Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: Nightingale

Media Type: Enhanced Ebook
Title: Nightingale
Author: David Farland
Publisher: East India Press
Pages: Kindle; 424
Release Date: October 31, 2011
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
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HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: EVERYONE. Seriously.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari  / Amazon / B&N
Bron Jones was abandoned as a newborn. Thrown into foster care, he is rejected by one family after another, until he meets Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognizes him for what he really is—what her people call a “nightingale.”

But Bron isn’t ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know.
Bron’s secret may be the most dangerous of all.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, David Farland shows why critics have called his work “compelling,” “engrossing,” “powerful,” “profound,” and “ultimately life-changing.”

Strap yourself in my friends, you're in for a wild ride! Nightingale is the whole package. Bron Jones is an orphan. Shipped from home to home over the years, he's never quite figured out what it is about him that is different. Try as he might he just doesn't seem to fit in with any family. Is it just bad luck, or is it fate? Bron's character isn't a confident one, he isn't comfortable in his own skin, at least not at the beginning. After so much heartache and disappointment, he's still managed to become a caring and sweet individual which really endeared me to him. There's a lot of hurt hiding there, but a lot of strength too.

Every character in this story, from those that steal the center stage for a bit to the more supporting ones, is extremely well written. David Farland shows his expertise at creating characters who are vivid and believable. There honestly wasn't a moment while I was reading that I wasn't fully immersed in the story. I cared about these characters. I loved, I loathed, I shivered with disgust. The evil and the good, it all bleeds off the page and into your heart. It was almost as if I was watching a movie unfold in front of me except, in this case, it was all happening in my mind as I read the words on the page. If you are a reader who craves character development, welcome to your Eden.

Nightingale just further proves to me why David Farland is considered to be a master of this genre. Bron's story navigates all types of twists and turns, and there is so much to fall in love with in every chapter. Perfectly paced, this is the type of book that will keep you reading fervently until the very end. Add in the stunning enhancements that the book provides to the readers, and this isn't just a story, it's an experience. Each chapter has it's own graphic novel page with moving characters, sound effects, and even a music track that fits the tone of where the story is going. I found myself excited to start a new chapter, just to get a glimpse at what was going to happen next.

Even without all the bells and whistles that Nightingale hides within its pages, I can assure you that this is one hell of a story. The animated pages at the beginning of each chapter were amazing. The music that fit just perfectly with that particular chapter drew you in. However when it comes right down to it, David Farland's uncanny ability to write an engrossing story is really what really brings it all home. I can promise you that Nightingale is unlike anything you've ever read or experienced before. It's an all encompassing, immersive experience that will draw you in and make you forget reality. If you aren't a David Farland fan yet, you will be. You will be.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reading in the Future: A guest post by the epic David Farland

If you are a lover of Fantasy and Science Fiction, you might recognize this man. David Farland is the author of multiple award winning single books and series in these genres. His Runelords series is one I've gotten completely hooked on.

He is, in a word, my idol. You have no idea how happy I am to have him on the blog today!

David Farland is pushing the boundaries of what we know as a "book" with his new enhanced novel Nightingale. I will be reviewing it tomorrow, but let me just say that it is truly impressive how immersing this book is. It contains an epic story, coupled with music AND animations. I'll share more tomorrow.

For now I'll let him take it away, as he shares his view of the "book" and what it will soon become. 


Reading in the Future 



Imagine that you put on your “reading glasses.” The glasses are dark, fitted with lasers and high-quality stereo earbuds, so that as you put them on, your entire field of vision is captured. A laser inside the glasses flashes a novel title on the interior surface of your eye.

Of course, the book you see is my book (why not, it's my fantasy). The letters start small, off in the distance and they quickly draw closer to you, but they don't stop, they wash right over you and just when it seems they're all around you, they explode in a burst of light, “Nightingale, by David Farland.” You can hardly imagine what life was like before 3D. As soon as you read the last word, a laser with a computer link that tracks your eye movement cues the background music, and images begin to flash in your eye—a holographic video-clip of the character of Bron, as an infant, being abandoned outside the door of a cheap hotel in the Utah desert. The camera pans up to the face of his mother, Sommer, bitter and broken, with tears in her eyes. We flash to the prologue, where Sommer runs through a forest at night, her breathing deep, while dogs snarl and bark as they give pursuit. Fireflies rise up around her.

Words to the novel appear on screen, as background music continues, and you begin to read. As Sommer twists her foot and falls, the lasers pace your reading and insert a sound-effect—the thud of a body falling, the hiss of breath knocked from Sommer’s throat. The dogs bay more excitedly. A man’s heavy footsteps can be heard tromping through the brush behind the reader, and a startled mewling cry escapes Sommer’s throat. . . .

Welcome to the future of reading, where text, images, sounds and music forge a collage. That’s the vision I have that led me to become a co-founder of East India Press.

The technology to do this already exists. The use of heads-up displays in fighter jets was pioneered in the 1960s, and that technology has now gone public. Though readers now are using the iPad2 and the Kindle Fire, I’m looking forward to the devices we’ll have five years from now, or ten years.

How can reading technology be better than with current books?

We don’t want to replace reading. We don’t want to make movies. Reading often engages the audience’s imagination in ways that movies fail to. We want to keep it that way. We want the reader to be a partner with us in bringing a tale to life. At the same time, we hope to ‘enhance,’ the story, help readers become more fully involved with it, yet keep budgets reasonable. With film clips, animations, illustrations, background music, and sound effects, we can create something that fuses a lot of storytelling tools.

Creating e-books has become cheap and easy. This year, it is estimated that three million people will be putting their own e-books up for sale. That’s a staggering number. If you spend twelve hours a day just examining those titles, and spend only ten seconds studying each e-book put up this year, you wouldn’t be able to glance at even 1/100th of all the books that will be published—much less read one!

Readers are being deluged, often with books that aren’t any good. Most of those books, unfortunately, wouldn’t have made it past an editor. The author just wasn’t ready. Sure, there will be a few diamonds among all of that coal, but no editor will have time to sort through it.

I've had my share of sorting through manuscripts. For nearly a decade I was the first judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests. A funny story, once an editor of a major publisher asked me to help pick a book to give the “big publicity push to” for the next year. I read through thirty books and selected a book that the marketers thought was “too-long” for its intended audience. I pointed out that the book was also written several grade levels too high for its intended audience. But it was a great book, so I urged them to push it despite the book’s apparent problems. It was called Harry Potter.

Even though authors can publish their own works, we’re going to need editors in the future who understand how to green-light a novel, who can recognize what will please an audience. But once a work is selected, the editor will take the role of a producer—assembling a creative team of composers, musicians, illustrators, animators, directors, sound-effects engineers, and so on.”

Distributing enhanced books won’t be expensive. After all, it will be done electronically. There are no copies to print, ship, or store. But creating them will be expensive and time-consuming.

Still, it will be a lot less expensive than making a movie. To create a really great movie with a lot of special effects can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and it will only give the viewer an hour or two of entertainment. But by meshing technologies, we can create a similar experience with novels, spending perhaps only a hundred thousand or two—and it will give a reading experience that might last for twenty or thirty hours or more! Novels have a unique ability to let us achieve deep penetration into the minds and emotions of a character, much more so than with a film. I’m excited about the possibilities.

In fact, I am so excited about the possibilities that I went indie with this next novel. I didn't have to by any means. I'm an award-winning New York Times bestseller. Instead, I decided to start my own publishing company for enhanced novels. I see potential. Nightingale is the first young adult novel I’ve written, outside of a little work with Star Wars and the Mummy. I knew it could be a hit, but I wanted to do something . . . unique with it. I've trained dozens of other #1 international bestsellers, people like Brandon Sanderson and Stephenie Meyer, and I've learned to spot “good,” whether it's someone else's work or my own. Nightingale has it.

Now that it’s done, this is a first step toward creating a more-engaging form of novel, the kind that kids who are reluctant readers might devour. I’m looking forward to see what we can do in ten or twenty years. But Nightingale is a step toward that future.

Nightingale is the story of a young man, abandoned at birth, rejected from foster home after foster home. People see that he’s brilliant and talented, but also “strange.” He’s the ultimate loner until he meets Olivia, a marvelously gifted teacher, who recognizes that Bron is something special, something that her people call a “Nightingale,” a creature not quite human.

I was excited to see how it would be received. I was even more excited when the first reviewer said, “I devoured the novel. It was absolutely incredible! . . . I struggled to explain just how much I enjoyed it in my review. . . . After reading Nightingale, I don't think I will even be able to go back to reading regular e-books again. Like it says in my review, reading the enhanced Nightingale felt like an ‘experience.’ It didn't feel quite like a book or a movie. It initiated all of my senses. . . . enhanced ebooks are actually a real deal.” That's what we were hoping people would see in it. The future of books is beginning now.

Best of all, East India Press has created a new web simulation technology that mimics how the book appears on the iPad, so you can see and hear it for yourself for free at www.nightingalenovel.com.




A HUGE thank you to David Farland for this guest post!

I completely agree with everything he wrote. Just reading this book has been an "experience" and I for once am glad I've had it. Check back tomorrow for my review, and here is a trailer to blow your mind.





Friday, November 25, 2011

The Paranormal Turkey Tour! Meet some great authors, get some great books!


Ah yes, Thanksgiving. Nothing says the holidays like sitting around a fully decked out dining room table with mouthwatering temptations waiting to be gobbled up. Everyone waits anxiously for the big reveal… the turkey!

Lovingly prepared since early that morning, the turkey is brought out in a covered, silver serving platter. Aunt Edith smacks little Tommy's hand as he attempts to steal a candied yam dripping with marshmallow. The collective breath is held as the silver cover is removed… revealing… a zombie turkey!

What—what? That's right folks, this year, we are celebrating this American holiday paranormal style. And what says paranormal holiday better than a walking, talking zombie turkey?

This zombie turkey brings you important tidings of great prizes that shall be for all people… who participate and win of course.

November 25-27 you could win up to $200 in prizes!


Three days. Four YA paranormal books. Five chances to win!

And who are these crazy paranormal authors? Check them out. It's like the Nightmare Before Christmas, Thanksgiving style!

Emlyn Chand, author of Farsighted

"Psychic or not, you'll never see the end for this one coming! Emlyn Chand is pioneering 'the next big thing' for YA." ~ Emily Reese, author of Second Death

 Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

  Monster Mash: Emlyn says… I. AM. WEREWOLF! And why's that you ask? First off, my name (Chand) literally means moon in Sanskrit. Next, werewolves are super cool--we can blend in with common folk, and then out of nowhere, kapow! I'm a werewolf, and I sure am hungry. Lastly, Team Jacob 100%. Now excuse me while I cock back my head and howl at my namesake.

Patti Larsen, author of Family Magic

"Patti Larsen is truly gifted because I read Family Magic cover to cover and I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment!" ~ from Goodreads review

 Sixteen-year-old Sydlynn Hayle is the daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord, but she just wants to be ordinary. When her coven comes under attack, Syd must face the fact only her power can save her family's magic.

  Monster Mash: Patti says… I am a witch. Naturally. I weave spells with my words, cast incantations from my keyboard, mix up the very best potions in my cauldron of documents. You want to stay on my good side. Trust me. Unless you enjoy waking up as something... unnatural.

 Kimberly Kinrade, author of Forbidden Mind

"Forbidden Mind is a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment." ~Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

 Paranormal teens with unimaginable powers. An evil organization with deep secrets. When Sam, a girl who reads minds, meets a boy who controls minds, she discovers her future isn't what she thought. Together they must escape and free the others… or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love.

  Monster Mash: Kimberly says… I may look like a demon, but I'm actually a succubus. Enchanting and seductive, I weave stories that will fuel your passions and make you fall in love. But be warned… once you fall under the spell of my words, your world will never be the same.

John Corwin, author of The Next Thing I Knew

 Corwin does a phenomenal job of including humor throughout this novel. This book was like . . . Ghost (the movie) meets The Host (by Stephanie Meyer) meets MIB (Men In Black the movie). ~Maryann, Chapter by Chapter

 The afterlife is the last thing on Lucy’s mind until she and every other human on the planet drop dead and find themselves in the hereafter. Lucy drags her social life back from the grave and enlists her friends to figure out the rules of the afterlife and, more importantly, to discover who or what killed everyone and why anyone would do such a mean thing.

  Monster Mash: John says… I am a ninja. After all, vampires are simply ninjas with fangs. They can hide in plain sight, right in your living room. Jump out and scare the wits out of you. Drop a smoke bomb and poof! All you’re left with is stinky smoke in your house and soiled underclothes.





The Prizes

Four $25 Book Entries: For each of the four books in the contest, you can enter to win $25 (up to $100 in giveaways!) Simply buy a copy of the book (each is priced at just 99 cents for this special promotion) and email the proof of purchase for that book OR submit the first sentence of the fifth chapter for that book to ParanormalTurkey@gmail.com. Winners will be chosen randomly. Each person can submit one entry per book. Here are the links for each book:
And... if you buy all FOUR books, you are entered to win the Grand Prize!  

The Grand Prize

One randomly selected reader who enters to win all four book prizes (Family Magic, Farsighted, Forbidden Mind and The Next Thing I Knew) will win the grand prize of $100. So go on now and pick up a copy of these fantastic paranormal reads before the zombie turkey eats you! What? Still around? Then enjoy these fun book trailers and Paranormal Turkey Tour trailer. (Then go buy the books.) Also, leave a comment and help your favorite blog host win a $50 prize!

  Notes:
  • All winners will be chosen randomly using random.org.
  • Amazon links are provided, but books purchased through any online vendor will qualify with proof of purchase.
 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

From Sketch to Chapter Art, an Illustrator at Work: Inside the Moon Coin


I'm very pleased today to have Richard Due, and his lovely illustrator Carolyn Arcabascio, here to share a little bit about the making of The Moon Coin. If you missed my review you can find it here, but quite honestly this book is pure magic. Read on my friends, and get lost in the artwork that brings this book to life! Then check below for a chance to take a copy home for your very own!



From Sketch to Chapter Art, an Illustrator at Work

For me, getting to work with Carolyn Arcabascio was a dream come true. On The Moon Coin, we worked from a master list of scene options, with Carolyn picking out scenes she liked and making sketches. For the prologue, Carolyn drafted three options. All three were great, but two in particular were spectacular. I first went with option 3 (one of my scene suggestions). I think we spent more time on this sketch and subsequent color drawing than on any other piece. But it never seemed right. At the eleventh hour, I asked Carolyn how hard she’d hit me if I suggested scrapping the thing and instead going with the pinky promise scene you see below (one of her scene suggestions). Carolyn responded: "There would be no hitting involved!" and told me it wouldn't be a problem. You sure can't ask for better than that.


From the Prologue: Bedtime Tales.
sketch2artworkprologueb2.jpg
Click on image to enlarge.

Richard: Did you make all these sketches in the same location, Carolyn?

Carolyn: Yes, I do all of my work at a drafting table that's situated in a little nook of my apartment in Acton, Massachusetts. There's a bookshelf to my right and a wall of "inspiration" to my left, where I hang prints of other artists' and illustrators' work. On either side of my drafting table are drawers of supplies, and stacks of sketchbooks and old paintings. The drafting table faces a window overlooking a quiet street and the woods beyond it.

From Chapter Two: A Coin of the Realm.
Click on image to enlarge.

Richard: Do you use models when you're sketching?

Carolyn: I use a combination of models and photo references. If I need to work out the nuances of a character's posture and really understand the perspective of it, I'll ask whatever friend or family member is handy to pose for a sketch. Often, I'll get into the position myself or mimic the facial expression I want to portray in order to get the feel of it. And sometimes, if there's a character being portrayed multiple times across scenes, I'll make a rough model of their head out of clay so I'll have it to refer to.

From Chapter Four: To Barreth.
sketch2artworkchapterthreesb.jpg
Click on image to enlarge.

Richard: When drawing fantastical creatures, do you use bits and pieces of real animals for inspiration, or have you actually seen a wirtle and you're just not telling us? ;)

Carolyn: No wirtles native to Massachusetts, fortunately! When figuring out the look of fantastical creatures, I use photo references of different animals to understand the way the anatomy might work, and then combine features as I see fit and as the story calls for. To understand the wirtle's legs and paws, for example, I referred to a series of photographs of show dogs leaping over hurdles. The severely arched, scruffy back was influenced by photos of hyenas on the prowl. The bone-structure of the face ended up being something of a cross between a cow and a warthog, and I wanted the snout to be bare—kind of gross and raw-looking. Add it all up and, voila! We have a wirtle.


The Moon Coin, by Richard Due, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore for $2.99.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ready for your chance to have your very own copy?


Richard has sweetly offered up not one, not two, but FOUR copies to all you lovely readers!

If you win your copy will be delivered via a Kindle gift. Please make sure that you include your email address in your entry so that your prize can be delivered!

ENTER HERE

Don't have a Kindle? No problem! The Kindle app allows you to read on your phone, computer, and even your Ipad! Check it out.




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: The Moon Coin

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Moon Coin
Author: Richard Due
Illustrator: Carolyn Arcabascio
Publisher: Gibbering Gnome Press
Pages: Ebook; 297
Release Date: August 25, 2011
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade/Lower YA
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fantasy readers, or those who love a good story.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Librarything / Amazon / B&N

For Lily and Jasper Winter, the Moon Realm began with a single secret bedtime tale. As the children grew older, Uncle Ebb enthralled them with thrilling tales of the Dragondain riding horse-sized, catlike Rinn; mysterious tales of peerin-wielding lunamancers manipulating the magic that lies just beneath the surface of reality; exciting tales of flying dragons, swimming merfolk, stomping giants, and troublesome faeries. But as the magic of their childhood faded, so too did the tales. Eventually, they were just . . . good stories.

Or were they?

Now, nine years after it all began, Uncle Ebb is missing.

What first struck me about The Moon Coin above all else, was the illustrations. Even before I read the synopsis, even before I tried the first page, I fell in love with the hand drawn illustrations. Call me old fashioned, but I really miss the days when all illustrations looked like these. Computers are a fantastic invention (without them this ebook wouldn't exist) but I sure do miss the gorgeous fruits of someone talented's labor. Carolyn Arcabascio's illustrations really bring the story to life. They are that little link that makes all the difference in becoming immersed in the story.

I'll honestly tell you that this book drew me in once I did start reading. Similar to a lot of fantastic middle grade reading out there, we start out the book by meeting the characters, and it's easy to fall in love with them right away. Lily and Jasper are precocious children to say the least. They love solving puzzles, getting into mischief (although not always on purpose) and going on adventures. The wonderful part about them is that they really defy their age. Both of them are malleable enough to fit into any child's imagination. Even as a reader who isn't necessarily the target audience, I fell in love with them as well.

The worlds in this story are vivid and beautifully descriptive. I really felt like I was transported to all of the places that were presented to me. New races pop off of the page, and the reader is swept away into far off lands inhabited by some of the most wonderful and unique characters. However, this is also why I am not entirely sure that this book should be labeled Middle Grade. The story itself is definitely Middle Grade friendly, what with the adventures and fast moving plot. A lot of the descriptions though are very word heavy and boast some vocabulary that might not fit into this label. That's not to say all Middle Grade readers won't appreciate them. I just wonder if a lot of the imagery might be lost on a younger reader. This does make The Moon Coin a great choice for a family read in my mind though!

Overall this was definitely a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Although it took me a little while to become absorbed in my reading, once I was I wouldn't have wanted to quit reading. The ending to The Moon Coin leaves just enough to the imagination to open it up to a sequel! I for one cannot wait to see where Richard Due takes us next. If you have a young reader who enjoys Fantasy, loves to be lost in a good story, or just wants something new, give them this book. You won't regret it!




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2012 Standalone Reading Challenge - Joining up!


Red Button

Time for challenge number two!

I'm a huge fan of series, but it's nice every now and then to read a book that is amazing enough to just stand alone. No cliffhangers. No shaking your fist at the world. Just a plain old good book that reminds you why you started reading in the first place.

The Challenge:
Read 15 stand alone books that are released in 2012.


Here's what I'm planning on reading (for now):

1. Fracture by Megan Miranda
2. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
3. Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala
4. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
5. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
6. Partials by Dan Wells
7. Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz
8. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
10. Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
11. Dead to You by Lisa McMann
12. Candlewax by C. Bailey Sims
13. Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook
14. The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
15. Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulburg


That's how it stands for now! We'll see if any other books take the spots, but I'm looking forward to all of these :).

If you want to join up you can visit Icey Books like I did! Happy reading in 2012 everyone!



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Children's Book Review: Vunce Upon A Time

Media Type: Hardcover Picture Book
Title: Vunce Upon a Time
Author: J. Otto Seibold
Illustrator: Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: Hardcover; 40
Release Date: September 1, 2008
Source: Publisher
--------------------------------------
Appropriate Age Group:
As a read aloud I'd say this is appropriate for any group! Some of the vocabulary is a little advanced though, so independent readers might find it tricky. As an independent read I'd put it somewhere around 2nd or 3rd grade level.

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Dagmar is not like other vampires. He's shy, he's afraid of humans, and . . . he's a vegetarian! But even more than he likes vegetables, Dagmar loves candy. And when he hears about all the treats he can get on Halloween, he knows he has to be brave and venture out into the human world. A wonderful new book from the author and illustrator of Olive, the Other Reindeer.

Vunce Upon A Time is all sorts of adorable. This unique picture book pairs Siobhan Vivian's brilliant illustrations with a story from one of my favorite authors, J. Otto Seibold. If you haven't had a chance to dive into any of Siebold's other stories I'll give you a quick sum up. They are always quirky, always adorable, and always something you won't find anywhere else. That's why I was so excited to meet Dagmar!

Dagmar's story is short and sweet. He's a vampire who just so happens to be a vegetarian! However, despite his love of leafy greens, his all time favorite snack is none other than candy. Happily, Halloween just so happens to be the perfect time to get tons of free candy! This story follows Dagmar as he tries to figure out how to make his Halloween night a big success, without running into any scary humans. What is one little vampire to do?

Reading a book to kindergartners is always a worry for me. It has to hold their attention really well or they'll be antsy within minutes. Dagmar didn't disappoint! They fell in love with his silly story, and were extremely amused that he was afraid of humans. We had a great discussion about what being a vegetarian means, and even tied it in to learning about different types of vegetables. I would have liked to see a little more mention of that topic in the story, but it was just as adorable as is. After all, Halloween is all about the candy.

The illustrations are really what brought the story to life. Vivian's illustrations pop off the page and brought forth quite a few giggle sessions from the kids. The pages where Dagmar was debating on a costume had them howling with laughter! If I had to sum this book up in three words: fun, unique and cute. Never before have I met a vegetarian vampire, but Dagmar is definitely my kind of storybook character! I look forward to more of his adventures and I know that my kids do too!





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: Trick or Treat

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Trick or Treat
Author: Richie Tankersley Cusick
Publisher: Open Road
Pages: Kindle Edition; 165
Release Date: October 4, 2011 (Kindle)
Source: NetGalley
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence; Horror
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fans of R.L. Stine and Christopher Moore

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
A young girl is tormented by her new house’s terrible past

Martha wants to be happy for her father. She likes his new wife—even if she’s a terrible cook—but she doesn’t understand why they had to leave Chicago and move to this horrible house in the country. It’s big, broken-down, and miles from anywhere, alone in the woods with nothing on the property but an overgrown cemetery. But at night it doesn’t feel empty. Conor—her new, weird stepbrother—chose Martha’s new room for her. It’s dark and drafty, and no matter how she tries to fix it up, she can’t sleep easily there. At night, whispers come from the closet, filling Martha with a sense that something terrible happened here. She’s right. Not long ago, the house was the site of a gruesome murder. When Conor and Martha’s parents leave town on their honeymoon, the two teens will find out why the dead don’t rest easy at the old Bedford house. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Richie Tankersley Cusick including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

Here's the honest truth. My teenage self would have ravenously read this book, only to pick it up again a few weeks later and read it again. Why? Trick or Treat utilizes all of the classic (and slightly cliche) horror aspects that keep you turning pages at a manic pace. Creepy house? Check. Hot guy who takes the girl's attention? Yup! Add in a haunting back story to the house, a well situated honeymoon, and you've got yourself quite the set up for a good horror story. I ate up books like this back then, and I still do now even if it's at a slower pace.

I liked Martha for the most part. She fits the bill of a horror story protagonist perfectly. A little whiny, a little uncomfortable in her own skin, and afraid to share how she feels with others. However what impressed me most about her character was how much I really felt like I knew her. Without even realizing it, I had been introduced to Martha's character so deeply that I knew what she would do next. Cuisck pulls you in close. She lets you see everything that's happening and, if you're like me, you'll find yourself screaming "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?" at the book pages.

The setting too, is perfectly done. As I mentioned, you've got the haunted house! Martha's new hometown has that small town vibe. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. It's hard to hide a secret. Or is it? It's this setting that really helps make the story come alive. As I read I actually felt immersed in the book. It sucks you in and even if you know what's coming next, you'll keep reading. It's like waiting for something to spring from the shadows. You know it's coming, but you have to see it for yourself.

Sure I figured out the plot twist about 40 pages in. Yes, I realized that this was following the road of most teen centered horror movies. Keep in mind that this book was originally written when all of that was new, fresh, and expected. Plus there's something to be said for that classic plot line. We know it, we love it. Especially when it's done well. By the time I got to the end I was reading like a mad man. Cusick knows how to take what's been done hundreds of times, and do it well enough to give you the shivers. Don't read this before bed.
 




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

I need this challenge!






I am signing up for the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge because I desperately need to get through all those books sitting (and staring accusingly at me) on my shelves! I always mean to get to them, and then I get a new shiny ARC...and...well....I'm sorry books.


Welcome to 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge!!!

We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us.. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up..

Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you've been telling yourself you'll read next time you'll get a chance.. This is your chance! And we've got PRIZES!!! :D

To join up you can visit BOOKISH like I did, and read up on the challenge specs. I find that joining a challenge actually kind of motivates me to get things done. I don't always do as well as I want, but it does help!

The levels are:
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

I think I'm going to go with A Friendly Hug and see where things go from there. A book a month? I can do that! I'm choosing not to pick my books ahead of time, but I will add a link in the challenges tab above so you can follow along with what I read!

The challenge doesn't begin until January 1, 2012 so I have plenty of time to get things in order.

So excited! Let's get reading! 



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet Kersten Hamilton's characters and take a book home. It's a win/win!



For those of you who may not know, I am an avid Kersten Hamilton fan. Her writing mixes fantasy and Celtic mythology, and her characters are wonderfully vivid!



Kersten has two books out so far, both which are fantastic. You can find my review for Tyger, Tyger here and my review for In the Forests of the Night here, if you're interested in seeing what I thought! I'd definitely suggest you give them a try though!

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Now, without further ado, I give you an interview with Teagan, Finn and Abby (who just sort of snuck in but we won't say anything).


Jessica: Since Teagan is running a little late, I’ll start with a question for you, Finn. What do you like most about Teagan? 

Finn: The girl’s brain— 
Abby: Pft. He means her bod. 
Finn: Who let you in, Gabby
Abby: (sitting down) Nobody, Dumpster Boy. I’m here to keep you honest, you know? 
Finn: I’m intending to be honest. And Tea’s…bod is not something I’ll be discussing with you or anyone else. 
Abby: So you don’t like her bod? 
Finn: I didn’t say that. I said I’m not discussing it. 
Teagan: Discussing what? I’m sorry I’m late, Jessica. 
Abby: Jessica asked Finn if he liked your bod. 
Jessica: I did not. 
Abby: Whatever. 
Teagan: What did he say? 
Finn: I said we’re moving on to the next question. 

Jessica: If you had to choose one word to describe the other person, which would you choose and why? 

Teagan: (grins) Sexy Beast
Abby: That’s two words. 
Finn: (groans) You’re never going to let me live that down, are you? 
Teagan: My Sexy Beast. 
Finn: That’s better, then. I take it you’ll be protecting me from females who only want me for my accent? 
Jessica: But seriously. 
Teagan: Courageous. Finn has more courage than anyone I’ve ever known. 
Finn: As I was saying, Tea is smart and she uses it. I’ve never known a girl like her— 
Abby: So how many other girls have you known? 
Finn: I can think of one I wish I didn’t know. 

Jessica: Okay, okay you two. Your house is about to burn down and you can only save one item! (Don't worry, everyone else is out safely.) What do you take with you? 

Teagan: My mom’s sketch books. 
Abby: I’d totally help her get those. They’re epic. 
Finn: If everyone was safe, I’d grab my kit—it’s all I own isn’t it? 

Jessica: Share with us a little known fact about yourself. Something interesting. Finn? 

Finn: My tattoo— 
Abby: Everyone knows about that. It’s a Celtic knotty thingy. 
Finn: They don’t know about the words worked into the knot, then, do they? 
Abby: Words? Get out of here. What does it say? 
Finn: (winks) I’ll tell Teagan…someday. 
Jessica: Teagan? 
Teagan: I don’t have a tattoo. 
Abby: Like you would ever get a tattoo. 
Jessica: She’s right, Tea. We all knew you wouldn’t have a tattoo. 
Teagan: Okay. I ran a bug rescue service when I was in kindergarten. 
Abby: I swear, she wouldn’t let anyone step on a cockroach. Now she rescues dumpster boys. Oh—look at the time. I gotta go. 
Finn: You hear a bowl of ice cream calling you name? 
Abby: No. I got toenails to paint. Laters, Jess. 

Jessica: Um…bye, Abby! So, one last question for each of you. What are your hopes for the future, Finn? 

Finn: I’m the Mac Cumhaill. We don’t get to hope, do we? The Mac Cumhaill never dies old and gray. But if I did—if I had time (looks at Tea and shakes his head.) 
Jessica: Tea? 
Teagan: (takes Finn’s hand) I have promises to keep. Maybe I haven’t spoken them out loud, but my heart has made them just the same. To Finn. To Cindy, and Dr. Max. To myself. 
Jessica: What have you promised? 
Teagan: To change the world. To make it right

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I hope you enjoyed your foray into the lives of Kersten Hamilton's main characters! I promise you, the more you read of them, the more you find to love.

Great news too! If you are starting out this series for the first time, you're in luck! The ebook version of Tyger, Tyger is currently on sale for only $2.99. So you can start your addiction for a fraction of the cost. WIN!

KINDLE (.MOBI) / NOOK (.EPUB)

Hurry hurry! The deal only lasts two weeks. So get your read on now.

FINALLY, and yes I thank you for reading all the way down here. You know my posts aren't often this long! I have a giveaway for you. Yes, a GIVEAWAY!

Up for grabs is a signed copy of In the Forests of the Night, sent directly to you by Kersten herself. This is open Internationally!

To enter, fill out the form below!





Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Crave

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Crave
Author: Melissa Darnell
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: Paperback; 416
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Source: NetGalley
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note.
-----------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love vampires, witches, or a mixture of the two.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Librarything / Amazon / B&N
Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….

How to describe my feelings for this book without spoiling it? For me, the highest compliment I can give Crave is that it kept me reading until the last page. Which is good. However by the time I got there I wondered how I really felt about the book overall. It didn't wow me. I didn't dislike it. My feelings for this book fall somewhere smack dab in the middle. Crave was interesting in some aspects, but let's just say that there's really nothing new being brought to the party here.

I liked Savannah okay, but I honestly didn't connect with her as much as I would have liked to. The book kind of rambles on about her day to day life, and there wasn't much to help me link to her as an actual person. Tristan also was just so for me, although I liked him a little more since he actually had quite a sense of humor. In fact, my favorite person in the book was the best friend. Anne. She really didn't even play that big of a role, but she had the most vivid personality to me, and therefore I liked her the best.

If I'm telling the truth, it was just the very cookie cutter way that this story was set up that made me so on the fence about it. I'd liken it to going into any animated Disney movie. You know the characters will be different, and there might be a slight twist or two, but overall the story will generally follow the same outline. That's Crave in a nutshell. Girl meets boy, girl is not supposed to be with boy, girl tries to stay away, boy and girl end up together, bad things ensue, crazy cliffhanger ending. Cut and dry. Crave isn't badly written, it isn't slow, it's just something I've already seen multiple times.

I think what kept me reading above all else is the way that Melissa Darnell weaves older paranormal lore into her story, but gives it a twist now and then. It was those small twists that gave me hope. I found myself more interested in the background of the people that lived in the city than in the actual main characters and their story. My hope for the next book, because yes this is a series, is that I might get to see a little bit more into the history surrounding these people and their talents. Also since we've been introduced to everyone, perhaps there will be a little more action.

So yes, although this book didn't wow me like I wish it did, I'll keep reading on. The ending definitely leaves room open for the next installment, and I'll be excited to see where Darnell takes things next. If you enjoy books that center around paranormal aspects, and have a romance for the ages, this is something that you'll enjoy.







FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I've had this song stuck in my head...



For about the last three days.

I'm not sure if that's good, or bad, or if my brain is turning to mush. It could be all three.





All I DO know is that you all now are subjected to it. HA!

Also I love Maroon 5. That is all.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Patron Saint of Butterflies

Media Type: Audiobook
Title: The Patron Saint of Butterflies
Author: Cecelia Galante
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Format: 8 CDs
Release Year: 2011 (Audiobook)
Run Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
----------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: 
Religious Discussions, Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart


Agnes and Honey have always been best friends, but they haven’t always been so different. Agnes loves being a Believer. She knows the rules at the Mount Blessing religious commune are there to make her a better person. Honey hates Mount Blessing and the control Emmanuel, their leader, has over her life. The only bright spot is the butterfly garden she’s helping to build, and the journal of butterflies that she keeps. When Agnes’s grandmother makes an unexpected visit to the commune, she discovers a violent secret that the Believers are desperate to keep quiet. And when Agnes’s little brother is seriously injured and Emmanuel refuses to send him to a hospital, Nana Pete takes the three children and escapes the commune. Their journey begins an exploration of faith, friendship, religion and family for the two girls, as Agnes clings to her familiar faith while Honey desperately wants a new future.

Narrator Review: 
This book was unique in that Full Cast Audio doesn't just employ one narrator, they employ many! That means this book had a different person's voice for each character, and I loved it. If you're worried that it might be a little confusing, trust me it's not. It's wonderful to have so many different timbres and intonations throughout the story. Each character in The Patron Saint of Butterflies comes to life.

The best part for me was that Agnes and Honey, the two characters who drive the story, were easy to distinguish between. Even if you didn't hear the title of the chapter to know who was speaking, you would still know. I honestly don't know if I would have enjoyed this book as much without listening to the audiobook version.

Audiobook Rating: 5/5 - I'd definitely recommend you pick this up!

**********

Book Review:
My first thought when I finished The Patron Saint of Butterflies amounted to only this: WOW. Following that, I sat down to consider why I was so blown away. I've narrowed it down and it definitely has to do with the uniqueness of this book. Ceclia Galante deals with some topics in this story that aren't generally addressed, and she does it through the eyes of young people. There is no sugar coating here, no hand holding, just truth that comes from the experiences of these characters. In other words? Perfection.

Raised away from everything, in a religious commune, Agnes and Honey are like night and day. Friends since near birth, the girls have a very strong bond that follows them through the story. Both have extremely honest and real voices that are so wholly different. The reader is allowed to see the world through both Honey and Agnes' point of view, and that really changes the dynamic of the story. I'll be honest and say that there may be times in this story where I was close to despising Agnes. Her devout beliefs had a source, I knew, but I kept wavering between pity for her lack of life experience and wanting to hit her for being so naive. Honey on the other hand was a breath of fresh air. So alive, so unique, so unabashedly herself. The two of them play against one another wonderfully, and their differences really bring the story to life.

The journey that these girls take is breathtaking and heartbreaking in equal parts. Ceclia Galante weaves a story that deals with parts of us we generally don't tend to address. What is friendship, truly? How far can it reach when stretched? What happens when you are on two split paths? What really impressed me, above all else, though was how honestly Galante shares her real life experiences. Through these two very different girls, Galante shows us life in a commune as she experienced it, and she does it without bashing religion. It is definitely discussed in all aspects of the matter, but never once does she bash another person's beliefs.

The Patron Saint of Butterflies is a book that really hit me in the core. This book addresses religion, the idea of humanity, of family ties, and even the tried and true question of friendship. It is a book that made me ponder my own belief systems and ideas. Best of all, this story really is unlike anything I've had the opportunity to read lately. I can't express how much it blew me away. All I can say is that I want more.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Library Loot: First visit in November!


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

This is actually the first time I've  physically been to my local library in over 4 months, other than to drop donation books off. Ever since they launched their ebook rental campaign, I've been devouring books on my Nook and my Ipad :).

Today was a gorgeous day though, so I ventured out to go see what was on the shelves. Be proud! I didn't go overboard this time!



 I've been wanting to read The Penderwicks for ages, ever since I saw it mentioned in The Horn Book a few times. Somehow it just never made it into my arms though, as I was distracted by shiny new hardcovers. That was changed today! I can't wait to dive into this lighthearted story.


Rot & Ruin is yet another book that's eluded me constantly! This one because it was always checked out. Well, ha! I got it this time. Zombies, brotherly bonding, and the question of humanity. How can you go wrong?


Finally, I had to pick up Shine. Ever since the National Book Award debacle, I've been interested in this book. I hadn't even heard of it before that, but the premise sounded like something right my my alley. Plus the cover is gorgeous isn't it? More so in person, trust me.


So that's what I got this week! Anything new in your library book baskets? 



Thursday, November 10, 2011

An interview and giveaway with Victoria Simcox!

Yesterday I reviewed The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox. Today, I'm lucky enough to have her stopping by to answer a few questions and offer up a giveaway for all you lovely people!

*cue cheer here*

Take a minute to learn a little bit more about Victoria and her writing, and don't forget to leave her a comment!


An Interview with Victoria Simcox
Author of The Magic Warble


Everyone loves getting lost in story set in a magical world. What other books and/or authors inspired your world?

C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia were probably my greatest inspiration. I read these books as a child and wished that I could go with Lucy and her siblings through the wardrobe into Narnia. I also love J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, and many other great fantasy novels. When I was a child I found that there was something very exciting about going on a magical adventure without having to have your parents come along. In reality it may actually be very scary, but to imagine it, this was the most fun.


How did you come up with so many unique character names?

For me, some of the names just popped in my head, like Werrien. The main character in my story, Kristina, is my daughter's name. Some other names I come up with are by taking an ordinary word and changing the letters around, and other names, I may do more research into their meaning.


Will there be more adventures for Kristina in the future? If so, do you have any teasers for your readers?

I'm actually finished my second book in this series, and it is available for purchase. It is called The Black Shard, www.theblackshard.com. I'm hoping to have 3, possibly 4 books in the series. In The Black Shard, Kristina goes back to Bernovem and partakes in another great adventure with Werrien; this time to his homeland, Tezerel. This book is also very adventurous, suspenseful, has magical characters, evil villains, a heroin, and is spiced up with romance.

Ready to win? Enter below!




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: The Magic Warble

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Magic Warble
Author: Victoria Simcox
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Pages: Paperback; 276
Release Date: January 1, 2009
Source: Author
----------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade/Lower YA
Content Screening: Very Mild Fantasy Violence
----------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Young readers looking for a foray into fantasy.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Librarything / Amazon / B&N
Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and an evil queen - all these and more can be found in The Magic Warble, an enchanting tale of adventure and friendship.

What first attracted my attention about The Magic Warble was the mention of dwarfs, gnomes, and all other manner of fantasy creatures. Ever since I was a young reader these beings were the stuff of magic for me. I was anxious to see where Victoria Simcox would take us. What next drew me in was of course the cover. Hand drawn covers are few and far between now, so it was a breath of fresh air for me.

From page one I fell in love with Kristina, our main character. Very much the underdog in this story, I see a lot of younger readers identifying with her. She is a bit quiet, smart, but doesn't seem to have many friends. Lucky for Kristina she has an amazing teacher that she looks up to, as well as a tried and true pal in her friend Raymond, who also happens to be a rat! Kristina is feisty, but still believable as a twelve year old girl. There are moments of bravery, and moments of weakness, just like any human character. However she still shines through as a hero, and that's what is important.

Now comes the part where I was a little bit torn. Besides Kristina, all the other characters seemed to be a little bit flat to me. Almost as if Kristina was the only character who really mattered when, in actuality, many of them are very important to the story. I admit that I am an older reader who is very motivated by character development, so this was a big deal to me. However, after I took a step back, I saw that perhaps a younger reader wouldn't really see what I saw. Kristina is, after all, the hero. If she takes the spotlight then I suppose that's what the hero is supposed to do. It slightly hampered my own reading of the book but then again I'm not the target audience.

The other element that really made it difficult for me to fall in love with The Magic Warble was the writing. It is very simplistic, which would likely be fantastic for young readers but was difficult for me. There were multiple times in a paragraph that a sentence would start with the same word, which created a very repetitive read. Also, the dialogue between the characters felt very one dimensional to me, and devoid of any emotion. You know the inner voice that we readers have? The one that dictates how we would read the book out loud? It was rather monotone, and that saddened me. I would have loved to see feisty Kristina come alive on the page as she fought to save the day.

In terms of setting, however,  the world of Bernovem is rich, vivid, and really the key factor in my rating for this book. When I read a fantasy book I want to be whisked away into another place. I love to see somewhere new and exciting bleed off the pages and into my imagination. I truly believe that Simcox accomplished this beautifully. Bernovem is populated with all types of fantasy creatures, and readers will love learning about the land as they follow Kristina on her adventures. The black and white illustrations that pepper the book really help bring it all to life.

Overall, what I'm trying to say in this very rambling review is that I did enjoy The Magic Warble as a whole.  I read a lot of middle grade fiction, and I can honestly say that this would make a happy home in any child's library. The crossover appeal may not be there entirely, but I would say that a book like this would be perfect for a family to read together. Just enough adventure, the right amount of bravery, and a little bit of love. That is the recipe for The Magic Warble, and I thank Victoria Simcox for giving me the opportunity to find that out.






FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review: Ashes

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Ashes
Author: Estevan Vega
Publisher: StoneGate Ink
Pages: Ebook; 400
Release Date: September 11, 2011
Source: Author
--------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence; Mild Language
--------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Lovers of ARSON, as well as those looking for a dark, and intriguing read.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Librarything / Amazon / B&N
More than three months have passed since Arson and Emery were taken. Taken and then separated.

And experimented on.

Salvation Asylum is more like a prison than a psychiatric facility. Unknowingly, Arson has become a vital instrument in a campaign set to genetically alter mankind. Enraged, confused, trapped, and unable to fully manifest his abilities, he wonders if he will ever see Emery again. His new existence is one crawling with questions. Is Grandma alive? Where does the fire come from? Can he become more than a monster?

In Ashes, book two of the ARSON series, nightmare and reality collide as Arson must embrace what he is and the haunting realization that there may be others out there, others like him.

Let me start out with a simple statement. I liked Arson, but I loved Ashes. Loved it so much that I devoured it from cover to cover in a matter of hours. To those of you who might have started on Arson Gable's journey, but haven't yet had a chance to dive into this book, hurry up and snag a copy! Once again the driving force of this book is the darkness that is inside people. Arson and Emery each battle the internal voices that are driving them mad. Bad. Good. The lines are so blurred now it's all in question. Estevan Vega has created a world that is equal parts inside these character's head, and inside the penitentiary like asylum that contains them. Ashes is a much darker read, and it delves much further into who these characters actually are.

Arson and Emery are of course back in this sequel, but new characters make a debut too. There's Adam, a fellow prisoner and confidant. Then of course there are the captors, whose story is sinister to say the least. Finally, we get to see further into the enigma that is Emery's parents. Their story blends seamlessly in, as they hunt down the people who took their daughter. It also gives the reader a fabulous look at the guilt, the raw humanity, that is inside Emery's father. I think their story added a nice layer right on top of everything else. The POV changes multiple times in the story, to allow the reader to see through many eyes. Not to worry though. The changes are seamless and I thought that every character had a unique enough voice to make them easy to distinguish from one another.

Pieces of the puzzle that make up Arson and Emery's story are slowly revealed, and there is just enough reference to the last book to keep a reader quickly refreshed and ready to dive back in. There is so much action in Ashes, but it is evenly paced so that you always get just enough to keep you reading until the next piece of the puzzle falls into place. Is Arson something more than he once thought? Does he have the power to be more than just a freak who makes fire? What is it about his past that he just can't seem to remember? You'll find out my friends. You'll find out.

In a cruel twist, which I'm sure was entirely intentional, once again the story is open just enough at the end to allow Arson's story to continue on. In all honesty, I can't wait. Ashes is the perfect blend of all of my favorite things. Darkness, power, morality, love, and so much more. Trust me, if you haven't picked up this series yet and you have been debating it, do it now. Estevan Vega weaves a story that is well worth your time.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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