Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Reaper by K.D. McEntire

Author: K.D. McEntire
Title: Reaper
Series: Lightbringer #2
Publication: August 24, 2012 
Publisher: PYR
Genre: Paranormal 
Pages: 341
Source: Publisher

Reaper is set in a world a breath away from our own. After the death of her mother, Wendy is attempting to fill her mother's shoes and discovering that the prospect is far more difficult than she ever imagined. Learning that she is part of a powerful and ancient family of Reapers that her mother had forsaken is just the first surprise—Wendy soon discovers that the San Francisco Bay Never is filled with political powers and factions both previously unknown and completely mysterious to Wendy. Since both her mother and Piotr are gone, Wendy must struggle to maneuver between the machinations of the dead and the dark intentions of her living Reaper family.
Eventually betrayed and made sick unto death, the clock is ticking before Wendy will fall—she has only a matter of days to unravel the mysteries her mother left behind and to convince her wary family to accept her as one of their own.

Thoughts: After defeating the White Lady, who happened to be her mother, Wendy finds herself in the middle of a power struggle between the dead and her new found Reaper family. She thinks that her family is trying to help control her abilities but once they learn she is a natural, they try to bind her powers which could potentially kill her. With so many enemies coming at her from all sides, Wendy has no idea where to turn before death comes knocking at her door.

Piotr is really weird in this one. He becomes more aggressive and angry, though circumstances do lead to his change in attitude. I liked that the author gave more details into his history as a Rider and why he seems to be attracted to Lightbringers. Wendy struggles more in this book, she seems more uncertain of what she should do and it doesn't help that so many people are pulling her in different directions. She comes off as less focused and more scattered, I don't really feel like she got anything accomplished. Basically, this book was more Piotr to me. Of course, Wendy does have the task of locating her best friend, Eddie's spirit but every time she attempts to focus on that, something gets in the way. 

The writing is balanced and well written. The characters have levels...they have more going on with them that has been revealed. I would like for Wendy to "ask the right questions" and not let the shadow of her mother make her confidence in her abilities falter. The author has created a great world in this series. I like how she gives such vivid detail of the Never, so much so that I could visualize it in my mind. Though not my favorite in the series it's still a good story about ghosts, and I think anyone interested in ghosts will like it. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Audio Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Author: Marie Lu
Narrators:Mariel Stern, Steven Kaplan
Title: Legend
Series: Legend #1
Publication: 2011
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Length: 7 hrs:48 mins
Source: Library

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Thoughts:Loved it. This is so good. I enjoyed June and Day's interactions the most because the heat between these two...steaming. The best part about the book is the action and these two are the center of it all. Legend is full of deception, lies and hope. June is a strong female lead balanced with a strong male lead, which I like this; I think this is a good fit for this series. The author has done a great job building this world and developing such rich, rounded characters. The plot and flows fluidly and the narrators translate this well into the audio book. 

I really loved the two part narrative of this book and I feel it transitioned well into the audio format. The narrators made this a great listen by using their delivery to make it more interesting to hear them speak. They have the best voices for this work. I found myself sitting in the car till the end of a chapter just see what was going to happen, so they had me captivated. I think the production and sound were done smoothly. Overall, this is a good listen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Excerpt: Winning The City by Theodore Weesner

It’s Detroit, 1961. Fifteen-year-old Dale Wheeler, the son of an unemployed, alcoholic autoworker, has big dreams of leading his team to the City Basketball Championship.  But his dream is shattered when Dale—the co-captain and top point guard—is cut from the team to make way for the son of a big money team sponsor.

His life in a tailspin, Dale finds a helping hand in Miss Furbish, the beautiful homeroom teacher whose well-meaning kindness gradually builds into a potentially dangerous passion.  And in his lowest times, Dale gets a final shot at his dream:  A hardscrabble team of street-ballers that may have what it takes to win the City Championship.



This is it.  Today is the day.  The first practice of the year after school in the boy's gym.  Time to show the speed, do the deed, take the lead!  All these weeks and months Dale has been able to think of little else.  Since last spring.
Since forever.  Now it’s his turn to be the oldest, the biggest, the best.  Tryouts.  But he’s a returning starter and is sure as hell not trying out.  He'll be leading the way, making them pay!  His excitement is such that for days on end he has been telling himself to be cool.  Time to be cool and not a fool.  For playing it cool is the only tool...if you’re out to win the entire goddamn city.
Dale Wheeler is fourteen all the same, and whatever energy he may be bringing to his talking-the-talk temperature he doesn’t know how not to dream.  He’s grown an inch and a half since the season ended last year and is growing still.  In this instant he’s pushing up through five-nine.  Sitting at his desk in school he can look at a forearm and see it growing larger, stronger, longer.  Can pump up bicep-pears before the bathroom mirror at home.  One on the left, one on the right!  Pop, pop!  Pow, pow!  Hey, hey, get outta my name is Dale Wheeler and I came to play!  Besides confidence Dale can call up conviction in his mind and heart.  Secret power leading the way, making his day!  Call me cocky and I’ll make your fat ass pay!
Dale knows he’s good.  There’s no doubt he’s done the work.  Like a saver saving every penny, he’s given himself to little else.  At times it seems it’s all he’s done, all the time, is work-work, practice-practice.  And work some more.  And worked on anyway.  Worked into work.  Sweated into sweat all over again, before taking his shower, doing his homework, dreaming his dream.  For work, as every athlete knows, is the key.  The more you practice the luckier you get. Acquire the moves, absorb the steps...and when the time comes you'll hit the groove no matter some hee-haw in the stands sputtering about luck and the bounce of the ball.
Dale has done it, is doing it, will do it.  For an athlete is what he is.  Maybe he’s only fourteen but he knows what he knows and he knows it’s his turn to take them all downtown to win the city!  "Here comes Wheeler," cries the Sportscaster on high.  "He takes the shot! no--he fakes the shot!  He fakes the shot!!  He drives! shoots!  SCORES!  SCORES!! SCORES!!!"
Even in his sleep at night Dale dreams of winning the city.  Moments and moves from outdoor pickup games under the lights (amazing things happen in outdoor pickup games) blend in his dreams into games indoors rocking with all the students and teachers he has ever known or passed in the hallways of Walt Whitman Junior High.  Waking from a dream with his mind full of rainbows he reminds himself not to go off the deep end.  To settle down.
Don't be a fool, play it cool!  Playing it cool is the only tool!
Everything is a game.  Life, Dale knows, is a game all the way and everything that happens depends on how you play.  It’s something else he knows he knows.  He has no notion of himself as a thinker, or as a smart ass ninth-grader either, but he knows what he knows and he knows that everything is a game.  That playing it cool is the only tool...when you’re out to rule.
(Okay, maybe he is a smart ass, but whoever won the city who wasn’t?)


Coming in late from working second shift at Chevy Plant Ten--a weaving silhouette filling his bedroom doorway--Dale's father invites his sleepy-time son into the kitchen for a Coney Island dog.  Could anyone in the world more appreciate the taste of a Coney Island dog in the middle of the night than an ever-voracious fourteen-year-old playmaker, ball handler, first string guard?  
As on every other night, Dale practiced at the park until the lights went out…before shooting a few in the dark.  Dribbling home, into and out of illumination under corner streetlights, driving one telephone pole after another, pulling it back at the last minute (all but the dream), he showers with the landlady's hose, reviews his school notebook at the kitchen table, and hits the sack dreaming his dream...into which swamp there appears the purveyor of tender words and unconditional love in his life.  "Hey sleepy time pal...come have a Coney Island dog with your old dad."
Daylight is in Dale's eyes and it’s time to rise and shine...despite a spur picking at his mind.  Clomping into the bathroom to wash and brush, he detects "I Fall to Pieces" circling his father's phonograph in the living room and sinks within, as always, to the old cry of loss haunting their handful of rooms at an off-beat hour.  The message is familiar: His father is up yet and loaded, is emotional and sentimental, drunk and dangerous.  With no one else upon whom to visit his sad memory of Dale's runaway mother visiting his pickled brain, his father is waiting for him to appear.  In Dale's adolescent mind another lyric begins circling the breaking day: 'You get loaded...and I fall to pieces.'

#  #  #

He has no choice but to make his way into the kitchen that offers the only exit from their attic apartment...down the backside of the landlord's house to driveway, sidewalk, refreshing air.  He enters without making a sound.  His father stands there.  Head hanging, he’s leaning to the wall, his chin on his chest.  How long has he been on his feet?  His neck looks rubbery as his head lolls to one side, a grin comes on like a dim light as he says: "Don't I know you from somewhere?"
Dale opens the refrigerator, explores possibilities, ignores his father as he does at times like these.  Life with an alcoholic.  Life with Patsy Cline's heartbreak lining the air they breathe: 'You want me to forget...pretend we've never met.'
"You're the guy stood me up!" his father tells him.  "Thas who you are!  Bring home a treat for the only person in the world plays tunes on my weary old heart...get left standing at the counter."  'You walk by...and I fall to pieces...'
Dale remembers then and says: "I fell asleep!  That’s what I did!"
"Musta been dreaming about something a hell of a lot better looking than a Coney Island dog," his father tells him.
"Basketball," Dale confesses, deciding all at once to share his high hopes with his father.  "I was dreaming about basketball, winning the City…which is what we're gonna do!"
"Basketball?" his father asks.  "You say basketball?  Did I hear you say basketball?  Is that what I heard you say?"
"It's my big year at school!" Dale tells him.
"First time I knew anything would keep you from your favorite middle-of-the-night snack.  Surprised it wasn't something better looking than a fat old basketball."
"I'm the biggest at school this year!" Dale tells him.  "I've been working like a demon while everybody else has done practically nothing.  Been working all summer, all fall.  Gonna lead the way, make em pay!"  Dale did not add how proud he hoped to make his father, or how his dream included saving his father's life, too, to a modest degree.  Turning things around.  Leading them to the promised land.
'You tell me to find...someone else to love.
Someone who'll love me, too...the way you used to do.'
Continuing to grin, his father squints.  "Son...gotta tell ya.  Hope you dream other things, too.  Don't wanna put all your eggs in one basket."
Dale nods, indicates that he knows, is cool, isn't a fool...know all about eggs and baskets.  Doesn't he?

Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community.  His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories.  His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.

Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions.  He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Audio Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Author: Gennifer Albin
Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Title: Crewel
Series: Crewel #1
Publication: October 16, 2012
Publisher: AudioGo
Length: 9 hrs: 14 mins
Source: Publisher via Audiobookjukebox

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

Thoughts: A refreshing and creative take on a dystopian society. Loved it everything about it! The characters are fantastic and complex. The writing and pace moves along well. The world that the author has built is visually amazing and vividly described. The idea that the world is now designed and maintained by a group of spinsters seems unreal but the author pulls it off and makes it realistic. Adelice, clever girl that she is, has been taught her whole life to fail the test by her parents. She goes along with it because as a spinster, she wouldn't be able to see them anymore but try as hard as she might her talent demands to be seen. Her slip will cause her much pain and she finds herself caught up in a political struggle that she wants no part of. Desperate to get out, she plots her way right into a mess that just may unravels at the seams. 

I enjoyed the audio translation of this work. The narrator has done a beautiful job of portraying all of the characters and giving them each there own unique sound. The production and sound quality comes through clear with no distracting noises in the background. The narration is evenly balanced to go along with the pace of the reading experience. I do admit to sitting in the car at times to finish each chapter but towards the end I couldn't wait, so I grabbed the book and read the last 30 pages. Lastly, great audio and I think I would listen to it again. This is a fanastic story that Albin has written so intricately and Dolan does a great job giving it a voice.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Narrator: Joy Osmanski, Madeleine Maby, Rebekkah Ross
Title: Burn for Burn
Publication: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Simon& Schuster
Length: 7 hrs:1 min
Source: Publisher



Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.


Book: I liked the flow of the book much more; the pace was quicker and steadier. The writing is good and the characters are believable. I do not like how Rennie treats her friends or how Lillia lets her have so much control over her life. High school and its social politics are so stupid. Rennie comes from a different background than Lillia, who is rich. She is jealous of what Lillia has and that does not excuse her cruelty to other people. She puts me in the mind of that mean cheerleader from the original Bring it On movie or any mean girl movie. It's so funny how she thinks she's above everyone else and nothing can touch her because she is the in crowd queen but Kat intends to knock her off her high horse and give Rennie what coming to her. Kat appears to be rough around the edges, she's sensitive but bold. I can understand her feelings of betrayal as Rennie and she has more gumption than Lillia and Mary for revenge. She never deters or doubts what she has planned.

Lillia is in the middle of all this. Everyone that is being targeted is a part of her inner circle. Her reason for seeking revenge has to do with her sister, Nadia, who she believes is being taken advantage of and she swore that she would never let her go through the night she will never forget, no matter what Rennie says, something did happen. She has her sights set on one unsuspecting boy, Alex, and he has no idea what she has in store for him. Lillia surprised me in how she changes in this book, she still comes off as the naive perfect little rich girl but she may just have some fight in her. Of the three she has the most to lose and she does have doubts about completing the plan once she sees the effect it's having on Alex but once things get set in motion there is no turning back and Kat is having none of that. 

Mary, the new girl, has a past with the high school quarterback, Reeve. He ruined her life, and nearly caused her death...but I don't think he cares about that. He is more concerned with his reputation than some fat girl’s feelings. Mary is a pushover, she lets him treat her horribly at school because she thinks they are friends when they are alone but he is just setting her up to tear her down and once he's ripped her to shreds, she unravels into a dark place. She returns to Jar Island to set things right and meet up with Kat and Lillia forming a bond in revenge. What happens next is shocking because there really is something off about Mary.

Vengeance can be sweet but as things fall apart, it can turn sour before they know it. Things are not as clear as these ladies think they are. And when the pieces crumble they much hope that they don't lead a trail back to them. I wasn't expecting the supernatural aspect in this one, I was thinking it was just going to be a contemporary book, so now I'm wondering how this is going to work out in the rest of the series.

Audio: I much preferred the book to the audio. I just didn't feel drawn into the experience as much. This audio is multi-voiced with three female narrators portraying Kat, Lillia and Mary. They all have distinguishable voices and they sound as if they are the voices of teenagers. The pace balances with the flow of the story. For me, I don't think it translates well as an audio. However, the sound quality is good and the narrators do a good job, I just found it distracting trying to keep up with the dialogue when the chapters changed, especially if I missed them saying who was speaking at the beginning of each chapter. Overall, it was an okay listen.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Covet by Melissa Darnell

Author: Melissa Darnell
Title: Covet
Series: The Clann
Publication: September 25, 2012 
Publisher: HarlequinTeen 
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Dangerous to be together. Painful to be apart.Savannah Colbert knows she broke up with Tristan Coleman for the right reasons. Most of all, to keep from killing him with her new vampire abilities. But try telling her heart. Now, lost in a sea of hostile Clann faces, Sav tries to come to terms with what she's becoming and what that means for her future. And that someone is doing their best to bully her into making a terrible mistake.

Tristan can't believe Sav won't even talk to him. If being apart is her decision, fine. Just don't expect him to honor it. But even as he prepares to fight for the girl he loves, forces beyond their control take them both in directions neither could have foreseen or prepared for.

A reckoning is coming… and not everyone will survive.

Thoughts:Her kiss could kill him just as much as her bite and after she's made promises to end things, Savannah knows this time around things must be different. They must stay apart. Torn between trying to save Tristan and her heart, Savannah decides to let him go. Tristan makes it harder as he is adamant about how he feels for her and that there has to be a way for them to make it. He decides that he will use magic to give her hope for them, so that she can feel what he feels...he just doesn't realize that may be the last thing he does.

Savannah and Tristan are on an emotional ride as this second installment is filled with pain, loss and deception. After they return from the test from the Council, she discovers that her grandmother has been taken by the Clann, believing she knows something about Tristan's disappearance. They race to try to stop the Clann from hurting her but events seem to go on a downward spiral from that moment on; nothing will be the same. In addition to all that, Savannah tries to adjust to her new vampire abilities. I feel like she was learning more about control and blending in with humans, which she feels is unfair because she has this cool heritage of being half-witch/half-vampire and all they want her to do is suppress her powers. She also tries to ignore Tristan and her feeling for him but true to form he pushes her every chance her gets. I guess misery loves company and these two are indeed unhappy. He just doesn't get that she can kill him but they learn that the issues between the Clann and the Council will hinder any hopes of discovering a solution as sudden attacks on Clann members all lead to Savannah's doorstep.

The writing paces steadily throughout the various twists, and new pieces of information (which I thought was pretty cool). The characters are good, though Tristan's mother is a pain in the neck and Savannah's friends, other than Anne are ditzy. I'm hoping that Savannah's parents find a way to be together. Overall, the ending was the best part for me, completely unexpected and left me wanting the next book. I need to know what happens, now.

Cover: It's okay; it doesn't match the character description of Savannah, if this is who it supposed to be.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

#Giveaway & Guest Post: Malia Ann Haberman talks about her characters

My Characters by Malia Ann Haberman
When I first started submitting Chase Tinker and the House of Magic to agents, one wanted me to remove the first few paragraphs in chapter one. I thought about it, but then realized that deleting those idiotic and fearless actions of my main character from the beginning of the chapter would totally ruin the effect of the idiotic and fearless things he does later in the book. I felt I had to show this part of his personality right away.

These are things a writer has to think about when plotting and writing. I wanted it to be believable when it came time for Chase to face any frightening or dangerous situations. And, since he has a younger brother, I knew I had to show a softer side as well. He and Andy may argue a lot, but Chase is still very protective of his brother. 

Besides these important traits, Chase had to have adversity from the very start, but not so much that it made him weak or downtrodden. After all, at some point he has to have the strength and courage to help save his family and destroy the evil guys.

I wanted entertaining, adventurous characters that would help drive the plot along; characters who wouldn't just sit around talking about "storming the castle," but ones who would actually get up and do it. 

A writer also can't play it safe by having just good things happen to their characters, or even just a few bad events. It can add a whole lot of excitement and fun if characters go through some crazy, extremely unpleasant, ridiculous or downright embarrassing experiences. I have something particularly embarrassing happen to Chase that actually turned into one of the funniest moments in the book. It was so much fun! :)

So even if a book has a terrific plot, if the characters are blah, sucky or just plain unlikeable, a book can lose a lot of its appeal. The same can be said about excellent characters and a stagnant plot. A really good, readable book needs both in order to be well-rounded and engaging; something that will attract readers and keep them coming back for more.

Author Bio
Author of "Chase Tinker and the House of Magic (The Chase Tinker Series, Book 1)," Malia loves dancing, reading, writing, playing video games on her iPod, watching TV, and chocolate. She also has terrible motion sickness and hates onions. She's always wanted to have the ability to teleport and the power to move things with her mind. Then one night she dreamed she was living in a house filled with magical rooms and the very next day she started throwing ideas together for her Chase Tinker fantasy series, after consulting with her kids, of course. She lives in the Seattle area with her four wild and crazy ferrets. She's currently working on the 4th and last book of her series.
WebsiteFacebookTwitter | Goodreads | Amazon

About the Book
In Chase Tinker's world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination...

Thirteen-year-old Chase Tinker can't understand why he has the power to move things with his mind. Besides that, his dad has been missing for over a year, causing his mom to be too upset to pay much attention to her sons, so now he's been busted for shoplifting. As if this isn't enough to worry about, his younger brother Andy suddenly has the ability to stop time. Can things get any crazier? Chase thinks.
Then, a grandfather they thought to be long dead arrives at their door. He wants Chase and Andy to come visit him for the summer so they can learn about their supernatural heritage and why they have magical powers in the first place.
The boys soon find out that Grandfather, along with their cousin Janie, lives on a remote island in the middle of Puget Sound in an out-of-this-world house where fantastic magic can be found in practically every room, stairway and corridor. Chase can't believe their dad has been keeping so much from them.
It's an even bigger shock when Chase learns that all their magic is controlled by a very powerful and mysterious Relic in the attic, and if anything happens to this relic, every bit of Tinker magic will be lost forever. He's even more disturbed when he learns his family has a dark and powerful enemy that is determined to steal all their magic, their house and their relic. 
Now Chase must find a way to stop these evil beings, while at the same time figuring out what has happened to his dad, unraveling even more Tinker lies and secrets and not letting on that he has a huge crush on the housekeeper's daughter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...