Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pledged Tour: Book Trailer

This is my third post for the Pledged Book Tour. Today I will be providing three exceprts. Be sure to check out the author's blog for more information about Pledged and the book tour. Look for future posts from me about Pledged, including a review. Pledged is available through Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Book Trailer:

Sins of the Father Available for Free on Amazon

Sins of the Father is available for free on Amazon until 12:59pm Pacific Time. Get it here.

Name: Sins of the Father

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Summary: A minister losing touch with his faith…

A severely autistic child with no past, no present and no real future…

An evil older than time itself…

When the boy Lucian is thrown into Aaron’s life with nowhere else to go all hell breaks loose and Aaron confronts things he never actually imagined could really exist in an effort to save one small, tortured child.

Interview with Maria Violante, Author of Hunting in Hell

Today I will be interviewing Maria Violante, author of Hunting in Hell.

What are your favorite book(s)? 

I really love the "His Dark Materials" series by Philip Pullman.  That's one that I reread every few years, and I can never get over how amazing it is.  Lately, I've also been getting into S. M. Stirling's "Emberverse" series.  Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series quite literally changed my life and was definitely one of the inspirations for the De la Roca Chronicles.

Who is your favorite author?

You realize this is an impossible question, right?  Um.  I love Chuck Palahniuk.  If I could find a way to translate his work into Urban Fantasy -- Jeez.  My head is just spinning.  I'm a really eclectic reader, though, so if you pointed out a genre, I'd have somebody that I liked.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

De La Roca and her ilk were inspired by a lot of Celtic and Norse mythology--especially Alsvior, which is one of the horses that draws the chariot of the sun across the sky, and Bluot, which is the name of a medieval festival of blood, (among some other things).  I'm half Korean, and I tend to mine my own culture for interesting tidbits (sorry mom).  I'm a pretty intrepid traveler, too, and a lot of that finds its way into my work.

Hunting the Five actually started as a short story, and the reception to it was so good that I went back and expanded it into a book--and then, of course, it needed a sequel, Honor in Hell, and now I'm working on the third book in the series, which is tentatively titled "Seven Sacrifices".

Where is your favorite place to do your writing?

Currently, I do all of my writing from the passenger seat of a 2011 International Prostar.  Our semi-truck is also our home, so I don't really have a lot of location options as far as writing goes.

What was the hardest part of writing supernatural/fantasy fiction?

You really have to plot ahead--maybe a lot more than in some other kinds of work.  When you're writing the first book of the series, decisions you make about the environment or the magic structure, etc., echo all of the way down the line to other books in the series.  I made that mistake with Hunting the Five, partially because I didn't forsee it as a series in the first place.  When I got around to writing Honor in Hell, I realized I had written myself into a corner, and I had to go back and change a lot of stuff in the first book in order to make it all fit.

I like the cover of Hunting in Hell. How you decide upon that cover?

Hunting in Hell's cover was done by Caytlin Vilbrandt, who is the artist of the Walking On Broken Glass webcomic (http://brokenglass.greyinkstudios.com/).  I actually met her at a twitter party *blush of shame* hosted by Tristan Tarwater, the author of Thieves at Heart and Self-Made Scoundrel.  I liked her work so much that I asked her to do the cover, and she accepted.  I didn't have the clearest idea of what I wanted, and Caytlin was just great.  There was a lot of back and forth until we got to that cover, but it's a real work of art--I eventually had it made into a bunch of posters as one of the kickstarter prizes.

Tell us about your new novel.

Hunting in Hell is actually a two-book volume that I created for a Kickstarter to fund the audiobook edition of Hunting the Five.  It actually contains the first two books of the De la Roca Chronicles--Hunting the Five and Honor in Hell.  After the Kickstarter funded successfully and backers got their books, I got a lot of feedback saying that the books were better together than when read separately, so I decided to keep them that way.

Basically, the books follow the struggle of the demon mercenary De la Roca.  She's spent the last three centuries as a hit-woman for an angel who then offers her the chance at freedom in exchange for a few last jobs, and while it sounds like a dream come true, it turns out that there's a lot she didn't know about hell and her angel, and none of it is good.

Buy the two book set at Amazon.

About the author. 

I just turned twenty-six (oh my god, really?).  I write full-time from the road, my driver on my left and my chihuahua on my lap (or feet, head, wherever he chooses to put himself--they're like cats, I swear).  The De La Roca chronicles is my first fantasy series; I've also got an anthology of short horror stories and a secret evil first novel that spends its time hiding on my hard drive and trying not to be remembered.  I'm the webmistress at mariaviolante.com, where I review books, discuss writing, and generally try not to be insane.   You can follow me on twitter @violanteauthor.

Guest Post by Allen Wyler, Author of Dead Ringer

Allen Wyler, author of Dead Ringer contributes a guest post about how his medical expertise influences his writing and how much of his actual experiences are in Dead Ringer and his other books.

I pretty much meld my own experiences into each of the various stories. For example, I was on the committee charged with choosing which electronic medical record system the hospital where I worked. As I sat through another butt-numbing committee meeting my mind began to wander and I thought: what would happen if a software bug intermittently mixed up information between patient charts, causing critical errors in treatment. The idea caught on and became the seed from which the story DEADLY ERRORS germinated.

The idea behind DEAD END DEAL came when I was a guest lecturer at a medical school in Seoul, South Korea. I ended up getting lost in the downtown area and wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a foreign city without a passport. I spiced up the story line by also making the main character sought by police for a murder he didn’t commit. As you can see, I let my imagination get carried away at times.

DEAD RINGER came from another trip to Asia. As an invited guest to the Hong Kong Neurosurgical Society, one of my jobs was to demonstrate a tricky surgery on a cadaver head. I was presented with a stainless steel surgical tray with a surgical towel covering a cantaloupe sized mass (the head). As I removed the towel and looked at the face, I wondered what it would be like to come face to face in this type situation with someone you knew.

In DEAD WRONG (to be released shortly) I was sitting in my office the Friday afternoon before the Labor Day weekend. The office was empty because the staff had wanted to jump-start the three day weekend. Sitting back in the chair, staring at the pile of work still on my desk I wondered… what would it be like for a person to appear in the doorway holding a gun and threaten my life? What would I do? Would I escape? This is exactly the way this story begins.

DEAD HEAD is a story about keeping a detached head alive for the information contained in the brain. The concept for the story was given to me by my editor at Tor/Forge. This is probably the only one of my books in which I have no personal experience. I mean… go figure.

Many people find the field of neurosurgery and brain function interesting, so I try to incorporate some technical information to the reader without it becoming a boring lecture with the technical details given to the reader in an easily understandable dialog that doesn’t detract from the fast pace so necessary for a good thriller. And pace is one of the factors that distinguishes a thriller from a mystery.

Thanks for the chance to guest blog. Readers should feel free to contact me through my website at www.allenwyler.com

About the Author:

A Seattle native, Wyler’s parents died early, leaving him on his own by the time he entered college. He supported himself with various jobs including being a fry cook at a drive-in and a professional musician playing drums for various local blues and jazz groups. In his first year of medical school, he knew he wanted to specialize in neurosurgery. Upon graduating from residency he started on the faculty of the University of Washington and then the University of Tennessee where he developed an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. In 1992 the prestigious Swedish Medical Center recruited him back to Seattle to develop a neuroscience institute.

Wyler’s love of thrillers began in 1974 on his way to Cincinnati to take the oral boards in neurosurgery. At SeaTac airport he picked up a copy of William Goldman’s Marathon Man to read on the flight. He became so engrossed he stayed up all night to finish it before stoking up on coffee and meeting with the examiners. He aced the exam.

Wyler develops plots from actual events in his practice. While serving on a committee charged with selecting the medical center’s new computerized medical record system he wondered what might happen if the software had a random bug. From this came the story line for Deadly Errors, his 2005 thriller that has been subsequently translated into several foreign languages, including Russian. Crime Spree Magazine wrote:
“There is a grand tradition of medical thrillers in the suspense field - hardly surprising since medicine is one place where life's rubber really meets the road. A new entry, Deadly Errors, by a new author, Allen Wyler, is right up there with the best.”

Much of the background for Dead Head, a story about keeping a detached head alive for the information in the brain, was derived from Wyler’s own research on recording the brain’s electrical activity. As Adam Woog (Seattle Times) wrote:
“Wyler's premise is deliriously over-the-top… (You'll notice I'm avoiding any cracks about how fiction writing ain't brain surgery.) But the story barrels right along, and, as Wyler points out in an afterword, the science of maintaining a disembodied head is already chillingly close to reality.”

Wyler’s third thriller, DEAD END DEAL, originated a few years ago, he was a guest lecturer at a medical center in Seoul, South Korea. He wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a foreign country hunted by police because of being framed for a murder.

In 2002 he left active practice to become Medical Director for a start-up medical technology company, Northstar Neuroscience, which went public (NSTR) in 2006. At the end of 2007 he retired to devote full time to writing.

He and his wife divide their time between their downtown Seattle condo and home in the San Juan Islands.

You can buy Allen's books through his blog.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey. This meme lets you show fellow readers what you have read, what you are reading, and what you will be reading.

I haven't been reading much recently.

Recently Read:

Currently Reading:

To Read:



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Elizabeth, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth

Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset

Summary: Glitteringly detailed and engagingly written, the magisterial Elizabeth I brings to vivid life the golden age of sixteenth-century England and the uniquely fascinating monarch who presided over it. A woman of intellect and presence, Elizabeth was the object of extravagant adoration by her contemporaries. She firmly believed in the divine providence of her sovereignty and exercised supreme authority over the intrigue-laden Tudor court and Elizabethan England at large. Brilliant, mercurial, seductive, and maddening, an inspiration to artists and adventurers and the subject of vicious speculation over her choice not to marry, Elizabeth became the most powerful ruler of her time. Anne Somerset has immortalized her in this splendidly illuminating account.

Review: An incredibly detailed and very thorough though quite dry about Elizabeth I.

This book certainly spares no details and as a result, is a very large book. Elizabeth I is one of those books that you could do some serious damage with. Fun fact: you could probably kill someone with some of my English textbooks. Despite being a fan of all things Tudor, this book took me a while to read. It wasn't the length that bothered me although the detail might have just a little fine. I know a book like this won't be light reading, but it was surprisingly dry. 

After reading this book, I know a great deal about Elizabeth I and I honestly can't say I'm a big fan. She was effective at getting people to see past or ignore her sex and also was a master at diversion. She was very intelligent and was very charismatic. She knew her mind and what she wanted to do even though she wasn't able to do so. Elizabeth I also had a few faults including loving flattery too much. She would get mad when people did not compliment her enough or the proper way. She also got too into her favorites, especially Dudley. 

Rating:






Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that are fans of the Tudors and Elizabeth I.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with Kyra Gregory, Author of Ordinary

Today I will be interviewing Kyra Gregory, author of Ordinary.  

What are your favorite book(s)?

I've always been a big fan of the Blood books by Tanya Huff. From childhood I've adored Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore, both by Murakami Haruki. Most recently I've been in love with The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and plenty of manga (Japanese comic books), particularly anything by Yuki Kaori.

Who is your favorite author?

Probably Khaled Hosseini. I've read both of his published works, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I really admire how he can tackle difficult subjects but gives so much attention to feelings. The way he writes gives people insight into the lives of people that are different but also very much the same because we can relate to those characters feelings.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The things that inspire me are almost difficult to put my finger on because they can be anything which evoke a real feeling out of me. I could look at a moment in a film or in a book and wonder how I would have handled that situation, what I would have felt and how my feelings would have influenced my decision. A lot of my stories are very much character-driven which I find enjoyable because everyone is so unique and different combinations of people, their feelings and their choices, make for completely different stories. Music that I find touching or sets a mood becomes my companion while writing.

Anything that makes me feel something can inspire me and, more often than not, it's something that I think isn't talked about enough. I can listen to someone or even see a situation in which I realise that not enough people know that these things happen. Something that needs to be talked about or needs some light shone on it is something that is just asking to be written by me.

Where is your favorite place to do your writing?

I'll usually choose my setting depending on what I'm writing. Since I often write late into the night after a long day I typically do my writing at a desk in my bedroom which I set up to fit the mood of the scene or story I'm writing. This includes the right music, the correct lighting, any items that fit my story and any research that I need on hand. This is the ideal place for me to write because I can always tailor it to my needs and pace around if I need to without fear of bothering people.

What was the hardest part of writing your novels?

I deal with a lot of heavy topics in my writing, topics that I have to do plenty of research on before I feel I can feel confident enough to write about them. My novella, Despair & Decision, was one of those cases where research was emotionally draining. I feel like it's two sides of the same coin, actually. It was the hardest part of the planning process but it made me increasingly aware of how important it was for me to portray it effectively. It became my job to find a balance and, however difficult it was, those feelings helped me to create something that I don't think I could have created had it not been so difficult.

What has been your experience with self publishing?

Honestly I'm still getting into it slowly. I've been learning through trial-and-error which makes it very exciting. I got into self-publishing because I wanted to be able to control all aspects of my projects; however difficult that is sometimes I'm so happy to be able to do it. Along the way some people have supported me and some have treated me like I'm foolish; I knew that would happen and I prepared myself for it. I'm very thankful for the people who have supported me, especially new readers who took a chance on me. I want to continue working hard at self-publishing to keep being able to do what I love and also to thank those who have supported me.

Tell us about your new novel.

Ordinary, released on 29th July, was written after a conversation with a friend. He began wondering if some people really knew that gay people were just like everyone else. He went on to say things like 'they should know that we're still human, you know? That we have jobs, social lives, friends, family and that our relationships are still just like theirs.' It was interesting to me because it was true that I had always read novels and manga that clearly defined the parts in which gay couples were different but very few ever portrayed how similar they were.

Ordinary follows a young man, Michael, as he goes through life simply trying to be happy and who has always seen his life just like everyone else's. With highs and lows in his health and relationships he tries his best to deal with everything, however much some feedback will deter him.

My next novel will be out in early September and I'm truly proud of it as I really got the opportunity to tackle something that I hadn't before. Please look forward to more details.

About the Author

Kyra Gregory is a young author from the tiny island of Malta. In those rare moments when she isn't writing or even thinking about writing she's furthering her education. Writing novels from a very young age she began self-publishing in June 2011.

Find Kyra on Twitter and follow her blog. Buy her books on Amazon

Trouble at the Hotel Baba Ghanoush Tour: Giveaway (Adult Content)

Warning: Adult Content!


Title: Trouble at the Hotel Baba Ghanoush
Author: T. C. Archer
Genre: Science fiction, Erotica
Publisher: Loose Id
Ebook
Words: 35,000

Purchase:


Book Description

"Enforcer Fontana Marks is on vacation undercover until she has to testify against the Track Cartel for crimes against the Galactic Coalition. But the cartel is hiding something, and Fontana intends to find out what--then make them pay for murdering Jenny, the young scientist Fontana failed to protect on a previous assignment.

The last thing Fontana intends to do while vacationing incognito on the fantasy resort Sagitariun is follow the advice of her superior. "Rest, recuperate, and find a man."

But how can a woman resist a blond, blue-eyed, chisel-jawed, great-assed man streaking naked in public when he's obviously running from someone? And why can't she to get rid of the damned trench coat she stole to rescue him?"

Excerpt:

The man shifted, and the loose-fitting white shirt went taut across his broad shoulders. Memory of his tanned skin and steel muscle hit like a thunderbolt, and Fontana’s stomach did a flip.
He grinned, a sure sign he knew he was being viewed through a one-way door. Desire rippled through her on a slow, sure wave that promised heart-stopping pleasure. She’d known good-looking men. Ray, her last serious relationship five years ago, had been gorgeous. She’d been mad for him, but the man standing outside her door had a quality about him that made her want to snuggle up against him and fall asleep.
Fontana snorted. Her body would disagree. Right now that part of her throbbed with an insistent desire to bed him—hard. Maybe then the flutter in her heart would have a say, and she’d fall asleep wrapped in his arms. That would be a welcome change to the sleepless nights she’d spent since Jenny’s death. It would be a temporary fix, but she could use at least one good night’s rest.
She sighed. First she’d better deal with the damned raincoat and find out how the naked man had escaped the shock troopers. Then there was the little matter of how he’d found out where she was staying.
Fontana rose and smoothed the form-fitting blouse and poly-cotton slacks she wore. “Open door,” she said, and the door dematerialized.
His stare slid down her body, and her nipples tightened to a delicious discomfort—and one he couldn’t miss under the millipore fabric of her top.
Well, Mr. Long John.”
His blue eyes returned to her face. “Long John?”
She stepped aside and motioned him in. “Last time I saw you, your long johnson was standing at attention.”
He entered, and the door rematerialized behind him. “Give him a minute, and he’ll be at your command again.”
What are you doing here?”
He wrapped an arm around her waist. “You said to look you up.”
She spun out of his grasp and backed up. “How did you find me?”
Spacer Jack’s is brimming with information.”
He was right. She’d figured that out the first time she’d walked in. Even a benign resort like Club Sagitariun had a dark side. Proof stood right in front of her in all its masculine glory. No. All his masculine glory had been long, hard, and ready to go in the alley. Damn shock troopers. Ten more minutes and she would have had a quick hard ride on his steel rod.
He continued to advance.
She retreated. “Where’s my raincoat?”
He grasped her hand. “What do you need with a man’s raincoat?”
The owner is looking for it.”
Forget about him.” He stepped closer.
Can’t.”
I came to thank you for the coat. Let me buy you breakfast.”
Some offer—and not what she had in mind for jump-starting a morning that had begun four hours ago for her.
It’s not my coat,” she said.
We’ll find the owner and thank him—later. We have some unfinished business.”
Heat radiated from his body. Her pulse sped up. The smile at the corners of his mouth deepened. Her calves made contact with the bed. He stepped closer, grasped her hand, and pressed her palm over his heart.
Fontana ignored the warmth spreading through her and locked gazes with him. “What did those shock troopers want?”
He shrugged. “Never found out.”
They never caught you.”
I had to elude them so I could be here.”
That had a certain logic she liked.
His fingers gently tightened over the hand still pressed against his heart. “You’ve got my heart beating like crazy.”
She noted the hard muscle of his chest, under which only a regular heartbeat thumped, and pulled her hand away. “It’s not nice to lie.”
I’m hurt.”
She wanted to laugh. He actually did look hurt.
Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten all that we’ve shared,” he said.
Now she did laugh. Fontana was startled at the unexpected relief she felt. She hadn’t laughed since setting foot on Rigil IV. He cut off her thoughts by pulling her against him. His mouth crashed down onto hers. The hard ridge of his arousal dug into her stomach. She could almost believe she had a special effect on him. Almost. But that erection was just a little too ready—a little too eager—to belong to anyone but a working man.

About the Author:

T. C. Archer is comprised of award winning authors Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey. They live in the Northeast.

Evan puts his Ph.D. to good use by writing about alternate realities, and Shawn channels the mythology and philosophy she studied during her wasted youth into writing about exotic places and times.

Find the Author:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Prince from the Shadows Giveaway

A Prince from the Shadows by J. Curtis Mace

Summary: A reluctant prince determined to be a better man than his father, the king, has ever been, Jeodyn spent his last year alone in the wild studying the banned art of manipulating the Myst, an act of rebellion but more in remembrance of the old ways. Now, everything he learned and everything he’s ever known about himself will be tested, when he’s called to do what his father should but never will: defend their family.

Noirlok, Lord of the ShadowLands and Father of the Night’s rebellion, knows no man will stand between him and his revenge. He'll either have the love he defeated the heavens and waited an age of the world to reclaim, or he'll destroy the House responsible. Since overcoming a mortal death and taking charge of the dark legion known as Shadorym, he has vowed to see the Blood of Vallyn pay for taking that love, and his life, from him.

When Jeodyn's sister, Jynn, disappears, the fight to defend what they all have at stake begins.


Enter for a chance to win unpublished character art or an ebook copy of A Prince from the Shadows.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey. This meme lets you show fellow readers what you have read, what you are reading, and what you will be reading.

Recently Read:

Currently Reading:



To Read:


Friday, August 17, 2012

Review Copy Cleanup - Books Read Thus Far

BBT

My goal for Review Copy Cleanup is to read 8 books. Those 8 books are:

1. Wolves Among Men by Penelope Sweet
2. Delicate Wedding by Joseph Kranak
3. Lead Me Not Into Temptation by Miriam Kalb - Up Next
4. Forge Stones by Vasileios Kalabakas
5. Dream Magic: Awakenings by Dawn Harshaw
6. Agents of Light by Sherwin Pineda
7. Incarnation by Emma Cornwell - Currently Reading
8. Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks

Flight Tour: Giveaway


Title: Flight
Series: The Crescent Chronicles, #1
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Genre: Mature YA/New Adult Paranormal Romance,
Publisher: self-published
Ebook
Words: 55,000

Purchase:

Not yet released, to be released on August 16th

Book Description:

Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

Excerpt:

Closing my eyes, I tried to block it all out. Convinced I was about to die, I was only partly aware of his arms around me.
You said you wanted an adventure,” he said quietly, teasingly, as he tightened his hold.
My stomach dropped out as an intense and complete feeling of weightlessness engulfed me. The wind stung my face as memories flooded my mind. I thought of my parents, of all the things I wanted to tell them but never did, my friends from home, and the experiences I longed for. Quickly my thoughts changed to more recent memories, to Levi.
Open your eyes,” he whispered, somehow knowing my eyes were clenched shut.
Against my better judgment, I listened. The scream died in my throat as we hurtled toward the water that had seemed so beautiful from the roof above.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rose Ivy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write.

Find the Author:


Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Legion of Nothing Tour: Review and Giveaway

The Legion of Nothing: Rebirth by Jim Zoetewey

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. 

Summary: Nick Klein’s grandfather was the Rocket.

For three decades, the Rocket and his team were the Heroes League—a team of superheroes who fought criminals in the years after World War II.

But Nick and his friends have inherited more than their grandparents' costumes and underground headquarters... they've inherited the League's enemies and unfinished business.

In the 1960's, Red Lightening betrayed everyone, creating an army of supervillains and years of chaos. The League never found out why.

Now, Nick and the New Heroes League will have no choice but to confront their past.


Review: A delightful tale of superheroes, their grandchildren, and the same old evil.

I am not the biggest fan of the traditional superheroes including Spiderman, Superman, and the Flash. I always liked Batman the best. But I always liked X-Men though. So in short, I think like non-traditional superheroes the best so I think that is why I enjoy superhero fiction. I think part of it is the ingenuity that is needed to create a plethora of superheroes and supervillians. 

I liked the fact that the teenagers in the story were the grandchildren of superheroes. It is an advantage because they have a good deal of equipment, a ready headquarters, and people who they turn to for advice and help. Unfortunately, if they decide to take up costumes and become superheroes, they have a lot to live up to which is a big disadvantage. I also get the feeling that superheroes were best in the 50s and 60s and that they can be redundant and unwanted in today's age. 

It was certainly an interesting experience being in the head of a teenage boy. Nick's pretty obvious with some of his observations and some of his observations did not need to be made. All in all though, I enjoyed being in Nick's head and found myself giggling a number of times. I can see Nick as the leader of his group even though he may not want the job. 

The story was good although a lot of it was standard high school fare, but that does make sense since they are teenagers. It was pretty dramatic and interesting to see how superheroes were accepted by society. They even had superheroes working for the federal government. Also, telepaths are cool. I was glad to see justice done even though there was a lot of destruction on the way. I am excited for the next book.

Rating:






Recommendation: 
I would recommend this book to fans of superhero fiction.

About the Author:

Jim Zoetewey grew up in Holland, Michigan, near where L Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz and other books in that series. Admittedly, Baum moved away more than sixty years before Jim was even born, but it's still kind of cool. He's a web developer, a religion and sociology major, and the author of the superhero series The Legion of Nothing. He's also not sure why he's writing this in the third person, but he's never seen an author bio written in first person and doesn't want to rock the boat.

Links and Where to Buy the Book:

Be sure to visit the Legion of Nothing's facebook page, 1889's facebook page, the LON page on 1889.ca, and buy the book on Amazon

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

True Love and a Wedding

Delicate Wedding by Joseph A Kranak

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review.

Summary: With his younger son's wedding approaching, in New York City, Frederick Adelson decides to try and persuade his dissolute and detached older son, Elias, to join the family at the wedding after a long separation. Frederick sends two old friends of Elias, who ineffectively try to work on Elias while the rest of the family prepares for the upcoming celebration. But upon arrive at Elias' settled home in Amsterdam, they find much going on and standing in the way of Frederick's goal.

Review: A story of true love, weddings, and a family reunited.

This book is rather sweet and is full romance and true love (The Princess Bride keeps running through my head). I would not classify this as a romance book, but love, both for spouses and family, plays a big role. I think all the love, so much true love, was a bit much for me. I'm a bit of a cynic and the relationships felt a tad too perfect. Despite that, there was no mistaking the love that Frederick held for his son, Elias, and how hurt that he was that he might not be at his brother's wedding. 

Elias was a very interesting character. I am not sure what he did or how he was able to support himself in Amsterdam nor did I ever learn much about his past. I always felt a little out of the loop when it came to Elias. He was a confusing character, but I could tell that he was a passionate person and felt his emotions very strongly. I wasn't sure what his relationship was with the two women in his life. The ending was sweet and I'm glad that the book ended that way. 

Rating:






Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy romance, weddings, or family fiction.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey. This meme lets you show fellow readers what you have read, what you are reading, and what you will be reading.

Recently Read:

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Mish Mash of Ideas

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Summary: Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko... 

Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. 

What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.


Review: A disappointing attempt at a dystopian novel that seems like it's trying too hard.

Biopunk, which is defined by Wikipedia as: a subgenre of cyberpunk fiction that focuses on the near-future unintended consequences of the biotechnology revolution following the discovery of recombinant DNA. Biopunk stories explore the struggles of individuals or groups, often the product of human experimentation, against a backdrop of totalitarian governments and megacorporations which misuse biotechnologies as means of social control and profiteering. That sounds totally awesome to me and something I would love to read. It also describes The Windup Girl exactly. Unfortunately, the book falls short of being enjoyable. 

It felt like the author was trying to squeeze too much into one novel. Also, while I admit that I do not know Asia, it felt like the east in the book was not an accurate representation of the country, culture, or the people. It was interesting to see how the world was after gas became rare and how people dealt with those challenges, including finding alternate energy sources. I can understand the reason for developing the New People, but I can't fathom a reason for making them with stutter-stop motion, as its described, unless it was a way to make them easily identifiable.

Rating:






Recommendation: I would recommend this to big fans of biopunk and those that really enjoyed dystopian fiction. 

A Humane Werewolf Story

Wolves among Men by Penlelope Sweet

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. Review based on an old edition of the book.

Summary: Ethan Harlow is an unsuspecting 26-year old who has strived to live a normal life caring for his younger sister after their parents passed away. Thrown in to an extraordinary situation Ethan runs for his life in an attempt to escape the nightmarish world he is thrust into after a close encounter with an ancient creature of myth. But things go wrong after his sister insists on following him deeper into a world not meant to be seen by human eyes.

Unknowingly Ethan breaks a treaty, a pact between the two sides of wolves meant to keep human kind safe and protect the creatures that choose to live peacefully at their side. After his sister is kidnapped by the other side in an attempt to sway him, Ethan must make a choice. Will he run for his life or stay and fight at the side of the wolves that have become like a family to him.


Review: An enjoyable werewolf story with likable characters although it suffers from spelling and grammar errors. 

I am always wary of werewolf stories. I know they are quite popular right now along with vampires. While I do so love vampires, werewolves not so much. They use the idea of mates way too often. I am of the opinion that the idea of mates is just an excuse to bring two people together without developing romance between the two characters. Luckily, this book did not use mates in any way, shape, or form and instead focused on relationships and friendships between the characters. 

I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but the werewolves, at least the good ones, were very human. I really enjoyed the idea of the werewolves either staying sane or becoming feral. I like to think that it depended on if the person was good or bad. I really liked Ethan's relationship with his sister. It showed his humanity and what drove him. Although there were a number of spelling and grammatical errors, I still enjoyed the story even though for some, the errors might be too numerous. The book ended on a cliffhanger and I am eager to see what happens. I want to know who wins the battle, what a broken treaty means for humanity, and are there other supernatural creatures besides werewolves. 

Rating:






Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy supernatural stories and werewolf fiction.

A Prince from the Shadows Tour: Excerpt

A Prince from the Shadows by J. Curtis Mace

Summary:

A reluctant prince determined to be a better man than his father, the king, has ever been, Jeodyn spent his last year alone in the wild studying the banned art of manipulating the Myst, an act of rebellion but more in remembrance of the old ways. Now, everything he learned and everything he’s ever known about himself will be tested, when he’s called to do what his father should but never will: defend their family.

Noirlok, Lord of the ShadowLands and Father of the Night’s rebellion, knows no man will stand between him and his revenge. He'll either have the love he defeated the heavens and waited an age of the world to reclaim, or he'll destroy the House responsible. Since overcoming a mortal death and taking charge of the dark legion known as Shadorym, he has vowed to see the Blood of Vallyn pay for taking that love, and his life, from him.

When Jeodyn's sister, Jynn, disappears, the fight to defend what they all have at stake begins.


Buy A Prince from the Shadows on Lulu.

Excerpt 3:

Two hours into a swift sprint, and they hadn’t passed a city at all. No man traveled on the road leading south, and they saw nothing of the Shadorym. But for the fear following their every step and the worry that lay ahead, it was a peaceful trip made in good company.

Jeodyn had expected the horse, whose name he figured now to be Shiloh as the Lady had said it in the dream, to tire at some point and slow down, but the animal proved its worth and never lost the pace. The horse hardly showed a sheen of sweat, and the burden on his back seemed easily borne, even three hours in. Jeodyn was grateful.

Another hour and they were running just as swiftly past a drab city he didn’t care to see; two hours more brought another sparse town up from the south. Still Shiloh sped them along, and they passed no one on the road. The day had been easy and clear so far, but Jeodyn knew not to let the silence fool him. He remained alert and watchful, wary of every shadow they passed.

The Shadorym were long lost behind them, and though the worry stayed with him, Jeodyn hadn’t seen any sign of the black cloaks, since leaving Dresdin. Following his map, he led them ever southward, and not long after the sun passed midday overhead, the dark line of the Black Mountains stabbed clear of the distant horizon. The last city he knew to expect passed in a rush, and just beyond its southernmost wall, the road ended. Jeodyn pulled gently on Shiloh’s mane to stop them, and for the first time all day, he dismounted and stretched his legs.

Worn earth grown over with yellow grass marked the road, beyond where they’d stopped, and a broken slat of wood posted across it barred their way. “NO FURTHER,” it read, and Jeodyn could only laugh to himself, as he stepped over it. Taking a quick drink and a small bite of hard bread, he allowed himself only a short break and a good stretch, before he was back atop Shiloh and sprinting again into the uncharted South.

Soon, the Black Mountains were standing tall and dark very near ahead and closing in quickly from either side. The sky to the east looked dark with storm, which seemed odd, given the desert land Jeodyn knew lay beyond that particular stretch of mountains. But he felt it a fitting overture to the road he was soon to take. A chill passed through him to see the clouds gathered there, but he quickly dismissed it for another, darker shadow, coming into view just ahead. Where the jagged peaks of the Black Mountains came together and the first branches of the Black Forest barred the way into them, Jeodyn saw the place he’d come to find.

The gnarled trees were tall and dark, as the deep, twisted spaces between them were dark, and the entire forest looked to have been burned some time not long ago. Nothing stirred in its depths, and everything about it was unnaturally silent. The boughs and branches of the tangled canopy overhead looked skeletal and old, yet no light from the sun pierced through them to reach the ground below. As Jeodyn neared the shadow of the wood, he saw the outermost trees hung with signs of caution, all posted to make it clear he wasn’t mistaken; this was the place.

Old wooden markers bearing the warnings “BEWARE” and “TURN BACK” were nailed to the old trees or to posts planted in the ground. Another posted largely across the lone, dark opening in the forest made it as plain as could be. “DO NOT DARE THE DARK ROAD,” the last sign said. Another mute warning Jeodyn would have to idly pass. This time though, he couldn’t find the mood to laugh.

Not wanting to lose such a fine animal to the dark woods or any of the shadows lurking within, Jeodyn figured to leave Shiloh behind. But before he could even consider the thought, the brave horse found a thin trail around the wooden beam crossing the road, and they started into the Black Forest.

The gloom closed in quickly and completely over them, as soon as they passed the first line of trees. Shadows, thick like death, led the way into the heart of the forest, the beginnings of the Dark Road. Shiloh easily regained the path and started them on their way.

The tangled web of barren branches above didn’t blot out the sky completely, but where Jeodyn could see the shreds of light overhead, it was muted and grey and illuminated nothing. His spirits felt nearly as dim, but he led Shiloh slowly on, trying to watch their every side at once. He drew Lionshard preemptively and stared out into the thickening shadow of the forest. His entire being was tense, to say the least; even Shiloh beneath him felt on edge. The animal acted more watchful than nervous, and they both seemed waiting for the darkness all around to come alive and attack them at any moment.

Having seen the Black Mountains earlier, above the canopy of the trees, Jeodyn knew they wouldn’t have to ride too long, before reaching the first rise of stone. But it surprised him when, after less than an hour, the shadow broke ahead of them to show the grey light of late afternoon beyond the last of the trees. Both man and mare relaxed to see the open light ahead. Jeodyn was just about to sheath his sword and say a word of jest to Shiloh about their needless worry, when something large passed across the dim light of the open road ahead. The smile vanished soundlessly from his lips.

A tall shadow moved from tree to tree, some six or seven lengths ahead, near the wood’s edge, and another started into the trees just behind it. They weren’t the same Shadorym from Dresdin, but that didn’t matter; they were the same enemy. Jeodyn flexed his grip on Lionshard’s hilt and prepared himself for the fight that was coming. No more running now; these two barred his way to the light, the path to his sister and seeing his mother’s happiness restored. They’d have to fight to keep him from it.

For a moment, Jeodyn contemplated taking to the ground and letting Shiloh fall back to safer trees, but quickly thought better of giving up his elevated position and stayed his mount. The animal beneath him seemed as eager and ready to fight as he, and they both held their ground.

As the second figure entered into the gloom of the forest, both Shadorym disappeared and were gone. Leaning forward, Jeodyn strained his eyes to see into the darkness beyond the glare of Shiloh’s white coat. He struggled to discern which shadows were actually moving and which were simply branches blowing in the wind. The endless dark of the forest depths churned with movement, all of it menacing; everything looked dark and threatening, waiting to attack. Then as Jeodyn looked ahead toward the front of the trail, the heavy shadow of a man fell on him soundlessly from his high left. In a moment, he was being dragged from Shiloh’s back.

Here again, the horse proved his worth and moved to stay beneath him, bearing the full weight of his fall on its mane. Turning his shoulders, Jeodyn shrugged the shadow off and quickly righted himself; then the second shadow attacked from his direct front. As he saw it, the lighted end to the Black Forest was blotted out by the shadow advancing against him. All he could see was a charging darkness.

Everything moved with such speed and indefinite form; he couldn’t tell if it were one Shadorym or a host of them coming for him. With no time to think, Jeodyn lifted Lionshard to meet the darkness as it came, and he struck. He’d seen no steel or blade, but as the shadow passed, the whistle of something slicing the air announced the presence of one. The sound of swords clashing shattered the silence of the forest, as Lionshard took the full force of the Shadorym’s attack. Jeodyn was nearly unhorsed by it. Reclining back into Shiloh’s rear flanks however, he let the shadow pass over him and was able to stay his place again.

The two Shadorym were behind him now, but looking back, Jeodyn saw nothing of them. They’d disappeared into shadow again, and he couldn’t find even a trace of movement to place either. Ahead though, he found a clear road to the grey light of open air and made quickly for it. Shiloh must’ve seen the same, as he’d hardly been given the command and they were off, sprinting toward the light.

The edge of the trees grew near quickly; four eyes held the light, and four legs sprinted them toward it. But darkness stirred there again before they could reach it. As Jeodyn watched, the shadow of limbs and branches on either side of the road resolved into the forms of two men. An absolute mortal fear to behold; his eyes had never seen such a thing, but they wouldn’t keep him any longer from the light. No doubt the fight would follow him, but it would be fought on fairer ground.

Ducking low, Jeodyn prepared for an attack, and as Shiloh sped them toward conflict, he lifted Lionshard to meet the shadows as they came. Another clash of steel and the feel of a violent strike against his blade announced the first of the Shadorym. This one passed with great force but little effect over Jeodyn’s left shoulder.

The second of the dark men didn’t pass so easily. As Lionshard glanced off the first shadow’s blade, Jeodyn kept it moving upward and into the dense darkness of what looked to be the other’s chest. A sound like death itself screamed from the thing, sending a terrible and wonderful echo through the trees. Carrying the weight on his blade up and over his head, he let the wounded Shadorym fall somewhere to his right, and the path ahead was clear again.

Racing for the forest’s edge, Jeodyn could hear the wounded Shadorym still screaming behind him, just as clearly as he could hear the other giving chase. The fear of being stabbed in the back was a very real one, and every fiber of his being wanted to turn and face the darkness. But the desire to be free of the Black Forest moved him now, both he and the horse beneath him, and they didn’t stop. Quickly, Shiloh and Jeodyn with him leapt out from the gloom of the trees and into the overcast light of early evening.

Once comfortably clear of the trees, they turned and waited for the darkness to come again. Not surprising, the Shadorym seemed less eager to face him with the light now on his side. Neither showed themselves right away. Jeodyn tried to watch the entire length of the tree line at once, to see them when they came, but the dark spaces between the trees moved and danced all over. The painful sounds of wailing echoed from them. After a moment, the shadow of one tree directly in front of Jeodyn bled into another and then another, to form the rough shape of a man staggering out from the darkness.

The shadowy figure showed no detail to name it a man, no face or eyes, but the dark outline of an arm clutched at its belly. Hunched over and still howling in pain, the wounded shadow limped forward, almost indifferent of Jeodyn. It looked wanting only to get past him. He could see no blade drawn, and the silhouette showed no aggressive movement, as it drew near. It shielded its eyes with a dark arm, seemingly from the glare of Shiloh’s white coat, and shuffled slowly by, still bent at the waist and walking with a great effort.

Seeing only the creature of darkness that had tried to kill him, Jeodyn cared little for the wounded image the shadow had become. And with the thing lurching slowly past, he dropped Lionshard down on top of it. No scream came this time, as Jeodyn cleaved the head from its dark body, only the soft sound of heavy shadow hitting the ground. Where the thin and elongated head fell, the shadow left it, leaving a drawn and sunken, grey face silently screaming its last agony. The headless body kept though its feet.

As he watched, the darkness about the Shadorym’s form faded to show a shrunken creature, whose features only vaguely remembered the man it used to be, still trying to get past him. The thing moved slow and awkward with a crippled step. Withered, grey arms clamored atop its birdlike shoulders for the head now on the ground at Shiloh’s feet.

Eventually, its bowed and bony legs buckled at the knees, and the last traces of life left the Shadorym. As the thing hit the ground, a look of age fell over its remains, making them look long-dead and more like the corpse of a monster than a man. Jeodyn quickly returned his attentions to the tree line and its countless shadows, all of which still seemed to be moving.

Though dull and grey, the sun remained on his side and, with it, the small comfort of knowing it would last another hour yet. The dim daylight was enough to see the darkness when it came, and Jeodyn waited, trying to guess where he might see the Shadorym first. The one now dead on the ground had been hurt. It moved slowly, even indifferent of him; the next, he knew, was unharmed and would no doubt move quicker and more aggressively when it came. Sitting atop Shiloh with Lionshard put out before him, Jeodyn could only watch the trees, expecting another attack at any moment.

When the shadows first began to stir in front of him again, Jeodyn didn’t see it. Thinking it the same deep shadow that had been there since he left the trees, his eyes moved past the gathering gloom without notice. But as his wary stare passed again to the left, the darkness to his right came to life and leapt out from the trees. Jeodyn saw the Shadorym as it moved and he moved with it. Lionshard led the way, and Shiloh beneath him turned into the attack.

Starting toward the fight, he couldn’t help but notice this Shadorym’s lack of aggression. The thing bounded from the dark of the forest at speed, but instead of confronting him, it moved only to get past and to the mountain pass at his back. Being reduced to even numbers and now forced to face him on fairer ground, the dark thing wanted nothing of the fight. The lone Shadorym sprinted by Jeodyn, hissing as it went, and had almost beaten him to the pass, when Lionshard found the shadow of its flesh.

Another scream of fear and pain echoed off the mountains and died in the trees, as Lionshard tore diagonally through the thing’s lower half. After that, all the speed of the creature’s swift retreat was lost. The grey remnant of an emaciated appendage fell to the ground, and its shadow faded to ash and bone, like the first corpse had. Hobbled and staggering now on only one shadowed leg, the Shadorym cared little to reclaim its lost limb. The creature wanted only to get away, but it fled much slower now than at the start. Only then did Jeodyn leave his mount and take to the ground.

On foot, he quickly caught the wounded Shadorym and he raised Lionshard high above his head. Still the thing fought awkwardly to get to safer shadows, where it would no doubt raise the alarm to the others. But before it could limp any further, Jeodyn’s blade fell, and the darkness about the Shadorym fell with it. Grey remains of the thing’s wasted body dropped lifeless to the ground. Jeodyn pulled his blade free of its head, now cloven in two just left of center and laying widely apart. The two dead heaps of broken shadow no longer posed any threat.

The immediate danger had ended, but Jeodyn hardly felt free of his fear. Shadows seemed to lurk all around, in the trees behind him as well as throughout the stone rising in front. The daylight was failing quickly, as was Jeodyn’s hope to see this thing done with the sun still shining over the world. Such was his lot. He looked out into the darkening heights of the Black Mountains where he needed to go and then back to the forest from where he’d just come. It seemed a long way left between, and that path he’d have to find on his own.

Shiloh had brought him this far and had proved most needed, but he could go no further. Rocks and ruts and hidden pitfalls littered every step of the road ahead, and Jeodyn couldn’t trust himself to lead the way safely. And Shiloh’s white coat, beautiful though it was, shone like a beacon in the dark. Any element of surprise would be lost, were he to continue on the proud horse. They’d have no hope of hiding, if the need brought them to it.

He’d have to say his goodbyes to the magnificent horse, his goodbyes and his thanks. He’d never have made it so far so fast, or even survived the journey, had the strange animal not come to him. It had, and Jeodyn was thankful, but he and Jynn would have to make the trip home without the aid of such fine company.

“Thank you,” he whispered into Shiloh’s face. “Go, and find your way back to the lighted place that sent you… go find your Lady, if she be the one.” And with a last touch to the animal’s muzzle, Jeodyn turned to leave him. Shiloh watched him go for a moment then the horse dipped his head almost sadly and turned back toward the shadow of the forest.

Jeodyn was sad to see him go, but he’d hurt more to see such a fine creature come to any harm, especially from hands as evil as those lurking in these dark places. He watched Shiloh’s light fade in the gloom of the Black Forest then he turned back to find the shadow that awaited him. The Dark Road Jeodyn had come half the world to find was here at hand; he had nothing left now but to walk it.