Friday Book Review

This week I am reviewing Horizon by Tabitha Lord, it is the first book in a Sci-Fi / Fantasy trilogy. Horizon was the 2016 Writer’s Digest Grand Prize Winner. It was also a Finalist of the Next Generation Indie Awards and a Finalist of National Indie Excellence Awards.

Horizon: Tabitha Lord: 9781940014791: Books

Excellent First Book!

Horizon tells the story of Dr. Caeli Crys. She lives on a planet with two distinctly different peoples. Her people, the Novalis, are empaths and also have other gifts. Caeli can heal, among other things. Her people for generations have hid the planet, using their gifts, from all of the other planets in the universe. This is where the problems start, the other group, the Amathi, do not have the same empath gifts, but are more scientifically advanced. This causes problems on the planet.

The book opens with Caeli hiding in a cave in the forest. She sees a space ship crash on the beach and uses her gifts to heal the one survivor of the two men on board. This introduces Derek.

The two have some adventures and are rescued by his people on the ship, Horizon. Caeli is torn about leaving her planet, she feels drawn to help them, but realizes she cannot do anything for them on her own. So she leaves her planet. For now.

On the ship, Caeli must now adjust to a much more technically advanced society, and adjust to the fact that there are so many inhabited planets that there is an Alliance, which the ship, Horizon belongs to. And, of course, enemies of the Alliance.

Caeli is a very rounded character. You see her grow from a child to an adult and a doctor. She is so well drawn that the reader feels all of her emotions; love and loss, friendship and fear. But she refuses to be a victim. Reading the book, I found myself completely involved in her story. Derek and the other characters are also well developed, but this is clearly Caeli’s story.

The book is written from both Caeli’s and Derek’s viewpoints, which can be confusing as there is not a discernible pattern. In the first half of the book, on Almagest, the viewpoint goes back and forth, but are mostly Caeli’s. The second half of the book take place on the ship, Horizon. Derek’s viewpoint is more prevalent at this point. However, this did not keep me from enjoying the story.

Tabitha Lord has since finished the complete trilogy with Infinity in 2018 and Equinox in 2019. I look forward to reading those installments in the Caeli Crys story.

Friday Book Review

Today I am reviewing Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson. This is the sixteenth novel in the Walt Longmire series (plus some short stories and novellas) and it takes place one month after the events in Depth of Winter. Walt is still recovering from what happened in Mexico, both physically and emotionally. He had to do things down in Mexico that he had never imagined he would have to do and now wonders if it has changed him. Is he still the same man that he was before?

Land of Wolves: A Longmire Mystery: Johnson, Craig: 9780525522508 ...

However, crime doesn’t wait and he has a possible murder to investigate. This is complicated when he sees a single wolf in the tree line. This one wolf doesn’t seem to be part of a pack and is older and larger than normal. There is something indefinable about it.

In every one of the Longmire books, Walt has some type of metaphysical concern. In this case, is the wolf a spirit animal or is Virgil White Buffalo trying to communicate with him? Plus Walt has been having instances of freezing both mentally and physically; is this a reaction from the events in Mexico or is his body preparing for a vision, as Henry Standing Bear suggests?

Throughout the book, Walt is besieged by questions. Is he investigating a murder or a suicide? Is he a different man, should he still be sheriff? How can he finally use a computer? Will a cell phone be next?

That singular wolf also causes some panic among the townspeople. Just because the wolf nibbled on the dead man in the woods, people are convinced he is a danger (everyone knows that once they’ve tasted human, they will want to eat humans, as people keep telling Walt). All the while he is still wondering just what the wolf is doing there and doesn’t see a reason it needs to be killed, though he is in the minority. He tries to stay out of it, after all wildlife are the concern of Predator Control or Fish and Game, not the Absaroka Sheriff’s Department. but keeps getting pulled in.

As one expects with Craig Johnson’s books, the characters are believable, each with their own foibles; and both positive and negative character traits. For example, Vic Moretti, while known for her outrageous language and impatience with people shows extraordinary concern when there is a missing child and when dealing with a confused elderly woman.

I am not a fan of reading excessive scenery description, but Johnson’s writing has just the right amount so that the high plains and mountains of the area are visible in the reader’s mind and become characters of the book on their own. With each book the characters develop and grow, they change in ways that, while unexpected, are logical.

As usual with the Longmire series, I loved this book. With each one, Walt is given a difficult situation, or numerous difficult situations, that he resolves in his own unique way.

5 out of 5 stars: *****

Friday Book Review

I will be doing Friday Book Reviews – each week I will review a book in either the Mystery or Fantasy/SciFi genre.

This week I will review Within Plain Sight by Bruce Robert Coffin

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Great addition to the series!

This is the fourth in the Detective Byron series by Bruce Robert Coffin. I have been a fan since the first book, Among the Shadows. Great characters, excellent detection, and in this new book a grisly murder, an excess of suspects and a satisfying ending that while a surprise, makes perfect sense after the fact. I would highly recommend this book, but if you haven’t read the first three, read them first so that you can appreciate the character development and growth. This is an excellent police procedural, part of an outstanding series.

Updating my website

Over the past two days, I have been working to convert my website from just a blog to more of an author platform. Believe me, it has not been easy, the behind the scenes computer stuff is not my forte. Adding posts and images are fine, but deciphering the grit was difficult, and entailed a lot of trial and error, many times of deleting it all and starting over.

In the end, I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out and I would love some feed back to let me know what you think – good, bad or indifferent. And please feel free to tell me if you see something glitchy that needs correcting!

On another note, I have started journalling. It’s not something I have ever done, not even when I was a teenybopper (dating myself there, I know). But with the current situation of a pandemic with social distancing and quarantines, I thought I would give it a try and get my thoughts and ideas done. Some of it might make its way to online posts here or into my writing.

Writing Again

Now that “every day is Saturday” and I have recovered almost 100% from my surgery in December, I find that I have the time to really concentrate on my writing. So I pulled out the three novels in process (1 mystery, 2 YA fantasies), read them and determined which to work on. The mystery is only 3 chapters in and the others are much farther along. So I am working on the fantasies.

My zombie story has 13 chapters of 25 completed and the other fantasy, which I don’t know how to characterize (a journey of discovery, maybe), has 9 of 15 chapters completed. So I have plotted out both of these books to get them completed. My goal is to finish them, at least the first draft, before we move in the spring. Both are pretty far along, so it seems possible.

Of course, I am a Pantser, not an Outliner, so my idea of plotting is to write a brief statement/paragraph as to what I want to happen in the chapter. I also have to go back and add to some of the chapters or combine two chapters into one on both books. When I wrote them originally, I determined what was in a chapter, it seems, arbitrarily. Some chapters are 4 pages long while some are 20 pages. I’m not 100% sure but chapters for YA seem shorter than in other genres, so 15 to 20 pages seems reasonable. But that is something I can do in the first editing stage.

Anyway, I am excited to be writing again!