Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Character Interview: Elliot from Touching the Surface


Today, please welcome Kimberly Sabatini to the blog!

She's brought along Elliot, her main character, for an interview. If you haven't taken a look at Touching The Surface yet, I highly recommend clicking the book cover below! But let me share the synopsis with you in case you've missed it.
Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring. When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

Sounds fabulous, does it not? I'll let Elliot take it away now. Enjoy!

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1) Can you please describe yourself for us in 3 words?
Scared, brave and snarky LOL!

2) What would you say is your favorite thing about yourself? Least favorite thing?
My favorite thing is my unwillingness to give up--even when I want to--I don't. My least favorite is my insecurity.

3) If you could change one event in your life, what would it be? 
That's a hard one, because I've come to discover that life altering mistakes are meant to alter lives. There are lots of things that I'd like to do over, but I'm not so sure I should do them over. So, for now I'm just gonna say it wouldn't have killed me to have only had three slices of pizza instead of four. LOL!

4) Who is your role model?
Mel

5) What are your hopes for the future?
I can't tell you that one until after you've read the book, but you can bet that pizza will be involved.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Hanging By A Thread

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Hanging By A Thread
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 288
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Source: NetGalley
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Language
--------------------------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a paranormal read, and are looking for something a little different.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?

If nothing else, I have to say that Sophie Littlefield's Hanging By A Thread gets points for being unique. Never before have I read a book with a premise exactly like this. Sure it has a lot of similar plot devices to most other YA paranormal, but it manages to shine a little brighter than the others. If only this book had been executed a little bit better, I know it would have become one of my favorites.

Let's start with the good. The mystery surrounding Clare's story is extremely interesting. Two years running, a local has died in a mysterious way on the 4th of July. Clare takes it upon herself to figure out exactly why. Something calls her to figure it all out. Lucky for her, she happens to have the power to see the past while touching clothes. Pretty intriguing right? I thought so too.

My biggest problem, honestly, was Clare herself. At first I was enamored with her love for vintage clothing and re-purposing old into new. However the further the book moved on, the more frustrated I became with her character. For some reason Clare seems to be drawn to the bad boy, but she never really knows why. She has a fairly sour outlook on the world, which I guess makes sense because of how she uses her powers. In fact, most everyone has some type of problem in this book. These are not a very happy set of characters. 

What made it the most difficult to get through this book though was how much Clare talks about fashion. I'm no fashionista, but I'm pretty sure a lot of that could have been left out and the book still would have been wonderful. I kept flipping between really enjoying this book, and wondering when it was going anywhere. The ending saved things considerably! But by then, I was already frustrated.

Being honest, Hanging By A Thread is by no means a badly written book. The concept is great, the writing is good, it's just that the execution didn't do it for me. If you are looking for a different type of paranormal, something that is unique, give this one a shot. It might be more your style than mine.




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, October 26, 2012

The Origin of Mr. Blank: A guest post by Justin Robinson

Today's guest is Justin Robinson! He's the author of the very recently published, Mr. Blank. This has been on my radar since I first saw the announcement from Candlemark & Gleam! It sounds amazing. Fast moving and full of twists!

Anyway I'm rambling. Point being, Justin Robinson is here today to share his creation of Mr. Blank's character with you!!! I'm loving this post, but I'll stop talking and let you enjoy it. Take it away Justin!

The Origin of Mr. Blank

I swear, for the first month, I thought I was working for the Russian mob. It was a tiny office in the deep valley, where Los Angeles turns into a wasteland of mini-malls, fast food joints, and office plazas. The apocalypse has come and gone out there, but no one has had the decency to tell them. I’d say it’s the place where hope goes to die, but that’s entirely too grand. It’s the place where hope lives on its parents’ couch in a pile of Taco Bell wrappers. I was two years out of college, and still had no idea what I was going to do with my life and to make matters worse, I had been laid off of my previous shit job and was going nowhere slowly.

I looked around on all the websites for a job that basically a chimpanzee could do. Sadly, the poop-throwing place never got back to me, because I really think I had a lot to offer them. Anyway, one place got back to me very quickly: a commodities brokerage firm. I drove out into the hinterlands of the valley for the interview, and immediately got a bad feeling about the place, but I was desperate and so I accepted the job, beginning the most miserable fifteen months of my life. I probably wouldn’t have even applied had I taken the ad seriously when it said work started at five in the morning. I figured there was no way that was the case. But, see, the markets are on the East Coast, and so they keep East Coast time. So to get into work on time, I had to be up at four in the morning.

The office was a little hole in the wall and professional decorum was apparently something that happened to other companies. One of the traders brought her dog in to work, which in itself wasn’t bad, but he would howl every time he heard a siren, which in this shitty neighborhood was a lot. To avoid looking bad, we were instructed to explain to clients that it was a bomb-sniffing dog. I’m serious. Anyway, this, combined with the way the boss seemed a little fast and loose with the financials and the fact that Russian was spoken between the traders when they didn’t want me to know what was being said, convinced me this might be a money laundering operation. I was a little disappointed to learn they weren’t. Still, my imagination kept working, and this initial uncertainty and the frequently bizarre errands my sociopath of a boss would have me run eventually helped inspire Mr. Blank.

And for those wondering, the fast-and-loose thing ended up biting them in the ass when my replacement embezzled rather a lot of money from the company. I occasionally check up on my boss, and every time I do, I find that he’s involved in some increasingly bizarre entanglements, the most recent being with a cult. I’m not making any of this up. Anyway, as much as I hated that experience, it’s not something I can really regret, since it helped give me Mr. Blank.

And I finally understand the plot of Trading Places.


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Much love to Justin Robinson for stopping by! Don't forget to add Mr. Blank to your reading list!


 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kimberly Kinrade talks YA Fiction. Plus, win her newest book!



The Mass Appeal of YA Fiction - 
It's Not Just For Teens 
Guest Post by Kimberly Kinrade 

Chances are you or someone you love is addicted to Young Adult fiction. In all likelihood, you know many non-teens who fall into this category. For those who just don't understand the fascination, or who worry about your loved one's mental health, I'm here to help.

Young Adult fiction didn't start as a genre so much as an age classification for books. Depending on who you ask, (or what you read) YA lit falls somewhere between Middle Grade and Adult literature and is typically known for its teen protagonist going through coming-of-age type journeys.

However, it has sparked a reading revolution among a wide age demographic. Young teens to middle aged adults are obsessed with YA books—and the big question on many people's minds is why? Perhaps you are wondering that about your loved one. Or perhaps you too have a secret obsession with this genre-that's-not-a-genre, but don't totally understand why.

First, let's set the record straight. YA isn't a genre, per se. It's talked about like it is, but it isn't. Paranormal, romance, thriller, horror, mystery, literary fiction, sci fi, fantasy… these are genres—all of which you can find in the YA category. So if it's not a genre, and it's not just appealing to young adults, then what gives?

I know, it's confusing. Some of you may think YA lit is a gateway drug to fluff writing. Many attribute the wide-spread popularity of YA lit to the 'simplistic writing'—the argument being that people don't want to have to use their brains when they read, and YA is brainless (or something along those ridiculous and insulting lines.)

Don’t get me wrong, there's some brainless, simplistic YA out there. Just as there's the same for thriller, horror, mystery, etc. That's true of any genre (yes, okay, we'll call it a genre for sake of clarity and ease of communication, just remember, it's not really a genre.) As someone who reads and writes YA fiction (as well as children's literature and adult fiction) I find this explanation simplistic and offensive.

Sure, we want to be entertained when we read. We crave escapism and adventure. That doesn't mean the writing is bleh or that we're all mindless morons. It just means we might not always be in the mood for War and Peace. (And honestly, who is ever in the mood for that?) 

So what's the appeal? Based on what I've seen, read and heard… here are my thoughts.

One, YA is largely dominated by female authors, and female readers. That's not to say that men and boys don't enjoy reading and writing YA, but they are not the primary demographic on either side of the coin. (And please don't ask me to site sources, this is a blog, not a literary journal… a quick Google search will show this to be true.)

Perhaps because of this, YA has more strong, intelligent, kick-butt female protagonist than nearly any other genre, ever. (With epic fantasy probably being last on the list, following thrillers… this is not statistically proven, just my guess based on what I've read. And of course, there are exceptions. Just not many.) As a woman myself, I love reading about strong women and girls who are faced with hard choices and challenges and come away even stronger. I relate to them, just as many of you do. Just as our teen daughters do. It's empowering.

For this alone, the YA genre lends itself to popularity. But I think it's more than that. Within YA, you can find any genre you like, be it mystery, romance, thrillers, horror, sci fi, fantasy, paranormal… but they will all have some basic similarities that account for much of these books' appeal—the coming of age theme.

In any coming of age story, you're dealing with thematic elements that touch on deep emotional memories for most of us. We may not relate to a middle aged male detective chasing a serial killer, or an elf killing Orc's with a giant sword, but probably all of us can relate to a teenager falling in love for the first time, or feeling trapped and helpless in a situation not of their making (or of their making.) 

We've all been there, and in these books, we get to go back with the wizened eyes of age and experience and relive what we once lived, but with more grace and control. We get to escape from the drudgery of dishes and grocery shopping and cooking and working and join a girl who has to fight to stay alive and provide for her family. We get to find love with a mythical being beyond reality, or battle side by side with our best friends as we face off against evil teachers and bad wizards. No matter how magical, mythical or outside of reality the plot is, the internal drive and quest and hardships are the same.

It also provides a sense of wish fulfillment. We've been there on one level, but we haven't. Now we get to be the popular girl, or the girl who can read minds, or the one who finds eternal love. We live thousands of lives through the pages in these books, lives that are just starting out, lives that are on the cusp of unfolding into greatness. You can't get that same magic anywhere else. It's the magic of YA, that we get to begin anew each time we pick up a new book to read.

For teens, the journey is different. They are still living it, and so can relate to their paged peers. But they also get to see into the future by surviving the Hunger Games with Katniss or living happily ever after with Edward. They get to imagine their futures a hundred different ways—and they, like us adults, enjoy the wish fulfillment of these stories.

It's a powerful drive, the emotional memories and fantasies that all genre of YA books stir in us. Is it any wonder that it's so addictive? Within one massive genre-that's-not-a-genre, we get to relive the emotional intensity of our own coming-of-age. And in the end, aren't we all still going through these moments, if in a less dramatic way? We all live through new beginnings and endings, heartbreak and rebirths, closed doors and open windows. When we feel hopeless or stuck, a great YA novel brings us back to a place of hope and opportunity where anything and everything is possible, if we just turn the next page in our books—and our lives.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Keith Domingue talks writing!

It's all about Keith Domingue today!!!

As you may recall, I reviewed Luthecker earlier this month and guys...seriously? It's amazing! ESPECIALLY if you love Thrillers. Trust me. You need to add this to your reading list.

Keith is here today to share with you his opinion on writing. Are you a budding writer? This post is for you. He's a smart man, but that will be obvious when you read this. So without further ado, I'll give the floor over. Enjoy!


Write what you know…or not.


“Write what you know” is common advice given to writers when they begin their journey into storytelling. Good advice? Perhaps. It’s been told often enough to be part of the literary vernacular, so it has to have some root basis in truth. But what does that really mean? Taken too literally, that would make Stephen King a very ominous and scary human being, would it not?

Certainly, if you want to write legal thrillers, then having a degree in law, and practicing law for a period of time, would inform you with both stories and a framework that someone without that particular background would be lacking. And it’s worked out pretty well for John Grisham.

But back to the question: What does that really mean?

Well, speaking for myself, “write what you know” is about human nature, in the broadest sense. Write what you know…about Love. Hate. Compassion. Jealousy. Sacrifice. Joy. Desperation. Righteousness.

Write what you know about the defining qualities of character contained in that odd beast, the Homo Sapien.

And you come to know about these things by, well, living life. If you look at many great writers, they’ve had many jobs or careers. Personally, I’ve spent time as an engineer, a martial arts instructor, a financial consultant, a fitness coach and a professional screenwriter. And all of these things informed me when I wrote my very first novel, LUTHECKER.

But not just in a tactical sense. (I really don’t have much experience telling people about their past just based on their behavior, or telling them exactly how their lives are going to end.)

What those careers did, was expose me to a broad array of people, and I learned much about….Love, hate, compassion, jealousy, etc. And that is what I plugged into my imagination when I created Alex Luthecker, his friends, and his enemies.

So I write what I know. And you should too. And if you add vision, imagination, and research, you can write what you know about pretty much anything.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An Interview and Giveaway from Mike Slabon!

Mike Slabon is here today! If you'll recall, he's the author of Undead Reckoning, a book that is all about a mix of zombies and utter hilarity. You should really read this one if you love all out humor :). It's well worth your time.

Without further ado, I'll give the floor to Mike and his interview! Make sure to read on. There's a giveaway too!

1) Undead Reckoning is being made into a movie. What is the tagline on the movie poster?
I should preface this one. Dead Reckoning is form of orientation where one uses identifiable landmarks to determine position. The system is flawed, however, because you could pick a tree, travel in a complete circle, realize where you are (when you once again identify the tree), and yetremain completely lost. In Undead Reckoning, when the zombies rise, Eddie loses his celebrity status and is forced to reinvent himself. Death is symbollic of transformation. Here’s the tagline: “How can find your way in life if you know not where you have been in death?”

2) Since we're in a zombie mood, what would you say is your favorite zombie movie?
Dawn of the Dead (1978 version)

3) What is your favorite part about being an author?
Well, for one, I am immortal now. Long after I am gone, my book may be found in a library… or at a garage sale. To be honest, I just appreciate it when someone takes the time to read what I have written. And I enjoy hearing what they have to say about it.

4) Do you have a favorite part of Undead Reckoning? Care to share a snippet?
My favorite part is Eddie's first time encounter with Jenny:


Jeff stood up and stepped back from the fire. “There’s Jenny.”

I stood up to get a look at her and… OMG! I nearly dropped my mug. A girl with sandy blonde hair bounced up the forest trail in a white skin- tight superhero costume. At first, I thought it was painted on. She had curves in all the right places. Her breasts jiggled and wobbled as she walked, distorting the letter K on her chest. It must have been the happiest letter in the alphabet. I know now why I sometimes dreamed of being a superhero. It wasn’t to gain super powers and right the wrongs of the world. It was so I could be in company of big-boobed athletic women in skin-tight suits.

Jenny was a goddess. She was the perfect mix of Carolina Peef, Tonisha Cooley, Tammy-Lee Kwiatkowski, Priya Anderson-Singh, Kim Brockett, Olga Fox, Tia Arvedsson, those two Rattlers cheerleaders whose names I couldn’t recall at this time, Carlin Frenke’s mom, Mrs. Teasewater, Ardala the cleaning lady, TifaniAmbrose-Hooker, Millie Hoover, Nikki Schneider, Mary Von Dietz, Mary Molinetti, Raquel Dos Santos, Pella Kozaczuk, Karly Karazuki, Ludmilla Petrovic, and Lilly-Anne Finkelstein.

As Jenny made her way up the stairs, she kept her eyes to the ground and hummed softly to herself. The breeze blew her hair down into her face. She raised her head and brushed her bangs aside. She looked at me and I practically drowned in her bluish-gray eyes.

“Hey, Eddie,” she said with a smile. “It is Eddie Griffin, right?”


5) The zombie hoards are upon us and you have to run. What 3 items do you grab before bolting out the door?
A knife, a canteen, and a very good pair of all terrain boots.

6) Finally, and thanks so much for stopping by, what is next on your plate as an author?
Another book is already in the works. It is not a direct sequel, but it will tie in to the world and characters I created in Undead Reckoning. On the radar, I have a children’s book which I have written, and need to finish illustrating; I hope to complete some short fiction that has been meandering about in my head, and I plan enter a few writing contests.


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Thank you so much to Mike for his interview! And now...here's a giveaway for you too!

Open to U.S. and Canada. Ends October 23, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Keeper of the Black Stones



Today I'm happy to help Glass House Press unveil the cover of their upcoming release:
  Keeper of the Black Stones by P.T. McHugh!

Click the book cover to add this title to your Goodreads!
Awkward in his own skin, shy around girls and worried about anything and everything, Jason Evans is just like a million other teenage boys in high school, with one very large exception: he has been given a gift that allows him to jump through time. A set of stones has fallen into his lap that gives him access to any place - and any time - that he chooses. But along with that gift comes the responsibility of stopping the man who is using those very stones to travel through time and change history for his own purposes. A man who is now holding Jason's grandfather hostage, and threatening the world's very existence. Jumping through time with his best friend and body guard, Jason must enter the world of Medieval England, learn its customs, navigate unimaginable danger, and help Henry VII win the Battle of Bosworth, in the name of finding his grandfather, rescuing a beautiful girl from the clutches of a corrupt church, and destroying the one man who pledges to turn history inside out.

This book won't actually be available for your consumption until February 5, 2013. However, lucky for you, I have an excerpt! So read away, and don't forget to click the cover above to add this to your GR pile. After all, this is a book you won't want to miss.


I ignored the question and inched my way forward, toward the stone. It was large, perhaps 7 to 8 feet wide and 10 to 11 feet long. Easily 3 to 4 inches thick. Hundreds of symbols were etched into the dark surface, in a language I’d never seen before. The stone was glossy, but didn’t reflect light the way it should. Instead, it seemed to suck the light from the room around us, building its own dark aura. And it hummed. I could feel the pulse of the stone in my bones, like a giant, steady heartbeat. It beat again and again, matching my own heartbeat, and I forgot to breathe. Doc hadn’t been lying, then. The stone did speak to him. And it called to me the same way it called to him. I’d been hearing it for days. I just hadn’t realized it.

As I stood there, transfixed and listening, the writing on the stone began to glow. I blinked and looked again, to see that the glow was gone.

“Did you see that?” I gasped, reaching for Paul and taking my eyes off the stone for the first time.
 
“See what?” Paul whispered. “The only thing I see is that creepy stone.” 

“The symbols … I think they moved,” I said, surprised that Paul hadn’t seen it. 

Paul shook his head. “Didn’t see anything like that, buddy.”




Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review: Velveteen

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Velveteen
   *Series: Velveteen #1
Author: Daniel Marks
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 464
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who don't mind graphic scenes, and unflinchingly morbid humor.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.

Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

Let's get this out right at the beginning. I love Velveteen Monroe. She's strong, borderline inappropriate the majority of the time, and has a mouth on her that made me crack up laughing. Trust me, this is not a girl you want to mess with. Velveteen was my favorite part of this book, hands down. From the very first page I fell in total love with her tough demeanor and her ability to think outside of herself. Velveteen is cool. There's no other way to say it.

Now in case you're going into this book thinking that you'll be hearing about her ultimate revenge against Bonesaw, let me set you straight. The synopsis is definitely misleading. Velveteen does touch on this a little bit (and it's really gory), but mostly focuses on what Purgatory is really like. Honestly? It's a pretty amazing place. Daniel Marks creates a world where the dead go when they aren't ready to move on. A world filled with mismatched clothing and buildings. A world where souls can rest when they're not taking care of important business. It is Purgatory that is really the center of the book.

What I really loved about this book was the interaction between the living at the dead. Watching Velveteen and her "Salvagers" do their work was really interesting, and made for a fun read. Add in a fast moving plot that pits the people in Purgatory against one another, and you have a book that kept me reading. Velveteen may not have been what I was expecting, but it was definitely still a really great read. Best of all (at least in my mind) is that the romance is not over the top mushy. No spoilers, but what exists between Velveteen and Nick is fabulous. That's all you'll get from me.

There are some very graphic scenes in this book, you've been warned. This is not for the faint of heart. However if you are willing to snicker at a few inappropriately morbid jokes, and suspend disbelief in favor of hanging with Velveteen and her crew, this will be a book that you'll enjoy. Go into it with an open mind. I'm certain that you'll find something to love about Daniel Marks' Purgatory.




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, October 11, 2012

Book Review: Undead Reckoning

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Undead Reckoning
Author: Mike Slabon
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 455
Release Date: December 15, 2011
Source: Author
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Intended Reading Group: Adult
Genre: Horror / Satire?
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HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who don't mind violence in their books, and are okay with a lot of plot hopping.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
When Eddie Griffin becomes the youngest NFL rookie to win the Super Bowl, little does he realize it will save his life. The day he pays a post-Super Bowl visit to the troops stationed at Ft. Hood, 98% of the world’s population drops dead. And 99% of those people rise up as flesh-crazed
zombies!

Luckily, Eddie ends up safe and sound in the confines of an Emergency Services Bunker. But as bunkers fall prey to undead hordes, Eddie is selected to accompany Lt. Jim Shrike on a secret mission. Together, they enter a world filled with roaming zombies, desperate survivors, crazed lunatics, mighty warriors and depraved demons.

Guided by an ancient prophecy, their mission leads them into the mystical world of Nabisusha, where they not only attempt to save humanity, but discover the very nature of the universe.

I'm honestly not sure where to begin when talking about Undead Reckoning. It's hard to pin down to just one genre for it, because this book hops all over the place. Eddie Griffin starts out in a zombie apocalypse, just like any other. Dead roaming the streets, terror, the standard. I was comfortable in this world, ready for some epic fighting, and then...all hell broke loose. Green men, knights in shining armor, crazy undead motorcyclists. The list goes on and on. There are so many pieces to this book that it's kind of like putting together some type of crazy puzzle.

That's not to say that it's not entertaining. Mike Slabon has a very descriptive form of writing, and if you're a fan of violent deaths then you'll be sitting pretty! Eddie Griffin is a hilarious character, and one that's very easy to connect with. He's brave, funny, and smart. Along the way he meets so many different types of characters and they bring new facets to his personality. I liked Eddie. He's honest. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty, and he's funny as hell.

My real problem with this book was just the craziness of the plot. A mix of fantasy and zombie book it was truly difficult for me to figure out exactly what was going on. The parts of it that I understood kept me reading. Eddie's personality kept me reading. At the end of the day though I was just too confused for words at the end of the story. I can't even honestly tell you half of what happened, because I'm still trying to figure it all out.

The nice thing is that Undead Reckoning doesn't take itself too seriously. It has the spark that needs to be there to keep you reading. It has hilarious scenes, and epic fights. The absurdity of some of it will make you laugh out loud. I'm not entirely certain how to explain this to you any better, so I'll leave it at this. Give this a shot if you're looking for something different. Something enjoyable. Something new.




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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review: Three Parts Dead



Media Type: Print Book
Title: Three Parts Dead
Author: Max Gladstone
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Source: Publisher
-------------------------------------------
Genre: Urban Fantasy

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy the UF genre, and are okay with starting off a little lost.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.

When I first set eyes on the synopsis of Three Parts Dead I was really excited. A whole new world built on the idea that the Craft (magic) rules the world? Definitely cool. Add in crazy gods, a murder mystery, and an awesome sounding main character, and you have a book that sounded right up my alley. Suffice it to say that I had high hopes when I dove into this book headfirst.

Sadly, Max Gladstone's book baffled me from the beginning. Three Parts Dead reads much more like a sequel in a series, than it does like the opening book. I was instantly thrown into Tara's world. Barely introduced to her before she set off on a series of events that completely confused me. Before I even had time to adjust to the world that was being built, the book was already off and running. It was all very disconcerting.

The unfortunate part is that there really is a great story line under all the confusion. Tara is indeed a pretty fabulous main character, and following her is a lot of fun. She's witty, strong, and willing to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of things. The city of Alt Coulumb sounds vast and gorgeous. Plus it is inhabited by some rather unusual characters. Long story short, there is a lot that is good here. Sadly, the lack of allowing the reader to take it all in makes for a tough read.

I'd like a map, and possibly an area that explains characters and places. In fact, I'd honestly classify this book as more of a regular Fantasy than UF since it has such a strong influence of a brand new world. At the end, I was ready for more but it definitely took me a bit to get there. I'm hoping that Gladstone's next book in the series will shed more light on everything that takes place in Three Parts Dead.



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, October 9, 2012

Book Review: Luthecker



Media Type: Ebook
Title: Luthecker
Author: Keith Domingue
Publisher: Domingue, Inc.
Pages: Paperback; 376
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Source: Author
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Genre: Thriller

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love a good, fast-paced thriller with vivid characters.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon
ALEX LUTHECKER lives off of the grid. He prefers the comfort of the night. He avoids the crowded and chaotic daylight hours, because the relentless anxieties of the multitudes overwhelm him. This is because Alex has a rare gift. He is a pattern reader. Patterns in nature, patterns in social groups, patterns in individual behavior, he can recognize them all. With one conversation, he knows all of your secrets. He can tell you exactly who you are. He can tell you exactly how your life is going to end. For Alex, it’s not magic. It’s math.

NICOLE ELLIS works in the energy business. She trades futures in the lifeblood of civilization: crude oil. With the help of her patented pattern recognition software, PHOEBE, she has the uncanny ability to predict trends in oil production and consumption. And at the tender age of twenty-five, she is recognized as one of the best in the business, with the bank account to show for it. For Nicole, who grew up with nothing, the world is hers.

RICHARD BROWN was a highly respected intelligence officer during both Gulf Wars. He oversaw rendition squads, making sure that his interrogators didn’t cross the line into torture, and if they did, that no one would ever be the wiser. The only thing that mattered to the government was that Brown always got his man. His track record of success allowed his move into the private sector, eventually heading the corporate entity known as Coalition Properties, the largest military contractor in U.S. history. For Brown, the commodity he trades and sells is power.

A terrorist attack on a Saudi oil refinery sets the paths of all three on a collision course, an encounter that threatens to upset the balance of power in the world. Alex must learn to forge relationships and become a leader in order to save the lives of not only himself and Nicole, but also those of his loose band of allies, as he becomes one of the most sought after fugitives in history.

Let me start out with just one statement: Good lord almighty. As soon as I opened the pages of Luthecker I knew was in for the long haul. This, my friends, is the perfect example of fabulous Indie writing. It's polished, has completely amazing characters, and contains a plot that will blow your mind and keep you reading. Long story short? I totally devoured this book.

The first thing that struck me about Luthecker was Alex himself. Here we have a lone wolf character, but with a huge heart. Blessed (or cursed as the case may be) with the power to see patterns in the lives of others, Alex can essentially see the past and future in an instant. Unfortunately this puts him on the radar of some pretty bad people. I loved Alex's character so much. Honest and kind, all he wants is to figure himself out. His vulnerability made him likable  and his strength made him an amazing protagonist.

That's not to say that the other characters aren't well formed also. Each one has their own vivid personality, and lends just the right amount of help or hindrance when it comes to Alex's journey of self discovery. I have to add here that I was completely enamored with the way that light is pitted against dark here, in so many ways. Alex's story has many levels to it and, once you factor in a lightning fast plot, you have a book that will beg you to read it to completion.

The absolute only reason that I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5 was because of the amount of detail it goes into at times. I know this is likely because I'm just getting into thrillers, but a lot of the very descriptive attention to guns, cars, and military items kind of went over my head. I am more than certain that veterans of the genre will shake their heads at me, but hey, I need to be honest. It didn't matter in the long run anyway. I still latched on to the overall story with a white knuckled grip, and powered on. Yes, it's that good.

So if you are a fan of this genre, Luthecker is a story that you need to get your hands on! Once again I'm proven right. It doesn't take a big publishing house to put out a great story. Keith Domingue is an extremely talented writer and I cannot wait to see what's coming around the bend. Strap yourself in and hold on tight. Luthecker will take you for a ride.




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, October 7, 2012

Coming Soon on HDB... (10/7/12)


Last week was a little spotty I know. It's T-minus 2 weeks to the wedding and my brain is a little mushy! These next two weeks will be a little less than normal. 

On the bright side, there's a lot of great stuff coming up this week. So let's get to it!

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MONDAY/TUESDAY

To start the week, a review of Luthecker by Keith Domingue. This is a thriller that has captured my imagination and I'm still not even quite done! This might go up tomorrow or Tuesday depending on when I finish the book, but I'll be sure to let you know what I think!


WEDNESDAY

Wednesday I'll be reviewing Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. So excited for this one! Steampunk to the max, and I just can't wait to devour it.


THURSDAY

Thursday is another review, and this time of a ZOMBIE BOOK! Okay look, I love zombies. Those undead bastards make me smile. This book? Fabulous. Undead Reckoning will get my full fan girl review on this day.


FRIDAY

To round out the review week, I'll be raving about Velveteen by Daniel Marks. Vengeance, purgatory, awesome characters. That's all you'll get from me until this day.


SATURDAY

Finally, Saturday you'll be able to learn more about Mike Slabon! He's the author of that awesome book up there, Undead Reckoning and he'll be bringing along a giveaway as well! So keep your eyes peeled.

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As always thanks for being a follower!

I promise things will be much more back on track after the wedding ;). Until then, much love for sticking with me!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: Divergent

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Divergent
   *Series: Divergent #1
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: Hardcover; 487
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Language; Violence
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HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: EVERYONE

Add it: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series--dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I just had to re-read Divergent after I realized that I never reviewed it the first time. What can I say? When a book takes your breath away as easily as this one does, it's hard to write a coherent review. Now that I've taken another shot at it, well it's not going to be much easier but I'll try to make sense! Let the fan girl reviewing commence!

Veronica Roth has built an entirely new dystopian society. One that relies on factions to keep things at peace. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that peace is only a superficial sham. What follows is a story that made me burn through these 400+ pages in a matter of hours. Divergent isn't something that you should start to read before bed time. It's the type of book that you'll want to finish once you start, whether you currently have the time or not. The writing is gorgeous, the society is perfectly built. Let's face it. There isn't a single thing that I didn't love about this book.

Which brings me to the characters. Seriously, the best part of this story. Tris and Four normal people. Realistic in their flaws and strengths. They are strong characters who are so easy to get behind. Tris isn't a shrinking violet. She isn't someone who sits around and waits for other people to take care of her. No, Tris can take care of anything that comes her way, even when she's terrified while doing it. She may selfish and temperamental at times, but that just shows the reality of who she is. Pardon my French, but Tris is bad-ass!

Then there is Four. Tris' equal and opposite all rolled into one. Strong willed, and yet with a heart. I loved how he didn't treat Tris as a weak-willed girl. He treated her as someone who was worth his time. Oh, and the best part? No love triangle! Do you know how refreshing that is? It's just Tris and Four, two people who are stubborn, strong-willed and care for one another despite all odds. This was a huge part of why I loved Divergent so much.

I've been looking for a series to fill the hole that The Hunger Games series left behind. Something with a driven plot and a kick-ass heroine. This book? Completely filled that void. I finished reading Divergent with my mouth wide open. All I know now is that I need to get my hands on the next book in the series as soon as possible. This is book addiction at its finest, and I'm more than willing to give in to 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.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review: Envy

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Envy
   * Series: Empty Coffin #1
Author: Gregg Olsen
Publisher: Splinter
Pages: Hardcover; 285
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Source: Library
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love a good chill up their spine as they read, plus a great mystery.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Murder is such a dirty word…

New York Times bestselling adult true crime author Gregg Olsen makes his YA debut with Empty Coffin, a gripping new fiction series for teens based on ripped-from-the-headlines stories…with a paranormal touch.

Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.

Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.

Based on the shocking true crime about cyber-bullying, Envy will take you to the edge--and push you right over.

Chilling. That's the first word that pops into my head when I think about my reading of Envy. Even before I realized that this was based on a true crime, my heart beat faster just reliving the events of this book. Imagine a book that mixes a bit of horror with the paranormal we all know and love. Are you imagining? Good. That? That's this book. It's pretty amazing.

I fell in love with Hayley and Taylor instantly. Twins, sisters, confidants, and sharing one of the biggest secrets that they've ever had. I really wanted to get to know Hayley and Taylor as I followed them. Witty and intelligent, these girls are definitely spitfires! Determined to find out who killed their friend, the girls end up learning more about themselves than they every really though possible. I loved uncovering the mystery of their childhoods, and learning more about the Ryan family overall. It's not everyday you see such a tight knit family, and it makes for great atmosphere.

When I said that this book was chilling, I wasn't kidding. Gregg Olsen leads the twins on quite a chase as they struggle to uncover what truly happened to Katelyn. The mystery here is scrumptious. It's the type that will draw you in, have you probing for answers, and then throw a slap in the face at the last minute, just as you think you might have finally figured out what's going on. Oh yes. There's some twists and turns along the way. Let's just say it makes this a read while worth diving into. I can promise you that you'll be flipping pages faster than you can read.

Long story short, this is a wonderfully written mystery that is just creepy enough to make you want to keep reading. I devoured Envy and then was still hungrily looking for more to read. If you are a fan of mysteries, or of true crime novels, this is the best of both worlds. Pick up a copy of Envy and get reading.




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, October 4, 2012

Book Review: The Chosen of Gaia

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Chosen Of Gaia
Author: M. Mariz
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 230
Release Date: September 28, 2012
Source: JKS Communications
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
------------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Lovers of Indie books who enjoy discovering new worlds.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Fifteen-year-old Albert has just received an invitation that could transform his disappointing life completely – a chance to belong to an advanced and hidden society that only reveals itself to a select few.

Immersed in a new world of mind-boggling technology and intriguing peers, Albert will overcome his fears enough to ignore a few suspicious details. But soon he'll find his family dragged to the center of a scandal that threatens to tear them apart and erase their very identities.

A conflicted Albert must find the strength to challenge authority by relying on his newfound allies and gift for Revelation.

Prepare for adventure, humor and suspense in this fast-paced tale of a “normal” family striving for their place in a “perfect” world.

The Chosen of Gaia is a perfect example of fantasy blended with mystery. Which, as this bookworm happily found quite quickly, make for a very quick and enjoyable read. M. Mariz presents a whole new world in this book. Literally. Imagine a perfect society. One with technology far beyond our wildest dreams, and an extremely low mortality rate. Sound too good to be true? You might just be right.

Albert and his family were wonderful to follow in this story. It's not hard to choose favorites since Albert and Ruth, the two children in the family, were so vivid and unique. Albert is a boy who is used to keeping out of the spotlight. The politics of school have taught him that hiding is better than being bullied. Ruth, on the other hand,fits in wonderfully. She has friends, and popularity. However once they arrive on Gaia everything changes. I loved watching them blossom, learn to trust themselves, and one another. M. Mariz does a great job of showing how much this family truly loves one another, and it is heartwarming.

In case you're worried that this book is all sunshine and roses though, let me set you straight. Albert and his family definitely run into their fair share of problems. When something happens that rocks the small planet of Gaia, it just so happens that they are all in the middle of it. It was nice to see that this family banded together when it was necessary. It's never easy to be the new people in town, and it definitely gets even harder when you find out that people already dislike you before they even know you. Nope, no spoilers here! You'll have to read.

Although The Chosen of Gaia isn't the most complicated, or masterfully plotted book that I've read lately it was a nice change of pace. The story pretty much flies by, allowing you to get to see a new world that might just take your breath away. Overall I was fairly impressed by M. Mariz's story! I can't wait to see if there is more coming around the bend.




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.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cat Townsend on the benefits of magic!



Hello wonderful followers! Sorry for the recent radio silence, but I have a lot to catch up on. So let's get started with a guest post from the ever talented Emily Ford! Emily is the author of 2:32 AM which she created from a simple bedtime story. How cool is that? 

AND THE STORY BEGINS...

In the early morning hours nearing her 17th birthday, Cat Townsend woke to the sudden blur of a mysterious unknown man sitting on the edge of her bed. She did not feel fear -- rather a strange calmness overtook her. In an instant their eyes locked, he lightly touched her hand, and then he disappeared into the nothingness of night.

Caught in that undefined place between asleep and awake, the moment felt hazy and surreal. A chill ran down Cat’s spine as she glances at the time – it’s 2:32 a.m.

What unfolds in the first book of The Djinn Master’s Legacy trilogy, is young Cat’s personal struggle with the overwhelming choice to accept a destiny of magic. As she contemplates the merits of unparalleled power, her new and ordinary world in Savannah, Georgia is understandably shaken. The closer her decision gets, the more twisted her life with family, friends and boyfriend becomes. Will she choose to give up everything she cherishes?

Find out, in 2:32 A.M. The time everything happens.

So, without further ado, here is a guest post from Cat Townsend, the quirky main character. Enjoy!

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Hey, Cat Townsend here!

Bet you’re wondering what you’d really do with magical powers… 

Silence that loud mouth in English class. Cast a love spell on a cute boy you’ve had your eye on. Maybe make your parents disappear when you want, or instantly lose a few pounds? The list would probably go on and on.

But I can tell you. Using magic for any reason is scary, especially in the beginning. Everything done has a consequence, and you can’t always predict what that’s going to be, or where it will lead.

Take silencing for example. Muting the mouth, be it a friend, a teacher, your parents, etc might sound great at the moment. But maybe you need to hear, really hear what that person is saying! They might be trying to save you from something or someone dangerous – namely yourself.

And you’re probably thinking that magic is the ultimate weight loss solution! It might be for a time, but the key to a happy life is not being who you think others want you to be, but knowing and accepting who you are. Besides, everyone diets. If you’re not talking about the latest fad, what will you and your friends gripe about?

Finally, there’s love! I know it would seem entirely tempting to spin a web around the adorable guy you’re seriously crushing who doesn’t know you exist. Except he’s really NOT a nice guy, and the one you’re really meant to find, is a friend of his who also stands in the shadows. If you’re constantly putting boys under your spell, how will ever trust he’s the right one for you?

See what I mean?

Bye for now.

**********

Ah, so many options with magic! What would you do?

A huge thank you to Emily Ford!


Debut novelist Emily Ford has always been a storyteller. As a kid at summer camp in Maine, she’d make up ghost stories at bedtime for her fellow bunkmates. 

Her Djinn Master’s Legacy trilogy also began as a simple bedtime story, intended for Ford’s then adolescent children to have in writing and use to tell their own kids one day. By the time she finished writing, she had three very full books. 

2:32 a.m., Ford’s first installment of her young adult series, caught early readers’ attention as a fiction book minus the typical vampire and werewolf characters. 

The Texas writer interned each summer with KHOU-TV in Houston while gaining her bachelor’s degree in radio and television at The University of Arizona. She worked on the copy desk at The Dallas Morning News, and eventually started the marketing company KapsMark, Inc.
 

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