5 of 5 stars to ‘Alliances’ by S Usher Evans

Alliances

Unlikely friendship

“Screw them,” she said to herself. “I’m going to make them respect me whether they like it or not.”

Razia is fighting her way up the ladder in the male dominated world of universal piracy. It’s a tough job and frustrating when nobody seems to take her seriously, despite the fact that she regularly outdoes the competition.
It’s tougher still when she has to juggle her second identity as Dr Lyssa Peate. Dr Peate may be more respectable than Razia in the eyes of the law, but she has more than her share of family issues.
When Lyssa gets winds of a secret pirate meeting, she’s not surprised. Her male counterparts are always trying to exclude her. But there’s more to the secret meeting than meets the eye. Razia teams up with sassy agent Lizbeth to uncover a massive plot that will have serious personal and career implications for both of her identities.

Oh, how I love Razia! She is feminist power personified and yet, in this installment of the Razia series, we get a deeper glimpse into the real Razia beneath the pirate facade. She’s vulnerable, a little tender-hearted and has a sense of humor to boot.
Usher has stepped it up in a big way in Alliances. This one has it all: the thrill of a dangerous investigation; the perfect amount of arrogance and sexual tension between Teon and Razia (when is she going to get it together?); a large amount of very realistic familial strife; the fantastical workings of a politically complete universe and; most notably, a fresh, funny and real friendship between Razia and Lizbeth.
The story is well paced and Lyssa’s character development is heartwarming as she finally comes to the realization that life it not all about her, and it’s okay to lean on someone every now and then.

This one is not to be missed!

Indie vs Traditionally published books?

Support Indie

Is one better than the other?

eBooks have exploded the world of publishing. With the push of a button, nearly anyone can publish their own book. Not surprisingly, this has led to a multitude of fears surrounding the quality of Indie published works.

Prior to 2014, most of my bookshelves contained only traditionally published novels. Looking back, I put the reason for the lack of Indie books down to simple awareness. Back then, I bought what the marketers were selling. Back then, I had no idea there was a goldmine hiding just out of sight in the Amazon bookstore.

The publishing of my novel, ‘Five’, plunged me into the world of Indie. I found myself interacting with ‘Indie writers’ on forums such as The Book review Depot and Goodreads, and my bookshelves slowly began to even out. What I found, was surprisingly contrary to what many articles have claimed:

I had expected to find a lower quality of writing. What I found was a community of people who are passionate about what they do and have mastered story-telling skills I found sorely lacking in some of the bestselling novels I’ve read. These people are constantly striving to improve their skills and their work was often in my mind, superior to those on the bestseller lists.

I had expected to find novels riddled with grammatical errors. What I found was a thriving industry of editors that exist because Indie authors believe in giving their best to the paying public. These pedantic authors have written, rewritten, edited and re-edited their works to ensure that the reader gets the best possible bang for their buck.

I had expected to find every Indie author clawing and stepping over one another in the process of trying to get their books into the hands of readers. What I found was a tight-knit, incredibly supportive group of authors, bloggers and readers, who are willing to go out of their way to help one another. They offer honest, positive feedback, suggestions and advice in numerous online forums.

I had expected to find stingy authors, trying to make whatever money they could off their work. What I found was a group of writers who work by day, create masterpieces at night, and then still give away the fruits of their hard labors. Simply put, they write for love, not money.

So for 2015, I’ve made a pact with myself. I’m going to read much more Indie books, and I’ll share my reviews with all of you. I promise to keep them fairly brief and always honest. Because I want to entice you to dip into this mine of gold, diamonds, emeralds and rubies hiding just beneath the Amazon bestseller list.

Lets chat with Evelyne Stone author of ‘Destroying the Wrong’

Destroying the wrong 2

Talented author Evelyne Stone reveals discusses her inspiration for Destroying the Wrong together with some great advice!

Q: What inspired you to write ‘Destroying the Wrong’?
A: My kids inspired me to write Destroying the Wrong. They listen to my advice but I don’t think they really hear me. I wanted to write about topics that would open up more discussions with them. I know I didn’t want to listen to my mom and had the attitude “it will never happen to me,” so I’m hoping at least some of my story will stick with them.

Q: Tell us something about Evelyne Stone that is not common knowledge.
A: This is a hard one! I’ve always been super boy crazy but if a cute boy ever talks to me, my whole body will turn red. Not a cute, blush red, but a red that makes me look like I just broke out in a rash! It happens with girls I find intimidating, too!

Q: Are there any specific childhood experiences or memories that you feel have helped shape you into the person you’ve become? Would you share them with us?
A: I have this terrible habit of remembering embarrassing moments constantly. The biggest one that made me terrified of public speaking seems to pop up more than the others. I was in seventh grade and I wanted to try out for cheerleading. The only experience I had was a cheer summer camp at the high school that lasted maybe two days. We had to get up in front of the entire school and they would vote. I was not skinny or popular, so the fact that I even considered doing it was amazing. I was the last to go and once I stood in the center of the gymnasium, I covered my face with my hands and couldn’t remember a thing I had practiced. I think I did one little part of the cheer and then ran off the floor. Everyone laughed. I hid in the bathroom for a few minutes, sucked it up and went to my next class. Even now, I hate getting up in front of people.

Q: Bullying and teen relationships are two of the most prominent themes in ‘Destroying the wrong’. Are these issues close to your heart and do you have any advice for teens going through such challenges?
A: They are both close to my heart. I was bullied throughout my entire school career and I wish I could say that it stops when you’re all grown up, but it doesn’t. Adults just bully others in other ways. Not to sound all professional, but I really think teen relationships help define our adult relationships. It’s so easy to manipulate younger girls and I’ve seen too many guys take advantage of that.
My advice for teens is to keep an open communication with an adult. It doesn’t have to be a parent but someone you can trust and go to when you need advice. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable in a relationship, it’s probably not a good one to be in. Never, ever sell yourself short.
Wow, I sound just like my mother!

Q: Are there any authors you particularly admire or who you feel have influenced you greatly?
A: I read a lot of books by Dean Koontz growing up and he has a way to pull you right into the book. I also read every Babysitter’s Club books and I loved the way I could relate to the characters while I was growing up. I want to write books with characters that are likeable so that when they experience things my readers have also experienced, the character can show the reader it’ll all work out.

Q: When and why did you decide to become a writer?
A: I’ve always wanted to write a book and honestly, I still have a lot to learn. I’m sure you can pull out at least five grammar errors in this interview alone! One of my best friends pushed me to try writing a book and I did. It’s not going to be a best seller but I finished and that feels really good.

Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I am working on another YA book that focuses on relationships and letting go of things we don’t have control over. After that, I’ll be finishing up the third book in the Wrong series.