Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lost in Fantasy

I draw in a deep breath feeling the cool night air coat my lungs. The scent of smoke and the tingling sensation does little to calm the chaos swirling in my mind. I blow out the breath and tip my head toward the sky. Hundreds of stars glitter against the velvety darkness. Twin moons shine bright red, signaling the season of harvest has finally arrive at last. Soon the village would be bustling with energy, everyone trying to prepare for months of darkness ahead. Even now, though the sun set hours ago, the dim light of the street lanterns can be seen from where I sit.
A gentle breeze lifts a few loose ends of my hair, causing the lavender strands to stick to my face. Stretching my long legs out in front of me, I let them fall loosely dangling over the edge of the cliff, the jagged brown stones biting into the back of my legs. I welcome the pain. It is a relief to the dread I feel in my chest. The harvest isn’t the only thing the moons hanging overhead signal. They also mean life as I know it is over. In two weeks’ time, I will be forced to leave my home in Maya and become the bride of a man I have never met and the queen of a land I have never seen.  
I scoot closer to the edge, stirring up a small, chalky cloud of dust, and stare over into the emptiness below. The thought of allowing myself to simply fall into the void, is tempting, but it would be no use. Though my death would prevent my fate, my family would pay the price. I could not do that to them, to my father. No, he has given too much, sacrificed too much, for me to throw it all away to selfishly save myself. My family’s safety, their security for generations to come, depended upon me completing this arrangement. I didn’t have to like it, which was not reassuring, but I would follow through.
 In fourteen days, on my eighteenth birthday, I would become Her Royal Highness, Queen Alexandra Romand of the Glade.
-        J. Leite

The last several days I have been reading The Affiliate by K.A. Linde ( This a royal, fantasy story set in a mysterious land ruled by a handsome King who keeps order over a class system set in place to ensure that the people of the land are taken care of and protected. Each class has responsibility and duties which help benefit each other.
I have always liked this genre, a genre where anything goes. The author has complete freedom to make up not only the characters, but the world they live in. There is no need to worry about cityscapes or country settings. The world is anything the author makes it. Mountains of shades of blues, lakes the color of amethyst or a noon sky with two suns on the horizon. The characters can resemble humans or could be completely alien. Civilization can be ruled by a monarch or a tyrant, or by no one at all as the characters rise above the fall of society. Heroes can be regal or ragged. Heroines can be princess or poor peasant girls. The story can take the reader on an adventure through magical lands, alien plants or reside within one town.
The sci-fi, fantasy genre is not for everyone, but for those with wild imaginations and a need for adventure these books offer the perfect place to get lost for a little while.

Happy reading,

Friday, September 18, 2015


               Several months ago, Jess and I decided to put this blog on hold. Jess had a newborn at home, a handsome little boy who was in such a rush to join the world that he arrived five weeks early. At the same time, I was lost on a soccer field somewhere (still am most days) and playing around with the idea of writing a book of my own (completed, but not sure what to do next). We had gone from flat out consuming books at a sickening rate to barely finding the time to read a book a month.
Our decision to place the page one hold was not one made easily. I was disappointed in myself for even having the idea of closing it. Starting the blog was something I had thought about doing for over a year before getting the nerve to finally do it. When the idea first came to me I hadn’t found my love for reading. I simply wanted to find an outlet to write occasionally and a blog sounded like the way to go. But once I started reading like a maniac and following other book blogs it all clicked. Boy, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
If you are not a blogger you may not know what goes into running or participating in a book blog. Registering for tours, signing up for the opportunity to review a book before its release, creating promotional materials for authors and participating in or running giveaways. Sometimes it can be completely exhausting – from trying to complete everything on an overbooked calendar to trying to compete with the “big blogs” - and it’s easy to feel like you are disappointing those you are trying to support, authors and readers alike. The kicker is to try to do all that while juggling a full time job and a family. You either have to be insane or a superhero to keep up with all of that. As far as I know, I am neither.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. It’s an amazing thing to be part of an author’s new release. The best way to describe it is welcoming a newborn into the world. Whether the author is a first time “parent” or they are a seasoned pro with dozens of “children” in the world, each release is unique – a tiny miracle - and each is exciting. Over the last two years I have meet authors who went from strangers to confidants. People I trust with my wildest ideas and someday when they’re on the New York Times Best Sellers list I can say, “I remember when…”.
Since our decision to put the blog on hold there have been moments when I finished an amazing book and wanted to tell people about it, but there was no one to tell. There were moments when I saw amazing news posted by an author and wanted to know everyone’s opinion, but there was no one to ask. There have been new releases I thought the world should know about and new authors I wanted to help, but I didn’t have the means. After having this blog to turn to for two years I felt like, in those moments, I was missing a part of myself. I need to get that part back. I want to share amazing books and authors to the world, even if, in the end, no one reads this.
So, what does this mean, you are probably wondering. Well, Swooning Over Books is back, but the format will be different.
·        Jess and I most likely will not be signing up to participate in blog tours or official book release events. These are very important resources for authors and I support blogs who host and participate in them, however, I feel that I cannot commit to the level of dedication needed to help these tours be successful. It would be a disservice to an author and the hosting blog to sign up for these tours and not be able to give 100%.  
·        The majority of the books Jess and I review will be books we have purchased and read at our leisure. We will not be regularly registering for ARCs or reviewing solicitation for reviews. The books we read and review will be those we have read because we wanted to, not because it was a title listed on our calendar. This may sound harsh and I apologize in advance, but we do not have the bandwidth to help every single author who reaches out for a book review. Receiving dozens of requests and being able to only help one or two makes me feel like a failure and disappointed that have let down the other authors.
·        Giveaways, oh giveaways. Moving forward, giveaways on this blog will be rare. IF we hold giveaway they will be few and far between. Just like most blogs we have done dozens of giveaways in the past, but unfortunately they don’t always work out – and I know you may have heard this before – but you would not believe the number of people who are ungrateful for winning. Once again, I apologize if this seems harsh. The giveaways we have done in the past were for items that we either purchased or acquired at signs we attended. Neither Jess nor I have the personal resources to hold giveaways on a regular basis. So, if you are following for the sole reason that you hope to win free stuff I suggest you unlike/unfollow us.
Moving forward, the post made on this blog will still be book related, but they will not be solely reviews. I hope to find time to post a few times a week, but there many we weeks with only a single post. We will continue to share our favorite books and authors, as well as new authors and books needing a little love. I hope you continue to follow along. Jess and I have missed you.

With love; Happy reading!