Variant Series (Reckoning): Book 4 Review

Jena Leigh newest book is out! It is the fourth book in the series, and the wait for it did not disappoint. If possible, it is even better story. The title is called Reckoning, and it is another perfect title. 

The story takes place back from the past, but keeps roughly the same characters in play, but with a few new friends, namely Brandt. The man whom “tortured” Alex (although it was Sam Masterson wearing Carson Brandt’s face) is now newly minted on the team. While he was in the other books, this one you really get to know him better. You may even change your mind about him, a bit. Declan has now changed, and Alex has more issues than you might have thought possible. She is strong though, and that has never changed through any of the books; though she has grown into her own skin a bit better, so her troubles will only do so much. 
This time, fresh from the past, the Grayson co and friends are in a new home, along with some new faces, and old trying to keep Alex safe, and to keep the world from ending. A familiar “villain” will come into play, and you’ll get a bit of backstory with her as well. Trouble will be had, and time will tell the outcome. It ended on a cliffhanger, but a fantastic twist I did not see coming one bit, and a really extra sad part that I was almost in tears. Great writing on Jena’s part.
If you liked the other books, I recommend this one. If you have not read the others, I suggest you start. I do warn you: you will be addicted to these characters. Once the series end I’ll be sad to see them all go, but I’m excited to see how it will all end, in the end. I just hope it’s not incredibly soon. 

I still see the same characters. One problem though is the actor Brian is all grown up and looks way different. So would need to re-think him if this was made into a movie or series (which I’d be down to watch)...just saying. Netflix. Jena. 

I was going to add in a few new characters, but decided not to for the moment, because in honest, it is hard for me to pinpoint the right actors. 

Simone Snaith: Interview

Simone Snaith has a lot of books written and they are wonderful (I have written reviews on them all: Faireville Woods Series, The Indigo Stone, and Into the Drawing).

All of the books can be found at Amazon and I recommend buying them if you have not already. 

**I was really happy and excited that Ms. Snaith had taken me up on answering a few questions for the blog. They are wonderful responses, and I want to thank her for taking time out to do so. 

You have written a few books, one being a companion series (From the Ashes and Through the Eyes: Faireville Woods) and the rest standalones. Which are your favorites to do; series or one book a piece?
I prefer both writing and reading stand-alone books, most of the time. I like the idea of leaving the reader to imagine his/her own version of what else might happen in that particular fictional world. And I like having that freedom myself after finishing reading a book. There are some exceptions though; I eagerly read all of A Song of Ice and Fire and the Harry Potter books.

If I recall, there is not many/if any love triangles in your books. Do you hate them/love them or consider them unnecessary?
I absolutely hate love triangles! I think they are widely overused as a plot device and also, they’re not even very realistic. I’ve never been in love with two people at the same time, and neither has any of my close friends or family members...

Do you have a favorite book that you wrote?
I think my favorite is “The Indigo Stone.” I love a good, fish-out-of-water adventure story with a romantic subplot, and I feel like I achieved that with that novel. “In The Drawing” is the most personal, however; Genevieve is loosely based on a younger version of myself.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? What made you love that character?
It might be a tie between Eine from “The Indigo Stone” - because she is a tough survivor, but in a matter-of-fact, unshowy way – and Lundy from “From The Ashes,” for her kind heart, and her love of books and music.

How did you come up with the idea for your books? 
They often spring from images that pop up in my head, or just scraps of ideas. “From The Ashes” was a very old story idea of mine, but one of the first images I had was of Harlan in Lundy’s window. I had a dream about the spinning contraption that Eine is strapped into by Indigo, and “In The Drawing” definitely started out as just the idea of vines growing over a building overnight.

Can you give us a hint to what we should be expecting in your next book?
“Between The Water & The Woods” is scheduled to be published by Holiday House in the spring! It’s a YA Fantasy that involves monsters, magic, and machines. 😉

Where do you like to write?
I usually write at my desk at home, but I also write on my Kindle Fire when I’m out and about.

Do you decide character traits before you sit down to write the book, or as you go along?
There are usually some that I know beforehand, but others that develop as I go. That’s one of the exciting parts for me.

If you could give a young writer any tip, what would it be?
Keep going until you finish the first draft, and THEN go back and edit. Don’t keep stopping and second-guessing things. A lot of the writers I know have trouble finishing even that first draft.

If you weren’t writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?
My other passion is music, so I would be focusing more on that if I wasn’t also a writer. I currently sing and write songs in a band that plays locally in L.A.

What do you love about being an indie author?
I love the fact that many indie publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts! While literary agents are obviously amazing, they are also gatekeepers, in a sense. If you can’t find one who is excited about your current book, then you’re stuck, because the major publishers will only accept submissions through them. With my self-published books, I liked having control over the book cover and design, and also receiving the sales notifications directly in my inbox. 

What is the oddest thing you’ve found yourself researching for your books (if any)?
The most recent (unpublished) novel that I wrote is about a girl whose parents work in the space program, and who starts dreaming that aliens are contacting her. So I went on a tour of the Jet Propulsion Lab here in L.A., read about the Cassini spacecraft and Mars Rover online, and talked to a family friend who works for NASA! I had to figure out how my main character and her friend could do something technically minor that would alter her parents’ spacecraft mission.

Any tidbits you wish to share for inspiring or other indie authors?
If you truly love writing, then keep pursuing it forever and ever. There are many routes to publishing now and you can keep trying them all.

Which would you pick- (fame, money, happiness, or easy inspiration)?
Happiness, which would give me plenty of inspiration!

How many drafts from first to final?
For myself, usually only 2 or 3, but their have already been more than that for “Between The Water & The Woods.” I’m still in the editing stage with Holiday House.

Do you fit any author stereotypes (Cat owner? Coffee/tea Addict? Messy handwriting? Recluse? Late night writer? OCD spelling/grammer (i.e. hate others who don’t use it properly or even yourself)?
Haha, I fit all of those except for “recluse” and “late night writer!” I prefer to write in the morning, although I certainly don’t get up early, and I do like to get out often. I have a 21-year-old cat who is my true love, and I’m definitely a coffee addict and spelling/grammer Nazi. My handwriting only gets worse as I get older...

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Probably when people are unjustifiably rude. I work in retail, so I see this often, unfortunately. I’m a stickler for basic manners.

What is one thing you love and could not live without?
Rock ‘n roll. <3

Those answers are wonderful, amazing and the tidbits for writers is a must read! Always helpful to add insight for others. I love the NASA information and I bet it was really cool to do. Manners are a must for me as well, sad to think we are losing some of that. I don't know about you readers, but I'm going to be checking out Ms. Snaith's music now and reviewing it up. Love that she writes music as well!

Picture This: Coolest Band (Review)

I love finding new music to listen too, and when I stumbled upon new band PictureThis ; I was really excited to listen to something new. The band was no disappointment, if you are into Pop Rock than this is a band to listen too. 

Jimmy Rainsford and Ryan Hennessey are two friends from Kildare, Ireland whom formed a band together a few years ago; and they are amazing sounding. Ryan Hennessey is not only dreamy in the looks department (Jimmy is just as good looking…), but in voice as well. Both boys sing well, and mix together fantastically.

Pair that with love songs, and life songs written by Hennessey. These boys are going places, if not evident by their album going platinum and by selling out arenas on tour. As a thank you, they’re going to be putting out a special edition, deluxe, with even more songs. 

Their album thus far contains 13 wonderfully written tracks, which are sung with heart and intensity. All the boys in the group, Owen Cardiff, Cliffe Dean, Jimmy Rainsford, and Ryan Hennessey are talented young men going to go far. They have already started. I cannot wait to watch them soar even farther.

As far as the tracks go:

Take My Hand – A typical upbeat love song, which will make you feel warm and fuzzy; it seems to be the biggest hit thus far.

Dream – My favorite track on the whole album (this one out at least). A “life” track; which will put you in a better mood just by listening to the smooth melody and the uplifting lyrics that to me seem hopeful. You can lay on your bed, closing your eyes and just feel the song.

You & I – My favorite part to this song is honestly (in my eyes) the music video. A fun love song, but not a typical love song; its honest, raw and not completely sappy.

Addicted To You – If you’re thinking love song, you would be correct. It’s about first meetings, but feeling a connection that is strong, and the reminds me of the perfect “honeymoon” stage of relationship. Bubbly and makes you want to dance around the room. Perfect for what the song is about.

Everything I Need -  A love song: a love song that is pure and honest. Giving in and truly letting others in. A perfect romantic vow.

Jane – A love song that is one of the slowest on the album, but beautiful and sweet.

Never Change – Another love song, that is a bit like “Everything I Need” in the sense that it is a romantic view on being who you are s exactly perfect, pure and honest.

Carry On – I want to call this a love song, mixed with life, but I think it’s more of a infatuation song instead.

Smell Like Him – A sad song that you can feel in the tone. It almost makes me want to cry for the pain (I did not). A love lost.

Let’s Be Young – A bit upbeat mixed with a “chill” vibe. An utter fun song based on life and just as the title suggested, “being young”.  It makes you want to party, but not in a club.

95 – A cute love song that you just want to lay down and listen. It’s sweet and lovely.

Difference – Just a lovely song. Listen. Honestly. Go. Now.

Saviour – Another favorite song of mine. Upbeat, love song, about childhood sweethearts that you can find again. Amazing!!

Take a listen for yourself though, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the least. If you were going to buy their music (recommended) I would just wait until this Friday when the new one will be out. It will include 2 new tracks, as well as

This Christmas – I adore this song so much. A chill love song, that gives you a bit of a Christmas vibe, but not a heavy one (twinkling lights) and just a hopeful song that is lovely and nice. The choir in the back adds a nice touch to the song as well. Perfect.

If you want to listen to “This Christmas” go to youtube and take a listen. Great timing at the moment too.

I know what I’ll be spending my money on (again).

Also, if you haven’t, do yourself a favor on all social media accounts. It will keep you informed on all new projects and tours that you do not want to miss.

Plus you do not want to miss Ryan Hennessey extraordinary fashion style that to me is amazing. I want him to take me shopping (I’ll buy it haha, just a guide).

UPDATE: The Deluxe album is out now, and these extraordinary band has done it again with only two new songs and "This Christmas". I hope you go and buy it on iTunes and listen on Spotify.

Mind and Body - I think this will become or have become another favorite of mine. It's not a love song in the traditional sense, but it is sensual with a wonderful beat behind it that you just want to sing over and over again.

Gritty Picture - Is such an interesting song, I guess you could characterize it as a love song, but it is more of a tribute to an amazing girl rather than a true love song.

Found this lovely live version of Mind and Body. Listen to it and enjoy it.

A NEW SONG: Been waiting on new music from this band (don't get me wrong, I'm still listening to the songs above on repeat).

This Morning- It's a sad ode to love, and how it flip-flops on what to do once it changes and all the questions that could come with that. Are you we still in love? Is it one-sided? Can we get it back?'s filled with sadness, but to me there is still a glimmer of hope. Ryan surprises with a lovely higher octave in parts, and Jimmy's harmonizing vocals help give it life. And the music accompany the song brings it all together.