Release Date: Bloodline (Crossroads Academy #3)

Official Cover Coming Soon!I know what you’re thinking… It’s about freaking time! Fair enough. This book has been a long time coming and it’s hard for me to say which is greater, my guilt over the long wait (my family has taken to calling me Jen R.R. Martin – If you’re a GOT fan, you’ll get it) or my excitement to finally share Bloodline with the world!

Oh, get to the point already?

Bloodline will be released January 27th, 2015 and I hope it’s everything you’ve come to expect from Crossroads Academy!

Bloodline (Crossroads Academy #3)

I had so much fun writing this book, but I have to be honest, I’m sorry to see Katia’s story end. She’s a character who dropped into my world and took over with late nights, lots of caffeine, and a whole lot of kick ass attitude. Simply put, she changed my life.

But she’s not the only one.

I’ve been blessed with amazing friends, amazing family, and amazing fans! Your kind words and support over the last couple of years have made all of the difference in my journey, and in Katia’s. The last two years have been busy and my family has faced some significant changes, welcoming new life into the world (Love you Baby Todd!) and celebrating the lives of those who can no longer be here with us (We miss you Dad & Pap Pap!). This book would not be possible without the love and support of my family and friends who put up with my endless plot questions and revisions and who never stopped believing (Journey, anyone?) in me or my dreams! Nor would it be possible without fans like you who’ve kept me on my toes, driving me to finish Katia’s story, and providing words of encouragement along the way. Your endless patience has always been top of mind and appreciated more than you can possibly know!

So to honor the fans and say THANK YOU the best way I know how, I’m giving away ARC ebooks of Bloodline to the first 50 readers who email, message, Tweet, or Facebook me!

Indie Life: To Critique or Not To Critique?

There are a lot of great things about being an indie author (namely creative control), but there are challenges as well. Let’s be honest; sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. So we hire designers, editors, and sometimes even marketeers. (Yes, marketeers is a real word. I promise.) My point? Being an indie doesn’t mean going it alone. Sure, there’s plenty of trial and error, but there are also a lot of great resources out there for writers. I recently stumbled across CP Seek, a website dedicated to helping writers find critique partners. How awesome is that?

I have a kickass team of beta readers, but I can’t help but think that what’s missing is a critique partner, someone who not only understands plot structure and tropes and character archetypes, but who shares the ups and downs of writing. (Writer’s block, anyone?) In the past I’ve been nervous about dipping my toe in the crit partner pool. I wasn’t sure if I’d have the time or the perspective to be a great partner, so I held back.

I’m starting to rethink my position. After all, I’ve been reading and writing my whole life (more or less) so how hard can it be? (Kidding!) Seriously though, I’m working on my third manuscript and I’m more comfortable with my writing and editing than ever before, so this feels like the next step. And if I can help a fellow writer along the way? Bonus!

I’m definitely going to check out CP Seek, but if there are any writers out there with helpful hints for finding the right crit partner, I welcome the feedback! I’m just getting started, but I have a feeling this is  going to be a lot like dating or, you know, finding a great pair of shoes….

Bye, bye 2012! It’s been real…

Life changing, eventful, and eye-opening.

As I sit here writing this post, I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last posted on my blog! *slaps hand with ruler* Time seems to fly when you’re having fun… and the holiday season drops in with friends and family! I’ve been busy reading, writing, working, and just generally hanging on by the tips of my fingers. It’s been a busy year and now it’s time to sit back and take stock. I won’t be making any resolutions for 2013, but that doesn’t mean I’ve arrived. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m also a realist. After 32 years on this planet, I’ve figured out that resolutions don’t exactly stick.

So 2012 in a nutshell? For me, it was a year of firsts… I completed my first blog tour in the Crossroads Academy series, said goodbye to one of my greatest inspirations, had a beautiful baby girl, bought a new house, and joined Entangled Publishing as a Publicist. I also managed to write and publish my second novel, Red Dawn, in my *spare* time.

Yeah, 2012 was a doozie alright. Filled with amazing highs and challenging lows, 2012 was a year I’ll never forget, for both personal and professional reasons. I’m so appreciative to everyone who stood by me, supporting and encouraging even during the most difficult times. I couldn’t have done it on my own and for that I say thank you! Two little words which seem inadequate in light of how I feel– I’d give you all *hugs* if I could!

I look forward to 2013 and can’t wait to see what the year has in store! I expect lots of heartache and action… in my writing. For myself? Let’s just say I’d settle for a little R&R and a happy, healthy family.

I wish each of you the very best in 2013! Have a safe and happy new year!

 

Review: Last Bastion of the Living

Title: Last Bastion of the Living
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Genre: Dystopian
Length: 375 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: June 12th, 2012
Rating: 4.5 Stars

A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

Review:

Last weekend I tucked in with Last Bastion of the Living for Fraterfest and all I could think the entire time I was reading it was ‘How did I wait so long to read this book?’ Last Bastion was obscenely good. Now, I’m a big fan of Rhiannon Frater, and I loved the As the World Dies series, but Last Bastion of the Living was so much better. I freaking loved this book!  And while I respect the stand alone novel, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wishing for more!

What’s so great about it? Nearly everything–the word building, the zombies, the heroine, Maria, who was smart, tough, and completely kick-ass. Last Bastion is fast paced and action packed with just the right amount of romance to add to the storyline. I’m not usually a fan of anything too close to science fiction, but I was enamored with the world Frater built. As she described life in the Bastion, I could easily imagine the crowded streets, defunct transport systems, and the oppressive despair. Heck, I think I could even imagine the smell of the highly seasoned protein lumps meant to sustain the sparse population.

I also happen to be an action junkie so the rapid pace and continuously evolving story had me hooked. Every time I thought I had things figured out, the storyline shifted revealing more lies and deceit. This story- and the zombies- bore virtually no resemblance to the zombies of the As the World Dies trilogy, for which I commend Frater. I love that she took an entirely different route here and created another fantastic story! Throughout, I found myself pulling for Maria and her squad despite the impossible odds. I desperately wanted to see them succeed and couldn’t put Last Bastion down.

The only reason I didn’t give this book the full five stars?  The back story on the creation of the zombies. Now, it’s just a blip on the radar and only gets a passing mention, but I just couldn’t buy it- at all. Personally, I would have preferred the mysterious Inferi Scourge virus went unexplained in lieu of the truth, but that’s just me.

Overall, exactly what you expect from Rhiannon Frater: action, suspense and Texans! An amazing and original read, highly recommended for zombie fans! Treat yourself this Halloween… You won’t regret it!

Red Dawn Cover Reveal

This may be a bit anti-climatic at this point since some very wonderful bloggers are blasting it all over the blogosphere, but for those of you who haven’t seen it yet…

*drumroll please*

Red Dawn (Crossroads Academy 2)

Isn’t it lovely? To die for? Completely swoonworthy? Need I go on? Can you tell that I absolutely love this beautiful cover? Once again, Rachel at Parajunkee Design has surpassed my wildest expectations!

And now that it’s out there for the entire world to see, I’m even more excited about the upcoming blog tour! Squee! *bounces up and down on big red (aka. my couch)*

Put it on your calendar because it’s going to be EPIC! The best part? Meeting new book lovers, talking about vamps, and sharing a little bit of Red Dawn with you guys! So if you haven’t had a chance to read Crossroads yet, well, you should probably get on that! 😉 Or at least enter one of my giveaways for a chance to win a copy!

Feature & Follow Friday #104

Q: Jumping Genres: Ever pick up a book from a genre you usually don’t like and LOVE it? Tell us about it and why you picked it up in the first place.

A. This one seriously took some thought… because apparently I don’t venture outside my comfort zone very frequently. But then it hit me! Late last year I picked up H.P. Mallory’s Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble. Yes, it’s paranormal (which is my norm), but it had a much stronger romantic element than my usual read. It was the first real PNR I picked up and I loved it! I can now proudly say I’ve read most of H.P. Mallory’s books and have loved them all. As for what caused me to pick it up, I was in the mood for something light and fun and this cover just hooked me!

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (Jolie Wilkins, #1)

 

To Review or Not to Review…

Should that even be a question? Didn’t think so. The real question should probably be, ‘How much do I suck at life?’ Am I getting ahead of myself? Maybe I should start at the beginning…

I was twitter stalking the other day and I came across a tweet by a fellow author that got me thinking. To paraphrase said tweeter, ‘If you read a good book and enjoy it, why not give the author a little happiness and post a review?’

I regularly check reviews (like twelve times a day) for my book and I get ridiculously excited (total squee!) when I see new feedback from readers. It occurred to me that I am guilty of this little oversight (*shakes head in embarrassment*). It’s not intentional, of course, but I do it. I know what you’re thinking. Life gets hectic. It happens, right?

Here’s the thing: I almost always post a rating on GoodReads (at the very least), but I’m notoriously bad at remembering to post ratings or reviews to Amazon (where I purchase 99.5% of my books). The worst part? I rely heavily on the reviews and ratings of readers before me to determine if I should shell out the money for a new book. The fact is, with so many books to choose from, I need help prioritizing my reads.

So here I sit, red faced and shameful, promising to do a better job of leaving feedback- either to make an author’s day a little brighter or to help a fellow reader pick their next epic read! Because let’s be honest, it couldn’t be simpler. Amazon even sends me little reminders (aka- annoying emails) that remind me to review my recent purchases. I coud be wrong, but I’m thinking I’m not the only one who hits the delete button and never thinks twice about it.

Why? It probably has something to do with my overflowing inbox, but that’s hardly an excuse. Information overload is just a fact of life in this gloriously digital age. So, this is me committing, right NOW, to being a better reviewer!

Nothing Makes Me Happier…

Than giving away books to avid readers! Turns out, GoodReads is happy to help! Today I’m excited to share that Jessica and Sandi each won a new copy of Crossroads via a GoodReads giveaway. Talk about easy! A few clicks and none of those pesky points requirements… and voila!

So easy for me and so easy for readers that I’m thinking we should do it again for the month of July! Check back next week for the new entry link!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossroads by J.J. Bonds

Crossroads

by J.J. Bonds

Giveaway ends June 24, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Review: Vanish (Firelight #2)

 DESCRIPTION

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

REVIEW

Second book syndrome? Not even close. To be honest, I’m always wary of the second book in a series. Will it be as good as the first? Will I feel let down? Is it just a vehicle to get from book 1 to book 3? For me, Vanish surpassed my expectations. I loved this book! While Firelight was engaging, Vanish was captivating. Although there were certain aspects that were perhaps predictable, there were still quite a few twists that I didn’t see coming and which really gave the story additional substance for me.

Aspects I really enjoyed? Jacinda was less self-centered in Vanish which helped me warm up to her and be more empathetic to her angsty teen emotions. Instead of remaining focused solely on her own plight, she was more aware of the struggles and sacrifices of those around her. We also get to learn more about the inner working of the pride (finally!) and the draki society. I, for one, was left wanting more in Firelight and Vanish doesn’t disappoint. We get up close and personal with the draki and the harsh realities of life within the pride which frustrated me at times, but for which I have high hopes in book 3.

Most of all, I was thrilled to see the relationship between Cassian and Jacinda grow in Vanish. I was curious to see if there might really be something between the two, aside from the obvious pressure and expectations of the pride, and if her infatuation with Will was truly genuine and lasting.

Oh, yeah. And I shouldn’t forget to mention that Sophie Jordan once again proves she is a master of the cliffhanger ending. I actually kept turning the pages thinking I accidentally skipped a page before I had that moment of clarity in which I realized Vanish had ended and that I would be desperate to get my hands on book three in the series.

The one thing I still can’t figure out? If the pride is living in the mountains more or less off the grid for all intents and purposes, what’s the deal with all of the modern conveniences like cable? Still, I’m eagerly awaiting Hidden (Firelight #3) which is scheduled for release next year.