Book Recommendations From a Finicky Reader

I LOVE reading.  That said, I choose not to read while writing.  My reading abstinence helps me maintain my voice and stay motivated. {whispers} I’m easily distracted.

By the time I’m finally able to read, I’m starving for really great books. I search for the phenomenal reads.  If I find a paranormal romance? I’m in heaven.

After months of editing my paranormal romance manuscript last year, I took my first reading break in late September and read many spectacular books over the holidays. Most were outside my preferred genres.  The experience of stepping outside my comfortable reading box was highly rewarding.  I encourage everyone to do the same.

Books that blew me away among a field of a dozen very good books:

Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard (Romance)
Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard (Romance)
Iced by Karen Marie Moning (Fantasy)
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton (Comedy/Romance)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Young Adult/Fantasy)

My first read in late September? Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard. I chose well. In the beginning few pages, compelling writing drew me into the world of Gabriel’s Inferno while I sat in the middle of a chaotic airport. Over the course of a week, I fell in love with the characters, the story, and the author.  Gabriel’s Inferno  instantly became my favorite book and Sylvain Reynard my favorite author. Why? The complexities are great as to the reasons. It’s written differently, which I enjoyed.  The references to art and culture are so plentiful and detailed, I became a student in the professor’s class. Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating sensual and poignant journey of love, hope and redemption written in a delightfully artistic manner.  A must read.

My second read? Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, of course. I needed more of Gabriel and Julia.  Sylvain Reynard’s second book did not disappoint. Complex storylines emerged and wove together taking the reader on the ultimate journey of self-sacrifice, hope and love. The main character’s continuing transformation in this book, from a man past all hope of redemption to one who has been saved through love of many kinds, is an amazing must read.

The book I’d been waiting almost two years for? Iced by Karen Marie Moning.  I’ll admit I began reading with equal parts excitement and apprehension, as this is the first book in a spin-off series after her phenomenal Fever Series.  Could Moning match the stellar writing and intriguing story from the Fever Series?  Suffice it to say, she eclipsed it.  I couldn’t put the book down.  Her imagination is incredible and her writing and vivid imagery are flawless; you are there in her world. I highly recommend this book if you love fantasy, but to get the full effect, you may want to read her five-book Fever Series first.

A surprise love? Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. I didn’t think I was a fan of romantic comedy. Apparently, I am a huge fan of Alice Clayton’s brand of laughter and love.  What began as Caroline’s midnight irritation, turned into her neighbor’s well-earned nickname, and evolved into a wonderfully fun love story.  I fell in love with the characters and story through Clayton’s well-written humor. Even Clive, the heroine’s cat, had me in stitches.  What captured me the most in Wallbanger is the way the comedy endeared you to the characters.  I share the same sense of humor with the characters and found the exchanges very relatable. I wanted to be at their dinner parties.  In fact, I now find I want to go to Spain.  And bake… 🙂

An even bigger surprise? Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, my first Young Adult genre read. I’d never ventured into Young Adult, but was not disappointed.  It quickly became clear to me that Laini Taylor is a very special author.  She writes fantasy, a genre that I love, flawlessly.  The story was unique and fresh.  The way she unfolded events had me page-turning until the very end.  If you like fantasy, or even paranormal, I highly recommend this book.

All five of those incredible books are now cherished stories on my Kindle that I’ll be reading again when the time is right.  I hope you enjoy their well-written heartfelt stories as well.  Thank you to all the authors for sharing your imaginative worlds with us.

I’m adding those reviews to my Goodreads Page, which I’m still learning to navigate.  {laughs}  Stop by there and say hello! 🙂

Please share your thoughts.  What other stellar books have you read?  I need to start a list for my next writing break later this year!

Have a wonderful time reading, my friends!

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Resolutions… For a Lifetime

Happy New Year!

 

I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution.

Am I an exception to the masses? I’m not sure. Perhaps you could share your thoughts.

 

The idea had always seemed impermanent to me. Anyone I’d ever known who’d made a resolution made an attempt to curb excess of one sinful nature or another, only to abandon said restriction before the next legal holiday.

I’ve never exempted myself from those who have behaviors to modify.  I’m certainly sinful, just as any other person, being human after all, but I’ve never been moved to change with a “resolution.”

Until I had.

Reflecting back on the last few months of my life, I realize the major changes I had ever wanted to make in my life, the person I had always strived to be, had happened.  Events beyond my control flicked on a dusty switch that apparently had always been destined to shine a brilliant light.  I’d blinked in amazement as the darkened world around me suddenly glowed brightly.

Like all things new, however, there will forever be vast room for improvement. Infinite lessons await us as we seek to master… becoming our better self.

Coming off a landmark year for me as far as changes go, I’m embracing the next stage with the strong foundation of the last.  Truly, the first affirmation was admitting to myself that I haven’t changed.

… I’ve transformed.

As I dangle from the safety of my familiar cocoon, the moment has come to fly.  Time to stretch my wings.

I will endeavor to be who I was meant to be… the butterfly.

With beauty and grace, I accept who I am.  I will remind myself daily of what I was meant to do with my fragile life in this harsh and unforgiving world…

To live each precious moment to its fullest
To multi-task less and focus more
To think of others and act so they feel it
To love with all the fire and passion in my heart
To cherish those whose lives I touch
To stand strong amid the darkness and brighten it daily
To believe the smallest kindness matters
To give charitably in thought, word and deed at every opportunity
To honor the vessel in which my heart and soul reside
To write for the love of writing
To spread awareness of those in need of love
To save the world one book at a time…

The last resolution came about from publishing the romantic poems in Utterly Loved, and yet, from that one project, all the other tiny miracles within me strengthened and took hold.  One book pivotally changed me.  The belief in a singular collection of heartfelt poems delivered with a message powerful enough to change our world… transformed me.

Of course, there where many catalysts along the way, for which I am forever grateful… My readiness to accept change toward growth.  The humanitarian efforts of the author who wrote the inspiring foreword for Utterly Loved, Sylvain Reynard. The support of loved ones and new friends made along the way.

I look forward to the path unfolding before me. My journey is not for the year ahead.  The adventure I’m taking will be for a lifetime.

Please join me in embracing a lifetime of resolutions.  Our world will be a better place if everyone commits to spreading love in a place very much in need of the kindness of our hearts.

Begin by purchasing Utterly Loved.  For yourself.  For your friends.  Your library.  Your church.  Share the beautiful poetry with a serious message of saving those in need of everything we have to give.  Daily.

Purchase Utterly Loved in paperback
Purchase Utterly Loved in Kindle edition

So? I’m truly dying to know… 
Have you done New Year’s resolutions in years past?
What are your resolutions this year?
Are you ready to commit to Resolutions… For a Lifetime?
What are your ideas for lifetime resolutions?

Thank you, my friends.  Your support in spreading awareness of charity, in giving all you can to those in need, in purchasing and sharing the news of Utterly Loved, is deeply appreciated.  Have a happy, loving, and prosperous year to come… that you may share your abundance with others.  May love and hope spread like wildfire in our world.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

Oh… {slides back in before you leave}
P. S. ~ I have one more very important resolution to add…
         To keep my desk uncluttered for maximum creative writing flow! 🙂

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Something About Snow

Something About Snow

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

In delicate whispers it falls
Near rainbow-twisted icicles

Parachutes drift in patterned lace
Branches frosted with tender grace

Sparkling clear diamond days arrive
Foot-printed forest brought to life

Swooshing turns on fallen powder
Playground starts contagious laughter

Steaming hot tub, beautiful view
Perfect snowman molded by two

Through window steamed by warming fire
Snow beckons forth sweetest desire

When the storm comes, I hope it brings with it even the smallest treasures to enjoy. Please be safe and continue to give to those who are still in need from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

Your Favorite Shoe,  

Kat

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Embracing Sensuality

Tamie, thank you my friend for inviting me to guest post celebrating your One Year Blogiversary. Congratulations!

Bookish Temptations

Today’s blogiversary guest post comes from Kat Bastion…and it’s a good one peeps.

Read and enjoy…O…and there’s a giveaway at the end 🙂

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Adventures Of An Optimist

Adventures of an Optimist

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

 

Half full. That would be a description of my beverage vessel.

Those who read my blog posts or watch my Twitter timeline know this indelible truth about me.

What does it mean to be an optimist?

The label means I’m fortunate enough to wake most every morning excited about the day. Present me a problem? I focus on solutions. If storm clouds threaten, I see sunshine after the storm.

I do have occasional defeated moments, bluesy afternoons and down days. There are times when I desperately need a hug, a smile, or a cheerleader. Most of the time… I’m the one giving them.

Optimists are hardwired to see and seek the goodness in a dark, harsh world. The blessing is multi-faceted. We share positivity with others, because our cups are more than merely half full.
They runneth over…

With enough joy in one’s heart, sharing with others is easy. The rewards for everyone? Immeasurable.

Many of those closest to me are not optimists. I dare say some are pessimists. It’s good, actually. We balance each other. They worry about the worst possible scenario. I anticipate the best outcome. Reality plays out somewhere in between.

One day a snarly stranger, upset by life’s circumstances, threw her anger at me. I smiled, deflecting it. My surprising reaction disarmed her. We focused together on the root of her problem, and she relaxed. I’ve never worn a cape, but I know I saved her day, or at least a moment in time for her. I gave her some of my optimism. I gave her hope. At no cost to me. The act lifted both our spirits.

It’s almost like a super-power. With not enough of it out there in the world, it shines like a beacon, attracting others to the vibrant feel-good. They want a hit of the drug you’re dealing.

Can someone learn to be an optimist?

Anyone can adopt optimist traits. No matter our natural tendencies—two loved ones in my life are textbook pessimists—we all have the ability to give selfless love. Smiles and laughter are contagious. Those same beloved pessimists often go rogue, making others smile and laugh.

Now you all know why I vibrate so much! {laughs}… It’s impossible to hold it all in.

We’re all on the same spectrum. I’m nowhere near the most optimistic. Every day I strive to find the bright side. Everyone has the capacity to find and share more happiness.

How can you increase your own optimism?

Here is what I find helpful…

  • Find a happy place. Look outside the window at the wind rustling through the trees. Imagine floating on a raft. … In Bora Bora. {smiles on a sigh}
  • Stop worrying. Every minute spent worrying is a wasted present moment.
  • Make someone else laugh. I dare you not to laugh yourself.
  • Remember the blessings. Wrapped up in troubles, we easily forget how good life is.
  • Give selflessly. The last dollar on you may be the first someone has ever received. Offer an unexpected hand, a random gift, or surprise hello. Make someone’s day.
  • Stop stressing. Imagine the worst outcome, but for no more than the briefest moments. Remind yourself there are so many scenarios better than the worst. Make those happen.
  • Seek positivity. Surround yourself with positive people. Read positive quotes. {whispers} … Like me, and my Twitter timeline…

Would you like to read more?

Two wonderful books on the topic are The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra and Always Looking Up – The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox.

An optimistic quote…

In the darkest hour, the smallest act of kindness bestowed becomes the foundation of many miracles. ~ Kat Bastion

I know I cannot save the world. But, I can brighten someone’s day.

Want to know what it’s like to have the adventures of an optimist?
{smiles slowly}… Join me and find out.

What are your favorite ways to find optimism? Who inspires you the most?

Go forth. Share your smile. Ignite hope in another.

 

Your Favorite Shoe,

Kat

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Highlander – Alpha Incarnate

Highlander – Alpha Incarnate

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

 

Those of you who’ve been following my adventure know that I’ve just finished my manuscript. This weekend, while doing my final read through, I’ve had the incredible pleasure of falling in love with my Highland and Pict warriors all over again.

As I described in an earlier post, The Lure of the Great Alpha Male, I have a love for a powerful primal man who is brought to his knees by love. He’s an impenetrable force of nature, yet no matter how hard he fights it or denies it, he is felled by one woman. In my opinion, the romance of such a story is unrivalled.

Great Alpha Males take many forms. Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno has the tortured, sinful academic, Gabriel. {shivers} Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series has the primal Barrons. {sighs} I could go on… and on…

There is one place and time on earth, however, where Great Alpha Males were born and bred. Unique among great warriors across the globe and through time, geography, circumstance, and lore shaped them.

The quintessential Great Alpha Male?

The Highlander.

The landscape had a great hand in shaping the warriors forged in the Highlands of Scotland. Unforgiving. Rugged. Harsh. Cold.

Agendas of other warfaring nations played a role. Centuries of Viking and English invasions bred strong warriors to defend home and land.

Men that lived hard? Played hard.

And, those kind of men? … Loved hard.

Nothing instigates my imagination more than envisioning a man who dedicated his life training and fighting to protect those he loves, until one true love takes him by surprise, and…

Knocks him down with a feather.

Destroys him with a whisper.

But first, the beast needs to be tamed. And don’t you want to be the one who breaks him?

Wouldn’t you love to be dropped into medieval Scotland, a damsel in distress, but feisty as hell at having been dumped there in the first place? (No coffee, internet, or movies, of course.)

In a dress with bindings too tight around your ribs and a neckline too low for modesty, you stand in the center of a castle’s Great Hall downing a goblet of ale, trying to make sense of why you’re there. Women eye you with barely restrained hostility. At that moment, the feeling is mutual.

The heavy oak door creaks open on iron hinges. A dozen men enter, arguing over a clan dispute. Their footfalls echo into the room. Massive chests and bared arms glisten in the firelight. For some inexplicable reason, one stands out from the others.

The air crackles with electricity like a charge before the storm. Power emanates from him.

A pulse of heat spears through you, catching you by surprise. You gasp.

His dark gaze locks onto you.

No one needs to tell you he’s master there. You feel it.

Did he just growl?

Your heartbeat accelerates.

He stalks forward.

Hungry eyes paralyze you.

You swallow hard.

A slow smile tells you he’s going to devour you whole, and it has nothing to do with food.

The cup falls from your hand.

Lightning reflexes catch it.

Your eyes close as you inhale the scent of earth and woods.

He is hunter.

You are prey.

Hot breath caresses your neck.

You sigh as heat travels down, warming more intimate places.

Fragments of thoughts fall out of your head…

Where has he been? What makes him tick? Who has his heart? Why has he locked onto you?

Wouldn’t you like to know?

{smiles slowly}

I know of a girl from California who found herself lost in the past. Stay tuned as I tease you all incessantly until I can tell you all about it… {smirks} 

For a tiny excerpt, please see my website Contest Excerpt and see what has the judges raving.  Here are some of the Awards & Comments.

Meanwhile, share your favorite Highlander in a movie or a book.

Me? I fell in love with Brodick in Julie Garwood’s Ransom. {sighs}

 

Your Favorite Shoe,

Kat

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Morgan Locklear Wordslinger…Shutting Up Now…

Excellent post, Morgan. As always, I love your writing advice. Thank you for sharing it with us.
~ Kat Bastion

Bookish Temptations

October has long been my favorite month of the year.  I like how quickly the world around us changes in just a few weeks.  Mother nature knows when to say when, and she makes a good show of sending our summers into the history books.

This Wordslinger will take a cue from the Fall leaves and focus on endings.  I shall call it…

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The Fall

The Fall

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

 

Misted platinum wafting by lures a nymph to dance,

Sprinkles falling, laughter rising, spinning pure romance.

Fragile wings spiral higher, flirting with the sun.

Captured by a passerby, innocence begone.

Discarded leaves tumble past in muted reddish hues,

Coldness slowly settles in, vibrance does recuse.

Sadness looks with longing eyes out into the world,

Kindness brings a soft caress, silken wings unfurl.

Loving smile, a whispered touch, sends a soul to soar.

Bonds are broken in sweet flight, freedom evermore.

To the heavens angel flies, heartbeat starts to stall,

Grounded, solid arms do reach, there to catch the fall.

 

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Blame It On The Moon

Blame It On The Moon

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Black velvet sky ablaze with stars,

Truly blooms the love of ours.

A smile lights up a stolen glance,

Lovers blessed to have the chance.

Snowy egrets take to flight,

The pair on wing into the night.

We dash away to take our time,

A feathered touch, so sublime.

Thermal currents make me soar,

Waves crash down upon the shore.

I hold you close, floating high,

From every gasp and trembled sigh.

When sleep claims us way too soon…

                   … I blame it on the moon.

© 2012 by Kat Bastion