Indie Book Review: Murder at Macbeth by Samantha Goodwin

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Murder at Macbeth is just the kind of book you’d want to read relaxing by the pool in the summer or curled up under a blanket on a cold winter’s night. It’s the kind of book you can’t seem to put down, even when you know you should be doing other things!

The story is told through a series of police interviews and flashbacks after a small theater production of Macbeth goes horribly wrong. As the story unfolds, so does the tangled web of personal dramas that entwines the cast of the play, including its director. As each character comes to life before your eyes, you start to realize that any one of them could be the mastermind behind that fateful night–so who’s really to blame? Could it be a team effort?

Every time I thought I’d figured out whodunit, new information came to light that shifted my suspicions elsewhere. It wasn’t until close to the end that I was pretty certain who was behind the theatrical crime, and even then I wasn’t sure until the story confirmed it. There were so many wonderful twists and turns in this story, it certainly kept me guessing!

I had an absolute blast reading this book and highly recommend it! The best part of all is that starting today (6/20), the Murder at Macbeth e-book is on sale for 99 cents/99p on Amazon for a week! You can also read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Also, be sure to check back here on Friday when I’ll be sharing an interview I did with the author of Murder at Macbeth, Samantha Goodwin!

You can pick up your copy of the e-book here!

I’m Not Writing, and it’s Okay.

If there’s one thing we writers hear constantly, it’s “you should be writing.” We say it to ourselves, we say it to each other, we post it in memes and on sticky notes affixed to our laptops: Why aren’t you writing?

Ninety-Nine percent of the time, this is good. It’s our way of keeping ourselves and each other moving forward. Most of us need that swift kick in the backside, or we’ll never close Netflix and write instead.

But there’s an unintended side effect to this beloved cheer–one that can only be felt in dark, lonely corners–it’s guilt. Those corners are infested with it, like a creepy basement crawling with spiders. And we’ve all been there. No one’s a stranger to the dark, lonely corners, though we retreat to them at different times, for different reasons. I’m there right now.

I’ve been drifting in and out of my dark corner for the past year, popping my head in for a day or two here, a week or so there. Sometimes I wanted to stay a little longer, but the guilt got the better of me, so I kept coming back before I was ready. And maybe for a while that was a good thing? It’s hard to say for sure, but what I realized after so many fleeting, guilt-ridden dark corner visits is this: I wanted to go to my dark, lonely corner, but I didn’t want it to be dark and lonely and riddled with guilt-spiders anymore. I wanted to string up some fairy lights, add some bright fluffy floor pillows, and I wanted to be able to interact with my cherished writer friends without feeling like a non-writing phony.

Because the thing is, I haven’t touched my story in weeks. I’ve been a little stressed, a little anxious, a little tired, a little depressed. When I’ve tried to sit down and write, something inevitably interrupts, as though the universe itself is telling me to take a break. That it’s okay to take a break.

So, I decided to do it. Writer friends, I’m sitting here now, writing to you from my cozy little corner, cheering you on from the sidelines while you do what you do. If you’re feeling like me, grab a fluffy floor pillow and join me in front of my Netflix box. It’s okay.

And that’s just it: IT’S OKAY.

Taking a break isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s chalk full of several essential nutrients that writers like us need. Breaks allow us to:

  • clear our heads and sort our hearts
  • indulge in the fruits of others’ creativity (Read! TV! Movies! Music!)
  • get out and enjoy being in nature
  • go on vacation, maybe?
  • curl up beneath a warm blanket and snuggle with kitty or puppy!
  • spend time with our loved ones
  • let ideas percolate
  • put more energy into supporting our writer friends
  • tackle our non-writerly To Do lists
  • focus on our physical and mental well being

See? All GOOD things! Nothing to feel guilty about. Your story will be there waiting for you when you’re ready for it.

As for me, I’ll be back soon. I’m taking the rest of the month to hang out in my corner. The plan after that is to dive back into my story during Camp NaNoWriMo, which seems to me the perfect way to come back after a nice long break. Now… what’s next in my Netflix queue?

Indie Book Review: The Forest by Julia Blake

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

The Forest is the kind of story you’d expect to find in a dusty old tome if you wandered into a magical bookshop in an old English village. It’s a timeless epic tale full of mystery, love, magic, folklore, and the complex interweaving of human hearts across the eras.

The story centers on a rural village called Wykenwode, perched at the edge of an ancient and mysterious forest, which is guarded by an unseen barrier that only a predestined few can pass beyond. Those who can enter the heart of the forest often feel they are not alone, that something lurks in the shadows, watching and waiting–but for what?

Generation after generation, the villagers of Wykenwode are tormented by an ancient curse of unknown origin. When the White Hind appears, love will turn bitter, and jealousy will turn to murderous rage. Three young people will die, and nothing can be done to stop it.

We’re led through this fascinating tale by three childhood friends: the farmer’s daughter, Sally; the blacksmith’s son, Jack; and the forester’s son, Reuben–three well-developed characters whose fates are deeply entwined, with each other and with the forest itself. The question is whether their love for each other will help them survive the Wykenwode curse, or will they’ll be its next victims?

Julia Blake is one of the best, most imaginative indie authors I’ve yet encountered, and this story is a genuine triumph of storytelling. It’s a little bit historical fiction, and a little bit fantasy. There’s mystery and suspense, magic and supernatural. And there’s love–beautiful, heartbreaking, complicated, dangerous love. And I think that’s one of the things I liked best about this story: it’s deeply, wonderfully, and heartbreakingly human. Friendship, family, first love, later-in-life love, loss and grief, coming of age and all that comes with it, and all of the complicated things that go hand-in-hand with human relationships are woven through the fabric of this timeless tale.

This story was beautifully written and so much fun to read. I quite literally couldn’t put it down by the time I reached the middle. It’s the kind of story you know will stay with you long after you read it, and since I’m a slow reader, I don’t re-read a lot of books, but I will absolutely be reading this one again!