Reviews

Guess what book hit the TOP FIVE BOOKS List for 2018?! 😱

GUYS. AuthorTuber Maverick Moses posted his top five favorite books from 2018—and The Secret of the Codex made the list!!! What?!

(You may remember him from before when he posted a review of The Secret of the Codex and an author interview with yours truly!)

Author Interview #2 — Alyssa Markins (and Book Launch Pics!)

Guess what? I had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed a second time! (Check out my first author interview here!) This time, the fabulous Alyssa Markins conducted the interview and put it on her website — under the heading "Creativity and Coffee." Isn't that awesome?I had so much fun answering all these questions and letting others know about my book!

Author Interview #1 — Maverick Moses

As you probably know, I released my book this week! Ahhhh! And as part of that release, my friend and AuthorTuber, Maverick Moses, reviewed my book and interviewed me, all at the same time! I am so honored to be featured on his blog and on YouTube in my first AuthorTube appearance! (sort of)If you're wondering if you should read the book, or curious about the characters and my process, or you've never heard of it and want to see what I keep talking about...check it out! You'll be glad you did.Then leave a comment below to let me know what you think and if you agree with his review!<3 MelissaAuthor Interview and Book Review by Maverick MosesP.S. It just hit me. I've been dreaming of doing interviews my entire life. Like seriously. When I was a kid, I was imagining musician interviews (born out of an ill-conceived music career idea which I thankfully gave up on), but I like giving author interviews much better. This is why they say God knows better than we do — I love music, but being an author fits me and my personality much better.But still...I can remember sitting on my bed as a teenager, reading a band interview in a magazine, dreaming one day of seeing my own interview in print. And now...WOW. Like I said, it just hit me. One of my life-long dreams were fulfilled this week, with this interview.One of my other life-long dreams was too, you know, when I released my book. I'm living my dreams, people, and I'm unbelievably grateful. I can't wait to see what comes next!

Meet Kayla Harrington: A Character Profile

For the first in my new series of character profiles, I chose the main protagonist from my upcoming novel, The Secret of the Codex: Kayla Harrington. I mean, come on. I pretty much want to be her. Adventure, romance, an archaeologist – dream life.

Here's kind of how I picture her:

Kayla-Close-Up-Image.jpg
Kayla-Image.jpg

Don't you love that second one? It really puts her in the rainforest. Which, in the book, she is. So it's perfect, right?

Kayla Harrington is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Central Florida. Which is another one of my dream jobs. Okay, this is sounding more and more like I just wrote a book about things I want to do in my life, which is probably true...

But I digress.

Kayla's got this whole thing where she's been hurt by love before, but of course she meets Grady McGready (more on him later) and can't ignore her attraction to him. And believe me, that love story was AMAZING to write. Those two, I mean... (LOVE)

The book is about how they discover an underground cavern that leads them on a journey to uncovering a Secret, one kept hidden by a dangerous group of mercenaries known only as "the Clan." There's intrigue, romance, danger, suspense, and yes, even a traitor.

All the juicy stuff.

And along the way, she learns to open her heart to those around her, realizes how to give up trying to control the things she really can't, and discovers how to trust others – and herself.

Hopefully you've had a chance to read the first three chapters; if you haven't, you can sign up here and meet Kayla for yourself!

What do you think? Does the Kayla I've described sound like the one you met in the book? If not, what's different about her?

The best thing about fiction is that I only start a book, but you, the reader, finish it. YOUR imagination fills in all the details, so whoever you picture Kayla to be, that's who she is. And that's the best part!

Stay tuned! I'm thinking I'll talk about Grady next. Because DREAM GUY.

<3 Melissa

*The Secret of the Codex is my upcoming novel about four archaeologists who discover a hidden and well-guarded treasure, each other, and themselves, with some superpowers thrown in for good measure.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova - Book Review

Still AliceBecause my day job is committed to ensuring its employees receive adequate training to succeed, I had the fortunate opportunity to be a part of a class with required reading. Yes, you read that right. REQUIRED READING. (Shush! No bad words on this blog!)But it actually was pretty great. I got back into the groove of reading again, even if most of the books were non-fiction and I had no time for the fiction book I started after Christmas (I'll get to you sometime, The Chemist), and it really helped me improve as a person.Then the final reading assignment was handed out, and I was tasked to read Still Alice by Lisa Genova. (I work in senior care and the class was through a statewide senior care advocacy agency.) If you're not familiar with the book, as I wasn't until it was handed to me, it's about a Harvard professor who gets diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. And let me tell you, it was LIFE CHANGING. And I don't say that often.Still Alice by Lisa Genova - Book ReviewThe book's pacing was excellent, the characters were believable, and the setting was interesting and purposeful, but what really won the day here was Genova's choice of point of view. She wrote the book from the viewpoint of Alice, the one with the diagnosis. WOW.Chances are, you know or know of someone with Alzheimer's disease, perhaps even early-onset Alzheimer's. If you do, you know just how heartbreaking it is for everyone involved, how hard it can be for those left behind, those struggling to make sense of the situation, and those striving to make the best decisions for their loved one.But we often (especially those of us in senior care who deal with Alzheimer's and dementia every single day) can forget about the person with the disease and how it's affecting them. We could rationalize that they don't fully comprehend the situation and are "blissfully unaware" of what the disease is stealing from them, but, as Genova so eloquently shows, this is most likely not the case, until they get to a certain point.The book is heartbreaking, but so is the disease. There is no cure to date, and though some research is promising, the diagnosis is still a terminal one.But the best part of this book is how it generates empathy in the reader. No longer can we view the "patient" with Alzheimer's as just another patient – this book helped me to see how that patient is a person with feelings and thoughts, just like the rest of us, and that a disease is slowly stealing from them the very things that make them feel useful, that make them feel human.I highly recommend this book. There are so many good (read: heart-wrenching) moments in the book, that I can't name my most memorable (not favorite, as they are all beautifully horrible in their own way). But Genova brought to light this terrible disease in a way that I've not seen before.And that's what I love about fiction – we can talk all day about how certain things are a certain way, how certain diseases affect certain people, why certain people become the way they are – but we can't fully grasp the reality of things until we see them in story form. This is the power of story, the power of words, the power of fiction.Still Alice by Lisa Genova - 5 out of 5 stars (with a standing ovation)Let me know if you pick up a copy and read it. I would love to know what you think!*This page may contain affiliate links, which means if you use those links to make a purchase, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you.*