The Bone Valley

Happy Release Day to The Bone Valley! Be sure to grab your copy if this sounds perfect for your October bookshelf!

The Bone Valley
By: Candace Robinson

Finished: 8/23/2021

I’ve read quite a few books by Robinson, and I can enthusiastically say that this one is my favorite! This is perhaps the most intense, grotesque, and beautiful story I’ve read from her, and I had a hard time putting it down!

I really loved Anton, a lover, and Nahli, a thief. They seem like characters whose paths would never cross until things go very, very wrong. Even Daryna, the old witch who lives int he woods, grew on me throughout this tale. Pav, Anton’s little brother, grew on me throughout this tale. At first I didn’t think much of him since he just seemed like he wanted to emulate his brother, but as the tale goes on he gains so much empathy and shows he has such a pure heart. I keep bouncing between Pav and Roka as my favorites, but as of this writing, I have to say the little skeleton meerkat Roka was my absolute fave. I can’t say too much about him without giving things away, but his tragic tale and determined love was touching. And he was such a cute companion to them.

I really can’t gush enough about this book because there were times when I was just blown away by the viciousness, the beauty, the cruelty, and the incredible levels of world-building. I could practically imagine this in a stock-motion animation ala Nightmare Before Christmas at times, and it was gorgeous. Robinson’s imagery and creativity was unmatched in this piece. She has such strength in mixing romantic storylines with horrific and dramatic world building and beautiful character development, but this one is a shining example of her skill. If this wasn’t already obvious, this book should not be missed!

I’ve never read a book like this and would happily devour more books in this style or in this world.

My rating: 5/5 skeletal thumbs up

The Leak of Madness

The Leak of Madness
By: Alice J. Black

Finished: 12/13/2020

This was a quick read and dove right into a world of alcoholism, sensitivity to spirits, and a very dysfunctional life. Peyton struggles with her addiction to alcohol which she uses to mask the messages that come from the spirit world. It’s a messy existence, but it’s her coping mechanism.

I have to say I was not a fan of her friend, or how she insisted on bringing Peyton to a wedding even though she had clearly had a rough night. The longer the story went on the more I disliked her friend. I would have called an Uber and gotten out of there! But it’s implied that Peyton is there not only because of her friend’s insistence and almost hawk-like monitoring of everything she did, but also due to the peer pressure of the friends who know her.

The setup may seem long at times, but then once the ending comes around, things happen fast! Hold on to your seat as the whole scene shifts into something far more deadly. Overall this is a strong start to a series following Peyton and her strange life, and I am so ready to see where this goes!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Review: Lyrics & Curses

Lyrics & Curses
By Candace Robinson

Finished: 12/11/2020

I’m a big fan of Candace’s work, and although this one was slow to get started, the final half makes up for it! I think part of it for me was the focus on the romance during the first half. While I don’t mind romance, I tend to prefer it as a side plot rather than the main plot, and I wanted to dive into the fantastic elements earlier. That’s my own preference though.

The concept of getting trapped in a mirror world and having to watch doppelgängers take over your life is fascinating! I loved the whole world-building and mechanics of that and would have loved to see it explored more.

While this was a great read with some fascinating elements, the slow build at the beginning was a little difficult for me. Folks who love sweet romances with some eerie and fantastic elements will definitely love this book! And as usual, Candace does not disappoint with the finale.

I’m really curious to see where this goes in the sequel!

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Romances and Creepy Paths

So even though I am re-reading The Hobbit right now in preparation for Peter Jackson’s film release in just a few weeks (can you say excited?), I promise you that I didn’t have it in mind when I wrote my bit today. It just so happened that the path that leads to the witch’s house kind of acts like the Mirkwood elves partying in the woods. So if you’re familiar with that scene, then you’ll have an idea of how that works. In addition to that fun bit, my MC and gunslinger girlfriend got into a bit of an unexpected romance scene. Totally didn’t anticipate that happening, but that’s where the characters decided to go. Those unexpected moments are really what make me love the writing-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method. Also found out that Rennick chugging down half a glass of whiskey makes for some much needed hilarity.

In other news, I’m finally caught up with my word count in NaNo. I’m over the halfway point, so it’s all downhill from here, right? The plot has totally veered off course from the very loose outline I started out with. Kind of expected, but makes it a bit more difficult with how to wrap up all these loose ends. Somewhere ahead there’s going to be another kidnapping, and plenty more unexpected magical hijinks, cause you know, these are actual witches not herbalists like my poor trio thinks they are dealing with. Though I suppose the long, windy path with creepy mirror qualities should have been a major clue.

Project: Smoke & Witchcraft

Summary: My trio of protagonists (a werewolf, a half-vampire, and a sharpshooter) head to New Orleans to investigate a series of unexplained abductions. So far this pulpy paranormal will have plenty of banter, a slew of fistfights, undercover operations that fail miserably, battles of magic, a necromancer seductress, a coven of witches with a bad rap, and a ton of zombie alligators. Also I plan to toss the damsel in distress idea on its head since both guys will likely need saving. Oh, and did I mention awkward romance?

Current Word Count: 32,240

New Words Written: 2,234 (Today), 5,034 (since last post)

Progress: Ex-boyfriend gets the gunslinger pissed off? Check. Unexpected romance with new boyfriend ensues? Check. Cue the creepy magical wards, disturbing illusions, and yep, now they’ve spotted movement. I swear, I don’t think I’ve given this group a break since they stepped off the train and into town. That’s a good thing though, right?

Total Words for 2012: 145,253

Car Chases and Unexpected Romances

That pretty much sums up the progress in the book so far, both of which were completely unexpected. I have to admit though that the car chase was a heck of a lot of fun to write, and although I haven’t been in any in real life, I can attest to driving quite a bit on the interstate. I’ve decided to retcon Ben’s background and turn him into a truck driver because that totally fits better with his personality and his attitude. He’s kind of grown on me over the book even though at the beginning he was just a side character. It’s funny how frequently that happens when you write from the seat of your pants.

As for the romance, that was also unexpected. I was trying to push it onto another pair of characters, but it totally didn’t fit. They didn’t like it and they certainly weren’t going to keep it up. This one kind of slipped past me and suddenly there it was, glaringly obvious and staring me right in the face. It is a bit odd considering who the two characters are, but somehow it works perfectly for them and explains quite a bit of off the wall behavior. I’m amused by how these romances find their way into my stories, I’d say they were the equivalent of gremlins but that wouldn’t be quite fair, would it? Ghosts of Pikes Peak also had a similar unexpected romance, and going with it led to some much more dynamic and interesting characters. I’m hoping that happens here as well. Anyway, sometimes it’s best to let the characters decide, right? (Crossing my fingers!)

I know this is a commercial and I’m sure some of you have already seen it, but it just struck me as being some of the more uplifting stuff I’ve seen on the internet lately. With all the thousands of youtube videos of folks getting injured or hurt or robbed, this was a nice dissenter.

Here’s the progress:

Project: Secrets of Leekston

Summary: Leekston is an unassumingly quiet southern town, but it hides many secrets. An unusual government entity studies the supernatural activity in the area, but for what purpose? A crazy scientist runs a research lab of particular patients, and his daughter may pay the price for the people he’s maimed. Six years after the incident at the Kayak Hills subdivision, sixteen year-old Suzie Daper once again must protect her family, this time from a bloodthirsty werewolf pack bent on destroying anyone standing in the way of their vengeance.

Current total words: 80,000 (Uhh, seriously? *checks again* Yep, that’s right. Mind is blown.)
New words written: 3,395

Total Words for 2012: 93,001

Favorite Quote: They’re talking about a car in case you hadn’t guessed. 😉

“How much would you say your father paid for this, Kate?” Ben asked.

She blinked, “What?”

“This baby must be worth a small fortune the way she moved. Mm! If cars were women, eh Rolph?” he laughed.

Rolph shook his head and sighed, “If cars were women, I don’t think you’d be nearly as interested in her.”

In real life: Looking forward to celebrating father’s day with my Dad tonight! Not sure where we’re going or what we plan on doing, but I’m looking forward to it! Also I started season 2 of Game of Thrones recently. It’s so darn addictive!