Book Review: This Light Between Us

Finished Reading: This Light Between Us
by Andrew Fukuda

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: YA historical fiction

This Light

As a Japanese American during WWII, teenage Alex Maki’s life begins to deteriorate until his family is sent to a detainment camp. Up to and during this time, he is pen pals with a Jewish girl in France, who is seeing the growing persecution of Jews around her. This friendship is his one bright spot in an otherwise scary, unpleasant time. They share their hopes, dreams, fears, and ideas about acceptance vs. revolt through their many letters back and forth. As the war rages on, both of their lives change in ways they can’t imagine, and their strong friendship might not be enough to keep hope alive.

This book was incredible in some ways, and problematic in others. I really liked the history that was presented in this book, as well as the relationships. However, I had a difficult time with the style of writing and with the pacing.

I’ll start with what I liked, which is plenty. I loved the juxtaposition of the two teenage pen pals, who most readers will understand going in are being set up for intensely difficult times ahead. While I have seen and read many books about the Jewish side of this, the Japanese American side was a fresh topic for me. It’s easy to see the Nazis as evil because of what they did, but it’s also easy to forget that America put their own citizens into camps (though not heinous as the Nazi camps, as is clearly recognized in this book.

There was a pivotal scene not far from the end that I was curious enough about to look up and found that it was historically accurate, which was really neat to me. And the author’s notes at the end said it was one of 2 sources of inspiration for this book! Overall, I appreciated the history in this book.

I think my favorite parts of the book were the letters between Alex and his pen pal Charley. I would have been okay if more of the story had been told through those letters. I also liked the way a few other relationships developed throughout the story, particularly those between Alex and his brother Frank, and Alex and Mutt. Thinking of these, though, make me realize how light the book is on deep characters. Overall, those 4 are the only characters with any real depth, and none of them are particularly deep, besides maybe Alex and his brother.

This might be largely related to one of my biggest dislikes with the book. The story, which is presented as a personal narrative, has some strange inconsistencies in writing style. It fluctuates often between 3rd person limited and 3rd person omniscient (especially in the last third), which can at times make me feel like I have mental whiplash. Some of these sections easily could have been shown from the limited POV of Alex, rather than the broad POV of everyone involved. The story is also written in present tense, which, to me, is a strange choice for the omniscient POV. This caused the book to not flow as well as it could have.

Similarly, during the omniscient sections, there’s a lot of telling, instead of showing. I’m really not a big stickler for the “show, don’t tell” adage, but even I have my limits. I also would have preferred some translation for the French in some parts. This is a small gripe, because it didn’t come up often, and most of the time I could guess what was being said from context. But during a pivotal scene near the end, I had to use Google to translate some phrases to make sure I knew what was being said, and I’d rather not have to leave the book in a moment like that. (There was also something said in German that the reader is led to believe was some kind of German curse, and it’s not translated or even hinted at otherwise. I know enough German to know it was not a German curse, and was really quite emotional.)

So, overall, I did enjoy the book. It wasn’t a favorite, but I also think that most of what bothered me was more personal preference than normal. I think most people will not be bothered by the writing style, especially. It is listed as YA, but I’m not sure how much it works for that crowd. Though I will say that the dialog at times is pretty immature, so that might work out well (it’s also a little too modern, in my opinion, but I’m not expert). If you’re a fan of historical fiction, especially related to WWII, you will probably like it.

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Teen for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about This Light Between Us

See what’s coming up.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Self-Publishing Spotlight

For once, I am going to explain something new I’m doing on my blog succinctly. I hope. Let’s see.

Since self-publishing a few books myself, I’ve been more aware of books that others have published themselves. I have also discovered a desire to read more self-published books, to support other authors who have gone this route like myself. It’s not easy out there for us.

Of course, it’s not that easy to find self-published book. There may be a database for it somewhere, but I haven’t discovered it. And even if I did, just like with traditionally published books, I am going to prefer to read certain genres, and if at all possible, avoid books that just won’t be a good fit for me for some reason.

I currently have 3 books on my TBR that I know were self-published, and 1 that I read recently. And in doing a little digging for this post, I realized that a series I’m currently in the middle of was most likely self-published. (Books that are published under an imprint created by the author are also self-published, but can be trickier to spot.) My plan is to make special posts about these books after I’ve read and reviewed them to highlight the book and the author.

Now and then, I will also post something I’ve learned about self-publishing, or a suggestion, trick, etc. I’ve picked up. Goodness knows I am not an expert, and am especially weak in one key area–marketing. But I also know that some people don’t even get to the point of needing marketing, or assume they’ll have to shell out a lot of money for every step along the way. In some small way, maybe my experience on this road will be able to help someone else. This will not be a weekly series, but an on as-able basis. Come back next Saturday for my first post in this series (besides this introductory post).

Four (possibly 5) books/series does not make for the most effective series of posts though. If you who are reading this know of self-published books that you would recommend, please let me know! Whether you published it, your friend, relative, neighbor, or if it’s simply a self-published book you’ve read. Obviously, we may not have the same taste in genres. My most commonly read genres are Christian or non-Christian of mystery & thriller, romance, historical, young adult, and speculative fiction. I do reserve the right to decide not to read the book you recommend if I can tell the genre is very far from what I normally read, I think I’ll have an issue with some of the content, or for some other reason that I think it just won’t be a good fit.

If you have a recommendation for me, please use my Contact Me form to tell me about it.

 

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Finished Reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book #4
by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4.5 / 5
Genre: YA fantasy

HP4

Continuing with my first ever reading of the Harry Potter books, I’ve now read #4. As a reminder, my reviews will likely contain spoilers, as I’m not too worried about avoiding that, with as long as these have been out, and as well known as they are.

This was my favorite in the series so far! I feel like I’m finally starting to understand the draw of this series in general. I was really into the story and characters and enjoyed trying to figure out who was behind everything this time (besides the obvious who was actually pulling the strings). I had my theories, but was definitely surprised more than once near the end.

I don’t want to go too far before mentioning one of my favorite things of the whole book. It was a short scene, and near the beginning of the book, but I had to silently cheer when Arthur Weasley pushed the Dursleys to say goodbye to Harry. Though Harry is used to the way they treated him (and, by extension, so are we), Arthur couldn’t understand why they would be okay with letting him leave for the summer without saying goodbye. That’s just a glimpse into why he is such a good father, and a good man in general. Then later, when Molly & Bill Weasley showed up to be Harry’s surrogate family, I cheered again. I love that family! (And I just watched the movie as well, and was incredibly disappointed that both of these scenes were missing.)

I was very happy to see Sirius playing such a large role in this book. I had assumed that he would disappear after the previous book, or at least just turn up in tiny bits. I like that Harry has a familial connection (even if it is not by blood) in this surrogate father/uncle.

One of the things that detracted from the book a little was the continued way that Harry so often lucked into things. In the end, it was really due to the villain pulling strings, but Harry doesn’t solve much for the tournament on his own. Things keep getting handed to him. It doesn’t actually bother me that much, though I can’t say for sure why, but I can see why it would cause others to strongly dislike the book, or even the series, since it happens a lot. It just seemed particularly pronounced in this book.

Overall, many of the issues I had with previous books with writing and style either weren’t present in this book, or I just didn’t notice. I was pretty engrossed in the story. I thought it would take me weeks to get through this one that was a large jump up in page length, but a combination of having some extra time over the weekend and just really wanting to keep coming back to it got me through it in less time than I expected. I’m looking forward to the next one!

Find out more about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

See what’s coming up.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Top Ten Tuesday: Side Characters I Love

It’s time for another Top Ten list from That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is a freebie about love. I was going to skip this week, but then I hit on an idea. For my list this week, I’m listing 10 side/minor characters in novels that I loved. It’s easy to list main characters that I like, especially in books that I rated high. But something I always find fascinating is when I like a side character at least much as I like the main character(s). Even if the book ends up being one that I don’t love, I’ll always feel connected to that character. Here is my list in no particular order, because I couldn’t quite order them:

1. Levi Cobb from The Oath by Frank E. Peretti
He’s the town crackpot…talks to inanimate objects, preaches at everyone who comes to his garage, and talks about dragons. But really, he knows a lot more than people realize and is the only one in town with any real sense. And then he saves the day! (See my review for this book here.)

2. Dale of Priceless by Joel & Luke Smallbone
With his own troubled past to fuel him, Dale prods the main character to do the right thing. I don’t know if I would have loved Dale as much as I do if I hadn’t seen the movie before reading the book, as he was very well-portrayed by David Koechner. But even if that’s the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s my favorite character in the book. (See my review for this book here.)

3. Matthew Cuthbert of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne herself is a lovable character, but I really identified with her adoptive…father? Uncle? To be honest, I’m not real clear on how that whole thing worked. But this older gentleman is shyer than me, and that’s truly saying something. Yet, to watch how he fell in love with this little girl I really think I think was a huge part of what made me fall in love with the book.  (See my review for this book here.)

4. Walagash of The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr
The way Walagash treated Myrad, the MC, in a culture where people took care of their own and didn’t have much love for strangers, endeared him to me early on in this book. And as the story went on, he became like a father to Myrad, and I loved him more and more. (See my review for this book here.)

5 & 6. Berdon Wulf and Arcturus of The Summoner Trilogy by Taran Matharu
I tried to decide between these two, but I gave up and decided to include them both. Berdon is the MC’s adoptive father and provides much-needed strength and stability throughout the trilogy, when he can anyway. Maybe it’s because he’s a blacksmith like my own dad, or maybe it’s because the MC’s dad in my own book is also a blacksmith, but I really liked Berdon.

Arcturus is the kind and fair mentor who takes Fletcher, who is brand new to this magical world, under his wing somewhat. Even more, there’s a question about a familial connection that I won’t say any more about, because it ventures into spoiler territory. There’s a reason that the prequel to the series focuses on Arcturus, and I’m looking forward to reading it. (See my review for the first book in the trilogy here.)

7. Dr. John Francis of Thr3e by Ted Dekker
Dr. Francis was a professor (I think of theology), and the book starts with him and Kevin (the MC) discussing the nature of evil in man. As the story unfolds and the FBI agent is trying to understand what on earth is happening to/with Kevin, the professor helps her work through some questions. And he ended up playing a huge role in the climax that I really loved, which made it all the worse that the professor had no part in the climax in the movie version. (See my review of this book here.)

8. Arthur Weasley of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
I just finished reading this, so it’s fresh in my mind. While the HP books have a lot of interesting and lovable side characters, I found myself mentally cheering for the Weasley patriarch when he was so appalled by the way the Dursleys treated Harry near the beginning of the book. While the reader (and Harry) may accept their terrible behavior (because what else can we do about it?), Arthur gets to say to them what we wish we could.

9. Zander Cruz of Stealthy Steps by Vikki Kestell
Christians in fiction (in any medium) are often represented as overly preachy or as more depraved than the non-Christians. This associate pastor was a realistic example of Christians–he loved God and loved people, had a difficult past, and still struggled with his sinful nature as a pastor. Sadly, his status as my favorite character in the book slipped in the 2nd installment of the series, but I’m hoping to see him re-instated in the last 2 books. (See my review of this book here.)

 

Pithea cover, Kindle

10. Jonathan of Pithea by Kristi Drillien
I ran out of ideas after 9, so I decided to include one from my own book. Yes, I like all of my characters because I created them. But contrary to what some might think, I do have favorites. Jonathan is one of them. He becomes a good friend to the MC when she needs one most and is not afraid to call her out when she does something stupid. (See more about this book here.)

What side characters did you fall in love with? Link your own TTT post in the comments so I can see what you did with this week’s freebie!

Weekly Writing Update: February Week 2

It was not the best week I’ve had, in regards to writing work. I took a few too many nights off, telling myself that I have plenty of time to do the work. And I got some critiques that concerned me a little. I haven’t built up that thick skin I’ve been told I need yet. I’m working on it, though, and I pushed past the negative feelings faster this time. My first reaction was to decide that this area of weakness that I already knew I had made my writing bad. And that it was going to take even more work than I expected to get book #2 (“Outcast”) ready to go.

But with a little bit of time and thinking, I remembered my decision to fully trust God with this whole endeavor. That doesn’t mean I’m not still going to try to strengthen this area of my writing, but it means I don’t have to let it cause a lot of stress or, most importantly, depression that would lead me to not want to work on my writing.
So last week, while waiting for a couple of people to read “Outcast,” I worked enough on book #3 (Pursuit of Power) to reaffirm that it’s a huge mess. I’ve done some preliminary work on it, and will get back to it later.

For now, I have had enough early feedback on “Outcast” to go back to it and start outlining new scenes to add to the existing story, after which I’ll be spending some time writing (which I enjoy way more than revising, so it should be fun).

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts,
Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Book Review: Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America

Finished Reading: Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America
by Leslie Knope

My rating: 3 / 5
Genre: TV tie-in, humor

Pawnee

In season 4 of the show Parks and Recreation, the main character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) writes a book about her hometown of Pawnee. This is that book. Sort of. Filled with many show references and articles written by several other characters as well, this book showcases the best and worst of Pawnee. Mostly the worst.

Okay, I love Parks and Recreation. Honestly, it’s one of my absolute favorite comedies. Goodness knows why, though, considering the way it paints my neck of the woods as a bunch of racist, backwards idiots. At its best, it is laugh-out-loud funny, with hilarious characters brilliantly portrayed by some great actors. At its worst, it makes me cringe, roll my eyes, and sigh at the mockery it makes of small cities in the Midwest. Unfortunately, the book has plenty of the worst, but not enough of the best.

I think the book might be better read in snippets over time. The kind of thing you pick up, turn to a random spot, and read what’s there, then put it down and come back to it later. Reading it all the through over the course of a few weeks only highlights the fact that the city of Pawnee is just terrible. The people who Leslie touts as the best department in their city’s government are completely apathetic about the assignments she gives them for the book.

There are a few gems (an article written by Chris Traeger that had to be severely cut down for length, for example), and it did bring a smile to see references to some of my favorite aspects of the show. But overall, as a pretty hardcore fan, I think this just could have been better. Though the sad thing is that maybe it couldn’t have been, because Pawnee really is that bad. It’s just less obvious spread out over the show, which focuses more on the Parks Department than on the rest of the ridiculously dysfunctional town.

I would say that for fans of the show, it’s worth reading the book, but again, I’d suggest reading it as vignettes now and then, rather than cover to cover in only a few weeks.

Find out more about Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America

See what’s coming up.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Seconds to Live

Finished Reading: Seconds to Live
Homeland Heroes #1
by Susan Sleeman

My rating: 2.5 / 5
Genre: Christian suspense, romance

Seconds

When the WITSEC database is hacked and the lives of federal witnesses are put in jeopardy, U.S. Marshal Taylor Mills works with FBI Agent Sean Nichols and his team to find the hacker, recover the witness information, and keep an already-exposed witness safe. Mills & Nichols have a tenuous online friendship, which is put in turmoil when they meet for the first time to work on this case together.

Right off the bat, this book introduced a character in a way that painted her in a terrible light, and it never really recovered from there for me. The police procedural-type story was all right, but the romance was strained and the characters and dialog were wooden.

I never really did like the female MC. After she ignored calls from a witness in danger because she was too put-upon, I just couldn’t understand why she is touted as an amazing U.S. Marshal the rest of the book. (Honestly, if she’s so overworked that she needs an hour in the tub that badly, which she got into after missing 2 calls from a witness, who she knows could be in danger…maybe it’s time to find another job.) The male MC wasn’t too bad. As far as side characters went, I think that if the other FBI team members had been given more time in the spotlight, it would have helped. Instead, we got the ridiculous Dustee (the federal witness) and her childish attitude.

The federal agents searching for the hacker before thousands of witnesses were compromised could have been a decent story. Unfortunately, their emotions got in the way. Every. Step. Of. The. Way. Every other thought the two MCs had was about each other and how they felt about the other, how they just wanted to stare at the other, how they didn’t know how to proceed when neither of them really wanted a relationship. And how they both had such hardships in their past that they couldn’t really trust anyone. It permeates so much that it drags down the action & suspense side of the book.

Besides what I already mentioned about the romance, it was far too much about the physical for my taste, especially in a Christian novel. Don’t get me wrong–there is no sex, and not exactly a lot of touching. But there is a lot of gazing, staring, even (in my opinion) leering. Too much narration about watching hips and legs…and it all became so repetitive. And there was so much discussion at inappropriate times, in the middle of important parts of the investigation.

There was an interesting twist near the end, which I suspected only shortly before it was revealed. I liked the explanation for that twist and the real-life science behind it. I also did find myself wanting to know who the hacker was along the way, and what it would take to catch him. When the MCs weren’t coming across as incompetent because they spent more time thinking and talking about their non-relationship than they did working on the case, I liked the way the case was presented and solved. I expected a little more in the way of twists, but it’s not billed as a thriller, so that’s probably my own issue.

I don’t think the book was bad, exactly, I just had some irredeemable issues with it. If you’re a fan of drama-filled procedural stories, you very well may enjoy this. It’s clean overall–no language and light on the violence–and though the Christianity in it is a little light, it’s probably worth checking out if you aren’t bothered by the things I mentioned above. There are plenty of reviews in favor of it, so be sure to read some of those too.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about The Land Beneath Us

See what’s coming up.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Writing Wednesday: IWSG Feb 2020

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Every month I think this is the month I’ll come up with my own topic for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. And then I look at the optional question, and I really want to answer it! This is the case again this month. So, here’s the posed question:
Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

flowers prompt

My high school creative writing class has stuck with me for fifteen years. We went through a process of coming up with multiple story seeds, before then choosing the one we wanted to develop into a story. For example, we were instructed to come up with a setting and character that didn’t really go together. I chose a British soldier at a Minnesota lake.

We also each got a random pictures or post card that the teacher had brought in. The picture above is what I ended up with, and from it came the seed that I used to write the short story that I turned in for a grade. It opened with a husband & wife searching through a field of wild flowers for a briefcase as part of a ransom demand. I really enjoyed writing it, and it reminded me of how much I had loved writing fiction when I was younger (by high school, I’d temporarily abandoned fiction to write poetry).

What I find really funny is that in my end-of-class reflection paper, I apparently wrote that I didn’t think I’d have much reason to write fiction again in the future. Fortunately, that wasn’t true, and within 4-5 years, I was writing fanfiction, the gateway to my current writing.

Nowadays, I enjoy and really recommend using pictures as writing prompts for writing practice, and I know it all goes back to that creative writing class.

For my fellow writers, has an image ever inspired you to write?

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Top Ten Tuesday: 5-Star Predictions

It’s time for another Top Ten list from That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic today is “Books On My TBR I Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads”. Now here’s the truth about me: I’m really stingy with 5-star ratings. Last year, with 47 books read, I gave only 3 of them 5 stars, though I did give 7 books 4.5 stars, which is pretty close. I just don’t like to give a book 5 stars unless it truly captivated me, and I can’t think of more than a minor thing that I could see being better. (I’ve already given 2 books from this year 5 stars, by the way.)

So in my list below, I’m listing books that I predict will be 4.5 or 5 star ratings, because both generally leave me with the same great feeling after reading. I’m also listing some books that I’m just really hoping will be a 4.5-5 star read for one reason or another.

1. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time a few months ago and loved it. It was one of the 5-star reads I mentioned above. I plan to read the 2nd book in the series this month, and while some of what made me love the first book will likely be downplayed in the 2nd one (because Anne isn’t a kid anymore), I still anticipate loving it! (See my review for Anne of Green Gables here.)

2. North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson
This is also book #2 in a series, and I loved book #1 (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness). The first book was mostly the story of how this family went from a normal family in an oppressed land to finding out that they were so much more than normal. The 2nd book will build on that and start the real saga, and I’m looking forward to it! (See my review for On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness here.)

3. The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin
I read the 3rd book in this series recently and loved it so much that I knew I needed to read the rest of the series. Normally I don’t like to read out of order, but when I requested the 3rd book on NetGalley, I thought the series was basically stand-alones. However, I realized while reading it that the three books in the series are all about 3 brothers. Though I’ve read a few spoilers of the first 2 books now, it’s not much more than what I would know just from the fact that they’re in the romance genre. (See my review for The Land Beneath Us here.)

4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
I have watched the BBC mini-series several times. I love it so much. I’ve heard from others who felt that Mr. Thornton (the male lead) has a lot more depth in the book, and I already really like his character. So I’m looking forward to reading it!

5. Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman
I was invited to be part of a blog tour for this book, which comes out in June. This is a first for me, and I’m really hoping to be able to give it a good review as part of the blog tour.

6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
My sister extolled the virtues of this book all through the holidays. She actually recommended several books to me during that time, but she seemed the most sure that I’d like this one. I really hope I love it!

7.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This is another book that my sister recommended, but it’s actually on this list because of the fact that, based on her recommendation, I picked up a copy for cheap at Half-Price Books. And even more than that, I later bought book #2 in the series also at a bargain price. It would be particularly disappointing to not like the first book.

8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I’ve never read any Tolkien, and it never used to bother me. But after the LotR movies came out, I found myself wishing I was a fan. I have good reason to believe that I would have a difficult time getting through those books, though, and I don’t really want to deal with that. But with this book being for a younger audience, I thought it might be a good way to start. If I still struggle with it, my sister mentioned that listening to the audio book helped her to push through the LotR books, and while I’m not normally one for audio books, I can see the merit in this case.

9. Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith
I don’t know if other people have a favorite book in the Bible, but mine is Ruth. I have always found the romance in the story of Ruth and Boaz. I watched a movie based on the book once, but it was pretty bad (even though I like the guy that played Boaz as a musician, his performance was terribly stilted). So when I came across this book, I knew I had to read it. And if it doesn’t live up to my idea of the story…maybe I should just write my own version!

10. This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
This entry is quite different from the others. I’ve read this book before, but it’s been at least 15 years. I remember loving it, and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads when I first signed up in 2015. I want to re-read this soon and see if it lives up to my memory of it.

What planned reads do you expect to love? Link your own list in the comments so I can check yours out too!

Weekly Writing Update: February Week 1

Two months ago I laid out 3 short-term goals to be working on after NaNoWriMo ended. I finished the first two fairly quickly, and then it took about a month to get to the third one, due to needing a break after NaNoWriMo and the holidays eating my time. When I go back to it, it took me about 3 weeks averaging just over an hour a day on the days I did actual work (which was most of them) to finish goal #3.

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2019 NaNoNovel

2. Update Kindle version of Pithea, upload it to KDP, add Kindle version to Goodreads

3. Finish first revision of “Outcast” (book #2) – It turned out to be a bit more complicated than I expected, because instead of simple revision, I decided to write out a minor character. And then I had to figure out the structure of the scenes. This book is far from done, most likely, as I’m still hoping to hit on a way to add approximately 10k more words to the book. But now it’s ready for me to pass it on to some of my most-trusted first readers and get their insight into that, as well as general feedback.

In the meantime, I will be working on book #3, which I currently hope to be able to release very close to the same time as book #2, because both books are important follow-ups to book #1 (Pithea) following different tracks.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts,  Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).