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Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

I love this author!!! My dream is to one day be as successful as her, to sign books at the same function. Ahh, did I mention daydreaming is a big deal for me. If you’re a fan of Fantasy Romance, then I strongly recommended you read this series. Check out my reviews A Court of Thorns & Roses and my personal favourite A Court of Mist & Fury. So without further delay, here is my review of the third installment of this series #ACOTAR


Blurb.

A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN FANTASY ROMANCE NOVELFeyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


I Award this Novel 5/5 Starsmy Heart and Soul with it.

My favourite quote from the novel is one that rings true in my own life.

‘If I had not met a shadowslinger, I would not have known that it is the family you make, not the one you are born into, that matters. I would not have known what it is to truly hope, even when the world tells you to despair.’

Feyre is lethal and daring, a female that holds her own. Rhysand is still charming, cunning and a force to be recommend with. He makes my heart melt. He’s ruined me for real life, nothing can compare to the emotions their love invoked in me. Truth be told, I found a lot of similarities between Rhys and my hubby. Particularly the way he treats her, lets her hold her own, but is always there to turn to.

What most inspired me, was the friendships that formed into family. The dynamics of the complex characters and how they all work, sometimes don’t work, together… because that’s what a family is. This novel delves into the other characters more, we start to unravel their pasts. To see what makes them all tick.

The war fair, is gritty, catastrophic and brutal. My heart was in my throat for most of the novel. I couldn’t predict the ending and when it arrived it was spectacular, heart-breaking and beautiful.

Sarah J Maas knows how to put her readers through the wringer. The whole series is complex, rich in belief systems, diversity, races and social status. Her world building is breath-taking; she weaves a rich, lush tapestry of realms and characters.

Spoiler: I only have one Qualm with this story and its Mor’s revelation. I have no issue with her choices; it makes a lot of sense. I’m just disappointed for Azriel. Unrequited love is a hard pill to swallow. Something I’ve had to deal with. I hope brighter things are aligned for his future.

Have you read this series? What did you think? If you’re a fan of fantasy Romance, what other series did you enjoy reading?

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Blurb

The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:

Opens at Nightfall, Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.

Le Cirque des Rêves – The Circus of Dreams.

Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.


I award this novel 5 stars.

My Review of Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel – The Night Circus.

The Night Circus is imaginative, dark and magical. A mix of fantasy and realism that portrays a tale of coming-of-age. The novel is thrillingly wonderfull, a delicate blend of romance and friendship. It fired up evocative images, played to my senses and delivered me into the marvellous world of The Night Circus.

I read this book when I was in Disney World. The magic and tantalising playfulness of the creation blended seamlessly with my holiday. In fact, it heightened my experience. Each caramel popcorn stall I passed reminded me of the vibrant story. The acrobats performing at the Cirque du Soleil blurred with vivid tale of The Night Circus. In the day I was transported into childlike wonder and at night Erin’s debut novel whisked me away, with the rich tapestry of her character’s lives.

I adore the book cover, with its timeless beauty, simplicity and cleverly designed intricate details. Simply stunning!

Throughout my holiday I carried the book in my heart and soul. Like the Reveres in the story, I too fell in love with the fantastical circus.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think and do you have any similar favourites? Let me know I love hearing from you.

 

A court of Mist and Fury Fantasy Romance Author

Review – A court of Mist and Fury.

A court of Mist and Fury Fantasy Romance Author

Feyre struggles with what she endured under the mountain. Worse is Tamlin’s controlling behaviour in a bid to ensure her safety and his lack of empathy for all she’s been through.

Feyre is mollycoddled, paraded like a trophy in front of the Courts but ignored. She’s suffocating in this new world. Until Rhysand arrives, calling in his end of the bargain.

Prythian is revealed in a rainbow of colours, vibrancy and life. All is not as it seemed in the spring court. With her new fae body, Rhysand helps Feyre discover her hidden powers enabling her to become whole once more.

In this novel Feyre grows from a young girl with romantic of love and blooms into the woman she truly is. I love how Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship is harsh, gritty and full of teasing.

The introduction of new characters deepens the world. Enriching the story, filling it with a complex structure. The plot expands, growing seamlessly from book one without leaving unfinished business.

(Manipulating me into the next story is my pet peeve. Sure leave a subtle twist or a few teasers but for the love of god, complete the story that was set out in book one.)

Thankfully Sarah J. Maas does not do that. She’s a goddess in my opinion. I’m a huge fan girl of hers.

Sarah J. Mass tore my heart out and left me grieving for her world. I was desperate for the next instalment but couldn’t risk my obsessive nature. I have a tendency to live in the fantasy realm. I have a family. I’ve promised myself that once my second novel is complete, I’m delving back into her world. I can’t wait to meet Rhysand again. He’s my favourite book boyfriend.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
water sunset beach fantasy writer Lorraine Ambers

Look how far you’ve come

 

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Four months ago I finished my first novel and submitted my book baby to a select few literary agencies. It’s equally exciting and nerve wrecking. Patience is proving not to be my strong suit, especially when I’m awaiting a reply from an agent who has blogged that it will take her a lot longer if she’s torn on a MS.

While part of me pats my shoulder for at least hooking an agent, the other half is wondering if my submission ever made it to her slush pile. As I’m not planning on embarrassing myself by asking for confirmation, I’ll have to hang tight.

During these months I’ve busied my obsessional brain by starting book two of the Shadow Knight Series. I’ve almost finished! I know how I’m going to tie up the two remaining subplots to conclude this novel, but my writings floundering. I’m dragging out scenes and adding pointless interactions with characters. I know why, fear, I never planned on finishing the novel so fast.

Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

I heard a great mantra today, ‘Look how far you’ve come and not how far you have to go.’ It put my author career into perspective. Three years ago I joined a creative writing class to discover my sense of self. Six months later I discovered my niche and started a rough draft of my first novel.

During the past two years I’ve designed my brand, built my platform and as of a year ago launched my blog. Thank you to my 400 followers; you’ve been a constant source of encouragement and kindness.

Most of us writers have family and work commitments that need to be juggled. Looking at the bigger picture, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come in a short amount of time.

So take a look at your own journey and congratulate yourself on your hard work and dedication. You deserve it.

Drop me a message; tell me about your progress. We’re all on this journey together and I love hearing from you.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23138441@N00/9473071730″>tinkerbell/mermaid.</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
elfine_2_by_lamuserie-Fantasy-Writer-Lorraine-Ambers

Excerpt Knights of Shadows and Lies

My debut novel has been in submission since spring time. It’s still early days. So while I fly through the first draft of Empress of Mischief and Mayhem, here’s a little teaser of the first book in my Shadow Knight Series. Enjoy!   

With a desperate urge to be far away from Aeverlon, Sander pulled Alysia into his arms, wishing her closeness would dampen the rising turmoil. Instead desire swirled with dread, a lethal conncoction that fired through his veins.

‘Hold on,’ he said in a gruff tone that he didn’t recognise.

He cursed his wicked wants as they sunk their claws into his blood. Alysia’s eyes mirrored his own carnal inclinations. She nibbled on her plump lower lip. He wasn’t thinking clearly. Maybe he needed to cool off before facing Theo. Get some distance between him and Alysia before he misunderstood the signs, again. His fingers clenched her hips with more force than he intended, as frustration welled up, adding pressure to the intoxicating moment.

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Artwork attributed to LaMuserie http://www.lamuserie.net

He flashed them, catching remnants of her gasp as they exited the realm and entered the outskirts of the Vale.

Sander released her and crouched down behind a boulder. He pretended to keep a watch over the rugged, barren landscape. ‘Get down, we can’t be seen here.’ He ordered.

Thick tension crackled between them. It wasn’t her fault and yet a lifetime of rejection bubbled under his skin. The ground crunched and settled, signalling Alysia had obeyed his order. The silence stretched on, becoming an obstacle to overcome. Sander blew his hair from his eyes and glanced at Alysia. Her back rested against the rock with her chin resting upon her knees.

Fae-by_lamuserie-Fantasy-Writer-Lorraine-Ambers
Artwork attributed to LaMuserie

He knew he was acting like an idiot. There were too many variables and reasons behind his behaviour. The lies and confusion pooled into an insurmountable mass. Sander twisted and dropped beside her, stretching his legs out over the patchy terrain.

‘What was Theo like before?’ Alysia asked.

Sander offered her a puzzled expression.

She waved her hand theatrically. ‘Before all this mess and destruction?’

‘Different but the same—it’s hard to explain.’ He picked a stone up and began rubbing it between his thumb and fore finger.

‘We have the time.’

It crossed his mind that time was the last thing they had. He’d forgotten what it was like to be understood by someone better than you knew yourself. He’d forgotten that it was more than a physical, chemical reaction with her. His soul felt whole. The festering chasm in the centre of his rib cage eased off and closed. She was giving him the chance to breathe. To calm down and gain control. So, he took it.

A massive thank you to Antoine R for allowing me to use their visual masterpieces. If you’re a fan of fantasy artwork check their pages out. 🙂

All the artwork is copyrighted to digital artist LaMuserie

www.facebook.com/Lamuserienet/

Antoine R – Artist| Digital Art www.lamuserie.net

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016

 

king_dragon_2_by_dezilon-Author-Lorraine-Ambers

The Dragon Within

I’m at war with a dragon,
who is deceitful and cunning.

There’s no place to hide since the beast arose,
she blurs the line between life and death.

My dragon whispers white lies, weaving her delusions.
She hides in shadows, scratching her talons in the midnight sky.

I disguise the monster afraid that others will fear her presence,
so my mask stays in place, in case they shun away.

My castle bridge is drawn and the shield’s held high,
but the courtyard’s void, with only the ghosts to keep me warm.

For the dragons taint has taken route…
finally, she sleeps. Letting me fall from her grace.

I cast off her flames, emerging battle scared and weary.
At last able to chase the fleeting moments of joy,

I thought I’d defeated her, slain the stalker and walked away victorious.
She tricked me, for her eggs have already been hatched.

king_dragon_2_by_dezilon-Author-Lorraine-Ambers

Thanks to dezilon.deviantart.com for the allowing me to use his amazing artwork – thegalaxyjumper@gmail.com

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

Searching for an Agent

After two and a half years I’ve finally done it. Completed my novel, the endless edits and revisions are over.

Last week I sent off my MS to five carefully selected agents. I spent nights trawling through the Writers & Artists year book, and hours researching each firm to find the perfect match for my novel. Then, more days following them on social media or checking out their blogs. To find out about them and how I could connect. It’s tricky business. Agents hate it when authors approach them on a broad range biases, it proves they have not done their homework. I can not be accused of that.

I followed their guideline: submit first 3 chapters, double spaced and in font size 12, making sure to use an appropriate script. Each agent specifies slightly different terms, some want PDF or word document attachments other only want them in the email body.

That was fine, but what what about the ones that don’t specify?

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
– Cynthia Heimel
I guessed and made that leap!
Agents and publishers want to know:
  • who you are,
  • what your novel is about,
  • what experience you have,
  • who its targeted at, and so on and so forth.
I polished individual cover letters for each agent. All specially chosen from specific companies, and then rounded down, like a bizarre version of the Hunger Games. Where only one agent with in the agency can be victorious.
Inevitably I forgot something! I didn’t include the word count. I can’t go back. I can’t add it in another email or resend the whole lot again. They class that as harassment, perhaps I’m over exaggerating. The amount of conflicting information, surrounding this process is mind boggling.
I panicked! Why did I tell them my novels a crossover between genres? What was I thinking when I claimed my story is a romance fantasy, interlaced as a psychological thriller. I don’t even know what that genre is…
That was when I mentally slapped myself! I know these thing are true. I know my own story. I might fumble and go bright red when someone asks me what its about, but I still know it inside out.
The whole process is confusing, scary and shadowed in the artist Achilles heel – DOUBT.
Now I wait and refresh my emails daily. Now I plan book 2. Now I keep going.

Thank you for reading my post. Are you almost at the finish line? Or perhaps your starting out on a new adventure, Let me know about it. I love reading your comments and discovering I’m not alone in this process. 🙂

Author lorraine ambers logo© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
dragon fairy flower magic fantasy

Why I Love Fantasy, Magic and Romance

I write about everything and anything that’s influenced me with the same tenacity as a child’s ability to see and believe in the impossible. My novels are in the guise of fantasy because it’s a world far removed from the mundane, ordinary and boring. Rich in the tapestry of life’s experiences, steeped in mystery and wonder.

I moved often as a child. My father was a soldier, so we were reposted every couple of years. I’d always find the local tadpole pond, the best den building spots or creepy forests, where witches lived and the number 3 was a bad omen. In that regards I had an idealistic childhood, out from (I’m not a vampire, honest) dawn till dusk. The outdoors was a safe haven, a magical realm where my imagination was the only limit.

Art, pink, birds

My love of fairy-tales came from my mum. She would point at acorn shells and say that they were faerie cups. Show me an autumn forest floor and declare that the pixies must have had a party before we came. Seed-shells would become hats or shoes and flowers would be their clothes. She decorated my room in faerie ornaments and artwork. She allowed me to choose my own path in life.

As I grew older, moving so often ground me down.  My father took a redundancy from the army but the uncertainty increased. We moved four times in that year. It stripped my self-esteem and left me unable or unwilling to leave the house. I faked illnesses or struggled with migraines. My world had become a nightmare, so I clung to my daydreams.

 

 

fairy book girl fantasy
photo credit: Rachel.Adams Once Upon a Time via photopin (license)

My parents separated (again) and we moved to Wales. A place I could call home. Mums roots run deep in these parts and I knew I’d have a window of opportunity to make friends through my family ties.

I discovered the joys of reading. My cousin lent me her point horror and thriller books, which I devoured. The romances were tantalising and yet unsatisfactory. Their tales of first love seemed to skirt the deeper connections I searched for. They never explored the seduction of heart that I’d envisaged in my reveries.

A world of fantasy was one I’d retreat to in my mind. I guess it was my salvation. If magic and romance existed, perhaps my own existence could be tolerated.

Isn’t that why we read? Too escape and explore the unknown.

My perspective has changed since my depressed, teenage years. I do see magic; it exists in the beauty of life that’s taken for granted. We forget about what’s right in front of us. Until that magical moment when our fleeting joy bubbles up, reminding us of our fortunes.

For some, making dreams a reality is nothing more than fantasy. But I believe in that too. We have the power to change our future and become who we truly desire to be.

And of course, romance and love. Not the destructive, selfish type my parents taught me. The gentle, considerate kind of love that burns slow and steady for eternity.

Thanks for reading. What’s your favourite genre and why? You know I love hearing from you.

photo credit: Rachel.Adams <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40988970@N05/21506365601″>Once Upon a Time</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

 

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Overcoming self-doubt

A lack of faith or confidence in our ability as an author hits us all at one time or another. This past week has been no different for me. My MS is full of tropes. I’m a failure.  No agent is going to accept me. My writing stinks!

Author self-doubt

We’ve all heard the little gremlins, but what makes us carry on despite the crippling fear.

My favourite quote is by Suzy Kassem. She hits the proverbial nail on the head with her wise words. Sometimes it’s the shove I need to keep going, to keep trying and to hope tomorrow I’ll believe in myself once again.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem.

For me, perseverance is the only option. In the past I’ve buried myself in a double quilt with a large bar of chocolate as my only comfort but life simply passed on by. I now wonder what might have been if I’d had faith in my future.

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  – Vincent Van Gogh

And so we should continue to paint with our words, dream up lands from fantasy and create what only our minds can conjure.

Remember we have the right to nurture ourselves, to take a step back, regroup and reconnect to those we care about. As a suffer of mental illness, I understand that sometimes the inner voice is the cruellest one of all. So I won’t feel guilty about allowing myself time to pick up the pieces.

Girl-Dreaming-Pixels

“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare.

What helps you navigate from the tiny terrors that whisper inside your mind? Do share, I’d love to know.

writer, coffee, bag, pen, notebook

7 Writing tips by Lorraine Ambers

Hello and welcome, today I thought I’d share some of my favourite tips with you. The kind of advice I wish I always used but as I’m only human, I too forget.

Like the wonderful author Judith Barrow keeps telling me: Read your work aloud. It helps to identify poor flowing work, straighten out kinks and generally is a great tool for your revision. (Yes, she tells me after each critique session when I clearly have not done so.)

Use your own writing voice, don’t try to imitate someone else’s. Publishers want your unique style that only you can deliver, so quite struggling with the pretence and allow your words to flow through the pen.

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As a follow on to the last point, always carry a note book and pen, pencil or if you fancy a crayon. I can’t tell you how many times I should have been prepared. In your handbag/ backpack, in the glove box, by your bed or even record your words of epiphany onto your mobile phone. You always think you’ll remember the clever prose or genius plot twists – but you won’t.

A small tip for any of my writing mums or dads, don’t even think about writing when the kids are awake, at home and never in the holidays. It always results in tears and tantrums; mostly mine because they will not let me write. Any writer – parenting tips welcome.

book tea reading nove;

I am the queen of daydreams and procrastination. So I need some limits and boundaries, even if its to write for 20 minutes a day. Most likely, I’ll be typing for hours but on the days I struggle to get two words out it will help me return for the next monotonous writing event. We all have those days, you are not alone!

Bring a fresh mug of tea, doesn’t help me write but it sure does lift my spirits. A happy writer is… well, still just a writer but we all have our little comforts. So why not enjoy the perks of working from home, all alone and enjoy whatever treats we choose, just because we can. 😉

For today’s last tip; One I wished I used but learnt the hard way, back up your work. Save it to a cloud, on a memory stick, on your computer – and just to be extra sure, a printed out MS, in a sealed self addressed envelope that you lock in a vault. A bit excessive but you understand my point, when the works gone, its gone, so take care of it people.

Tell me about your writing tips, quirks or habits and have you also learnt the hard way?