Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fingal's Cave Black Friday Sale

I've got new items in my Etsy shop, Fingal's Cave, and I decided to have a Black Friday sale. If you want Steampunk jewelry, or Sherlock and Hobbit geekery, go check it out! The coupon code is running through Monday and is good for 15% off: BLACKFRIDAY14





Friday, November 21, 2014

Character Interview with Ciran Mac Cool

Okay so I said I was going to get some snippets and fun stuff up this month to go along with NaNoWriMo, but I guess I didn't, and I apologize for that. I've just hit the ground running this month and it's not going to change until New Years at least, but I do hope to share some more with you about my book Blood Ties between now the the Release Date that should hopefully be sometime in January or February. As an update on NaNo, I am very close to my 50,000, only about 5,000 more to go, so I should be a winner by the end of the weekend! I was hoping to finish the actual novel by the end of the month like last year, but An Earthly King is much longer than Wolfsblood was and I haven't quite even reached the halfway point yet. Oh well.

Anyway, I decided I should post something, so here is a character interview with Ciran Mac Cool, the hero of the story, so you can get to know him better. Thanks to my friend, Abigail, for writing the interview questions for me!

Ciran Mac Cool

When there isn’t a life-or-death adventure on hand, what do you enjoy doing?

When we’re not on a mission, I’m usually either at home riding, training, or messing around with my siblings, or with my friends out on the town. It’s nice to have some downtime every once in a while.

Were you a pest when you were little?

That depends on who you ask! I don’t think I was too bad, though, comparatively. I had a good big brother to keep me in line!

Does the end justify the means?

That depends on the results the end brings. As a warrior, I know that sometimes one simply had to do what needs to be done, whether it’s just or not. It’s a hard thing to get used to, but it’s part of life.

What makes you angriest?

When something should be done, but no one will step up to do it.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

A peaceful Ireland, good relationships, and many days in the sun.

What is your favorite weapon?

The sword is my preferred weapon. Mine was made by my father who is a master smith.

Are you interested in girls?

Haven’t found the right one yet. Don’t really have time for a relationship at the moment anyway.

Do you lean towards reforming or exterminating villains?

I know enough of the world to realize that not everyone can be reformed. If it’s possible, then it is important we try our best, but it’s also important to realize that some people are just evil and sometimes it’s best to consider the loss that would happen if they continued to strive.

Fate or choice?

I think there’s a bit of both, but I also believe that one can change their fate if they try hard enough.

How do you get along with Miss West?

We get along fine until she tries to emotionally traumatize me or torture me or throw me down a waterfall—yes, that really happened.

How do you take your tea?

I take coffee or chocolate. Tea is no friend to the warrior who must get up early in the morning for tracking!

Who is your hero?

My big brother Aeden will always be my hero.

What kind of vehicle do you like best?

I drive an Aston Martin Vanquish, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Fast, sleek, maneuvers well, and can outrun most enemies.

Are you a night person or a morning person?

I am what I have to be at the moment. I’m not really a morning person, but I have learned to be able to get up early and still be able to function. You do what you have to when you’re out tracking or whatnot.

What would you die for?

I would die for any family member or friend.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Signing and Craft Fair

Hey everyone! So this weekend, I'm actually going to be doing my first official book signing! A few of my friends and I are going to have a booth at a local craft fair and I'm going to be selling my books as well as some steampunk jewelry and yarn goods from my etsy shop Fingal's Cave.

It's going to be held this Saturday the 8th, in Montverde, FL. If you're close enough, come stop by and see us! Here's some more information of their website: http://mymontverde.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=109

Here's some of the stuff I'll be selling:

These are my Hobbit themed scarves. Each one represents a place in Middle Earth



Sorry for the terrible pictures, I missed my window of opportunity and had to take inside without natural light. 


So, yes, if you live anywhere near enough to come, please do! The event's going to be a lot of fun, and I look forward to seeing you there! =)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

So it's that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month! And yes, I'm going to attempt to make the 50,000 once again this year! It happened to fall at just the right time for me to start my new novel so I was very excited about that.

No big reveal for the novel this year, I'm going to be working on An Earthly King the second novel in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series. It's going to be the sequel to Blood Ties which hopefully will be out this Winter!

Normally, I would be sharing Tuesday snippets with you, and I will share something every Tuesday, but I don't know how many snippets from this novel I can share without spoiling the first one. So Instead, I'll either do a snippet from Blood Ties to stick with the theme, or I'll do something fun like art or character interviews or something like that.

If anyone else is taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, let me know! I'd love to know what you're working on. It's a lot easier to get through if you have people to encourage you through it, making sure you're not just playing around on Pintrest or something :P If you want to look me up and be my Writing Buddy on the Nano website, I'm Artfulscribbler, same as my Twitter account. I hope to see you there! And best of luck with reaching your 50,000!

Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BPAFF Public Service Announcement: Keep Safe this All Hollows



This is a public service announcement from BPAFF (The Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk)

All Hallows is only two days away, and that means it's time to think about protection before you go out and have your fun on All Hallows Eve. Let's run down the list of what that is:

All Hallows Eve is one of the most dangerous nights of the year to be out because the Veil is thin between our world (the human world) and that of the Fae (or Fairies). All manner of Fae are going to be out, just looking for people to glamour or steal away to their Realm. This isn't a tithe year, so you won't have to lock up your young men, but keep in mind that abduction by Fairies is still a very real threat.

Here's some simple things you can do to protect yourself:

Carry Iron

All Fae are allergic to iron. Any bit will protect you, whether it is a piece of jewelry, a knife, or anything portable. Depending on where you are planning to go on All Hallows Eve, you can decide whether or not you actually need a weapon or just some piece of iron to carry with you.

Four Leaf Clovers

Four leaf clovers will reveal a Fairies' glamour. Fairies can disguise themselves to walk among humans. You may not know you're to be the victim of a Faery abduction until too late. If you carry a four leaf clover, you will be able to see past their human disguise. (Note, three leaf clovers DO NOT work the same, never substitute)

Rowan

If you don't have iron, rowan is a good substitute, and will do the same thing, though it can't be fashioned into a weapon unless you want a cane or club. Perfect for a night on the town though.

Wear Clothing Inside Out

If you're wandering through a place high in Faery activity, wear your clothes inside out to lighten the risk you will lose your way. Doing this will make you immune to their tricks and spells, but don't rely on this alone. Carry some other form of protection against them.

Note that all of these are good ways to protect yourself from Fairies but it is still highly inadvisable to go anywhere near the Faelands on All Hallows Eve at all. Remember, that if you do not bother the Fairies, they will not bother you.

(This Public Service Announcement was brought to you by Blood Ties: A Modern Tale of Na Fianna)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Books of Note: September Reads

I've decided to continue with the format for my books of note that I did over the summer and list all the books I read as well as bought and then of course, the reviews for my favorite books as usual. I've also decided to link the reviews for the books I don't review directly on the blog to Goodreads. Because I actually do review most books that I read so if you are interested, you can read them on Goodreads.

I read nine books this month, still not as many as I wanted to, but a lot of them were 400+ pages, so I let myself off :P I also managed to read only books I own this month, so no library books at all, and I got through a lot of new releases and series books I have wanted to read for a long time.

Books I Read:

1. Gates of Thread and Gold by Lori M. Lee (Giveaway win) (2/5 stars)
2. Deathwish (Cal and Niko #4) by Rob Thurman (4/5 stars)
3. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson (3/5 stars)
4. Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga (5/5 stars)
5. Cup of Blood (Crispin Guest #0.5--prequel) by Jeri Westerson (4/5 stars)
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (4/5 stars)
7. Found (Mickey Bolitar #3) by Harlan Coben (3.5/5 stars)
8. Slaves of Socorro (Brotherband Chronicles #4) by John Flanagan (3/5 stars)
9. Inkheart (Inkworld #1) by Cornelia Funke (re-read) (5/5 stars)

Books I Bought:

1. Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga
2. Roadkill (Cal and Niko #5) by Rob Thurman
3. Jackaby by William Ritter
4. Found (Mickey Bolitar #3) by Harlan Coben
5. The Maze Runner by James Dashner


Favorite Reads of the Month:


Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?
The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King.


Review


I'm going to have to break my normal review format for this one because I honestly don't even know how to go about reviewing this book, and I'm going to try to do it as well as I can without spoiling it, which means it's going to be short.

This was a ridiculously hard book to rate. There is so much in this that is not okay, but it all works out into the story, so I can't really complain and the end really clinched it for me. I'm going to be honest, horrible stuff happens in this book, and when we find out about Jazz's past it gets even worse, but it's not okay in the book, just as it's not okay with the reader and it's supposed to be like that, so while I don't care to read about stuff like that, because it wasn't there to be gratuitous I can deal with it and just feel bad for what poor Jazz went through.

This was a non-stop action book, I read it in two days and only stopped to sleep. The writing as with the previous books is amazing, the twists and turns are wonderful, and leave you wondering whether or not everything will actually turn out okay in the end, and I love that because it's usually so obvious that everything will end well in a book. The twist about Ugly J and the Crows was great, and though I pretty much had figured it out by that time, I thought it was revealed really well. Billy Dent is whack, there's nothing else to say, he was just so creepy.

As for the outcomes, I loved them, I was reading with bated breath, not knowing where it was going, or where Jazz was going, and all I'm going to say is that I was not disappointed. The conclusion was wonderful, way better and more solid than I expected it to be, and overall I am really happy I read this series. Barry Lyga is an amazing author and one of the best when it comes to writing crazed, delusional serial killers. And I do always appreciate that. I really do.

So, yes I ended up rating it five stars in the end, because what else am I going to do with a book that makes me feel the way this one did?


When a corpse turns up at his favorite tavern, Crispin begins an inquiry, but the dead man turns out to be a Knight Templar, an order thought to be extinct for 75 years, charged with protecting a certain religious relic which is now missing. Before he can investigate, Crispin is abducted by shadowy men who are said to be minions of the French anti-pope. Further complicating matters are two women: one from court with an enticing proposition, and another from Crispin’s past, dredging up long-forgotten emotions he would rather have left behind. And as if all that weren’t enough, a cunning young cutpurse by the name of Jack Tucker has insinuated himself into Crispin’s already difficult life. The deeper Crispin probes into the murder, the more it looks like the handiwork of an old friend turned adversary. With enemies from all sides, Crispin has his hands full in more than murder.


Review





I was hoping that Jeri Westerson would write a prequel for the Crispin series to tell us how he and Jack actually met, and I was not disappointed with this book. It was a very good prequel (and I'm always a fan of those) and it was nice to see Crispin and Jack get to know each other from the beginning. I have always loved their relationship because it's a bit different from what you normally get with mystery novels, Jack being so much younger than the typical side-kick character you find in the genre, but it works really well with the series and with Crispin's character.

The storyline of this one was really cool too, and I loved how all the mysteries seemed to be separate but kind of intertwined throughout the story to where you were left wondering whether it was all just a coincidence or whether everyone might be involved. It wasn't super hard to figure out, but there were still a couple twists that I didn't see coming, and I still enjoyed the book despite that because I read these for the characters more than anything.

As for secondary characters, I loved seeing Wynchcombe again, I actually really enjoyed his character. He is a baddie, but he's interesting too because half the time he's trying to kick Crispin's head in and the other half, he's helping him. He was one of my favorite sheriffs in the series. I did not care at all for Lady Vivienne, in fact, I found her annoying. That didn't bother me though, because she was supposed to be. What really bothered me was that Crispin was such an idiot about her. I mean, seriously, man, you can't think all ladies are so innocent, can you? And even after she duped him several times, he still fell under her spell. Just several head-shaking moments there, but I think it taught him lessons for later in the series. De Marcherne was a pretty cool baddie though. He was so cold and evil, and French. I enjoyed him a lot.

All in all, another really enjoyable Crispin Guest mystery. I really look forward to seeing the next book in the series, and continuing Crispin and Jack's adventure where they left off!






From internationally bestselling author Harlan Coben comes this third action-packed installment of his bestselling young adult series.

It’s been eight months since Mickey Bolitar witnessed the shocking, tragic death of his father. Eight months of lies, dark secrets, and unanswered questions. While he desperately wants answers, Mickey’s sophomore year of high school brings on a whole new set of troubles. Spoon is in the hospital, Rachel won’t tell him where he stands, his basketball teammates hate him . . . and then there’s Ema’s surprise announcement: She has an online boyfriend, and he’s vanished. 
As he’s searching for Ema’s missing boyfriend (who may not even exist!), Mickey also gets roped into helping his nemesis, Troy Taylor, with a big problem. All the while, Mickey and his friends are pulled deeper into the mysteries surrounding the Abeona Shelter, risking their lives to find the answers—until the shocking climax, where Mickey finally comes face-to-face with the truth about his father.





Review



Thoughts on the Overall Book: I've loved the Mickey Bolitar series a lot so far, and while this one might not have been quite as action packed as the previous two, I still did enjoy it and it had a few really good twists that kept me reading it straight through. Anytime I read a novel straight through I have to give marks to the author for that.

Cover--Yea or Nay: No. I really hate these new covers. They are terrible.

Characters: Mickey was always a really enjoyable character. He does what he has to and he doesn't sit around moping about it. I also loved Ema and continue to do so in this one. She never comes across with an attitude and is a genuinely good friend to Mickey. Spoon was less weird in this story and I actually feel like we got to know him a little better. He surprised me. I'm not going to say much more for fear of spoiling the story, but I'll just say that I liked how we got to see some more of the characters and how they played their parts in the plot.

The Romance: Not really any romance though part of the plot is that Ema met a boy online and that's whatever you want to call that. I still think there will be a romance between her and Mickey, and I wouldn't be unhappy with it, but I don't mind them being friends like they are now either.

Writing Style: Same as the others. First person past tense from Mickey's POV. I enjoy his narration, I have no complaints with being in his head. As I said previously, Harlan Coben does so well with suspense, keeping the reader occupied. Granted, it's not a long book anyway, but I read it in a night and a day and it definitely felt like it went super fast unlike some books that drag on forever. It's the kind of thing I look for in a suspense novel (and I have read 'suspense novels' that did not make me sit down and read them cover to cover). The story wasn't quite as awesome or engaging as that of the previous two books, but it was still enough to keep my attention through the whole thing. It was more of a personal story for Mickey and Ema, dealing with things closer to home.

Accuracy/ Believability: No complaints. Obviously, there's not a lot of problem with this in contemporary.

Problems/What bothered me: Nothing really bothered me. I could say I was mildly disappointed that we didn't get to see more of Luther but the way this one ended up (and I won't say anything!) the next book--which I assume we will be getting?--will be more about that plot line.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. Not quite as action packed as the previous two books, but still very enjoyable.

Recommended Audience: Fans of suspense and thrillers and that kind of stuff would enjoys these. If you liked the Jasper Dent books and want something a little less dark and desperate, this is a good series to read as a recovery. Guy read but can also be a girl read ages 14 and up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mid-Year Book Freakout




I got challenged to do this by my friend and fellow blogger Mara at The Reading Hedgehog. And I thought it looked like fun and a good idea so here is my post, kind of a wrap up of the entire year and not just my summer reads.



1- Best book you've read so far in 2014
Okay, this is tough. I've read lots of good books, but only a few really awesome, epic books. As far as books that came out this year, definitely Jackaby by William Ritter. But as follow up books that I just read this year, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga and Vicious by Victoria Schwab were close seconds.

2- Best sequel you've read so far in 2014
Probably The Shadow Throne (Ascendence Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Neilson was the best sequel book I read so far.

3-New release you haven't read yet, but want to
Ooh, soo many! I have heard many good things about The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen and really want to read that. I also really want to read Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. Looks like a good adventure fantasy novel.

4- Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Boys III) I'm both anticipating this one and scared to death by it. I almost wonder if I just want to have it so I can see where it goes.

5- Biggest disappointment
I don't know if I had any books that were a HUGE disappointment. Half Bad by Sally Green wasn't nearly as awesome as it sounded nor was Crusher by Niall Leonard, but it didn't keep me up at night.

6- Biggest surprise
This would probably be Spookygirl by Jill Baguchinsky. This was one of those books that could go either way, but ended up being good. Not one of the best books ever, but very enjoyable.

7- New author (debut or new to you)
I'm going to do both. For a debut, William Ritter, author of Jackaby definitely and for new to me, Rob Thurman, author of the Cal Leandros series.

8- Newest fictional crush
Ummm....wow, that's a hard one. Maybe Niko from the Cal Leandros series. Off the top of my head.

9- Newest favorite character
Jackaby, definitely.

10- Book that made you cry
I think I've spent most of this year so far crying over TV series instead of books, but I did cry reading The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Neilson. It tore me up.

11- Book that made you happy
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel. Classic adventure novel, and I always adore his books. Makes me feel like a kid :-)

12- Favorite book to film adaption you have seen this year
As crazy as this sounds, I have not seen a book movie this year. I have actually only gone to see three movies this year so far, and none of them were book adaptions. I can probably say with conviction that my favorite will be the third Hobbit movie when it comes out.

13- Favorite review you have written this year
This might sound bad, but my favorite review to write this year was the one I wrote for The Friday Society which I gave one star to because I got to say what I thought about it and use lots of gifs. It's here if you want to read it: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/446704041?book_show_action=false

14- Most beautiful book you have bought this year or received
The Barns & Noble Classics edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales It is sooo pretty :-)

15- What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Um...all of them? I don't really plan that far ahead and I actually finished up all the books I told myself I needed to read this year that were already out over the summer, so I'm pretty clean right now :-) Maybe you should tell me what books I need to read before the end of the year??? (I'm serious, I love to hear people's suggestions!)

I'm not going to tag anyone for this, but I would like to thank Mara again for tagging me, because I enjoyed it a lot! Hope everyone has a good September! I'll be back before long with...something :P