Category Archives: Book/Movie Review

An 11-year-old’s review of The UnderTakers: The Last Siege of Haven

 

Before the review, a note from “Mom”:
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how I first encountered a Ty Drago book.  For those of you who don’t know me, I have three sons. 14, 11, and 9.
 
My 14 year old (AKA the Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer) is an avid reader. Always has been. After years of struggling to get Middle Dude to even read a comic book, I’d given up. Then I started having the same trouble with Littlest Dude. In a panic, I rescheduled a weekend to bring Littlest to meet Dan Gutman… the author of the only book the kid agreed to read if I twisted his arm.  Middle Dude came kicking and screaming (Well, not that bad, but he wasn’t happy)
 
What, Doesn't this look like Ty Drago?

What, Doesn’t this look like Ty Drago?

Anyway, this is where Ty Drago comes in wearing a big old red cape

(Well, kind of. We actually didn’t even meet him) …
 
While we were buying a few Dan Gutman books at the Barned and Noble stand, Middle Dude comes up and hands me this book. “Can we get this?” he asked. “It looks sooo cool!”
 
I flipped over this very thick book 480 stinking pages. It was HUGE.  I said, “You’re not going to read this.”
“Yes I am,” he pleaded. “It sounds awesome.”
 
I stared at this monstrous book that I knew would end up as a doorstop or mashed in the toy graveyard in the corner of his room. With a sigh, I purchased The Undertakers, figuring if he read five pages, I was way ahead of the game.
 
That is when the magic happened. That night, I found Middle Dude hiding under the covers with a flashlight READING.  Did you hear that? R.E.A.D.I.N.G.
 
I couldn’t believe it!  A few weeks later, he was done and asked for the second book. And then the third. And then the on-line material!
Wahoooo!
This kid who hated reading, was suddenly devouring Ty Drago books.  And once he blew through them all, he was far more open to trying other books. 
Now he reads every night with a smile on his face. Thank you Ty Drago!  You are my hero.
 
Enough of my babbling … Here is Middle Dude’s review.  I was going to correct his punctuation and typos and stuff, but I figured I’d leave it as he typed it.  Enjoy!
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The UnderTakers

The Last Siege of Haven.

 .
To Ty Drago,
Over all i really liked the book. It was literally non stop acition and i read most of it on one night because it was so great. The only thing i disliked was that most of the book was based on getting amy to haven.
Throught out the book i just kept thinking in my head oh my gosh what will happen next. my favorite part of the book was when they were being chased by the baby malum, it really added alot of action to the book, like a hole new species.
another part i like was when helene got out of her homeless old lady suit for backup. that came out of no where. When prentended to lose his sight i was like oh my gosh how did he lose it he isnt eighteen yet and a bunch of other questiosn like who will be the leader.
i enjoyed the part when they set haven with traps so the corpses wouldnt get in. i was also sad when [SPOILER REMOVED] died, but at least {SPOILER REMOVED} saved [his or her] friends.
overall this was one of the best books that ive ever read and i cant wait for the next 2 (i think there will be 2 more) books that you will write.
it always seemed like every second was an hour when i waited for your book “the secret of the corpse eater”.
i hope it wont be like that for the 5 book. i hope that wont happen this time.
  Happy Reading,
[Middle Dude signed his name.  So cute! but Mom is removing for privacy’s sake]
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Purchase Links:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | TBD

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Rafflecopter! Enter to win one of 5 digital copies of Last Siege of Haven (The Undertakers #4) by Ty Drago Click here

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ABOUT TY DRAGO:

Ty Drago does his writing just across the river from Philadelphia, where the Undertakers novels take place.  In addition to The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses,The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead, and The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater, he is the author of The Franklin Affair and Phobos, as well as short stories and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest.  He currently lives in southern New Jersey with his wife and best friend, the real Helene Drago née Boettcher.

Author Links:  Website Twitter Facebook Goodreads

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Middle Dude received an arc for his fair and honest review. Where he would never pan a book (He’s cool like that) He has, like his older brother, respectfully declined to review a book after reading. He wouldn’t have typed all that out if he didn’t feel strongly about the book.

Book Review: The Artisans by Julie Reece

I’ve been looking forward to this book release for a long time. Julie Reece is the author of CRUX, which is one of my favorite paranormal/mythical novels.

Now she’s out with a brand new YA novel. Woohoo!

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The Artisans is a “Southern Gothic”. I had no idea what that meant, so I was surprised when it started to get a little scary. (At one point, I even had to shut my eyes, which made me remember that I was reading a book, which is a little hard to do with your eyes shut.) It is a creepy read at times, but only one spot got “gory” (Which was probably mild by horror standards, but it made me cringe a little.)

This is a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling, with a touch of the cobbler fairy tale thrown in for good measure.

A teenage girl is blackmailed into designing clothes in this “mean but cute” rich dude’s mansion in order to save her father. But there’s a catch – the mansion is haunted. And Mr. Hotness might have a few family secrets.

Ooooooo, yes,

They are the scary kind.

I enjoyed this book a lot, especially the last 30% or so when things started to heat up between the main characters, and the ghosties started to get a little… ummm, “impatient”. The last ten percent or so flew by. This is great for romance fans who don’t mind a little “boo” mixed in with their love story.

What is interesting though, is that this book is a duology, which means there is another book coming out. I am very interested to see where the author takes us in the next book, because The Artisans definitely had the feel of a stand alone. There is really nothing “left hanging”. So, if you are the type that likes a stand alone, don’t worry about picking up The Artisans. It definitely ends, and ends satisfactorily.

I would recommend this book for a nice quiet weekend read, or a fun book to hide under the covers with.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | kobo | TBD | Goodreads

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Rafflecopter!

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Artisans by Julie Reece (INT)

Click here to enter the rafflecopter!

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About Julie Reece

Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

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Eleven-Year-Old’s Review of “The Three Thorns”: Brotherhood and the shield by @Michael_Gibney @chapterxchapter @tantrumbooks @month9books

TTT-CoverI figured a middle-grade review would be best coming from a middle-grader. Here is what he had to say, in his own words:

.

What was the book about?

It was about three orphans who band together when a bunch of guys tried to kill them. They end up traveling to a new magical world and find out that they have special powers and are part of a prophecy that says they will bring down the evil emperor.

What did you like about the book?

I liked how there was lots of action and adventure. There wasn’t just talking all the time. There were a lot of fight scenes, and it never got boring.

Who was your favorite character?

Tommy was my favorite. He was the oldest of the kids, and he was really mean when the story started, but he changed over the course of the book.

TTT-CoverTell me about the bad guy.

He has assassins and a big army. You don’t really see him to much.

You mostly see the big scary assassins that are nine feet tall and in every fight scene. They are really more like the bad guys in the story.

What was your favorite part?

When they broke out of the orphanage, everyone chased them. Mr. Jennings offered a year of work off to any of the other orphans who caught the kids who escaped. There was so much action! And they forgot something and had to go back, and someone got caught and stuff, and it was really exciting.

On a scale of one to 5… One being that book you didn’t finish last year because it was boring, and five being the best book you ever read, how would you rate “The Three Thorns?”

TTT-CoverI think 4 stars.

Why?

There was a lot of action and a lot of chasing, but the part  where they were being taken to the castle didn’t have a lot of action.

There should have been some fight scenes to make it more interesting.

Would you be interested in reading the next book?

Yes. They ended it in a way that made me say “Omigosh I have to see what happens next!”

Would you recommend this book to your friends?

Yes, to my friends that like action adventure books.

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 A note from Mom:

There you have it, directly from my son. I have to say that each day he finished reading with a smile on his face. He is easily bored, and there are a lot of books in his “did not finish” pile. He does not put up with books that don’t keep his attention. There is a rafflecopter going on to promote this book. Click below to enter. Good luck!

Purchase Links:

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | TBD | Indiebound

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Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e288/?

More about the book:

THE THREE THORNS (THE BROTHERHOOD AND THE SHIELD #1)

Three brothers born to a once powerful King were abandoned at birth and cast out into the old world as orphans – alone and unaware of the other’s existence or their royal heritage.

In the new world, by order of the false King, three of the most lethal assassins are sent to kill the children before they come of age and avenge their father’s throne.

But when the brothers find one another, Benjamin, Tommy and Sebastian must resist the temptation of magic and power if they are to defeat the unspeakable evil that has threatened them since birth.

The Three Thorns is book one in an exciting children’s fantasy series called The Brotherhood and the Shield from debut author Michael Gibney.

ABOUT MICHAEL GIBNEY:

Michael Gibney began working in restaurants at the age of sixteen and assumed his first sous chef position at twenty-two. He ascended to executive sous chef at Tavern on the Green, where he managed an eighty-person staff. He has worked in the kitchens of Morgans Hotel Group, 10 Downing in Manhattan, and Governor in Brooklyn’s DUMBO, among many others. Over the course of his career, he has had the opportunity to work alongside cooks and chefs from many of the nation’s best restaurants, including Alinea, Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Daniel, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, Bouley, Ducasse, Corton, wd~50, and Momofuku.

In addition to his experience in the food service industry, Gibney also holds a BFA in painting from Pratt Institute and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Connect with the Author:  Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

The books I read in 2014: Listed from “Best” to “Not So Best”

Looking over this list at the end of the year, part of me wanted to start re-arranging. But I decided not to, because this is how I felt after reading each book. #1 and #2 were really neck and neck for best book, so I am going to give them both the number one slot.

It is funny– I read 21 books this year. That is exactly the same number of books that I read last year. I am half way through reading another J.L.Armentrout book right now, so maybe it is really 21.5 books this year.  Not too shabby since I don’t have all that much time to read.

So here it is, my list of Best to not so best books this year. Have you read any?

  1. Onyx , Jennifer L. Armentrout – Second (maybe third) in the Lux Series. Girl moves into a town and the twins next door are aliens. This story deepens the plotlines of book one. Slow to start, but once it got going I forgot about all that. What an amazing and unexpected last fifty or so pages!
  2. Rules of Survival, Jus Accardo – Great story about a bounty hunter that shackles himself to a fugitive girl and then finds out there are people trying to kill her. Great action and nice character development. Have to fault the author for an unrealistic sex scene, but loved the rest of it!
  3. Darkside Sun, Jocelyn Adams—Great Googly Moogly. I loved this book. Paranormal action and suspense at its best. The ending could have had some more action, but an awesome read overall.
  4. Rescue Me – This is writing of First Person Present at its best. The tone did not jar me, and despite being downright offensive at times, this author kept me turning pages. Granted, I started to roll my eyes after the fortieth sex scene, but this novel really moved.
  5. Opal, Jennifer L. Armentrout–Yeah, another Lux novel. I really enjoy these. The concepts and characters continue to pull me in. Unfortunately, I had read the blurb on the next book before reading this, so I knew how it would end. Kind of ruined it for me. Great excitement and really awesome writing. This author has not let me down yet.
  6. Cinder, Marissa Meyer–I liked this book a lot. I just didn’t love it. While everyone is telling me book 2 is even better, I didn’t find myself instantly reaching for the next book, and I’m not sure I ever will. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. It was. I’m not sure why I’m not continuing with the series.
  7. Midnight Dawn, Jocelyn Adams–Adams is another one of my favorite authors. She rarely disappoints me. Great story and great world and kick butt characters with explosive endings. What’s there not to love?
  8. Branded, Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki — This was a great fast-paced Dystopian. I had to cringe a few times over the violent images (not my thing) But the authors did manage to surprise me at the end. After hearing mixed reviews, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this.
  9. Call Me Grimm, Elizabeth Holloway – Really neat story. Great world building, but she lost me in the last sentence. Didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment of the book though.
  10. Ghosts in the Mirror, Joyce Mangola — Oooo ghosts. This is a unique pass at a ghost story. Ghosts jump into this poor kid and put him in a coma. Lots to love here. I would consider picking up another book in this series if there was one.
  11. Divergent, Veronica Roth–Okay, I’ll admit this was a DNF for me. I really enjoyed the writing and the flow of it all. But I saw the movie when I still had half the book to go. I just kind of lost interest after that. I will probably read more some day though.  I think all the talk about the rest of the books not being good may have turned me off as well. I’ll probably get back to it some day.
  12. Fire of Stars and Dragons, Melissa Petreshock—Girl has to marry either a dragon, a god, or a vampire king. They all have to woo her to win her love. Interesting premise, but told in first person from each male lead’s POV and the protagonist’s POV. Not crazy about the switching first person, but after a very shaky beginning, this was an enjoyable story overall.
  13. Damaged, H.M. Ward – Great story. Odd that I enjoyed it because it was contemporary romance. Really had me hooked, but it Didn’t end AT ALL. You need to buy book 2 to find out what happens. I did not buy book two. I felt cheated, and didn’t like not knowing if I’d have to buy book three, four, or more before the story completes. If a book is a serial, it should have a stamp on the cover or something. Instead of loving the book (which I was doing) I ended up ticked off at the end. Not good.
  14. The Brown House, Christy Sloat — Interesting and very complicated ghost premise (in a good way) This is a ghost story that really is not scary at all. (Like not even a creepy feeling) I got this book because it was based loosely on a real house and the weird things that happened here. It was neat reading another book that took place in New Jersey.
  15. Sleeping with a Stranger—A crit partner asked me to read this, because this is a writer she wanted to emulate. I was not impressed, but it could be a bad match of reader to book. I can’t relate to gambling or immature, dangerous behavior. I also felt the conflict was forced. (Note – After reading it, my crit partner agreed. She wondered if this was one of the author’s earlier works)
  16. Tempting the Bodyguard, Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn — Okay, this is my favorite author. Why is this book down here? Yikes! This book was not written for me. I picked it up expecting the same valued writing style that I enjoyed with the Lux books, but with an adult story. Boy, was that NOT what this was. Shame on me for expecting what this was not. There is a reason she changed her names for these books. Not. For. Me.
  17. The Witches of Glass Castle – DNF. I was bummed, because I could not engage with this story. Stinky, because so many people seemed to like it.

Novellas:

Dragon Eye, Anna Simpson–This is a cute story, great for a short read at the beach or while waiting in a doctor’s office. Just some good clean fun.

Pixified, Sheryl Winters–More good fun. Lots of goofy characters written tongue in cheeck. Read this with a smile on your face.

Craft Books:

1. Riveting you Reader with Deep Point Of View – AWESOME

2. Writing Fight Scenes: Almost put it down because the beginning was talking down to a novice, but later parts of the book were helpful. I like how it is divided into different sections for different types of fights.

So there you have it. What was the best book you read in 2014, and why did you love it?

JenniFer_EatonF

If you are skimming a book, why even read it? What the ease of self-publishing has done to the “great” novel

I recently picked up a book that I was really excited about.  The premise was new to me, and the cover was stunning.  The five-star reviews on Amazon helped a bit too.  So I nestled down with my E-reader and delved into this wonderfully imagined tale.

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***My bubble soon popped***

The idea of this story was great… elves live among us.  They look just like us, only a little shorter, and they are all quite beautiful.  The story is about an elf girl who is predestined to marry a particular elf, but they cannot meet until her eighteenth birthday. (Of course that gets screwed up or there wouldn’t be a story.) There is also this great buildup of a huge battle between dark and light elves.

(In respect to the author, I am not going to reveal the title or author. No one likes a bad review. And everyone should form their own opinion.)

The story sounded so exciting, but as I read, I had to wonder where all these five-star reviews came from.  Has the influx of bad novels stilted people’s reading so much that they would consider an average novel to be extraordinary?

I found tons of things wrong with this novel.  Long, unnecessary conversations with friends that have nothing to do with the story, several typos in the first few pages. (missing words) Scenes that seemed placed into the text just for page count that had nothing to do with the story, and so on.

But I delved on.  I figured all these stars had to come from somewhere.  So I started to skim, and skim, and skim. Then all of the sudden, the hero (future husband) pops up and gets jealous of a drunk guy hitting on his future bride (who he has not even officially met yet)…

AND HE KILLS THE DUDE!!!!! 

Yeah… cold blooded murder. And then there is a conversation with his Dad about how it really didn’t even bother him to have killed someone.

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Whaaaat?

I sooooooo don’t like this guy anymore. And I should like him, because the main character loves him. Right? (Or am I an old fogey and it is okay these days to have a murderer for a fiancée?)

I was resolved to see how the author would write her way out of that one… but she never did.

At the end, when I reached the big battle, I stopped skimming, but continued to be dissatisfied.

When I was done I shook my head.  How was this possible?  Why did I dislike this book so much when the premise seemed so good?

I looked back and checked to see who published it.  Yes, there was a publisher listed, so I looked up their website.  Guess what? No website.

[[Smacks herself in the head]]

Yep, I was duped.  This appears to be a self-published book with a fake publisher name to hide behind.  And the author did a great job…  good marketing and a gorgeous cover. I think they paid more attention to the cover and marketing than writing and editing.

Now… I am in no way shape or form saying that there is anything wrong with self-publishing.  There are some great self-published books out there. I think I gave a four star review to Sweet Blood of Mine.  It deserved it.

I know that many self-published authors paid their dues, learned their craft, and produced great works of art.  The problem is, these people are getting swallowed by the influx of people producing skim-worthy… or just plain HORRIBLE books.

I don’t even know what my point is. I guess I would not have been so bothered if there weren’t something like 250 five-star reviews on this work.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you have never edited your manuscript, or had a beta reader other than your mother, or if you did have a few real beta-readers, and you ignored their shouts of “Show Verses Tell” or their requests to delete a scene, or NOT HAVE YOUR LOVE INTEREST KILL SOMEONE.  (Yeah, that part really bothered me)

Anyway… If any of the things above apply, but you went out to query anyway, and your received rejections, you may not want to take the easy way out and self-publish. Maybe you should really look at your writing, and try to figure out WHY you are getting rejections.

This book could have been AWESOME. The writer just needed a heavy line edit, and a proofreader. A good developmental editor could have made this sucker EPIC.  I mean seriously, this book could have been stupendous!

Was it that bad?

Well, no, but the work reads like little or no attention was given to make this story sparkle.

Yes, self-publishing may give you personal satisfaction.  Yes, most of your friends will not know the difference and they will be excited for you… but all these books out there make it really hard to find a good novel these days.  And with all those five-star reviews on this one particular book, I have to wonder if readers, in general, are losing their capacity to even notice a well crafted book when they read it.

It makes me sad.

Then again, maybe what a “good book” is has changed. Maybe I’m the one who needs to catch up with the times.

Jennifer___Eaton

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How to write a confusing ending, but make it work. A review of “Now You See Me (2013)”

Movie Review: Now You See Me.

This is a movie that we rented maybe by accident. No one had ever heard of it, and no one remembered ordering it… but that didn’t stop a single one of us from loving it to pieces.

Initially, my husband decided not to watch, so I watched with my 13 year old son (I probably could have let the younger ones watch too, because there was only one curse I remember, a Sh#t. In a very appropriate place)  Anyway, we were originally going to watch half the first night and finish it the next night.

Nope. Didn’t happen. There is no turning his sucker off.

Since I’d never even heard of it, I’ll give you a ultra-short synopsis. This is about a group of four fairly descent magicians brought together by an “unknown” person to form the greatest magician act of all time. They commit robbery right on stage in front of packed houses, and give the money away.

Great new premise for me– yes, with a Robin hood appeal… but more twists and turns and surprises to even keep the action junkie in me screaming for more. (Because yes, the FBI and Interpol are trying to catch them the entire time)

Now lets chat a minute about the ending.  Yes, everything wraps up, but my son and I turned to each other and said “Huh? What happened?” Normally, this would tick me off to no end. But it didn’t.

The next day I said to Dude: “Did you figure out that ending?”

“Nope.”

“But did you still like the movie?”

“Yo, totally. It was awesome.”

And I had to agree. It WAS awesome.

Neither one of us “got” part of the ending, but it did not spoil the utter enjoyment of a nice, clean thrill ride.

Intrigued by my lack of hate over this, I roped my husband into watching it, and I re-watched the ending with him. He was less confused than we were, pointing out that every last thread of a very complicated plot was ironed out.

Yes, it was, and quite beautifully. Someone spent a great deal of time mapping this sucker out.

But, I said, “What about [that one scene] what happened there?”

My husband laughed and said. “Who cares?”

You know what? He was 100% right.

Who cares?

For the first time I had something about an ending that I was not completely happy with, but I really didn’t care. This may end up on my list of favorite movies to watch again.  The cinematography and magic shows alone are a hoot to watch.

And everyone who watches the movie will probably have a different explanation about what happened in “that scene in central park”, but does it really matter?

When story-telling is this good… no, it really doesn’t matter.

A few minutes ago I went scoping around to see if this was originally a book. If it was, I could not find it. I would have loved to see from the characters’ POV what happened in “that scene”. But since I will probably never know, I will make it up. I can do that. I’m an author.

And that’s okay.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that’s okay.

_JenniFer____EatoN

Roane Publishing is giving away THREE ARCs of Portals!


Roane Publishing is giving away THREE ARCs of Portals!



Genre: Fantasy Anthology (mixed sub genres)
Release Date: June 5, 2014
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Keywords: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Short Stories, Picture Prompt

Description: No matter what world you call home, or what your station in life, there are just some paths that weren’t meant to be tread.

Maronda’s Quest by Christy Thomas
Mexmur, the Huntress by Anna Simpson
Entrance of Lost Souls by Echo Shea
Where Once were Hearts by Havva Murat
Ordinary World by Laurie Treacy
The Lunatic Queen by Michael Siciliano

~~~oOo~~~
Roane Publishing is giving away THREE ARC copies to three lucky winners!


You don’t even have to be a blogger.



If you are willing to leave an honest review between the dates June 5th and July 3rd, you are eligible to enter.

How? Simply fill out the form!


You have until Midnight of May 16th when three winners will be chosen by random drawing.


Thanks so much for participating & best of luck!

You need to buy this book, and it’s on sale for $.99

Now, I know it’s not like me to hang here and tell you to buy a book. Unless it’s mine, cause, hey, ya should, cause, well… it’s mine.

But anyway… Let me tell you about this book called Darkside Sun.

As you may have noticed from my several reviews, I am a big Jocelyn Adams fan. I think she’s awesome.

Almost two years ago, I gushed when I tripped over her in a chat room. (She was posting under a pseudonym, and I didn’t even know I’d been talking to her – funny story I’ll have to tell you some day) Anyway, we became cyber-buddies, and she’s been uber helpful with advice about do’s and don’ts in the publishing industry.

Last year, she entrusted me with a beta copy of “DARKSIDE SUN”. Let me tell you, I was floored. When I finished it, I cried… and wrote this blog post: “There is a book out there that is better than yours.”

And yes, this book was contracted soon after by my target publisher.  Yes, I celebrated.  This book totally deserves it.

A month or so ago, I was contacted and asked if Entangled could use a quote from my beta comments on the novel in their marketing.  “Sure,” I said… not even remembering what I’d said.

Imagine my surprise when the cover hit Amazon:

See that white writing in the upper left hand corner?  Let me zoom that in for you.

Darkside Sun Quote

Wowzers.

All that stuff they say about making connections and stuff… yeah, it’s true.  my name is on the front of a novel that I personally believe will be the next “big thing.”

And let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier.  There are not too many novels out there that I would recommend this much… or slap my name on the cover… but this is one.  You will be drawn in from the first pages, and biting your nails until the unbelievable end.

Even if you don’t like this genre, I’d recommend this for the simple reason of soaking in Jocelyn Adam’s writing style.   She is everything I want to be when I grow up, and I am trilled to death that she’s finally received big-name recognition.

Darkside Sun is on sale for the next few days in a promotional blitz.  For $.99 on Amazon. I am sure you will not be disappointed. It doesn’t get too “paranormal” right away, and everyone from contemporary to horror can learn a little soaking her style in.

Even though I read the beta, I am hopping over now to pick up my copy. I can’t wait to see the final product. I hear it’s even better. I’m prepared to be wowed all over again.
Darkside Sun (Entangled Embrace)

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Learning from someone else’s mistakes – How to NOT write a novel

I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels lately. Not because it is my favorite genre, but to help strengthen my skills in writing inner-thought and making an emotional connection between the reader and the character.

I recently read a book that was AWESOME at this.  I was totally engaged. I liked the heroine. I cared about her. I liked the hero even more. They were both complex characters with faults that drove their characterization, and I completely believed them and felt like part of their lives. It was everything I wanted in a novel. This author totally deserved the “bestselling author” splash on her advertising.

At the end of the novel, there was one of those lovely magic buttons nice and handy so I could buy the next book.

Did I buy the next book? No.

Wasn’t I interested in the story? Didn’t I want to know more?

Yes. I totally did. I was ready to stay up late and read more.

So why didn’t I buy the next book?

The author, despite being incredibly talented, lost my trust. The story was not complete. Not by a long shot.

The heroine is being threatened by her brother and a former boyfriend who raped her. She had been in hiding for years, but they found her. She needs to go home and face them because her mother is dying. The hero of the story agrees to go home with her so she is not alone. BAM. It’s over. If you want to see what happens, you need to buy the next book. There isn’t even a neat, tidy closing thought to make the novel feel like it ended, like “I would be fine, I knew I would be fine because we would face this together.”

Nope—a closing line like that was not there. The chapter just ended, and the next page prompted you to buy the next book.

Seriously?

Now, if this had been a free read, I totally would have cut the author some slack. I would have purchased the next book. Call me snobby, but I expect a story to be complete when I pay $5.00 for it.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe I misunderstood. So I checked to make sure there was not a worded warning like “part one” that I overlooked.

Nope. Nada.

I went from being a wildly enthusiastic fan to a lukewarm, disappointed reader in a matter of seconds.

But the novel was great. Why wouldn’t you buy the next one?

Like I said, she has lost my trust. Will the next book finish the story, or will I be prompted to buy another book? I don’t know. I cannot trust that I will ever see a satisfying ending.

For now and probably forever, I will see this author’s name and red flags will pop up all over the place.

Why not just tell the truth?

Now, if it was stated up front that this was an add-on series, a work in progress available in installments (and priced at $.99 rather than $5.00 each) I would have totally slipped the next book in my cart. In fact, I think that’s an awesome idea.

But you just need to be honest about it.

Don’t lie to your readers.

Would I recommend this book? No. Absolutely not.

I sure did learn from it, though.

What would you think if you finished a book, and it totally left you hanging… Holding you ransom until you paid to find out what happened?

JenniFer_EatonF

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The books I read in 2013: Listed from “Best” to “Not So Best”

Wow. Totaling them all up, I read 21 books in 2013. That’s not too shabby. Ten of these are novellas, so I guess that would equate to the equal of 16 full-length novels.

Up until two years ago, I felt accomplished if I finished ONE book in a year.  I’ve found that reading GOOD books has improved my writing in leaps and bounds. If you are not reading, Why not?

These are the books I read last year, in order of how good I thought they were. Now remember, I can be easily swayed by an explosion, so some of these got pushed down the list simply because they were not as exciting as another book.  A few of them are down there because, well…. someone has to be at the bottom, right?

You also might see me saying that I don’t like a certain kind of novel. So why did I read it? As an author, I try to “round” myself out. If I only read explosions I won’t be opening myself up to different pacing and different types of tension. I look at every book I read as a learning experience. If I forget that I’m reading, and think “Ergh! I’ll have to read it again to study how they did (insert really great thing here)” Then those books ended up in the top 5. Okay… maybe the top six. :-)

If you’d like to know my opinions on a book that I did not review feel free to drop me a line.

So, here’s my list from Best to “no so best” of 2013.

#1:  Obsidian, A Lux Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I got close to the end of the year before I found a book good enough to take over the number one position from “Slipping a Toe In”.  Obsidian is a great Sci-Fi love story.  I was on edge from page one.  Very well done. (Search this site for my full review)

#2: Dipping a Toe In by Linda Carroll-Bradd – A snoozer of a Sweet Romance that wowed me with the writing style. (Reviewed)

#3: Sweet Blood of Mine by John Corwin – YA paranormal from a boy’s perspective. Great YA first person voice. Just Loved it! Bring on book 2 (Reviewed)

#4: Crossing Hathaway by Jocelyn Adams – Awesome Hot Romance.  Great Fluidity of Writing. Big fan of Jocelyn Adams. (Reviewed)

#5: Caught Up In Us by Lauren Blakely – Picked this up while researching “Best Selling” Contemporary Romance.  It did not disappoint.  Great characters you could relate to.

#6: Shadows, A Lux novella by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I’m trying to decide if I would have rated this higher if I did not read book 2 first.  I think this is better as a book two than a book one.  I liked knowing what was going to happen. It made the whole experience more “tense”. Stupendous voice.

#7: Eye of the Soul – By Terri Rochenski – Great World building.  A classic-style fantasy tale.

#8: Romance Novel Book Club by Kastil Eavenshade – as naughty as this book was, it was just too darn much fun.  Very readable and hard to put down.  A romance writer poking fun at the romance genre – brilliant (Reviewed)

#9: Stone Chameleon – Jocelyn Adams New, interesting world from one of my favorite authors. I hemmed and hawed over this one. I ended up ranking it down because there is a heavy vampire theme, and apparently I’m not crazy about vampires. This book really grew on me as I read, but it took me a while to engage because of the bloodsuckers.

#10: A Touch of Greek by Tina Folsom – Despite its faults, I really liked this. Consider it a “Guilty Pleasure” (Reviewed)

This Wicked Magic by Michele Hauf – The little Engine that could – Slow start, but great roller-coaster-ride ending. (Reviewed)

Whirlwind – Romantic/Erotic Short – Excellent writing, but it was really just a sexual fantasy with not much story involved.  I like a little more meat to chew on (ah-hem… sorry) The writing as good though.

Talbot’s Seduction – Kastil Eavenshade Great historical setting. I love this author’s ability to bring me back in time. I just wish I liked her main character in this series more.

Alone No More by Terri Rochenski– Great Historical Writing. Really felt like I was there. The middle of the story was a touch slow for my tastes

Resonance – JA Belfield – Great Premise. This is a “linker” novella that does not stand alone.  I loved the scenes in the “other world”.  Very Imaginative

Purely Relative by Claire Gillian– While this had a great ending, the beginning was a bit slow for me.  The writing was awesome, though.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Purchased to research the publisher. My review earlier in 2013 says it all.

18 Things by Jamie Ayres – I hate putting a novel this good below some things that were not written as well, but I really did not enjoy this book.  That is a reflection of a bad match of book to reader – not a reflection of the book, because it was awesome and thought-provoking. (Reviewed)

Capturing the Marshall’s Heart – Didn’t hold my attention, despite being by one of my favorite authors. Great Western setting though – which may have been part of the problem. Western is not my cup of tea.

#20 and #21: 

I decided not to post the titles to #20 and #21 in respect to the authors, because they were awful. Just awful.  (Oh, not the authors… their books)

Some books, like #3 “Sweet Blood of Mine” do wonders for the self-publishing industry.  Others, like #20 and #21, are the kind of books that give self-publishing a bad name.

Please, please, please don’t self-publish your book without professional opinions. It makes you look bad. It makes your reader mad, and it brings down the writing profession in general.

So, what were your favorites  of 2013? Any good suggestions for me to read this year? Anything I should avoid?

JenniFer_EatonF

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