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About My Story, My Reading Pace, My Time

Sometimes writing can take a lot out of you. Especially when you're channeling everything you've got into one receptacle, it can damage your creativity in the most sly and subtle of ways. Add in a vigorous working schedule, and suddenly you're reading voraciously one minute and the next you're like, "ah, snap, gurl, ain't you gonna finish that?"

But, sometimes, ain't nobody got time for that.

For reading or drawing or film/tv watching or blogging or photographing or any of the other numerous things which incite your creative instincts and pluck your passions from your inner well.
And for a while now, I've been drafting a little suttin' suttin. A manuscript that has seen so many rewrites, I wonder if the story will ever actually be told the way I want it to.

I attack it like it's my day job. Only thing is, it's not. Bitter Harvest--the working title of the project--is a story I started off telling myself for fun, when I was coming in breathless from my day and wanted to give myself something wondrous to do. I wanted to swap worlds for a little while.

I have a day job. One that eats 90% of my time, and if I start regarding one of my passion projects as hard, sweaty work (which it is, actually, but the trick is to keep the blinders on), while going about an already rigorous time expense that pays my bills, like I have been, then it's no wonder I've felt devastated.

And tired. And unfulfilled.

There is no rush. At the end of the road, do I want to see myself published? Absolutely. But, really, if it happens in another five, ten, fifteen years, will I really be mad? I'm training myself to realize I shouldn't be. Because successful publication and eternal glory, while nice, isn't what I want to define my life right now. I want to tell myself a story.

Then another. And another.

Until I tell them wholly. And well.

In the meantime, there's so much of life I've only sipped, and I'm ready for a hearty drink. I'm not just a collector of experiences; I'm a consumer. Not in the soul-sucking, ever-shopping-for sense. In the no-holds-barred devouring sense. And I want to do all these things, as I write. Because they can only enhance the stories I'm telling.

And when the night quits whispering for me to stay awake, these stories are how I get myself sleeping. The promise and allure and scope of these lives I slip into while daydreaming. Fictitious friends who beckon.

I don't want to shake them until they tell me everything. We're not at that point yet. I'm not facing a dead end, as I'd have myself believe. So, I'm going to get through the books I'm reading, without feeling guilty. Like I'm neglecting something that's always there, breathing softly beside a slew of other thoughts and dreams.

I'm going to focus on other forms of writing I enjoy. Like blog writing. I like to travel blog as well, as I've been exploring bits and pieces of the world these last couple of years, and there's more to be done.

My time has been fruitful. When I'm doing something besides novel writing, it's not a waste of time. It's not a criminal offense against myself and whatever talent I possess. The skills are being honed, as often as I can manage.

I've been dictating to myself a very precise, very harsh rule for success. Defining and caging and branding my worth, my value, based off how complete the Big Dreams are.

I'm okay with admitting writing a novel is only one of them. I'm resuming the buoyant belief that humans can--and maybe even should--have more than one.

I wouldn't want things to get boring. It's so exciting to dream.

Another dream of mine is to see Mine for the Reading being read. Relished. Not merely enjoyed. Savored, like the end of the day with your wine, or your partner, or your pillow, or your favorite tv show. A comfort that's both homey and luxurious, familiar and rare.

I'm going to make you laugh. Like I do with all my friends. I want to tell you stories about the stories I've read, like I do with my friends and family. I want to make you care about them before you've even picked up the book I'm talking about.

I used to do that. I used to be good at it. I think I still am. Give me a chance.

You're going to see more posts over the next few weeks. Some may be single reviews, some may be highlighted books, some may be book inspiration posts or topics for discussion. We're going to have a grand ol' time.

I hope you'll join me for the next post.

Credit: Quotes by Mary Oliver.

A Court of Mist and Fury, Skullduggery Pleasant, & The Last Unicorn | First Impressions | Mine for the Reading

So, I was gearing up for posting today's entry, when I realized that no words were coming to me for King's Rising by C. S. Pacat--the most recent book I've finished.

Hardly a surprise when it's the last book in a fantasy trilogy and my emotions were all stirred up to the point of actual turmoil. If you read my review for the first two books you'll remember that while I was invested, I wasn't, like, SUPER invested. Or so I thought.

Then I put book three down, and decided I was full of shit.

Does it amount to one of my favorite series of all time? No, not quite. But, it's a damn good fantasy trilogy, filled with all the things I love about The Winner's Curse Trilogy and the Throne of Glass series--awfully, bitterly beautiful love story meets heartbreaking parameters that may squash that love meets thrones to be reclaimed. All I can say currently is that C. S. Pacat lived up to the promises she made in the earlier books.

Sadly, anything else I may have to say on the matter might be touched upon during my weekly feature on my Youtube channel. I'm doing Sitdown Saturdays where I touch on some of the cool books I've read, so look out for that if you want to know more on the King's Rising.

Though, I'm hardly promising anything here.

These days, I'm in the middle of a few books.

Now, we all heard me say that I'm a big lover of the Throne of Glass series, right? 'Kay. So following that, I love Sarah J. Maas as a human. But, I'm not so bias where I can't say that the ACOTAR series is riddled with flaws I can't really ignore. The problem for me is, I know what she's trying to do. And I can see how she's trying to do it. But, sadly, in the ten percent chance I've given ACOMAF, book two, those earlier problems I had with book one have been reinforced, and she's still failing at what she's trying to deliver. For me. BUT.

Because I want to believe that anything Sarah writes will get better... I'm determined to power through. I've just gotten to the point where she's ditched the sunshine and tulle dresses and Tamlin's mating rituals and has ended up in the Night Court. And that's all I'll say... but being with Rhysand has me considerably more excited.

One thing she has managed to sell me on so far? That Tamlin might not be Feyre's one true love after all. Something I thought was going to bother me as a result of the ending of ACOTAR was that cemented clarity Feyre has... and the teasing dawn of a love triangle after said realization--especially because it was hammered into our skulls how much Feyre looooves Tamlin.

But, Sarah has made me believe that the person Feyre had to become to save the person she loves, may not be able to withstand being with that person.

I believe Feyre has been broken by her circumstances. We'll just see if the rest of the trouble she gets up to will live up for me. Sad side note: I'm unimpressed by the sex scenes so far. They feel almost awkward.

Now, I've been dying to get my greedy hands on this book, and it is by far the most promising out of all my prospective reads. Less than ten percent of the way through, and I was immediately hooked. The words of Landy's Skullduggery Pleasant have been laced with this kind of quiet humor. I mean, that the narrative seems to almost be laughing at itself without being schticky.

And we haven't even gotten to the fun stuff yet.

My interest for this series was inspired by the dozens and dozens of quotes I found relating to the main characters. So far, I haven't been disappointed. The writing is either very elegant or very funny. OR a nice a blend of both. And I'm digging it.

Between this and Howl's Moving Castle, there really are no two more classic fantasy books I want to complete. The Last Unicorn with it's whimsical, sumptuous prose is not so beautiful that I just want to admire the words. I want to bask in them, live inside them. I want to live with the characters who DO occupy them. Except...

I'm just not in the mood.

It's almost the same kind of deal with a Melina Marchetta book. You have to be in the right mindset to perfectly enjoy the things you love about it, even when you don't quite understand everything yet.

When the time is right, nothing gets to me like a heartbreaking quest. Nearly nothing.

I hope to vibe with this one soon.

Come see what else I'm currently reading!
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Chase Me (Paris Nights #2) by Laura Florand | Adult Romance | Companion Series | Mine for the Reading

“I’m tall,” he said. “I can reach things on high shelves. Very convenient in a husband.”
She definitely had to suppress a smile there. “I organize my kitchen. I can reach whatever I want.”
He sighed heavily. “I suppose you don’t need me to open jars for you either.”
Hey, she had a dimple. Damn. He was definitely going to marry her.
I don’t want to say living in France these past eight months has made me into a snob. But, I felt a little cheated by some of the descriptions of Paris. I wanted—no, expected—more descriptive prowess to do justice to what a magnificent city it truly can be. The City of Lights didn’t shine to it’s fullest potential here.


That is where most of my disappointment lies. Yeah, did I feel like the story went on a little too long? Sure. Did I think Violette’s English sounded a little too American? Yeah.


Violette and Chase are magnetic, addictive. Their chemistry leaps up and demands to be paid rightful attention. The twining of their characters, the charm and wit and shyness and feistiness thrown back and forth between the two kept me smiling—sometimes outright laughing—at their every scene together. Their chemistry is unbeatable, organic. The fact that they are equals in about every way, and neither of them are intimidated by the other’s strong personality just sets the sparks dancing.
“Why H?” she said.
“Jesus H. Christ,” she repeated, with an accenteted precision that was so erotic he nearly whimpered. “Why H?”
He, uh… damn. He had no idea. “I’ll tell you after the birth of our first child.”
She had two dimples. One on each side. And she paired them with a very haughty look up and down his body that made him want to beg. “It will be interesting to see you pregnant.”
He grinned. “So that’s a yes?”
If this is what I can come to expect with Florand’s writing, then I will definitely be checking out her other series. There is just something so simultaneously warm, toasty, and hot, spicy about her writing, something she’s done heart-warmingly, body-sizzlingly well.

I look forward to more zing in the future.

Ebook / 246 pgs / Apr 5th 2016 / Author Published / Goodreads / $4.99

My copy was purchased from Amazon Kindle.

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The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas | Fantasy | Throne of Glass Novella | Mine for the Reading

"You want to hear something ridiculous? Whenever I’m scared out of my wits, I tell myself: My name is Sam Cortland… and I will not be afraid. I’ve been doing it for years.”
It was her turn to raise her brows. “And that actually works?”
He laughed onto her fingers. “Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. But it usually makes me feel better to some degree. Or it just makes me laugh at myself a bit.”
This scene was one of the many that broke me. THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE is just another piece of the story of Celaena Sardothien’s downfall. The story is woven of betrayal and deceit and severed friendships and old wounds and love. Such a sweet, bright light in a tale which eeks out darkness like spilt blood.

This was the final piece. The cog on the wheel of Celeana’s fate which broke her heart yet again and tormented her spirits into numbness.

I knew what was going to happen. I’ve read the series to date, and love every fracturing piece of Celeana that there is to discover. This is the part of her past that just made the events I’ve already read all worth even more. Made me cry. Made me want to hit someone.

Loss is like that. Especially one that has been treated like a vivid scar Celeana wears on her life going forward. I knew about this pain she bore, but I didn’t fully understand it until I read this novella. And now I mourn for the girl she was all over again.

And the man who suffered for loving her, against all the odds.

It puts so much of Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows into focus. I cried for it. And I cried for her promise to overcome the hell she was sentenced to. On crumbling legs and wobbly feet, before the Lord of the North, swearing that she would survive.
“The breeze grew into a wind, and she closed her eyes, letting it sweep away the ashes of that dead world—of that dead girl. And then there was nothing left except something new, something still glowing red from the forging.
Celeana opened her eyes.
She would go into Endovier. Go into Hell. And she would not crumble.”
She would not be afraid. I’ve got tears in my eyes yet again.

EMPIRE OF STORMS could not feel farther away.

e-Book / 94 pgs / July 20th 2012 / Bloomsbury / Goodreads / $1.99

My e-book copy was purchased on Amazon.com.

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Captive Prince + Prince's Gambit by C. S. Pacat | LGBTQ+ | Fantasy | Mine for the Reading

We walked in the night garden, and you took my arm and gave me counsel, and I did not listen.
And Nikandros of Delpha stared back at him, and in a shocked voice, speaking the words half to himself, said, “It’s not possible.”
“Old friend, you have come to a place where nothing is as any of us thought.”
In a land of serpents and wolves ever-bickering and unable to trounce the other, Laurent of Vere and Damianos of Akielos find themselves entwined by brutality and treachery in the midst of a brewing war and political conquering. Both will surely lead to the destruction of the fragile peace keeping everything just barely intact. Damianos, once a prince, betrayed and made a slave in the kingdom of Vere, is caged in his helplessness and inability to aid the country falling apart under the rule of the man—and the woman—who betrayed him. But that’s not all he has to worry about.

There’s one crucial thing to bear in mind when finding yourself in a kingdom made of honeyed poison: survival. Between the disgusting practices and abuse of the system that governs them, Vere, in all it’s finery and elegant nobility, can drive a man to do things that would leave him irrevocably unhinged—if not dead. The sickening, merciless brutality doled out by the Veretians in their court games and spectacles make the crown prince of their barbarian neighbors regard the country with a whole new level of near-maddening distaste and horror.

Laurent was born in this cold web of deceit, broken children, repellent men and women, and battered slaves. That may have lent to his impenetrable armor against it all—except for the very few chinks Damen discovers in watching him during his forced servitude. That is, when he’s not fighting for dominance—even mere living—against the ice-veined, amoral prince with a deep, personal loathing for Damen and his countrymen.

With all the well-constructed political disputes lacking the accent of magic and a romance inhibited by a stark imbalance of power as within The Winner’s Curse trilogy mixed with the horrifying cruelty and cutting treachery of Game of Thrones, the Captive Prince books are a marked success of a recipe gone right. Though, I’m not quite so attached as to roar about the missing—as yet—third sequel, it’s more than simple curiosity which has reeled me in, kept me glued, and left me reaching for what will happen next.

More than anything, I need to know how this will end. Will Laurent overcome the reality of Damen’s true identity (if he somehow already hasn’t?)? Will Damen be able to ease the suffering of that knowledge? Can a love (undeclared) like this—born within hate and brutality and slavery—succeed? Will thrones be reclaimed, war stopped, cunning outsmarted, viciousness eradicated? Questions that will dog me until book three. The answers may hurt me, and yet I still can’t wait.

Ebook / 240 + 216 pgs / 2012 (AU)/2015 (US) / Berkeley / Goodreads / $6.99

My copy was purchased from Amazon Kindle.

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Sidenote: I used the Japanese released cover because it is GORGEOUS. And makes me hopeful there will be a manga or an anime in the future. :-)

A Diverse Selection: His Road Home by Anna Richland | Interracial Relationships | Mine for the Reading

"Do you have a compelling academic or personal need to attend the University of Washington Seattle at this time?"
Yes. I have a massive crush on a woman with a Ph.D., so I need a degree, a job and a place to live in Seattle. Please admit me. So I can get laid.
This little piece of adorable, sexy fiction was so, so good. I get giddy and want to squeal like I did when I got solo playing rights to Ocarina of Time at ten thinking about all that took place here. The first three-quarters are definitely the strongest part, but I just... can't. My heart got squeezed, my smile took over my face. Because Grace Kim flew to some military hospital the moment she finds out Reynaldo Cruz had his legs blown off in Afghanistan... and had her picture in his pocket. He used it to claim she was his fiance. She has never met him before in her life. He can barely speak because his brain is all scrambled. She's supposed to go back to her old life in a week.

But she doesn't. She stays.

She helps his mom when she comes running to take care of her newly disabled son. She helps make his days a little easier than the days before. And he starts noticing how good she smells, how sweetly she tries, how she stays by his side even though she has no reason to. Ah... just talking about it is making my heart melt.

"Good." Of you to come, of you to help my mother, your hands feel good on my skin, goodbye, but he realized she probably heard good that you're leaving because the corners of her mouth drooped. "Not good. No." His voice rose, but he didn't know how to share his feelings.
There was one way to explain what he meant, a loco way, but he used to be a loco hombre. She barely had time to squeak before his hands gripped her shoulders and he yanked."

Angie, you may not remember me, but I never stopped reading your reviews. Your review for His Road Home stuck with me. You got to me.

e-Book / 109 pgs / Oct 13th 2014 / Carina Press / Goodreads / $2.99

My e-book copy was purchased on Amazon.com.

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A Diverse Selection: Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet | LGBTQ+ | Mine for the Reading

"He took Calvin's hand, and like every other time in their lives, Calvin followed Ethan blindly and willingly."
The first time Detective Dexter J. Daley meets the rest of his new team of THIRDs operatives it's after a) having been expressly directed NOT to meet them on his own by his Sargent father and b) getting into a fight with a ginormous bear-shifting agent fondly dubbed thereafter as Yogy over Cheesy Doodles. From that moment on, Destructive Delta was forever changed.

“At home in my drawer I have this huge d—”
Ash clamped a hand over Cael’s mouth, his face crimson. “Dictionary. A huge dictionary. Cael’s teaching me new words, such as… delitescent. Adjective. This entire conversation should have remained delitescent.”
“I’m a little scared right now,” Dex whispered hoarsely, turning to Sloane. “Hold me.”

Catch a Tiger by the Tail follows Calvin and Hobbs story - and while I would believe Dex capable of blinding you by gummy bear beaning, your eyes do not deceive you - those are their names - and this chapter of the team's story has been long-awaited. The solemn, pointed sharpshooter and the mute, sweet de-bomberperson (just made that up) have been longtime best friends and are now navigating the murky waters of transition into lovedom. Yummy and warm, oh, sweet, sweet man-on-man swoon.

This series is known for making people sit up in bed, laughing out loud to the point of near hysterical sobbing. From Dex's gummy bear obsession to the point of defiling his helmet to Ash's rip-roaring grouchiness to Cael's uninvited knowledge of sex toys and Dex's pubescent antics to Letty and Rosa's tagteam bullying to Sloane's head-shaking resignation to Hudson's tea predilection to Calvin and Hobbs' way without words and all the mischief that comes as a result. Crime and suspense, male romance, gut-busting humor, I almost want to warn you away!

Ebook / 216 pgs / Feb 5th 2016 / Dreamspinner Press / Goodreads / $6.99

My copy was purchased from Amazon Kindle.

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