Shiny New Format

If you’ve visited here before, you may notice some changes. I thought it was time for a fresh format. I’ll be tweaking things over the next few weeks. Let me know if something is out of place or doesn’t work! The Glister Journals website is getting a totally new look, so I hope to unveil that very soon.

I’ve been working through a very busy and stressful period at my job (teaching) and life in general and haven’t had much spare time or energy (and no spoons left over) to post here, but things are calming down (I think) and I hope to get back to at least one post per month, as well as book updates.

The new edition of Bronze is finished and being prepared for printing. It has a release date of April 13 so, if you haven’t already read Bronze but you plan on it, don’t buy the edition currently available. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I do think the new edition is a great improvement. I’m still considering making the paperback edition two books for several reasons, mostly to reach a wider audience and be more attractive for brick and mortar to stock (I can give them a bigger %) but that will require new covers which will take even longer. So I’m not completely decided about that. There will be an e-book edition soon, but I’m not sure exactly when that will be available. It might take the format of the paperback in two parts.

In the meantime, I’m slogging away at Book Two. I say slogging because these last few chapters are proving very difficult for me to write. They’re very personal in some ways, and not personal enough in others. There are things that need to happen and need to be said, but not a lot of time to do and say them. I’m trying to be concise without the ending feeling completely rushed. And I need to do some fact-checking, but finding the right people to do it with is very difficult.

Anyway, things are moving forward. Thank you for your patience!

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My Winter Reads

With revision of Bronze complete, I had originally hoped that these would be my Fall reads, but Gaiman’s American Gods took me far too long to read and I’m reading Percy Jackson now in an attempt to catch up a little – I’m woefully behind on my Reading Challenge! In between, I’m writing daily and as much as I can now that school is back.

I’m currently finishing two books: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, which I have mixed feelings about, and then I’ll finish The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.

Next will be Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I’ve had this on my To Be Read list for quite a while. When my oldest daughter mentioned she was reading it on Kindle (and loving it) and my son asked if I’d ever heard of it on the same day (he was raving about the miniseries he’d just seen), it got bumped to the top of the list. The book is huge so it’s going to take a while!

Two magicians shall appear in England.
The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me…

The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.


Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman is a hardback I’ve had for quite a while but didn’t want to read until I’d read American Gods. Now that I’ve finished it, I’ll read this follow-up novel.

Bursting with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman, this story blends fantasy with humour and drama. Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared – right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad’s fault. If his rotter of an estranged father hadn’t dropped dead at a karaoke night, Charlie would still be blissfully unaware that his dad was Anansi the spider god. He would have no idea that he has a brother called Spider, who is also a god. And there would be no chance that said brother would be trying to take over his life, flat and fiancée, or, to make matters worse, be doing a much better job of it than him. Desperate to reclaim his life, Charlie enlists the help of four more-than-slightly eccentric old ladies and their unique brand of voodoo – and between them they unleash a bitter and twisted force to get rid of Spider. But as darkness descends and badness begins is Fat Charlie Nancy going to get his life back in one piece or is he about to enter a whole netherworld of pain?

And finally,

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


I enjoyed the first book of this series and look forward to getting back to it.

Have you read these? What did you think? What are you looking forward to reading this winter?

Writing: TGJ Book 2, Chapter 29.
Listening: Civil Twilight – Story of an Immigrant
Reading: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.
Watching: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Grantchester



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com New edition coming!

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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Blogoversary

Four years ago, I started my first blog when my first novel was published. To celebrate and thank my followers, I’m giving away $15 gift cards to the book store of your choice to two winners.

But I’d like your help too. There’s an easy entry for followers, and you can tweet about the giveaway, but I’d appreciate your opinions and feedback in a quick three question survey. It earns extra entries,too!

As I finish revisions for a new edition of Bronze and finish the second Glister Journals novel, I’m considering different options and would appreciate your feedback. Whether you have read Bronze or not, your opinions are very welcome! I don’t want to change for the sake of change, but I do want Bronze to reach the broadest audience possible. Answers to these questions will help me make choices that may affect the whole series.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com New edition coming!

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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Review: Cinder

It’s been a while since I read these books, but as I hope to read Cress (the third book in the series) when the paperback comes out, and Fairest (the fourth book) is out in about three months, I figured I should get to it! Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series is set in a futuristic/alternative reality earth. Although the books are re-imaginings and intertwinings of very familiar fairy tales and characters (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty–at least the evil queen!) the settings and story lines are firmly in science fiction territory and YA accessible. Which is all kinds of awesome. I love Marissa’s writing (with one exception – see Scarlet), her characterizations, and stories.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I wasn’t initially drawn to this book. Much as I adore science fiction movies and shows, I’m not crazy about robots/androids/cyborgs/etc., so the cover actually put me off. I didn’t want to start a book I already had doubts about (as far as liking the main character). Silly me.

First of all, I need to talk about Marissa’s world. That’s what drew me in and changed my mind as soon as I began reading. Due to my uncertainty, I got it from the library first. I was immediately thrown into a busy futuristic marketplace with a fusion of high and low technology and predominantly Asian atmosphere a la Whedon’s Firefly (not as dark and brooding as Blade Runner). By the time I was halfway through the book I was sold on Marissa’s writing and the series and had to have my own copy.

Linh Cinder is a part human, part robotic teen girl who works in the marketplace of New Beijing. She is famous for her expertise in mechanics and does a good trade there, helping to augment her family’s meager income. That family is, of course, a step mother and two step sisters. They and all the residents of New Beijing are struggling to function and make a living through a deadly plague of unknown origin with no known cure.

As the story opens, she is tending the stall in the marketplace and brooding about her foot. She has outgrown it. The accident that left her in need of robotic parts happened when she was a small girl and she hasn’t been able to find – or afford – replacement parts to keep up with her physical growth.

Enter Prince Kai. He has come to the marketplace, undercover, seeking her renowned expertise to repair a family droid. His reasons for secrecy, beyond not wanting to get mobbed by his adoring subjects, remains obscure for a while but makes sense later on. Her reason for hiding her foot – and her cyborg physiology – is the crush she has on him, just like every other female subject including her adorable android sidekick.

Hanging over all is the threat of invasion by the mysterious Lunar queen and her forces if diplomacy fails. And diplomacy insists on marriage.

Although I found some of the plot and back story (not necessarily related to the original fairy tale) a little predictable, I enjoyed the read immensely and look forward to the rest of the series.

Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 27.
Listening: All of the musics.
Reading (finishing): Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Watching: Downton Abbey



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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$229 Kindle Fire Giveaway

Facebook and Twitter Blast Kindle Fire

This giveaway may be entered from my Glistering: B’s Blog over at Blogspot.

Twitter/Facebook Blast $229 Giveaway

A fabulous group of bloggers & authors have joined together to offer you 1 fabulous prize valued at $229.


The winner of this giveaway will receive their choice of a $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!

 



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Review: The Raven Boys

Time to get caught up with some reviews!

image_5

This is a little old now as I read The Raven Boys last summer, but as we’re only in the middle of the series (the third of four books comes out this year) I guess it’s not too late.

The Raven Boys is the first title in the Raven cycle by Maggie Stiefvater and is definitely one of my favorite books of the past few years. I like books that are both well-written and don’t explain too much at the beginning, just dropping information here and there to let you piece things together, and such a book is The Raven Boys.

In fact, the beginning is very vague: Blue Sargent and someone we understand to be her aunt are sitting in a graveyard in the middle of the night, waiting. Waiting for what, exactly, isn’t clear, but we’re told that every St. Mark’s Eve, Blue and her clairvoyant mother wait in the graveyard for the soon-to-be-dead spirits to walk by and whisper their names. Blue can’t see or hear them but functions as an amplifier. In fact she often acts as amplifier for her mother, aunt, and the other women living in her home. It’s this paranormal vagueness, the relationship of the female characters living at 300 Fox Way, and the way the paranormal is no big deal, just a part of everyday life–exciting at times and a headache at others, but rarely causing anxiety or stress–that reminded me of one of my all time favorite books, A Wrinkle In Time. It also reminded me of the movie Practical Magic (which I also love) in the way the characters interact. Win-win.

Apart from being extremely well-written – Maggie turns some wonderful phrases – it is otherwise unlike anything else I’ve ever read. And that’s always a good thing too.

Blue is initially extremely annoyed then befriended by four boys, ‘Raven Boys’ from the local prep school, and is roped into their adventures trying to find the final resting place of an ancient Welsh king. The reasons for this search are also very vague, but it seems like a worthy quest, at least from the boys’ point of view, and they are all invested in it. Magic is involved, of course, and the boys soon discover that Blue, with her amplifying power, is very handy to have along. Romance is obviously in the future with a foreboding black cloud already hanging over it in the form of Blue’s curse–that she will be the cause of her true love’s death. There’s a triangular shaped thing already in place too, but that’s to be expected I suppose and didn’t detract one bit from the pleasure I got from the story.

I absolutely loved this book. The characterizations were clear and not too clichéd, I loved the boys (especially Noah) and loved the quirky women of Blue’s household too. There were a few parts that were too vague, not well described enough, which made it hard to imagine, but the characters, plot, and strength of writing more than made up for it. I will definitely be reading this book again and am in for the whole series.

Highly recommended! With reservations about the sequel.

This song’s a little old now too, but the first time I heard it, it made me think of this book. (No the video has nothing to do with the story.)



Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 26 (Yes, still, but almost done). Revisions through chapter 15.

Listening: Foster the People (review coming)

Reading: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Gilmore Girls Season 7



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Review: Mockingjay

Mockingjay

Death. Destruction. Mayhem. Just another day in Panem.

This is the first time in I can’t remember how long I felt that I HAD to read the end of a book, just to make sure somebody was okay. And not just “okay” but that the book ended satisfactorily. Now, cheating and reading the end of a book is close to sacrilege to me, like sneaking peeks at presents days before Christmas (no, I never have). I had become so invested in one particular character, however, that if they didn’t make it, and if there wasn’t closure, I was going to throw the book away. Seriously.

I found Mockingjay much harder to read than the first two books. I believed The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I had a much harder time suspending disbelief for Mockingjay, but I’m not sure why. It felt a little too slow at the beginning, but once Katniss and the others began their forays out into the other districts, it didn’t stop. One of the things I found most difficult to read were the continuous deaths.

There was plenty of death in the first two books, of course, but that was mostly individuals during the games. This is brutal war and torture. There is a LOT of violence in this book. It’s not that it’s too graphic–I didn’t find it any more graphic than the others–but it just seemed over the top to me, and at one point Ms. Collins was killing off so many characters that I had a suspicion that EVERYBODY was going to die. It seemed to be heading in that direction. Which is why I had to cheat.


If you loved the first two books (which I did), of course you must read this one. If you struggled through them because of the violence, this one’s worse. Was it worth reading? Absolutely, and I’ll read the trilogy again. But not for a while. And yes, I’m looking forward to the movie immensely!

I had been holding off writing this review hoping for a real movie trailer, but there is none yet. (I’ll come back and add it later.) In the meantime, Radioactive by Imagine Dragons always reminds me of The Hunger Games in general (the lyrics, not the video) so I will leave you with that for now.



And now there’s at least a teaser!



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire

Katniss is back in District 12 and trying to settle into the Victor’s Village. Although Peeta lives nearby, she never sees him, and her relationship with Gale has drastically changed. She’s trying to figure out how to carry on when she becomes aware of the unrest growing among some, maybe all of the other districts. And she and Peeta are probably to blame. President Snow makes it very clear that, while on their upcoming Victory Tour, they will need to be convincingly in love–and not just convincing to the public; convincing to him.

The tour does not go as smoothly as planned and rumors of rebellion are growing. Soon it’s time for the next Hunger Games, but this time it’s special, the seventy-fifth anniversary – the Quarter Quell. Katniss and Peeta should only have to be sponsors, but all the old rules are off. This time, everyone is agreed; Peeta must survive.

At first I thought this second book was going to drag, the beginning, back in District 12, seemed to take time to get going. But it didn’t. And once “The Tour” kicked in, it was non-stop drama (the good kind) and action. And this book completely sold me on Peeta. In the first book, although I liked Peeta, I wasn’t too attached to either guy. But I was in complete agreement in this that, if anyone was to survive, it had to be Peeta. Of course things couldn’t be that simple and Peeta’s got his own ideas.

In Catching Fire we meet new characters and have to live through another arena spectacle. This one certainly has a twist though and will have you reaching for the next book. I’d have it on hand if I were you. I was stubbornly waiting for the paperback to come out.

As for the movie, I wondered how they were going to do some of it, how much would they have to change. But once again, I thought the movie was amazing. The only thing I was aware of missing was Peeta’s paintings. For the tour, they’re supposed to exhibit their “talents.” Katniss doesn’t have any beyond her hunting prowess and “borrows” from Cinna. But Peeta is an artist. I would have liked to see that explored a little. And I don’t think there was anything in either movie about the Avoxes, but I guess they have to cut something. I’m not complaining.



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Review: The Hunger Games

Hunger Games

Yes, I’m extremely late to the party, I know, but I’m going to weigh in on this series anyway. I’ll just go ahead and credit this book with fueling my new interest in young adult literature and I don’t mean that in a genre sense. I’ve tried reading some of the traditionally published ‘genre,’ and have been severely underwhelmed to the point that I can’t bear to waste time finishing them. Nothing had really impressed me since Harry Potter. But this book–indeed, as I’m finished with the final book I can say the whole series–is so well written, well paced, and with such strong characters, I want to read anything Suzanne Collins has written no matter the genre or target age group. It is also the first book I’ve read in first-person present tense that I thoroughly enjoyed. I generally don’t care for it as it’s seldom well-done, but as I said, the writing is so strong, it could be in any voice and I’d love it. I also need to say that I have since found other authors/books in this category well worth reading, but I’ll review them later.

I doubt if many people are ignorant of the premise for the story, but if you’re here seeking out a review at this point, perhaps you are: In a brutal future United States where the privileged few live extravagantly and wastefully in the “Capitol,” the average citizen lives in one of twelve districts. Each district has it’s specialty–mining, cattle, agriculture, etc.–but most barely scratch out an existence while the best of everything is sent to the Capitol. Why don’t they rebel? Well, once upon a time there were thirteen districts. 13 rebelled and 13 no longer exists–at least as far as anyone knows. To commemorate the occasion and remind the districts of what can happen again, each district gives up one boy and one girl each year to the Hunger Games, a brutal arena free-for-all where only one winner can survive. Katniss Everdeen, something of a tough loner who would do anything for her sister, becomes the girl for District 12.

The Hunger Games is certainly brutal and violent but not over the top. Some parts were unpleasant but never so graphic as to make me want to skip parts (I have my limits for blood and guts). The violence is a part of the story and propels it forward. Yes, there is certainly a love story, but it never becomes too sentimental or steamy. It’s a very clean read in that perspective which I liked. The motives for everything, including the love interest, is what I found the most appealing.

And I’m glad that I read the book first, but the movie is truly excellent. Considering I had read it recently, I wasn’t aware of anything important missing and felt myself right back in the story. That’s pretty amazing. It sets just the right tone at the beginning, the rural and impoverished District 12 looking like something out of 1940s Appalachia. In contrast, the Capitol is all high tech, high fashion, and wanton wastefulness. Presiding over all, though not conspicuous is the president of Panem, Snow, well played by Donald Sutherland. I don’t like Donald Sutherland, never have, but kudos to the casting directors. He’s perfect. Actually that’s one of the best things about the movie–its cast. They nailed it. Even Lenny Kravitz as Cinna is perfect. No, really! If they ever make a movie/movies out of my series, I want them to cast it. (I can dream!)

Verdict: Go see the movie, but read the book first!



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Goodbye 2013 . . .

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone has a great 2014. Looking back, it was a difficult year in a lot ways from a personal perspective, but a wonderful one too. And many of you are the reason! Thank you so much for your encouragement, friendship, and support. And I’m so pumped up about it being the Year of the Horse! I hope this is a good omen for my series and especially for The Glister Journals #2 which will be released this year.

A quick look back–I had a lot of things happen this year but here’s a few highlights:

The most exciting event was winning the literary category for the 2013 IndieReader Discovery Awards. The winners were announced by Hugh Howey at BEA, but unfortunately I couldn’t be there. It was very exciting anyway!

Bronze had a great Book Blast and Tour with great giveaways for the Kindle edition release in October. I enjoyed it immensely and made some truly wonderful new friends. I can’t wait to do it again for the release of The Glister Journals #2! Highlights of the tour, including reviews, author and character interviews, and guest posts can be found on The Glister Journals website.

To kick off the tour, I announced the Bronze Soundtrack puzzle. There is a song that accompanies every chapter of Bronze. The songs will be revealed in the countdown to TGJ #2’s release. The Bronze Soundtrack Contest will be open to entries in 2014 before the release of Volume 2.

There were a lot of interviews: with Goodreads’ The Young Adult Book Club, with Aside From Writing, and several during the Bronze tour.

I featured a few albums: Strangeland by Keane, El Camino by The Black Keys, the Haunt EP from Bastille, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery by Capital Cities, and Last of the Great Pretenders by Matt Nathanson.

And read quite a few books, though not as many as I would have like and far less than most of you, I’m sure. There were a few I didn’t finish, for one reason or another, but the ones I did finish and enjoy were:

The Hunger GamesCatching FireThe Raven BoysThe Dream ThievesShiverCinderLegendProdigyAmberPegasusThe RoadOn a Foreign FieldAll the Pretty HorsesStardust

I’ll be posting features/reviews for most if not all these in the coming year and working at getting all reviews and features organized. 🙂

Coming next: A look ahead for 2014 and January soundtrack clue (by the weekend…promise!)

Coming soon: A “No Strings Attached” January blog hop and giveaway!



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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