Review – No Rulebook For Flirting by Laura Bailo

Today I’m reviewing No Rulebook For Flirting, by Laura Bailo, which I received an ARC for!

norulebookforflirting

This is a super short contemp romance novella, coming in at 12k, so can easily be read in one sitting. It starts with a meet cute between the two characters when one steals a parking spot from the other at a board game convention. The two of them get off on the wrong foot but quickly move on to flirting over a game in the convention.

Though I’m not trans myself, I loved the trans rep in this story because it was there and it wasn’t a big deal. Aitor brought it up to Gabriel pretty early on, and then they moved on with things like it was no big deal. That acceptance was nice.

There is a side character, Raul, that is a bit abrasive during the story, which came off as him being queer-phobe, but [SPOILERS, click and drag over if you wish to reveal] at the very end of the story, this is played down as him just having an attitude but nothing actually against the characters for their sexuality, which left me feeling a bit conflicted about him.

All in all I thought this was a cute, sweet, and short read. If you like board games, D&D, and queer characters, consider checking it out. No Rulebook For Flirting releases on February 10th!

My Rating: 3/5

Amazon

JMS Books

Goodreads

 

Review – A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams by Dax Murray

This week’s review is of A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams, by Dax Murray.

The story is a queer retelling of Swan Lake, and is available on Kindle Unlimited if you have that!

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I found this story to be quite lovely. It’s queer, and it’s a fairy tale retelling, so I just had to try it!

It starts out with a bit of a dump of info about magic that was a little hard to follow, but it doesn’t linger too terribly much, so if you get confused at the start I’d recommend sticking it out. All does get explained better later!

The book centers mostly on Katya, who just seems to have come into being and has always dwelled within the forest. She comes to live with a sorcerer named Ivan, and the two of them have what seems to be a happy life together, eventually becoming lovers. During her time with Ivan, Katya also learns magic from Ivan’s books and becomes well versed herself. These details are explained in a sort of summary at the beginning of the book and the intro feels very fairy tale-like in style.

Things start to pick up when an escort is discovered making their way through Ivan and Katya’s forest, escorting the princess Yi Zhen on her way to an arranged marriage with Princen Alexis (an enby royal from the neighboring land!).

I loved the variety of rep in the story, all of which was portrayed in a positive, accepting light, from the enby Princen Alexis, who used they/them pronouns and is openly accepted in their kingdom, to Katya’s bisexuality, and the Princen’s parents being in a triad. It was absolutely delightful.

The story itself was quite interesting as well. I loved the descriptions, especially of the world’s magic.

The only real minus for me was a few grammatical/editing errors here and there that pulled me out of the narrative (one of which was a wrong pronoun).

All in all, this was worth the read, and I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for a sweet, queer fairy tale retelling with a variety of characters!

My rating: 4/5

Check out A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams over on Goodreads and Amazon!

 

 

 

 

Review – Breaking Hell’s Rules by Lyssa Dering

This week I’m reviewing another book by Lyssa Dering, an older title called Breaking Hell’s Rules.

The story centers on Reth, a genderqueer demon who takes souls for one of the head demons in hell and has body hopped over the centuries, and Jude, the boyfriend of the the abusive Tyler who Reth decides to hop into at the beginning of the story.

What I really liked about this story, same as with How to Love a Monster was the romance between the two characters. Dering has a gift for chemistry and making me feel the connection between the two characters, making me fall as hard and fast for them as they do each other! I also loved Reth and their genderqueer-ness.

Jude is a mystery to Reth from the moment they meet, and the two are faced with some obstacles as Jude is at first disbelieving that Reth isn’t his abusive boyfriend Tyler, and then as Reth realizes that there is more than meets the eye to Jude.

I thought Lyssa’s take on demons and angels was interesting, especially on that of angels. It was different from the normal angel mythos one usually sees.

A few warnings for the book: There is mention of recent psychical abuse, and since Jude at first thinks Reth is Tyler, refers to them as ‘he’ for a better part of the book in his POV, until the conversation comes up about their preferred pronouns, then Jude immediately starts using they/them (I thought it was handled well thought and it was nice that Jude was accepting of Reth’s pronouns). Be forewarned, there is also side character that isn’t completely respectful of Reth’s pronouns, which may be bothersome for some readers.

All in all I thought Breaking Hell’s Rules was a clever, sweet love story that is worth a read if you’re looking for a short, sweet, queer demons and angels story.

My rating: 4 /5

Check out Breaking Hell’s Rules over on Goodreads! And if you have Kindle Unlimited it is available on there!

Review – How to Love a Monster + Halloween in Wish City

I recently read How to Love a Monster by Lyssa Dering, which was released August 12, 2017, and the halloween short that takes place after it, titled Halloween in Wish City, which was released on October 16, 2017.

I knew of this book right at its release date, but was at first weary of it due to thinking it might be a bit dark for me based on the description, and also because I’m not typically a fan of first person present tense. I’d tried reading the opening of the book and wasn’t a fan at the time it released.

Two things influenced my decision to go back and give this book a shot, one being I have kindle unlimited right now, and the other being that I’m in the middle of a very, very slow read through of A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and I’m not hating the present tense that much. So, I thought I’d give HTLAM a try because I was intrigued by the premise.

Boy, am I glad I did.

From the moment the two characters, Sera and Fiend meet, I was absolutely hooked. This book sucked me in and didn’t let go. Even after I finished it, I was craving more, probably as bad as Fiend craves brains!

Lyssa masterfully wove a romantic story with a mix of kink, horror, and angst that gripped me right until the end. I loved two main characters and their dynamic. The writing was incredibly immersive, leading me to understand fully the reason why one would choose first person present tense. When done right, it really does suck you into the story.

The short story, Halloween in Wish City takes place not long after the events of HTLAM, and should be read after it to avoid spoilers. I really liked this extra glimpse into the characters lives after the end of HTLAM. It was silly, romantic, and added a little bit of new information to the story, which was a nice bonus.

If you’re looking for a romantic, m/m story with a bit of kink and a dash of horror, I’d definitely recommend giving this book a try!

My rating:

How to Love a Monster – 5/5

Halloween in Wish City – 5/5

The next volume of the Wish City series, How to Tame a God, is due out in February! I’m excited for this one, which will delve more into the character Wish, who was a secondary character in the first book, and new character, named Lake.

Check out the Wish City books over on Amazon, which are free if you have Kindle Unlimited, but reasonably priced if you don’t!

How to Love a Monster

Halloween in Wish City

How to Tame a God

 

 

2018 Goals

Hello all!

For the first post on the new blog for 2018, it seems appropriate to talk about 2018 goals! I’ve got a lot of them so I’ll need to get busy!

I’ve already tweeted about my writing, reading, and personal goals a few times on Twitter, but to reiterate, here are my goals for 2018:

 

Writing Goals

-Have Masks part 2 and 3 novellas ready and submitted to LT3 by end of January.

-Have Into the Deep (my pirate and merman story) ready to submit by April.

-Write a new novel in April for Camp NaNoWriMo (this will probably be a dragon fantasy story that I have complete notes for).

-Between May and November, I have a gap, which I’ll probably be using for edits if my submissions get accepted, and I may also write a short story/novella during that time frame. I’ll also be working on replanning the novel I want to write in November, All That Remains.

-Write a new novel in November during NaNoWriMo (paranormal novel All That Remains).

-Write more blog posts and build up my new website, Fiction Cove! I’ll probably shoot for one blog post a week. This goal is a pretty loose one.

-Lastly I’m taking this on the end because it depends on what happens this year, but I’d like to find a home for my short/novella, Leo, which is a retelling of Pinocchio.

 

Reading Goals

-Read one book a week (so 52 books). I’ll be focusing on reading more diverse books!

 

Personal Goals

-Exercise more. I’m thinking 30 minutes a day on my gazelle.

-Get my driver’s license. We won’t say how old I am and don’t have it…

-Save money (another loose goal).

 

So, what are your goals for this year? Let me know in the comments!

“I always wanted to be a writer.”

“When did you know you wanted to be a writer?”

“I always knew I wanted to be a writer.”

This is a question and answer that I see a lot. It seems like a vast majority of writers “always knew” they wanted to write.

I didn’t always know. So, as someone who didn’t “just know” I thought I’d write a little about what made me start writing and about the little clues from my childhood that I never picked up on at the time.

When I was a kid, I played pretend. Most kids probably did. But I was always doing it. Even by myself. I had intricate stories in my head going for all my toys, I made up personas when I played, and so on.

What really got me story telling to myself was probably when I was about 13, and I discovered anime. I watched DBZ, Sailor Moon, and Tenchi Muyo all religiously. I also got really into RPGs, Star Ocean 2 was my first, followed by Final Fantasy VII.

It was right around this time that I started making up a story. I had all these scenes in my head for it, and I made up a cast of characters because I wanted it to be cool like one of the shows I watched or games I played, and I even borrowed little traits from them, like having a character with three eyes and whatnot. I would draw all of my characters in a notebook and write their names above them and act out scenes in my room and think of it this were a video game what the boss fights would be.

I thought it would be awesome if it could be a video game someday. Sadly, I’ve still never actually made a serious attempt at writing that story since realizing I like writing, only a couple of starts in the past. I’d still like to make a proper go of it someday.

So, I was really into the art side of all this stuff, and I pursued art through most of high school. By about 11th or 12th grade I realized being a plain artist probably wouldn’t get my anywhere, and moved toward graphic design/visual communications in an attempt to still do something art related but have a chance at a proper career.

One of the other things that happened in 10th grade was, I really enjoyed my English class. I got good grades on book reports and thought, yeah this is pretty nice, I like this. So in 11th grade I decided, why not take AP English.

That was a mistake for me. Picking apart books was so not my thing. I transferred out of AP English after the first semester.

For a long time, my failure with that discouraged me from any sort of path involving English Literature.

I went to college and got my visual communication degree. During college, I picked up a random book at the bookstore because the cover had a person holding out an apple on the cover, and I was big into Death Note at the time so I thought that was awesome. It was about vampires and I thought that was cool. I always liked vampires and loved the movie Interview with the Vampire.

Any guesses on the book yet? That’s right, it was Twilight.

So let’s talk just a little bit about Twilight. I don’t remember much about the writing itself, but I did read all of the books, and at the time I enjoyed them. But as I was reading them, I thought, “This doesn’t seem all that special. I could do this.”

And that’s when I decided. I should write my own stories.

I finished my associate’s in visual communications, which, sadly by the time I was finishing it I realized it too would have little use to me, and in most of my spare time I piddled around in pocket sized notebooks writing stories that I thought might never see the light of day.

For a long time, that’s how I felt. I got a full time job in an office, and worked and wrote here and there and started posting a couple things up online.

One of them got the attention of a girl who is now my best friend and writing buddy.

I’m not gonna lie, I spent a couple of years after meeting her writing with her all kinds of fun stuff that also might not see the light of day, and in that time I almost never worked on my own stuff. But I wouldn’t take back any of that.

Because of that experience, I created so many characters and worlds with my friend, and that’s how my story Masks was actually born.

So that’s the story of how I started writing.

As for why I write and will continue to? Well, I’ve got all these stories in my head, and I want to do something with them!

Fiction Cove Launch

Hello!

Fiction Cove is officially up again! I once occupied this domain and I am very happy to have it back again! I will be using this space to talk about my writing as Amara Lynn, and to post some book reviews as well!

Welcome to Fiction Cove! More to come soon I hope!

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