A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

John read the first few pages and told me that he thought I would like it because it was like Francis Hamerstrom but with dragons.  He wasn’t wrong exactly… except that not even fiction can do Francis Hamerstrom justice. (In the event that (unlike me) you did not have the good fortune grow up with her as a household name, reading books like Is She Coming Too and Strictly for the Chickens and then eventually got to work with her grumpy, old, great-horned owl, I recommend you find yourself a book of hers and become acquainted!)

But, to John’s point, the main character is a woman set out to study wildlife in an era when women don’t do such things, and she does have some unorthodox ways of solving problems. So it is a bit reminiscent, it’s just that instead of prairie chickens, the wildlife she chooses to study is dragons. This puts dragons in a light that most books don’t. Not as evil treasure hording monsters (think Smaug) or amazing magical beings (think Saphira) but as fascinating and poorly understood, bits of wildlife. Alibeit one that sometimes eats people and has breath with interesting properties, as well as being a severe nuisance to the shepherds.

Would I recommend it? Would I recommend a book with a female character pushing the boundaries, dragons, a mystery and a bit of natural science? In a heartbeat!

 

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The Two Lines That Sparked Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose (Guest Post and Book Review!)

I was just two pages into Georgia Rose’s new thriller romance and she had me hooked. I knew her main character was living some sort of lie. But what was it? And when did I get to find out? And what was going on?  From that point on it was hard to put down but, I have this life that does exist outside the written word, so I put it down. And then spent much of the time until I could pick it back up again pondering all the lies and foreshadowing the love and sneakiness the twists and turns the story had taken. I thought long about the supporting characters- I loved the supporting characters. They could each have a book, in fact I’d bet that with the amount of secret backstory they must all have to be so substantial that there are already a book’s worth of material floating around for each of them. I marveled at the complexity of it all and wondered how she came up with such a thing…

And then, lo and behold, look what I found in my inbox. A guest post from Georgia herself answering that very question! Read and enjoy!


Where do your ideas come from? Is a question I have often been asked. Again, it wasn’t until I took up the pen (overly poetic, I know, but indulge me) and started talking to non-writing people (there should be a name for them, don’t you think?) that I found out that non-writing people do not have this crazy imagination stuff going on in their head all the time. Which is weird.
I can’t speak for everyone but my ideas come from many things, something I read, watched, a random thought, an overheard phrase, some wild fantasy that passed through my mind when I was relaxed and daydreaming… ahem… moving on…
Sometimes those tiny thoughts don’t let me go and sometimes they want to be more.

This is what happened with Parallel Lies. I had a thought, an imagining, years ago. Well before the Grayson Trilogy ever popped into my mind. A place, a person, a situation and it stuck with me. This…

‘I hear it, behind me, and to the left. The snap of a twig underfoot and a sharp intake of breath at the indiscretion.’

… was all I had and it was the first line I wrote. I was going to start the book with it and do some sort of time jump back and forward thing. But changed my mind. It’s now where it should be in the natural course of time progression and, so that you’re not just left with that, here is the rest of that paragraph.

‘I hear it, behind me, and to the left. The snap of a twig underfoot and a sharp intake of breath at the indiscretion. He’s here, just as I knew he would be, but I allow myself a small smile of satisfaction knowing he’ll be cursing his mistake. I have no intention of making this easy for him so leave him to come and find me. I still, and although my heart is pounding, blood pumping in my ears until I’m sure he’ll be able to hear it too, I concentrate on making myself small and silent. I am one step ahead of him and plan on keeping it that way.’

The possibilities captured my imagination when I first had that thought, but I did nothing with them for years. Two lines expanded to become a 95K novel (which wasn’t as easy as I just made that sound) and

if it is in anyway intriguing to you the rest of those words are available for you to download right now.

Pre-order Parallel Lies by Clicking Here
But wait! There’s also a Giveaway for you to enter, should you wish!

So where do your ideas come from? I’d love to hear from any writing people (or non-writing, I’d hate to be discriminatory) who come this way with what has made their creative juices flow.

Thank you for inviting me on Behind the Willows, Jessie, it has been a pleasure to visit you and get to chat to your readers.


Thanks for guest posting, Georgia! I don’t know about anyone else but I have my own little narrator who likes to comment on my life as I go through my day, occasionally she makes up a story as well. Sometimes when the narrator is particularly fond of a story she repeats it over and over until I consent and sit down at the keyboard- and suddenly I’ve been blogging for seven years!

P.S. Would I recommend this book? This is the sort of book that I doubt John really wants to read. Bit heavy on the romance, not exactly his jam, but I liked it so much I told him about the whole thing anyway. If you are any kind of romance reader, or like a light thriller with a bit of drama and a bunch of suspense, you’ve got to get your hands on this book!


Georgia Rose is a writer and the author of the romantic and suspenseful Grayson Trilogy books: A Single Step, Before the Dawn and Thicker than Water. A short story, The Joker, based on a favorite character from the series followed and is free to download from Amazon.
Her fourth novel, Parallel Lies, a standalone to be released on 12 September 2017, encompasses crime along with Georgia’s usual blending of genre.
Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination!
Awards have never been showered upon Georgia but she is the proud holder of a silver medal gained in swimming at the tender age of ten and won Miss Rally Young Farmer (with a sash and everything!) more years ago than she cares to remember.
Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire in the UK where she lives with her much neglected husband and dog. Their son, currently at university, comes and goes and their daughter, having delighted them all for long enough, has eventually moved out, got married, and is discovering the joys of being all grown up and having a mortgage!


 

Perfiditas by Alison Morton

Years have passed since the events in Inceptio but our main character Carina is no less awesome for it.

It’s possible she’s quite a bit more awesome, or maybe it was because this book dives a bit deeper into the culture of Roman Nova (the society founded by Ancient Romans and ruled by women ever since) but regardless I enjoyed this book even more than the first.

Carina continues to overcome obstacles by being a general kick-ass lady, and yet stays remarkably human and even, dare I say, feminine when dealing with controversy as she finds herself thrown into the middle of a conspiracy to overthrow the government.

Would I recommend it? This book certainly earned the “thriller” in it’s series title (Roman Nova Thriller Series). I had a terrible time walking away from it once I was a few chapters in. Which is basically the best problem one can have with a book. But, of course, start with book one.  Starting midway through a series has the potential to upset the natural order of the universe. Consequences can be dire, don’t risk it!

You can find a review of the first book here: https://behindthewillows.com/2017/08/02/inceptio-by-alison-morton/

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Inceptio by Alison Morton

If you are looking for insight into what it might be like to live in an alternate reality in a civilization founded by Romans and ruled by women, this book will touch on that.

If you are wondering how it would be to step from a nobody into the top tier of society, this story flirts with that.

If what you really want is to read a book where, when circumstances get scary and difficult, a woman trains hard, becomes awesome and then kicks butt, this is your book


Would I recommend it? I was almost disappointed there wasn’t more insight into the different culture the main character finds herself in. Almost. But I couldn’t be at all disappointed because I was too busy turning pages. This story had me hooked!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

Kathy Ellen (who knows all the good books!) told me I would like this book if I liked walruses that waxed philosophical.

So…

Of course I had to read it.

Admittedly I didn’t actually know that my life was missing philosophical walruses before I read about Penguin Problems

And no, there is no title on the front, just penguins. Which confused me because sometimes I’m, apparently, overly conventional.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes! I laughed out loud the first time I read it and the girls keep returning to it for a bedtime book. The only drawback is when they went to bed tonight they tried to tell me they had “penguin problems” and they couldn’t possibly go to sleep!

You Don’t Want a Unicorn by Ame Dyckman and Liz Climo

Maybe you, like the mistaken boy in this story, think you want a unicorn  – but you don’t. 

We read all about those rotten unicorns, and trust us, you really don’t.

Would I recommend it? Well, if you are unconvinced and still want a unicorn you better read it so you can save yourself from the housebreaking woes, the shedding and the jumping…. oh the jumping…

 

The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd

I have read Pride and Prejudice, more than once and, while I quite like the book, I have to say (at risk of being stoned by hoards of angry women ) that Mr. Darcy is not my ideal man.  Please, don’t write me off yet because, while I might prefer someone a little more rugged than ballroom ready, I can see why women have pined over Mr. Darcy for over 200 years.

 ” Mr. Darcy Setting up unrealistic expectations since 1813.” Two hundred years of lust has culminated on pintrest in a remarkable selection of Mr. Darcy items.

Two hundred years is an impressive amount of time, which mostly makes me wonder why there are still men out there claiming to be confused about what women want. Hello? Guys? Mr. Darcy has been making women sigh for two centuries! If what a woman wants is still confounding you, possibly you should take a lesson from Darcy himself.

Boys, all you have to do is master the combination of wealth, wit, a willingness to address your faults and an all-consuming passion for your woman of choice.  In fact, if you can check all these off your list, all those women will probably let you insult them terribly before giving you a second chance and eventually succumbing to your charm.

(If I were judging by the cover I’d think I was reading smut.  While there are stories that get a bit steamy the collection as a whole is more sweet romance than bodice ripping.)

All this brings us to the Darcy Monologues. Depending on your preferences you can either read these to further your fantasies of Mr. Darcy in your quest for his real life counter part, or (I’m talking to the confused men out there) you could read these as research if you are still trying to figure out just what will set the women’s hearts aflutter for you.

The Darcy Monologues is a collection of short stories, about the infamous Mr. Darcy himself. The first half, set in the 1800’s Pride and Prejudice era, follow the original story fairly closely, but from Mr. Darcy’s view. Some of them address what happened after the book, some let you know what was going on in Mr. Darcy’s head and some explore the, ahh, steamier side of things… The second half are contemporary versions. Mr. Darcy heads West (now that was my kind of Darcy), runs radio stations, and plays major league baseball all while pursuing the enviable Ms. Bennet.

Would I recommend it? My only issue with this anthology was that I couldn’t just hop from one story to the next. I found early on that too many different Mr. Darcys talking to too many Bingleys muddled my head to no end. Once I realized I had a one story a night limit I enjoyed my daily dose of Darcy completely! An excellent collection for anyone who enjoys a good tale of pride and prejudice.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!