The Summerlands, by Susan Bulter Colwell

Ahh, oops. I had a review ready to go last Friday, but it somehow managed to stay in drafts all week. Yes, totally user error there, no way to hide that. With the amount of tangents I’ll be sliding into today, I will just save the other review until next week. Otherwise, this post is going to end up way too long.

Let’s start with an explanation as to why I’ve ignored the Top 10 Netflix list the past few weeks. It’s because my husband and I have fallen into two very different TV shows that have managed to take up all my show watching time. Both shows have turned into an excellent watch that we are very much enjoying.

The first is Taskmaster, a British comedy game show that is just stellar and never fails to make me laugh. The great part is the first 10 series (or seasons as Americans call them) are available on YouTube for free. It’s so great to watch in the evening when you’re ready to sit down and relax. I cannot recommend it enough.

The second show we’ve been watching is The Expanse, but that is only available on Amazon Prime. This show is one I’ve tried to get into in the past and wasn’t able to. It has a hefty amount of world building at the beginning, so it didn’t hook me right away. I had one friend who would always talk about it, so I decided to give it another shot. We just hit the halfway point in Season 3, and the show is absolutely amazing. For the first half of S3, every episode felt like a season finale. I was completely breathless during some scenes. I can’t wait to watch more, but this also means I probably will not be watching any other shows until I’m through these. My brain can only handle so many story lines at once.

Now, on to my book review, which will involve even more tangents. Yay! Not that it really matters, but this book is actually the book that I read this week instead of the one I had the review ready to go on for last Friday. The subject is one that I’m excited to talk about, which is Angel Mythology! I love me some good angel books. However, I am sad to report that this book did not fall into my list of favorite angel novels. Here is my review, which I felt was rather harsh, but truthful.

This book has an interesting story, and the prologue was enough to get me hooked. Sera is a celestial being, half human/half elemental who refers to herself as a Goddess. She suffers from mortal deaths and is rebirthed multiple times so she can complete her missions to help humanity. She can’t remember her last life or why she was in the Underworld.

So, I really teetered on the fence on giving this book a 3 or 4 star rating. I decided to give it 4 stars because the cover is beautiful and the book seems fairly well formatted with few grammatical errors.

However, the lack of stars is due to the fact it is marketed wrong. This book is very straight forward and full of ‘tell-not show’, so it reads like a young adult book. The concept and story was solid, but the supporting characters were one dimensional, and there wasn’t exactly any growth for Sera. She just simply remembered things as the book went on. In fact, that was a plot device that kept happening through-out the book, which may have been fine for a YA book, but I think the ‘Sera suddenly remembered’ trope to get her out of situations was way over done. For most of these memories, there was no build up or mystery to it, and it just ended up as a deus ex machina a few times.

Again, I thought the concepts were good, it had some really good story beats and ideas, and the foundations for a good mystery, but it simply was written in a YA style and not marketed correctly. I think if some of the scenes that ran overly-long were tightened up a bit and the word count cut down, this could be a great YA book for readers just starting out.

So harsh, but I was really frustrated by this book. Let me preface this by saying that I like YA. I have read a lot of YA in the past and enjoyed it. However, I have to be in the mood for YA, and I was not in the mood. I wanted something a little thicker with more depth to it. It’s a shame, too, because I think this book would do really well if marketed to the right audience.

But again, I love angel books and lore, and here are a couple of my favorites.

Fallen by Lauren Kate. This book actually shares some similarities with The Summerlands in that our main POV does not remember their past. However, the slow burn and unraveling of Luce’s past is some juicy and addictive story-telling. I will be forever grateful to my daughter for giving me this book on Mother’s Day some year long, long ago. It’s one of my favorite stories.

Coming in at a close second is Penryn & the End of Days by Susan Ee. This one caught me by surprise as I wasn’t ready for such a rich story when I grabbed the book on a whim. So glad I did. The angels start the apocalypse, and the story follows just a normal girl who is struggling to keep her family together and alive. She ends up at the right place at the wrong time, and all hell breaks loose. I still think about this story from time to time and wish there was more.

Well, I think that’s enough blubbering over what I’ve been reading. Now on to what I’ve been writing.

Westgate is proving to be difficult. I have finished going over all the text I’ve written, and I am now working on detangling this mess so I can restructure chapters and fit in all these orphaned scenes to get a solid story. I have about 50k words written right now, and I am thinking the final word count might tap out at around 90k. I am satisfied with the overall plot and story direction. Now I just have to fit it together! I’ll really be digging into the planning next week to get my roadmap going. Pretty excited!

That’s it for now! Will catch up with everyone next Friday! Until then, Happy Reading!

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