The Carver: Jacob Devlin

I just finished reading THE CARVER by JACOB DEVLIN. It was extra special because I got to meet Jacob in person!

This is Jacob.


He’s such a great guy. We had so much fun hanging out at UTOPIA—the jaawriters’ event/conference in Tennessee.

<=== We got to ride the employee elevator and get the unofficial tour of the kitchens and offices at the hotel where the conference was held. Don’t ask . . .

**Side note: He’s the one who got me hooked on FUNKO POPS!

This read was extra special because I got to be present when Jacob first saw it in print–first got to hold it! So exciting to see jajthe “inside” of published-author world. And, if that wasn’t enough for this first-time author, The Carver SOLD OUT at the conference!

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So, my review . . . I gave THE CARVER 4 Stars. The storyline follows an epic ROAD TRIP with Enzo (the son of Pinocchio), Pietro (grown-up Peter Pan), and Rosana (the daughter of THE Alice—yes, the one who went to Wonderland) as they try to figure out what’s happening to their loved ones–who keep disappearing!

Plot: Here is the short version by way of a quote by HUA MULAN herself (p.191):

“Then let me give you the short version. Hansel is under the control of a dark queen who should have disappeared years ago. She’s trying to come back and using Hansel’s body as a vessel. But to come back in her true form, she needs to gather seven pure souls in the Cavern of Ombre . . . ”

Mood: The Carver was fun all around. There were some darker moments, but overall, I was sucked into both the fairy tale world, and our world–it was amusing experiencing our world through the eyes of the fairy tale characters that found themselves here. (I REALLY want to try Macaroni and Cheese on a stick . . . Didn’t know that existed!!)

Pace: Once I got the hang of the back and forth between the OLD WORLD PRESENT, NEW WORLD PRESENT, and OLD WORLD PAST, it was a fast read.

Characters: Jacob’s twist on the characters was reminiscent of Once Upon a Time, yet he did a wonderful job breathing freshness into the characters and adding lots of twists to the fairy tale world that we all “know.” The characters were unique, and you never knew which beloved (and not so beloved) fairy tale character would show up next.

I loved Jacob’s little snippet about The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

And I’m still chuckling about: Hook. James Hook. HA!

“You cannot win a fight without a pirate, and I’m the best there is.” -Hook p.252

Writing: Grammatically, this book was well-written.

Cons for me personally: At times the dialogue seemed a bit juvenile and forced. And the !’s were a bit over-used. And at times I was totally confused with where I was–which story line–and had to flip back to remind myself.

Level of Violence: There were several moments of evilness-in-action (loved the twists of the good being forced to do evil, but for great reasons…so intriguing!) and some great fight scenes.

My favorite fight scene being when Pietro and Enzo were forced into a joust at a Renaissance Fair! Pietro (Peter Pan) is such a sore loser!

Other Thoughts:  I think this sums up the takeaway of this story:

“ . . . I think it was a big shock when they got to the big twists, but, in the end, you have to realize that these fairy tales were also influenced very heavily by reality, and unfortunately reality sometimes includes tragedy. Even for the heroes.” -Heather McClavender AKA Violet p.231

Would I recommend this?: If you can’t get enough of fairy tales, this book is for you! Well, even if you are “eh” about fairy tales, this book is a great read! And, I must say, I think this book will be even better the second read through—now that I know what happens, and I can follow the back and forth of the story line.

The Carver ends with a TO BE CONTINUED . . .

BOOK 2 will be out next year, I will definitely be getting a copy so I can find out what happens to all the characters as they try to save their world and ours from the Ivory Queen—Avoria!

Grab your copy here . . .

 . . . And check out BLAZE PUBLISHING for other AMAZING novels!!



May/June Wrap-Up

I have been living in Non-Existia for 2 months. Busy at work: writing, editing, researching, editing, tweaking, reading, editing, submitting, editing . . . It was a busy two months, writing-wise, and now SUMMER VACATION is happening. While I’m glad I don’t have to get up early to drive my kiddos to school, I’m already missing having a schedule–having somewhere I have to be, having a purpose to get up early and be productive. (That is going to change starting next week!)


I just returned from Nashville: UTOPIA CON (I will be writing a post about my time there…as soon as I recover…). What a wonderful place/people to help me get back into the excitement of writing. Since I returned, I’ve been sucked into Steampunk Victorian London. Stay tuned for exciting things. Hopefully!


  • Scarlett Epstein Hates It Hear By Anna Breslaw (3 STARS)
    • A YA, quirky tale that just had way too much blah in it.
  • Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen (5 STARS)
    • My all-time favorite book. I have to read this at least once every year.
  • Because I Love You By Tori Rigby (5STARS)
    • Another wonderful book published by Blaze Publishing. This book sent me on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Have tissues handy!


  • Kate By Sharon Srock (4 STARS)
    • Adult, contemporary romance–a quick, enjoyable read.
  • The Last Necromancer By C.J. Archer (4STARS)
    • Adult–fun story with a steampunk feel.
  • The Siren By Kiera Cass (4 STARS)
    • YA Fantasy–a very interesting premise. I listened to this on my drive to Tennessee.
  • The One By Kiera Cass (3 STARS)
    • YA Dystopian–last book of the Selection Trilogy–must say, I didn’t really enjoy this one as much as the first two. Listened to this on my drive to Tennessee.
  • The Heir By Kiera Cass (3 STARS)
    • YA Dystopian–the next generation of the Selection . . . I listened to this as I drove home from Tennessee–I have to say, the main girl REALLY annoyed me with his snottiness, made it hard to enjoy the story.
  • Defy By Sara B. Larson (4 1/2 STARS)
    • YA Fantasy–such a great adventure! Loved every second!
  • The Clockwork Scarab By Colleen Gleason (5 STARS)
    • YA Steampunk–The first book in the Holmes and Stoker Trilogy. Sherlock Holmes niece and Bram Stoker’s sister team up to fight crime, and vampires in Steampunk London! So fun!
  • The Spiritglass Charade By Colleen Gleason (4 STARS)
    • YA Steampunk–Second book in the Holmes and Stoker Trilogy.

And, that is it for now . . . headed back to Non-Existia for awhile to research and write. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

The Carver in Utopia!

My new friend Jacob sums up Utopia! I’m so glad I got to go!

Jacob Devlin

Tonight I’m writing you from Nashville, Tennessee. I used my afternoon to get a little touristy. I walked along the river, checked out the Opry Mills, strolled Broadway and popped in and out of some local bars. I’ve never exactly been a huge country guy, but I appreciate what Nashville has to offer. The air was a little too thick with humidity, but in a charming way it reminded me of Charlottesville. Unfortunately I left my cowboy boots back home, but the smell of brand new leather and the flashing neon on Broadway reminded me that I easily could’ve picked up a new pair from one of about seven or eight different shops along a 3-block radius. Oh, and did I mention I stumbled on a FREE showing of Independence Day Resurgence in IMAX 3D? (Not a great movie, but I loved it! We all have movies like that, right?)

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April Wrap-Up

Another month gone . . .

Life-Happenings Summary: April was such a fun, exciting month! I went out to Amish country in Ohio with my mom and sister. Did some sight-seeing, shopping, eating at the CHEESE BARN (survived eating ghost pepper cheese…), and a little bit of research for a novel idea I’ve been working on. It’s about an Amish girl (17) . . . But that’s where the similarities between Amish fiction end. Stay tuned! Gonna be a fun one . . . hopefully!

On the 23ponmrd, I went with my partner in crime, Laurel, to the CHILLER EXPO in New Jersey. I got to see (looked around a corner at him after waiting in line for 25 minutes…) Alice Cooper and Weird Al, and got to meet the guys from CHiPs! They were all genuinely-sweet men. Really enjoyed chatting (being mauled by Ponch) with them!

Larry Wilcox = Jon Baker.






Robert Pine (Chris Pine’s dad!) = Sgt. Getraer





Erik Estrada = Ponch.


Writing Summary: I’ve been busy working on a series I started during NANOWRIMO. I’m hoping to have the first draft done soon so I can get to editing!

Editing = LOVE

Exciting things coming in June: Last week I was introduced to a writers conference, UTOPIA. After some, but really not much–all the doors opened wide–finagling, I’m GOING to Nashville, Tennessee in JUNE!! It’s a long drive, but gonna be so worth it! I’m especially looking forward to meeting, and hanging out with, the wonderful staff and authors of Blaze Publishing! I’ve been able to connect with a lot of their authors through Facebook–seriously, go check out this publishing house (their new website logo is AWESOME!). Their second book comes out May 17th! Already ordered my copy!

Reading Summary: I read 9 books this month. That brings my total to 28 for the year . . . only 72 to go until I reach my year goal of 100 books!

Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine: 2 STARS. This was a Snow White, Evil Queen, Huntsman twist. It pulled me in at first, but then I quickly lost interest and ended up skimming through just to get to the end. The characters were okay, nothing memorable.

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell: 3 1/2 STARS. This was a neat, unexpected twist on Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

The Duff by Kody Keplinger: 2 STARS. . . I picked up this book after watching the movie. Must say that out of the two, I enjoyed the movie a lot better–there was more of a plotline. The novel, well all they did was have sex and try to keep that fact from everyone. I did like the ending of the book (but the ending of the movie I could watch over and over, I love their playful, friend-banter…and Robbie Amell…) . . . Overall, it was a quick read . . .

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson: 5 STARS. I absolutely LOVED this book! The characters were well-written and spunky. It had a Scarlet Pimpernel feel with a hint of Robin Hood. This was the first book I’ve read by this author, can’t wait to read more!

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey: 4 STARS. This was the second book in the series. It picked up right at the end of the last story and continued on it’s merry way. Can’t wait to pick up the next book and see what happens next for all the characters.

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly: 5 STARS. If you’re looking for a fun, fast read, grab this one. It was a riot! The characters were quirky and well-written and I laughed out loud several times at their antics.

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn: 4 1/2 STARS. (Adult romance). I’ve read several of Deanna Raybourn’s novels, but this was definitely my favorite! A quirky heroine living in Victorian England + A murder mystery = FUN! Can’t wait to continue in this series.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: 4 STARS. I really enjoyed this twist on Aladdin (Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves). “Aladdin” made his wish to be a prince and marry the princess . . .  but what happens if ithe genie is female and he starts to fall for her instead? The characters were very well-written, and it had several twists and surprises along the way

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: 4 1/2 STARS. This was a very unique and fun story. I loved the main characters and the journey they went on. Looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.



March Wrap-Up

Life-Happening Summary: March came in like a lamb and left like a … Hungry Lamb ? . . .  What a weird weather year we’ve been having. It’s been wonderful! I do like snow for Christmas and December, but that’s about it. Amazingly, my kiddos didn’t have any snow days. The second week of March, I experienced my first SOLO road trip!I had lots of fun singing LOUD, talking to myself, and stopping for coffee whenever I wanted.🙂  I went to Ohio to visit my sister (it was her birthday!) and to go to THE PIANO GUYS concert! Let me just say: The Piano Guys are AMAZING! If you don’t know who they are, check them out! So much fun and talent wrapped into one show.

Writing Summary: I had an idea last year that I’ve been mulling over. I knew the WHO (Cortland McGraw) and the WHERE (Steampunk Novel), but I didn’t know the WHAT, WHEN, and WHY’s of the story. I had a few ideas but they weren’t taking me anywhere. Then I watched THE LIBRARIANS (LOVE that show!!) and the ideas started to pour over me! I’ve been plotting, researching, and of course, building a Pinterest board all month–still going strong! I love when a new idea hits. The excitement gives me momentum and has me thinking about it all day (and most of the night…didn’t get a lot of sleep this month). For fun, I tried something a little different with the first draft: I wrote it as a screenplay. It’s too long to actually be one, but it was a fun way to just write the dialogue and motions for each scene. Now, I’m going back through and adding meat (and paragraphs) to it!

Reading Summary:

Winter By: Marissa Meyer

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Winter was the last book of the Lunar Chronicles series. It was a great ending, wrapped everything up, gave the main characters their Happily-Ever-Afters. I love when a series ends and my questions are answered. This entire series is one of my absolute favorites!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children By: Ransom Riggs 

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This was such an odd book . . . but in a good, fascinating way! I recently saw the trailer for the movie coming out and it looked really interesting, so of course I had to go get the book so I could be prepared to watch it. I don’t tend to pick up books like this, but I’m glad I did. It was a neat escape from my norm. Excited to see how close the movie keeps to the book!

The Volk Advent By: Kristen Wiks


Every March-June, I get a box of books in the mail that I get to read, judge and then KEEP! Several years ago I signed up to be a judge for contest/book awards (not saying what contest just yet…shhh . . . ). The Volk Advent was among the  books in the box this year. The cover had me grabbing for it first. It was a quick read, but I really didn’t connect with the characters, and it was hard for me to suspend disbelief for the plot line.

The Young Elites By: Marie Lu

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Really enjoyed this story–fresh and new, with a good twist ending. Very well written!

Lady Midnight By: Cassandra Clare

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This was a BIG book! It was fun being back in the Shadowhunter world…there were things I loved more than the original series, and things that almost felt like a repeat of the original.

The 5th Wave By: Rick Yancey

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I listened to this book as I drove to and from Ohio! It made the time fly by. I really enjoyed the story (although at times it reminded me of Divergent and The Hunger Games)…but it did have some twists and fresh views on things that I really enjoyed. Can’t wait to see this movie either!

The Glass Sword By: Victoria Aveyard

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While I absolutely LOVED The Red Queen–the first book in this serie–this second book didn’t impress me as much. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good story, but by the end I wasn’t dying to get my hands on the next book in the series. This story felt forced and a lot like an X-Men movie . . . I’ll probably check out the third book when it comes out, but I’m not as jumping-up-and-down-can’t-wait excited for it.

Watched Summary:

THE LIBRARIANS: As I said above, I watched Season 1 of THE LIBRARIANS–loved every second!

ELEMENTARY: While some friends cautioned me, telling me to stay away from it, other’s said they enjoyed it. I must say, I am REALLY enjoying it! I love how they made Watson a woman . . . and the twist that Irene Adler is MORIARTY–woohoo! I’m almost done with Season 2.

I watched ANT MAN and GOOSEBUMPS with my boys–both were great!

CHiPs: This month we were all introduced to CHiPs! We’ve been watching Season 1 as a family–so much fun, and it’s family friendly/appropriate. Love to hear my boys laughing…and my youngest hums the theme song non-stop now (it replaced Star Wars theme song…but that movie comes out tomorrow, so I’m sure he’ll be back to the dark side humming…)

PSYCH: Just discovered this on Netflix . . . I know, I’m behind the times.🙂 It’s a fun show (annoying at times, but that’s what fast forward is for . . .).

POLDARK: Watched the first 3 episodes… *swoon*…hoping to watch the rest SOON!

February: 100 in 2016

Where did February go? We even got an extra day and it still felt like it super-sonic flew by! I gotta say, February is my favorite month. I’m a little biased because it’s my BIRTHDAY month! Overall, this month was WONDERFUL!

  • I “finished” editing and resubmitted my novel (waiting…”patiently” to hear).
  • I got to be a part of a book launch–so fun!
  • And on my actual birthday, I got to BE THERE to witness the birth of my GOD-SON! Such an amazing birthday gift from my bestest friend! (Still deciding which T-shirt & baby outfit to get…😉


  • Oh, and I got purple and green highlights in my hair, which is my annual birthday hair fun.

“I Read These” List

Here, as promised, is the list of books I read in February–brings my total up to 13 for 2016!

Unmasking Juliet By: Teri Wilson: Genre: Adult, RomanceFeb1

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This was the first book I’ve read by Teri Wilson. Must say, I really enjoyed her writing style and her quirky dialogue–and the ROMANCE!  Her writing style is tight and easy to read. It was a quick read and super fun.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy By: Teri Wilson: Genre: Adult, Romance

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After watching the Hallmark version of this novel, I of course had to go look it up! The novel was so similar to the movie, even most of the fun dialogue. I really enjoyed getting to read Darcy’s side to the story–which they didn’t show at all in the movie. Again, an enjoyable, fast read by Teri Wilson.

Poison Princess By: Kresley Cole: Genre: YA

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febThis is the first book in The Arcane Chronicles series. I enjoyed the writing and the premise. It grabbed my attention right away . . . but I kinda of lost interest in the middle, but it did pick up again at the end. I’ll probably read the second book at sometime.


Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets By: JK Rowling

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Always so much fun to revisit Harry Potter’s world! These stories are just as good the 100th time through as they were the first! I actually listened to this on CD with my boys (we’re reading/listening to all the books before we watch the movies–so fun to hear them say THE BOOK WAS BETTER!) These audio books are read by Jim Dale–he is AMAZINGLY talented!

Passenger By Alexandra Bracken: Genre: YA

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This story was so unique and the characters all very well written! Time travel, lies, secrets, a race to save lives . . . and a cliffhanger ending! I can’t wait to
continue this series!

Starflight By Melissa Landers: Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

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I absolutely LOVED this story! It was like watching an episode of the TV show Firefly. Such a fun romp through space and the future–I couldn’t put it down!



Asleep By Krystal Wade: Genre: YA, paranormal thriller

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This book messed with my brain! I started it last night and couldn’t put it down! By the time I was dasleepone reading, I couldn’t fall asleep–and didn’t want to (when I did, I admit, I actually had a nightmare that I was locked away!). ASLEEP was so well-written, that I felt I was the one in the asylum. I felt trapped, scared, betrayed . . . and whenever Rose thought about runnin
g, I was right there with her. I just wanted to get out! I went in thinking I knew everything, that Rose wasn’t really crazy just misunderstood, that her parents and the nice doctor just wanted to help her, that her nightmares were just that–dreams. But as I read, I began to doubt her sanity (and mine). I began to doubt who could be trusted, and doubt that everyone Rose met in the asylum was real.

**I was privileged to be a part of the release day party for ASLEEP. This also happened to be the first book published through BLAZE publishing! So excited for them all!


**Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: I LOVED it!! I wasn’t sure if I could handle the zombies invading my Jane Austen, but it just added a new layer to it. And the first proposal/rejection scene: EPIC! I could always sense the tension and the desire to react more (but propriety wouldn’t allow it) in the scene in the novel, but to see Darcy and Elizabeth actually do hand-to-hand combat…definitely something I can’t wait to see again!

**Agent Carter Season 2: This show is so much fun! I love Peggy Carter–her relationship with Jarvis and the others is so well done.

**DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Another fun super hero show. Really enjoying it so far.

**Fuller House: I just started watching this on Leap Day. So many memories wrapped up in one show.

**Gilmore Girls: I FINALLY got around to watching this show! The characters–and the LOVE for coffee–has me hooked.