Furyborn (Empirium, #1)Furyborn by Claire Legrand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An enormous thank-you is owed to the publisher for this ARC of FURYBORN and to NetGalley. I feel a kinship to Rielle and Eliana in trying to obtain a copy. It is with profound gratitude and excitement that I write this review.

Soon to be published in May 2018, you won’t want to miss this masterpiece!

I’m sitting on the floor, breathless, my ears ringing. Have you ever finished a book, then don’t even know where to go from there?

Reading this book was like free falling off of a mountain and…oh wait, that gives too much away.

Action-packed with non-stop adventure and intrigue, Furyborn had me hooked from beginning to end. Legrand captivates reader’s minds with language that flows from scene to scene with perfect imagery. This story hits the ground running and it doesn’t stop.

The story opens with a long but fascinating prologue. It explains the ending more then the beginning, as most prologues do. As the story unfolded, I found myself flipping back to the prologue and gaining a new perspective each time. Most prologues are vague and easy to forget. This one digs its nails in.

A dual narrative from two POV’s ping-pongs back and forth, hundreds of years apart in FURYBORN. Two strong female leads, Rielle and Eliana, embark on their own journey of self discovery, each finding out that (of course) not all is as it seems. Engaging the familiar tournament trope, Rielle’s narrative is a fresh take and keeps readers engaged and cheering her on for success. Eliana takes an anti-hero narrative, slashing her way through morally gray areas. Over time, I fell for them both as I presume so many readers will.

The world building was incredible. The religion, geography, and magic was detailed and was used impeccably to push the story forward. The character’s personal growth, relationships, and decisions all were deeply infused with their character arc. I feel like I know these characters as actual people. Not many books achieve that.

I cannot wait for the next two books in the trilogy!

Characters 5/5: First person POV always gets us into a character’s head. Legrand captures this beautifully.
Readability 5/5: Make sure you’re well-hydrated. It’s hard to tear yourself away.
World Building 5/5: Amazing detail. I want to visit!
Romance 5/5: Is it hot in here? Ok there is definitely a romance thread in this story within both POV narratives. I won’t say more than that. That being said, don’t read chapter 41 around your grandmother…


Parents and adult guardians should use their judgement for younger readers as there are scenes that include violence and abuse, masturbation, and explicit scenes of sexuality.

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BOOK SIGNING: Erin Summerill & Tricia Levenseller

Erin and Tricia

One of my favorite parts of reading and writing is getting to connect with others who have been traditionally published in the field. It is so fun to see how excited authors are about writing novels and telling the story behind their books.

Last month in Boise at my favorite independent bookstore, The Rediscovered Bookshop, I attended a book signing by Erin Summerill and Tricia Levenseller.  They interviewed each other about their books, then they opened the floor for guest questions.

They answered some great questions about their writing process, plot-building, other books they are inspired by, and my favorite: world building. Tricia recommends playing video games for world building as well as excellent practice for fight-scene writing.

I was fortunate to ask a few questions about each author’s writing process. I was curious about how Erin gets into “writing mode”.  Her favorite setting in which to write? A single room in her house, candles alight, instrumental music playing, where nothing but writing is allowed. There is always Cherry Coke and some Hot Tamales present as well. Her mascots include her cats, which make perfect writing buddies.

She guessed I was a writer when I got to speak to her one-on-one at the signing. Erin signed my copy of EVER THE BRAVE and I took home a cute mash-up pin from both authors, made by the team at The Rediscovered Bookshop.

Her advice to me for writing was simple: Keep going.

Photo Feb 28, 8 24 16 PM



Six Words & Phrases to Stop Using RIGHT NOW

WORDS&PHRASESRain teems down outside as you cozy up to the crisp pages of a new book, snug under your new fleece blanket and latest #bookish socks. You’re coasting along, line after line, eating up the words and losing yourself to the delicious story.

Suddenly, there it is. That word. Like nails on a chalkboard, the word comes screaming into your mind, like an unwelcome wild animal hissing and ripping up the furniture. There are certain words or phrases that just rub some readers and writers the wrong way. Some are overused, annoying, and totally cliché, while others just sound gross.

What is my word?


EVERYTHING is apparently “glinting” in stories. The moon, people’s teeth, glass on the ground, spilled water, you name it. I find it is a crutch word for some kind of light reflecting off of a surface, but it is so overused that when I see it, I am immediately taken out of what I am reading and thrown back into reality. Ew.

My solution? A $7.99 paperback thesaurus. Cheap, organized, and full of creative alternatives: Sparkle, flash, gleam, glimmer, shine, twinkle, shimmer…

A fantastic set of resources I have fallen in love with are the thesauri from Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman at Writers Helping Writers. I am obsessed with these, especially the emotion thesaurus, negative trait thesaurus, and emotional wound thesaurus. They all aim to elevate your storytelling and are absolutely worth checking out. Another resource I love to use when trying to drum up better descriptions and phrasing is a site called Descriptionari.

Here are a few more words and phrases to stop using:

Bile: There are apparently a staggering number of characters in books that have gastric problems since they all seem to be in need of an antacid, stat. Phrases such as “Bile rose in her throat” or “I tasted bile in my mouth” are popular. Please, just…don’t.

Releasing a breath: Not only do many characters have GERD as mentioned above, but also seem to be holding their breath. They will then release this breath that they weren’t aware of. Most characters don’t hold their breath, but this phrase is commonly used to show a physical representation of tension inside a character. Consider a switch to something more unique such as “I took a sharp inhale, then the tension in my chest eased as I finally let it go.”

Very: Very strong, very weird, very high, very wet, very gray, very tired…you get it. It’s boring.

Shaking one’s head: You see it everywhere, but most characters don’t really need to do this. In some cases, it may work, however, it may be fitting to re-word so it isn’t so cliché.

Clench: A lot of things clenching here, folks. Clenched jaws, hands, eyelids, fists… How about grasp, clamp, clasp, clinch (this is a real word, check it out), clutch, constrict, contract, grapple, grip, and hold? Or better yet, twist them into a more original, unique phrasing such as changing “My jaw clenched” to “The muscles along my jaw knotted.”

AN ARMY OF ADVERBS: (These are words that end with “-ly”). This isn’t a phrase per se, but rather a trend within a string of paragraphs. In a book I read late last year, I came across so many adverbs in the writing that it abruptly (see what I did there?) took me out of the story. A few dashed here and there are fine to sneak in, but please don’t let them build up.

What are your trigger words and phrases?