05 May 2012

Intern with the Vampire (Vampire General #1) by Kit Iwasaki (4/5 Stars)

Title: Intern with the Vampire (Vampire General #1)
Author: Kit Iwasaki
Publisher: Independant
Pub. Date: April 14, 2011

Blurb from Goodreads:
Human medicine is easy. On her first day at Grace General Hospital, new intern Aline Harman risks vampire infection, demonic possession, and having her heart torn out of her chest... and this from her colleagues.

Juggling transhuman politics only becomes more difficult when a patient's life is at stake. With a zombie to resucitate and a mermaid in critical care, Aline has her hands full. At least the doctors are good-looking.

My Review:
This book was much more novella than novel. But, that totally isn't a negative thing! I feel like I was reading an episode script for a paranormal version of a very popular hospital-drama.

In the beginning there's Aline, who is introduced to a world of paranormal creatures that she never knew existed. And while this is a big aspect of the plot, there's a WHOLE other realm here that we're involved in. There are patients, whose stories we become a part of and we get to see Aline and her fellow colleagues do their best as doctors to save lives while juggling explosive personal relationships amongst themselves. Sound familiar? Seriously, it's Grey's Anatomy on paranormal steroids. I love it!!!

Because this book is so short, and I don't like giving spoilers, I'll just say that there are some yummy doctors, some crazy doctor, and some I'm-not-really-sure-what-to-think-of-them-yet doctors. But, I will DEFINITELY be checking out the next installment of this awesome series!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Check out Kit Iwasaki's Page.

03 May 2012

Glamorous Illusions (Grand Tour Series) by Lisa T. Bergren (5/5 Stars)

Title: Glamorous Illusions (Grand Tour Series)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: June 1, 2012

Blurb from Goodreads:
When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening, and self-discovery.

My Review:
I am a huge Lisa Bergren fan. It's probably no surprise, then, that I absolutely LOVED this book! There was no time during reading this that I wanted to put it down. The whole idea of being a rich, copper king's illegitimate daughter without knowing it your whole life, that is SUCH an intriguing premise. And, Ms. Bergren, did NOT disappoint with the execution. I loved the characters in this book! Loved them! I think even the more "flawed" characters are redeeming, as the story goes on.

I really appreciate being able to relate to the main character in a book, and I completely did, with GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS. I could FEEL the anxiety over Cora meeting family that she's never met before, right along with her. Family that, even she knows, has no reason to accept her. Cora is so human and real. Every time she reacted to a situation or something bad happened to her, I found myself thinking, "I could TOTALLY see why she would do/think/say that." Cora Diehl (Kensington) is a character that starts out strong and sure of what her future holds for her and then the unthinkable happens. Her life goes crazy, and she finds herself wondering and asking God what exactly is she going to do?! What does He have in store for her future? This whole book takes Cora on just a part of that journey.

There are moments when Cora is completely unsure of herself, and who she is, and desires most to be loved and accepted, but she also has such a profound moral compass that she's not afraid to do what's right. I could totally relate to Cora's struggles with faith and forgiveness, even though I've never had quite those same issues. Lisa T. Bergren wraps up a fantastic story with a very appropriate message. I can't think of anyone who couldn't take something away from this book.

I think it'll be a while before the next installment in this series comes out, so I guess I'll just have to keep myself occupied with TRIBUTARY when it comes out soon. :)

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Pre-Order Glamorous Illusions on Amazon.
Pre-Order Glamorous Illusions on Barnes and Noble.
Check out Lisa T. Bergren's Website.

02 May 2012

Waiting on Wednesday[#5]: City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

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

Title: City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: May 8, 2012

Blurb from Goodreads:
The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Why Am I Waiting?
I have been following this series since the beginning and I haven't been disappointed by any of the books. So, if Ms. Clare keeps true to her past writing, this book will be a hit! Also, I kind of love Jace. ;)

01 May 2012

Goings On

First off, if you check out my Contests & Giveaways Page you'll see that there's a givaway right now going on for a free t-shirt. This giveaway is from author, Ronda L. Caudill, who wrote BIRTHRIGHT: A NOBLEMAN NOVEL. I haven't read this book yet, but I have a copy that I'll be reviewing here shortly. Good luck!

Secondly, I'll be taking a break for about a week. I have a sort of vacation planned right now. So, the only posts that will be going up are the posts that I've already done and are scheduled to go up. I'll see you all back here soon!!

Inhale Flash Mob

INHALE, an urban fantasy romance by Kendall Grey, is now available in paperback and e-book for Kindle (MOBI) and Nook (EPUB). INHALE is the first book in the JUST BREATHE trilogy. Kendall is donating all profits from the sale of the trilogy to programs that educate people about whales and the challenges they face. Watch the video to find out why.

Kendall encourages interested readers to consider purchasing an e-book instead of a paperback. E-books save trees, cost considerably less, and bring in much more money for the whales.

Thank you for supporting INHALE, and most importantly, the whales that need our help.

Inhale Blurb:
Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…

After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.

Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.

*This book contains graphic language, sex, and some violence. Not suitable for readers under the age of 18.
**The author will donate all profits from the sale of the JUST BREATHE trilogy to programs that educate people about whales and the challenges they face.

Kendall Grey Links:
Kendall Grey's Blog

Kendall's Facebook

Despicable Tweets



George Elder's Child of Destiny Blog Tour

George Elder, author of Child of Destiny, has stopped by my blog today with a special guest post on editing. Make sure you check out all the George Elder's links below! Also, I'll be posting a review for CHILD OF DESTINY after I get a chance to read it, sometime this summer!

On Editing Sci-Fi Stories
I love Lord of the Rings’ story line, but many literary professionals feel that the work needed a bit of editing. The same could be said of any number of Sci-Fi texts, including some of the classics. Of course, Sci-Fi has changed a great deal over the years, and the often gaudy literary style that typified early books are now seen as gouache. Yes, woe is unto the writer who uses too many “ly” words or adjectives. We now call such writing “pulpy,” as in the excess paper that is needed to find a home for the verbiage.
Mind you, some folks like that verbiage. Alas, a personal desire/taste cannot stand in the face of contemporary style’s winds—however those breezes may shift. I wish more writers would understand this basic truth, what we perceive as good or bad is context-bound. Hey, popular music, clothing, and literary style are ephemeral by nature. Styles change and evolve as time and shifting tastes dictates. Thus a writer’s words which are seen as the “perfect exemplar” of today may be regarded as the fodder of tomorrow’s humorists.  
​But that does not excuse writing that is poor is terms of grammar, syntax, word choice, and all that. I have a Masters in Writing from UNH and a Doctoral Degree in Communication from Penn State, but I can’t spell to save my life and my prose is certainly not the best. Yeah, I can spin a yarn, have good imagination, and possess a knowledge base that is probably more varied than most. I’m a former academic who knows that he does not “know,” so there is still a small bit of hope for me.
​For example, I know I need an editor in the worst way, and I honestly believe that almost all writers are in the same boat. Some of us fall in love with our words, but that doesn’t mean they should all be there! A trained set of eyes that is not invested in the text is a writer’s best friend. Those eyes can see what is invisible to authors. Our passages become like children, along with the natural reluctance to cast them adrift.
​But we have to let go, and herein comes the need to employ a person with the ability to help polish our work. When writing Genesis, I used three layers of editing—friends (including writers), an editor who proofed text books, and the publisher’s editor. I am sure some things slipped through the process, and much was changed. There were also disagreements along the way. For example, I like putting dialogue with action descriptions because we often talk while doing something, as in:

​“You’re an ignorant sot,” Anita said while glaring at George. “Can’t you see that word’s like ‘while” and ‘as’ will become redundant if you use this approach?” She paused, shook her head, and added, “It is possible to use clauses that separate words and actions, even if that interrupts what some call flow.”

Now my publishing editor recently changed a bunch of lines in Genesis Book 2 to coincide with the advice Anita just gave us, and I just about had a fit! I mean, I could feel something akin to the pain of childbirth setting in, and I’ve had kidney stones! What I saw was edited prose that went like this:

"Let’s be reasonable about this," Ragmor advised. Perhaps he had overplayed his hand.

Wherein, I wanted prose that expressed the ideas as thus:

"Let’s be reasonable about this," Ragmor advised, realizing he had overplayed his hand.

​Another example is: 

"And even Maglee’s name came to you." Ragmor stared through the pane. "So I suspect you also know what became of her."​

​Whereas I wanted:

"And even Maglee’s name came to you." Ragmor observed while staring at Kara. "So I suspect you also know what became of her."​

​The point is, these are stylistic choices, and I often opt to connect a bit of dialogue with a concurrent action. I like playwriting, where words and actions are intermixed by way of stage directions. I suspect my writing shows a bias toward this mixture, and some may find that annoying.
​When editing, it is essential to think about how others experience our text. Inevitably we must find a place of humility, and understand that we often cannot see the forest except for the trees. It is possible for an editor to be incorrect, but it is at least as likely, depending on the editor’s skill, that some good advice is offered that ought to be employed. In any event, I opt to accept an editor’s choices in most cases. 
​At the end of the day, the work has the author’s name, for better or worse. If the editor cannot explain why X, Y or Z should be changed, then stand by your work. However, if what the editor relates makes sense and is in line with current trends, go with the flow. It hurts me to say this because I detest going with the flow. Indeed, that advice violates every bit of who I am as a person. Yet if we become beasts of ego, our writing will reflect this—and our words will become pedantic and judgmental. We will pontificate on high without even contemplating that we could be wrong.

Synopsis of Child of Destiny:
The universe is nearing its inevitable end, everything is being rapidly devoured. The last hope of a dying universe is to awaken the Seeker, a legendary metaphysical being known only through ancient tales. The Seeker has the capacity to link the entire universe; they alone may be able to spark the rebirth of the universe.

Many of those that remain desperately want existence to continue. As the remaining races struggle to survive and fight over saving existence, lofty ideals give way to brutal pragmatism. Missions are sent out in search of the Seeker. One such mission encounters Kara an outcast noblewoman of the Labateen, a Stone-Age warrior culture. Kara is well versed in the Seeker’s litany, beyond what would be considered coincidence –to Kara the litany is simply the ways of God. Will Kara be able to help locate the Seeker?

Those who wish the universe to end in disorder, with no more than a whimper are not willing to sit by as others race to alter the end universe. As these opposing forces mount their defenses, racing to see their goals are achieved one question stands out…

Is Kara the key?

About the Author
Dr. George H. Elder has a Ph.D. from Penn State in Speech Communication and a Masters Degree in nonfiction Writing from UNH. He also has a very eclectic work and personal history. He has been a college teacher, custodian, upper-level scholar, drug addict, weight lifting coach, bouncer, and much more. He has authored numerous articles in the popular press and even a scientific text book that examines the neuropsychological basis of human communication. He has also addressed subjects such as philosophy, free speech, weight training, drug use, nutrient effects, street life, and a wide range of other issues.

His varied life experiences and education give him a unique and interesting perspective, and he often weaves philosophical insights and pathos into his texts. His books are action-oriented, but they do not have simplistic plots wherein good vs. evil or some other hackneyed approach is used. Instead, Elder employs plot shifts that allow the characters and readers to question the relationships we often take for granted. For example, a hero may do great wrongs while a species once perceived as malicious can be revealed to be honorable and wise. This offers refreshing and exciting perspectives for readers as they delve into Elder’s texts, for one never knows what to expect.

Purchase Child of Destiny on Amazon.
Check out George's Website

30 April 2012

Promotional: The Fairytale Keeper: Avenging the Queen by Andrea Cefalo

Occasionally I'm willing to promote a book even if I haven't read it, because I think the premise sounds incredibly interesting. This is one of those books. I haven't read it, but it sounds like something I'd really enjoy! So, here's a little something from the author. Let me know what you think!

I’ve been asked before what my favorite fairy tale is and that’s a difficult question to answer because I love so many of them. So instead of choosing my favorite, I’ve decided to write about the tale that has been a part of my life the longest. People might assume that tale is Snow White since I’ve decided to write a four book series on it. They would be wrong.
Cinderella was the story I grew up hearing, the movie I grew up watching, the doll I grew up playing with. Why, you ask? It all has to do with the multi-million dollar Disney Princess franchise. A trip to most clothing or toy stores will result in an encounter with Disney’s most famous ladies: Arielle, Belle, Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, and Jasmine. Although matching one’s daughter to a Disney princess wasn’t as popular in the eighties as it is today, my parent’s managed to be ahead of the trend. Katie, my older, raven-haired sister, became the Snow White of the family, while I, the butterscotch blond was dubbed Cinderella.
During my childhood, the only Cinderella I was familiar with was the Disney Cinderella. You know the one: two ugly stepsisters, one wicked stepmother, talking mice, and a fairy Godmother. It really is quite an innocent little story, isn’t it? It wasn’t until college that I learned how many Cinderella stories there truly are. France, Germany, Italy, China, India, and Native America all have their own versions.
That day, the story of Cinderella changed for me. It made me realize something about people everywhere. We desperately hold out hope that those who suffer, like Cinderella does at the hand of her wicked step family, will be redeemed. I like that. I think it shows the good in us.
Since then, I have read some of these versions which differ greatly from their Disney counterpart. My personal favorite, which should come to no surprise, is the German (Grimm’s Brothers) version, Aschenputtel. In my opinion, it is a darker version of the tale. The wicked stepmother is so desperate for her daughters to become princesses that she makes them cut off parts of their own feet in order to fit into Cinderella’s dainty slipper. I’ve always been a fan of the Romantic period in art and literature. I love the emotional extremes within that movement and in this telling of Cinderella, though it’s rather strange to think that this is the kind of tale that was told to children. I’m sure my parents would have thought twice about buying me Cinderella dolls had that been the only version of the tale. It makes you wonder what we would know of fairy tales today if it hadn’t been for the animators at Disney!

Links for THE FAIRYTALE KEEPER and Andrea Cefalo:

Andrea Cefalo's Twitter
Andrea Cefalo's Facebook
Andrea Cefalo's Web page
The Fairytale Keeper on Goodreads
Andrea Cefalo's You Tube

29 April 2012

Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1) by Michelle Rowen (4/5 Stars)

Title: Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1)
Author: Michelle Rowen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: May 29, 2012

Blurb from Goodreads:
I don't do dangerous. Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me.... NIGHTWATCHERS When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising...

My Review:
For awhile now, I've been steering clear of most YA fiction involving angels of any kind. I've just read a couple that I haven't been too impressed with. However, I decided to give DARK KISS a try after seeing it on Net Galley and hearing some positive things about it. I am sooo glad I did.

The story starts with an average teen girl, Samantha, who FINALLY gets a kiss from her longtime crush. And instead of a choir of angels singing (hehe), and bells ringing, we find out the kiss wasn't exactly a GOOD thing.

After Sam experiences this kiss and decides to go home, she runs into Bishop, an angel sent from Heaven. And, Bishop is everything you'd expect an angel to be. He's dreamy, kind, and level-headed. Well, at least that's what we know of him now. It's apparent from the beginning that there's some supernatural connection between Sam and Bishop and that they are just NOT going to be able to stay away from each other.

I liked that as the story unfolds, so do the characters. I learned that what you see isn't necessarily what you get with any of the people in this book. Right down to Kraven, the demon who is a part of Bishop's team on earth, to keep order in Sam's town. I started out assuming certain things about everyone and then gradually came to realize that there was so much more under the surface. I'm hoping the next book explores more of these characters' personalities. I have a feeling that some of the people I thought were "bad", may not really be.

I definitely suggest reading this book. Even if, like me, you may not really be into angels. DARK KISS is a very original story and I'm eager for the rest of the series, already.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

PRE-ORDER Dark Kiss on Amazon.

PRE-ORDER Dark Kiss on Barnes and Noble.

Check out Michelle Rowen's Page.