bit.ly/LettersFromEmilyKobo

Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/LettersFromEmilyGoodreads

Follow M.L. Pennock on social media at:
facebook.com/mlpennock
twitter.com/mlpennockauthor
instagram.com/mirandalpennock

goodreads.com/author/show/14020494.M_L_Pennock
mlpennock.com

Haven’t signed up for the newsletter? You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/dkYbZ1

Join the discussion!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/840828242736728/

About the Author

M.L. Pennock is a former journalist turned author. She attended Alfred University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and communication studies, before going on to earn a Master of Arts in communications from SUNY College at Brockport. She lives in Central New York with her husband and three daughters.

M.L. Pennock is the author of the To Have series.

Visit facebook.com/mlpennock or mlpennock.com for more information about what she’s working on next.

If you’re interested in the book or the cover caught your eye, feel free to check it out on any of the pre-order links listed above.

 

I’ll be back with more of my own thoughts on all things reading and writing related soon!

xx

T.G.

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Writer’s Block vs Creative Block

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When I think about writer’s block, I think of the movie Stranger than Fiction when Emma Thompson’s character, the author of Harold Crick’s life, is completely incapable of coming up with anything to write about.

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She’s suffering massive writer’s block and she can’t think of what her next book should be about. She’s drained. Her imagination can’t come up with any new material, old material, nothing. She can’t write.

Every writer has experienced this to some degree. Whether it be an inability to start a new writing project or reaching a stumbling block in the middle of one.

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Whatever the point in my process that I get stumped, I treat it like Queen Latifah’s character did, and see it as something I can cure. It’s not this mystical block on a writer’s imagination, but rather a lack of new creative juice to run the imagination engine of a writer’s brain.

So what do I do when I hit a writing wall?

I expose myself to new creative stimuli.

I read a half dozen novels. I binge marathon a show on Netflix or do a movie marathon of either old favorites or new movies on my “to-watch” list. I listen to a new band or two, discover old music from a favorite band. If it’s an old project I’m working on, I write something small and new.

This refuels my imagination and allows me to move past the Creative Block I had stumbled upon.

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Writers get stuck thinking writer’s block is this inevitable mountain they can’t scale they have to allow run it’s natural course and break itself down.

Emma Thompson’s character was able to go out into the world and expose herself to new stimuli to fuel her creativity. I’m able to do it by exposing myself to new media. And so can you.

So here are the steps to take when you hit a creative block:

Step 1: Get away from it. Put your laptop, notebook, desktop, stone slab aside and take a shower or go on a walk and observe the world around you. A nice walk or jog can also get those endorphins flowing and stop it all from feeling so hopeless.

Step 2: Consume the creativity of others. Whether it be a painting, a song, a television show, a movie, a book, or dozens of each, anything to get the imagination gears turning.

Step 3: If all else fails start a new project. Maybe you don’t have your current project in you right now. Maybe you just need a break. Either way starting fresh with a new novel or a new short story, a new poem, a new anything, can reignite your passion for writing and get you back on track.

Step 4: (And probably the most important) Don’t give up. The world needs your story, your creativity. And also most importantly, so do you.

xx

T.G.

Crow Queen Review

 

Diversifying My Blog

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Throw out the old schedule, I never kept to it anyway.

I created this space to review novels and recommend books. That is still the primary purpose of this blog.

However, I think what has been bogging me down is my personal focus has been my writing and I haven’t felt like I should mix the two passions on my blog. But that is just silly. It’s mine. I can do whatever I want with it.

So from now on I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts on writing as well as my book reviews and recommendations.

While I still want this to me more of a book club/reader’s space, I cant ignore the writing aspect of my life either. It exists and is a big part of my hopes/dreams/goals. Yes… I am aware those all basically mean the same thing, but I couldn’t pick just one!

What this means for you:

Basically, I’m going to have a “Writer’s Nest” section I post my thoughts on writing and the personal struggles and triumphs I have in my writer’s life. So if you want to just focus on the books and reader aspect you still can. You’ll just also see some writing content you can ignore it you wish.

I hope to continue on this crazy reading/writing/living journey with you!

XX

T.G.

Crow Queen Review

 

Oh, so I’m published now…

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AHHHHHHH!

I’m not freaking out. You’re freaking out.

Okay, so maybe it’s just me.

But my short story, Bloodless, is one in a collection of eight short stories with the theme of survival published in the anthology Shards of Survival. The collection was put together by Writing Bad, an online writing community.

Obligatory links:

Anthology:

Website: https://writingbad.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WritingBad/

The Facebook community of Writing Bad has over seven thousand members and has bright, vibrant talent from all over the world.

Last year, a group of us participated in a contest and wrote themed stories. Before the winner of the contest was even announced, we all commented that we would love to read everyone else’s work. An offhand remark about how we should put it all together in anthology and a lot of hard work from one of our brilliant admins later, and it became real.

The contest winner Caton Easton’s story, Healers, is fantastic. We were all privileged to read it when the contest ended.

And of course, I’m partial to my own story, Bloodless, but there are a whole host of cool stories in here I can’t wait to read.

Bloodless is the story of a vampire named Sadie who finds herself relying on an unlikely ally when her family entrap her with one directive: kill or be killed.

Look forward to a short review of the work as a whole with more details to come!

And in the meantime, if you have $0.99 you’d like to drop and time to pass reading cool survival stories, that’s awesome too!

xx

T.G.

IT’S READING WEEK!

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You may or may not have noticed, but I haven’t been posting for a few weeks. The answer to that mystery is as follows: I’ve been overwhelmed with life. I struggle with a combination of depression and anxiety that usually rears its ugly head in the winter months, though it can strike at any time.

I’ve also been imposing a lot of writing related goals on myself lately with my multitude of writing works in progress and it has been bogging down my soul. I love to write. It’s my passion. But sometimes I need to unwind, unplug and get back to the core of why I love to write. Which is because I love to read. I love to explore new worlds and escape into literature and that drives me  to create my own worlds and give my own characters life.

So I decided to unplug from my biggest social media drain, Facebook, and just read for a week.

It has already done wonders for my mental health. I even did work around the house and straightened things up so the place looks tidy and uncluttered like my mind from this social media sabbatical.

So my book challenge is a go and already part complete.

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Sunday I read The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser. I really liked the beginning of this book when I started it weeks ago, but I finally read it all the way through and I was not impressed.

It’s a modern-day fairy tale who-dun-it that features characters that can literally jump into the literary world, and while that sounds good on paper, I wasn’t very impressed. Even though it is well-written, it was not my cup of tea. 3/5 Crows.

Amazon Blurb:

Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy’s new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.

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Monday I read When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore and, as always, she created a beautiful modern magical story about diverse characters that was lovely, well-executed, and everything I could have hoped for and more.

I will do a more thorough review of this one at a later time but suffice to say McLemore continues to be one of the best writers in the YA genre of this day and age and never disappoints. Her stories are works of art and her descriptions so beautiful they could be poetry. I recommend this novel and the author’s complete body of work. 5/5 Crows.

Amazon Blurb:

Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers was greeted with rave reviews, a YALSA Morris Award nomination, and spots on multiple “Best YA Novels” lists. Now, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from this talented author.

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Today, Tuesday, I am reading Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. Cashore is one of my favorite authors and I’ve already talked about and recommended her novels at length on multiple posts here for a reason.

I am sucked in already but can’t say more at this time. But I’m definitely enjoying this read so far.

Amazon Blurb:

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

 

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Wednesday I plan on reading Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst.

I was drawn to this book initially because I saw the cover and I was like… wait … is that princess holding a girl’s hand? So of course I had to buy it. I was at a bookseller and added it to the ever-growing pile in my husband’s arms, but such is the way of things, I’m just getting around to reading it this week. I’m excited for it though and can’t wait to check out this new author.

Amazon Blurb:

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile kingdoms.

But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden.

Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine, sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, they discover there is more to one another than they thought—and soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

 

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Thursday I’ll be reading The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.

This book was introduced to me at the same bookseller by my friend who saw the lovely purple and gold cover and the intriguing description and pointed it out to me. Though the cover is freaking gorgeous and the blurb is interesting, I might not have picked it up on my own. But with her encouragement, I bought it several months ago, and with another friend’s encouragement, who also saw it and thought it sounded rad on my bookshelf, it’s now near the top of my to-read pile.

Amazon Blurb:

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

 

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Friday I’ll be reading another gorgeous novel by Anna-Marie McLemore, Wild Beauty.

I’ve already discussed in many posts why this is near the top of my to-read list, namely because I can’t get enough of McLemore’s gorgeous writing style and the magical, moving tales she grows as naturally as flowers and uses to illuminate diverse cultures and points of view as brilliantly as stars.

Amazon Blurb:

Love grows such strange things.

Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers garnered fabulous reviews and was a finalist for the prestigious YALSA Morris Award, and her second novel, When the Moon was Ours, was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Now, in Wild Beauty, McLemore introduces a spellbinding setting and two characters who are drawn together by fate—and pulled apart by reality.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

 

 

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Saturday I want to finish off this week of YA novels with Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by writer Carrie DiRisio and illustrator Linnea Gear. 

I think a comedic self-help book will be a fun way to end my week of non-stop reading. 

Amazon Blurb:

Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?

Or maybe you’re just really confused about what “opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs” actually are?

Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero’s Guide to Achieving Main Character Status, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.

As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.

 

If any of these books pique your interest, feel free to check them out and then look forward to seeing my reviews and book rants about them in the weeks to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

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WolfsongAmazon Blurb:

“Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.”

Wolfsong is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and lovely story about a simple human boy who was told by his father that he would never amount to anything and that people were going to give him shit.

It’s a story about how when he was sixteen he was walking down the dirt road towards his house and a tornado of a ten-year-old boy jumped out into the road and asked him what that smell was. What smelled like candy canes and pine cones, epic and awesome.

That smell was Ox. and when the little tornado that is Joe Bennett realizes this, he drags Ox home to meet his whole family that lives in the house at the end of the lane.

From then on Ox’s life is full of werewolves and magic and pack.pack.pack.
It’s about finding out his little corner of the world in Green Creek is so much bigger and so much darker than he ever imagined.
It’s about the long wait for true love that was there all along, and all the pain and violence and strength necessary to be a leader and lover and protect those closest to you.
It’s honestly one of my favorite books.
And one I put off doing a review of for the longest time.
Because how could I ever do justice to this beautiful novel?
So that’s where I’ll start. This novel is beautiful. It’s told in a format that might throw off some readers. There is a repetition of words and phrases and small snapshots of scenes to show the passage of time. This is a novel that spans over the course of more than a decade. It’s ambitious, but the flowing, repetitive style keeps it from seeming that way. Instead it feels fluid and natural. It feels like you are right there with Ox. Feeling the joy, the family, the green relief of pack. brother. son. love.
There are so many great things to love about this novel, it’s hard for me to mention just a few and keep but I’ll try.
Ox is one of my favorite MCs of all time. He is strong and resilient and believes that he doesn’t deserve anything but the shit his father promised the world would give him, so it’s even more wonderful that he is immersed with people who value him even when he can’t value himself.
Joe. Oh the tornado Joe. He grows up that Joe Bennett. But still retains all the vulnerability of the little boy on the road who noticed Ox, smelled him, and knew he would be the center of his world and that he just had to give him his most prized possession.
Ox’s mother and Joe’s mother are two of the best characters.
Thomas Bennett is the world’s greatest dad.
Carter and Kelly are the best brothers.
And everyone just wants Gordo and Mark to get their shit together.
And I’m always going to love Robbie. And all the guys from the shop. And Jessie is badass.
I love that this novel isn’t afraid to hurt people. Some of the best characters don’t make it to the end folks. The villain is as competent as he is crazy and he will stop at nothing to take the power of a Bennett pack alpha. You have been warned. But it’s all so worth it.
Wolfsong is a novel that makes you cry and laugh, cry and laugh. It breaks your hard and then puts it back together. On the one hand it’s a gay werewolf shifter novel. On the other it’s the story about a guy who is stronger and more special than all the supernatural creatures around him. Not in spite of being human, or even because of his humanity, but because he is so much more than that.
Please read this book and love it just as much as I do. I promise you will not be disappointed.
5/5 Crows. Because seriously guys, this is one of my favorites.

 

 

As always, a brief summation of my rating system:

1 Crow: It sucks and I’m not even going to finish.

2 Crows: It’s okay, very meh. I read it all the way through but probably skimmed it in places.

3 Crows: It was good, it held my attention. I read it all the way through. It entertained me. I liked it but there were some flaws. (This will be where most of my reviews land.)

4 Crows: I really liked it. It was so good. I’m going to reread it several times. There was hardly anything wrong with it.

5 Crows: The illusive 5 Crows. It impressed me so much, I loved it, and consider it one of my favorite books of all time. It was ground-breaking, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Casting and Creating Unforgettable Secondary Characters

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This is a super helpful article on casting secondary characters in stories.

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It may be the salty aired beach or a long-ago molten path on a dormant volcano that brings us into the story, and the main characters who introduce themselves and take the reader by the hand for the journey. However, without secondary characters, the story wouldn’t get far. Main characters can’t be everywhere at once, even though they are the main focus in stories. There’s no way for them to gain every tidbit of knowledge they need without the help of their comrades. That’s why writers should never forget the importance of creating and casting unforgettable secondary characters.

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