Wednesday, July 22, 2020

DUSTED RED BETA READER CALL // you finally get the opportunity to read my brainchild!!


Finally, I feel like I'm ready to recruit some outside eyes (aka beta readers) for my very first novel, Dusted Red!!!

I'm not going to hold y'all up by getting TOO sappy, but I want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to those who have heard me ramble about Dusted Red for months or even years and been super supportive the whole time. Thank you to those who are newer here but ALSO have had nothing but support to give. You're amazing, and I sort of doubt I would have endured for so long if it hadn't been for your encouragement.

Because yes, there were times when I wanted to give up. Times when I thought I had lost my passion for this story, when I thought it would never be good enough. But I'm here. And I'm so excited to finally share this story with some of you.

That said, below I've listed some important info regarding Dusted Red!

First the blurb:

After losing her father to the shapeshifters, Delmy doesn't want anyone else she cares about to slip out of her grasp. But when they take her grandmother, there's nothing she can do but venture into the witch-infested, shapeshifter-filled Fawood and hope she can find the shapeshifters' hidden sanctum before it's too late.

Delmy doesn't expect to meet a single human in the forest, but to her surprise, she encounters a brother and sister wandering aimlessly in search of home. Banding together, the threesome find themselves entangled in something more sinister than the darkest village legends ever hinted at. And worse, some of them may be connected to it in ways they never imagined.

Now, some things you should probably be aware of to help you decide if you'd be interested in reading or even able to read this novel:

- It's about 106k words.

- It's YA fantasy, so my beta readers need to be pretty familiar with books that fall under that category.

- The deadline to read it will be two months (I'm flexible on that, but I found it's helpful to have a deadline in place).

- I'm looking for more of a content critique than a line critique (so things you notice within scenes - or overall - about things like characters and plot, rather than sentence structure and typos).

- I ask in the sign-up form for your preference about sharing a document or having your own, but although I can guarantee a document to yourself, I can't guarantee a shared document. So if you prefer to share, you might still have to have your own. Hope that's okay! XD

- Speaking of documents, I'll be sending the manuscript over Google Docs. I'm assuming you guys have emails compatible with that, but if not just leave a note in the form.

- I'm not recruiting any more than seven beta readers, so I'll leave the sign-up form up until I have everyone I need and try to close it as soon as possible after that.

I think that's all!! Here's the form for those of you who are interested, and if you have any questions let me know in the comments. <333

(Oh, and if the embedded form doesn't load for you, HERE is the link.)


THANKS AGAIN, LOVELIES. Whether you signed up or not, I appreciate you so much for reading my blog and being the beautiful, encouraging soul that you are. God bless youuuuu.

The Lord's Truly,

Sunday, May 31, 2020

HOW WE RISE BY BROOKE RILEY // blog tour + review

Welcome to the blog tour for How We Rise by Brooke Riley! This dystopian debut - and the first book in a series eep - released on May 19, so it's available to purchase RIGHT NOW. I've come to wrap up the tour with my own review, so definitely check out all the previous tour stops linked below.

Monday, May 18th- Ocean McAllister, Author interview @ 
Tuesday, May 19th- Me, Book release day+ aesthetics @
Wednesday, May 20th- Lia, Book review @
Thursday, May 21st- M.K, Author Interview @
Friday, May 22nd- R.F. Gammon, Review/book shoutout @
Saturday, May 23rd- Elizabeth Dragina, Guest post @
Sunday, May 24th- Nicole Dust, book shoutout @
Monday, May 25th- Merie Shen, book shoutout @
Tuesday, May 26th- Bree Dawn, author interview @
Wednesday, May 27th- Lisa, book review @
Wednesday, May 27th- Sarah Rodecker, guest post @
Thursday, May 28th- Clare, book review @
Friday, May 29th- R.F. Gammon, author interview @ 
Saturday, May 30th- Allison Riera, book review @
Sunday, May 31st- Lila Kims, book review @


When the truth gets you killed… will you still Rise?

Raegan MacArthur is content with her simple life. But lately, her life hasn’t been all that simple. She can’t drown out the screams in the night coming from the military base up the road. And she can’t ignore the truth behind them.

Peter Daniels thought moving back to Texas with his mom for senior year was a good thing. A chance to reconnect with old friends and finally feel at home again. But his life now can never be the same as it was six years ago.

Signs of government overreach are everywhere, and an unknown- yet familiar- enemy lurks in the shadows, watching their every move. The government is clamping down tighter and tighter on anyone who resists their ways. Raegan and Peter have to make the hardest decision they've ever faced: will they go quietly to save their lives… or will they rise?


How We Rise is probably the most unique dystopian I've ever read. There are a lot of brilliant dystopian concepts out there, but many of them are super bizarre and it's hard to imagine our society actually reaching that point. This book is different. Its society is scary, just like all the others, but it's a realistic kind of scary - and that, in a sense, makes it even more frightening than the others.

A common remark in reviews I've already read for this book is that it has contemporary vibes. You don't usually pick up contemporary vibes when you read a dystopian, but again, How We Rise breaks out of its genre's typical mold. Those vibes come from this book being set only a handful of years from now, which is a little strange to think about because it obviously isn't an accurate prediction (unless the coming years are gonna be as crazily unexpected and nation-transforming as this year has been), but I find it adds to the story's refreshing uniqueness.

The writing style is SOLID. Very simplistic, but it provides all the details necessary to vividly paint every scene and character in your mind's eye. The characters are the highlight of this book, which is always what I like to hear about a story. After all, the characters are the driving force - the heart - of fiction, and Brooke Riley's characters...

Well, let's talk about them.

Raegan - This girrrrrl. She is so strong and inspiring. She's not dramatic, she's complex (as opposed to the exaggerated inflation of one primary trait that I see probably way too often in female protagonists), and she's an awesome blend of passionate and chill.

Peter - MY HUSBAND. Seriously, though, you can't have him. He's mine. I could gush about him incoherently for hours, but lemme just mention one of the top aspects of his character that made me fall SO deeply in love with him: his loyalty. He's the truest friend you could ever ask for. Also his depth! Peter is one of those rare, openly deep dudes. If for nothing else, read this book for him. <3

Nicole - She's all right, but she's very much a side character. Hopefully we get a POV for her in book 2. XD I did feel like she WAY overreacted to one situation in particular (which I won't name for fear of spoilers), but her light, bubbly personality provided a much-needed contrast to some of the other characters.

Spencer - I relate to this dude. He hides in the corner away from other people, on his computer, listening to music. SAME BRO. I also appreciate him calling out/shipping Raeter. The more people acknowledging #Raeter's existence, the better. PROGRESS. And Spencer is just really smart and an all-around cool guy.

Evan - Here come conflicting emotions. Evan's complexity is MIND-BLOWING, and it freaks me out (in the best way XD) because I hate him and like him at the same time. I couldn't be further from supportive of most, if not all, of the choices he makes in this book, but almost every single one of those choices still makes sense and garners sympathy toward him. It's pretty wow. O_O

Jackson - This is another character I kind of have a love/hate relationship with. Brooke Riley certainly knows how to develop morally gray characters in such a way that you have to like them in spite of it all. (It's a really important skill to have as a writer, and Brooke has it down!) Jackson's sense of humor is equal parts endearing and frustrating, and the layers of his soul peel back in unpredictable ways throughout the story.

President Morgan - THE VILLAIN MERP. Not the most memorable antagonist I've ever encountered, but then again he isn't on the scene much in this installment. More like lurking in the background. His corruption and manipulation are terrifying, though, and he throws some serious curveballs that make for some seriously heart-wrenching plot twists. In short, he doesn't disappoint.

Speaking of the plot, it moves a bit slower than you might expect, but I wasn't bored at any point in the story. This is one of those super readable books in which every sentence is important and flows so smoothly into the next that you cannot stop reading - nor do you want to. XD The small-town setting is perfect because it's got all the regular small-town vibes, but they're mixed with some unusual creepy vibes (the distant screams at night and all *shudders*).

My complaints are few. I feel like a copycat of other reviewers when I mention this, but there is a LOT of motivational talk, almost to the point of unrealistic. Peter does a lot of it, though, and I adore every word that comes out of his mouth. So. XD Some of the dialogue in general is a little bit clunky, but that didn't take away from my immersion in the story very much.

Another thing to love is that there are basically zero filler aspects. Everything and everyone plays an important role in the plot. Believe me, this book is 100% worth your time. It will add years to your life. It will break your heart into a million pieces. It will inspire you to fight for what is right. It will have you screaming for book 2. It's clear that Brooke poured her whole heart and soul into this novel, and the result is a masterpiece. 4.5/5 stars!



Brooke Riley has been seriously writing novels since she was fifteen, the thrill of creating new worlds and broken humans with a greater purpose is something that inspired her to begin writing in the first place. Before then, she hated writing but loved books and literature. She's always been drawn to new worlds and fascinating books. Not limiting herself to one genre, you will find she writes in dystopian one day, contemporary another day, and even historical the day after that.

When she's not writing, Brooke is probably thinking of some random idea for a new novel that's come to her in the most inconvenient of times, and how soon she can make a Pinterest board and Spotify playlist for it.  


And that's a wrap! I hope you'll read How We Rise and find it as fantastic as I did.

I've been busy adjusting to a new job and trying to finish up school, so blogging has fallen to the wayside. I've been able to read and comment around the blogisphere some, but progress on my own posts - aka my short stories inspired by songs - is really slow. I'm sorry to keep you all waiting, but hopefully that'll be up soon, along with the Dusted Red beta reader call. Because I plan to finish up those edits in the next week, if not this weekend!

Words can't express how much each and every one of you means to me. Thank you for those who read (when I can actually get stuff up lol), for those who comment, for your support and your friendship. You're all amazing.

The Lord's Truly,