Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

While A Study in Charlotte is a little outside of the realm of what I normally read, I decided to give it a shot. And I’m so glad that I did.

Note: This image is an affiliate link, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

I thought this was an insanely clever idea. The descendents of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson ending up at the same boarding school and teaming up to solve a mystery that they’re being framed for? Um, yes please!

I wavered between giving this 4 or 5 stars. The biggest negative aspect of the book, in my opinion, is how casually Holmes’ drug use is treated. I mean, the girl has a SERIOUS drug problem, but it’s treated as if that is perfectly normal and just what teens do. That really rubbed me the wrong way.

But the story was entertaining enough that I could look past it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am glad I decided to branch out and try something new.

5 Drool-Worthy Fantasy Book Covers

They say not to judge a book by its cover. But come on. The covers are the first thing we see. And, like it or not, they do give us the first glimpse into what a book is about.

Here are five fantasy covers that I keep coming across as I’ve perused Amazon and have been drooling over.  Seriously, I dare you to not look at these and immediately shout, “Take my money!”

I know I’m adding them to my TBR list.

These links to the books listed below are affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you click through them and make a purchase.

How gorgeous is this? This might be one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. I love how you immediately get the sense of the duality of the main character, and I want to know more.

There is so much to love about this cover. It totally transports you to the world of this book. Even the roaring waves in the background are beautiful. How can you not see this and want to read the story?

Come on!This one has a fire-breathing dragon on the top. If that’s not a cool cover, I don’t know what is. And extra props for it being a boxed set!

The colors in this one are just gorgeous, and even the font is fantastic. What’s so special about that tree? I have to know!

This cover just screams that this is going to be a fun story.  You have to love a kick-butt heroine! And magic? Yes, please!

That wraps up my list of 5 Drool-Worthy Fantasy Book Covers. If you’re a sucker for gorgeous covers like I am, be sure to check out the cover for my book Fate Abandoned (though I admit I am slightly biased):

What other gorgeous covers have you stumbled across lately? I’d love to know in the comments below. 🙂

5 Kick-Butt YA Heroines I’m Totally Obsessed With

Everyone loves a strong female lead, and these YA books deliver! Here are my top five favorite heroines from YA books.

Katniss Everdeen: I mean… duh. The Hunger Games was the first series I practically devoured. And much of that was because Katniss was such a fascinating character. She’s clever, resourceful and skilled with a bow and arrow. Oh, and she leads a revolution. That’s pretty kick-butt in my book.

Tris Prior: As a general rule, whenever I’m talking about how much I love the Divergent series, I’m really just talking about how much I love the first and second books. If you read the third, you probably know why. That aside, Tris is practically the definition of a strong female lead. She’s physically strong and has a strong moral compass, too.

Cassie Sullivan:  Cassie is fiercely protective of her little brother. And the girl faces off against ALIENS. Need I say more?

Cinder: Cinder was a fascinating spin on the classic fairy tale. A cyborg Cinderella? Yes, please! She’s smart. She’s self-sufficient. She’s good at fixing things. And she’s full of sass.

Charlotte Holmes: Charlotte may not be leading uprisings or fighting aliens, but her clever deduction skills make her an incredibly strong female lead. I mean… she’s descended from Sherlock Holmes! And sleuthing skills definitely run in the family.

 

That wraps up my Top 5. And if you’re looking for your next favorite kick-butt heroine, be sure to check out Daphne in Fate Abandoned. She’s not afraid to stand up to authority. She’s amazing with a sword. And she’s determined to save her brother when he ventures on a doomed quest.

What other heroines should be on the list? Let me know in the comments below.

5 Reasons YA Books Are The Best

  1. YA books are full of raw emotion. The teen years are a time when everything feels so heightened and intense, and it feels like the stakes are so high with every little decision you make.
  2. YA books show that anyone can bring about change. Look at Katniss and Tris. If you looked at where they’d come from, you wouldn’t assume that girls from District 12 and Abnegation would end up leading revolutions. But, due to their circumstances, they became passionate about their causes and led others to stand up for what was right.
  3. YA books show the excitement of all the firsts –  a first love, a first kiss, a first heartbreak.
  4. YA characters haven’t been jaded yet. They’re not bogged down with bills, an overbearing boss or PTA meetings. Their whole lives are in front of them, and there’s excitement in knowing anything is possible.
  5. YA books are all about hope.  Hope in love.  Hope in justice. Hope in a better future. Hope that anyone can be the hero of their own story.

What are some of the reasons you love reading YA books? Let me know in the comments below.

Top Facebook Groups for Indie Authors

I’ve mentioned before that the indie author community is a powerful resource. Indies are known for helping lift each other up and sharing what they’ve learned along their journeys so that others can find success, too. Here are a handful of Facebook groups open to indie authors. You’ll find these groups to be welcoming and encouraging – but before you post a question, be sure to search the groups first. Chances are, many people have had the exact same question and it has been answered many times.

Oh – and the number one rule across these groups? No self promo. You’re talking to other authors who all want people to buy their books, too. But finding readers is NOT what these groups are for. They’re for helping each other learn and grow. Trying to sell your book to fellow community members is a quick way to get your post deleted – and yourself removed from the groups.

20BooksTo50K – Run by the powerhouse that is Michael Anderle and his amazing team, being a part is this group is practically a must for any indie author. You will find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had and be able to cheer on others’ successes as they post photos of them typing “the end” on their manuscripts – often photographed alongside a celebratory drink!

SPF Community – Ok, I realize I’m starting to sound like a walking advertisement for Mark Dawson, but there’s a reason you hear him come up so often in the indie community. His SPF Community group is open to indie authors and is a great place to find support, encouragement and answers to your questions. (But again – remember to search the group first to see if your question has already been answered!)

The Blurb Exchange – This is a fairly new group, but I think you will find it to be a valuable resource. If there’s one thing indie authors are known for complaining about, it’s writing blurbs. It’s amazing how we can write 80k+ words in a book, but that little bitty blurb can be complete torture to write. How are you supposed to summarize your masterpiece in a few paragraphs – and make it sound interesting enough that people want to buy it?! In comes The Blurb Exchange. The premise is simple: you help other authors with their blurbs first, and then you post your blurb and get their feedback.

Once you’ve joined these groups, you’ll quickly find that there are all kinds of specialized groups for the particular genre you’re writing in. As a YA sci-fi and fantasy author, I have found AAYAA, SFF Book Bonanza and SF/F Cross Promo Bulletin Board extremely helpful.

5 Writing Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Before becoming a writer, I never listened to podcasts.

But I quickly learned that some of the best indie authors out there are generous enough to share their expertise.

That’s the thing I love most about the indie community. For the most part, people are very supportive and willing to share what they’ve learned along the way so that they can help others reach their levels of success, too. That’s what a community is all about – lifting each other up.

I’ve found the five following podcasts extremely helpful, and I have no doubt that you will enjoy them, too.

The Creative Penn Joanna Penn is a creative entrepreneur who publishes nonfiction books for writers under Joanna Penn and thrillers under the name J.F. Penn. What I love most about her podcast is that she takes an optimistic view of the publishing industry. I always find her podcasts encouraging, and she interviews some fascinating people.

Self Publishing Formula Mark Dawson is well-known in the indie community for being a self-publishing guru. In addition to his courses, he also has a podcast. His co-host James Blatch interviews the guests and always asks interesting questions. He seems so genuinely interested in what the guests have to say, and he asks the questions listeners are thinking.

Sell More Books Show – This is one of my new favorite podcasts. I would have listened to it much sooner if I had realized it was hosted, in part, by Bryan Cohen – the blurb-writing guru. This podcast spans a variety of topics of interest to the indie author community and is one you do not want to miss!

The Career Author I only recently discovered this one, but I am really enjoying it. J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon talk about a variety of writing-related topics, like planning out a book series, genre research and more.

Helping Writers Become Authors – This podcast by K.M. Weiland is more about the actual writing part of being a writer. She offers great insights on things like plot, structure, characters and more. P.S. Be sure to sign up for her mailing list for some very helpful freebies!

Are there any other podcasts that you think should be on this list? If so, leave a comment below!