Thursday, March 10, 2022

Full circle: a nurse coming back to writing

 Hello everyone! 

It's been a long time since I posted here and I have some exciting updates!

Since we last spoke, I have gone to nursing school and am now working as a registered nurse on a cardiology floor. Doing an accelerated nursing program in the middle of a pandemic was intense, so that's part of why I've been quiet for so long. Now, I am coming back to writing, but my focus is going to be a bit different from here on out.

I am pivoting from book blogging to freelance writing. With my newfound expertise and passion for health and medical writing, I am focusing on cultivating freelance work in these areas. However, I am still a book lover at heart. I also still have all my experience from my time working on this blog and interning in publishing, so I am taking book-related content and editing jobs still too!

If you have book or literature-related content, copy, or editing gigs, I do still hope you will reach out. 

I anticipate continuing to be fairly quiet on this blog, but I wanted to leave some other ways you can find me.

Linkedin: Howling Turtle Media

This is my freelance-focused Linkedin (I have one that is more geared towards my nursing career too). I have decided to keep the Howling Turtle name in this new phase of my writing business. I will be creating a Howling Turtle Media freelancing website soon and will update this post with the link to that once it is live.


I'd love to connect with you on Twitter! I'll be sharing my published projects and thoughts on writing and healthcare.


I still check the email for this blog, so if you'd like to reach out, send a message to:

I hope you all have been well and that you'll join me as I set out on this new phase of my writing life.

~ Larissa

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Review: Heart of Time (Ruined Hearts #1)

Book: Heart of Time (Ruined Hearts #1)
Author: Skye MacKinnon
Page Count: 231
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend

What would you do if you could control time?

In a world where magic is outlawed, Eona has been hiding her true nature all her life, only using it to make her circus performances even more spectacular. She's always known that her ability to manipulate time could make her a target, but she couldn't have prepared for being kidnapped, manipulated and imprisoned.

After weeks in prison, the Royal sorcerer Lassadar offers her a way out by training her. But can she trust the King's right hand man?

In order to figure out what he wants from her, she needs to explore her own magic, the bond she feels with a mythical creature, and the feelings she has for a beautiful elven woman.

This book is the first in the Ruined Heart series, a reverse harem fantasy trilogy. There is no cliffhanger, and it can be read as a stand-alone.

First of all, I’d like to thank the author for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book – anything that combines medieval fantasy and LGBTQ+ representation catches my eye. And after finishing this book, I think Skye MacKinnon is kicking off a very entertaining and compelling series. My biggest concerns with this book are that it started off a little slow for me and I’m worried this series may be an abandoned project.

The beginning, for me, was a bit slow. The prologue that introduces us to the main character and the first few years of her life are written like a fairy tale, and it felt very disjointed compared with the style of the rest of the book. Even after the main narration takes over, I didn’t feel that the pace really picked up until around half way through.

After that point, though, I was hooked. The world-building is very imaginative and well planned. I liked the little excerpts from historical documents of that world that were placed throughout the novel to continue building the world beyond what the characters might see. I also really appreciated how the story ended with a good closing point, but left me wanting more.

The characters were also very well-drawn and distinct. Each new person added to the story brought with them a new dimension to the book. I especially loved the peryton! This half dragon half deer creature is both adorable and mysterious and I want to know more about it!

After I finished this book I went looking for the sequel to add it to my to-read list on Goodreads and saw something concerning. According to Goodreads, the sequel should have already come out, but I can’t find the sequel available for sale anywhere. Hopefully it is still coming but was delayed for some reason, but I’m a little bit worried this is an abandoned project. I hope not, because I’d love to read the sequel, but it’s something to be aware of before you fully invest in this story as part of a series.

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hiatus Ending Soon!

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry about the unexplained hiatus. I got busy with my last semester of college and haven't had time to do much reading or blogging! I'll be back soon though and have plans for a review to come out within the next week.

I also have some plans in the works for changes to this blog that I will be rolling out in the next six months likely, so stay tuned for that!

I hope you're all enjoying the first day of May!

~ Larissa

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Review: Adam

Book: Adam (Perfect World 1.5)
Author: Shari Sakurai
Page Count: 243
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.

Adam Larimore is on a mission of self-destruct. After learning that he was genetically engineered for the sole purpose of inheriting his father’s empire, Adam has been determined to ruin his father’s life and in the process his own. When Ivan Williams, the man soon to become the Head of the London Security Agency (L.S.A), approaches Adam with the offer of a business partnership, Adam discovers the appalling truth behind the technological and genetic advancements that have come to shape England. His relationship with his father is at breaking point and when events take a devastating turn, Adam finds himself pushed further than perhaps he wanted to go.

First of all, thank you to the author for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I spent several late nights reading this book - Adam is such a compelling character and I kept wanting to know what happened next! The book begins several years before Perfect World takes place, back when Adam Larimore was just the misbehaving, wayward son of the head of a powerful tech company. The novel follows his life through the events leading up to the government smearing him as the "supervillain" that he is painted to be in the first book in the series.

I loved getting a chance to see events from Adam's perspective in this book. Even though we do learn a bit about his past in Perfect World, he is still such an enigma that it is hard to tell exactly where he's coming from. This book not only shows Adam's past in more detail, but delves into what he is thinking and feeling as all these events take place. It makes his actions in Perfect World all the more understandable. I love how complex of a character Adam is, and how all his motivations have layers to them. I think this is part of why I enjoyed Adam a bit more than Perfect World. It's not that I dislike Eric and things being told from his perspective, he's certainly a very sympathetic character, but his naivete sort of got on my nerves after a while, even if it was completely warranted.

Reading Adam gives me a new perspective going into the last book in the series - so now I'm even more excited to read it than I was before! 

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review: Perfect World

Book: Perfect World
Author: Shari Sakurai
Page Count: 332
My Rating3.5 TURTLES: A very enjoyable read, I recommend you check it out.

London, 2115

It is the year 2115 and the world is very different. With climate changes, natural disasters and war shaping the landscape, England has become a nation made up of several super cities and wasteland in between. 

Eric Rawlins is a genetically engineered superhero created by the London Security Agency (L.S.A) to defend and protect the city against both national and international threats. With his superior abilities, celebrity status and beautiful girlfriend, Eric appears to have the perfect life. However, it is an illusion created by the L.S.A in order to control him.

Eric's nemesis is the charismatic Adam Larimore. The only son of billionaire business tycoon Victor Larimore, Adam is gifted with a genius level IQ as well as the same longevity as Eric. 

When the actions of the L.S.A throw the two of them together Eric finds himself questioning everything that he has ever known as well as discovering the true course of events that led to Adam turning to a life of crime. As they become closer Eric realises that the L.S.A may be the real threat to London. But can he trust Adam or is he part of Adam’s plan for revenge against those who have wronged him?

I loved the premise of this book. It’s sort of Gattaca meets Captive Prince, so I was really excited to see what would happen. Although Perfect World didn’t fully live up to my expectations and hopes, it’s still an intriguing, fast-paced science fiction tale that I recommend you check out.

First of all, what’s not to love about the “hero who realizes his perfect world isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and is forced to fall in with his enemy” trope? Eric Rawlins is too na├»ve to see the corruption around him until it is shoved in his face, but he clings to his morals no matter what is going around him. From the get-go, I just felt for Eric and the situation he is in.

I also really enjoyed how Adam Larimore’as character was revealed to the reader. I suspected there was more to him than what met the eye, but even I wasn’t able to predict what was really going on in his head or what he would do next all the time. He could still get on my nerves sometimes, but despite that I still found myself rooting for him.

While there was a lot I liked about Perfect World, there were aspects that fell flat for me. For one thing, I felt like Adam and Eric’s relationship was way rushed. They go from being enemies to being in love in, like, a day, and I didn’t quite buy the fact that they’d fallen in love over the times they’d met as enemies. I could understand that to explain attraction, but not love. Instalove may not bother other people, but it’s kind of a pet peeve of mine.

A smaller thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the constant reference to Eric as “the hero” and Adam as “the villain.” I get it. Writing “Eric said this,” “Eric thought this,” “Eric was this” can get repetitive and it is nice to find other ways of referring to people other than their names. However, using “hero” and “villain” came off as cartoonish and silly. It’s made abundantly clear that the LSA and even Eric for the first half of the book (at least) sees Eric as the hero and Adam as the villain, it’s unnecessary to spell it out like that.

While not perfect, Perfect World is still an entertaining read that is absolutely worth your time. I’ll be excited to learn more about Adam Larimore in the next book released in the series, Adam, that follows the title character’s perspective.

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blog Tour: Cordial Killing

Cordial Killing (A Backyard Farming Mystery)

Anne is excited for the opening of the Brandywine Inn. Kandi and Hope are her partners in the bed-and-breakfast in Carolan Springs, Colorado, where they also provide homesteading and herbal workshops for guests.
As soon as the guests arrive, it’s plain that the five old college chums have bad blood between them. When Anne finds a threatening note, it's clear that someone is out for revenge. Then they find a guest dead. At first, the death appears to be natural, but suspicions begin to grow.
When a blizzard threatens the Inn, will it trap them all with a killer and no way out?
Cordial Killing is a classic who-dun-it with a twist. Set in the fictional small town of Carolan Springs, you will enjoy an armchair getaway into beautiful Colorado.
Buy link 

About the Author:

Vikki’s first words were “I get it!” This attitude became her life-long mantra to always go after what she wants. It also helped her realize her desire to help others get what they really want out of life.
After spending years as a registered interior designer, Vikki began to write. While writing for periodicals, Vikki found herself on assignment interviewing publishers in Colorado Springs. It wasn’t long before the natural beauty of Colorado captured her heart.

After moving to Colorado, Vikki  worked with nonprofits. However, she soon realized she needed more autonomy in her work.

Vikki started her own business as a nonprofit consultant and grant writer. She has helped nonprofits across the U.S. to receive millions of dollars for their work. Yet, she realized doing one thing wouldn’t satisfy her for long.

Vikki became a Work Quilter™ combining her many passions to create multiple income streams. She started speaking and teaching adults on myriad and diverse topics around her knowledge, skills and passions.   She's taught and spoken on Creative Writing, Design for Heart and Home, Fundraising Fundamentals , Suburban Homesteading, Permaculture, How to Get What You Really Want, and of course, Work Quilting. Two words that continually appear on instructor and speaker feedback forms are "engaging" and "knowledgeable."
Born in Chicago, Vikki lived outside of Paris for a few years as a small child. That may account for her love of travel. She moved to Wichita with her parents before going on to live most of her life around the San Antonio, Texas area. She is the founder of #girlswantago and you can connect through Facebook or 
Vikki's favorite genre is mystery so it wasn't long before she had begun her first cozy mystery series.  Incorporating her love of suburban homesteading, or as some call it, backyard farming, Vikki's first book is Chicken Culprit.

You'll most often find Vikki out hiking with her dog, outside gardening, traveling abroad, house or pet sitting, or writing her next book.

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Blog Tour: The Childless Ones

Welcome to the book tour for “The Childless Ones,” the debut novel of Cam Rhys Lay! “The Childless Ones” will be released November 12, but you can preorder your copy now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Book description:

In the "real world," we open with Jack Ampong just leaving a prostitute when he receives a phone call that his wife Sarah has been assaulted. With this incident as a jumping off point, we watch as Jack and Sarah deal with past guilt and regrets as well as their own ongoing struggles with relationships, infertility and parenthood.

In the "fantasy world"—ostensibly written by Jack—a bureaucratic Empire rules with an iron ancient sect of sorcerers have extraordinary powers but are cursed with the inability to have children... and a race of beings called the Mandrakar live lives one quarter the length of normal people, but have memories that are passed on to future generations through the last of an ancient breed of tree. Along the way, we meet a crotchety governor who just wants to do right by his granddaughter, a hardboiled, lesbian, dwarf detective who just wants another drink, and a villainous sorcerer whose motives form one of the central mysteries of the story.

Throughout the book, the two narratives echo off one another—often in surprising ways—ultimately commenting on the very nature of storytelling itself.

About the Author:
Cam Rhys Lay received his Bachelors Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his MFA from the University of Kansas. For five years, he worked as an Associate Publisher at The Easton Press in Connecticut. Currently he lives in Brooklyn, New York where he runs marketing for Skillshare, an online learning community for creators. The Childless Ones is his first book. To learn more about Cam and his writing, please visit him at

"impressively creates two vivid worlds, each with its own history and compelling characters, while also offering a meditation on the relationship between creativity, fertility, and shared memory. A stunning fantasy debut." -- Kirkus Reviews

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