Monday, March 17, 2014


Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, when his truck crashed into a river. Everyone called it an accident, but Benji knows it was more. Even years later, he’s buried in his grief, throwing himself into managing Big Eddie’s convenience store in the small-town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day to day, struggling to keep his head above water.

But Roseland is no ordinary place.

With ever more frequent dreams of his father’s death and waking visions of feathers on the river’s surface, Benji finds his definition of reality bending. He thinks himself haunted; by ghosts or memories, he can no longer tell. Not until a man falls from the sky, leaving the burning imprint of wings on the ground, does Benji begin to understand that the world is more mysterious than he ever imagined—and more dangerous. As uncontrollable forces descend on Roseland, they reveal long-hidden truths about friends, family, and the stranger Calliel—a man Benji can no longer live without.

(Amazon description)


I loved this book so much that I almost don’t know where to start. Usually, when I write a book review, I focus on plot and character, but the striking thing about Into This River I Drown is the writing itself. I read one of TJ Klune’s other books a while back, and I liked it well enough, but it didn’t take my breath away this one did. The language is almost poetic. The words curl their way into a reader’s heart and wring out every emotion until you are left completely spent. Klune’s use of repetition is interesting. Normally, I find that annoying, but somehow here it works.

Symbolism and imagery are heavy in the book, but I’m not going to get into that or this review will end up long enough to bust into chapters. Let’s just say, as an author myself, I am in complete literary awe.

As for the characters... Benji was well-developed and interesting. He had an almost hero-worship relationship with his father, Big Eddie, and has never been able to move on after his death.  Benji remembers his father as an almost mythically perfect being, almost like a very young child feels about their parents before they are old enough to see their flaws. The side characters perpetuate Benji’s exalted opinions by constantly talking about how perfect Big Eddie was. At the time of this story, Big Eddie has been dead for five years, so I assume Benji had a more realistic opinion of his dad back when he was alive. And while this hero-worship thing gets to be a little much after a while, it really clues the reader in to Benji’s fragile emotional stability.

I don’t want to say too much about Calliel, because I don’t want to give anything away, but I found him quirky and endearing. I understood why he and Benji felt so much for each other, but even at the end of the book, I feel like I only know him about 95%. There is still the hint of mystery about him. Not that I think there will be a sequel, this appears to be a standalone novel, but this mystery left me still thinking about the book after I finished reading. That’s a good thing.

The book is filled with wonderful supporting characters who often defy stereotypes. Benji’s Aunt Nina was the perfect mix of loving and spooky. She has a mild form of Downs, so people may write her up, but she sees the world like a prophetess, wise and mystical. Abraham Dufree is a senior citizen and Benji’s only friend. Like Nina, people may dismiss an elderly man, but Abraham turns out to be tough as nails. The older woman who runs the local diner carries a shotgun and isn’t afraid to use it.

The plot of the story does have a few pacing issues, but it never gets too bogged down. It basically revolves around Benji trying to unravel who killed Big Eddie, but there are several sub-plots to layer on interest. There are “bad guys” who are obvious bad guys, but then there is a twist to the mystery at the end to take a reader by surprise.

Overall, I give Into This River I Drown....

Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 5 bookmarks
Mystery - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Paranormal Elements - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Love Story - 5 bookmarks
Literary Quality - 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Logan Lerman (Benji), Chris Hemsworth (Calliel), Abraham (Michael Fairman)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: TRAINING SEASON by @LetaBlake #AmReading

Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don't come cheap, and Matty can't afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.

But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

I am a huge figure skating fan, so when I saw this book come up on NetGalley, I jumped on it. It didn’t take me too long to figure out the main character, Matty, is inspired by Johnny Weir--one of my all time favorite male skaters. It made me love the book a little bit more, actually. As soon as I finished reading, I hit up YouTube to re-watch some of Johnny’s best performances. No man has ever matched his artistry on the ice. But Matty isn’t Johnny, and this is fiction, so enough waxing poetic about J.W.

When the book opens, Matty is at a turning point in his career. Just coming of a disastrous performance at the Olympics and a rough injury, he retreats to Montana to get his head back on straight and focus on his comeback. Rob is the hot rancher next door, who in addition to being “practically perfect in every way” is also gay.  I found the character of Matty to be well-rounded and full of depth and flaws. And while I liked Rob, he never felt real to me. He was too good, too sweet. It made the scenes where he plays the Dom unrealistic.

Yes, I did say Dom. Nowhere in this book description does it mention this is a BDSM relationship. Not that I mind reading about BDSM, but there were two things that Rob did that made me squeamish, and readers should be warned (The corn maze and the bathroom. That’s all I’ll say.). Other than those two things, I found the romance sweet and sensual. My favorite scene was one where Rob threw Matty into his jumps. I felt like I was there in this beautiful place, watching this beautiful love story play out.

The supporting characters were well-written. Elliot was a party boy with a heart. Bill and Angus were fabulous comic relief. Matty’s family were way more supportive than mine would have ever been. Even Rob’s ex-wife Anja was cool. In general, I’m not a fan of overly precocious children, so there were a few scenes where Rob’s son Ben bugged me, but he grew on me.

The best part of this book is the lesson it teaches about the balance of dreams and reality. It’s something I think we all have to deal with at some point in our lives. Watching Matty learn it is rough, but necessary.

Overall, I give TRAINING SEASON...

Plot - 4/2 bookmarks
Character development - 4 bookmarks (Again, Rob needed to be a little more human, but Matty was fab!)
Love story - 5 bookmarks
Sex Scenes - 4 bookmarks

Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Johnny Weir, of course (Matty), Alan Ritchson (Rob), Kevin McHale (Elliot), Michael Fassbender (Bill), Diana Argon (Anja)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Character interview with Tanner from SOUL STONE by @DelSheree #NewRelease

Today I’m welcoming Tanner Donovan to the blog. Tanner is here to tell us a little about himself and how he ended up trying to break a curse in Soul Stone. Tanner, how did you end up involved in all of this?

Tanner: Originally, purely by accident. I was out with a couple of friends at an archery practice when Arra nearly died of fright from a little bunny running out of the bushes. It was a chance meeting, but I was pulled into her life from that moment, curses and all. Although, I really thought we were finished with this kind of stuff after Arra’s curse. I was not happy when the dreams started up this time because it meant Arra was in danger again.

I can imagine what you went through with Arra over the summer has made you pretty protective of her.

Tanner: Really protective. I know she thinks I overdo it sometimes, but it’s hard not to. I lost my dad when I was pretty young. It wasn’t a curse, but losing someone you love always affects you. I almost lost Arra over the summer and I will do whatever it takes to stop that from happening again.

Sometimes fate is out of your control, though. How difficult is that to accept?

Tanner: I’ll let you know when I figure out how to actually accept that idea. It’s a struggle. I don’t want to make Arra claustrophobic and keep her in a cage, but these new dreams have really scared me. I have no idea who Sibeal is, why Arra is having dreams about her, or what they mean, but it’s not hard to guess that someone’s life is on the line. I don’t want it to be Arra’s.

It’s clear you care about Arra a great deal, but she’s not really the type to let other people tell her what she can and can’t do, right?

Tanner: (laughs) No, not at all. Arra is determined and occasionally short tempered, especially when Bas is around, but what really puts her in danger is how compassionate she is. I want her to stay away from Sibeal and her curse, but Arra can’t stand to let her suffer like she did. I love that she wants to help people, but it may end up getting her killed one day.

You brought up Bas. What’s your perspective on Bas and Arra’s relationship?

Tanner: Relationship? I think you mean tenuous friendship, and I’m not sure you can even go that far. When I first saw them walk into class together, I’ll admit I got jealous, but then the fighting started. Before Bas came back from visiting his cousins in Ireland, I actually thought Arra and Bas would hit it off and we’d have fun hanging out together. Everyone loves Bas. Except Arra, apparently. I’m still not sure what sparked her dislike, but at least I don’t have to worry about losing her to Bas any time soon.

Sure. I suppose so. Maybe you should keep an eye on that just to be safe.

Tanner: What? Why?

Just a bit of advice. Anyway, what are your thoughts on Sibeal Ahearn, the girl Arra’s been seeing in her dreams?

Tanner: I have nothing against Sibeal, personally. She seems nice enough, even if her reflection creeps me out. I’m sure she’s a great girl when she’s not sucking your girlfriend into a deadly curse. Or she might be totally crazy. I’m really not sure. Do you see why I keep telling Arra to stay away?

I have to admit that does seem reasonable, but Arra’s not likely to listen. Where does that leave you?

Tanner: No, she’s not going to listen. That leaves me in the exact same spot I’d be without any curses. Right by her side. It takes a lot more than that to run me off.

I’m glad to hear that, because it sounds like Arra is going to need as much help as she can get for the foreseeable future. We have time for one more quick question, Tanner. What will the dreams bring next?

Tanner: I can only imagine. I’m not holding my breath for sunshine and rainbows. Arra couldn’t make much sense of the newest dream, but I’m sure it won’t be good. She says the words Oracle Lost keep getting stuck in her head, which can only mean more trouble is on its way.

I’m sure it is. In the meantime, thank you for visiting the blog today. Fingers crossed that trouble doesn’t find you too quickly. 

Pick up your copy of SOUL STONE  on Amazon today! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spring is in the air!


Well, not here in Wisconsin it isn't, but since I am working on my Spring schedule, I'm trying to be optimistic.  :) Spring has always been a busy time for me as a writer, because it is my convention season. I have three lined up this year, and I'm hoping many of my readers will be able to come out to meet me. If you have never been to a book convention, I strongly recommend it. They are held all over the place, and it is a great place to meet authors, learn about your favorite books, socialize with other readers, make memories. I will never forget playing Apples to Apples with a group of erotica authors. :) Here my schedule so far this year:

  April 4-6:  Odyssey Con - Madison Wisconsin


  May 13 - 18:  Romantic Time Booklovers Convention - New Orleans, LA

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  May 23 - 26: WisCon (The World's Largest Feminist Science Fiction Convention - Madison, Wisconsin

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That's all I have planned for now, but I'll be sure to let you know of more appearances as they come up. If you see me, please introduce yourself. I love meeting new people!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Release & Giveaway! SOUL STONE by @DelSheree #AmReading


Soul Stone (Escaping Fate #2)

By DelSheree Gladden

Release Date: February 26th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Length: 230 pages

Soul Stone (Escaping Fate, #2)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Soul Stone by DelSheree Gladden

Soul Stone

by DelSheree Gladden

Giveaway ends March 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Arrabella thought she was done with dreams, done with curses and the threat of death.

After surviving the ancient Aztec curse that had plagued her family for centuries, Arra was more than ready for her new life in the boring little town of Grainer, Maine. Boring and small sounded perfect...but she should have known better than to think it would last. 

The dream was odd, but Arra passed it off as nerves about starting school in Grainer. Her boyfriend, Tanner, was there to distract her…and get her into a little trouble as well. He pushes the dream out of her mind until they walk onto the school campus and see her. The lonely girl from Arra’s dream. 

Tanner’s reaction is fierce. He won’t risk losing Arra again and demands she stay away from Sibeal, but Arra can’t stop thinking about her haunted expression. What if she can help her? Arra can’t just walk away and let whatever curse has a hold of Sibeal claim her without trying to stop it. But what if Sibeal deserves the punishment? 

Arra’s battle to make the right choice about Sibeal only gets harder when she is forced to turn to the person in town she likes least for help. Sebastian Wallace is arrogant and irritating, but he’s seems to be the only one who can help her. As Arra tries to determine what the right choice is, she finds out saving Sibeal may be the least of her problems.

Meet the Cast of Soul Stone!

Sebastian Wallace * Arrabella Malo * Tanner Donovan * Sibeal Ahearn

Watch the book trailer for a sneak peek of what these four will face...

Get the first book in the series "Escaping Fate" FREE on Amazon February 26th-21th! 

Get Escaping Fate FREE on Amazon!

About DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. Look for, Wicked Power, the next book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series, and Soul Stone, book two in the Escaping Fate Series, coming 2014.

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