Review: The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is the best book I have yet read from Ms. McGinnis. She pulls no punches in discussing the truths of sexual assault but at the same time prevents the gory details from overshadowing the story. I felt the characters had depth and truth. Their stories and dilemmas are echoed throughout high schools across the country, familiar angst we all recognize. This story deals with all too familiar situations we are now, as a society, attempting to bring out into the open. Behaviors we need to shine a light on and name, in order to curb. Thank you, Ms. McGinnis for handling such a diffcult subject with warmth, tact and honesty.

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The Black Lyon Review

The Black Lyon (Montgomery/Taggert, #1)The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up after Christmas since it has been a stressful season and I needed a treat. But I have to say I was disappointed. I’d read some of Ms. Deveraux’s stories long ago and remember enjoying them. But this one seemed less cohesive than those. The prose felt awkward and the motivations lacking in my humble opinion. It is possible, of course, that my tastes in fiction have changed. However, I didn’t think I’d changed so much that I couldn’t enjoy a basic medieval romance. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool romance reader you will probably enjoy this more than I did, but if feminism is your new thing you may want to pass.

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Review: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

The Secret Horses of Briar HillThe Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve always loved books with horses.  They were my preferred subject matter. If you want the honest truth, I read A Horse and His Boy (book 5) immediately after reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe simply because of Bree. Forget those princes and such in between. 

Now if you take a horse story and include brave thoughtful girls full of heart and a dark enemy, all the better.  The fantastical features of this one reminded a little of Gaiman’s style of fantasy a la The Ocean at the End of the Lance.  I chose it because I was short on time, it had horses and Maggie Steifvater recommended it highly on Goodreads.  I have to say, I am quite pleased with it.

Resonating with the era of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, it sets the tragedy of WWII in England as a backdrop for the more personal battles these children who were left behind face. I truly enjoyed this and if you’re in the mood for a magical read this season, give it a try.

What’s your next holiday read?

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Book Review: Story Trumps Structure

Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the RulesStory Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was such a delightful gem, a relief in fact. I have to admit that I am not a planner when it comes to writing. I try to behave. I read the recommended books on “how” to write, how to plan, how to organize plot points and turning points and denouements and where things should fall to make it all work out. But they don’t really thrill me. As I’m reading them, part of me is snarkily resistant. My inner muse rebels at the thought of ‘rules’. Still, I want to further my craft and so I try to tame the inner unease and take notes and follow the steps – until now.

This book showed me that I don’t need permission to write however it is I write. Everyone does it differently and we can all succeed. This book gives good advice for maintaining quality even if you don’t plot and plan every move. Down-to-earth, logical, realistic and forgiving, this book made me smile. But what’s more, it made me want to write something every time I read a chapter. So thank you, Mr. James, from me and my rebellious muse!

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A Review of Orison by Daniel Swensen

Orison transports you another world, but be careful – here there be dragons.


I don’t like to write reviews, partially because I don’t know what will spoil the read for someone else.  So I will tread carefully here.  I really enjoyed reading Daniel Swensen’s Orison, finishing it in one sitting on a lovely snowy Saturday.

Orison is the tale of Story, a sort-of female Oliver Twist, and her drunken ex-sorcerer friend named Wrynn who unwittingly become embroiled in a complicated plot to start a war. She just wants to get the heck out of Calushain and he would like not to die. But really, it’s about more than just the two of them. Well-told in multiple perspectives, it’s a tapestry of intertwined lives at the mercy of complex coincidences that are really the whims of the cold dragon-gods. Continue reading “A Review of Orison by Daniel Swensen”