Review – Dorothy in the Land of Monsters

Dorothy in the Land of Monsters

by Garten Gevedon

Dorothy in the Land of MonstersSeries: Oz ReVamped, Book 1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!

My name is Dorothy Gale, and I think I might be dead.

When my dog Toto and I got swept up in a twister, we landed in hell. A very colorful hell. Like a rainbow dripping in blood. Now it looks as though this dreadful underworld plagued with vampires, zombies, and shifters will be the site of my eternal damnation.

They say this terrifying land called Oz isn’t hell or purgatory and escape is possible, but first I must survive the journey down the blood-soaked yellow brick road to the only place in Oz where vampires dare not tread—The City of Emeralds.

With enchanted footwear and the help of my three new friends—a friendly zombie, a massive shifter lion, and a heartless axe murderer of evil night creatures (who also happens to be the hottest guy I’ve ever seen)—Toto and I have a chance to make it to the Vampire Free Zone. When we get there, I must convince the most powerful wizard in this magical land of monsters to send us out of this radiant nightmare and back to the world of the living. They say he’s just as frightening as this monstrous land, that he detests visitors, and even the most horrifying creatures cower in his presence. But I must seek him out. And when I find him, I’ll do whatever it takes to make him send me home.


Review

While I greatly enjoyed the story and characters of Dorothy in the Land of Monsters (DitLoM), I was a little befuddled by some of the vocabulary choices the author makes. The book is listed as Teen and Young Adult, and the story line supports that designation, but the vocabulary, especially in the first half of the book, is more appropriate for holders of, or those studying for, advanced degrees.

I certainly don’t mind elevated word choices if there’s a clear reason for it, but they seem out-of-place in a teen book. It’s also odd to me that the author’s use of higher level vocabulary diminishes as the book continues. Perhaps DitLoM would benefit from an extra edit to standardize the vocabulary levels.

If you can get past the pretentious-feeling vocabulary to the latter half of the book, it’s a fun story. The author expertly works their new elements into the Oz story we all know and love. The characters are well-written and likable.

I’m eager to read the future installments of the Oz ReVamped series. I want to see more of Dorothy, Nick, Ardie, Werelion, and Toto. I’m curious to find out how the story continues, and where their adventures will take them.


Giveaway!

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About the Author

Garten Gevedon lives in New York City with her family. She’s a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author who loves taking fairy tales and turning them inside out.

Author links: Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | BookBub


Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary eBook I received from Xpresso Book Tours. The complimentary receipt of this book has in no way affected my review or rating.

Xpresso Book Tours

Where I’ve Been

I’ve come to accept that I tend to get really into a hobby, then get bored with it and move on to something else. For those hobbies that I really enjoy, I’ll eventually come back to it. Writing is one of those highly enjoyable hobbies.

I’ve written plenty over the years, and taken many breaks from writing. Some of those breaks are from boredom, some are a result of other things going on in my life, like this one.

In March, I started a side job that requires a significant amount of copy writing. And, while the job is fun, it’s left me feeling a bit burnt out. I haven’t had a visit from the writing muse in a while. Even writing blog posts seems to take much more effort than it used to.

This situation has influenced both my blog and my stories. I have three half-finished blog posts in my notebook right now. I’ve also got two half-written novels, and the notes for a third.

I do miss writing for pleasure, but, after writing for work, I don’t have any desire to write anything else. I’ve decided, though, that my side job has a finite time frame, and I’m hoping to get back to writing once it’s done, even if that is quite some time away.

So, until I have finished that job, my blog, and my books, will likely be neglected. That’s not to say I won’t write or post anything, but the posts will likely be few and far between.

If you’re willing to stick with me during that time, I really appreciate it. If not, I understand. Maybe subscribe to my blog so you know when I post something.

Ink Dupes #13: Noodler’s and Organics Studio

How many royal blue fountain pen inks are there? I think I own 6 or 7 myself. So for the next few Ink Dupes, I’ll be comparing them to each other. You’ll be getting an Ink Dupe post every week for a bit so I can power through these.

As a side note, Bert’s Blue (an exclusive for Bertram’s Inkwell) is sold out, and Tyler of Organics Studio has mentioned that he can’t find the recipe. So, for the time being, that ink is discontinued. Maybe in the future it will be available again. Sadly, I couldn’t find a review for Bert’s Blue, so you’ll have to do without.

The Inks

Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium
Price: ~$12.50 USD
Bottle Size: 88.7ml (3oz)
Price Per Ml: $0.14
Availability: Goulet Pens Exclusive
Organics Studio Bert’s Blue
Price: ~$13 USD
Bottle Size: 55ml
Price Per Ml: $0.22
Availability: Discontinued
Comparison swatches and chromatography strips for Noodler's Liberty's Elysium and Organics Studio Bert's Blue

If you have any suggestions for future comparisons, let me know in the comments. And check out my other Ink Dupes posts.

Review: Lume Deodorant

Fair warning, there is, within this review, what some people would consider TMI relating to sweatiness and BO. I felt it necessary to provide that information to adequately discuss the changes with and benefits of, Lume. So, you have been warned.

I acknowledge this is a long post, so, if you don’t care about backstory and just want to jump down to the overview, feel free to do so.

Backstory

Growing up, drugstore deodorants were all I had available to me. I switched between them regularly trying to find one that would completely eliminate body odor. In the past, I have tended towards smelly. I said it. If I would sweat even a little, I would smell. Not really bad, like not likely to offend anyone, but I could smell it, and it bothered me.

I was also very annoyed by how difficult those traditional deodorants were to remove. I could scrub until my pits were red and sore and still feel residue. Rather unnerving, really.

Continue reading “Review: Lume Deodorant”

Identifying My Vintage Pelikan

This past Saturday, I went to Bertram’s Inkwell to pick up the pen I won from Pensplaining with Corinne. While there, Adam mentioned that they had a bunch of secondhand pens. So, pen fiend that I am, I asked to see them.

Note: If you don’t want to read the story, feel free to jump down to the pen porn or the list of sites I mention in the narrative below.

Out came three big zip cases of vintage pens. I went through the cases, but I don’t typically love the look of vintage pens. They aren’t as pretty as modern pens, in my opinion. But, in the third case, there were a bunch of vintage Pelikans. Among those was a red and black pen. I love red and black, so I pulled it out.

Unfortunately, the nib was looking a bit rough. Out of curiosity, I took at look at each of the other Pelikans. Most of them were stubs or broad, which I know I don’t like writing with. But, this one was intriguing.

Vintage Pelikan 100

The nib was obviously bouncy, so I asked to dip in, and Bert was nice enough to allow me to dip it in ink. I don’t have the writing test from the shop, but here’s basically what I did.

Vintage Pelikan 100 Scribble Sample
Scribble sample with Diamine Soft Mint

With that writing sample, I couldn’t leave the pen behind. There’s more to the story at the store, but to keep this from getting too long, I’ll just say I bought the Pelikan.

Research Time

I started with a basic Google search for “small vintage Pelikan fountain pen”. It took clicking through several sites, but I eventually stumbled across Pelikan Guide.

I clicked on the first “black caps” option, not realizing that there was more than one. But it worked out for me, because I hit the research jackpot. The first image was my pen. And I what I found amazed me!

I’d purchased a Pelikan 100 in Black/Jade Green from 1929-1930. I had picked up what was now the oldest pen in my collection. But, one site wasn’t enough to end my research. So I searched for “Pelikan 100 black jade green” and got a lot of results.

I found this site which called my pen, and its all-black variant, 1st year pens. And this site indicated that the green version came first.

I can’t actually find my info on whether the green version really did come first, but it’s clear I have the first model Pelikan ever made. And that’s pretty freakin’ cool.

SIDE NOTE: In going back to find links while writing this post, I discovered Pelikan Collectibles which has this fantastic timeline, and is a great resource for all things Pelikan.

I continued my research, mainly to try to determine if I had the jade or marbled green version, and found that this pen is apparently rather rare. I’d like to think this is my cosmic recompense for stupidly giving up a super-rare mini Conklin Nozac from the 30s (I think) last year.

I also determined that the ink window on my pen is normal. In every image I found where you could see the ink window, it was equally dark. Which seems odd to me, as what’s the point of an ink window you can’t really see the ink through?

But, I’m hardly going to complain at this amazing find. It’s super cool to have this piece of history. So, pen identified, I’ll leave you here, with some pen porn and writing samples.

Pen Porn

Click on any image to view it even larger.

Vintage Pelikan 100 Uncapped
Vintage Pelikan 100 Uncapped
Vintage Pelikan 100 Nib Closeup
Look at that beautiful nib!
Vintage Pelikan 100 Nib Closeup
I love the heart breather hole. It’s a shame Pelikan switched to a circle.
Vintage Pelikan 100 Cap Finial
For you Finial Lovers
Vintage Pelikan 100 Nib Flex Closeup
Starting to flex…
Vintage Pelikan 100 Nib Flex Closeup
… a bit more…
Vintage Pelikan 100 Nib Flex Closeup
… and full flex. And I learned the nib has a couple stress points. Good to know so I can be careful when flexing.
Vintage Pelikan 100 Writing Sample
And a writing sample with Diamine Soft Mint.

Sites Mentioned

I get it, sometimes you don’t want to read the full story, so here are the sites I mentioned in the narrative above:

Ink Dupes #12: Diamine and Colorverse

When looking at the swabs for these two in my swab notebook, they looked almost identical, but in this test, I noticed a distinct difference. So, while this isn’t exactly an ink dupe, I felt it was worth sharing for those who, like me, thought that they are.

Also, Colorverse Photon is only sold in a two-pack with Gluon. The price listed for it is the total price for both, and the price per ml is the price of both bottles divided by the total mls (80) of both bottles.

The Inks

Diamine Soft Mint
Price: ~$15 USD
Bottle Size: 80ml
Price Per Ml: $0.19
Availability: Readily available
Colorverse Photon
Price: ~$36 USD
Bottle Size: 80ml
Price Per Ml: $0.45
Availability: Readily available
Comparison swatches and chromatography strips for Diamine Soft Mint and Colorverse Photon

If you have any suggestions for future comparisons, let me know in the comments. And check out my other Ink Dupes posts.

Ink Dupes #11: Organics Studios and Diamine

For those who don’t know, BWIPS stands for Baltimore Washington International Pen Show. The BWIPS 2018 ink was a special edition ink that was given away around the show that year. Because it was such a small batch, I couldn’t find an ink review, but I’ve found it to be rather dry.

The Inks

Organics Studio BWIPS 2018
Price: Free
Bottle Size: 80ml (ish)
Price Per Ml: 0
Availability: Limited Edition
Diamine Dark Forest
Price: ~$16 USD
Bottle Size: 40ml
Price Per Ml: $0.40
Availability: Readily available
Comparison swatches and chromatography strips for Diamine Dark Forest and Organics Studio BWIPS 18

If you have any suggestions for future comparisons, let me know in the comments. And check out my other Ink Dupes posts.

Review – Seize

Seize

by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

SeizeSeries: Magnus Blackwell, Book 3
Genres: Adult, Supernatural
Release Date: March 26th 2019
Pages: 359
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Lexie Arden has a loving husband, a thriving business, and consults with the New Orleans Police Dept on murder cases. Kalfu has given her everything she desires, but challengers to her authority are closing in.

Her dark secret remains hidden from everyone except Magnus. He sees the evil growing stronger, changing her, and hurting her marriage. If Lexie doesn’t rid herself of Kalfu’s influence soon, the consequences will be irreversible.

When she unexpectedly inherits a cottage in the swamp, she uncovers a library of rare books on voodoo. Their spells can reverse the dark lord’s hold and set right the balance between darkness and light. But such magic requires a great sacrifice; one Lexie isn’t willing to make.

With the shadow spirits and raging voodoo gods vying for her attention, Lexie is on the verge of losing everything—her husband, her power, Magnus, and possibly, her life.

The battle for control of the mambo’s soul is about to begin.

Continue reading “Review – Seize”

Book Blitz – A Touch of Darkness

Disclaimer: I’ve stated in the past that I don’t feel comfortable promoting books I haven’t read. I signed up for a review tour stop for this book, but received notice on May 2nd that the book would not be available in time for the tour. Rather than abandon my spot on the tour, I decided to post this excerpt as requested by the author via Xpresso Book Tours. Please consider this post as informative as opposed to promotional. I have not read the book as of posting this.

A Touch of Darkness

by Scarlett St. Clair

A Touch of DarknessGenres: Adult, Mythology, Romance
Series: Hades & Persephone, Book 1
Release Date: Spring 2019

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a Goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

Continue reading “Book Blitz – A Touch of Darkness”

Conflict in Books

I hear often enough that without conflict, there is no story. That a story without conflict is just a boring series of events. But when I read, I prefer either a short conflict, something that I’ll read the resolution to before I have to set the book aside to go back to life, or light conflict, that you know the character can make it through. I’m guessing this puts me in the minority.

But here’s the thing — reading is my escape. There’s plenty of conflict in movies, the news, and my own life to last me ten lifetimes. To escape from that, I want something different. Let me say, I’m specifically referring to fiction here. Obviously, I don’t expect non-fiction to lack conflict or to be anything other than truth.

I appreciate a book where it’s obvious from page one that there will be a happy ending. It means I can just lose myself in a stable, happy story. I can also work with a story with conflict that gives you frequent highs to get you through the lows.

But when the main character, or any character you can become emotionally invested in, is hit by problem after problem, it’s depressing. Where is the escape in that? What’s the point in a book that makes you feel worse by the time you finish it than you did when you started it?

What’re your thoughts on conflict in books? Like it? Love it? Let me know.