Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cobble Cavern by Erik Olsen

Saturday I got guilt tripped in to moving an author’s book to the top of my to read list. By the author no less! So for those of you out there who have been patiently waiting for a new blog post, you can thank author Erik Olsen.

I first met Erik Olsen earlier this year at my local bookstore’s BookaPalooza. You may have seen my posting about it in April. Erik Olsen was the author sharing a table with James Dashner and actually signed a bookmark when I gave away as part of a, well, a giveaway. That month I gave away a signed copy of Maze Runner by James Dashner along with a signed copy of Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George.

So that is the backstory.

Today I went to another bookapalooza, only this time it was specifically for young adult novels. I was pleasantly surprised to see several authors I have had the chance to meet in the past, mainly Erik Olsen and Natalie Whipple. It is always nice to know that my method of asking for autographs is memorable. They may not remember me, but they remember my paint chip autograph cards.

Erik Olsen asked me if I had read his first book yet, Cobble Cavern. Sadly I hadn’t, my to reads list is never ending and Cobble Cavern just hadn’t quite made it to the top of the list yet. Erik Olsen signed another bookmark to giveaway after hearing that I had given away the first. He also kept trying to give me fantastic glow in the dark bracelets that say “Flin’s Destiny Series! Beware of Snazzards!!!” I left the event with three bracelets, two of which I am willing to give away again. If Erik Olsen had had his way I think I might have left with seven or eight!

So because of the guilt I am now feeling for not having read and reviewed this book, I am taking a very short break from homework to read this book. Keep in mind it is a simple review because I have about fifty other things I should be doing at this point in time.

On to the review!

Cobble Cavern is the first book in the Flin’s Destiny series by Erik Olsen. I would say it is a good book for 9 to 13 year olds of either gender. While the main character is male, it would appeal to anyone who has a love of adventure, male or female.

Cobble Cavern starts out on Flin’s thirteenth birthday. In his family the thirteenth birthday is the ultimate birthday, the day you get to choose your ring of destiny. This is a major family tradition and with each coming of age, each child within the family chooses their ring. Or in Flin’s case, the ring chooses him. Much of this first part of the story seems to be about setting the stage for Flin’s peculiar family and really letting the reader know exactly what kind of childhood Flin has had. The picture painted is of a family who is pretty much dirt poor. Instead of seat belts, the family car has rope to tie around the waist of the passenger.

The day after Flin’s birthday he heads to Ireland as part of his school’s debate team. The story skips over the actual debate tournament and continues on the last day of their trip in Ireland. On the final day they finally get the chance to go sightseeing and much to everyone’s amusement and dismay they are traveling on a very run down bus.

While on the road to the sea the bus is subjected to a series of earthquakes that results in the bus getting stuck in a tunnel. The bus slides farther and farther down in to the earth, finally settling several miles underground with no visible escape route.

The rest of the book is about Flin and his fellow classmates escape from underground. It is a fantastical journey to the end and includes several rather creepy creatures. I would say the snazzards are the worst, an evolutionary throw back combining snakes and lizards!


I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5. I rated it a bit lower because of the confusing beginning bits, but keep in mind it is an easier read for a younger age set. It has some outlandish and unfeasible characters and actions in the book, but over all I liked it. I will probably be reading the sequel somewhere down the line.


Recommended Reading:
Garden of the Lost Soul’s by Erik Olsen – This is the second book in the Flin’s Destiny series and looks rather interesting.

Raggleroot by Erik Olsen – This is the third book in the Flin’s Destiny series.


Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne – This book has the original plot for lost ecosystems hiding below the surface of the Earth. I highly recommend this book for everyone, it’s a classic!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Holy Crap! I'm Back!

So, after a lovely long break, I am back in the saddle.
I am one revised paper away from completing my Composition 2 class and it has been a long effort for me.
If you can't tell, I didn't learn a whole lot. According to my instructor I misuse and abuse commas frequently. Also, run on sentences are the bane of my existence.

I am going to start back slow, maybe a book a week starting next week. But in the mean time, enjoy this paper I wrote on librarians vs publishers. My lovely sister-in-law helped revise it so I got an awesome grade thanks to her.

The assignment was a pretend letter to the editor which is why it isn't quite my usual format.

Enjoy!

Dear Editor,
How would you feel if one day you went to your public library and you weren’t able to get any popular bestselling books? What if you were told you wouldn’t be able to get these books through any library because the six largest publishers would no longer sell books to libraries? Unfortunately, you don’t have to try to image this horrible event – it is actually happening. In recent years reading has evolved from just paper format in to a new format, the ebook (digital book). With this evolution has come a host of problems, the main one being accessibility. I recently discovered that three of the largest publishers refuse to sell ebooks to libraries. Of the three other top publishers only one publisher sells ebooks to libraries without harsh restrictions. This has led to publish outcry from libraries that face criticism from their patrons when they can’t offer popular books such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It may not seem like a big deal, but the ebook industry is on the rise and many people look to the library for their ebooks.
            As a child I was taught that libraries are places of wonder, a magical world where I could get any book imaginable and that librarians are some of the smartest people in existence. As I grew older I branched out where I obtained books. But I still believed that a libraries only goal is to encourage people to read and to spread the gift of books to others. If this is the case then why can’t libraries buy the newest books in digital format? Publishers certainly have no problem with libraries buying new releases in paper format, why then this ban on digital?
            Several publishers have stated that they do not sell ebooks to libraries out of concern for authors. They worry that the convenience of borrowing an ebook format from a library will hurt the sales of ebooks and in turn will be detrimental to authors. Their solution is to limit ebook availability for libraries. Some publishers, such as Simon & Schuster and Scholastic Corporation,  have taken this a step farther and refuse to sell ebooks to libraries at all. This has created a problem with many libraries that are struggling to keep up with advancements in technology. 
There are solutions to this feud. One possibility is to limit the number of checkouts per title and to require the library to repurchase the title after it has reached its set limit. In my mind this is the best solution. However, I believe research needs to be done before this solution is put in to effect. The research would be fairly simple, a study done to determine how many times a paper book can be borrowed, read, and returned before it is worn out to the point that it needs replacing. With the data collected from this study it will be easier to determine an appropriate number of checkouts for ebooks that is fair and favorable to both the library and publishers.
Another option is to increase the cost of the original ebook copy in exchange for unlimited checkouts of the title. This is the route that Random House has gone and so far they are receiving a favorable response from libraries. While it is unknown how the prices for the libraries are in comparison to what the public pays for the same title, it does seem to be a step in the right direction. The only problem with this is who decides what is a fair price? If it is an unlimited use ebook, is it fair to charge the library ten times what the average consumer pays for the same ebook? If current trends in ebook consumption continue to grow as they are projected to, I feel that there will need to be some form of regulation to prevent price gouging by the publishers and ebook misuse by consumers and libraries alike.
In the meantime, there are several things that the average consumer can do to help publishers that this ebook ban is not right. I recommend a two-part plan. First, boycott publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Scholastic Corporation and Macmillan. If they aren’t willing to sell to institutes such as library, why should be willing to buy from them? Second, write to these publishers. Let them know your feelings on the matter. In this letter, include why you are choosing to no longer buy their ebooks. If we are able to hurt their profit margins, maybe they will reconsider their stance on selling ebooks to libraries.
                In our society there has always been a struggle between sellers and consumers. Supply and demand is the basis of our economy. As a whole we have struggled with this balance for centuries and will continue to do so for many centuries to come. Despite this, we have to settle on a reasonable compromise that will allow future generations to have access to literature in all forms and formats that will encourage learning and reading as a whole. We can’t let this feud prevent us from providing future generations with all the resources we can possibly give them. Publishers vs. Libraries isn’t a case we are likely to see in a court of law any time soon. But it is something we should all be aware of. It is our duty to encourage negotiations between these two entities in hopes of a plan for the future of books in all formats.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I will be taking a short hiatus.

It won't be long, I promise.

I recently started a writing class in school and unfortunately if I want to be able to write my papers and sound like an adult who is capable of writing I have to stay away from blog style writing for a bit.

For my first paper I have to write a summary and response to an article and since I just tried to rate the article like I would a book I think I need a break from blogging.

I will see you soon!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder by Diana Staresinic-Deane

Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder by Diana Staresinic-Deane is a true crime novel that was written by a friend of a friend. My friend Michelle had been telling me about this novel off and on for months since I started this blog. Since Michelle has been my main support for my blog from the beginning I jumped at the chance to read and review this book when I was offered a reviewers copy. Its not my typical genre but I am always willing to read a well written free book!

In 1925 a housewife by the name of Florence Knoblock was murdered.
In 2007 a library assistant by the name of Diana Staresinic-Deane found a green folder containing 22 newspaper clippings.

Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder is the culmination of a 5 year hunt for the truth.

On Saturday May 30th, 1925 John Knoblock came home to a quiet house. While bringing in the groceries he stumbles on a gruesome scene - his beautiful wife Florence is lying on the kitchen floor dead. (I won't go in to details, it is truly gruesome.) Using the party line, he first called his father in law and then called the sheriff.

What happens next isn't too far from a circus side show. According to the new's articles, over one hundred friends and neighbors appear at the Knoblock house to find out what has happened. From the beginning the law enforcement investigation is more than a bit farcical. Men were arrested and questioned for no real reason other than rumors and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. One man was held for weeks because the sheriff was afraid the man would be lynched if he were released.
I won't lie, when I was reading about the 1925 investigation I wanted to bang my head against the wall because of how poorly it was conducted.

Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder covers the 1925 investigation and murder trial of John Knoblock. John Knoblock was charged three times and stood trial twice. To this day the real identity of the murderer remains unknown though there are many theories.

I don't normally read True Crime, but I thought this book was amazingly well researched and written.
4.5 out of 5! The missing .5 is because I still want to know who committed the murder.


Interview With The Diana Staresinic-Deane:

In the introduction to Shadow on the Hill it says they you found a folder with newspaper clippings while chasing children playing hide and seek. What made you want to take that collection of clippings and turn it in to a true crime novel?
DS-D: I had no idea how much those newspaper clippings would change my life when I picked them up. I still remember reading them at the reference desk and sharing bits and pieces with my colleagues that day. There were articles about the murder and investigation and a few about the trial in Emporia (these were printouts from the Lyon County newspapers), and then the obituary for John Knoblock when he died many years later. I remember thinking, BUT HOW DID THE TRIAL END?! because that article, the one that announced his acquittal, wasn't in the bunch. The research began that afternoon when I sat in front of the microfilm reader just to get the ending of the trial. It was just curiosity. But the more I read, the more curious I became, especially after I discovered there was nothing--and I mean NOTHING--out on the internet. I couldn't understand how such a major story had escaped documentation on the web.

When I finally found Florence and John mentioned on a genealogy website, I got the wild idea to contact the family and ask if they would be interested in copies of the newspaper articles. That descendant mentioned hearing a story about a possible witness, and I remembered getting goosebumps. That was when I began to seriously think about the need to tell the story.


When this endeavor started all you had was a stack of 80 year old newspaper articles. How did you get started with your research, what was your first step?
DS-D: This was a challenging story to research! In my favor was the fact that two brilliant newspaper men - John Redmond of the Daily Republican and William L. White of the Emporia Gazette - were documenting the events day by day. They were smart, observant reporters who really conveyed not only the details of the crime, investigation, and trials, but also the mood of the community. they wrote hundreds of pages of newspaper stories, giving me lots and lots of names to research and avenues to explore.

The biggest downside was that the case was so old. So many of the people who were old enough to remember the story had long since passed on. The trial transcripts were gone. The evidence was gone. Even the courthouses that held the trials were gone.
However, descendants of many of the key people involved in the story were still alive and generously agreed to talk with me about what they heard growing up, and every time I thought I hit a dead end, I would serendipitously come across someone or a clue that would give me a new direction to explore.


What was the most rewarding/frustrating aspect of researching and writing Shadow on the Hill?
DS-D: The most rewarding thing is feeling like I've pulled the story together in such a way that it is accessible and preserved for future generations. I hope that I conveyed the fact that this wasn't just a murder, but a community of real people who were really hurting.

The most frustrating part about researching the story was the fact that I couldn't find all of the answers. I couldn't actually solve the murder; I could only share the information that actually exists. Someone out there may have the answer. They may not even know they have the answer. Or the people who really know what happened - Florence Knoblock and her murderer - took the answers to their graves.
On a personal note, I was not prepared for how hard it would be to immerse myself in the pain and fear every time I sat down to write. Even though there are some very funny moments, it's not a happy story, and I remember feeling wrung out after writing for a few hours. I still can't get past the scene where little Roger wipes his father's tears during the trial without getting choked up.

In the epilogue you mention that this is still an unsolved crime with several suspects but no real evidence. In your personal opinion is there one suspect who stands out from the rest?
DS-D: I really believe that the person who killed her was known to her, and I'm kind of amazed at how determined the community was to insist it was an outsider of some sort. I believe that it had to be someone who could move about the area without attracting suspicion, and strangers get noticed in a small farming community. The tough part about pointing fingers at anyone in particular is the fact that so many of the descendants of the 1925 neighborhood still live in the area today, and, not being a hard-nosed investigative reporter, I don't want to case undo harm to a family by accusing the grandfather of murder without true evidence.

Are you planning on writing more books? If so, any particular genre in mind?

DS-D: This story has opened my eyes to how many old crimes there are that are essentially unknown because they're documented on a reel of microfilm somewhere and otherwise not accessible to the public. As I learned writing Shadow on the Hill, an unsolved murder isn't just a crime, but a piece of community history. There are a few other stories from the first half of the 20th century that have caught my eye, and I'm hoping there is enough material there to develop into another book.






Recommendations:
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - Truman Capote is credited with creating the true crime genre with his book about the 1959 murders of a family in Kansas.

The Devil's Rooming House: The Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer by M. William Phelps - I found this book through Googling true crime novels set in the 1920's. This title really intrigues me.

The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial that Captivated America by David R. Stokes - Yet another 1920's true crime novel. Something about that era is super interesting.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Book Tuesday - That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard

I found That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard when hunting through the various lists of books released 4/2/13. It was actually released yesterday but who is counting? I finished this book in under two hours, it was easy reading and pretty interesting. After all, who doesn't imagine running away to the circus at some point in their life? If I weren't terrified of heights and a bit disturbed by clowns I would consider doing it myself!


Alexandra, Xandra to her friends or Lexi to her dad, is your average teenager living in New York City. She attends an expensive private school and is best friends with Eli and Bailey. Unfortunately, things don't stay normal or simple for long. When Alexandra's father is killed in a car accident she is sent to Florida to find her mom - who is supposed to be part of a traveling circus.

When Alexandra, now going by Lexi, reaches Florida she is greeted by an empty field and a ringleader who has no idea who her mother is or if she ever traveled with the circus. Faced with defeat Lexi does the only thing she can, she joins the circus. Lexi is soon taken in by the members of the circus to do odd jobs and whatever needs done. She meets a lot of characters and makes friends with both crew and performers.

This is a good story about setting out on your own and finding out who you are in the process. Alexandra was lucky to find the good people she did who took her in and made her part of their family. While not my usual YA genre it was a very well written story with just enough drama and fancy to keep the reader entertained. 

I rate this book a 4.5/5, a wonderful debut novel for the YA genre. 

Recommendations:
I struggled to find recommendations for this one, mostly because its not my usual genre and I rarely read about circuses. Maybe my fabulous readers can make some suggestions.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - Okay, Water for Elephants really isn't that much like That Time I Joined the Circus other than they both involve working for a circus. Water for Elephants is the adult version of running away to the circus.





Friday, March 29, 2013

Free Book Friday - Anathema by K.A. Tucker

After digging through the list of free teen books on BN.com I came across Anathema by K.A. Tucker. It was fairly well written for a free book and I was pleased with my find. Sorry for the late posting, I had loads of homework to get done yesterday.

The book starts in 1800's with Sophie and a few others trying to accomplish some sort of feat, it isn't clearly mentioned what exactly other than it is unsuccessful.

Fast forward to modern day, Evangeline is one day short of her 18th birthday and just going through life trying not to stand out. Evangeline has been in the foster care system since she was twelve and her mother was killed in a hit and run accident. Evangeline is leaving the homeless shelter where she volunteers one night when she runs in to Sophie and the very expensive lamp she is carrying. When Evangeline accidentally breaks the lamp Sophie offers to have Evangeline work for her until the lamp is paid off.

Evangeline sees no choice other than to accept the offer to be Sophie's assistant even though she feels the job is too good to be true. Evangeline is soon jetting off to New York where Sophie has urgent business to take care of. When they reach New York City Evangeline is stunned by the house they are staying at, owned by Viggo and Mortimer, two of Sophie's friends. Not only is it large but it is guarded by four dogs that are so big they look as if they have been injected with steroids.

While in New York Evangeline begins having bizarre dreams in which she travels to parallel universe and meets four people, Caden, Fiona, Amelie and Bishop. Sophie tells Evangeline its not a dream, but the result of a spell she cast in the 1800's. In our world vampires can no longer turn humans without killing them immediately so Sophie cast a spell that would transport a person to a parallel world to bring over a vampire whose venom still works properly. It is now Evangeline's job to save them all.

I thought Anathema was a decently written free book, but I am a little turned off by the prevalence of teen vampire books these days. I did think that Anathema was a relatively unique idea to blend vampires, fantasy, and sci-fi together. Sci-fi only if you believe that parallel worlds are science fiction, in this case it was more fantasy since the journey between the worlds was accomplished by magic.

I rated this book a 3.5/5 only because of a rather large plot hole at the end of the book. It might be covered in the sequel but since I haven't read that yet I am unsure.

Recommendations:

Asylum by K.A. Tucker - This is the sequel to Anathema and may or may not cover the plot hole in the earlier book.

Allegiance by K.A. Tucker - This is the third book in the Casual Enchantment series which also includes Anathema and Asylum.

Ten Tiny Breathes by K.A. Tucker - Ten Tiny Breathes is a separate series from Casual Enchantment and is set in our modern world. It deals with a variety of issues from drunk driving to running away from home.





April Giveaway - Kathy and Brendan Reichs!


For this giveaway you are entering to win one of two books: 
OR
 Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Both of these books are new, never read. Deja Dead is an extra special copy, not only did Kathy Reichs sign it, but Brendan Reichs signed it as well! As I was getting Deja Dead signed, Brendan remarked that it wasn't a book for him to sign since his mother wrote it, not him. I said to go ahead and sign it anyways, I was sure my readers would love this uniquely one of a kind signed book.



I was able to go to the signing for Code by Kathy and Brendan Reich and Kathy Reichs was nice enough to also sign my copy of Deja Dead. For those who don't know Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist who writes the Temperance Brennan book series and is the inspiration for the hit TV show Bones. The signing itself was amazing, Brendan and Kathy Reichs are hilarious together, I imagine their household was a fun place to grow up. After all, who wouldn't want an attic of dead things and skeletons? Brendan, Kathy's son, told a story about growing up in the Reichs household. When he was young, he had the bedroom with access to the attic where his mother kept all her skeletons and dead things. He said he would hear a noise at night and mentally prepare himself for the attack he was sure was going to happen. "Get ready Reichs, this is the night they attack."

I was super excited by the fact that I got my picture taken with the original Bones! As you can see, I was wearing my fabulous READ hoodie that is my staple for all signings.

After last months giveaway and the troubles I encountered with the giveaway method, I am changing things up this month. Rather than using comments to enter, I am using Rafflecopter, which I would have used last month if I had known about it.

This means you will be able to enter through your Facebook or Twitter, instead of having to use a Google account or one of the other sign in options that blogger requires for comments.

This time, there will be no minimum amount of entries for the drawings, it is time limited instead. At the end of the contest I will simple draw two random names for the two books.
May the odds be ever in your favor.

The Rules:
1) This giveaway is limited to the US and Canada due to shipping costs.
2)The contest will start April 1st and end April 30th.


Please remember, I do not make any money from this blog and all costs are from my pocket. So I buy the book and get it signed and then ship it. Please do not complain if you win a different book than you were hoping. Comments aren't necessary but they are greatly appreciated. Comments will also give you extra entries in the giveaway.




 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Book Tuesday - If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch isn't my usual type of book, at least not where this blog is concerned, but when I was browsing for books released March 26th it caught my eye. The blurb for If You Find Me appealed to the former psychology major in me.
Just a warning, this book is heart breaking at times.

Carey Blackthorn is a 15 year old girl who lives in a camper with her 6 year old sister Jenessa in the middle of a national park. Her mother brought her to the woods when she was 5 and she has lived there every since. When she is eventually found by a social worker, she and her sister have been on their own for over 3 months and have little food left, just a few cans of beans. Carey's mother Joelle is a bipolar meth addict. She would randomly take off and leave the girls alone for weeks at a time with just canned goods, no heat, no water, no way of communicating with the outside world. The only thinks that Carey and her  sister have are a collection of books and Carey's violin.

When they are found they are put in the custody of Carey's father, a kindhearted man. Carey and Jenessa soon find themselves in his home with their new step mother and step sister. Melissa welcomes them home but Delaney, their new step sister, isn't particularly excite to see them. Delaney teases them about their backwoods ways and Carey vows to do what it takes to fit in and protect Jenessa.

With their shift to the real world comes new experiences, Jenessa discovers Shorty, the family dog and falls in love. Things are harder for Carey as she adjusts to a world she doesn't remember, a world including high school and interacting with boys.

I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5. It deals with the psychology of the isolation the girls grew up in and I really liked how the author dealt with Jenessa and her mutism after a traumatic event. I thought it was relatively realistic though in the real world it would be much, much, more complicated. It was a really good book and I sped through it in about two hours. I would definitely recommend reading it, it is an excellent debut novel for Emily Murdoch.


Recommendations:
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah- This is the book that came to mind when I was reading If You Find Me. Jenessa's character really reminded me of Alice, a found girl in Magic Hour. A very good book by Kristin Hannah.

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer- This book is a classic for pretty much every psychology major. A Child Called It is a heart breaking real life account of a child raised by extreme abuse. It is an amazing book and the first one I think of when thinking of child abuse - something no one likes to think about. Just a warning, it is not for the faint of heart, it would not be uncommon to cry during parts of this book.





Friday, March 22, 2013

Free Book Friday - Alone by Robert J. Crane

I have said in previous posts that free books tend to be hits or misses. The first book I attempted to read for this week was a major miss. It took me almost two hours to try and get a quarter of the way through the book. It wasn't well written and couldn't hold my attention long enough to actually read it.

So I switched books and found a much better book - Alone by Robert J Crane. By my personal guidelines, this book is really more of a novella, coming in at about 180 pages (my personal cutoff for novellas/novels is 200 pages.) However it is a free book for Nook and well worth the read I thought. The later books in the series are $4.99


Sienna Nealon has been locked inside her house since she was 5, now 17 she lives by five rules her mother set in place.
#1: No one is allowed in the house other than Sienna and her mom.
#2: Sienna is never allowed to leave the house.
#3: Never open the curtains or look out the windows.
#3: Sienna must be full dressed at all times, including long sleeves and pants, always gloves and shoes.
#5: Sienna must never ask about the outside world.

Sienna lives by these rules without really knowing why she has to. Or why her mother insists on martial arts and weapons training two hours a day. Sienna is smarter, faster, and stronger than your average girl. She doesn't know why, just that its a secret. When two men enter her house late at night a week after her mother disappears  she does what she has to do to escape. She gets a ride from a man named Reed but when they are escaping they are attacked by Wolfe, a monster of a man impervious to pretty much everything.

Through a series of events Sienna ends up at the Directorate, an institute dedicated to the protection and study of so called Meta-Humans. On a more sinister side it also protects the humans from the more dangerous Meta-Humans. Meta-Humans are what they sound like, humans with a bit more than the average person. Metas are stronger, faster, smarter, and many of them have extra abilities. Sienna isn't sure she wants to be there but it is the only place safe from Wolfe and the others who are after her.

I really enjoyed this book, it was well written and I thought the world in the book was well planned. For a free book I thought it was very well done. While it was self published you could tell the author knew what he was doing unlike many of the self published today.

I would rate this book a 4 out of 5. Very recommended.

Recommendations:
Untouched by Robert J. Crane - This is the sequel to Alone, however it is not freed. It is $4.99 for the ebook.

Girl in the Box series by Robert J. Crane - This is the full series by Robert J. Crane. The first is free, the rest are $4.99 for the ebook.

Defender by Robert J. Crane - Another free ebook by Robert J Crane, this one is set in a very alternate universe. It is the first in a series.





Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Book Tuesday - Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

This little gem of a book got entered in to my calendar wrong, I thought it was a new book today but it actually came out on March 5th. Regardless, I am using this book for my New Book Tuesday.

Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

I found this book when going through a list of YA zombie books in February. I am a sucker for zombie books, they are pretty much the one genre that guarantees a cry at the end. It is my special thing. I spend the whole book rooting for this character, falling in love with him/her, and admiring his/her strength. And then they get bitten. Seriously, not even fair. I cry every damn time. Authors are cruel cruel people.


New Raventown is is a community of survivors who have holed up in the former high school, eking out an existence in a hostile world. The people there have settled in to a life while trying to hold out hope that some day things will be different. But things have already gone wrong twice and there isn't much hope left. When the first wave of zombies appeared, the government started working on a vaccine. The survivors were told that the vaccine wouldn't cure the zombies but it would prevent those vaccinated from turning if they were bitten. They were lied to. The vaccine seemed to work at first, but then the truth was discovered. Stronger, smarter, faster zombies began to appear. So-called Zs were a new breed of zombies. Zs were vaccinated people who had been bitten, they never died but the virus took over their bodies anyways. This new version was called the Hitchhiker Strain. These poor people are trapped inside their heads, conscious of what is happening but unable to stop themselves.

Savannah is a survivor, she and her friends Alex, Zach and Pierce were all in high school when the zombies appeared. Now they are all training to fight the zombies that threaten their new home. When the worst happens and the school is overrun they are in for the biggest fight of their lives. They are on the run when Zach is taken by a militia that has taken over the last of the government. Savannah blames herself and along with Cole, a teen she met along the way, she does what she has to do to get him back.

At the same time we are reading Savannah's story we are also reading Zarra's story. Zarra's story is very differnt from Savannah's. Zarra wasn't lucky enough to have a whole community to depend on when her family is killed by zombies, instead she has the boy she met at school not long before the outbreak. Zarra and Liam go a different route and end up being vaccinated. Their story ends differently from Savannah's, but it is just as tragic at times.

I won't lie, there are some sad times in this story. But there are also some good parts and there is a good love story through out the book. I thought it was an amazing debut novel for Kellie Sheridan, the sequel has already been added to my to read list.

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. I thought it was well written and was a bit of a lighter zombie book. It wasn't super heavy in to the gore and she added a creative twist to a classic plot. I can honestly say that her zombies are a type that I have rarely seen before. I can think of only one other story that has a similar idea to zombies.

Recommendations:

End Dayz by Kellie Sheridan - This is the prequel to Mortality. From what I can tell of the blurb it is the initial story of Savannah, Pierce, Alex, and Zach.

Duality by Kellie Sheridan - This will be the sequel for Mortality but there isn't any information on it other than a possible release date of December, 2013. There isn't even a cover yet.

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel - This book is an interesting zombie story. In Dearly, Departed zombies don't truly die as long as they are given a serum to keep them moving. Zombies don't heal and eventually they do decay as the months go by, but until then they are the same person they were before they were bitten. Its the opposite of a steam punk in my opinion. It is a futuristic story that has Victorian ideals.





Friday, March 15, 2013

Free Book Friday - Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching

Week two for Free Book Friday!
This week my recommended free book is Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching. I got this book for Kindle but it is also available on Nook. Actually, for some reason there are two listings for Soulkeepers on Nook, one free while the other is listed at $.99. Not sure what is up with that, I assume some sort of glitch.

I found this book searching through Amazon to find a free book and it looked the most interesting of what I could find that wasn't rated Mature or NC-17. I am trying to avoid heavy romances...

Jacob Lau is your average 15 year old boy living in Hawaii when he is in a horrific car accident. The only memories he has from the event are wild and fantasitical and false memories according to the doctors. Just a way for his brain to try and make sense of what happened, why else would he imagine a large monster attacking his mother and coming after him? When he wakes up in the hospital he meets Uncle John, an uncle he never knew he had who tells him that his mother is missing and that for the time being Jacob will be moving to Ohio to live with John and his family.

Jacob has a hard time fitting in to Paris, Ohio. It is a small town that is extremely bigoted and Jacob is half Chinese. He gets picked on frequently and his only friend is a beautiful Indian girl, Malini. After a fight with his cousin that ends in the damage of a neighbors property, Jacob has to work for Dr. Silva. Dr Silva is beautiful, mysterious, and quickly realizes Jacob's potential in the world's fight against evil. Dr. Silva promises to help find Jacob's mother as long as he trains as a Soulkeeper, fighting on the side of good against evil.

This is a wonderful story that includes both angels and fallen angels and the eternal struggle of good vs. evil. It isn't clear whether this book is a Christian book, though it definitely leans towards it. I thought it was very well written and if it is a Christian fiction book, it doesn't come off as preachy. It is more about defining your own belief system rather than one specific belief.

I give this book s a 4 out of 5.
For a debut novel this book was very well written and reminds me more of an author who has been writing a very long time.

Recommendations:
Weaving Destiny by G.P. Ching - This book is the sequel to Soulkeepers and it is the story of Malini figuring out her destiny. It is not a free book, but it definitely looks worth reading if you liked Soulkeepers.

Return to Eden by G.P. Ching - This is the third book in the series and is Dr. Silva's story.

Grounded by G.P. Ching - This book is set in a much different world from Soulkeepers but it looks fantastic from the blurb I read. I plan to read it soon.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Book Tuesday - Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza


To accompany Free Book Friday I have started another staple for this blog, New Book Tuesday. It probably won't be every Tuesday and it may occasionally come out on Wednesday, but I shall do my best.

This week we have Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. I learned about this book from an online flier for Pitch Black Dark Days tour. I read the Goodreads blurb and was intrigued. I then did a very stupid thing and read the free preview on Nook, three weeks before the book was being released. This has prompted Book Rule #3 for me: No reading free samples before the book is released. Seriously, I could have kicked myself for this one. I fell in love with the first seven chapters and it was brutal to have to wait three more weeks to be able to read it.

If I had gone to the Pitch Black Dark Days tour I could have gotten the book a week early. But sadly I was unable to go and even though I did order the signed book I didn't get it until 4 days before the book was released. And then I couldn't bring myself to read my signed copy. This has become a real problem for me...

But Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza was well worth the wait, it was amazing.

It started with a small town and a new girl who somewhat fits in, but only at the grace of her friend Kaylee. When a new boy comes to town, Hunter, things start to go downhill for Mila's life in Clearwater. Kaylee and Mila both have a crush on Hunter, but when Hunter makes it clear he prefers Mila, Kaylee doesn't take it well.

An accident on the way home from school one day leaves Mila to make a startling discovery about herself. A cut that doesn't bleed, a past she doesn't remember, and a surprise attack lead Mila and her mother to make a run for the border.
 They make it to Canada, but they are taken before they can board a plane for Germany.

After that, I can't tell you anything because of spoilers.

I thought Mila 2.0 was pretty well written for a debut novel and I would give it 4 out of 5. It was a bit slow in places but overall it had a good flow and an interesting plot line. It was also interesting to see Mila 2.0 compared to Mila 3.0.

Recommendations:

 Origin by Jessica Khoury - While not an android, Pia was created to be perfect. I definitely loved this story.

Partials by Dan Wells - Science vs humanity in a war to win the world! Partials are created in labs to be identical to humans but somehow it all went wrong.

Variant by Robinson Wells - Where you find one Wells brother, you often find the other. At least when it comes to books. I really liked this book, it even has androids in it if I remember correctly.






Friday, March 8, 2013

Free Book Friday - Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn

I am starting a new thing today, Free Book Friday. My goal is to review and recommend books that are free for download either on Kindle or Nook. It isn't hard to find free books for download, but it is tricky to find books that aren't erotica or heavy in to the romance. I am looking for books that are a bit more PG.

The first book I chose for Free Book Friday is a book that has been in my Nook library forever, but I kept getting distracted and just now finally read it.

Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Many free books aren't particularly well edited and I have come to somewhat expect that of self published books. Not that they are bad, but that they aren't professionally edited and okay, yes, some of them are just plain awful. But again, I was impressed by Unenchanted. It did have its moments, it could have used a look over by an editor, but over all it was pretty well written.

Unenchanted is the story of Mina Grime, a girl with unbelievably bad luck. If something can go wrong for her, it will go wrong. But despite this, her best friend Nan stands by her through all of her troubles. Mina is unpopular at school and does all she can to become invisible  This changes after she saves the most popular boy in school's life during a school field trip. Brody Carmichael is cute, rich, and doesn't know Mina exists.

Mina's life changes after she saves Brody. She finds out about her really family history and why it is so dangerous. Mina's last name isn't Grime, it is really Grimm and yes, she is related to THE Grimm's. Mina soon finds out that the Grimm Brother's fairy tales weren't works of their imaginations but rather true stories of what happens to the Grimm brothers. And now Mina is cursed to repeat those tales or die trying.

I was fascinated by Hahn's interpretation of fairy tales and thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a sequel that I haven't read yet, but I do look forward to it despite mixed reviews.

I would give Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn a 3.5 out of 5. It would be higher except for those few editing errors. For a free book, it is definitely worth checking out.

Recommendations:
Fairest by Chanda Hahn - This is the sequel to Unenchanted, sadly, it is not a free book.

The Iron Butterfly by Chanda Hahn - Another free book by Hahn, I think this book looks interesting as well. It is set in a completely different world from Unenchanted.



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Breathe by Sarah Crossan is a book that has been on my to read list for about 9 months now and I was happy to find out that my local library had a copy in ebook format. But then I had to wait for another month and a half on the hold list. But eventually I got my copy! Woohoo!

Breathe turned out much better than I expected. Don't get me wrong, the book sounded good from the blurb, but the story in actuality was ten times more awesome than the blurb.

The blurb tells us that Quinn, Bea, and Alina live in a post apocalyptic society. The world outside their pod is devoid of oxygen and inside their pod a company manufactures oxygen rich air. Quinn and Bea go on a two day hike outside the pod, with air tanks strapped on and Alina joints them at the last minute, something Bea isn't too happy about. For Bea, this was the chance to get Quinn to finally notice her, for Quinn it was the chance to impress Alina, and for Alina it was the chance to escape.

In the book it is infinitely more complex. Growing plants is forbidden, walking faster than 3 mph is forbidden and only Premiums have enough money to buy air for more than one child. Air consumption is taxed and a small tattoo on your ear lobe defines your status. Quinn is a Premium and his best friend Bea is an Auxiliary. Two different classes that aren't supposed to talk, let alone be friends. Bea is the better student, but because of Quinn's father's rank, he is the one to win the coveted spot in the leadership program. When they leave for their hiking trip they are on uncertain terms, unsure how to deal with the difficulties their differences have caused. Adding Alina to the mix only makes it harder. When Quinn and Bea save Alina's life she takes them to the Resistance and they learn the real truth of Breathe, the company that makes the pod's air.

I was impressed with the book overall and would rate it a 4/5. I thought the relationships seemed realistic while at the same time not overwhelming the rest of the book. There is romance in the book but its not the most important aspect. I approve of this.

Recommendations:
Resist by Sarah Crossan: This is the second book in the series, a sequel to Breathe. Sadly, this book won't be released until sometime in October 2013. Maybe I will get lucky and she will come through Salt Lake City on her book tour.

The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman - Another story about how the world has been destroyed but thanks to some kind company there is a place to live as long you don't question anything you see.

The Burn by Annie Oldham - This one goes along the same vein as the others, only the dome is under the sea and is a research colony.





Monday, March 4, 2013

Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.
Or in this case, Rapunzel, Rapunzel, hop on Facebook chat.

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to meet the Cindy C. Bennett, author of the fabulous Rapunzel Untangled. There I was, carrying my already too tall stack of books when I got to her table. Cindy C. Bennett was so nice that I had to get a signed copy of Rapunzel Untangled. She also recommended another book by another author that I will be finding soon, when I don't have a stack of books to read.

I was excited to see this Rapunzel story, a retelling of an old classic in a modern way. Rapunzel is an underutilized princess fairy tale, it's not one of the big three - Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. Rapunzel has always been one of my favorite princesses, in part because she isn't one of the super popular princess. So as I said, super excited for this one!

Sadly I couldn't get this from Barnes and Noble for my Nook or from my local library which are my two preferred reading methods. I won't lie, I felt a bit ashamed of myself for buying it for the Kindle app after so many years with Nook. However, it was better than the alternative, actually reading my autographed copy. *shiver*
It was a quick read, I started about 6 p.m. and finished about 8:30 p.m. with a break for dinner.

In the beginning of Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett we meet Rapunzel, a 17 year old girl who has been isolated her whole life because of SCID - Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Or so she has been told. Rapunzel has everything she could want in her suite, from a huge bedroom and bathroom to a full size kitchen. Rapunzel has lived here her whole life and has had no contact with anyone other than Gothel, her mother. Rapunzel has been home schooled for obvious reason and after discovering Facebook her world begins to change. When she send a friend request to Fab Fane Flannigan she has no idea how drastic those changes will be.

Rapunzel Untangled is a fairy tale retold with a modern twist. It combines a coming of age story with a budding romance without overdoing the romance. I think the romance is light enough that young readers will be fine, no need to worry. If it were a movie I would say it is PG - a couple of kisses and a deranged lady working with an even more deranged sorcerer.

I would say it is a very well written story though the writing level does seem to be geared more towards a younger age group. While the Rapunzel is 17, her isolation and naivety make her seem much younger, perhaps 13 or 14.

Overall, I would rate this one a 3.75/5. Or a 4/5 because the author was super nice.

Recommendations -
Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett - If you liked Rapunzel Untangled, you might want to try Geek Girl, another book written by Cindy C. Bennett. This book has a modern setting and isn't based on a fairy tale at all, but it looks good in its own way.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale - This is another girl trapped in a tower story written by one of my all time favorite authors.

The Fates series by Kristine Grayson - This is an adult series that takes fairy tale characters and places them in a modern world that borders the fairy tale world. Who know that the Grimm Brothers had it all wrong? I am in love with this series currently.





Saturday, March 2, 2013

Barnes & Noble Authorpalooza plus a GIVEAWAY!

(scroll down for the giveaway)
Today I was checking out my twitter feed and noticed both Jennifer Nielsen and Jessica Day George tweeting about an event at my local Barnes & Noble, their 2013 Authorpalooza. The event website said it would have over 30 authors and if you have learned anything from this blog, I love me some book signings.
I found out at 11am and got to the store at 12pm, too bad the event didn't start until 1. After wandering around the store I finally got to join the lines for the signing. There were so many authors but no sense of a line, it was a free for all. I got pictures!
I also got a ridiculous amount of books, more than I should have, and I got to talk to a bunch of really nice authors! I was super excited that both James Dashner and Jennifer Nielsen recognized me from previous signings!
Several authors were super nice when they heard about my blog, Cindy C. Bennett, author of Rapunzel Untangled, even wrote down my blog address to check it out later. Again, super excited!
And now for pictures:
Sadly, I only took the pictures at the very beginning so its not nearly as busy and lacks a lot of authors in the pictures.





GIVEAWAY
I am doing my first ever giveaway. But this depends on you, the reader.
At Authorpalooza I got two signed, but not personalized books, along with a bookmark. The books are Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George and Maze Runner by James Dashner. The bookmark is signed by Erik Olsen.

So here are the rules:
1) One entry per person.
2) Limited to U.S. and Canada, I can't afford international shipping currently.
3) This is all dependent on the comments section.
4) Please keep in mind that I will need to be able to contact you if you are a winner.

And this is how it goes.
This contest will run for two weeks. The winners will be selected on March 15th.

The numbers will be made off of the number of unique comments. As in, one comment per person!

At 10+ unique entries I will draw for the Erik Olsen bookmark.
At 20+ unique entries I will draw for Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
At 30+ unique entries I will draw for Maze Runner by James Dashner

If I don't reach those numbers then I will save the remaining prizes for another giveaway.





Edit: I really want to respond to all your lovely comments, but I'm not currently because I want to keep the comments just for entries, to make the giveaway easier down the road.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger is a book I have been waiting for since I read her series The Parasol Protectorate  Set in a supernatural England in the 1800's, The Parasol Protectorate breathes new life in to an era I love to read about. After I finished reading those books I went through Gail Carriger's Goodreads page and stumbled upon Etiquette & Espionage. I thought it looks amazing but was disappointed to find out it wasn't going to be released for another 10 months! None the less I added it to my to read list and kind of forgot about it for a while. But recently I was going through my to reads list and marking down on my calendar when books were due to be released. I was very pleased to find out that Etiquette and Espionage was to be released a week after I went through my list. It came out the same day as Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, last week was a busy reading week for me.

Actually, books like these are the reason I had to implement a new rule for my reading habits. It used to be my only reading rule was no starting new books after 8pm (this came about after staying up way to late to finish reading books that I didn't start until 10pm.) But now I have a second rule, no more starting books at 7am.... at least not during the week.  This rule is because if I start a book first thing in the morning I won't want to do anything else until I have finished said book. This becomes a problem because I would much rather read my fiction book over my Intro to Literature book. So, the rule really is that I have to read my lit homework before I am allowed to start a new book. Yes, there is a good chance I am addicted to reading. But that is a story for another post.

Etiquette & Espionage is set in England in the 1800's, like previously mentioned. However, it is a supernatural steampunk England where werewolves and vampires are a common occurrence  In the beginning of the book we are introduced Sophronia Temminick, a 14 year old troublemaker. It isn't that she is a bad girl so much as a very curious girl. Why sit for tea when she could be discovering how a dumbwaiter really works. Unfortunately, this leads to trouble for young Sophronia and she is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Sophronia doesn't really want to go, but she is forced to by her parents. On the trip to the academy her carriage is set upon by Flywaymen, highwaymen but in a floating ship. The Flywaymen are looking for an object that is of the utmost importance, but when their chaperon faints, Sophronia and the other two people in the carriage manage to fight off the flywaymen and make a great escape. 

When they reach the academy Sophronia is astounded to discover that the academy is on a sky ship held aloft by three large air balloons  Sophronia is even more amazed to discover the real purpose behind the academy, not just to finish ladies, but to create spies and assassins.
Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate  Etiquette & Espionage has some of the same characters as the other book. Over the course of the book you will fall in love with the academy and characters. My only regret is that I wasn't given the chance to attend a school like Mademoiselle Geraldine's.

I would rate this book a 4/5.

Recommendations:
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger - This sequel to Etiquette & Espionage isn't set to be published until sometime late fall 2013. I am saddened by this.

The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger - set in the same world as Etiquette & Espionage, The Parasol Protectorate is a slightly more adult series. Still amazing.

The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter - This series is set in modern times and has a distinct lack of supernatural beings, but it is about a school for girls that trains spies.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mind Games by Kiersten White

How do you beat a Seer? By never thinking past your next move. In fact, its best not to think at all, rely on your instinct and never ever plan anything.

This simple idea is the driving point behind the book Mind Games by Kiersten White. Sofia, called Fia by friends, is a 17 year old girl who has been drawn in to a web of lies and deceits in order to protect her sister Annabelle from a school that is a lie itself.

When they were young, Annie, blind from a young age, had a vision and saw her parents die in a car wreck. Since then, she has wondered if telling her parents was the real reason for the car wreck, would it still have happened if she hadn't said anything? Fia has been protecting her older sister since she was young and she has a unique power to do so. No matter what she picks, she always picks the right answer, the right object. Fia has perfect instincts, but will that be enough to protect Annie?

After the death of their parents Annie and Fia are taken to the Keane Institute, a miracle school that will provide everything Annie needs to learn, even doctor visits to try to restore her vision. Fia knows the school is wrong, but she can't deny her sister the chance to thrive. And thrive she does, Annie just has to ask and any supplies she wants are provided for her including a mentor to help train her Seer abilities. But under all of this is a sinister intention. They start training Fia in skills that aren't normal for a 14 year old girl, hand to hand combat, knife fighting, how to get out of a room when everyone else has a taser and doesn't want you to leave. But there are skills that Fia learns that aren't taught by the teachers. How to beat Seers, Readers, and Feelers. How to survive when everyone wants to use you for their own interests. How to protect your sister when she doesn't realize she needs protecting.
Mind Games is written in a series of flash backs intermingled with the present. We see how Fia and Annie come to be at the Keane Institute and the series of events that lead up to the present and why each girl makes the choices she does.

I would rate this book a 4/5. It was well written, though at times a bit confusing with all the jumping around. White does a good job showing the psyche of a young girl who has been pushed too far and made to do things that no human should have to do. In Mind Games we are presented with a girl who is on the verge of a mental break down who has developed a bit of OCD in an attempt to cope. We are led to believe by other characters that Fia is a cold blooded psychopath, but after reading the book I have come to the conclusion that the problem isn't Fia's lack of emotions, rather she has too many, but is good at playing the game.

I very much hope this is a trilogy or at least a duology but since Mind Games was just released yesterday, I doubt it will be any time soon. Drats.

I am actually pretty sad right now, Kiersten White is coming to Provo Utah on March 6th for the Pitch Black: Dark Days tour, but unfortunately that is a Wednesday and I really don't think I can handle an hour drive without traffic during rush hour. I would love to meet White and get an autographed copy of her novel, but I will have to settle for preordering a copy through The King's English Bookshop, the sponsors of the event. Maybe some day I will be able to have White sign a paint chip for my project! (You can read about my project in an earlier posting.)


Recommendations:
Paranormalacy by Kiersten White - I loved loved loved this series. At first I didn't connect the two series because they are so different, but Kiersten White really is an amazing author.

Shatter Me by Teherah Mafi - Set in a world where having powers is a bad thing, this dystopian brings its own special power to the YA genre. I really liked this book.





Saturday, February 16, 2013

Breathless Reads Book Tour - West Coast Edition.

As I mentioned in my post The Magic of Meeting Authors!, today was the Breathless Reads Book tour visit to Salt Lake City!

I was so excited to be able to attend this event, it always means a lot of me to be able to meet authors. It's my version of going to a concert! (There may be a lot of exclamation points in this post.) I drove about 40 minutes to get to the Barnes and Noble in Orem, where the event was being held and thankfully left early enough that I could be 30 minutes early to the event. While that may not sound like a good thing, trust me it was. By the time it was all said and done it was standing room only and I was lucky enough to have a chair.

I bought my books in advance and thought I had brought too many, seven in total. Fortunately, I hadn't brought the most, the two ladies next to me had 26 books between them! They were very nice ladies and we got the chance to talk before the event, it was nice to actually meet people.

The books I had brought with me:
Legend by Marie Lu
Prodigy by Marie Lu
Rift by Andrea Cremer
Rise by Andrea Cremer
Paper Valentine by Brenda Yovanoff
The Replacements by Brenda Yovanoff
and
Origin by Jessica Khoury

Ally Condie was a special guest, but I already had signed copies of her Matched Trilogy from an event in November I think it was.

For the first forty minutes it was a Q&A with the authors and we got to learn about their writing process and where they get their ideas. It was funny when they were asked to describe their books or series in 10 words or less. And all five authors had Kissing as one of their words.

Ok, so maybe it was just exciting to me, but these people are magicians to me!

After the Q&A we lined up for the book signing and this made me doubly glad I had gotten there early. Even though we weren't actually in the line, they shuffled it around so those in the chairs were moved to the front of the line since we were all early to the event. I got lucky and was third in line so I didn't have to wait in line forever.

It was amazing to be able to actually talk to authors about mundane things. One topic that came up was the weather in Utah and Andrea Cremer and I were talking about how it really isn't that cold here, not after you have spent winters in -40F. She is originally from northern Minnesota while I lived in Alaska for almost five years.

All of the authors were super nice and liked the idea of my paint chip project. Several of them said they want to see the finished project when it is all done and said I should tag them in a twitter tweet when I finished.

Finally, here are some pictures!

Brenda Yovanoff, Ally Condie, and Andrea Cremer


Andrea Cremer and Marie Lu

Jessica Khoury, Brenda Yovanoff, and Ally Condie

Jessica Khoury, Brenda Yovanoff, and Ally Condie

Six of the seven books I had signed along with paint chips.

Two of the books I had signed along with the paint chip.
My shelf of autographed books!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

This book was another library special. Starting Tuesday Iwill have a few more newly released book reviews, but for now I am sticking with my library and random books.
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen is a ghost story, though they term it 'energy' in the book.

In Past Midnight we meet Charlotte Silver, a 17 year old girl who is known as the Princess of Paranormal. Charlotte's parents are renowned paranormal investigators and haunting debunkers. What this means for Charlotte though is lots of different schools and summers spent hunting ghosts. Charlotte prefers to spend her time behind the camera instead of in front of it but that doesn't always go well for her. While in Charlotte South Caroline Charlotte and her sister Annaliese are on set to try and summon ghosts to the restaurant that is supposedly haunted.

Fast forward to the start of a new school year and strange things are starting to happen to Charlotte. It is another new school and for once no one has found out who her parents are. But the school has a secret of its own, a mystery of how a star football player died the year before. At the school Charlotte soon becomes friends with Avery, a cheerleader who seems to be at the center of the mystery.
And all the while this is happening, Charlotte finds out that something followed her back from Charlotte, something that might not be friendly.

I thought that while the book felt a bit rushed, it was still a good story. It was a bit tame to qualify as a horror book, even though it did contain ghosts. Overall it was good.

I would rate it a 3.75/5.

Recommendations:
Past Midnight Series by Mara Purnhagen - When I started the book I didn't realize it was just the first in a series but now I am hooked.

Deception by Lee Nichols - this is another ghost story, thought more on the paranormal side. In Past Midnight ghosts are residual energy, in Deception they are like living beings, just dead.

Beyond: A Ghost Story by Graham McNamee - This book is more of a traditional ghost story, meant to be a YA horror novel I think. Still, Ghosts.