Tag Archives: Delilah S. Dawson

Whatcha Reading: May 2016

May was a bit of a wash. I read two really great books, most of a book that just didn’t do it for me, and got 15 pages into another before I quit due to overwhelming interior design. I’ve debating talking about the books I didn’t enjoy. I feel… guilty… when people rave and I find it just wasn’t for me. I also know that’s silly. Reading is as subjective as writing. So let’s start with the ones I loved.

WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT by April Tucholke

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Occasionally, I wonder how I’ve acquired my peculiar and wonderful set of friends and I’m always baffled by April’s work. She’s such a vivid storyteller and everything she writes has a distinctly modern Gothic vibe to it. It’s like catnip to me. WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT is a short read, but damn did April pack in everything I’ve come to love from her work and then some.

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

I can’t wait to see what she does next. We have plans for a midnight tea party and séance in the future.

STRIKE by Delilah S. Dawson

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I really enjoyed HIT, the precursor to STRIKE, and I was hoping reading a more action-based book would help me on my quest to write an action-based book. Though I didn’t enjoy it as much I did HIT, STRIKE had the same snarky teenage humor and it’s kinda gratifying to read a book set in places you frequent. Delilah and I live in the same town, and this book is based locally, so it was kinda cool.

As for the other two…

I don’t want to name names. I don’t really want these things to be reviews per say. The first book I was really excited about. It’s a retelling of an old pirate story, and while it started out fine, I found it extremely slow and unfortunately tropey. The multiple POVs felt unnecessary and detracted from the story, and the plot was extremely obvious. I made it 90% through, leaving two chapters unread. Why? Because I didn’t care enough to find out what happened. I read that far hoping it would pick up, but alas…

The last book wasn’t so much a story issue as a design issue. I’ve learned a lesson in that I need to look at the interior of books before I buy them. This book I’ve heard rave reviews over, and I was excited to pick it up. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life for those of us who’ve studied designed that over-designing ruins your life. This book is formatted to look like a journal, with sticky notes (printed, of course), different “handwriting,” medical logs, etc.

A LOT of money was sunk into its production.

Unfortunately, that leaves it basically unreadable for me. I don’t like “noise” when I’m trying to get into a story. I made it 15 pages before I developed a headache. It was just too overwhelming. I know some people love that, but it isn’t for me. I might check out the eBook and see if that’s a better solution for me, but sadly the physical copy is too overdone for me to focus.

Both of these books are in the donation pile.

So, what’s on the slate for June? I’ve finally start THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman. So many of my friends recommended this one, and I have to say so far it’s pretty good. I’m only 50 pages in, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m very very slowly chipping away at the dreaded TBR pile.

What have you read this month?

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Whatcha Reading? April 2016

I surprised myself by still managing to read three books this month despite traveling. Philadelphia was absolutely amazing, and as I predicted last month, I stepped into the Mütter Museum and immediately teared up.

DR. MÜTTER’S MARVELS by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

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This book is amazing. I picked it up on a whim a year or so ago without really knowing what it was about. I expected a sort of biographical read about medicine and history, but what I got was an immersive exploration about not only Dr. Mütter’s life, but the lives of many of the professors and doctors at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

And yes, at the end, when Mütter meets his untimely death (hey, it’s not a spoiler considering he’s long dead at this point), I sobbed. It’s all so unfair.

Stepping into what he essentially bullied the College of Physicians of Philadelphia to construct to house his collection was an astonishing moment. Though it’s not the original building, the fact that I was looking at specimens and wax casts that have survived two hundred years was breathtaking. Yes, I assume some find them gross and disturbing, but I wanted nothing more than to sit and sketch all the skulls and figures and instruments.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a medical history fanatic. An enthusiast.

Wicked Ever After by Delilah S. Dawson

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While on the plane, I began (and finished) the final book in Delilah S. Dawson’s Blud series. Wicked Ever After catches back up with Trish and Criminy, and includes a tale of love, loss, betrayal, learning to let go, and of course, really hot blood-drinking vampire magicians.

It’s a bit bittersweet. I met Delilah just before Wicked as They Come launched (in fact, I was the fire dancer at her launch party). Seeing the series come full-circle has been a neat experience. This one is eBook only, and I miss not having one for my shelf, but I did enjoy the ride.

The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

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Have I mentioned how much I love the Miriam Black series?

Another great, fast-paced read. I’m attempting to get more action-oriented books in my head in the hopes it’ll help me write action. I’m more of an atmosphere gal, so the fact that my WIP has three fight scenes in five chapters is throwing me a bit.

But a challenge is good, right?

Miriam kicks ass and takes names. I love the back and forth, past and present storytelling aspect of this book. I love how everything ties together. I did have a moment of confusion because it’s been a while since I’ve read Blackbirds, but I caught up quickly enough. Good stuff, this one. Unfortunately, I have no idea when The Thunderbird is coming out, which I believe is the last book.

 

I’m starting May with Delilah S. Dawson’s Strike (the sequel to Hit) and an absolute determination to carve through my TBR before buying more books. Which, of course, is exactly what I did in Philly. But I only bought one.

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Whatcha Reading? February 2016

I’m sure I’ll think of a better name for these posts at some point, but I thought it would be interesting to talk a bit about the books I’ve read each month. I know people are always looking for things to read (I know I am), and while reviews are great and incredibly important to authors, I’d be here forever if I did an in-depth review on everything. Instead, here’s a brief tour of February’s books!

Finding Center by Katherine Locke

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I’ve never really been one for romance, but I absolutely adore Katherine Locke’s District Ballet Company series. I read Turning Pointe and Finding Center when they first released, and though I’d pre-ordered Finding Center, I didn’t get around to reading it until now. Sometimes I forget I have an eReader and even more books to go through.

The romance is flavoring on top of book devoted to portraying mental illness, therapy, and recovery in a positive light. It’s an incredibly accurate depiction, and the writing is gorgeous.

Zed and ballet are my two greatest loves

It took all of Aly’s strength to get them back after a tragic accident ripped them from her six years ago. A long road to recovery led to her return, dancing full-time for the District Ballet Company and carrying Zed’s child. But Aly is slipping. Each day becomes a fight to keep her career from crumbling under the weight of younger talent, the scrutiny of the public eye and the limitations of her ever-changing body. A fight she fears she’s losing.

I’m scared Aly is broken to her core

Zed recognizes the signs, but he doesn’t know how to fix her. The accident left him with his own demons, and while he wants nothing more than to take care of the woman he loves, it’s getting harder the farther downward she spirals. When Aly’s life is threatened and Zed’s injuries prevent him from saving her, he’s never felt so useless, so afraid he’s not capable of being the man Aly and their child needs.

With new life comes new hope. And with their fractured lives already hanging by a thread, Aly and Zed must discover if they have what it takes—both together and apart—to rebuild and carry on.

The prequel novella, Turning Pointe, is free if you want to check it out, which you do.

Second Line and Chasing Ghosts by Kira Butler

These two short stories are part of Kira’s Short Fictions and Curiosities series. I enjoy serialized fiction, and there’s a new story posted every month, for FREE.

Chasing Ghosts was essentially a dash through a time-capsual manor, where everything was left in media res. Second Line was a beautiful ghost story set against Katrina-ravenged New Orleans. I enjoyed both very much, and I can’t wait to read what’s up next.

The Damsel and the Daggerman by Delilah S. Dawson

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Remember when I said I sometimes forget I have an eReader? It’s always a nice surprise to find a Blud book I haven’t read.

Bad boy knife-thrower Marco Taresque is the hottest and most dangerous performer in the caravan. He keeps to himself until a pesky female journalist arrives, anxious to interview him about his checkered past—his last assistant disappeared under mysterious and bloody circumstances, earning him the nickname “The Deadly Daggerman.”

Unsinkable journalist and adventurer Jacinda Harville doesn’t take no for an answer, and she’s determined to wear down Marco no matter how threatening—or incredibly desirable—he might appear. He agrees to an interview—but only if she’ll let him strap her to a spinning table and throw knives at her body. How can she say no? And how can she resist him when he leans close for a kiss that strikes her more sharply than any blade? It’s the first time she’s let a man get the better of her, and she’s determined it will be the last…

Like all of Delilah’s Blud books, Damsel doesn’t disappoint. There’s a nice subversion of tropes, more caravan adventures, and some infuriating and sexy banter. Bonus: you don’t have to read any of the novellas in order.

Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

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This one I wasn’t sure about. Weird West, much like romance, isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse. When I found I was on the Diversity in Weird West panel, I pulled Wake from my shelf so I wouldn’t feel like a total poser. Touted as Lonesome Dove meets Buffy, I was sure what to expect.

Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She’s a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don’t call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the heart with a chunk of wood, and he turns into black sand.

And just like that, Nettie can see.

But her newfound ability is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn’t understand what’s under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else is hiding — at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits, Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead to her true kin… if the monsters along the way don’t kill her first.

I should have expected an insanely intense ride. Nettie, a biracial, genderqueer bronc wrangler turned monster hunter, has an incredibly strong voice, and the pacing is phenominal. I can’t remember the last time I finished a book so quickly. Just go read it, okay? The sequel, Horde of Crows, comes out later this year, and I can’t wait.

The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude (ARC)

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If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen that I was commissioned to design eight character cards for this book. Though I spoke with Sarah about design, inspiration, and the personalities of her characters, I wasn’t going to get the chance to read it until May.

Until an ARC fell into my outstreched claws.

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night. 

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

The May Queen Murders, much like Wake of Vultures, blew me away. The setting echoes M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, with plenty of twists and surprises along the way. I’m kinda of mad at myself for failing to puzzle out the mystery. Okay, I’m really mad at myself. It was great read, full of suspense and superstition, and it was so refreshing to see a Mexican-American main character. There’s plenty of diversity, and of course, my favorite–murder.

It’s available for pre-order, so get on it.

Follow @SarahEJude on Twitter to check out the character cards, and stay tuned to find out how you can get a set of your own.

And that’s it! That’s everything I’ve read in February. I think. This month is starting off with Cecilia Dominic’s The Mountain’s Shadow, and hopefully many more.

What did you read this month?

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Review and Giveaway: Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

I guess book review Sundays are a thing now.

I’ve had Delilah’s YA debut, Servants of the Storm, waiting on my bookshelf since its release in August. I have this weird quirk where I can’t read something until I’m ready. I think I’m half afraid I’ll ruin the magic too soon and I hate waiting to sink my teeth in more of Delilah’s gorgeous worldbuiling.

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Servants of the Storm takes place in Savannah, GA, which I have been to exactly once, in the fifth grade. I had little memory of what Savannah looked like, but Delilah does such a masterful job describing the city, you feel like you’re there. Which, given the sudden cold spell and the snow this week, I was more than grateful for the suggested heatwave.

I love the tilty girl on the cover. Just… yes. Dead and tilty.

You guys also know I love an unreliable narrator, and Dovey is everything I’ve wanted in a kickass heroine. She’s pretty fearless for a crazy girl, and her determination to save her best friend Carly propels her through a world twisted and manipulated by demons. Delilah infuses the whole narrative with creepy things in the dark, from people with fox ears and sharp teeth to devil dogs to haunted amusement parks. The questions is always “Is Dovey seeing reality?” or “Is this Dovey’s delusion?”

As a fan of her Blud series, I was pleased to find the same strong voice in a different tone. The relationships in this book felt real, and under duress, I may admit to crushing a bit on Isaac. I caught a definite Sleep No More vibe from Charnel House and I adored the little injections of humor. There’s a lot of mythology soaked into the origin of this story and I found it compelling. Once I started reading, it was difficult to stop. I wouldn’t call it fast-paced, but it was I had to take bites out of, always hungry for more

The ending left the story open-ended, with room for futher developement, but it provided a solid conclusion if Servants acts as a stand-alone. It reminded me of the “Normal Again” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I didn’t mind the love triangle, and I thought everyone seem pretty realistically teenaged. Maybe it’s because I have a demonically-possessed fifteen-year-old sister.

The paperback releases in April, stuffed with goodies like a “Which demon are you?” quiz, playlists, and a portrait of our main antagonist, Kitty. I really enjoy this cover, too.

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Want to take a trip to demon-infested Savannah? Well, tis the season of giving, and I’m giving away a hardcover copy of Servants of the Storm:

 

Well, there WAS a rafflecopter thing here but it seems to be having issues, so, just comment below with what sort of demon you’d be!

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I’ll pick a winner next week (Dec. 7). I’m a Coyote Earthquake. Sounds like a mixed drink. 🙂

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Hurricane Josephine Threatens Coastal Savannah: Servants of the Storm

July 16, 2014- National Weather Center

Meteorologists are continuing to see northern movement in Tropical Storm Josephine just off the coast of Florida. Wind speeds have picked up considerably overnight and we are now issuing a hurricane warning. Residents of Savannah, Georgia are urged to begin preparation for severe storms. Coastal residents should have an evacuation plan before any warning is officially issued.

  • Gather emergency supplies, including food, water, protective clothing, important documents, maps and batteries.
  • Listen to local authorities via radio or television. Keep a battery operated or hand-crank radio in case of power outages.
  • If forced to weather the storm, please seek shelter in secure buildings and stay as far away from windows as possible.
  • Lulls often signal the eye of the storm, not the end. Wait for authorities to pronounce the area safe before attempting to leave.

While hurricane tracking has improved, there is no accurately way of knowing when the hurrican may hit. The projected date is August 5th. We urge you to form evacuation plans as soon as possible. Hurricanes cause 10% of all weather-related fatalities, and Josephine looks like she’s ready for a fight. For further information on Hurricane Josephine, consult Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson.

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Delilah S. Dawson’s YA debut, Servants of the Storm, hits shelves August 5th. Dovey lost her best friend Carly in the aftermath of Hurricane Josephine, and since spent her days in a medicated numbness. Until she sees Carly at their favorite cafe. She drops the meds, and the world that opens before is like nothing she’d ever imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

While you’re working on evacuation plans, you can pre-order a copy of Servants of the Storm from any of your favorite indie book sellers, Barnes and Noble.com, or Amazon.com.

In addition to having a hurricane arrive at your doorstep, you can email Delilah your information at whismydark@gmail.com, and she’ll send you a signed book-plate.

For those of you who are Georgia residents, Delilah is throwing a launch party August 8th at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Roswell. BBQ, delicious cake and fox-eared demons will be provided.

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Delilah S. Dawson is a writer, a geek, an artist, an adventure junky, and a coffee and cupcake connoisseur. She writes books for young adults and mostly-adults that range from whimsical to dark to sexy to horrific to adventuresome. She can occasionally be NSFW, but when she is, it’s usually because she’s ranting about writing or sexism or talking honestly about her experiences with rape, depression, and suicide.

Delilah loves having adventures, playing on the trapeze, horseback riding, seeing superhero movies, going to cons, traveling, reading, tacos, the ocean, pretty boots, eating weird animals, tattoos, vests, cosplay, The Cure, painting, narwhals, octopodes, crows, cheese, drinks made with elderflower, dark chocolate, cold sheets, Boyd Crowder, and shows like Justified, Firefly, Venture Bros., Community, Adventure Time, Arrested Development, TWD, and Frisky Dingo. Please geek out with her on Twitter for full SQUEE.

She is also an Associate Editor at Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech and can teach you to wear a baby on your back so you can pretend to be Luke Skywalker toting Yoda.

You can find her website at WhimsyDark.com, like her on Facebook,  and follow her on Twitter @DelilahSDawson.

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