Happy Release Day to Guardian’s Choice by Isabelle Santiago!

Happy release day to Book II in one of my favorite series. Here’s the blurb:

(Book II, The Guardian Circle)

When Amaya wakes, with only the memory of her world’s apocalyptic destruction, she is surprised to find herself alone in a world deceptively similar to her own. But there’s so much about Zerah that’s changed. The Holy Grounds are gone. The Temple is destroyed. And all that remains of their ancient society is a vast, barren space.

Lost and confused, Amaya is forced underground into the dark heart of the neighboring province, hiding out among the monsters – unnatural products of their Maker. She loses all control of her empathic power, spiraling toward madness, until Phoenix finds and saves her. Together they work to build the semblance of a normal life, but he wants more than she’s prepared to give, and try as she might to forget, she’s still haunted by memories of a man she was never meant to love.

Torn between her fear and her need to be redeemed, Amaya seeks out the very person she’s been running from. He presents a tempting offer: he will free her of the Mark that enslaves her to the Guardianship, a Mark that carries only ghosts of a past better forgotten, and give her a chance at a new life.

All it will cost is her soul.

What I love most about this series:

A) THE CHARACTERS.

Oh my goodness. Talk about conflicted and flawed, and I love every inch of them.

B) THE WORLD BUILDING

So detailed and beautiful and THERE. Every minute of this series you know you’re in a different world.

C) THE CONFLICT

Big stakes. Heartwrenching choices.

D) THE PROSE

Just beautiful stuff. Again, reminds you you’re in a world that’s not your own.

And okay, it may be dedicated to me and some friends… but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s awesome.

Buy it on Kindle, Nook, or Kobo.

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Why The Casual Vacancy Shouldn’t be Compared to Harry Potter

Note: This is not a book review. Just a general reaction to the general reaction surrounding The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, released last week.

Yes, I’m just as much a Potter fan as you are. And if you don’t believe me, ask my husband, who, while also a Potter enthusiast, has found many a time to laugh and roll his eyes at me for my overly-in-depth knowledge of the series.

I’ve been (naively, I suppose) surprised at the reaction I’ve seen in response to Rowling’s new book ever since its existence was first announced. Of course I knew that many people would be comparing the new book to Rowling’s admittedly history-making series, but I’ve seen everything from incredulity that she can even write anything else good to outright complaints about her new subject matter (a small English town ripped apart by a political vacancy).

I have to admit, all of the above baffles me.

To me, this is like saying that Shakespeare shouldn’t have tried writing Henry V after A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Okay, maybe that’s not a perfect analogy, but my point is this: J.K. Rowling has proven to all of us that she understands the human condition on multiple levels, that she understands social tensions and their destructive capabilities, and that she understands mortality and morality, which she herself has admitted she’s a bit obsessed with. In other words: the very thing that makes most stories tick.

I’m not “worried” about this book. I’m not skeptical as to whether or not it’s going to be “as good” as Harry Potter. It’s not Harry Potter nor is it meant to be. Me, I’m looking forward to reading something new by one of my favorite authors, whatever it is. I’ll follow you anywhere, Ms. Rowling. Just keep leading on.