Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Complete Edition (graphic novel) - Paul's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors and Top Shelf Productions on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*




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Title: Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Complete Edition
Author: Van Jensen
Illustrator:  Dusty Higgins
Year Published: 2014


Synopsis: This puppet may not be a real boy... but he just might be a real hero! When bloodthirsty monsters invade Pinocchio's hometown and kill his father, Geppetto, Pinocchio discovers a new benefit to his magical nose: telling lies produces a never-ending supply of wooden stakes to combat the vampire hordes! Will Pinocchio be able to defeat these horrors, avenge his father, and save his friends? Now, for the first time, the complete trilogy is collected together in a single deluxe softcover edition. Jensen (Green Lantern Corps) and Higgins (Knights of the Living Dead) present a captivating blend of comedy, horror, romance, and adventure, rooted in the original Italian novel, but brought - as if by magic - to new life.

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Review: 


**Only a partial of the Complete Edition was provided, this review is based on about 50% of the Complete Edition**

I am not very familiar with the original Pinocchio story. I have seen and read many interpretations of it, but I have never gone back to the source. Thankfully, this graphic novel has a short retelling of the traditional tale at the very start of the book. Pinocchio fans can refamiliarize themselves with the tale while casual readers can learn a little more about where this wooden boy came from. There is also a wonderful foreword in this edition. I admit, I sometimes browse through forewords without really reading them, but this one is worth it to read. 

The artwork is very unique. it is black and white and reminds me of wood carvings. It fits the mood of the story perfectly. 

This graphic novel has some darker themes and added humor. If you, like me, are a fan of children's tales retold for adults you will enjoy this. If you are more familiar than I was with the Pinocchio tale, I think you will enjoy this even more. There were many characters I was unfamiliar with. 

I was provided only half of this Complete Edition, so I read probably about halfway into the second volume if you are reading the earlier released graphic novels. I give what I read a 3/5 and highly recommend it to Pinocchio fans. 


--PAUL

Glory: The Complete Saga by Joe Keatinge & Ross Campbell - Ashley's Review

*I received an eARC of  this book from Diamond Book Distributors/Image Comics on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Title: Glory: The Complete Saga
Authors: Joe Keatinge & Ross Campbell
Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Paul's Glory: The Complete Saga Review

Synopsis: THE ACCLAIMED APOCALYPTIC WAR SAGA COLLECTED IN ITS ENTIRETY!

Ross Campbell (Wet Moon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Joe Keatinge (Marvel
Knights: Hulk) collect their critically-acclaimed and brutally told saga of one warrior and
her family torn apart by a millennia-old intergalactic war. 

This is the complete story, collected in its entirety for the very first time in a deluxe, over-sized hardcover edition, packed with never-before-seen sketchbook material, scripts, commentary, and interviews.


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Review: Glory sounds like it would be a really epic story with lots of action and adventure and all of that jazz. And, while it was, something about it just fell short for me. I'm not sure if my expectations were too high, or if I just wanted something more, but Glory  was not everything I hoped it would be. 

The artwork fits very well with this story, and was probably the thing I enjoyed the most. It's dark and gritty and it shows much more emotion than most of the words. I enjoyed the colors and the harsh lines, and I really enjoyed seeing the different worlds and such. Ross Campbell does an excellent job, and I'm really interested in seeing more of his works. 

I think the problem with this comic, for me, was that there wasn't enough explanation of anything. We know that Glory is meant to bring peace between the worlds. But that doesn't really work. And her parents try to do the EXACT same thing, thinking it will work the second time around. I really disliked Glory's parents, and most of the other characters. They're all selfish and they don't change very much at all. There's no growth or anything that I could see and that really bothered me. 

It was also really hard to even care about what happened to Glory. She goes on these rampages and loses herself and then comes out of it and is all sad about what she did. Until the next time, of course. Then it just happens all over again. There was only so much of that I could take in one story before it became really tedious. I mean sure, Glory is a strong heroine capable of saving - or destroying - the world. But she has no motivation other than to make her father suffer for her mother's death, and she doesn't care who she hurts in the process of taking her revenge. I guess she's supposed to be morally ambiguous, but she just came off as annoying to me. 

Overall, I think this was just not the kind of comic that I normally enjoy. I definitely think there's an audience out there for it, and I think that many people will thoroughly enjoy this reissue. Especially with all of the interesting letters and sketches included in the back. I did actually enjoy those! Since I wasn't really a fan, I'm not really sure who to recommend it to, other than fans of the original series. A 2/5 from me. 


--Ashley

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zaya (graphic novel) - Paul's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors and Magnetic Press on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Title: Zaya
Author: Jean-David Morvan
Illustrator: Huang-Jia Wei
Translator: Mike Kennedy
Recent Release Date: August 26, 2014

My Review of NAJA (also by Jean-David Morvan)


Synopsis: Zaya tells the story of secret agent in the distant future who left her post to seek a normal life as an artist and mother. When a biomechanical threat destroys an orbiting colony station and former fellow agents start dying, she is called back into the field to find and stop the danger. Her investigation leads to many questions about her own past, filled with explosive revelations.

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Review: There are many similarities between Zaya and Jean-David Morvan's other work, Naja, but halfway through this graphic novel there's a twist that really grabbed my attention. I won't spoil it, but it involves twisting reality. I prefer Zaya to Naja, but that may be because I like space adventures more than spy thrillers. 


The artwork in this graphic novel is different from what I've seen recently. The colors are quite muted, often very light or almost pastel. The details are incredible, but in some panels the details feel a little crowded. The technology blends really well into the overall aesthetic. The whole feel of the graphic novel reminded me of The Fifth Element

I really enjoyed the second half of this comic. I thought it was leading a predictable path at first, but it took a far turn and I enjoyed the ride. I give this graphic novel a 4/5 and highly recommend it to fans of space adventures that play with your mind. This is a mature graphic novel with gore and some sexual situations. 


--PAUL

A Bad Spell For the Worst Witch (Worst Witch #3) by Jill Murphy - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Candlewick Press on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: A Bad Spell For The Worst Witch (Worst Witch #3)
Author: Jill Murphy
Publication Date: August 5, 2014

My The Worst Witch Review

Synopsis: Catch up on Mildred Hubble’s magical adventures at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches with these reissued editions featuring energetic new covers.

Mildred gets off to a good start in her second year at Miss Cackle’s Academy, but her sworn enemy, Ethel Hallow, is plotting misfortune, setting Mildred up for a very bad spell, indeed.


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Review: I really enjoyed the first book in the Worst Witch series, and I was really excited to read more books about what Mildred Hubble has been up to. And this book gave me exactly what I was looking for! 

Somehow I missed the second book in this series, but it was not a big deal at all. I assume this one picks up right where that one left off - Mildred is now in her second year at Miss Cackle's Academy, and things are starting to look better for her. But, of course, Mildred has the worst luck. Her cat still can't fly on her broom with her, and she just happens to scare the one first year that she shouldn't - Ethel's sister!

So of course, Ethel has to take revenge for scaring her sister. And Mildred spends the majority of the book trying to get out of the her ridiculous predicament. She does make a new friend though and manages to help him, so that was really nice to see. Even though Mildred has her own problems, she still remembers those who need help just as much or more than she does. Mildred is a good friend to those who need her friendship. 

I really enjoyed the antics and bad spells and everything, and it was a really cute story with a really sweet message. I would definitely recommend this book, and the series, to a younger crowd. It would make a nice book for little kids just learning to read, or a good story for parents to read aloud before bed. I'd give this book a 3/5!


--Ashley

Friday, August 29, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Land of Kaldalangra by Kristi Strong - Playlist + GIVEAWAY!


Happy Friday! We're really happy today to be hosting Kristi Strong, author of the Land of Kaldalangra series, as a part of her blog tour. Kristi stopped by to share her "Songs of Kaldalangra" playlist, and we also have an excerpt from the first book in the series, The Lady of Steinbrekka, and a giveaway for you! 

Kristi is offering a signed paperback copy of The Lady of Steinbrekka, along with a Land of Kaldalangra bookmark prize pack. So be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post!

Before we get to the excerpt, the playlist, and the giveaway, here's a little bit of information about all three books in the series and about Kristi. You can also click on the banner above to see the rest of the tour schedule; be sure to check out all of the other awesome stops on this tour! 



About the Books


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Title: The Lady of Steinbrekka
Author: Kristi Strong
Publication Date: August 9, 2012

Synopsis: Rhea Aralia lived an uneventful life in Virginia, until the fateful night of her kidnapping. Taken to a strange realm of destruction, despair, and mysterious people with dark secrets, the young woman must learn a new way of life to survive. 

With the help of her new companions, Rhea discovers the courage to defy the tyrant King Verikhan and his heir, the cleverness to deceive the court, and the power within herself to transform this world of darkness into one of beauty and hope.

Will Rhea triumph over those who seek her destruction, or will she be forever lost in the darkness known as Kaldalangra?

Join Rhea as she fights to take destiny back into her own hands.




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Title: Heart of Kylassame
Author: Kristi Strong
Publication Date: June 26, 2013

Synopsis: It has been two years since the reign of the tyrannical King Verikhan has ended, and the realm of Kaldalangra flourishes.

Nyssa has taken her place as Queen of the realm, with her secret love, Sebast, now openly at her side. She rules with a fair hand, striving for justice and prosperity for all of her people.

Rowan and Rhea travel the realm, spreading peace and healing wherever they go. In Kylassame, they have formed a strong bond with friends and spread deep roots in the community.

The people of Kaldalangra are joyful, and life in their world is better than ever before.

But a string of tragedies has the ability to bring Rhea to her knees, and with her, the entire realm. While Rowan struggles to recover the village of Kylassame from a devastating crime, Rhea’s faith in her own strength weakens, with dire consequences.

Re-enter the world of Kaldalangra, and join the adventure as Rhea and Rowan endeavor to continue upon their chosen destiny.





Title: Soul of Asimina
Author: Kristi Strong
Publication Date: December 25, 2013

Synopsis: In the land of Kaldalangra, one woman stands at a crossroads 

Sabina de Nespa has known a life of freedom and peace, thanks to the actions of her heroic parents. As a child of royalty, she has kept her intentions pure and her heart guarded, always aware that the crown of the realm may one day rest upon her brow. 

When two strangers stumble across her path, she finds her peace shattered as dangerous family secrets begin to emerge, along with a malignant force that threatens to destroy her entire world. These men have the ability to help her rise to brilliant heights, or cause a devastating plunge into darkness. 

It is now up to Sabina to continue her parents’ legacy of honor, courage, and strength through adversity. With the fate of Kaldalangra upon her shoulders, she has vowed to follow the path of righteousness, or die trying.



About the Author


Fixing broken computers, wrangling a very spirited little toddler, and creating a world with a tyrant king, are all parts of the average day for Kristi Strong. While she has called Virginia her home for two decades, her head has rested in two countries, three states, and far too many houses to count. She was more than happy to give up her nomadic lifestyle and settle down with her husband, daughter, cat and chinchilla. 

While attending James Madison University, she was given the rare opportunity to work as part of an archaeological team on a variety of dig sites in Virginia, including the homes of former Presidents, James Madison and George Washington, civil war sites such as The Stevens’ House and Fort Evans Mississippian Encampment, and a variety of pre-historic hunting sites and camps. 

Kristi now uses her extensive studies in human cultures to create her own world in her fantasy novels, beginning with her debut novel, The Lady of Steinbrekka, and continuing with Heart of Kylassame and Soul of Asimina.



Excerpt from Lady of Steinbrekka


Rhea threw up her hands in defense as she saw the man smile. “Hello, little mouse.” 

She bolted out of her hole, too frightened to know if she was heading away from the door or towards safety. Direction did not matter; all that mattered was getting away from the person who pursued her. The un-swept floors threatened to betray her as her sneaker soles slid on the years of sand and dirt. She turned the corner as the second man stepped into the aisle, then tripped over a box as she quickly backed up.

“What do you want? I have money, take it, it’s yours.”

The man gave a hollow laugh that echoed off the walls of the basement. Rhea grabbed an old volume off the shelf and threw it at him, using the precious seconds of confusion to force her feet to move and run down the next aisle. She could see the main aisle, could see freedom streaming through the door and took a precious second to inhale for a scream of help. A large hand clamped across her mouth, an arm lifted her from the ground and took that precious freedom away. 

“It is not worth it to struggle, little one. You have no chance of winning.”

Rhea caught a finger between her teeth and bit down hard, wildly kicking her feet out to try to contact any body part of her assailant. She growled, “It’s always worth trying.” 



Songs of Kaldalangra



Kaldalangra is a world that is cloaked in darkness, with the tiny glimmers of hope and love threading the deceit and chaos. People are rarely who they seem, and those on the side of goodness and truth must fight against the corruption with every ounce of strength that remains. 

Here are the songs that inspired the creation of the land of Kaldangra:


Evanescence - Bring Me To Life


When Rhea arrives to Kaldalangra, it is a realm kept under the finger of King Verikhan, a man who rules through fear and dismay. Only she has the power to undo the damage and give hope to the people


Evanescence - Forgive Me


Rhea and Rowan are not always kind to one another, and say many things that they wish they could take back. Eric needs mercy even more, for he has committed crimes that may never be forgiven.


Staind Everything Changes 



When Eric comes to Kaldalangra, he immediately meets Sabina and finds himself falling for her, until he realizes who here father is, and that he has done things that her family will never forget.


Pink - Just Give Me a Reason



When tragedy hits, it pulls at the bonds between Rhea and Rowan, and threatens to destroy every positive step they have taken together.


A Great Big World - Say Something


The people of Kaldalangra have spent a lifetime learning to be silent, be unseen, and do nothing but obey the King. Their world is turned upside down when Rhea enters, and they begin to feel again.


Gary Jules - Mad World 


When the series begins, Kaldalangra is a land of death. Then it begins to change, to morph, and Rhea can't help but wonder if this is really all a dream (it's not).



Queen - The Show Must Go On



(I also love the version of this done in the movie Moulin Rouge)


If there is one thing that all of the people of Kaldalangra have in common, it is putting on the mask and bearing unspeakable pain. Desires do not matter, only the will of the court.



The Giveaway!


Kristi is giving away one signed copy of The Lady of Steinbrekka and a Land of Kaldalangra bookmark pack! 





Which song on Kristi's playlist is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by and supporting Kristi and her books! 


--Ashley & Paul 

Month9Books FRIDAY REVEAL: The Artisans by Julie Reece + GIVEAWAY!



M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

The Artisans by Julie Reece

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

The Artisans
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old RAVEN WEATHERSBY gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands. 
To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day. 
Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox. 
But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse. 
Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.
Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes. 
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is? 
The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont's classic Beauty and the Beast. 
"The Artisans has all the elements I love - spooky intrigue, strong friendships, and a romantic tension to be savored." ~ Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy. 

add to goodreads

Title: The Artisans
Publication date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Julie Reece
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
 
Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all. 
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won. 
Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends. 
Then I thought I’d write one down… 
Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rocket Girl Volume 1: Times Squared (graphic novel) - Paul's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors and Image Comics on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Title: Rocket Girl Volume 1: Times Squared
Author:  Brandon Montclare
Illustrator:  Amy Reeder
Year Published: 2014


Synopsis: A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City. 

Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time. 

As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home — an alternate reality version of 2014 — shouldn’t exist at all!

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Review: Time travel stories always interest me, but I'm always critical of them. What method of time travel theory will they use? Will their actions in the past effect the future or will their actions have already happened and they just didn't realize they were the butterfly? In this first volume of Rocket Girl, it is unclear how the time travel will pan out. The reader's pre-existing thoughts on time travel add to the mystery of the story. 


Dayoung comes from a futuristic 2013 that is quite different from our own present. She finds herself in 1986 with all things 80's. I enjoyed the pop culture references, but may not have got them all considering I only experienced a little over a year in the 80's myself and I wasn't exactly observant then. 

There are many different time periods the story takes the reader: the 2013 past, the 2013 present, and the 1986 present. The teenage police unit is a cool concept. 

The artwork is done nicely with futuristic technology contrasting the 80's colors. There are some pages that feature art of both time periods side-by-side. 

This volume alone isn't a completed story. It's just the start of Rocket Girl's adventures in the 80's. I am interested how the time travel concepts will be dealt with. What is the technology that created the futuristic 2013 and where (or when) did it come from? I give this first volume a 3/5


--PAUL

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Alex + Ada, Volume 1 (graphic novel) - Paul's review

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors
and Image Comics on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Alex + Ada
By: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
Year Published: 2014


Synopsis: The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.


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Review: This graphic novel takes place in a near future where artificial intelligence is becoming common. Many people have their own personal robots that simply do what they're told without having their own consciousness. There have been some recent events in which these robots have been found to have their own will. 

Alex is newly single and his grandmother sends him one of these subservient androids for his birthday. I really enjoyed the interactions between Alex and his grandmother. She is at the core of the funniest scenes. The future technology used for communications is also very cool. 

The story follows Alex's new thoughts about his X5, Ada, as he learns more about the technology that makes her what she is.

This first volume feels like only the start of quite an adventure. It has a predictable beginning, but at the end it starts to get interesting. I give this graphic novel a 4/5 and will definitely keep an eye out for the second volume. 


--PAUL

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gilded (Gilded #1) by Christina L. Farley - Ashley's Pre-Reading

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Title: Gilded (Gilded #1)
Author: Christina L. Farley
Publication Date: March 1, 2014

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.


But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.

Why?: I'm always up for a good fantasy, and I'm really excited that this one seems to deal heavily with Korean mythology. I'm not familiar with Korean mythology...at all... so I think it will be really interesting. Throw in a heroine who sounds like she's pretty kick-ass and a little romance and I'm hooked already!


Expectations: I'm expecting a pretty epic fantasy with a girl who can take control of the situation and fight her way out if she has to. I'm also really looking forward to learning a little bit about some popular Korean myths/tales/creatures. I've heard some pretty great things about this book, so my expectations are probably higher than they would normally be considering this is Christina's debut novel! 


Judging a book by its cover: I adore this cover. I love the way it is literally gilded around the edges, and how the title is also gilded. The blue of the ocean and the bird creature really makes the gold pop, and I really like how dark and mysterious and ghostly everything looks. I would definitely pick this book up off the shelf - it's part of what initially drew me to the book! 



--Ashley

Friday, August 15, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco - Ashley's Review + GIVEAWAY!


Happy Friday! Today, we're really excited to be participating in the blog tour for Rin Chupeco's debut novel, The Girl From the Well, out now from Sourcebooks Fire. As part of the tour, we have Ashley's review for you (she LOVED it!), as well as a giveaway for a hardcover copy of The Girl From the Well (US/CAN only). So make sure you enter to win via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post!

And if you haven't seen it yet, you can see the book trailer (which is wonderfully creepy and captures the mood of this book perfectly) by following this link!


Before we get to Ashley's review and the giveaway, here's a little information about The Girl From the Well, Rin, and some advanced praise for her book!


About the Book


The Girl from The Well ● Author: Rin Chupeco
Sourcebooks Fire ● August 5, 2014 ● ISBN: 9781402292187
Hardcover/$16.99 U.S. ● Ages 14+

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The Ring meets The Exorcist in this haunting and lyrical reimagining of the Japanese fable.

Okiku has wandered the world for hundreds of years, setting free the spirits of murdered children. Wherever there’s a monster hurting a child, her spirit is there to deliver punishment. Such is her existence, until the day she discovers a troubled American teenager named Tark and the dangerous demon that writhes beneath his skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. Tark needs to be freed, but there is one problem—if the demon dies, so does its host.

With the vigilante spirit Okiku as his guide, Tark is drawn deep into a dark world of sinister doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms that will take him far from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Japan. Can Okiku protect him from the demon within or will her presence bring more harm? The answer lies in the depths of a long-forgotten well.


Praise for The Girl From the Well:


“[A] Stephen King–like horror story…A chilling, bloody ghost story that resonates.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Chupeco makes a powerful debut with this unsettling ghost story…told in a marvelously disjointed fashion from Okiku’s numbers-obsessed point of view, this story unfolds with creepy imagery and an intimate appreciation for Japanese horror, myth, and legend.” –Publishers Weekly, STARRED

“The Girl from the Well is part The Ring, part The Grudge and part The Exorcist…A fantastically creepy story sure to keep readers up at night… Okiku is one of the most interesting YA characters to date.” RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ STARS-TOP PICK!

“A dark novel that will appeal to horror fans, lovers of Elizabeth Scott’s ‘Living Dead Girl.’” –School Library Journal



About the Author




Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. The Girl from the Well is her debut novel. Connect with Rin at www.rinchupeco.com.






Ashley's Review


I never watched The Ring or The Grudge because I was terrified of horror movies when they first came out. I've been interested in the stories, just never the whole someone coming out of my television set to kill me thing. I've really come to enjoy horror books though, and when I saw The Girl From the Well, I just know I had to read it. And I was not disappointed! This book was as incredible as I hoped it would be. 

One of my favorite things about this book is the disjointed way that the story is told. Okiku tells the story in a mostly linear fashion, but it's broken up and interrupted by various things. For one, Okiku is obsessed with counting. As long as there aren't nine objects, the story can progress in a decent fashion. However, if Okiku counts nine things... let's just say you don't want to be around. Okiku, being a ghost, can also travel around to wherever she wants to go and the scenery changes quite often. Sometimes she'll be with Tark and then the next sentence she'll be stalking her next victim halfway around the world. I think this could be a little off-putting for some people, but I absolutely loved it and thought it fit perfectly with the story Okiku was telling. 

I also really enjoyed the Japanese folk tales, mythology, and culture incorporated in The Girl From the Well. I'm not an expert on Japanese culture or anything, but the aspects that I recognized seemed pretty sound and so I assume that the rest of the things were as well. I loved the temple and the priestesses and how Rin articulated how they perform exorcisms. I felt like I was in the room with them when they were trying to remove the spirits from people and rehome them. I was terrified for everyone when things don't go as planned. 

Okiku is fascinating, and reading this book made me want to learn more about her story in Japanese folklore and watch other portrayals of it. She's terrifying if you've done something she doesn't like (especially if you're on of the people she targets) or if you happen to have nine of something when she shows up. Her background is also heartbreaking, and I really came to understand her we find out more about her life and her history. I enjoyed learning things as Tark and his cousin learned things - I think it made it more interesting than just having Okiku explain her life. 

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down! There's enough horror and gore and evil spirits that I would definitely not recommend this to a younger audience, but I think the older YA crowd - especially those who enjoy horror stories - would really love this book. I can't compare it to The Ring or The Grudge, but it does have a genuine Japanese feel about it. I can also see fans of Dexter enjoying this book too, although the similarities stop at a killer killing killers. Rin's writing is gorgeous, her story-telling is superb, and I can't wait to read more of her books in the future! 5/5 for an excellent debut!


The Giveaway!



Thanks for stopping by! 


--Ashley & Paul

Month9Books FRIDAY REVEAL: Horror Business by Ryan Craig Bradford + GIVEAWAY!

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Horror Business by Ryan Craig Bradford

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

horrorbusiness2
Armed with a passion for classic B-grade horror movies, a script co-written by his twin brother, and a wicked crush on his death-obsessed neighbor; hardcore horror fan Jason Nightshade must finish his student film. 
But his plans are derailed when the children of suburban Silver Creek start disappearing – his twin brother among them. Battling a possessed video camera, a crazy zombie dog, a monstrous bully, and a frighteningly broken down family life, Jason embarks on a mission to find his lost brother so the two can write an ending for his story. 
As any horror fan knows, saving the day won't be easy, as Jason finds himself forced to face the real world where death isn't just a splash of fake blood on a camera lens.

add to goodreads

Title: Horror Business
Publication date: February 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Ryan Craig Bradford
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
ryanauthorpic3-300x200
Ryan grew up in Park City, Utah. His fiction has appeared in Quarterly West, Paper Darts, Vice, Monkeybicycle and [PANK]. He currently lives in San Diego where he acts as Creative Director for the nonprofit literary arts organization So Say We All. He’s the co-editor of the anthology Last Night on Earth and founder of the literary horror journal, Black Candies.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)



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COVER REVEAL: The Lost Locket of Lahari Anthology!

We're really excited to be a part of the cover reveal for The Lost Locket of Lahari Anthology today! The five authors of Patchwork Press - Erica Crouch, Terra Harmony, Janna Jennings, Ruth Silver, and Kellie Sheridan - have come together to write this anthology and it definitely sounds like one you won't want to miss.

Before we show you the cover, how about a little bit about the book?


Title: The Lost Locket of Lahari Anthology

Authors: Erica Crouch, Terra Harmony, Janna Jennings, Ruth Silver, Kellie Sheridan

Release Date: September 9th, 2014

Synopsis: In a dusty, dilapidated stall tucked away in an alcove of a bustling Bazaar in India, a man with a rickety spine and a spindly beard bends over his work bench, forging a locket with accidental magic. There’s power in a wish, and there’s nothing he wants more than for his children to return home. The locket was intricately crafted, adorned with one dragonfly for each of his children—and the power to find them.

With the guidance of fate, the locket skips through time and journeys across oceans, traveling from person to person in a constant search for the souls whispered into its vessel. Centuries after the magical old man in the Bazaar became near-forgotten myth and whispered legend, the locket has fallen into the hands of those with echoes of the six dragonflies: the empath, the dreamer, the confidant, the adventurer, the dancer, and the mystery.

In the hands of its new owners, the power of the locket adapts, bending and remaking itself to answer need. While the locket never found the children of Lahari, it found the next best thing… Their spirits.

The five novellas of the Lost Locket of Lahari anthology pause a moment in time when the locket finds the ripples of its ancestry. From the Victorian-era to the Roaring Twenties, the 1940s to modern day and beyond, this anthology is a collection of stories as dynamic as the authors themselves.



Are you ready to see the cover now?  We won't make you wait any longer!







So, what do you think of the cover? Are you as excited to read these stories as we are? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by to check out the cover and support these authors!


--Ashley & Paul

Thursday, August 14, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter (The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #1) by Rod Duncan - Author Interview!

Happy Thursday! Today, we're really excited to have Rod Duncan, author of The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter, here to answer a few questions. The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter is out next month from Angry Robot and we're really excited to read it. 

Before we get to the interview, here's a little information about Rod and his book! 


About the Book!


Title: The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter (Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #1)
Author: Rod Duncan
Publication Date: August 26, 2014 (US/CAN/ebook)
                              4 September 2014 (UK)
Genre: Fantasy
Cover Art: Will Staehle

Synopsis: Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life – as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus.

But when she comes up against an agent of the all-powerful Patent Office, her life and the course of history will begin to change. And not necessarily for the better…




UK Print & Ebook


North American Print & Ebook


About the Author!


Rod Duncan is a published crime writer. His first novel Backlash was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, and he has since written three other novels (all Simon & Schuster UK), and had his first screenplay produced.

His background is in scientific research and computing, and he lives in Leicester.

You can find Rod online at www.rodduncan.co.uk and follow him @RodDuncan on Twitter.







The Interview!


How do you like to spend your free time?
I enjoy watching movies and playing board games with friends and family. I also like to spend time walking. The walking is also important for my writing. When I walk, I can figure out answers to plot problems that might otherwise elude me.


What made you want to write an alternate-history fantasy?
The short answer is, I write about things that interest me.

I didn’t do well with history in school because I could not hold on to the kind of facts we were being asked to remember. But the ideas behind history always fascinated me. For example: are trends in history an unstoppable tide? If not, can individual efforts change the course of history? We see apparently contradictory interpretations played out in Asimov’s Foundation series and in Robert Harris’s Fatherland.

In The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter, I start to play with such ideas. Later in the series, this theme will ripen.


If you could only use three words to describe The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, what would they be?
Conjuring
Adventure
Secrets


Do you currently have any books on your nightstand?
I have a pile of books on the floor next to the bed. It is haphazard to say the least. A quick glance at the topmost layer reveals Rose by Martin Cruz Smith, Kraken by China Mieville and, somewhat poetically, a non-fiction title - A Perfect Mess: the Hidden Benefits of Disorder by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman.


Which author, alive or dead, would you like to spend an evening with?
Voltaire would be a great person to talk to. Unfortunately, I don’t speak French. Dorothy Parker at her best would be ideal, but she had her ups and downs and if I caught her on the wrong day it would not be so much fun. That leaves me torn between Douglas Adams and Mark Twain. Either would be wonderful. But if pressed, I’d go with Twain.


What is your favorite thing about going to the circus?
I’m interested in the way that travelling communities are often seen as ‘other’ by the settled population. That adds significance to the act of stepping into a travelling show or fairground. As to what particular act I would like to see – definitely conjuring. Preferably a mentalism act.


Where would you want to be stranded for a year? Why?
Somewhere in China. I lived in Taiwan a few years ago. But my Mandarin is now so rusty that it I could barely introduce myself. I’d like a year to immerse myself in the language again. It is very beautiful.


Who, or what, inspired you to become a writer?
I have always made up stories. But literacy came late and reluctantly to me so I never thought of writing any of them down. The first time I remember being aware of authorship as distinct from a story was when listening to the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the radio back in the 1970s. But I had to wait for the 1980s before the word processor started to dissolve some of the barriers I had previously experienced. That’s what started me writing.


What is one book (or a couple books) that you recommend to everyone?
I hesitate to suggest any book would suit absolutely everyone. But if pressed, I would offer Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. It is still as fresh and funny as it was in the Victorian age when it was written.


Are you currently working on any new projects?
I’m spending much of my writing time carrying forward the story from The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter. The series is called the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire. It promises to keep me busy for some time to come.


If you had a book club, what would it be reading – and why?
I teach creative writing, so I am always on the lookout for books that showcase interesting techniques. If I had a book club it would probably be focusing on that kind of thing.

One of the last books I read was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It is interesting from a writing point of view because it is a first person narrative in which the reader understands more than the protagonist. A book club could have some interesting discussions about that, as well as a discussion of whether or not the author misrepresents Aspergers syndrome.


Thanks for asking such interesting questions. I’m hoping that you do actually have a time machine and that I will be able to spend that evening with Mark Twain. I wonder if he had any theories about history.



[Unfortunately, we don't have that time machine... but good luck finding one! If we hear of one, we'll be sure to let you know ;) ]


Thanks to Rod for stopping by to answer some questions, and thanks to you for taking the time to read the interview! :)


--Ashley & Paul