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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Simple Things

Take tie to enjoy the simple things

I donated a copy of my novel, Bronze, to the main branch of our county library quite a while ago. I check online once in a while to see what it’s up to. It most often says “check shelves.” But quite often it shows that it’s checked out. Like today. It makes me profoundly happy. I hope they’re enjoying it. ❤️

Currently writing: Revising and final edits of Bronze for new edition. (I’ll get back to finishing the second Glister Journals novel. I promise.)
Listening: Pedals – Speak
Reading: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Watching: Midsommer Murders and Wayward Pines



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.

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Valentine’s Day Giveaway and Sneak Peek

romance is in the air giveaway hop
There’s a Valentine’s Day giveaway over at my Blogspot blog. The giveaway is a $25 Gift Card to buy the romance(s) of your choice.

I thought I would have my new novel, the second in The Glister Journals series, ready for release by now, but it’s almost done. And yes, there is romance. Unfortunately, the new book’s not ready to give copies away yet, but I’ll share a teaser with you.

Here’s a tiny sneak peek – just a touch of romance for Valentine’s Day. 🙂

It was darker here, but there was enough light to plainly see his face. He was standing very close and still holding my wrist as if afraid to let go.

“This is the scary part,” he said softly, staring back at me.

I had a stab of fear, wondering what he’d say next. “I—”

There was no time to say anything more and even less to formulate theories on his behavior. His gaze dropped to my mouth for a heartbeat, then he planted his own lips firmly on mine.

Another moment later, he drew slowly away.

I was stunned.  My heart had leaped to my throat the moment we had reached our dubious destination, but I wasn’t expecting this. I couldn’t grasp the fact that he had literally dragged me outside to a forbidden and relatively isolated location to—what? Kiss me? He just kissed me?

My heart thumped and skipped crazily as the reality of that sank in to my poor befuddled brain. I was speechless. My assumptions about this evening were spinning in ever widening circles.

Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 29. First third of manuscript going out to Betas

Listening: Alt J – This Is All Yours

Reading: Caszandra by Andrea Host

Watching: Doctor Who and The Prestige



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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd.

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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: 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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Hello 2014!

This is just a quick post to look ahead to some of the things I hope to accomplish this year. But first things first – the January soundtrack clue! Let’s see . . . we’re on number seven:

    CLUE #7 Songs/bands/genres mentioned in chapters do not necessarily reflect that chapter’s song.
    For instance, in one chapter The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, and The Beatles are all mentioned. The chapter title is not by any of these bands, though there are two clues right there – one having to do with the chapter title and one for something else.

I realize the clues so far are a little vague, but if you’ve read the book, they’ll make sense. I’ll give more specific clues as we get closer to the contest opening.

As far as what is coming up:

My main focus as always is to write, write, write. With limited time and living with frequent interruptions, this is a continuing challenge. However, I finally feel like I’m on the downward slope. With Bronze, the first two-thirds of the book took much longer to write than the last and I’m quite sure it will be true with Book #2 as well. This is the most fun part for me to actually write (you’ll have to wait to find out why) and I expect things to go relatively quickly. So, as much for myself as for anyone potentially interested, I’ll let you know what stage I’m in at the end of my posts. This will also serve as a progress report toward the new cover/title release and soundtrack countdown. 😀

I will be needing a couple of new beta-readers soon. I’m also seeking more reviews for Bronze. More about that in future posts. More excerpts of Bronze will be available at The Glister Journals website, and excerpts of Book 2 as soon as the cover’s released.

I’ll be posting as part of a giveaway hop (hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer) this month. I’ll be trying to participate on a somewhat regular basis in these.

There will be more music – of course! – and I will be getting some book features of the books I do manage to get read posted and organized, though I don’t plan on reviewing per se. My features will consist of book information and brief thoughts on the books, and will only be on books I can recommend. I also plan to do some indie features this year. I’m definitely going to have to get an e-reader of some sort though, as most of the indie books I have are digital and it’s almost impossible to find the time to read on my computer.

New and upcoming music I’m excited about:

Toad the Wet Sprocket (first album in sixteen years!), Foster the People, Switchfoot, Broken Bells, The Fray, Elbow, Tycho. There are many others I’m interested in and I’m sure there will be plenty more!

Books on deck . . .

Shadow and BoneThe Iron KingThe Moon Dwellers

. . . and not necessarily new but highly anticipated (as soon as I get my hands on a copy!)

MockingjayShadowsCressThe CrossingLingerFloating Worlds

The Glister Journals #2: halfway through Chapter 19. Word count: impressive. LOL.

Reading Shadow and Bone

Listening to Malmsteen.



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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Clogged Drains and Spam

Yes, clogged drains are really annoying. Especially when you know that you have done absolutely nothing to deserve them. I’m pretty sure the only things that have gone down the garbage disposal lately are egg shells, and they are supposed to be good for garbage disposals.

I’ll cover the spam in my next blog (gives me something to talk about), but I couldn’t resist a little word play. And yes, I’m referring to Green Eggs and Ham.

Friday was Read Across America which also coincided with (what would have been) Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday. I had an opportunity to observe this special day at a local elementary school. I had wondered what took place and admit to having been a little skeptical when hundreds of children invaded and then inhabited the open library and adjoining walkway spaces.

As you can imagine, they were pretty excited to be doing something so outside their normal school routine. The noise and activity seemed antithetic to an atmosphere conducive to actual reading, but surprisingly, little by little, the students settled and became quiet (if not silent) and most were indeed reading. Some of the reading material might have had questionable value (video game strategy guides, manga, etc.) but reading is reading and most kids seemed to be reading traditional enough fare. I saw several copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter books, and one fifth grader was in the last eighth or so of The Hunger Games. He’d even brought Catching Fire with him in case he finished the first book.

The principal later read Horton Hatches the Egg which I’d never read (or heard read) before. I think I only have one Dr. Suess book left, and that’s my personal favorite, One Fish, Two Fish, but it has somehow ended up wedged between The Chicago Manual of Style and an ancient copy of Make Every Word Count which I think is hilarious. I think Dr. Suess would agree.

Then I found this video which I thought was pretty cool, and it has Danny DeVito and Zac Efron helping to mark the day (and blatantly promoting the new Lorax movie which I won’t see, but I admit to having a crush on Zac).



And in case that’s not your cup of tea, have some Imogen Heap covered acapella by an amazing young singer. I love it!



Oh, and my clogged drain? I finally got it open with baking soda, boiling water, and a plunger!

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

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 chapters at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

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