Book Review: “Long Night Moon” by S.M. Reine

Long Night Moon by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SM Reine does it again! Long Night Moon is a great next chapter in the “Seasons of the Moon” YA urban fantasy series that Reine has built, and as with the other two novels, I was HIGHLY entertained.

In terms of plot, “Long Night Moon” wasn’t nearly as suspenseful as its predecessors, BUT the book certainly develops the larger world of the werewolf in a wonderful way. We get to see, bit by bit, who is actually a part of this world, and it’s not JUST werewolves! We also get to see all the challenges that werewolves, especially Rylie, has to deal with, especially in terms of dealing with the human side vs. the wolf side.

Reine does an excellent job of bringing a lot of humanity to her characters, and she’s also great at following human logic and natural reactions to the weird happenings around town. She’s also not afraid to trouble the relationships and loyalties of her characters, and that always makes for super engaging, never predictable dynamics surrounding love, loyalty, duty, and friendship.

Long Night Moon, as well as the “Seasons of the Moon” series in general is a great YA series, and I’m super excited to pass it on to my daughter when she gets old enough!


“LONG NIGHT MOON” VIDEO REVIEW



 

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Rock on, read on,
<3 Colby

How to Write That Sci-Fi Novel You Always Wanted To Write

Let’s get one thing straight; sci-fi books are totally badass. They get to explore a place and space that has never been explored because everything – every last little detail – is brewed in the dark recesses of your freaking awesome mind. There is just one Game Of Thrones sized wall to overcome, and that is writing a sci-fi novel ain’t easy.


So, here’s my advice:


1. Never Try To Write A Best-Seller

The reason being, you can’t. It is impossible. Best-sellers are not only subjective and unexpected, they are part of trends that come and go, so if you are trying to write a best-seller that is part of a current trend, well, sorry sweetheart, but you are already behind. Anyway, it’s like we said, no one knows what is going to be a success and every successful author has had to fight for their place.

2. Write The Book You Want To Stay Up All Night Reading

There is one really quick way to failing as a writer, and that is to write a book that you wouldn’t read. There is just no point in it. Writing is a craft that needs love, attention, intrigue and bloodthirsty lust; so only write the things you want to write and the things you want to read. If you don’t love it no one else will. Simple.

3. Sit Down And Start Typing

So many people want to write a book but they don’t want to put in the work. They want to have written a book. Maybe they will try for a bit, before realising how long and arduous the process of writing is. But sitting in a chair and tapping away persistently and determinedly is the only way you’ll ever get that best-seller written. Write, write and then write some more. We get better with every page we sculpt, remember that.

4. Cardboard Characters Will Always Suck

Sure, writing a cool world with loads of cool stuff is cool, but it isn’t enough. What makes a story is the characters, people or things that we can bond with and care about and relate to. They are the main source of awesomeness when it comes to being sympathetic in a sentence, the thing that will get hairs standing up and tears rolling down cheeks and, maybe, just maybe, fists punching the air. If people don’t care about your characters then they aren’t going to care about the cool world you have created.

5. Forget About Anything But Your Writing

If you want to have a best-selling book more than anything then you may find you’ll be disappointed. This is because it is impossible to control all the variables that it takes to achieve that success; the marketing, the timing, the agents and publishers, the media and the landscape. Instead, focus on just one thing; writing a book that is as good as you can get it. Write a book that you are totally proud of. A book that you want to read and that others will want to read to. Forget the best-seller thing, it is out of your control. Just up your chances by writing something amazing.

 

Book Review: “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

divergentDivergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sooo… while Divergent didn’t completely knock the stuffing out of me, as far as YA novels go, this was a solid and engaging run! Divergent takes an interesting idea and spins it into a hook that keeps you wanting to turn the page. I just wonder how all of this looks when taken to its logical conclusion. I watched the first two movies but haven’t seen the last two, deliberately, as I wanted to experience the literature first. (As a side note, I really love how the movies brought the novels to life and fills in a lot of the visual gaps.)

THE STORY: For me, Divergent’s plot turned out to be a bit flat and unsurprising, but the character relationships were REALLY fascinating. Character depth, conflict, the exploration of humanity and morality, and especially the romantic / sexual tension, are where Roth shines! Roth does a great job of exploring the tense, nervous, and yet somehow heady relationship between Four and Tris, drawing us into their tension and holding us there.

AS A SIDE NOTE: Readers often compare Divergent to The Hunger Games, which personally, I find unreasonable and ridiculous. And kinda cray too, lol. Come on, really? They’re two completely different stories, set in two completely different locations, courting two different worlds, and featuring two COMPLETELY different heroines who have different stakes and arcs. The only similarity between them is the fact that they are dystopian works with strong female leads… and if that makes them the same, then I advise readers to broaden their ideas of genre and girlhood.

In all, this is a light and enjoyable read, and I’d totally take it to the beach or on vacay with me. Many thanks to Roth for putting her wonderful voice and ideas into the world. I love dystopian stories with complicated heroines, and I will DEFINITELY be continuing this series (and hopefully completing it) in 2017!

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Rock on, READ on,
<3 Colby

Book Review: “All Hallows Moon” by S.M. Reine

allhallowsmooncoverAll Hallows Moon by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet another super entertaining read, courtesy of SM Reine! This story’s really just what a reader needs to help them believe in light and love again, lol. It’s refreshing, interesting, and the love story is cute. It’s a pretty cool sequel to the original story and builds on the cliffhanger from “Six Moon Summer” very nicely! The only thing I hoped for was Rylie to be a *little* more proactive regarding the hunters trying to kill her, BUT I also appreciate how real her actions felt.

Scared, alone, isolated, and monstrous… with hunters wanting to kill you at every turn. I mean, who could honestly be supergirl in her circumstances? I am interested in a couple of throwaway characters– two psychiatrists– that popped up towards the end though. I have a feeling they’ll be making another appearance in the next sequel!

I hope the future novels in this series will have a bit more of a dramatic edge to them, but they’re great as they are too. I like light and adorable just fine!

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Rock on, READ on,
<3 Colby

Book Review: “Six Moon Summer” by S.M. Reine

sixmoonsummercoverSix Moon Summer by S.M. Reine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For the first few chapters, I was a little bored with the premise. Lol, like, “oh brother, here’s yet another tragically beautiful, thrown-int0-a-new-world misfit.” And I bucked a bit, not really feeling connected with Rylie’s somewhat aloof and stuffy character.

At FIRST. But hang in there. The book is a quick read, and everything picks up considerably, including the overarching mystery.

As Rylie begins to explore the mysteries of Camp Silver Lake and the mysterious werewolves in it, I got completely HOOKED. I love the way the story progressed, and the way the tension increased with every chapter. I also really enjoyed Seth & Rylie’s growing rapport, and the way the conflict between them ramped up with a sudden and surprising reveal. The descriptions of the werewolf transformation, the progression, and the lore were also fantastic. I love how Reine freshens up the genre with her personal take!

I love SM Reine’s work in general, and I came into her worlds through books she wrote later. But as her debut novel, “Six Moon Summer” was an amazing, super solid intro to what Reine can really do with well-known werewolf lore. The best part is that while the ending is satisfying and complete, it isn’t exactly “clean”, in that everything is perfectly tied up. There are some cliffhangers, and I DEFINITELY want to read the next book in the series to see what happens next!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially if you’re looking for a light entertaining read with plenty of action, character growth, tension, and romance… and did I say ACTION? (The action kicked all sorts of ass.)

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Write on, rock on, and READ on,
<3 Colby

Book Review: “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins

mockingjaycoverMockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s start with the real…

For about 50% of this book, I was really annoyed and, dare I say it, bored as hell. I felt as though a lot of the story dragged, mostly because Katniss spent a lot of time being a head case rather than pushing the action of the story. This fact was only underscored by the fact that The Hunger Games has always been a first-person narrative, and when our hero is stagnated, so are we, unfortunately.

A lot of the war against the Capitol actually happens off-scene, and Katniss hears about it second- and third-hand from various sources. In the meanwhile, though, she’s stuck in 13 being traumatized and useless, and we get to be stuck with her. GRRR.

Now with the awesome…

Then, as seems to be Suzanne Collins’ style, Act III EXPLODES with action, where we face mounting odds, higher body counts, and the unthinkable losses of some our favorite characters. I was tormented, honestly. Digsuted. Shocked. Riveted. And just broken. As we sped towards a super climactic ending, I couldn’t stop myself from zooming through the pages. It made the first 60% of the book worth slogging through.

In the end, though, the harrowing consequences of all the loss and strife hit us over and over. The war is won. The vicious Snow has expired, and the methodical, cruel Coin exterminated by Katniss’ impeccable aim. And Katniss? We see a girl deeply scarred and disjointed at a soul-level, who is trying to hold onto and rebuild her reality all at once. She is pretty much alone to swim in her grief and trauma, imo. Pot-war, she’s been abandoned by both Gale and her own mother, who are off dealing with their own lives, demons, and emotional backlash. The only one truly by Katniss’ side, as usual, is Peeta, who seems healed of his brainwashing by the Capitol but who is still healing the scars from the war as a whole.

The ending of Mockingjay is not truly a happy one but merely a blank slate upon which the current survivors try to rebuild. As they stumble towards something resembling peace and prosperity, the specter of war haunts them all, certainly, and us, too. A cautionary lesson. One that will probably never truly be learned.

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Write on, rock on, and READ on,
<3 Colby

Book Review: “Gerard’s Beauty” by Marie Hall

gerard's beautyGerard’s Beauty by Marie Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BRUH. BRUH!!!!!!

Talk about a HOTT n’ sexy story!! I have to say (once again) that Marie Hall’s Kingdom series was an instant favorite of mine. And I have to say (once again) I’m not a romance reader by any stretch. Though I’m obviously becoming one, thanks to Hall.

I’m not going to summarize the story as the synopsis does that pretty well. But wow, can this woman write some damned good romantic tension. I pretty much highlighted a turn of phrase on each page of this titillating tale, so that I could savor her use of language. Love it! So sultry! So passionate! The manuscript could’ve used a final scrub as there are very minor errors (missed apostrophes, etc), but they do not distract from what is a superbly-written tale of love, lust, and all the grays in between.

Some heartwarming parts give this story a surprising level of emotional, NON-romantic depth and realism. Hall addresses issues surrounding genetic disorders AND gives us a great look at geek / cosplay culture, which brings a surprising and delightful twist on an otherwise “normal” leading lady. And, of course, the promises of incredible, mind-blowing sex with French jilted lovers drip from each page. The last chapter is definitely worth our long and deliciously agonizing wait.

Hall has definitely brought an awesome twist to the genre of fairy tale retells and romance, and I’ll definitely be picking up the other books in the series!

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Write on, rock on, and READ on,
<3 Colby

Book Review: “The Descendant” by Ally Capraro

thedescendantThe Descendant by Ally Capraro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great premise and interesting storyline with tons of potential!

The Descendent is a solid first act in a sci-fi romance series, with an interesting premise, an eternal battle, and a tender romance that will intrigue your mind and touch your heart. I look forward to seeing more of Ally Capraro as the series, her voice, and her craft all develop. Let loose, dear writer! We want to see your spirit and hear your authentic voice as you release the stories inside of you. 🙂

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Write on, rock on, and READ on,
<3 Colby

Book Review: “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins

Catching_FireCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lot of people criticize this middle book of the Hunger Games series because they believe it “lagged”, “nothing was happening”, or “Katniss was too whiny”. And it’s true, a great portion of the book (at least the first 50%) is not necessarily filled with the action-packed, high-octane, nail-biting suspense that we experienced and loved in the first book.

But taking the series as a whole, Catching Fire is a perfect middle portion to a saga about oppression, revolution, war… and a frightened teenager unwittingly caught in its crosshairs.

Much of the first part of Catching Fire is spent in Katniss’ head as she witnesses and hides from her worst fear: growing rebellion in the Districts. I think Collins’ portrayal of her fear, angst, and indecision is spot on. Having Katniss feel anything else or act in any other way would have probably come off as disingenuous. Remember, Katniss is a mortal girl. Not an X-Man. Not a superhero. She is very much human, someone who can be tortured, killed, wounded, someone with people she loves, who could literally be annihilated at any point. She is a mouse before the giant that is the Capitol. So she walks a fine line; she understands that her actions now have some VERY far-reaching and painful consequences. As would anyone, for a while, Katniss tries her best to remain still and ineffectual. She wants to placate the Capitol, even though she hates it. But as she realizes that she has already set the match to an already combustible situation, she is finally forced to turn and face her fears. Even THEN, though, we see her wavering. And I love it because it’s just so damned HUMAN.

I think this is what I adored most about Catching Fire, and it’s why I gave it a higher rating than the first book, The Hunger Games. I LOVED Katniss’ humanness, flaws, and fallibility. I love that Collins’ DIDN’T buy into the teen immortality mythology, and that she kept Katniss grounded in a firm reality. This grounding always kept us aware of just how palpable Katniss’ situation was! So when the fast-paced action FINALLY popped off in Act III of the book, I felt emotionally fulfilled and was able to enjoy the action and suspense as it unfolded in the arena (which was brilliantly designed). And just like in the first book, Collins delivered.

Big time.

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Write on, rock on, and READ on,
<3 Colby

Do You Want Free Ebooks, Audiobooks, and a 15-module Online Writing Course this Halloween?

Giveaway Banner!

Well? Do you? 

Well then you should have come to our SWEET “Colors in Darkness” Facebook Party!!

I hosted my hour just yesterday, and guess what? We played games, pitched creepy riddles, learned about transcultural monsters and demons, AND talked about MY all-time favorite survival horror video game franchise, RESIDENT EVIL.

Bohemian Badass School Website ShotWith each game, I was literally GIVING away my entire ebook and audiobook library! AND to sweeten the pot, I was also giving away a FREE 15-module writing course from my up and coming online school, The Bohemian Badass School for Creatives!

colorsindarknessbannerBut if you missed the party, don’t fret! There will be more opportunities to win, win, win as the holiday season comes up.

Still, in the meantime, I’d LOVE if you could join us for the REST of the Colors in Darkness event! More kick-ass multicultural horror, paranormal, and dark fantasy authors will be hosting, playing games, and giving away amazing prizes!

There are only TWO days left in the event, so DON’T MISS IT!

Click NOW to join the party and
WIN FREE PRIZES AND BOOKS!

Write on, rock on, keep it indie, and HAPPY HALLOWEEEN!!
<3 Colby