Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Riyria Revalations, a Fantasy Series Worth Reading

This evening I had the pleasure of finishing Michael J. Sullivan’s latest installment of the fantasy series Riyria Revelations, Wintertide.

In short, I am amazed.

One of the things that make the Riyria Revelations different is that they were conceived as a single tale, told in six installments. Each book could stand alone, but they are oh-so-much better when the reader builds on the story that came before. Another outstanding quality is that these books are completely appropriate for any audience because there is no swearing or sex! How tedious it is to pick up a promising book only to find it’s just a chain of smut and profanity glued together with a pitiful plot. If you want an excellent read, this is it. If you’re looking for a romp in the sheets, look elsewhere.

I’d heard about his first book, The Crown Conspiracy, on Goodreads and it sat on my To-Read list for months, but once I cracked it open, I couldn’t put it down.

His masterfully woven tale of two thieves blends humor and intrigue with a dab of brilliance. Completely sucked into the fantasy, I turned the pages, brain working overtime in a futile effort to guess the ending. You can read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of the Crown Conspiracy here.

Sullivan’s next two books, Avempartha and Nyphron Rising, likewise were wonderful books. Full of adventure, betrayals, magic and mystery—the epitome of what fantasy novels should be.
I was pleased to find each additional installment better than the last, but it wasn’t until the 4th book, The Emerald Storm that the series elevated to a whole new level for me. Packed with the usual rich characters, settings and banter, the storyline builds with twists and turns until the final cunning surprise knocks us clear out of the ring. I closed the book almost in reverence, marveling at how each piece fell nicely in place without me ever being the wiser.

With excitement and a little trepidation (because I couldn’t fathom how Sullivan could possibly top his last achievement), I pre-ordered book #5, Wintertide.

I am thrilled to report that he did it again. Wintertide opens with our two favorite thieves, Hadrian and Royce, riding into Aquesta, the new capital of the Empire—a government that has been thrust into power through the devious machinations of a corrupt few which work their trickery behind façade of divine rule. Circumstance and duty separate the thieves as they each strive to save the people they love. Do they succeed? I’m not telling.

The battle for the throne is played in back rooms through subtle power-plays which culminate in the biggest power struggle of all. Personally, I’m dying to know who threw that fateful dagger, but I hardly dare guess because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading Sullivan’s books, it’s that I can’t guess what will happen next.

There are many authors that I admire, many more whose books are among my favorites, but Michael J. Sullivan’s books are in a class above.

I strongly suggest you read the Crown Conspiracy. In fact, you may as well buy the whole series because once you start, you’ll need them all before the week’s out.

Need more proof of how amazing this series is? Check out these stats:

2010 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist (Avempartha)
2010 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist (Nyphron Rising)
2009 Dark Wolf Award Top 10 Fantasy Books
2009 National Indie Book Award Finalist
2008 ReaderViews Annual Literary Award Finalist
2007 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist (The Crown Conspiracy)

Have any of you ever read his work before?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Taking the Plunge: NaNoWriMo

Hello cyber buddies!

I’ve decided to finally take the plunge and do NaNoWriMo. What is it, you ask? It’s an insane challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. November. That’s right. ONE MONTH! I’ve heard about it for years in forums, but I’ve never had the desire to try…until now.

I have a myriad of good, perfectly valid reasons why I don’t have time to do it. Just add 5 kids to the farm and you’ve got an idea of how much I have on my plate. However, I also am a writer.

It finally dawned on me that even if I tried and only got 40k words in one month, then that’s still an awesome achievement. If we make it, we win. If we don’t reach our goal, we still win because we made the effort and wrote every day for the whole month. Is there a downside to this?

If any of you would like to join me in my quest for 50K, my username is mrs.farmgirl. I think I’ll spend every spare moment from now till November outlining.

Happy writing everyone, and I hope to see you there!

Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo with me?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winners of the INTRINSICAL Givaway!

Ding, Ding! Time's up! Special thanks to everyone who posted a comment for Lani Woodland's awesome novel, Intrinsical.  We put each of your names on a paper a mixed them all up in a bowl. My 6 year-old drew the winning names.

The winners of the signed Intrinsical bookmarks with the cover picture on them:

Jen Wilks
Ariell Larson

The winner of the signed copy of the book Intrinsical, by Lani Woodland is...

...drum roll please....


I will mail your bookmarks off tomorrow and Lani will mail Gail the Book directly.
Happy writing everyone. I hope you are all having a wonderful October!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Intrinsical, a New Twist on the Paranormal

*UPDATE!* Lani read the comments below and noticed that people were hoping for a copy of the book...Wish granted! She has offered a free copy to add to the giveaway for this post! Swe-e-et. Spread the word my friends, this is a real treat! *

Need a new YA paranormal book that breaks the mold? Intrinsical may be just what you're looking for. I had the pleasure of visiting with Lani Woodland at Storymaker's 2010 and am happy to report that she is witty and fun, but also very nice and personable. This gal is talented! The beautiful cover is a photo she took underwater. I'm trying to think of an appropriate description and I think "Wow" covers it pretty well.
My review:
Yara’s Waker grandmother was crazy—at least that’s what people said about her so-called ability to speak to ghosts. Embarrassed by the name-calling, Yara tried to ignore the whole ghost issue—until the day she saw one try to kill another student at Penderell School.
She tried to ignore the evidence that her own powers as a Waker were growing. But each new twist and turn pushes her farther into the realm of the ghosts. Especially chilling are the wet footprints, faintly smelling of chlorine, which appear in her dorm room. You can almost hear the wet slurp of each step on the carpet as the unseen menace approaches.

Also caught in the middle of the ghostly mystery is Brent, the preppy handsome boy who takes an interest in Yara, and Cherie, Yara’s best friend who hopes for proof of ghosts, but lacks any paranormal talent. As Yara gets to know more of the students, it becomes apparent that something sinister is behind the deaths at the school—and that the Penderell curse is more than just a scary story.

I really enjoyed Lani Woodland’s debut novel! The writing is fast paced and well done. Free of swearing or sex, this is a clean read, appropriate for all YA readers. Everyone tired of the same-old Vampire/werewolf thing will love this new twist on the paranormal.

Pull up a chair and turn on the lights; you’ll need them both to sit a spell with the ghosts at Penderell.

Want to win a signed Intrinsical bookmark *OR a copy of the book*?
Leave a comment with your email (youremail AT wherever DOT com -to avoid spammers) and we'll draw 2 names for the winners. Contest closes midnight, October 17th.

*Bonus entries for you if you tweet, Facebook, or blog about the book and then tell me you did it.

Find out more about Intrinsical at the Website .Spread the word my friends, your tweeps and facebook buddies need to hear about this book.