Promoting Creativity – June Edition

This month I’m very pleased to be promoting Keri Karandrakis! Hope you all enjoy reading this, and please stop by her website!
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1) Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I’m a writer first and a freelance editor close second. I primarily work on novel manuscripts–I’ve written probably 10 different ones since I was 13, almost all of which never made it off my laptop–but since those take so long and I have a short attention span, I also write short stories. My latest thing is flash fiction, because I’m taking a course on it as part of my Creative Writing undergrad studies. I like the lack of commitment that short stories require, since I have trouble maintaining interest in writing a novel.
With editing, my speciality is developmental editing, which focuses on plot, characters, and other story elements. I started beta reading when I was about 13, learning to analyze what makes a story successful or not and what could make it better. I finally started demanding payment in exchange for it a couple years ago. Usually I edit novels, but I’ve also worked on short fiction and even poetry.
2) When and why did you start writing?
I don’t remember. That’s not to say I have a poor memory, although some close to me would say I do, but rather I have been writing for such a long time that I don’t know when or where it started. It probably started once I learned to physically write, as in draw the shapes of the letters in a coherent order. I can guess at the why. I was homeschooled and lived a fairly isolated childhood, so I had a lot of free time and few friends. Those things coupled with a wild imagination created the perfect storm in which to birth a little writer.
The first story I remember writing beyond just a storyboard concept was a copycat version of Read It and Weep, a Disney Channel movie from my preteen years. I inserted myself and some mean girls from my church into the plot and created a revenge fantasy. I don’t think I ever finished it. After that, I got into fan fiction. It was fun enough, but I really liked the freedom of creating my own characters, so when I was 13 I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I wrote a 50,000-word mystery novel about a serial killer who was erasing their victims’ information from federal databases, as though they never existed. I don’t remember much about that because it was so long ago, except that the serial killer ended up being a woman.
3) Tell us about a project that you are currently working on that has you really excited.
My current novel project is a YA fantasy about a fire-wielder who’s imprisoned in a remote savannah town. She thinks it’s not so bad at first, since she was expecting a harsh prison, but once people start dying, she finds out about this big conspiracy. I’ve always wanted to write something with elementals, so this is me finally fulfilling that.
4) What are some of your goals for the future?
Well, I want to publish a novel. That’s always been my goal, really. I certainly have a better chance of it now than I did 8 years ago. The key to that, of course, is actually finishing something. So I guess my first goal is to get this story finished and polished. Some other goals I have are getting my degree and growing my editing clientele.
5) How can we support you?
You can hire me to edit something for you! I do all kinds of fiction, working on everything from structural issues to grammar. When I get around to submitting things again, I’ll have links to them on my site, too.
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Keri’s website is https://kerikarandrakis.com/.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin.
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First & Then By – Emma Mills

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Goodreads Synopsis: Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

I went into the book not expecting the most from it but still interested enough to want the book to be good. Sadly this book was not for me.

Devon is the most boring character I’ve ever stumbled upon. Why you ask? Because she doesn’t care about anything. School? Nope. Life? Nope. Hobbies? Nope. She literally did not care. And then I stopped caring.  Look I get it, some people don’t want to go to college, some people don’t have huge goals in life. That’s okay. But everyone should care about something.  Everyone can give back to the world. Each in different ways. But Devon is not like that.  She’s just a body floating around, no soul, no nothing.

I gave this book till page 165 before quitting. Which is about 60% through the book. My advice, don’t read this book, it’s not worth the time. I gave it 1 star on Goodreads.

Golden Son – By Pierce Brown

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

This was yet another disappointing sequel. It’s quite unfortunate because the first book was really good. The world was well thought out and interesting, the characters fleshed out and entertaining, the whole book exciting and easy to read. Golden Son was not like that.

I was flat out bored with this book.  Darrow, Mustang,  and all the other characters running around felt unbelievably flat.  Which meant I just didn’t care about the stakes. I found Darrow’s character confusing as he makes conflicting choices. Mustang was hardly in this book, and when she was she was just someone on the sidelines. The bad guys were boring as well. Augustus never felt threatening or evil, he just felt pompous. And don’t get me started on the plot, it was all too easy to see where plot twists were going. And the one I didn’t see at the end was cliche as hell.

This book was a 2.5 star read for me.  I ended up giving it three stars on Goodreads because I didn’t hate it, and I will be reading the third in this trilogy.

The King, The Advisor & The Peasant – Published!

As of June 24th I officially published The King, The Advisor & The Peasant.  You can now find it on Payhip.  The link can be found here:  https://payhip.com/b/pcYs

The King, The Advisor & The Peasant is a satirical short story, following a peasant through an audience with a King who may or may not be a donkey.  The story goes downhill very quickly, The King is insane, the Advisor greedy, and the Peasant dead. Long live the King. 

Thanks to all my patrons this story is completely free!  To receive first access to all that I publish, check out my Patreon. 

 

Windwitch – By Susan Dennard

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Goodreads Synopsis: After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

You guys. 😦 😦 😦  This book was such a huge disappointment.  😦 😦 😦   I really really enjoyed the first book, I mean it had it’s flaws but it had some really badass characters. Windwitch lost everything I loved from the first book.  I honestly don’t even really want to write this review because I’m so sad about this.

I don’t think I have a single positive thing to say about Windwitch. There were too many POV switches, basically ever character ever had chapters from their view.  It was confusing, boring, predictable, it had way to many coincidences.  It was just plain boring. With the first book I was racing to get to the end, I couldn’t put Truthwitch down. Windwitch I could barley pick up.

It had the whole “You thought this person was a bad guy but really they aren’t” after building up the same character in the last book as fricken evil. Merik was so angsty. Safa’s character turned into a puddle of blah.  Isult starts falling for Aeduan, which I personally thought was ridiculous. They had zero chemistry.   Everyone I cared for felt so different in this sequel! There was also a character, Cam, who was maybe transgender? Or genderqueer? He is biologically female but dresses as a male and wants everyone to use the male pronouns. He’s traveling with Merik but Merik  is rude to him most of the time and also doesn’t use the right pronouns. It felt like Dennard was trying to include a queer character but I was really uncomfortable with how Cam was written.

At this point I would not recommend the sequel to anyone, and I’m hesitant about the series.  Personally I will be reading the third book when it comes out, because I loved the first book. But that’s just me.  I gave this book 1 star on Goodreads.

3 NetGalley Reviews

These are my most recent NetGalley reviews, thanks as always to NetGalley for giving me copies of these books.

The End We Start From – 3.5 Stars.

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Find on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Goodreads Synopsis: In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.

This book was a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be, so I actually ended up sitting down and reading it in an evening.  The End We Start From has some really beautiful, and almost lyrical prose.  I wasn’t expecting an apocalyptic book to be written like this, and right away it hooked me on the book.

The characters in this book were all named with just initials, which was interesting. Though I felt it made the characters feel a little distant. I never really felt for them as much as I wanted too, and as much as I thought the story had potential to make me feel. But I did like the idea of seeing the end of the world from the point of view of a mother. In the end I decided to give this book 3.5 stars.

The Wisdom of Dead Men – 1 Star.

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Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

Goodreads Synopsis: While investigating a series of mysterious murders, Nate uncovers dark secrets that threaten to reveal the true nature of the Wildenstern family. The British Empire is no longer the authority it once was. Instead, it’s controlled by private business organizations–the most powerful of which is Ireland’s ruthless Wildenstern family. Eighteen-year-old Nathaniel Wildenstern has given up his dreams of travel and adventure to devote himself to being his brother Berto’s head of security. With the help of his wife, Daisy, Berto wants to change the barbaric ways of the clan. But there are many among the Wildensterns who like things the way they are, and will resort to whatever devious methods necessary to keep it that way.Meanwhile, the burnt bodies of women are appearing around Dublin. When a connection to the Wildenstern family is discovered, Nate, Daisy, and Nate’s sister Tatiana decide to investigate. Soon the young Wildensterns are digging into shadowy societies and dark family secrets that date back to the origin of the engimals, who are part animal, part machine. And what they find could shed light on the savage nature of the Wildensterns themselves.

This book took me months and months to read. I kept trying to get into the story, kept trying to be interested in the characters but I just wasn’t.  Part of this could be that I wasn’t able to read the first book. I didn’t realize this was the second book in the series when I originally got it from NetGalley.  Awhile back I’d read the prequel to the series and loved it, so I thought I’d read more.  Maybe if I’m able to read the first book and I like it I can come back to this one and try it again.  1 star.

Once, In Lourdes – 3 stars.

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Find on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Goodreads Synopsis: Four high school friends stand on the brink of adulthood—and on the high ledge above the sea at the local park in Lourdes, Michigan, they call the Haight—and make a pact. For the next two weeks, they will live for each other and for each day. And at the end of the two weeks, they will stand once again on the bluff and jump, sacrificing themselves on the altar of their friendship. Loyal Kate, beautiful Vera, witty C.J., and steady Saint—in a two-week span, their lives will change beyond their expectations, and what they gain and lose will determine whether they enter adulthood or hold fast to their pledge. Once, in Lourdes is a haunting and moving novel of the power of teenage bonds, the story of four characters who will win your heart and transport you back to your own high school years.

I was expecting this book to be somewhat dark, it is after all about four kids who have a suicide pact. But I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so disturbing.  I mean the book was interesting, it had more of an experimental feel when it came to the writing. It included some of the drawings of the main character Kate.  The characters were all interesting as well, I was able to feel for all of them.  The ending took me by surprise as well, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. It was a very dark ending. Which is why I ended up giving the book three stars. It whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.