ARENA by Holly Jennings

The lack of word count over the weekend is brought to you by Holly Jennings. Oh, and I went to a Ren Fair.

But Arena is great! It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and really enjoyed a book. I had several tasks to do like packing and cleaning the house that tried to keep me away from the story once I’d started, but I bought the audio book too so I could keep enjoying the story.

It’s a sci-fi book where virtual gamers are the sports stars of the world. Kali is the first female captain to take a team to the finals. Kali’s voice is refreshing and keeps the narration fast paced. I love that she’s strong, independent and knows how to get the job done. In fact she’s so strong I would’ve liked to see her struggle a little bit more. The “sponsors” loomed large as the evil entity, but despite Kali throwing wrenches into their system repeatedly, they never came after Kali directly. Perhaps in the sequel? It’s something I’d love to see. That and more face to face interaction between the teams. This book was all about getting Kali’s team to work together despite drug problems, game addiction and the sponsors, which was cool, but we needed more smack talk between the teams :)

Holly is the master of action scenes. Wow. I wish I could write like that. My absolutely favorite part was the final battle. But I’m not going to go into that because I want you to go out, buy Arena and enjoy the awesomeness for yourselves! You will be very happy you did.

IMG_3078That’s an updated picture of Holly’s book from when I went to Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago. I hope to see it on the Best Selling Science Fiction shelf next!

A good book like Arena is always inspiring. I’m home from the weekend getaway and ready to write tons of words this week. I’m going to try for 5000 a day. I doubt I will make it today, because I’m starting now at 10 pm. I will resist the coffee. I hope you join me as I post my progress this week.

Ready. Get set. Go!


Indie Highlight: Tales of a Dying Star Book 1: Siege of Praetar by David Kristoph


Seige of Praetar, available at Amazon, does a good job of drawing me in despite two out of the three sections being from a villain POV. I shouldn’t call the first POV a villain because really he’s just, a middle ranking military man who has totally bought into his corrupt government. He has two kids, he wants a third—he’s just doing his job. But I so wanted his shipmate to win the struggle in the first section. Kristoph skillfully made me see through the shipmate how out of control and evil the governing empire was.

The second section is my favorite though hardest to read emotionally. It’s from the POV of someone I really sympathized with: hard working woman, sick daughter, completely broke. To me the best part of the book is when her boss, a cog in the abusive government, helps her by giving her extra money for her sick daughter. Why does he do that? It’s never really answered, though we do find out a little bit more about him in the third section.

The third section is a great way to end the book because it ties the plot lines together while leaving so many unanswered questions. The POV here is definitely a villain. There is nothing to like about this man, and yet I kept reading because the story of the world was important to me. And I want to read the second book in the hopes that Kristoph will come back to a few things he left hanging.

I definitely recommend this story if you like science fiction evil empire stories and are looking for something short.

What indie books are you guys reading? Have any to recommend?

A writer Reviews: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Happy Monday!

Sorry I’ve been MIA. I went on vacation for ten days. Of course I thought I would prepost before I left, but I was too busy writing and getting five people ready for a cross-country road trip. I ran out of time. I hope that you got lots of writing done while I was gone. Feel free to post your word count in the comments of this post. I wrote 0. I didn’t even take my laptop with me. I did talk to Julie about the story. We were out visiting her, and though we were mostly taking a whirlwind tour of DC, I did slip in a few conversations about the story. And guess what? I’ll be rewriting the beginning again. Fortunately, most of what I’ve written in the second half of the book can remain without a major rewrite.

And now, on with the review.

You must read A Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson. If you’re a writer, there are loads and loads of interesting anecdotes to inspire stories. If you’re not a writer, you should read it for the loads and loads of interesting anecdotes anyway :)

I didn’t actually read it, but listened to it. The first version I heard was an abridged version read by the author. I love his voice. The version we listened to on the trip is the full version. I really liked hearing all the new stuff, but it was read by somebody else. He had a good voice, but it wasn’t quite the same feel as the author.

For your Monday inspiration, I’ll leave you with a few quotations from the introduction. It’ll make you feel really good about your life, I swear :)

Welcome. And congratulations. I am delighted that you could make it. Getting here wasn’t easy, I know. In fact, I suspect it was a little tougher than you realize.

To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It’s an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once….

But the fact that you have atoms and that they assemble in such a willing manner is only part of what got you here. To be here now, alive in the twenty-first century and smart enough to know it, you also had to be the beneficiary of an extraordinary string of biological good fortune. Survival on Earth is a surprisingly tricky business. Of the billions and billions of species of living things that have existed since the dawn of time, most-99.99 percent-are no longer around….

Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favored evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely-make that miraculously-fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result-eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly-in you.

Jeeves and Wooster: Brilliant Language

For my birthday back in December, my family got me the DVDs for the Jeeves and Wooster Television series.

I had seen a few of them before and knew I had received a treat. The soundtrack is smooth and jazzy–a perfect compliment to the witty dialogue. Hugh Laurie also plays the piano on occassion, which I haven’t seen in the short stories, but its a great addition to the TV show.

Watching the shows, I became curious about the short stories and novels written by P.G. Wodehouse. I haven’t read the novels yet, but the TV show seems to be pulled directly from the short stories. I’ve read Extricating Young Gussie,
Leave it to Jeeves, Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest, Jeeves and the Hard-Boiled Egg, The Aunt and the Sluggard and Jeeves Takes Charge.

The linguistics, dialogue and word choices make the short stories a must read. The characters, Jeeves and Wooster never change. Jeeves is the butler and Wooster is a post WWI slacker. The stories always hinge around Wooster’s friends and how Jeeves’ plan gets the friends out of whatever trouble they are in. With today’s preference towards characters with life changing problems and high stakes, these stories are pretty fluffy by comparison. But I think they’re a great read.

If you’re looking for books with charming language and a glimpse into the aristocracy of England after WWI, these are definitely worth a read.




Happy Monday!

Thanks to those of you who helped make my release weekend great! I have four reviews on and one review on In addition, Dab of Darkness posted a review!!

I’ve been writing up guest blogs all weekend, so I’m afraid I’m about blogged out. I am planning on reviewing a series of short stories that were turned into a TV series on Thursday, so please come back for that.

But for today, my first guest blog is over at Life Of Larisa or LOL. I talk about what a judgemental new mom I was, how I got over it and that it inspired the character in Rapunzel: Stay at home Mom. Please check it out!