Bookreview: Firebound #fantasy #FlashbackFriday

This is a special post I do once a month to highlight a book I reviewed some time ago, but never actually featured on my blog. Because this is an author blog and not a book blog, I don’t always feature all the books I read. Like all good and dedicated fans of the written word, I do my part and leave reviews on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, and sometimes other places, but don’t always bring attention to what I’m reading, unless you follow me on YouTube… hint, hint, wink wink 😉 In any case, please enjoy this review of a book I read at some point in my life.

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Today’s flashback review is a little special but mostly because today is International Authors Day. I’m featuring a review of a book from an author I really like.

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Goodreads

Title:  Firebound

Series: Spellbringers #2

Author: Tricia Drammeh

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance, Paranormal

Pages: 285

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (violence, sensuality, brief mild sexual content, dark and mature themes, adult situations, suspense)

In book one my heart went out to Bryce who seemed to be misunderstood, but in book 2 I really fell in love with Alisa. She’s the only character with no power of her own, yet she seems to be the strongest of them all. Depending on how you look at it, Alisa is the reason the Alexander family is as mighty as they are. In their society of magic and Spellbringers, their connection to this one human keeps them all from becoming monsters… I may be exaggerating a bit, but in any case, I really adore Alisa.

Rachel, on the other hand, is a character that despite her many many flaws, I can’t hate but don’t exactly love her. I feel for her in many ways, but she seems to be a bit self-destructive. Like all self-destructive people, she also hurts others as a result. The one thing she seems to have going for her is the fact that she is apparently the most powerful being on the planet though she hasn’t realized the extent of her powers. As destructive as she is, I still like her more than Jace.

It’s not that I don’t like Jace. I feel a bit indifferent about this character. I can see that he will continue to grow as the story develops, but for now, he’s a pretty face, decent brother, and good son.

The action of this book is much more involved, which I didn’t think was possible. Alisa and Bryce struggle to be close yet so far apart. After he speaks the claiming words to her, they crave each other but can’t share each other or live together. Alisa is forgetting what an independent person she used to be and Bryce is clinging to her affection so he won’t turn to the dark side. Yeah, whoa!

Rachel has the best of intentions trying to protect her brother but she has to know that going on dream dates with a demon isn’t going to end well. Plus, there’s more than one demon after her. When, Alisa, the only human in the bunch has to risk her life to save Rachel, things heat up in more ways than one. What a perfect end to this installment and a grand enticement for the next.

I think I enjoyed this one just as much as the first. Highly recommended again.

Read my review of Spellbound here.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Spellbound by @TriciaDrammeh Virtual Book Tour Interview by #thetoiboxofwords via @diversebktours #fantasy #amreading

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I have a treat to share. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Tricia Drammeh. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.

Toi Thomas: Hi there Tricia! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.

Tricia: Hi Toi. I’m happy to be here and excited to share.

Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Tricia Drammeh?

Tricia: I’m a wife, mother of four, and author. I live in New Hampshire with my husband, kids, and a lot of crazy animals. I write anything from young adult multicultural fantasy (The Spellbringers Series) to YA paranormal (The Seance) to contemporary (Better than Perfect).

Toi Thomas: Wow. Yes, after looking through your bibliography I feel like I need to play catch up. You books have such acclaim and the sheer volume is inspiring to young-in-the-industry authors like me.

Toi Thomas: Well before we dive into your special message today, let’s get to know you, the person inside the author.

Toi Thomas: Who is so you and why?

Tricia: I hate to say this, but Bella Swan from Twilight. I really am that clumsy, unfortunately. One of the many criticisms about that series is the way Bella was portrayed. “No one is that clumsy and awkward.” Well, I am.

Toi Thomas: Yeah, whenever someone mentions Twilight, there’s either a sigh of regret or a yelp  of cheer, but every character is relatable to someone in some way, otherwise they wouldn’t have been written. All fiction stems from reality.

Toi Thomas: What makes you geek out?

Tricia: I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I know it’s a YA series and I’m not quite a young adult anymore (haha), but I am in love with that series and am anxiously waiting for my Hogwarts letter.

Toi Thomas: Don’t you know YA is the new black- or something like that. I don’t think there are any age requirements on fiction anymore. Sure somethings may not be appropriate for certain readers, but as I said before, everything is relatable on some level. People read what they like, and as long as they are reading, I’m happy.

Toi Thomas: What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

Tricia: As a pre-teen I read and re-read The Outsiders. Actually, I did that with all the S.E. Hinton books, but The Outsiders was my favorite.

Toi Thomas: Yeah, for me that book was a bit tough because of the time I read it. Being from the 80s and getting caught up in the hype of the movie, I don’t think I ever really gave it full attention. But it is a truly great story.

Toi Thomas: In terms of interviews, whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Tricia: J.K. Rowling. I absolutely idolize her. She’s a genius.

Toi Thomas: Yes, she is probably one of the best writer success stories you’ll ever here- so inspiring.

Toi Thomas: Now that we know a little more about you, the person, let’s learn about you, the author, and dive into your special message.

Toi Thomas: So whacha got for me today?

Tricia: Spellbound is the first book in the Spellbringers series. It’s a multicultural fantasy series for young adults that is based in a small Georgia town.

Toi Thomas: Something about books and stories set in small towns- you just know it’s going to be good. I must admit the cultural diversity of the book caught me off guard, not in a bad way, though. None of the characters were superimposed stereotypes, and I liked that. (See my review here.)

Toi Thomas: So who’s starring is this 2 dimensional script read of Spellbound?

Tricia: My main characters are Rachel and Alisa, two high school girls who have known each other all their lives, but have never been friends. Alisa is shy and shunned by her peers, while Rachel is one of the most popular girls in school. Even though Rachel seems to have an easy life, she feels isolated and different from everyone around her. When Jace and his family move to town, both girls are plunged headfirst into a world they never knew existed.

Toi Thomas: That’s a pretty good premise. If I hadn’t read the book I would assume that at some point, themes of friendship and love triangles might clash because of the two girls and the mention of Jace. I won’t give anything away, but the way it all plays out is refreshing and not at all typical.

Toi Thomas: What’s so special about this story that’s going to reel in the readers?

Tricia: Spellbound combines magic, danger, and romance. It also features a multicultural cast of characters where diversity is the norm.

Toi Thomas: Yes, I like the fact that your story has a diverse cast but doesn’t go out of the way to say “hey look at the races mixing and getting along together.” It’s very natural and encouraging.

Toi Thomas: Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

Tricia: When I began writing, it was nose to the grindstone. I completed my first book in less than three months. Oh, how times have changed. I bounce back and forth between two or three different projects. There is no sense of organization. I write in the middle of the living room with the dog sitting next to me. I’ve got Law & Order SVU blaring on the TV and constant noise and interruptions. And coffee. So much coffee.

Toi Thomas: In this day and age, I don’t see how people stick to such organized writing regimes. I admit that I plan and make every effort to be organized, but life happens. You gotta write when you can.

Toi Thomas: What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

Tricia: There are so many, but I would have to say it’s a tossup between Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King.

Toi Thomas: Those influences make perfect sense considering that material you write. After having read your work. I think they would be proud to count you amongst them, for I’m sure your work has and will influence someone else along with these guys.

Toi Thomas: Thank you so much Tricia for spending time with me today.

Tricia: Thanks for having me Toi. It was fun.

Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Tricia Drammeh, check out these great links:

Website: TRICIA DRAMMEH.com

Facebook: Author Tricia Drammeh

Twitter: @TriciaDrammeh

Amazon Author Central: Tricia Drammeh

Purchase links for Spellbound & other Drammeh books:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

This has been a

interviewpic-toibox

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Tea and Conversation 20: The Race Thing

teaNtalk

Today I’m sharing a picture of “make tea not war” with a bird that I posted on my tea pin board.

Please do not copy this image. Click image to share on Pinterest.

Today in my meditation I’m thinking about Eternal Curse and Full Moon, and I’m writing about: Why the race thing?

My work isn’t that culturally diverse in comparison to works that aim for cultural diversity, but I do mix races and cultures a tiny bit sometimes. I can still remember one reviewer being shocked to learn that Mira, from Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel, was black. Apparently I revealed her race in a very dramatic kind of way. In actuality, I just think most people have preconceived ideas about how black/ethnic characters should be written.

In my mind, I was simply providing a reveal between characters who’d gotten to know each other online without ever wasting time talking about the color of their skin because so many other matters were much more important. In any case, I’ve made some changes to the chapter structure of that book, which should tone down the “race reveal”, since that’s not the point of that scene.

Now in my first attempt at a contemporary romance, I’ve included one black character who plays a supporting role to my white main character. Some people have asked why am I writing about white people. The truth is that race is never brought up as an issue in this story. I wrote the story based on the way the inspiration came to me. The story is not about race. It’s about all the crazy things that happen in the pursuit of love, but I’m sure someone will be fixated on the one black character for whatever reason because that’s how it always goes.

I’m still fairly new to this whole writing thing and even though I have so many other stories to share and so many other characters to create, some people will complain that I’m not culturally diverse enough, that I’m not black enough, that I’m too edgy, that I’m too PC, that I’m not PC enough, and so on. So, since I know it’s coming, I’m already prepared to simply ignore it all and keep on writing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery #1) by Susan Elia MacNeal

I give this book a 3.

Okay

First thing I want to admit is that I’m just now becoming acquainted with historical fiction in books. In the cinema it has always been one of my favorite genres, but I’ve never stopped to read any of it. With that being said, I’m starting to have an appreciation that is still very new and maturing.

Maggie is a very smart, almost genius, young mathematician, who is supposed to be flattered by an unexpected opportunity to be one of Mr. Churchill’s secretaries. WWII is just beginning to take its toll on London as the Nazis and the IRA take turns dropping or planting bombs in the city where Maggie and her friends struggle to just get by and make it through.

Of course, not all is quite as it seems. For one, a man Maggie is sure can’t stand her begins to look out for her well-being, then friends begin to act strange and she’s not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, and on top of everything else not mentioned, one of the parents she thought died years ago might still be around.

I think my problem with this book is that I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story, but had difficulty reconciling the fiction aspects and the development of the characters. All the characters are well-developed, but I just don’t know if I relate to them. As a woman, still in an age facing the glass ceiling, it was easy to relate to Maggie, but the rest of the characters are a puzzle to me.

I feel as if the emotional aspect of the story could have been more involved. I get it, Maggie is this strong-willed woman who rises above her struggles, but what about everyone else. I just feel like that emotion was put to the side because there was a war on, as it should be, but it didn’t feel real to me.

The suspense and espionage was great and kept me interested in times when I was not emotionally attached, and as much as I hate to say it, I wish Maggie had more romance in her life (I’m not a traditional romance, chik-lit kind of girl).

[A slight tangent here-I encounter more and more stories every day with homosexual characters in them, in the same manner as is on TV and in the movies so that is no big surprise, but I wonder if there is a trend involving the “special aunt”. I’ve seen this general character quite a bit now.]  Trend or not, I like the aunt. She’s one of the few characters I felt really expressed good emotion and she did it in a letter, without interacting with any of the other characters.

All in all, this was a very entertaining story and an easy read/listen. I’d recommend this for adults with a love of history, spy thrillers, and or WWII, though it does seem to be geared toward women and may not be welcomed by conservative readers.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Tea and Conversation 12: Age

teaNtalk

Today I’m sharing a picture of an antique Victorian teapot and stand I posted on my tea pin board.

Please do not copy this image. Click image to share on Pinterest.

Today in my meditation I’m thinking about Eternal Curse and Full Moon, and I’m writing about: Why age?

It seems to have become a theme in my writing to feature important older characters. It was a few years ago that I truly grasped the concept of ageism and realized that I too had been practicing it. I’ve made efforts since them to not judge people by their age and set limitations upon them. The fact that older characters keep showing up in my stories and having a major impact is a byproduct of this. I never set out to use my writing as a platform, but when I look back at what I’ve written, many messages begin to pop out at me.

I like the idea that as we get older, we actually get better, but I do acknowledge that aging is a challenge. I don’t make it a point to have my older characters seem larger than life, but I do show that you can live a life worth living after a certain age, through my characters. In essence, I write these characters because I hope to someday be just like them. I don’t want to be an old lady siting in a rocking chair (even though rocking chairs rock) barely able to hold onto my knitting needles watching the world spin around me. I want to truly live every moment, right up to the end.

For those who are familiar with my Eternal Curse Series, Abraham is just the first of my senior characters to make an impact on this overall story. I hope to be able to share my, It’s Like the Full Moon, story with the world soon and give people a chance to fall in love with the many senior characters that make an impact in that story.


Also, today I’m visiting with author Shah Wharton. Go check out our special interview.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords