Review: The Arrows of the Heart

This novel is another installment in The Uncharted Realms series by Jeffe Kennedy. I have reviewed other books in this series, and this is another fantastic read and worthy addition to the ranks. If you have not read the other books in the series, this novel reads well as a stand-alone. That said, your experience will be so much richer if you take the time to read the first three books in the series: (The Pages of the Mind, The Edge of the Blade (my personal favorite because, hello, Jepp) and The Shift of the Tide. For the absolute best experience go back and read The Twelve Kingdoms series, you will not regret the time spent immersing yourself in these books and the delightful world Jeffe has created.

This story features Karyn and Zyr, possibly the most unlikely couple of any of Jeffe’s novels,  given Karyn’s rigid attitude and formality and Zyr’s reckless propensity to follow his whims, consequences be dammed. As always Jeffe infuses her characters with sparkling wit and the banter between the two leads is fun and a highlight of the novel. Written in first person, from Karyn’s point of veiw we get to experince her growth as she comes to own her worth and fierceness, as she fights for her adopted homeland. Shifters, romance, intrigue, rich world building and perfect pacing had me up and turning pages well past my bedtime. Karyn and Zyr have won a place in my list of favorite fantasy couples.

ABOUT JEFFE KENNEDY

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her award-winning fantasy romance trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms hit the shelves starting in May 2014. Book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose received a Top Pick Gold and was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014. The third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books followed in this world, beginning the spin-off series The Uncharted Realms. Book one in that series, The Pages of the Mind, has also been nominated for the RT Reviewer’s Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and is a finalist for RWA’s RITA Award. The second book, The Edge of the Blade, released December 27, 2016, and was a PRISM finalist, along with The Pages of the Mind. The next in the series, The Shift of the Tide, released August, 2017. A high fantasy trilogy taking place in The Twelve Kingdoms world is forthcoming from Rebel Base books in 2018. She also introduced a new fantasy romance series, Sorcerous Moons, which includes Lonen’s War, Oria’s Gambit, The Tides of Bàra, and The Forests of Dru. She’s begun releasing a new contemporary erotic romance series, Missed Connections, which started with Last Dance and continues in With a Prince. In 2019, St. Martins Press will release the first book in a new fantasy romance series, Throne of Flowers. Her other works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion; an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera; and the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, which includes Going Under, Under His Touch and Under Contract. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

http://jeffekennedy.com

https://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeffe.Kennedy

https://twitter.com/jeffekennedy

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1014374.Jeffe_Kennedy

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.  You can find her on Facebook by clicking here

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

 

Return of the Spiral Notebook

If you have followed this blog from the beginning, you might remember one of my first posts was about the simple spiral notebook. At that time I was a mostly stay-home parent with young children. I kept a spiral notebook at hand to jot down ideas, and storylines, and thoughts that I wanted to explore as blog posts, and short stories. Then my kids went to pre-school, and I had much more time to devote to my writing, and I dedicated two hours and forty-five minutes to my writing Monday through Friday (the time I had between when I arrived home from dropping them off and when I had to leave to pick them up). It was miraculous, and I managed to get a collection of short stories written and published, and then wonder of wonders they went to kindergarten and later on to grade school, and I had much more time to devote to writing. I focused on writing novels and managed to write four books in two years, not a prodigious sum but for me, but it was doable and not overwhelming.

And then we bought the house next to ours to renovate as a rental and future home for any family member that might need to live close enough for us to care for them. I have done ninety percent of the renovation myself. I was sick and had surgery in December of this year. And then my mom and dad had some health issues that required me to make the eight-hour drive to their house on a regular basis. And then my sweet dog passed away suddenly in the Spring, leaving me short one office companion, and melancholy. 

All of this means that this year, I’m not sure that I will manage to produce two manuscripts to submit to my editor. It also means that I have been carting around my faithful spiral notebook so that when I’m in the middle of painting, or plumbing, or laying floor tiles, and come up with a new thought/idea/storyline/blog post I have a place to capture it. I know that some people use their phone for these types of things but let us say a cheap notebook and pen is more forgiving of paint-stained fingers.

At this point, you may be asking what my point is, and it is this: Never be afraid of adjusting your goals to fit your life, don’t feel bad about it, do what you need to do, and hold tight to those ideas for future projects. Life is full of seasons, don’t give up, be willing to bend, and ready to snap back when the storm has passed. 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. Or if Twitter is your thing follow me @BMurphySideshow 

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Writing-While-Distracted

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Rainbow Snippet September 15- 16

Hi all, here is this week’s snip. I’ve been hella busy this week with promo and getting the word out about Knotted Legacy. Today I’m going to unplug a bit and recharge. Today’s snip is from my new release Knotted Legacy.

From Knotted Legacy:

Lucia remained kneeling, her head bowed, her hand resting on her cheek where Madame had kissed her. Martha waited until Lucia rose. She kept her head down as she turned away from Martha and left the room, closing the door softly. Martha walked to the window and looked out at the garden. Bees hovered over the late September blooms, a riot of orange and yellow. She chewed her lip as she replayed her meeting with Lucia and Madame. What the hell have I agreed to? This is trouble. She’s trouble. And beautiful. What am I going to do? What are you up to, Madame?

 

 

Rainbow Snippets( https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/)is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group, you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. Or if Twitter is your thing follow me @BMurphySideshow

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Writing-While-Distracted

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

 

Review Phoenix Unbound

I found Grace Draven’s books the way I find many of my favorite reads; a friend recommended her book Ediolon. Which, if you haven’t read you need to, but I digress. I follow Grace on Facebook and have been eagerly awaiting this release. To say it was worth the wait is an understatement. Rich world building, strong character ARCs, and an enthralling storyline that kept me transfixed for a long flight. This story examines the bonds of family, loyalty, honor, and love. The romance element is intense but not overwhelming, and the fantasy cultures are believable and rich. Both characters share a history of abuse imposed on them by a vicious empire and family betrayal. The growth of both characters as the story progresses is believable, heart wrenching and well written. One of my pet peeves when reading stories where characters have suffered abuse is the magic penis/vagina scenario wherein the person who has been abused is suddenly okay with sex because they met the right person.  This story handles the sexual tension between the characters with respect and sensitivity. Her approach to the main characters’ attraction to each other and their conflicting feelings as they struggle with their sense of family and kinship, demands of family loyalty, and the political threats to their lives was believable and captivating.

  As a long time reader of fantasy and fantasy romance what I like best about Grace’s books is her ability to deliver both a terrific fantasy story and a great romance in one package. She also writes fight scenes that are some of the best I’ve ever read, and the revenge fight scene in Phoneix Unbound is high up on my list of greatest fight scenes ever.  I am a person who re-reads fight scenes the way some folks re-read sex scenes, and the showdown fight scene in Phoenix Unbound is earmarked for future re-reads. For those of you wondering, Ms. Draven delivers hot sex scenes too. This novel is perfect from the first to the last page, don’t wait, go pre-order your copy of Phoneix Unbound. Be warned, know that you are going to want to read the rest of Grace’s catalog after you do.

Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids, and a big, doofus dog. She has loved storytelling since forever and is a fan of the fictional bad boy. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and 2016, and a USA Today Bestselling author.

 

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.

If Twitter is your thing follow me @BMurphySideshow

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Writing-While-Distracted

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

 

Rainbow Snippet September 8-9

Hi all, it has been a crazy week here with the kids back in school, working on my yard and the rental house, and other things to keep busy so I don’t freak out too much about my novel release on Monday. I should just plan this kind of obsessive, can’t sleep, have to keep moving kind of anxiety into my schedule when I’ve got a book coming out. So far I’ve distracted myself by canning 44 pints of crushed tomatoes, 7 pints of zucchini bread and butter pickles, slicing up 10 pounds of peaches for the freezer, mowing, weeding, and tilling three garden beds, and planting my fall vegetables. Not to mention cleaning my office, my house, the basement, and the garage. At least I’m productive in my creating my distractions. This week’s snip is more from Knotted Legacy, available at most book retailers on Monday, September 10th. Wishing you all a fantastic week ahead.

From Knotted Legacy:

“YOU LOOK LIKE hell. Up all night?” Elaine’s smirk made Martha wince.

“No. And thank you, sister dearest.” Martha turned her back to her and bent to slip her boots off, not wanting to discuss what had happened.

“She turned you down? I knew she was a bitch. Why’d you waste your time?”

Martha turned back to face Elaine and quirked her mouth at her. “This is not open for discussion. Please don’t ask.”

Elaine’s taunting expression morphed into sisterly concern. “I won’t. It had to be hard to be there without Octavia.”

“I wanted to have lunch there. And I didn’t expect to have to stay.”

 

Rainbow Snippets( https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/)is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group, you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. If Twitter is your thing follow me @bmurphysideshow 

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

 Rowan House Series

Knotted Legacy 

Both Ends of the Whip

Sum of the Whole 

Other Works

ONE  

Dominique and Other Stories 

Rainbow Snippet Sept 1-2

Taking a break from canning tomatoes for this week’s Rainbow Snippet. More from Knotted Legacy. The release day is September 10 but is available now for preorder from NineStar Press and Amazon. If you preorder from NineStar be sure to use the code PREORDER and save some cash and get the book three days early.

From Knotted Legacy:

Lucia picked up her menu. She studied it, and Martha took advantage of her distraction and studied her. Her loose curls were pulled back, displaying her long neck, and the low neckline of her dress showed off the swell of her breasts. Her brown skin glowed in the firelight reflecting off the white stone, making her blue-green eyes even more stark in her face.

“It all looks so good. Can we have the tasting menu?” She placed her menu on the table.

“Sounds perfect. It’s what I usually order. They have a wine flight they serve with it. It’s nice to let someone else make the decisions.”

Lucia tilted her head and fixed Martha with her gaze. “It is. As long as you trust the other to make the right choices.” Her voice was the same she had used with Robin, soft yet unyielding, quietly insistent, the voice of a woman so secure in her power she knew her words would be obeyed without question no matter the volume.

Martha’s body responded to her tone. She took a sip of her water before she answered. “Indeed. It only works if it’s so.”

Rainbow Snippets( https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/)is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group, you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. Or if Twitter is your thing follow me @BmurphySideshow

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

 

Rainbow Snippet August 25-26

Hi All, I’m back from vacation and ready to rock Rainbow Snippets again. I just sent off the final proof to Knotted Legacy to my editor and all systems are go for the September 10th release. Here is a little more from Knotted Legacy to whet your appetite. 

From Knotted Legacy: 

“How has it worked out? Any conflicts?” Lucia turned back to Martha and looked into her eyes.

Martha met her gaze. “Occasionally we have people who choose to leave, but I’d rather have them leave than be unhappy working here. Our guests deserve to have submissives and Mistresses who are emotionally present and like their work.”

“And you?”

“What about me?”

“Do you like your work?” She closed the distance and stood in front of Martha, a teasing light in her eyes.

“Very much. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t.”

Lucia tilted her head and pursed her lips, her expression thoughtful. “Is the bath through there? I need to freshen up after my trip.”

Martha wanted to linger, to continue getting to know this woman who challenged her. “Yes. Would you like me to send up someone to attend you?”

“No. I’m used to attending to myself.”

Perhaps I could help you? Don’t say it. Keep it together.“Would you like a tour of the house? After lunch?”

“I’d like that.” Lucia unbuttoned the top button of her shirt and pulled the hem from her pants. She unbuttoned the rest of the buttons and stripped off her shirt. The saucy black-and-white polka-dot bra with black lace she wore matched the playfulness in her eyes. “Very much.”

Rainbow Snippets( https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/)is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group, you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

Filling the Well: Oslo and Stockholm

I’ve written before about using photographs and my travel journals as part of my writing research for books. My most recent trip to Oslo and Stockholm is no exception and I expect to write a least two novels set in each country. I spent much of my time simply absorbing my environment and letting my senses soak up the scents, sounds, sensations, and sights. I enjoyed local food and as always I asked questions of my friends and hosts. The thing I noticed immediately, mostly because I am an avid gardener, were the types of flowers blooming in public and private gardens. As a writer, I work hard to add the little things that lend verisimilitude to my work. The gorgeous flowers I saw everywhere in Oslo and Stockholm will feature in my next novel.  Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip.


Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.

 

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

 

Review: The Shape of You

If you’ve read Georgia Beers’ numerous books, you probably have a favorites list. You know, the list of her books that you re-read when you need a hit of her signature low angst romance, with well-developed characters you become attached to and want to relive their romance again. Well, The Shape of You is going to play all hell with your list, and make you rethink your favorite.  From the opening pages, and the books premise, a woman whose lover signs her up for an exercise class without her knowledge, this books catches you right in the feels and does not let go. It is a must for every person out there who has struggled with self-esteem, questioned their judgment and settled for a less than perfect but safe lover. If you’ve ever been convinced you have to trade passion for emotional safety this book is for you. The lead characters, Spencer Thompson and Rebecca Mcall are well developed and with believable charter arcs.

Spencer’s ability to stand up to Rebecca and the growth of her character over the book made me want to cheer. Spencer is a gem of a character and reminds us all that gentle souls are not weak.  I appreciated Rebecca’s humanity as she struggled with her conflicting feelings about Spencer, her own personal demon’s and finding a way to deal with her insecurities around dating. The pacing was perfect as always. My only complaint: I am greedy, and  I want more of Spencer and Rebecca’s story. So Ms. Beers if you’re listening, please think about it.

About Georgia Beers

Georgia Beers is a Lambda, Foreword Book of the Year, and Goldie award-winning author of lesbian romance. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, she still lives there and loves it (though she’d like winter to be a little shorter). When not writing, she watches too much TV, reads voraciously, goes to the movies as often as possible, and spends time with her mini Aussie, the man in her life. She is currently hard at work on her next book. You can visit her and find out more at www.georgiabeers.com.

 

 

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Rainbow Snippet July 28-29

Hello all, I’m celebrating this weekend because I am officially finished with my day job as of  August 1. I’m stoked and happy that I will have more time for my creative pursuits. I’ll be finishing another novel in the Rowan House series, working on a paranormal duology with a good friend, and spending more time with my family. Today’s snippet is more from my September release Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series. 

From Knotted Legacy: 

The waiter arrived and took their order, and they passed over their menus.

Lucia looked around the dining room. “I want to memorize this room, all the small details so when I think of this meal I’ll be able to close my eyes and remember it. I’ll be right back here. A perfect day. A perfect meal.” She brought her gaze back to Martha’s eyes. “Perfect company.”

Martha flushed. The sincerity in Lucia’s voice fanned the tiny flame of hope in her chest. Could this be more? Does she want more than lunch? I want it to be more. Please let it be more. She focused on the sensuous line of Lucia’s mouth, unguarded, she opened herself to Lucia and let her desire show.

The waiter arrived with their wine, breaking the moment. Martha stifled a groan. She sipped her wine. She held Lucia’s gaze over the rim of her glass. “To more perfect days.”

Lucia touched her glass to Martha’s before she took a sip. She raised her glass. “To unexpected pleasures.” She sipped her wine. She set her glass aside and slid her tongue over her lower lip.

Rainbow Snippets( https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/)is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.    You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.

Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon

NineStar Press

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories