Sunday, November 23, 2014

This Night So Dark (Starbound #1.5) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner - Paul's Review

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: This Night So Dark (Starbound #1.5)

Author: Amy Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Year Published: 2014

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) Pre reading
These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) Review

Synopsis: Don’t miss the breathtaking short story that connects the first two novels in the Starbound trilogy, These Broken Stars and This Shattered World. 

Tarver still has nightmares about the night, six months before the Icarus crash, when he rescued a group of civilian researchers being held hostage by brutal mercenaries. Now Tarver and Lilac must reconcile his memories of that fateful night with the truth that they uncovered on a mysterious planet after the Icarus crashed. 



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Review: I really enjoyed the world created in These Broken Stars. It was so much bigger than that story alone. I was captivated from the first chapter, set in a completely different location than the rest of the book. So when I saw there was a novella that took place within that world, I had to read it. 


I have yet to read This Shattered World, so I don't know how much of this novella is relevant to the story. It is supposed to be the bridge between the two books. I enjoyed the interludes between the chapters. The characters from the first book make their appearance there. 

This was a fun, little story. I'm sure I'll make connections when I read This Shattered World. I want to see more of this universe! More space adventures! Oh, and I also really enjoyed the casual mention of a same-sex attraction. I give this novella a 4/5. If you have read These Broken Stars and are looking to continue the series, definitely check out this novella. 


--PAUL

Friday, November 21, 2014

Month9Books FRIDAY REVEAL: The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham - Chapter 1 + GIVEAWAY!

M9B-Friday-Reveal


Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl
by Leigh Statham

presented by Month9Books!

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


The Perilous Journey


Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.


add to goodreads

Title: THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL
Publication date: 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Leigh Statham


Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt




The Perilous Journey of the Not-

So-Innocuous Girl

Leigh

Statham

Chapter One

Marguerite held the brass cricket gingerly in her hands. She kept it tucked under the table while she turned it over, her fingers blindly memorizing every feature. She knew it was childish for a sixteen-year-old to have a favorite toy, but she couldn’t help it. The design fascinated her. Occasionally she would trip the mechanism and the cricket literally sprang to life, launching itself against the underside of the table with a loud knock.

“What was that?” Madame Pomphart cried.

Marguerite caught the little metal bug with one hand and tucked it into the folds of her skirts. “Nothing,” she lied.

“I heard a noise.” The sour-faced governess slapped the desk with her pointer and stepped closer. “What are you hiding?”

Marguerite didn’t flinch. “You must be hearing things again. You are getting rather old.”

Madame Pomphart swung her pointer, making sound contact with Marguerite's shoulder.

“Ah!” Marguerite grabbed her shoulder and jumped to her feet, knocking her chair over.

She quite forgot about the little toy cricket which launched right at the governess’s face.

“What? Oh!” Madame Pomphart batted the air and stumbled backward, dropping her stick as the cricket ricocheted off her nose and landed at Marguerite’s feet. “How dare you bring vermin into my classroom? Your father will hear about this. Lord Vadnay will not be pleased!”

Marguerite scooped up her prize and ran for the door, grateful for the chance to escape.

“Get back here or you’ll receive double lashings!”

It was too late. Marguerite ran much faster than her teacher and was already halfway down the wide corridor. Lined with portraits of long-dead relatives and her father’s collection of modern weaponry, each display tempted her with thoughts of challenging the governess to a duel. She could easily scoop up one of the automated cat-o-nine-tails and turn back to the classroom.

She rather fancied the idea, actually. But it wasn't the right time or the right way to handle her heavy-handed caretaker, and honestly, she wasn't quite brave enough to do more than talk back—not yet.

Her fear began to lift as she lightly descended the grand curving stairway to the ballroom, sprinting over the marble tiles and through the large doors to the gardens. The French summer sun blinded her.

Marguerite blinked as she continued to run around the fountain filled with automated koi. A servant perched on the edge of the large pool, brass fish in hand. Its tail clicked furiously back and forth as he tried to oil it. The late-summer roses bloomed bright with color all around her. Butterflies seemed to flit merrily on every blossom, cheering her on. Human and automaton servants worked side by side grooming the large hedges … They jumped out of her way and bowed. None of them seemed surprised to see the young lady of the house running out of doors and they all knew where she was headed.

She tried to slip away to the cool shelter of the small glen beyond the lavender fields every chance she could, but since her father came up with the idea that she needed to be a “real lady,” it had become more difficult to sneak away.

At this point, she could have stopped. Pomphart wouldn’t follow her now, but it felt so good to move quickly after being at a table all morning. Her heart beat like an auto-hammer in her chest by the time she reached the work fields. More automatons and human servants stopped and bowed to the master’s daughter. Marguerite paid them no attention.

Finally reaching the small grove of trees, she flopped merrily on the soft grass and took a deep breath, then giggled to herself. She was safe, for now. The wind picked up and tousled the leaves overhead, sending bits of sunlight swimming wildly around her. The grass outside the glen rustled under the heavy thud of work boots: Claude.

“Hullo!” His voice sounded merry as he peered through the low branches that poked and tickled at the earth, surprised to see her there so early. “How’d you manage to beat me?” His wavy, light brown hair was just shaggy enough to soften his strong jaw and angular nose. His cheek was smeared with gear oil, right up to the corner of his smiling blue eyes. He was too tall for his work trousers and his chest had grown too broad for his cotton shirt. The buttons tugged a bit, but he wasn’t the type to care about his clothes. He pulled his welding goggles off of his head and wiped the sweat on his brow with the arm of his shirt.

“I ran.” She smiled wickedly.

Claude flopped down in the grass beside her. “That’s not very ladylike, and Pomphart doesn’t usually let you out till half past.”

“I had to run after this marvelous toy you made for me attacked her.” She held up the cricket like a prize gem freshly plucked from the earth.

“Marguerite!” he cried. “I asked you to keep it safe, not use it to get yourself tossed out of ladyhood!”

“It was an accident. I swear. The lessons are just so boring. I needed something to do, so I had it under the table. She’s such a brute. You should have seen
how she hit me with her blasted pointer.”

“She struck you again?” his face turned dark.

"Yes, but it's nothing, just a welt on the shoulder.” The last thing she wanted was to be the damsel in distress.

“Still.” Claude's brow furrowed. “It's not right. Ladies don't strike other ladies. Please keep good care of that little bug. It took me a long time to build and I didn’t record the plans. I may need to borrow it back someday.”

“All right.” Disappointed at his lack of enthusiasm for her naughtiness, she carried on. “But you should have seen her face! If only I could have a portrait made of that. I’d hang it over my bed and have a miniature made to keep by my heart.”

A nasally voice attached to a pointy-faced, pale girl in bright pink skirts burst through the cool glen. “Whose miniature are you keeping by your heart? You haven’t even had your ball yet.”

“Hello, Vivienne.” Marguerite sighed without enthusiasm.

“Marguerite has just sealed her doom,” Claude chimed in. “She threw the cricket I made her at Pomphart’s face today, so there may not be a ball.”

“That’s rubbish! I did no such thing. It just got away from me and bounced right off her nose.” Marguerite laughed again while recalling the image, but Claude’s words made her a bit nervous.

“Oh dear,” cried Vivienne. “What are you going to do?”

Of course Vivienne would make a big deal out of it, Marguerite didn’t expect anything less from her childish neighbor.

“I’m not sure. That’s why I came straight here.” She turned pointedly to Claude. “I thought you’d want to celebrate my freedom and take the rest of the day off.”

Claude was quick to reply, “I’m afraid I can’t. Lots to be finished at the forge and I am on stall-mucking duty with the bots.”

“What do you possibly have to finish at the forge that’s so important?”

Claude raised his eyebrows at her. “A certain girl’s father has requested automatic serving dishes made of twenty-four-karat gold for her introduction to society.”

“Oh my!” Vivienne drew a dramatic breath. “How elegant. I so wish I were old enough to come.”

“Don’t worry,” Marguerite patted the girl’s knee, “I’m sure you can borrow them for your own ball.”

“Marguerite… ” Claude hissed at her.

It wasn’t a very kind thing to say, but Marguerite had never been very fond of Vivienne. She mostly endured her company because she was the only girl within a hundred miles that was close to the same age and station as Marguerite. That, and Claude had insisted she be kind to her.

“You’re right, Claude.” Marguerite smiled in repentance. “I’m sure your father will have loads of wonderful things for the guests to marvel at when your time comes, Vivienne. Still, it would be nice to have both of you there. I suppose I will be forced to talk to strangers.”

“I can’t believe you’re not excited!” Vivienne chattered. “New dresses! Handsome suitors!”

“I am excited,” Marguerite cut her off, “to have it over and done with! Dressing up might be fun, but dressing up to catch a man is not my idea of a good time.”

"Don’t be vulgar.” Vivienne blushed. “It’s not like that at all.”

Claude cut in, “I’d love to stay and discuss this matter with you girls, but I do have a few chafing dishes waiting for their motors in the shop.”

Marguerite tensed at the thought of not only being left alone with Vivienne, but also being without Claude’s protection should Pomphart come looking for her.

“Do you think I could come help you at the forge today?”

“Not if you want me to get anything done.” Claude smiled merrily.

“Stop it! You know I’m a whiz with gear-work.”

“When you are actually interested in the work, yes, but I’m afraid that auto-spoons and brass tureens would bore you to death.”

Marguerite tried to make her eyes look large and beseeching, but she knew it was no use.

“No. But you can walk me there. I forgot my lunch anyway,” Claude said as he reached to help Marguerite up.

“I didn’t exactly have time to grab a snack as I fled the dungeons,” Marguerite quipped.

“Oh! I know!” Vivienne was bursting. “Let’s have lunch in town today. You’re not going back to your lessons are you? And Claude is busy with work. It will be such fun girl time!”

Marguerite sighed, but Vivienne was right. There was no way for her to return to the estate house without being trapped by Pomphart, and she had nothing to do if Claude insisted on finishing his chores.

Still, she was uneasy about the idea of being on her own with Pomphart’s wrath hovering around an unknown corner waiting to pounce. The woman was ruthless when no one of importance was watching.

She had a way of getting Marguerite off on her own and exacting whatever form of punishment she felt was suitable for the crime. Marguerite tried to complain to her father, but he wouldn’t listen, he thought Marguerite just didn’t want lessons anymore.

Claude knew all of this and sensed her fears in her quiet gaze.

“Come with me, both of you. I have someone I want you to meet.” Claude smiled.

Marguerite jumped up at his tug, tossed her wavy brown hair, and set her skirts aright, glad someone was helping her make up her mind. “Very well.”

“Hooray! Oh, I know just the place,” Vivienne said. “There is a new little patisserie I saw the other day I’ve been aching to try.” She skipped up the hill ahead of the other two, babbling on about buns and cakes and half sandwiches.

Claude reached for Marguerite’s arm and squeezed a bit. He used this gesture when he was about to chastise her, but she didn’t think she’d been that rude to Vivienne. The girl got on her nerves with every word, but her intentions were good and Marguerite wasn’t cruel by nature, just impatient.

“What?” she hissed.

“I have some news, but I wanted to tell you first.”

“Oh?” Relieved not to be in trouble, but also perplexed, Marguerite wished more now than ever that Vivienne would just skip into oblivion with her bouncy blonde curls and scattered thoughts.

“Yes. You know how we spoke a few weeks ago about my plans?”

“Did you find a position in Paris?” Marguerite could scarcely contain herself. Her friend was so talented, and she knew better than anyone that he was wasted working as a bondservant on her father’s estate. If he could secure an apprenticeship in Paris he could come back to La Rochelle as a master tradesman. Plus she could visit him there. Still, apprenticeships were hard to come by.

“No, I think it’s better than that.”

“What could be better than Paris?” In her mind, crowds of well-dressed ladies paraded down glittering avenues while the latest autocarts passed by in a blur of technology and innovation. Paris was the hub of all things Marguerite admired.

“I’ve signed into His Majesty’s service. As of next week, I’ll be an official member of the Royal Corp of Engineers.”

“You what?” She was stunned. It took her a moment to sort out her emotions. How could he have made this type of decision without consulting her? They had shared everything since they discovered each other as bored children on the estate a decade ago.

“I knew you’d be angry with me for not telling you beforehand, but an opportunity just presented itself and I knew it was right—I had to take it.”

“No, I’m not angry at all. Just shocked. You know how my father feels about the military.”

“But you see, that’s just it. I won’t have to worry about your father anymore, I won’t owe him anything. My first assignment is to New France.”

“Are you two coming or not? I’m starved!” Vivienne had doubled back when she realized she was talking to herself.

Marguerite wasn’t sure she could eat or talk at that moment. She wasn’t sure she could even take another step.




Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

L. Statham


Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.
Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

The book will be sent upon the titles release.




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Thursday, November 20, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Deceived (Soul Keeper Series #1) by L.A. Starkey - Excerpt + Author Interview + GIVEAWAY!


Happy Thursday! We're really excited today to be a part of the blog tour for L.A. Starkey's YA Paranormal book, Deceived. We have an excerpt, a short interview, and a giveaway for you! You have the opportunity to win a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card, so make sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Also, don't forget to visit all of the other fantastic stops on this tour. You can find the entire tour schedule by clicking on the banner above.

About the Book


Title: Deceived (Soul Keeper Series #1)
Author: L.A. Starkey
Publication Date: August 28, 2014

Synopsis:  They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principal, the actuating cause of an individual life.

But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?

The soul mate principal states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.

But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?

What if your choices had eternal ramification?

Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what's to come.

Excerpt

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and even though the breeze had picked up, embracing Sam like a good friend, the warmth of the sun was putting up a mighty fight. Being someone who thrived outdoors, she loved that New Hampshire had four seasons and took profound joy in having the ability to experience all the weather gods could throw her way. After the first few warm up miles, Sam stood back up on her peddles and pumped out the next few miles with a good bit of effort.

Man, it feels good to get my blood pumping.

Sam looked to her left as a quick movement of yellow jotted between the trees.

“No!” A loud masculine voice rang out.

She jerked forward in time to swerve, barely missing the yellow lump lying in the road and instead hitting the curb. She plummeted off the bike, flying through the air and landing in a crouch. Her chest heaved in effort to gain much needed oxygen as all of the blood in her body rushed to its aid.

Her eyes quickly surveyed her surroundings as she cautiously rose. No one was close enough to create the loud protest that was still reverbing in her head. Trying to regain her composure, she worked to make sense of what had happened. I could’ve sworn there was something yellow in the trees. And then it was in the road, right?

She searched the ground finding nothing to support her internal claim.


About the Author

Laurie Starkey is the author of the upcoming Soul Keeper Series, a supernatural young adult series, and The Liarus Detective Series, a supernatural middle grade series. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Jacob and three beautiful kiddos.

She is a CPA by trade, a church planter and entrepreneur at heart; however, writing and reading are passions she just can't help but indulge in. With more ideas that one person should be allowed, she is blessed to have a muse that doesn't seem to take a vacation and more energy that one might consider healthy.




The Interview!


Do you write about what turns you on?
Absolutely. I love supernatural or paranormal content. I really believe that all of my future books will be within that subject. I have about twenty new ideas that I’ve start to scope out for future projects and no matter what I do, they always somehow resort back to the paranormal thing, that which lies just below the surface that our minds refuse to consider.

If we were to come to your house for a meal, what would you give us to eat?
My family is from the south for the most part, so you’d most like get a southern fried meal. Something like chicken fried steak, white gravy, butter creamed corn, whipped potatoes, and homemade biscuits. No dessert… there’s no room for it, I promise.

Are you a romantic?
Yes and No. If I have the choice I’d rather put on jeans and a t-shirt and do something casual, but to read romance in a book makes me swoon. My husband does a few romantic things here and there, but honestly I’m good without it.

Do you listen to music when you're writing?
Sometimes. Music moves me and so if I know where the scene is going and need to get it out, I’ll turn the music off. The last thing I need is for the music to change the direction of my writing. If I’m just writing a short scene or something for fun outside of the context of a story – the music is what I let drive the entire piece.

Do you ever read your stories out loud?
I read out loud to myself sometimes, but I actually downloaded a reader onto my computer so that I can have it read my work back to me. Crazy what you catch (editing-wise) when something is being spoken out loud. “…and she loved his wong.” Wong?? NO… song, song, not wong. :P


The Giveaway!

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card






Thanks for stopping by!


--Ashley & Paul







Monday, November 17, 2014

Gilded by Christina Farley - Paul's Review


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Gilded

Author: Christina Farley
Publication Year: 2014

My Pre Reading

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. 


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Review: This book was a slow read for me. I never really connected with it. I found the Korean mythology really interesting as well as the rest of the Korean culture. The food is referenced often and when my favorite Korean dish, jopchae, was mentioned I may have squealed just a little bit. 


My problem with the book may have just been that it is targeted to a younger audience. I had problems with the way the science was presented. When a story takes place in the real world, but has magical or paranormal elements truly existing, the science needs to at least sound plausible to me. In this book, the mythology matched up too well with the actuality. The scientists seemed to know too much for things they were unsure if they even existed. There is a secret society, but it just didn't blend well with me. The whole science and grounding of the paranormal felt awkward. This is random, but I also just didn't like the way the word metamorphosis was used. 

I also didn't connect with the characters, especially the protagonist. The way the paranormal elements were dealt with when it comes to belief were hard for me to follow. 

This book felt like a Disney Channel Original Movie from the late 90s or early 00s. It had the cheesy elements and the cool paranormal imagery to match. I could totally see this as a DCOM from that era featuring Brenda Song, although she is Thai and Hmong.  

This review turned out more negative than I thought it would be. I did enjoy this book, I just didn't connect with it as much as I wanted to. I give it a 3/5 and suggest it to readers who enjoy contemporary paranormal stories that may be a little cheesy. If you like Paranormalcy by Kiersten White or Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, you may enjoy this. I will be reading the sequel, but I need to step back from the series first. I hope you can connect with this book more than I did.


--PAUL

Saturday, November 15, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: A Hole in the Ice by McCallum J. Morgan

Happy Saturday! McCallum Morgan, author of the recently released A Hole in the Ice, stopped by today to talk about his book, his life, and other random things. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did! But first, here's some more info about A Hole in the Ice, in case you're not familiar with it!

About the Book

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: A Hole in the Ice
Author: McCallum J. Morgan
Publication Date: September 20, 2014

Synopsis: In a world similar to our own during the 1800s and early 1900s, two political factions seek an object that could be the key to ultimate power. This object, a supernatural compass, falls into the hands of sixteen-year-old Parsifal. When Sir Oaktree comes to retrieve it, Parsifal accidentally kills him with it (or so he believes).

Parsifal sets off across the globe on his uncle’s “scientific” expedition, hoping to escape. But the expedition itself is inextricably tied to the compass he tries to keep secret. Balder Balfra and Lady Vasille (whom Parsifal is drawn to despite her apparent involvement with his uncle) are also travelling on this expedition, but whose side are they on? And which side is the right one?


About the Author

As a child, McCallum always wanted to write a book. He scribbled in notebooks, drew pictures, and lived largely in a world of make-believe. Into this fertile field a seed was planted. Notebooks began to fill and they didn’t stop. It was a soaring waltz with words among the silvery clouds and he loved it. He was thirteen.
McCallum discovered the Institute of Children’s Literature and enrolled in their writing course, Writing for Children and Teenagers. For their second, advanced, course, he rewrote those bursting notebooks. Now McCallum is eighteen and working on the sequel, and enjoying every minute of it knowing that finally, it’s real. It’s not just a pile of notebooks anymore, it’s ‘A Hole in the Ice.’

McCallum still draws and occasionally attacks an unfortunate piece of fabric with a sewing machine. He may be spotted around his home town of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, sporting his collection of bizarre clothing items, singing ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ in French, or at the bakery near his home, drinking a caramel macchiato. His day job is log home finishing. He lives with his parents in a house perched on the hillside twenty miles south of the Canadian border and takes his tea with milk and sugar in a cup and saucer.


The Interview!

What inspired you to write A Hole in the Ice
Okay, here we go: I was reading The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman and I was imagining it set in an older time (and it is, sort of, being an alternate world that’s a touch steampunk). Anyway, I was disappointed that it wasn’t quite as old fashioned as I’d thought (Love the book anyway) so my brother and I played a game of make-believe set in a world that was a cross between Pride and Prejudice and The Golden Compass. The main characters' names and the basic storyline come from that. I started writing it down before we’d even finished the game. I must have decided it was time to really try this writing thing. I’d started a few novels previously (I was around twelve or thirteen at the time) but nothing had ever come of them and I was very superstitious in my approach, calling it a TAB(which stood for Triple A and B or AAAB which meant Attempt At A Book (I know, I’m crazy)) rather than a book. Gotta confound the Fates somehow. I credit Phillip Pullman’s inspiring work along with a healthy helping of serendipity for the success of my TAB. But I got the idea of the Weather Casters one day while staring at a painting of a ship that has hung in our living room for ages. I started doodling, sketching out their function and method in a little cartoon which included the mermaids. I don’t know if that was before or after the game, but either way, it got grafted into the game somewhere along the way.

Growing up, what were some of your favorite books? 
I really loved The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper and I devoured the Lemony Snicket books. The Chronicles of Narnia were a favorite too, although maybe from watching the old BBC film versions.


If you could spend the day with any author, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Well I wish I could somehow console Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, bring her chocolates or something. When I read The Last Man I felt so sorry for her because I could tell she was drawing on her own experience for the lonely depressed feel of the book (her children died in the same way that the main character’s children die in the book). Otherwise I’d like to meet Kenneth Oppel, just because his Airborn books were so stinking awesome.

What book(s) is currently on your nightstand?
Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve, and When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket. I actually have a huge stack of books and papers on the floor next to my bed, a couple French dictionaries, a Field Guide to Little People (Nancy Arrowsmith and George Moorse), and one of my favorites, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, to name a few.

How does a typical writing day usually go for you?
I am tragically unorganized. I don’t have writing days, I have writing moments, some are ‘knuckle down and write it NOW’ moments and some are those magical moments when my muse hits me over the head with something. For the former I sit and agonize over my keyboard or notebook, sometimes for days on end, before I finally get the ink flowing. The latter…well they’re like lightning strikes. I’ve been so busy lately I’ve almost forgotten what having a writing schedule is like (I don’t know that I’ve ever had one, but it seems like I used to be more organized. It’s not good, it’s gotta change).

Do you have a favorite mermaid story (besides your own, of course!)?
I haven’t read many mermaid stories but I’ve read lots of water spirit legends like the Drac and Asrai. I love the imagery of the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian Legend. I also like how in The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen the mermaid just wants a soul because she doesn’t have one.

What is your favorite costume that you’ve made?
Possibly my most ambitious project: Sweeney Todd. It consists of a pair of stirrup trousers and a waistcoat, both of a dark grey and black fabric. But I also made a purple suit coat (I was thinking Joker maybe) and I wore it over my Sweeney Todd to a costume party recently. I was the Mad Hatter. My brother is a wizard with cereal boxes and a glue gun so he made the hat and covered it with the same purple as the suit coat.

Are you currently working on any new projects? I’m up to my ears. I have an Institute of Children’s Literature assignment (story or nonfiction article—I’m leaning towards story) and a story I was writing for my M’Habla’s short story blog and several novel ideas including a full plot and chapter outline of a circus novel I’m planning to write for NaNoWriMo. And, of course, the sequel to A Hole in the Ice.

How would you describe A Hole in the Ice in 140 characters or less?
It’s about desire for power, first love, supernatural beings, guilt, and friendship/family in a steampunk regency world.

What was the last book you read and loved? Metropolis by Thea Von Harbou. I watched the 1927 silent film and had to read the book. Her language is so poetic and full of symbolism.

Do you currently have a guilty pleasure TV show?
Um, I don’t get television (gasp!) but I do have an addiction to Tim Burton movies and old Christopher Lee horror films.

If you could go anywhere in time or space, where/when would you like to go? 
That’s a hard one. I’ll have to say ancient Greece because I’ve always been infatuated with Greek myths. Like really bad. But I could just as easily say 19th century England (or France. France is on the top of my foreign countries to visit list). Hmm…19th century England is sounding better, but it just depends on my mood. Obviously the 19th century won out when I wrote a novel.


Thanks so much again to McCallum for taking the time to stop by!

--Ashley & Paul

Friday, November 14, 2014

Month9Books FRIDAY REVEAL: Fingers in the Mist by O'Dell Hutchison - Chapter 1 + GIVEAWAY!

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

Fingers in the Mist by O’Dell Hutchison

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

Fingers In The Mist
Sixteen-year-old Caitlyn Foster never believed in the legend of the Redeemers. That was before the trees started to whisper her name. Before a murder of crows attacked the town. Before she and her family came home to find a bloody handprint on their front door, marking one of them as a sacrifice. As Caitlyn’s friends are ripped from their homes, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the Redeemers come for her. Caitlyn has the power to stop the terror, but she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save those she loves.
add to goodreads

Title: FINGERS IN THE MIST
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: O’Dell Hutchison
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

FINGERS IN THE MIST
O’Dell Hutchison

Chapter One
Welcome to Highland Falls, Idaho, population: 353.
The sign taunts me, threatening me with its simple tagline: “Raising families in God's name since 1823.” I hate this place. I shouldn't be here. No sixteen-year-old should have to live in a town where the number of residents is less than the number of her Facebook friends.
The headlights of my father's Dodge sweep across the bridge as he navigates through the water flowing across the road. The rain falls in ferocious sheets, hammering the truck, filling the already too-full river with water it can't hold.
“We're almost home, Cait.” He reaches over and squeezes my shoulder. This is one of six sentences he's spoken since we left the bus station two hours ago. He still hasn't told me why he missed Mom's funeral.
I sigh in response. I want to beg him to turn around and take me back to the bus station. Visiting every summer was one thing, but I can never call this place home.
Thunder rolls and a bolt of lightning cuts across the sky like the flash of a camera. The trees light up, and in the distance I notice a muddy figure with dark hair standing at the side of the road. My heart stutters and my breath comes in shallow bursts. I'm seeing things. I squeeze my eyes shut, blotting out the image of my ex-boyfriend standing on the front porch, my mother's blood stuck to his hands like gloves. It's just my imagination. It's not Jonah.
When I open my eyes, the figure is still there. He steps onto the road, and I scream when I realize my father hasn't seen him. Dad slams on the brakes and the Dodge hydroplanes, fishtailing to a stop mere inches from the boy.
My father’s green eyes widen with recognition at the stumbling figure before him. “Oh my God. It's the Perkins boy.”
“Trevor?” My stomach drops. “What happened to him?”
“Trevor's fine. It's Mason. He's alive.” He opens the door and steps out into the rain before I can ask any more questions.
Why wouldn't Mason be alive? More important, why is he wandering around in a rainstorm five miles outside of town covered in mud?
Dad approaches Mason with an outstretched hand. I see his lips move, but can't hear what he says over the thrumming of the rain on the roof of the truck. Oblivious of my father's presence, Mason stumbles along the road, his gait slow and ragged. His jeans, caked in mud, hang loosely from his bony hips. He's barefoot and doesn't wear a shirt. Deep scratches cover his chest and arms. It looks like he just clawed his way out of the ground.
Mason paces in small circles, bloodied hands twitching at his sides. My father walks up behind him and places a hand on his shoulder. Mason turns on him, swinging his fists. One of them connects with my dad's face, and I gasp when I see all six-foot-two of him stumble. He slips and falls, disappearing beneath the hood of the truck.
I throw open my door and tumble into the cold October air, my boots slipping against the wet pavement. The rain immediately engulfs me. A gust of wind, thick with the scent of cedar and pine, picks up damp pieces of my dark hair, flinging them into my face like small tentacles.
“Are you okay?” I kneel in front of my dad as he runs a calloused hand over his jaw.
“I'm fine,” he says, struggling to his feet. “He just caught me off guard. I slipped.”
“No, no, no, no, no.” Mason slaps at his head like he's trying to knock something loose. Globs of mud fall to the ground. He throws his head back and screams in pain, tearing at his hair.
“What's wrong with him?” I take a step back, leaning against the front of the truck.
“I don't know. He went camping a week ago with some friends up near the falls. They woke up and Mason wasn't there. We thought he was dead.”
Before I can respond, a loud hacking comes from Mason. He drops to his knees, his hands pressed to his stomach. His entire body convulses. The sounds coming out of him are enough to make me want to hurl.
“We need to get him into town. We'll take him by Doc’s,” my dad says.
Mason wretches again, and this time a dark stream pours from his mouth. It looks like mud—like he's throwing up mud. I place a hand over my mouth and turn my back to him. That was seriously nasty.
“I need you to help me get him into the truck.”
I wave a hand in my father's direction, afraid to open my mouth to speak—afraid of what might come up.
“Cait! I need some help here.”
I turn to see Mason lying on the ground, his entire body wracked with convulsions. His back arches until the top of his head sits on the road. His hands hover above the ground, shaking as if he'd been electrocuted. All at once, his body goes flaccid, collapsing into silence. His blue eyes stare at the sky, unblinking against the huge drops of rain that spatter them. Black gunk seeps from the corner of his mouth and blood streams from his nose.
Dad stoops down and lays a hand on Mason's chest.
“Is he dead?” I place a hand over my mouth, fighting back the tears. He looks so peaceful. Just like my mother did. I'll never get that vision out of my head. Her still body lying in the foyer, eyes open, staring at the ceiling. Her dark hair floated on a crimson pool of blood, her full lips slightly parted as if she might speak at any moment and tell me everything would be okay. The bullet hole in her forehead told me otherwise.
“Help me load him into the truck,” Dad says, grabbing Mason under his shoulders. “Grab his legs.”
I do as I'm told, hoping Mason won’t come to and nail me in the face with one of his size twelves. I wince when I see the cuts covering his feet.
We struggle to get Mason into the back seat. Despite his thin frame, he's surprisingly heavy. Once he's inside, I remove my thick wool coat and place it over his shivering body. I close the door, careful not to smack his head.
Another bolt of lightning cuts across the sky. A flash of deep red from just inside the thick copse of cedar trees along the road catches my attention. Three more bolts of lightning hit in rapid succession, cracking across the mountaintop. They hit so close to us the ground shudders. I need to get back into the truck, but I can't move. I can't take my eyes off the person watching us.
“Caitlyn.”
My name, barely a whisper, hangs in the air, tossed around by the wind.
“Caitlyn.”
I take a step toward the figure in red. Rain falls in sheets around me, piercing my face like bullets. My hands are so cold and numb I can't feel my fingers. My pendant gives another shudder and I instinctively grab hold of it.
“It will keep you safe,” my mother told me the day she gave it to me. “Wear it always.”
“Cait, get in the truck.” My father's voice is barely audible over the thumping of thick raindrops. The only thing I'm fully aware of is the whisper of my name syncopated with the rhythm of the rain splashing around me. My entire body hums with energy. It's a familiar feeling—one that never ends in anything good.
Thunder roars overhead, and I jump when a thick hand comes down on my shoulder.
“What are you doing? We need to get Mason into town,” my dad says, his voice tinged with annoyance. “We can't stay out here with all this lightning. It's not safe.”
“There’s someone in the woods.” I turn and point in the direction of the figure, but they're gone.
He takes a step toward the trees, shielding his eyes from the rain with his hand. “There’s no one out there. Come on. We need to go.”
Once we’re inside, the cold settles in and my body begins to tremble. I reach over and crank up the heat. The warm air hits me in the face, painting goose bumps across my skin. Mason moans from the back as the truck bounces over uneven pavement. We reach the top of the last hill, and the small town of Highland Falls appears below us. The only indication that there's actually a town swaddled within the dark valley below are the tiny pinpricks of light dotting the landscape, laid out like rows of fireflies.
Dad navigates the Dodge down Main Street toward the town square and past the church before hanging a left in the direction of Doc Robertson's ranch. He's the closest thing to an actual doctor in this town. I never did understand how a veterinarian could also act as a people doctor, but no one around here seems to mind.
The headlights cut across the front of the old, white ranch house, announcing our arrival. Dad stops the truck inches from the porch and hops out without a word, leaving me alone with Mason. I turn to look at him over the back of the seat. He's so still. Too still. I reach out a hand and place it on top of my coat, sighing in relief when I feel his chest rise.
I run a hand over my tangled mess of hair, pulling away a few pine needles that had found refuge there. I could really use a brush right now. I pull down the visor and shriek when I look in the mirror. It’s not the reflection of the totally whacked out girl who startles me. Mason sits behind me, back rigid, eyes wide, staring directly at me.
“Hello, Caitlyn. So good to see you.” The pitch of the voice is definitely Mason’s, but it’s not the slow drawl I’m used to. The words are too clipped, too perfectly pronounced to actually belong to him. “I’m glad you made it.” A sick smile spreads across his face, and an electric pulse covers my skin. It’s not a friendly smile. It’s more like the type of grin the Big Bad Wolf offered Little Red Riding Hood before he tried to eat her.
My head jerks back and slams into the seat. The back of my head stings and I wince as he gives my hair another forceful tug.
“You can’t stop us.” His words are low and threatening, hot against my cheek. His rancid breath clings to the air, and I have to hold my breath to keep from vomiting.
“Mason, let go of my hair.” I try to mask the fear poking at the edge of my voice. This isn’t the Mason I’ve known the last eight years. That Mason was gentle and polite—a hulking boy with a quiet demeanor and a slight stutter.
He grabs my face with a large, bony hand and my skin immediately begins to hum. “We know what you did, Cait. We know what you are.”
I grab his wrist, and the moment I do, he screams in pain, flailing against the seat. I fumble with the door, and tumble out of the truck into the soft, mushy earth. The screen door slams, and my father rushes down the steps in my direction. I struggle to stand, slipping in the mud, certain that at any moment Mason will leap from the truck and try to kill me.
“What happened?” My dad grabs me under my arms to steady me, helping me stand.
I pull away from him and stumble up the porch steps, grasping the railing until I’m under the awning, out of the rain. “Mason attacked me.”
The screen door slams against the side of the house, revealing Doc Robertson. He’s dressed in a white T-shirt pulled tight over a protruding gut and a pair of plaid, flannel pajama bottoms tucked into the top of his old cowboy boots. He throws on a bright yellow rain slicker as he clomps past me toward the truck. A light shuffling comes from behind me, and I instinctively recoil when a small hand touches my shoulder.
“Caitlyn, honey, you must be freezing.” Mrs. Robertson wears an old floral bathrobe, her gray hair in curlers. Everything about her says “cliché farm wife.”
“Come inside where it’s warm.” She places a comforting arm around my shoulders and turns me toward the front door.
“I’m covered in mud. I don’t want to mess up your house.”
“Have you seen who I live with? This is nothing compared to what he drags in most days.” She guides me inside the house, the screen door slamming behind us. “Take off your boots and I’ll go get some towels. Wait here.”
I pull off my boots, curling my nose in disgust when my hand sinks into the mud caking them. A deep gash runs along one of the toes, cutting into the soft brown leather. Five hundred bucks down the drain. Could things possibly get any worse?
The screen door swings open. I step out of the way as Dad and Doc Robertson stumble through the door, Mason’s limp body propped up between them. I can’t help noticing the deep red mark on Mason’s wrist where I grabbed him. It looks like he stuck his hand into a pot of boiling water. I’ve hurt people before, but not like this—not with my touch.
“Here you go, honey,” Mrs. Robertson says as she hands me a couple towels. “Wipe that mud off with these. The bathroom is down there if you want to clean up.” She points down the hall toward the living room. Doc calls for her and she goes to him, leaving me to clean myself up.
I’m surprised to find that most of the mud is on my hands and knees. I bundle up the muddy towel and use the clean one to soak up some of the water from my hair as I walk down the hall, searching for the restroom.
“Call his mama and tell her we found him,” Doc says to Mrs. Robertson. “I’m going to go grab some bandages and other supplies from the clinic out back.”
Doc walks to the back of the house, followed by my father, leaving me alone with Mason. His pale skin practically glows against the bright floral pattern of the sofa they placed him on. Now that there’s light, I can see his wounds more clearly. A deep gash runs across his forehead and two more cuts make an “X” on his chest. I tiptoe past the sofa, afraid he may wake up and attack me again.
“Trevor? Hi, it’s Thelma Robertson. How are you, dear?”
I freeze when I hear her say Trevor’s name. Shit. Please don’t let him get here before we leave. I can’t see him now. I need a couple of days.
“I think you should get your mother and come down to our place. We found your brother. Mason’s alive.”
“Help. H-help u-us. You have t-to h-help us.” Mason’s voice is barely a whisper. He stares at me, eyes wide with fear, a hand outstretched in my direction. “Th-th-they’re c-c-oming.”
When I look at him, I see the old Mason, the gentle boy who used to take me horseback riding and hunting for frogs when I was younger.
“Help! Help me!” His screams are loud and desperate. I want to help him, but I don’t know what he needs. He writhes in pain, his hands clamped to his head. He sits up too quickly, tumbling off the sofa and into the coffee table, knocking a small glass figurine to the ground.
Mrs. Robertson rushes in and crouches next to him, her small frame no match for his flailing arms. “Cait, can you help me?”
I move toward her, afraid to touch him, afraid I may hurt him again. The back door opens and Doc and my father rush into the room. They wrestle with Mason, my dad holding him while Doc sticks a needle into his arm. In a matter of seconds, Mason grows still, his cries for help trailing off into silence.
I back toward the bathroom, my breath coming in short gasps. I don’t realize how bad I’m shaking until I fumble with the lock on the bathroom door. What is going on here? What happened to him? I close my eyes, willing my pulse to slow. I could really use a Klonopin right now. I haven’t felt the need this bad since they threw me in rehab.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see that I look about as bad as the battered boy in the living room. Mascara rings my eyes, making me look like a green-eyed raccoon. My dark hair, so perfectly done earlier this morning, hangs in thick clumps plastered to my face.
I run my fingers through my hair, doing my best to make it look at least halfway presentable. I wipe the smeared makeup from my eyes and dig all the mud and gunk from beneath my fingernails. This is about as good as it’s going to get for now. I open the door, and step into the hallway.
“Now? It’s too soon. It’s not time.” Mrs. Robertson stops speaking when I walk into the room, a look of worry and confusion on her face. My father and Doc turn and stare in my direction. A look passes between them. Why do I feel as though I’ve interrupted something?
“You ready to go?” my father asks.
I nod, looking over at Mason. A bandage covers the gash on his forehead. Most of the mud has been washed off, and a crocheted blanket covers him. He looks so peaceful. The same as he did before he tried to rip my hair out of my head.
“Thank you for the towels, Mrs. Robertson,” I say, remembering my manners, “and for the use of your restroom.”
I follow my father, stopping to put on my boots, when footsteps come at us from the other side of the door. Mrs. Perkins flies into the house, a mess of disheveled hair and dark-ringed eyes.
“Where is he? Is he alive? Where did you find him?” she asks, her eyes darting about the room.
“He’s asleep.” Dad walks with her into the living room, recounting how we found Mason wandering along the road in the mountains outside town.
I pull on my last boot, suddenly aware of a presence behind me. I know who it is before I turn around. My body begins to shake and my stomach burns. I can’t do this now. I busy myself with my boot, rubbing a thumb over the scratched leather to avoid looking at him.
“Cait?” The sound of his voice sends a jolt through me. I slowly stand and turn to face him, a strained smile pulling at my lips. As soon as I see him, my heart aches and two years of deep regret wash over me. He looks damn good in his boots and worn Wranglers—the standard gear for every man in Highland Falls. His wet, black T-shirt clings to him. I can’t help but smile when I notice he wears the Boise State cap I sent him for his birthday three years ago. It’s ragged and dirty, just like his memories of me.
“Hey, Trevor.” So casual. Too casual? “How are you?”
He removes his cap and nods, but doesn’t speak. His worried eyes meet mine for a moment before focusing on the floor. “Where did you find him?”
I lean against the doorjamb, my arms crossed over my chest. “He was wandering along the road just past the bridge.”
“Is he … ?” He chokes back the rest of the sentence, glancing at me again, but refusing to meet my eyes.
“I think he’s going to be okay. He’s in the living room.” I want to reach out to him. Hug him. Wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him on the cheek. Something.
He pushes a strand of shaggy dark hair out of his gorgeous blue eyes, then busies himself with his cap. He looks so good, even better than he did two years ago when hurricane Caitlyn paid a visit. The summer I caused a rift between two of my best friends. The summer Trevor offered me his heart and I tossed it at his feet. How could I have been so stupid?
He takes a hesitant step in the direction of his mother’s soft sobs coming from the living room, stopping when my father steps in front of him.
“Thank you, Mr. Foster,” Trevor says, shaking Dad’s hand. “Thanks for bringing him home.”
“We were just in the right place at the right time. You call me if you or your mama need anything, okay?”
Trevor nods and smiles. I’ve missed that smile. He puts his hands back in his pockets and walks into the living room without so much as a glance in my direction. My heart drops a little. I didn’t exactly expect a joyous reunion filled with balloons and kisses. In fact, I was ready for him to rip me a new one. I would have much preferred that to his cold indifference.
I step outside to wait on the porch. The rain still comes in heavy sheets, and lightning flashes in rapid succession, illuminating the mountains that surround us. If this keeps up, the entire town will be under water before the night is through.
Caitlyn.
My name swoops through the air in an ominous whisper, and my skin begins to tingle again. An intense pain fills my head and my vision blurs. I drop to my knees and my father’s hands catch me under my armpits before I hit the ground. Just as quickly as it hit, the pain is gone.
“Are you all right?” Dad places a steadying arm around my shoulder.
“Just a little dizzy. I haven’t eaten today.” It’s a lie, but he seems to buy it.
“Let’s get you home.”
I follow him to the truck, my eyes searching the property for the mysterious whisperer, but all I see is rain and darkness.

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
O’Dell Hutchison
O’Dell was born in a small rural town in Idaho. There were no Redeemers living there (that he knows of). After attending college in the Pacific Northwest, he found his way to the Houston area. By day, he is a Business Systems Analyst and at night you can either find him sitting at home, dreaming of random super powers he wishes he had, or directing plays and musicals at various theaters around Houston.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
The book will be sent upon the titles' release.



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Thursday, November 13, 2014

COVER REVEAL - Summer Queen (Fairy Queens #2) by Amber Argyle


Hello! Today, we have the cover of Summer Queen, the next book in Amber Argyle's Fairy Queens series. Ashley loved Winter Queen, and has been looking forward to Summer Queen since she finished it.

The cover for Winter Queen was absolutely gorgeous, but we think this one might be even better! What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

About the Book


Title: Summer Queen (Fairy Queens #2)
Author: Amber Argyle


Synopsis: Nelay never wanted to be queen.

Poised to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, Nelay doesn’t have time to become a pretty bauble for the king. She’s too busy saving her people from the invading army sweeping across her kingdom.

But in defeat after defeat, Nelay begins to realize a bigger power is at play than that wielded by mere mortals. Only she can stand between the cinders of her once-great nation and the vengeance of a goddess.



A Note From the Author

I wrote this book during perhaps one of the hardest times of my life. My son was in and out of hospitals with a noncancerous bone tumor. He had two surgeries and was in a wheelchair and not allowed any type of physical activity for months.

We also moved to another state, I broke my leg, had surgery, and played single mom while my husband was away. Insurance was, and still is, a nightmare (I'm looking at you, Humana).

This book is perhaps the strongest straight-up fantasy novel I've written. One of the themes I explore is leadership. To quote from the book: “To be a true leader, one must not simply be strong. One must also be selfless.”

And I can't mention one of my books without talking about the main characters. Nelay doesn't start off as this weak, timid little thing being oppressed. She's poised to become the most powerful woman in her kingdom. But as with most of those in power, she lacks empathy.

Rycus knows who he is and what he wants, but unlike Nelay, he is also willing to sacrifice for those he loves. And Rycus loves Nelay "as the sun loves the sky."

I also want to announce that I've written a prequel for Summer Queen, entitled, Of Fire and Ash. It's with my editors now and will be published as soon as it's finished. You can find both on Goodreads here and here. I hope you're as excited for the next installment in the Fairy Queen Series as I am.

About the Author

Super short: Amber Argyle is the #1 bestselling and award winning author of the Witch Song and Fairy Queens series. In her novels, good always triumphs over evil. Though sometimes just barely.

Slightly longer: Amber Argyle is the #1 bestselling author of Witch Song and Fairy Queen series. Her books have been nominated for and won awards in addition to being translated into French and Indonesian.

She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people. 

To find out more about Amber Argyle, you can visit her blog at amberargyle.blogspot.com

 You can find Amber on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

The Android's Dream by John Scalzi (audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton) - Paul's Review

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Audible

Title: The Android's Dream
Author: John Scalzi
Year Published: 2006

Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 34 minutes


Synopsis: A human diplomat kills his alien counterpart. Earth is on the verge of war with a vastly superior alien race. A lone man races against time and a host of enemies to find the one object that can save our planet and our people from alien enslavement...

A sheep.

That's right, a sheep. And if you think that's the most surprising thing about this book, wait until you read Chapter One. Welcome to The Android's Dream.

For Harry Creek, it's quickly becoming a nightmare. All he wants is to do his uncomplicated mid-level diplomatic job with Earth's State Department. But his past training and skills get him tapped to save the planet--and to protect pet store owner Robin Baker, whose own past holds the key to the whereabouts of that lost sheep. Doing both will take him from lava-strewn battlefields to alien halls of power. All in a day's work. Maybe it's time for a raise.

Throw in two-timing freelance mercenaries, political lobbyists with megalomaniac tendencies, aliens on a religious quest, and an artificial intelligence with unusual backstory, and you've got more than just your usual science fiction adventure story. You've got The Android's Dream.

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Review: I really enjoy John Scalzi's audiobooks read by Wil Wheaton. I can listen to them for hours at a time without getting bored, falling asleep, or getting completely confused. These are the perfect type of books to listen to. I have tried listening to massive sci-fi books, but I feel a good sci-fi audiobook needs humor. 


Scalzi's futures always feel more realistic. The humor is found in the mundane and procedural. The Android's Dream is D.C. politics, but in the future with aliens. It is a fun sci-fi adventure with law and procedure added in. 

The technology in this novel is all very cool. The artificial intelligence too. Scalzi does an excellent job of placing guns on the mantle that always get fired in the third act. The way everything falls into place feels very natural. It always comes down to the specifics. 

I like the way religion was portrayed. A self fulfilling prophetic group is such an interesting concept. 

Wil Wheaton does an excellent job capturing the light humor as well as the interesting sci-fi details.I give this audiobook a 4/5 and will definitely continue to listen to more Scalzi/Wheaton combos. 


--PAUL

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gilded by Christina Farley - Paul's Pre Reading


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Gilded

Author: Christina Farley
Publication Year: 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. 


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Why?: This sounds like an awesome paranormal YA set in a foreign country. I'm interested in the Korean mythology this book will show. I don't know much about the Korean culture, but i love Korean food. 


Expectations: I'm expecting a fun paranormal YA with a female protagonist, maybe something in the style of Paranormalcy.    


Judging a book by its cover: This cover is pretty cool. I like the font of the title and how it appears to be made of metal. The spirit bird thing also is awesome. It's quite ethereal and makes me interested in reading this book. 



--PAUL

COVER REVEAL: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon + GIVEAWAY!

We are so excited about this new cover!!


Author Ashley Nixon held a launch party about a month ago to show off her new book.

Here is the old cover:




Synopsis: Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it. 

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.




We absolutely loved this cover and did not think it could get any better!

Well, it did!!

Ashley is amazing! Let's introduce you to her:


Author Bio: Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren't used as much as she'd like. She has a Bachelor's in English Writing and a Master's in Library Science and Information Technology. When she's not writing she's either working out or pretending she's Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she's loved everything Fantasy--resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the 'geek' tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.



Ok are you ready to see the new cover?

Here it is:




What do you think??? We absolutely adore it!!

We would love to hear your comments though! Please post them below!

If you would like to read this fabulous book, check it on Amazon


You can also enter to win a copy of the book with its new cover here:





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