Friday, March 29, 2013
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.
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.
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."
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.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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.
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.
Friday, March 22, 2013
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.