Sometimes a book gets Under The Skin – A Review

Under the Skin by Michel Faber (Audiobook) This is kind of a weird book to get my head around. I picked it up because it was mentioned in a podcast as a book that transcended genre… that the characters were so great that even people 123063who hate science fiction could get into it. Overall, I have to agree with that, with a few caveats.

One, I would not label this science fiction, even though there are aliens in it. Overall, it feels very literary to me. Literary science fiction? Yeah, like I said… it’s hard to get your head around. The main character is, if effect, a serial killer. She picks up hitchhikers and decides which will live and which will die in a horrific manner. Don’t judge her though. She’s just doing her job. That’s the weird thing… you are so centered in this girl’s head that you do feel like you are doing this horrible job with her. The author does a great job of removing empathy and mercy from this character’s psyche (after all, she is not human) and you really bond with her and are along for the ride (not as her hitchhikers, thank goodness.)

What I found a bit odd, though, was the ending. I guess that I expected something fantastic because this is science fiction at heart. But instead… Well, I don’t want to ruin it, but this is one of the reasons this feels literary to me. In some instances, I feel like maybe the author had developed this amazing character, but then didn’t know what to do with her. So instead of developing more of an arc, the story ended. Either that, or the story is literary, thus making the ending absolutely brilliant. Again… tough call. Overall, though, despite the great characterization, this story left me pretty unfulfilled. If you like literary, give this a try and let me know what you think (Don’t worry, it does not read like a scifi AT ALL.)

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It’s Freebie Friday! Over 20 Free YA books to choose from

This week we are featuring young adult speculative fiction.

Are you a lover of dragons, mermaids, witches, shifters, and aliens? Well, you might just find your next favorite author right here.

Click the link to see this week’s featured free books.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/ya-extravaganza

And the body count rises – a Review of Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy (eBook)
This book is a serial killer mystery that takes place in a high school. To be honest, 32972117this book came close to a do-not-finish for me, because the beginning was very slow for me. A girl gets murdered, and then there is tons of day to day stuff that didn’t keep my interest. Somehow though, I trudged on, and I did end up eventually enjoying the book. I just wish I got there a little faster. Anyway, once this gets going it is a fun mystery. The only thing that bummed me about it, is I picked out the serial killer very early on, and I was 98% correct on the reason why. I was really, really hoping that there would be a twist at the end, and it would be a “ha! I fooled you moment” from the author, and the killer would end up being someone devilishly clever… but that was not meant to be. But anyway, I am sure there will be others who will be surprised. Like I said, once it gets going it is a pretty descent read. An awesome twist at the end would have put this in five star territory. I would still recommend this for anyone loving a good mystery. I really wish there were half stars, because this is better than three stars, but I’m not fangirling enough for four. I would definitely check out this author’s other works, though. The writing is readable and flows well.

Free Book Friday! Click on in to browse through over 100 FREE science fiction books!

Hey guys, I’m trying out something new for the next few weeks.

Every Friday, I’ll be linking you guys in to some great free book promotions.

And who doesn’t love free books??????

This is a fantabulous way for me to help get new books out to my fans, and you guys get to try out some new authors for free and hopefully love them enough to check out the rest of their catalogs.

Sound good?

Great!

First up is Fantastic Voyages. With over 100 free Science Fiction books to choose from, you’re bound to find a new favorite. Click on the link below to browse through the covers. Enjoy!

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It’s release day for Sirens and Scales! Get your dragon and mermaid fix, and then some!

You guyzzzzzz!

This is it—release day for Sirens and Scales!

How about a few more exclamation points?!!!!!!!!!!

Today only Sirens and Scales still 99 cents but the price is set to increase anytime tomorrow. If you haven’t preordered, now is you last change to pick up this incredible limited edition box set of 20+ Dragon and Mermaid novels including the WORLD premiere of my brand new book DRAGONMOUNT at this incredible introductory price.

Order now on: Amazon   |   iBooks   |   Kobo   |   Nook |   iTunes   |   Barnes & Noble

If you are one of the lucky ones who preordered, check you eReader, because Sirens and Scales is probably already in your hot little hands!

Enjoy, guys! I really hope you love DRAGONMOUNT, and don’t forget to check out the other great authors in the set.

If you still need a little coaxing, here is the first chapter of DRAGONMOUNT to get you in the mood…

.*.*.*.

Things can’t get any worse than being snatched by a dragon, until Anna is dropped into a bloodthirsty battle for the Draconic crown.

A trip to New Zealand was supposed to be a fun distraction for Anna after yet another painful breakup. Instead, she’s snatched and flown away by a mythical beast bent on making her his queen. Anna’s rare blood type makes her the only viable mate in the islands, and with scores of dragons looking for her, escape isn’t likely.

Joe is the youngest and smallest dragon in the competition to become king. Now that he’s found Anna, all he needs to overthrow the current corrupt monarch is to bring her back to Dragonmount. He’s injured and unable to fly, though, and each passing second increases the risk of discovery.

If the current king finds Anna, he will use her to secure his throne and slaughter her to celebrate his victory. Anna is Joe’s to protect, and he will not allow the king to defile her or his people ever again— even if it means challenging a dragon five times his size.

If you love the feels you get from Jennifer L. Armentrout and the shape-shifting goodness of Talon, you’ll roar for DRAGONMOUNT.

 

Chapter 1

 

Anna dragged her fingertips along the glass, taking in the rolling, green valley spread out beyond the rooftops outside her hotel room window. The snow-capped mountains in the distance called to her, promising views she’d been dreaming of since she first saw hobbits and elves on the movie screen.

New Zealand. She could hardly believe it.

She drew in a deep breath. When she first started planning this vacation with Andrew, it was a pipe dream— the mutual coup de gras of their bucket lists. It was supposed to be their honeymoon.

Until a honeymoon was no longer needed.

The television cut to a commercial for toothpaste as her sister walked through the room reading a pamphlet.

“It says here that those mountains you’re staring at are called Aoraki.” She pointed to the text. “The original settlers believed that the sons of the sky god got their canoe stuck on a reef. They froze to death and became the mountains.” She smiled. “That’s kind of creepy. Right up your alley.”

Anna pressed her forehead to the glass, allowing the pane to cool her skin as she watched people wander the streets below.

“Right now these Maori people are celebrating some sort of ancient fertility festival called the Seventeen Year.” Sybil snorted. “Fertility, huh? Sounds like my kind of party.”

Of course it was. Anything her sister could relate to sex was a good time.

The television commercial cut to a news anchor. She picked up a stack of papers and tapped them twice on the desktop.

“Breaking news from North Island,” the woman announced. “Sources investigating the recent rash of murders report that the bodies of at least two more women were found in the Wellington area this morning. Local law enforcement asks all New Zealand, especially women, to take extra precautions while traveling at night. More on this story, and the women behind these growing statistics tonight at eleven.”

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High Five to all the Vets out there! A review of Surrender to the Cyborgs by @LuvGraceGoodwin

Surrender to the Cyborgs (Ebook) by Grace Goodwin  Okay, yes, this book is exactly what it sounds like. I purposely read across genres absorbing different styles, deciding what I like and don’t like. Recently, I went on a binge of alien-centered books like this to see if any of them could crawl out of the depths of your typical loosely edited, “spit it out quick and don’t think much about plot” alien erotica. In this genre, you can’t even trust reviews for the most part, because the reader isn’t always that discerning. However, I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a single author out there who cared about craft. So I kept looking, and looking and abandoning, and abandoning… I was about to give up when I came across Surrender to the Cyborgs. (I think I saw it on a Bookbub ad, but I’m not sure anymore.)

Anyway, this book will slap you upside the face with sex on the first page (which was almost enough for me to throw this one in the pile with the others) But then I realized that the author was appeasing the typical erotic reader with ‘what they wanted’ right off the bat, because she was about to feed them something they were not used to… an actual well-plotted, well-rounded story.

Now, hold on, I’m not saying this is rocket science, but what this author gives us, which is normally lacking in the genre, are actual, real, distinct characters. They each have their own stories, their own hurts, their own reasons for being. And right around where most erotic stories end, because we’ve seen our three-to-five required very graphic sex scenes, this story continues with a shocking event that (gasp!) has nothing to do with sex!

This is when we see the main character shine as a hero in her own right, using her backstory to help solve a crime and better the lives of others. There is also a great message (not at all subtle) in this story that we should honor our vets. That gets an extra star in my book for theme alone.

So, as far as erotic goes, I give this an enthusiastic thumbs up. No, this will not contend for novel of the year, nor would it stand up against mainstream non-erotic books, but I see this as a shining star in a genre not really known for its quality. I’m very interested in seeing where this author takes her storytelling abilities in the future, because she’s definitely setting the bar higher than most of her counterparts.

ADULTS ONLY! (And this made me blush A LOT)

(And, umm, no, I am not posting the cover that makes me blush. Look it up online if you want to see it.)

Crawling out of the pit of despair. A review of NIGHTINGALE by @JocelynAdams

Nightingale by Jocelyn Adams (Ebook) I am a pretty big Jocelyn Adams fan, and while this is not my favorite book by her, I think it will stand out as an ambitious, thought-provoking effort to those who enjoy deep themes and slow-36359941burn romance.

Micah is a rich former playboy who has been brutally disfigured after being held captive by a Columbian drug lord. Darcy is an ambitious reporter who nails the interview of a lifetime when Micah finally agrees to reveal what happened, and how he and a small group of captives escaped. She finds herself falling for Micah over the week-long interview, and ends up questioning which is more important to her… printing a story that rockets her to fame, or protecting the secrets of a man who used the horror of an unthinkable experience to refocus and devote his resources to saving people’s lives.

I really liked how Darcy didn’t take the easy way out and sleep with him right off the bat to get him to talk. I enjoyed watching them get to know each other, and how their very different lives had so many similarities that I could actually believe they would fall for each other despite the class lines.

There’s not really anything to complain about here. If you enjoy a more realistic romance, where people take the time to fall in love before falling into the sheets, this book should be a winner for you.

There’s one of these Raffle-Copter things associated with this book’s release. Here it is if you are the contest-type. $25 Gift Card up for grabs.

Rafflecopter linky-thing

Catch you later!

Gearing up for a Hot Pursuit – A review of Julie Ann Walker’s latest Black Knights book

Hot Pursuit by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook) This book is part of the Black Knights series, where a team of ex-military guys are undercover in a motorcycle shop, and actually working for the president as independent contractors. The 31676242books are all self-contained, but interwoven with the same characters. Each book centers on not only a special op, but on the romance between one of the operatives, and a girl we’ve either seen in other books, or one that just pops up. For several books, we’ve been watching Ex-UK special OPS Christian Watson spar against Emily, the office manager. (Kind of annoyingly so, IMO) Hot Pursuit is their story.

I had a little trouble with this one, because while Christian has been a favorite character of mine through these books, Emily has always annoyed me. While I knew this matching was inevitable, I guess I hoped he’d find someone else. By the end, I must admit, I’d grown a little fonder of Emily, but I’m wondering if the story being about her is what stopped me from getting completely engrossed.

Also, this special Ops part of the story fell very flat for me. While most of the books made sense, I felt like this one was forced. I completely understand the story, what happened and why (I don’t want to spoil it) but for the first time in a Walker novel, I found myself rolling my eyes at the action-part of the novel. I guess I just didn’t buy the bad guys or their reasons for doing what they did. I suppose when you’re writing a series that is as long as The Black Knights you’re going to throw a ground ball once in a while. I just wish it wasn’t in Christian’s story.

Then again, I’d have to admit that my bar was set pretty high where Christian is concerned, so that might have a lot to do with it as well. We still see the great writing, wonderful flow and super-readability that I expect from Walker. I’m looking forward to the main plotline picking up again in the next book to re-hook me with Black-Knight goodness.

Beyond Thunderdome-Creating a world inside a futuristic Dome

Today we’re welcoming Melanie McFarlane, talking about building her futuristic world inside a dome. Giveaway at the end of the post. Woohoo!

Hi there, Mel!  Which did you come up with first, the characters for your story, or did the world come first and then the characters?

When I wrote There Once Were Stars, the world came to me fast and furious. I wrote my first draft in three months.

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I had always wanted to write a story about people who lived in a domed city, because of radiation from a nuclear war. But it wasn’t until I was watching The Walking Dead that I realized I wanted the story to be about people trying to survive after a global pandemic. From there the character of Natalie Greyes developed. I needed someone sweet, yet broken by the system – which is where the idea of the death of her parents developed. But I also needed her to be so innocent and naïve that the thought of a rebellion from inside the safety of a dome was a challenge to her. I tried to give her the personal stakes, similar to Katniss in the Hunger Games, but without the inborn survival skills.

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When it came to developing the dome, I researched biodomes, ventilation systems, and basic engineering. I stayed away from writing any hard science, and let my imagination take over from there. To do this I focused on three things, making them important to the plot – the exterior had to be able to withstand a nuclear war, the Outer Forest needed to exist inside the Continue reading

An interesting look into the future. A review of 1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell (Audiobook) I’m not much for classics, because they tend to drag on and not get to the point (in my opinion). Love or hate them, you have to admit that the style of writing has changed drastically throughout the years. 264196Anyway… when my 16 year old son was assigned 1984 as required summer reading, I decided to give it a try so we could discuss it. Overall, I was not as bored with 1984 as I have been with other classics. It was very interesting; being that this was published in 1949, what George Orwell thought the world would be like 35 years into his future. What is chilling about this novel is that although 1984 did not look much like his future, there is an awful lot going on 264196today that could easily lead to a future like this. True, that I don’t think society could ever be as broken down as depicted in this novel, but there are tiny changes in the current world political climate that if not curbed, could lead in this direction. Overall, the book was quite interesting, but I do admit there were several places where I thought “get on with it” and I skipped big hunks of pages and poor Winston was still thinking about the exact same thing. This book could easily have been a novella and it would have had the same emotional impact. (In my personal opinion, I know others may like this type of writing)