Rating System

It occurs to me that I’ve never mentioned my rating system. So, here’s a rough idea of how I rate books. If I expand to review other things with any frequency, I’ll explain those rating systems later.


☆☆☆☆☆ (0 Stars)

The only way I will assign a 0-star rating is if I couldn’t bring myself to finish the book. This means that either the book is unintelligible or is a complete rip-off of another book.

★☆☆☆☆ (1 Star)

This is for books I finished, but hated. There is little, if anything, good about it, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

★★☆☆☆ (2 Stars)

This is for books I didn’t like, either because it had too many errors, or the story arc was terrible.

★★★☆☆ (3 Stars)

This is for books that I liked, but had problems, generally typos, grammatical errors etc., major continuity errors, or pacing issues. This is also the rating I’m likely to assign to books that others are likely to enjoy, but I didn’t care for because of subject matter or writing style.

★★★★☆ (4 Stars)

These are books I really enjoyed, but not so much that I couldn’t put them down. I probably also found several errors as I read.

★★★★★ (5 Stars)

I loved the book and had trouble putting it down. The pacing was great, there were few, if any errors, and the story is engaging.

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My Wedding

This post is a long time coming, and I don’t really know why I’ve delayed writing it. This won’t be like the in-depth posts you’re used to me writing. Rather, it’s a photo-heavy overview to provide a little glimpse at a very special day in my life.

As you may or may not know, I got married in March. Avid fountain pen enthusiasts that my husband and I are, we decided on a fountain pen themed wedding.

We chose our wedding colors based on our favorite coordinating inks — Diamine Aqua Blue and Organics Studio Jane Austen.

Organics Studio Jane Austen and Diamine Aqua Blue Organics Studio Jane Austen and Diamine Aqua Blue Ink Bottles

Our invitations were pen-related, and, of course, addressed in fountain pen.

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Fountain Pen 101: Ink

It’s impossible to cover ink in a single post. For one, I don’t know every ink brand, and new brands are popping up every day. For two, there are all sorts of properties that people like to discuss and/or include in their reviews. However, what I’m going to try to do is give you an overview of the ink properties I’ve heard discussed most often and the “best known” ink brands.

As a side note for newbies, make sure you only use fountain pen inks. Ink for dip pens could destroy your pen.

Ink Properties

As you start exploring inks, you’ll hear about various properties, including shimmer, shading, sheen, wetness, feathering, and bleeding. Most ink properties are at least partially dependent on the paper you use. Basic copy paper, for example, will negate almost all ink properties, while Tomoe River paper is well-known to enhance most ink properties. To enhance ink properties, you want to write/draw on “ink resistant” paper.

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Review – Renegade

Renegade

by Sharonlee Holder

RenegadeSeries: Blood Of The Custodians, Book 2
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: May 28, 2018
Pages: 404
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★

As the war between the Fates and the resistance rages on, Colin Murphy—bastard son of Hades—finds himself caught between his loyalty to Eros and a past that threatens to destroy him.

Pursued by Persephone’s bounty hunters, and with a pissed-off daemon to contend with, there is one thing that Murphy knows for sure – Hailey, the human he now shares his mind and body with, is innocent in all of it. She is a firefly flickering in the darkness of his black existence, and he will do anything and everything to protect her.

Hailey was groomed to be a socialite, with her entire future mapped out for her. Nothing could have prepared her for the abrupt ending to that life—or the impact of living in such close, intimate confines with a forsaken son of Hell. He’s powerful, he’s dangerous…and he’s her only hope of escaping the dark forces that pursue her.

Boundaries will be tested, loyalties questioned, and hearts pushed to the limits in this action-packed paranormal romance that continues the epic Blood of the Custodians saga by Sharonlee Holder.

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Review – Wings of Flesh and Bones

Wings of Flesh and Bones

by Cathrina Constantine

Wings of Flesh and BonesGenres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Date: April 13th 2018
Pages: 382
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆☆

An Angel. A Witch. A Demon. And A Choice.

Creatures from outer realms suck, as any gatekeeper worth their salt will tell you. Welcome to Rogan’s life, an orphaned seventeen-year-old who lives and trains with other misfits under her uncle’s roof, keeping Earth safe from non-human realm jumpers. Rogan’s biggest issue concerns her uncle’s short leash with her freedom—that is of course, until she’s taken by a notorious witch, and her life begins to unravel. Soon, the supernatural beauty discovers there’s a reason her uncle kept such a tight lock on her whereabouts, and that she has more than angel blood running through her veins.

Eighteen-year-old Max is an angel, and Rogan’s mentor and guardian. He’s well aware of her tenacious inability to obey orders, though he also knows she’s a fierce fighter. When he’s involved in a scheme that ultimately gets Rogan kidnapped, he must battle his way back to her in an attempt to save her from the darkness threatening to possess her.

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Review – Hybrids

Hybrids

by T.A. Moorman

HybridsSeries: Underlayes, Book 1.5
Genres: Romance, Occult, Adult
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Pages: 70
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Anya has never been one for the spotlight, but her family seems to now be front and center, and the talk of the town in Underlayes. In the aftermath of her mother’s death, the discovery of said mother’s deceit, and Anya’s half-sister getting ready to challenge her own father for the witches’ throne, keeping a low profile may prove to be difficult. Add in the fact that she’s pregnant, by her female mate, and it may turn out to be impossible.

Kierra has never been one for many words. So if she were forced to explain how she impregnated Anya, it probably wouldn’t be easy for her. Especially since the truth would mean revealing her origins; she’s not a vampire, or even anything close to it. And living in a realm where her kind isn’t allowed may cause a few ramifications. Plus, should the kid call her Mom, or Dad?

Jump right back into the world of Underlayes where this magical family takes dysfunction to brand new heights.

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Review – Dark Goddess

Dark Goddess

by Amalie Howard

Dark GoddessSeries: Alpha Goddess, Book 2
Genres: Fantasy, Hindu Mythology, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Pages: 376
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★

After an epic struggle that unseated the Azura Lord of Death and placed Serjana Caelum’s best friend, Kyle, on his throne, the Mortal Realm is peaceful and the balance between good and evil—which Sera is sworn to protect—has been restored.

But signs of a new threat to the world of men quickly begin to appear: A scourge of demons descends on the Mortal Realm, and Sera is beside herself trying to locate their source. She sends word to the gods for help, and their answer comes in the form of Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, goddess of destruction.

Stunning and dangerous, Kira plans to protect the heavens at all cost, even if it means destroying the entire Mortal Realm. Soon Sera and Kyle find themselves fighting not just the demon plague, but Kira and her twin. But when an even more sinister threat arises—putting not just the human world but all planes of existence in jeopardy—they must all learn to work together or lose everything they sacrificed so much to save.

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Review – Resurgence

Resurgence

by Sharonlee Holder

ResurgenceSeries: Blood Of The Custodians, Book 1
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Pages: 354
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★

It’s been a thousand years since the Fates destroyed Olympus, forcing the gods into exile among the humans. Now, led by Eros, the sons and daughters of the Olympians are preparing for war. They are determined to win their freedom, but the Fates will do anything to keep the status quo. A prophesied weapon—said to be able to destroy the Fates—is sought by both sides. Eros and the resistance want to use it to win their freedom, while the Fates race to find the weapon first and destroy it.

Antara, a hybrid of human and Custodial descent, comes into her ancestral powers as the very Tracker Eros needs to find the weapon. Kidnapped, held hostage and forced to confront the hidden truth about her own heritage, Antara is drawn deeper and deeper into a world she never knew existed. Things would be a lot simpler if she could just hate Eros for bringing her here; if his fate weren’t now bound to her own—and if, despite everything, she didn’t already find herself falling in love with him…

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Review – Alpha Goddess

Alpha Goddess

by Amalie Howard

Alpha GoddessSeries: Alpha Goddess, Book 1
Genres: Fantasy, Hindu Mythology, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Pages: 408
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★

In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence. Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

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Fountain Pen 101: Nibs

Another Fountain Pen Friday, another Fountain Pen 101. Welcome back! This time I’m covering nibs. Let me start out by saying that this is an introduction to nibs. I’ll cover nib customization (yes, that’s a thing) later.

Overview

Your average fountain pen is going to be available in one of the following nib sizes: Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), Broad (B), Double Broad (BB), and Stub (usually 1.1mm or 1.5mm, although 1.9mm does exist). You do occasionally come across Oblique nibs (similar to a stub, but cut at an angle), but they’re far less common and typically found on specialty pens.

Some pens, especially from indie pen makers, utilize standard #5 or #6 nib units from Bock or Jowo. That means you can purchase other nib units of the same size and manufacturer and swap them out. It’s like giving your pen a mini makeover.

Jowo Nib Unit
A Jowo nib unit. Photo from Nibs.com

Something to keep in mind when selecting a pen is the origin of its manufacturer. Japanese nibs tend to run 1-2 sizes thinner than Western nibs. So if you like a M Lamy, you’d probably want a B Platinum. JetPens (yep, them again) have a great post on the various nib sizes and differences between Japanese and Western nibs.

Nib width comparison
Comparison of Japanese and Western nib widths. Photo from Pentorium.com

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