In Which Lisa Spouts Excitement Over Mundane Things (And One Not Mundane At All Thing)

Well, not truly mundane things, but not directly writing-related things, either.

I have been away from this blog for a little while now, and there are a couple of reasons for this. Mainly, my laptop was on the verge of death. Teetering at the edge of the dark chasmy abyss, as it were.

And well, the past couple of weeks have been BUSY.

First there was Books are for Lovers on Valentine’s Day, and this was The Mr and my haul:

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Jasper Fforde, Brandon Sanderson, and some bookplates, because one can never have too many bookplates. True fact.

And then after doing two days of overtime at work (that’s 9 days of graveyards in a row, folks!) The Mr and I ran around spending our tax return on a new laptop (YAY!) and just as if not even more exciting: a washer and dryer.

Now. I know that doesn’t SEEM more exciting, especially as they are used and when all is said and done, the laundry still has to be done, but at least it doesn’t have to be done at a laundromat a city over anymore! (Yes, really) Oh the glory of just throwing in a load of wash when you need to. It is a wonderful thing.

guardiansfallThe really exciting thing about the last week, though, is that I finished editing The Guardian’s Fall, the third and final installment of The Guardian Circle Series by Isabelle Santiago. YOU GUYS. I am SO EXCITED about this book! It wraps the series up just beautifully and I can’t tell you how much I love it. I’m super proud of my girl Isabelle, too, because she had to push herself really hard to get this book where it was (and I was not going to let it go out not fully formed!), but she did such a fabulous job.

If you haven’t yet had the delight of looking into The Guardian Circle Series yet, I am officially inviting you. Book one, The Guardian’s Mark is available for a limited time for $0.99!

What you’ll find here:

– Fantastic world-building, including a faceted, multi-cultural world centered on one (questionably balanced) religion

– Elemental magic, which is my favorite kind!

– Mesmerizing forbidden romance

– Underdogs and moral dilemmas

– Friendships that cross lifetimes

– Did I mention great world-building?

Pick up a copy of Guardian’s Mark today. Book 2 is also available, and Book 3 is just around the corner!

Book Review: Zerah’s Chosen by Isabelle Santiago

I managed to finish my first book of the year just about 45 minutes before February started. I was determined to have finished at least one book in January, so I spent as much time as I could today reading, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

My first book for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge (which at this point is already looking very questionable!) was Zerah’s Chosen by my good friend, Isabelle Santiago. It’s an ebook from Drollerie Press. I’m very lucky in that I’ve seen this story from very early stages, and I’ve had the privilege of fangirling about the characters directly with the author, but this was my first chance to sit and read through the book from beginning to end, and it was a definite treat.

Zerah is a rustic world, a world of common men, fishers, and prophets, ruled by Beings both mysterious and fearful. This story isn’t about common men or fishers or prophets, though. Every generation, six people are branded by the Beings and made Guardians over the elements—Water and Fire, Earth and Air, Life and Death. Those born with the brand are sent to the temple to train, to learn how to control the power they have over their elements in order to maintain the balance that makes up life.

The story begins with a woman who has been brought to trial. She has borne a child branded as a Guardian, but instead of sending him to the temple, she has hidden him away, kept him to herself. He is, after all, her child. Kieran has been marked for Death, though, and his power is too much for him to conquer on his own. When he is finally found, his mother hands him over without argument. She knows her time with her son is over. The elders sentence her to life in a solitary cell, fair payment for treason.

Kieran then is thrust into a life he neither wants nor understands. Most of the other Guardians—one is still missing—fear and dislike him. Only Amaya, the Guardian of Water and an empath to boot, accepts him without question from the beginning. Over the years Kieran begins to find his place among his fellow Guardians, and even learns to feel that the temple is his home, but he cannot forget what the “righteous” elders have done to his mother. More than that, he can’t forget to love the way that she taught him to. Guardians are supposed to live without tie, without emotion. Without love. A passionate person to begin with, Kieran simply cannot live under the conditions set for him, and the story comes to a head as Kieran and Amaya’s friendship turns into something much more—something the Code of the Guardians forbids.

Zerah’s Chosen is the first in what is to be a trilogy. The world-building is rich and absolutely superb—you know the minute you set foot into the story that this is a society that existed before you started reading. The characters are also fantastic. The story is mostly told from Amaya and Kieran’s POV’s, but all five Guardians we get to know are so fantastically diverse from each other that every time one of the other three are in the scene it’s a delight.

My personal favorite (as Isabelle well knows) is Phoenix, the Guardian of Fire, who has his own unrequited love for Amaya—something which I know is brought much more in to play in the second novel of the Guardian Circle Series, Zerah’s Offering, which isn’t quite available just yet, but I’ll let you know when it is. I’m lucky to have an advance copy, which I’ll be starting my read-through of… Oh, about now.