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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Here is my pick of the week!

Darkstar by Bethany Frenette
 Expected publication: October 2012

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves. (Goodreads)

Doesn't it sound exciting? I love the idea of a superhero image. ^_^ What's yours?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: Sam Cruz's Infallible Guide to Getting Girls

Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls
Author: Tellulah Darling
Publish Date: October 2012
Publisher: Te Da Media

Why the hell can’t chicks be more like guys?

That question plagues high school senior Sam Cruz. Sam is perfectly happy being a player. He just wishes girls wouldn’t change the game from sex to relationships. It makes him look like an asshole. But when Sam’s best friend, Ally Klinger, gets dumped, she begs him to transform her into someone who can screw around then screw off. No risk of heartbreak that way. It’s Sam’s chance to create the perfect female AND cheer up his best friend. Armed with Sam’s Three Step Guide to Backseat Success, Ally gets the game better than Sam thought she would and before long, Sam has his wish: the female version of himself. Too bad it’s driving him nuts. Told from Sam’s and Ally's alternating POVs, Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls is a fast-paced romantic comedy that follows these teens as they navigate the minefield of sex, love, and friendship.

This book contains strong language, drinking, euphemisms, and lots of “bow chicka wow wow."

It’s been a while since I’ve read a contemporary book. I’ve been craving one so badly and while perusing NetGalley saw this. I’m SO happy I found this. 

Sam is a typical high school boy. Hormones and all. He’s unapologetically a player. He has a set of rules and he follows them. For the most part. He’s not a bad boy, he doesn’t go out and do things on the wrong side of the law or anything in that vein. He’s just got a really bad itch and he scratches it. Frequently. The only thing he cares deeply for is his friendship with Ally. 

Ally is a good girl. She’s smart, almost too smart, and often really hard on herself. More than likely this stems from a requirement of today’s society (and some of Sam’s influence too). She’s smart so she can’t be pretty. Or so she thinks until Sam gives her a hand. And then she’s pretty but than acts like she isn’t smart, for reasons still confusing but plausible. 

I really enjoyed reading this. The story splits personality between Sam and Ally. Every other chapter respectively. It’s not something I enjoy usually in a book, but it’s almost required for this one. It wouldn’t be the great read it is without the insight we get from being in the minds of both characters. The dialogue is fun and quirky and so natural to the characters that it’s super easy to get lost and immersed into the story. This one certainly takes the cake for me, and I would say should for anyone that loves a good love story. 

My Rating:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Series Review: Angelfire

Angelfire and Wings of the Wicked
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton         
Publish Date: 2011 / 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

I must apologize. It’s taking me forever to write reviews but not read. >_< I really should start writing a review as soon as I’m done reading rather than jumping into the next book,. Or in the instance of the Angelfire books, I read them back to back. 

The story follows Ellie, a girl who has extraordinary abilities. She has a companion, Will and they basically protect the world from the greater evils of the depths of Hell.

The story environment is fantastic and very realistic. It’s like watching a movie in words. There’s no confusion or puzzlement over what something looks like or what exactly that is. Everything is clearly and realistically drawn out. 

Ellie is a wonderful character. She’s smart, and strong and doesn’t buckle under the task appointed to her, though there are instances where the reader can feel her despair and want to quit. But she doesn’t. She grits her teeth and pushed through. No matter how impossible it may seem she still fights for her future. It’s super admirable. 

Will is complex. His only thought, his very existence relies on Ellie. It’s weird in a way and slightly unsettling at first when his full nature is revealed and the story behind it. His loyalty and love for Ellie is unquestionable and unshakable throughout both books and it’s wonderful to read the lengths he goes to keep himself by her side. 

The story itself moves quickly from point A to point B without much of a stop inbetween. Ellie is thrust from one problem to the next, sometimes of her own doing, and sometimes it is outside of her control. There’s no way to read just one chapter at a time simply because by the end of the chapter there’s something else that needs attended to and the reader is dying to know what’s going to happen. (Or at least I was)

In whole the books were amazing. It’s a definitely top of the charts paranormal book that all paranormal fans should read. However, I recommend blocking out a decent amount of time for it. Once started there’s no stopping until the end of the second book is reached and then there’s no way to continue like the story demands it be continued because the last in the series hasn’t been released yet. It’s heart wrenching. T_T Once again, if you’re a lover of paranormal you MUST read this series. It doesn’t get any better than this. 

My Rating:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Review: Demon Catchers of Milan

Demon Catchers of Milan
Author: Kat Beyer
Publish Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA

Mia's ordinary life is disrupted in the most horrifying way possible when she is possessed by a hungry and powerful demon--and only saved by the arrival of relatives from Italy, the country her grandfather fled many decades ago. Now her cousins Emilio and Giuliano say the only way to keep her safe is for her to come back with them to Milan, to live, to learn Italian, to fall in and out of love, and to master the family trade: fighting all demons with the lore of bell, book, and candle. Milan is not what Mia expected, but it will change her forever, in this stunningly well-written novel about an American girl who, fleeing an ancient evil, finds her only salvation in her ancestral home.

I’m not entirely sure where to begin with this. I got sucked in from the first page and couldn’t put it down until it was done. Kat Beyer is a powerful story teller and I’m very happy to have been allowed an advanced read. 

Milan is beautiful and very old. It’s age is emphasized in Mia’s ancestral home, in their work, even in the holidays that they celebrate. When nothing else is familiar the age of the city is a comfort in a way I hadn’t thought was possible. 

Mia is a great character. She’s willing to learn and push herself beyond what she thinks she is capable of. She’s actually capable of many great things but her self esteem feels on the low side and her confusion (or ignorance) of her Italian family only provokes her into learning. She’s not perfect, she’s far from it, and her family is certainly not perfect, but it’s family and the reader can definitely feel the love even when it’s not expressed. 

There is no love triangle in this book, for which I am super happy about. This isn’t about love. This is about finding oneself and understanding what that is. This is about being open to new things and not closed minded. There is so much OTHER stuff this book touches on that the brief encounter with flirtation/infatuation seems almost out of place. Sort of like, really Mia, is that really important right now? However, with Mia’s background, it’s also very naturally done and there’s no WTF moment so much as a moment of disappointment in the character’s behavior. It’s not a surprise she did it, it’s a disappointment she didn’t think things through. 

Overall this is a great book. It’s in no way predictable and the story is beautifully laid out. I recommend this for all YA lovers of the paranormal persuasion and some of the not. It’s about demons yes, but in a very realistic portrayal of exorcism and church. This could fall under paranormal or depending on a person’s beliefs not. 

My Rating:

Monday, August 13, 2012

08/12/2012 Oblong Books & Music - HVYAS: Robin Palmer, Carley Moore & Gina Damico

Super props and thanks to Oblong Books and Music for hosting such an awesome event.  I'll probably say it every month, but I have so much fun down there. ^_^ Thank you Mel, from Girls *heart* Books for going with me once again!

This month's event was on the small side. Instead of the large scale that the last one was, this felt more intimate and friendly. (Not that they're not friendly, they are SUPER friendly.) We had prizes and refreshments and it was simply fun.

Read the full post: HERE

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Emotobooks: The Fusion of Written Fiction and Expressionistic Art

I'd like to firstly thank Ron and John Gavalik from Gritty City Publications for an  awesome guest post!  It's not everyday somethign so different and individual comes into creation and I'm so honored to be allowed to share that with everyone.  So without further pomp and ceremony here we have Ron Gavalik from Gritty City Publications with a few words on the new ( at least to me and AWESOME) Emotobooks.


Thank you to Touya for allowing me to guest post.

As a writer and publisher, it’s always been a goal to bridge the gap between the cerebral gratifications of well-plotted fiction writing and the visual stimulation of illustrative art. The one day I had a mini-epiphany. Insert expressive, emotionally representative imagery in written stories, during moments of emotional consequence. By delivering a visual of what a character feels, the reader becomes more intensely immersed in the story.

Emotobooks are written fiction stories, not comics or graphic novels. The few emotional abstract images woven in the stories are the dream-like visuals each of us experience in the middle of the night.

The term Emotobook is a portmanteau word I conjured as a memorable label for the very first fiction medium for smartphones and tablets. For the first time, readers can now see actual representation of character emotions right on the page for a fun, interactive experience.

Stories are published as EmotoSerials or EmotoSingles. EmotoSerials are monthly-released, continuing stories, much like TV dramas or miniseries that continue until their climactic ends. EmotoSingles are individual experiences.

I launched Grit City Publications in July of 2011, with the first Emotobook series titled Grit City, a seven-part story about Dillon Galway, an idealistic freelance journalist, who scrapes out a living reporting on corruption. Since then, we’ve grown the Emotobooks Catalog into an array of fun genre fiction titles in Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, and Horror.

Each Emotobook title consists of three creators: the author, editor, and illustrator. It’s our philosophy that three contributors on each Emotobook delivers a richer, more flavorful story. The creators even offer Autograph Cards and suggest mood settings, such as food, drink, and music. This way our fans can achieve a full-bodied experience.

Emotobooks accommodate a new audience, who desire a fast “full story experience” on smartphones, iPods, computers, or tablet readers in about 30 to 60 minutes. They can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.

Our editors are currently seeking the best genre fiction for the Emotobooks transformation. It’s required that fiction writers read our submission guidelines and the free handbook, How to Create Emotobooks, before submitting. Our publishing model is unique and we require long-term participation from authors for everyone’s success.

Now that you’ve been introduced to the Emotobooks Revolution, I hope you’ll join our Readers Cult and begin collecting the coolest titles. We even offer free Autograph Cards to our fans. What it really comes down to is we write, edit, and illustrate the best modern fiction for our fans. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you.

Ron Gavalik's Bio:

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ron Gavalik is a seasoned freelance journalist and fiction author of the successful Grit City thriller series. As Publisher for Grit City Publications, he oversees the Emotobooks Revolution. Ron holds an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a B.S. in Marketing Communications from Point Park University. When not writing, you can find him in the outdoors of Southwestern Pennsylvania on his trail bike, hiking, or fishing.


Now my request to each of you is to go check out the site and float around. I mean it. It's so great you need to experience it yourself.  Remember in the words of Shemhazai: "All knowledge is worth having." (Points to the person that gets the book reference without looking it up.)

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Reaper by L.S. Murphy
Expected Publication: Jan 2013

There's no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.

Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.

Maybe ... just maybe ... that’s okay.

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

Totally cool, right? And I would imagine completely hilarious to read. I'm so looking forward to this change in pace in the paranormal scene. ^_^

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: The Moon Dwellers

The Moon Dwellers
Author: David Estes
Publish Date: June 2012
Publisher: Self Published

In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

In their world, someone must die.

Before anyone has a chance to point it out, I will. This book is outside my norm of reading. There. It’s been said. Now that it’s been clarified without a doubt this isn’t usually in my line of books I will say, I’ve happy to have read it. 

It’s different. From the environment to the characters it portrays a different kaleidoscope of imagination that is normally seen in YA books. There’s nothing about this book that is standard or normal. And it takes some getting used to.

The environment is creative and definitely part of the minority of landscapes. The book’s title says it all though, maybe not ALL of it. The tri-realms are definitely different from each other and easily discernible form one to the next. The same can be said of the Pen.
Adele is an interesting character. She’s not a quitter. No matter the obstacle, no matter what she’s condemned to, there’s no backing down for her. It’s just not in her nature. Which of course, to keep charging forward leads to its own set of problems. 

Tristan has morals. In the Tri-realm that’s not always a good thing. He’s the opposite of Adele in some ways. He still makes waves, in the beginning they were subtle and almost missed but the impression Tristan leaves is that he just wants equality for everyone. 

The story is neatly executed.  It flips perspective back and forth form Tristan to Adele. It’s muddling at first until the rhythm is found but for the most part done cleanly enough no severe confusion is caused. The plot moves at a decent pace from the first page until the end. It’s not heart pounding fast paced, but a steady even flow that still commands attention until the end. 

I would recommend this for fantasy lovers and Dystopia readers. While not catered to a specific genre in my thinking, I believe those two groups would be the most entertained by it.

My Rating:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Review: The Glimpse

The Glimpse
Author: Claire Merle
Publish Date: June 2012
Publisher: Faber and Faber
In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.

There are a lot of dystopia books available now, and with each passing day I see more and more begging to be read. It makes choosing just one to read difficult, but I chose this one. I’m glad I did. 

The environment is a little on the familiar side. Card swipes to get from area to area are a common denominator in a lot of YA Dystopia.  The “outcast” society that lives on the fringes of the much nicer community is unfortunately also pretty common  There’s nothing about this environment that stands out from other dystopia’s which make it familiar and comfortable to be immersed in. 

Ana is a typical heroine. She’s spunky, thoughtful and quiet rightfully so scared for her life. She’s overly stubborn and slightly naive which, create enough of flaws in her thought process that she’s not a boring character. Her rational is not normal compared to today’s line of thinking, but add in her environment and she’s perfectly sane. 

Jasper is very rarely seen actually. With as prominent as he is in the synopsis the reader is lead to believe there will be more of him than there actually is. He’s also kind of wooden, however when taken into account what he’d been through that’s also feasible. In the end he’s self preserving and that’s disappointing. 

Overall the story isn’t a bad one. There’s enough of newness to the familiar that create a new enough world that is entertaining and captivating until the last page. A wonderful read for the lover of dystopia but if not a dystopia lover this isn’t your cup of tea. 

My Rating: