Sunday, October 28, 2012

NaNoWriMo - November 2012

Okay so I've been wandering aroung in the blogging community and heard a bit about NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth (NANOWRIMO). It's an entire month where you dedicate yourself to sit down and write like every single day a bit of your novel. The goal is to have 50,000 words of your novel written by the end of the month. Last year I was way too busy with school to focus on anything else. This year, I probably still am, but I'm going to try. Especially since I've been slacking on writing my novel all year. I still only have 15 pages of writing, roughly 9,000 words which means I have a long way to go.

I'm hoping NaNoWriMo (and you all) will help me stay on track. You may notice that during the month the amount of reviews I post will slightly decrease but that's to be expected since I'll be focused on writing other things. I'm hoping it works out and I dont quit in the middle.

My task for you all is to keep your eye on me. Don't let me quit, and if for some reason I start blaming my failure on the amount of homework I have, dont believe me. I never take more than about 10 hours per week to focus on homework. That leaves a bunch of time to focus on this. As an incentive for you all to make sure I do this, I will be hosting a giveaway at the completion of the month if I write the allotted number of words. Haven't decided what I'm giving away yet, but it'll be great.

If you too are participaring in NaNoWriMo, add me as a buddy: Beckoned By Books.

Good luck to you all.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Last Regress by Rachael J. Thorne

Book: Last Regress
By: Rachael J. Thorne
Published: July 15, 2012
Published By: Self Published.

Description: Alyssa Matthews thought she had an explanation for everything. After all, as a slightly sceptical paranormal investigator that was what she was used to doing; researching, observing and explaining.

So when she began writing a paper about a long forgotten case of death by Spontaneous Human Combustion, she assumed it would be a run-of-the-mill piece. Little did she realise that she was about to be plunged into a situation that would not only force her to question her own sanity, but also her scepticism about the nature of the paranormal.

Not to mention the dreams that just wouldn’t go away...

My Thoughts: Last Regress was an interesting and terrifying novel that made one think deeply about life and death and the bridge between the two. It was dark and haunting, but with a love story that connects the living with the dead and provides a bit of light on an otherwise dark tale.

We follow Alyssa, a young and slightly depressed woman as she begins work on a case file at her job as a paranormal investigator. This particular case file is strange in that the ruling of cause of death of the subject Cain, was Spontaneous Human Combustion and despite some strangeness of the case, it was never looked into any deeper. Alyssa is convinced foul play was involved and sought to bring it to light.

As Alyssa gets involved in the case, she and her friend Greg discover a CD Cain recorded prior to dying. As they listen to the CD, Alyssa is mentally transported to another plane/dimension where horrible and good things happen. Upon her return, nothing is quite the same. She begins seeing a ghost, dark shadows come for her at night, and her friend Greg begins to wonder about her sanity. All of these events coalesce until they end in one big finale.

As a character, I didn't much like Alyssa. She began the book really depressed due to a prior break up and spent the duration of the novel giving me the feeling that she was weak and vulnerable. She psychoanalyzes everything and spends the duration of the book panicking about what may or may not happen when she gets ready to go asleep. She's a paranormal investigator for crying out loud. You'd think she would be at least a little open about the possibility that ghosts exist and stop thinking she's going crazy.

Greg, her best friend, also didn't always appeal to me. When Alyssa came to him talking about what she believed she was seeing at night, he seemed to automatically think she was going crazy. A true friend (at least any of my friends) would most likely take your comments and not make you feel crazy for what you think you saw. A real friend would say "Hmmm, maybe that could be it, or maybe all the work you're doing may be carrying over into your personal life. Either way, how about I stay with you tonight and make sure everything works out smoothly." Instead, he basically just brushed it off and said she was seeing things because her work is carrying over into her personal life and she needs to just get over it.

Cain, the love interest, was interesting. He seemed to be a tortured soul much like Alyssa so in that way I guess they fit well. He was her protector from the shadows and he seemed to care a lot about her. My issue though is that it was insta-love. Unlike some of you though, I don't always mind insta-love if I can see where it grows from. In this case though, it seemed like too much too fast. I just couldn't connect with it.

As a whole the book was interesting. I liked the concept of what happens after death, and the ways the dead can look back at those they left behind and all that. I also liked the idea that delving in too much knowledge could possibly be a bad thing (Take that Teachers of the world!) In terms of pacing the book was okay. It started off a bit slow and the point of view seemed to switch to random characters life stories I wasn't interested in like, for example, Nathaniel, but I guess it was kind of necessary in the grand scheme of things. This book wasn't completely realistic to me though and kind of reminded me of a Soap Opera sometimes. It got too dramatic too fast and the conversations seemed a bit too formal. Finally, there were a few plot holes that I wish were filled.

Last Regress delved into the possibility that what we think is on the "other side" may well be nothing like what really is on the other side. It theorized that love can still be found after death and that there are more forces at work in the world than we actually know. I would suggest it to those that like creepy terror style books. It's not terribly scary, but if you're one of those people who are deathly afraid of the dark. I'd suggest you don't read it. My score is 2.5 stars.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

RRT: On Being a Grown Up

If only time machines were real. I could go back in time and right all my wrongs and enjoy my childhood to the fullest!
There’s this little girl I saw recently. I’ve watched her grow up from the time she was a baby and she’s really becoming a good little girl. She’s 9 years old now and like the cutest little girl you can imagine. As I was walking by, she stopped me and said hi. I asked her about school and her (fairly) new little sister. She asked me how old I was now. I told her I was 23.
“Oh my goodness you’re really growing up aren’t you,” she replied.
Chuckling to myself, I had to agree that she was right and informed her that she too was growing up (especially using phrases like “You’re really growing up.” That’s normally reserved for old ladies with too much lipstick and false teeth).
“No I’m not,” she replied. “I can’t wait til I’m grown.”
It’s funny. I remember when I said almost that same exact thing in my younger years. I couldn’t wait until I was a grown up. I couldn’t wait until I was able to make all my own decisions and rules and follow no one but myself. I fantasized about growing up and getting married and having my own children. I told myself that I would be nothing like my parents. I would let my children eat candy and play all day if they wanted to. They would never have a bed time. I would let my daughter talk to boys on the phone and go on dates before she was 16. After all, why should there be an age limit? I would have an awesome job with awesome friends and go on awesome vacations all the time. Oh yea, and I’d be rich but never have to go to school. Life would be perfect….as soon as I grew up.
But now, I’m a grown up (kind of). I have bills for everything. There are the food bills, and the rent bills, and the electricity bills. Then there are the bills for cable, the bills for clothes/shoes. You even have to pay to get to work to make the money that pays the bills. It’s ridiculous. Then there’s the fact that you’re all alone. Sure you can go do whatever you want, whenever you want, but that’s provided that you don’t have to work that day and come home dog tired. Your parents don’t make you do things you don’t want to do, but they still give you a horrible time if you don’t do it. Now, if I were to do something stupid or reckless they would probably send me to jail instead of just calling my parents. (Not that I do anything wrong, but still)
I no longer have enough time for anything. I find myself running from here to there and back again. I’m not rich, not by a long shot. I’m not working in my dream job. I can’t go on tons of awesome vacations, they cost money (money I don’t have). Some of my friends are awesome, but most aren’t “real friends”. Life isn’t perfect.
I dread the end of every month, because that means that at the beginning of the next I’ll have to fish out more money to continue living a somewhat decent life. I still listen to my parents because they seem to kind of know what they’re talking about. I have to follow different rules now, laws. I have to start going to sleep early so I can make it to work the next day almost on time. Thank goodness for special occasions and romantic dates where the other person pays otherwise I’d probably never eat out at a restaurant.
I have to be responsible these days. I understand the need for those rules I used to hate and would probably initiate each and every one my parents initiated when I have my kids. Even now I almost freak out when my little sister tells me she’s interested in guys.

Being a grown up sucks. I wish I could go back to being a child. Whereas before I was wishing my time away and attempting to run forward into my future, I’m now digging in my heels and slowing things down. I miss the days when the only thing I had to worry about was whether or not I should make ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly for lunch, (PB&J always won) or the days when my only stress was trying to learn my multiplication and division. I miss the times when I could come home from school and lay in the bed allllllllll dayyyyyyy and have absolutely nothing to do. I miss being a kid.

So when the little girl told me this, I crushed her dreams like dust. I told her that she doesn’t want to be an adult. “Being a grown up sucks,” I said, “You never have any money, you can’t do everything you want to do, and If you do anything wrong they’ll send you to jail. Your parents never buy you anything anymore and they don’t do things for you like they used to. No one loves you when you’re a grown up. They just leave you alone to wander around and it sucks.”
She was pretty sad, but didn’t question me. She probably thought I had become a psycho in my old age. It may be true. She just walked away, glancing back at me warily.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that. It was a bit harsh but seriously, being an adult sucks. I wish I had known that when I was a kid so I could stop hoping for a better day and just enjoy what I had. Perhaps I’ll feel the same away about my current years when I get to be retired and old. After all, I do still have fun, within the confines of the law. The select amazing friends I do have bring so much awesome into my life it’s crazy. People do love me, and I love them, and love means so much more to me now. To me, being a kid meant freedom, fun, and reckless abandon, but being an adult means passion, love, fun, and control. Depending on how you look at it, both are amazing.
Yes, being a grown up sucks….
but I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Feed by M.T. Anderson

Book: Feed
By: M.T. Anderson
Published: September 23, 2002
Published by: Candlewick Press

Description: Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now

My Thoughts: Feed is a book that borders dangerously close to what could happen if America continues to progress technologically and continues to be the "superpower" it is today. It's slightly frightening but also interesting. It's everything that's going on now, but to the extreme and with a few things added here and there. I'm glad I picked up this audiobook from the library.

In society at this time, there are these things called Feeds implanted in people's brains. The Feed is basically a computer, telephone, and television all in one that projects things into your brain/body. You watch shows without moving a muscle, can chat internally with your friends, and can look up anything and everything right on the spot. Everyone's smart, and no one is. It controls everything you do. It cures headaches you may have, can direct you or your "up-car" (flying car) to a destination, controls your bodily functions, everything. The best way I can hope to explain this world is perhaps by showing you this quote:
“I don't know when they first had feeds. Like maybe, fifty or a hundred years ago. Before that, they had to use their hands and their eyes. Computers were all outside the body. They carried them around outside of them, in their hands, like if you carried your lungs in a briefcase and opened it to breathe.”
That's how big the feed is in this world, and as in any dystopian, we eventually learn the atrocities this type of development can create.

In Feed, we follow Titus, a young well-to-do boy on his way to the moon for spring break. He's going with his friends and they're planning on having a totally "brag" time. They get there and realize the moon sucks these days but decide to have fun at the clubs and stuff. Before one trip to the club, Titus meets Violet. Violet seems to ooze sex appeal in Titus's mind and he really wants to get to know her. She seems really smart and exciting, and not at all like anyone he's used to. He decides he should probably make her his girlfriend on this trip, maybe have a little fun. Titus, Violet, and his friends then go out to the Ricochet lounge to play around in the low-grav when this hacker guy shows up and causes their feeds to malfunction. As the police arrive, their feeds are disabled and they are taken to the hospital for several days. During these days, Titus and Violet get closer but we also really see how big a part of everyones lives the feed really is. They don't really know how spend time doing nothing with nothing in their heads. They begin to feel lonely and are really pretty stupid. (Everyone except Violet of course) They don't know how to write. They don't really know how to verbally talk to each other, and definitely don't know how to form full sentences. The sentences are kind of summarized like, "Went to the store, da da da, saw the guy, da da da, he kissed me, da da da, epic romance, da da da" It's actually a bit ridiculous. Soon though, their feeds get turned on and everything goes back to (semi) normal. Everyone except Titus and Violet seem to be normal. It's like, the traumatic experience they had on the moon didn't occur. Only, it did. Soon, we realize Violet's feed didn't come back correctly. Somethings happening to Violet. Titus doesn't seem to understand why, he doesn't seem to know what to do, he doesn't even seem to know how to care. Violet's losing the ability to function properly, she's starting to shut down, and Titus doesn't understand why she keeps bringing him down, can't figure out how to bring her up, nor how to try to be there for her, nor why he should even try to be there for her. He wants to have fun, not think of bad stuff, and from there we learn what's really wrong with the world.

Feed was very interesting. Society/America has developed to a point where there are no longer any plants left on the planet. Clean Air factories produce the air we breathe. Every single thing we eat, use, and wear is made from processed items. There are Fillet Mignon Farms where Fillet Mignon is made. People wear lots of plastic clothes, and plates, tables, and almost everything is disposable. The Feed projects the news, TV shows, and everything into your brain, including tons of commercials and ads and banners. You see someone in a skirt you like and instantly the feed pulls up the skirt with the price so you can buy it and get it shipped to your house within the hour. Much like how Amazon can figure out things you may want before you really know you want it, the feed categorizes everyone so that they can come up with things you may want to buy or listen to or see. Everyone is placed in these neat little categories based on their bookmarks and likes and dislikes. Check out this quote:
“…It’s like a spiral: They keep making everything more basic so it will appeal to everyone. And gradually, everyone gets used to everything being basic, so we get less and less varied as people, more simple. So the corps make everything even simpler. And it goes on and on.”
The feed tells you what you want, may want, and gotta have. It seems almost unreal.

Earth has branched out and been able to start settlements on other planets like Mars and the Moons of Jupiter, and Venus (unlikely in real life, but still interesting to read about.) Life is about Fun, there's not much thinking. If you don't know what that word means, your feed'll tell you. The feed gives you all the hip new words and all the hip new hairstyles and fashions. Everything though, is owned by corporations. School is School Inc. where you learn how to be a good consumer and how to market things and all that. The feed is controlled by big corporations. The issue comes though when you ask yourself, if everyone in America is on the feed and spending life having a totally "brag time" and not caring about anything other than our own instant satisfaction and going "mal" (basically going to like a malware site that gives you a feeling of like being high on drugs or something), then who is providing the tons and tons of products we buy, who's working to the bone to get everything to us? How are we enforcing it? Who's voting? Do we even still live in a democracy? Additionally, why are people beginning to get lesions on their bodies, and losing muscle and skin and hair? What the hell is going on, and why does no one seem to care?

This book is crazy. It's written in a teen, hippie, chatty, somewhat simplified style language that's not at all as horrible as you may think it is. It helps to understand how far society has fallen in its attempt to move forward. It's not one of those books where the main character attempts all these big feats and "sticks it to the man." Big issues aren't solved. It is one of those books though that tells you the dangers of progressing too far and losing everything that makes us human. Everyone wants their heart's desires. They want to live in their dream world, but someday, you have to open your eyes from your dream world, and see the real world for what it really is. You can't have everything.

This has been a long review, but I promise I'm almost done. As you can see by this quote that I'm including only because I thought it was hilarious,
“…what the President meant in the intercepted chat. This was, uh, nothing but a routine translation problem. It has to be understood, that…It has to be understood that when the President referred to the Prime Minister of the Global Alliance as a ‘big sh*thead,’ what he was trying to convey was, uh—this is an American idiom used to praise people, by referring to the sheer fertilizing power of their thoughts. The President meant to say that the Prime Minister’s head was fertile, just full of these nutrients where ideas can grow. It really was a compliment…”
Most of the society has gotten, well, basic and unfocused, and stupid. There was quite a bit of cursing in this book, "drug" use and did make me tear up a bit at the end. The main character annoyed me a bit, but almost every character did due to the general nature of the feed and the way it made people react. Violet seemed to be the best character, but even she was affected by the "strangeness" of her personality and her feelings about the feed and so sometimes I was annoyed at her passiveness and vulnerability.

I loved Feed. It made me think a lot about where we are as a society and where we're going.  I would suggest it to everyone who loved dystopians but want a bit of the unreal at the same time. Oh, and the audiobook is pretty amazing. I'd suggest listening to it in audio format. It includes sections that make you really understand how the feed really is, inserting ad's at the end of chapters and all that. It really made me feel connected. My rating is 4.5 Stars.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Book: Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2)
By: Ilona Andrews
Published: April 2008
Publshed by: Penguin

Description: As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, Celtic god Morfran supersedes goddess Morrigan for witch coven worshippers of the Crow, and sea monsters from the Underworld enter via the Cauldron of Plenty. Kate starts looking for Pack maps and 13-year old Julia's witch mother, and ends up uniting shapeshifters and vampire zombie controllers to save the world.

My Thoughts: Once again Ilona Andrews crafts a book that leaves me wanting more, and feeling like a groupie because I love her books so much (and Curran)

Kate is a TOTAL badass. She's strong and has good morals and doesnt take crap from anyone. She always has some witty snappy remark and it's just so funny to watch. This is an entertaining series to say the least

A new character, Bran, was introduced for this book and I loved him. Ilona really knows how to introduce characters you just grow to love. I can't wait to read more in this series. 5 Stars
In terms of this series and my reviews, I think I'll post the next ones on mainly goodreads and give one big review here on the books I've read in the series once I'm somewhat caught up. I don't really like writing too many mini reviews, especially since its obvious that I love the series.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Sapphique by Cathering Fisher

Book: Sapphique (Incarceron #2)
By: Catherine Fisher
Published: December 28, 2010
Published by: Hodder Children's Books

Description: Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don't even know who you are? Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique.

My Thoughts: Incarceron was a wonderful book that gave its readers deep philosophical questions to ponder, and its successor, Sapphique, was the same. It went deeper into the world Incarceron built and crumbled it all to pieces and made you think even further and harder about those issues.

To begin, I was a bit bored with Sapphique. It seemed to progress uselessly slow for me and I was waiting and hoping to get to the real meat of the story. I wanted things to happen, and all the characters seemed to be focusing on other things. About near the middle of the book though, I started to get into it, although it never really captured me as Incarceron did. I merely enjoyed it and wanted to see what happened at the end. Something just seemed to be missing in my opinion. 

The book seemed to end very close to how I expected it to end. Some people say it was left open but I disagree. How else was the author supposed to portray the image she wanted to portray, one of new beginnings and possibility. I wont give any details, but I was pleased with the ending.

I don't have much to say about the book without giving too much away, and I fear I may already have given a lot away, nonetheless, I'll say this was a good book, worth reading if you liked Incarceron. 3 Stars.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Book: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1)
By: Moira Young
Published: June 7, 2011
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Description: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

My Thoughts: This book is one of the most interesting books I've read this year. I'm not going to spend much time on the description, I feel it wouldn't be necessary. Instead, I'll tell you a bit about how I felt about he book.

First, I hated Saba. I know everyone seems to love her and think she's strong and this and that, but I personally think she's a jerk and a B***h. She's mean to like everyone, and treats everyone but her twin brother like crap, especially her little sister. I found myself wanting to put the book down if she didn't changer her treatment of her sister. She doesn't accept any one's help, seeming to prefer to die trying to do it herself than to do it easier with friends. I just don't understand it. That being said, Saba is a fighter, that's the one thing she has going for her. She has a ridiculous survival instinct that I envy.

Second, I hate the way this book is written. It's got some weird drawl in everything and it starts to make me feel like I don't know how to talk properly because the talk somehow sticks in my head.

Other than that it's a great book. It has a great journey in it, and there's a somewhat good ending. Saba does grow to be a bit of a better person. She stops being such a jerk and grows to accept help. I will be reading the next book in the series, but due to my intense negative feelings for Saba, I just can't give this book a high rating. I give it 3 stars.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Renegade by Erica Stevens

Book: Renegade
By: Erica Stevens
Published: June 3, 2012
Published by: Gilmour-Cox

Description: Though she is free of the palace, rescued from her position as a blood slave, Aria is haunted by the memories of her time spent within the fortress, tormented by memories of Braith, the prince that betrayed her and shattered her heart. Every day is a struggle to get through, and the only solace she is able to find is with Max, her best friend, and fellow captive. Though Max does not understand her bond to Braith, he knows some of what she endured, and helps to ease some of the tattered pieces of her soul. Aria slowly begins to salvage the broken parts of her wounded spirit by throwing herself into the wonder of the woods she had so greatly missed, and the secure and reassuring love that Max freely gives her. Her world is thrown into a tailspin again though when a marauding group of vampires destroy the caves she had found temporary shelter in. Scattered about the forest, seeking to stay hidden and find her family, Aria is stunned when Braith, the monster that savaged her heart, reappears. Stunned by his sudden arrival in her world, Arianna is uncertain if he has come to recapture her, or to kill her for daring to escape.

My Thoughts: So Aria is finally free of the palace, but is she really free? Her heart still seems to belong to Braith, and she begins to hate him for the way he's made her feel. She wants to like Max, but she can't, and no one seems to believe the fact that she even really loved Braith. They're convinced her mind has been messed up and twisted into believign the impossible. Then, (as you read in the description) their safehold is raided and everyone is scattered. It's then that she sees Braith again, only he's not there to recapture her, he's there to kill her for the pain she caused him. Of course, everything in love is always a misunderstanding, and soon they're back to being forbidden, hidden lovers again, sharing blood and all that. Kissing and holding and trying not to,let go of the bond they share again. It's kind of like the excessive attachment that was formed between Edwad and Bella after New Moon, it was like they couldnt be apart. It's here that we begin to see that they're not just in love, they're drowning in it. It's both their strength and their weakness. Its passinate and blinding and all consuming. Soon they both must do things they dont want to do in order to hold on to the love they can't quite have.

I loved this book just as much as I loved Captured. I cant wait to see what happens next. I love love stories (yea I'm a big softy) and I hope to see that it prevails. 4.5 Stars!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Captured by Erica Stevens

Book: Captured (The Captive Series Book 1) By: Erica Stevens
Published: June 6, 2012
Published By: Gilmour-Cox (Free on Smashwords)

Description: Blood Slave.

Captured, taken from her beloved family and woods, Aria’s biggest fear is not the imminent death facing her, but that she will be chosen as a blood slave for a member of the ruling vampire race. No matter what becomes of her though, Aria knows that she must keep her identity hidden from the monsters imprisoning her. She has already been branded a member of the rebellion, but the vampires do not know the true depth of her involvement with it, and they must never know. Though hoping for death, Aria’s world is turned upside down when a vampire named Braith steps forward to claim her. He delays her execution, but Aria knows it’s only a matter of time before he drains her, and destroys her. Especially once she learns his true identity as a prince within the royal family; the same royal family that started the war that ultimately brought down humankind, reducing them to nothing more than servants and slaves. Aria is determined to hate the prince, determined not to give into him in anyway, but his strange kindness, and surprising gentleness astonish her. Torn between her loyalties to the rebellion, and her growing love for her greatest enemy, Aria struggles to decide between everything she has ever known, and a love she never dreamed of finding.

My Thoughts: This free book (on smashwords) was a savior during my boring last few days at work.  I hadn't expected much from it, since it was free, but it was a a lot better that I had ever hoped. Since the description gives away pretty much everything I could say about this book, and since it was short at only 113 pages, my review will be brief.

This was a love story between Braith and Aria told from their alternating points of view that keeps you wanting more and more. It captures your interest and has you feeling just as confused as they do about it. You find yourself hoping that something could be done to keep these two together. A love like theirs shouldn't be hidden, it should be allowed, but after knowing all about the world they live in, you know that they can't. You know that, like Juliet and Romeo, there's nothing that will stop the horrible ending, there's no way to stop the hate between the two races. There is a second story (which I've already begun to read as I'm writing this) so obviously they don't die at the end, but just know that these two become quite dark and depressed, and I would like to see if they'll every be able to overcome their differences and come back together. I loved this short read and I would probably read it again. Due to the grammatical errors and other little inconsistencies, I can't give this book a full 5 stars, but 4.5 will do the trick.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: The Devil's Metal by Karina Halle

Book: The Devil's Metal
By: Karina Halle
Published: September 21, 2012
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books

Description: It’s the summer of 1974 and 21-year old Dawn Emerson has only three things she wants to do: compete one last time in the Ellensburg Rodeo, win back her ex-boyfriend Ryan, and become the best damn music journalist at Central Washington University. But all her plans are left in the dust when she’s contacted by Creem magazine to go on the road with one of her favorite groups, the up-and-coming metal band, Hybrid.

At first the assignment reads like a dream come true. Not only will Dawn land some much-needed credibility as a female music journalist, but she’ll finally get to experience life from the other side of the stage, and maybe crack the drunken, enigmatic code that is guitarist Sage Knightly. Instead, Dawn finds herself on an aging tour bus filled with ego-maniacs, band politics and a whole lot of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. When monsters start showing up in dressing rooms and some of Sage’s groupies become increasingly strange and dangerous, Dawn discovers the band is not only going places – they’re going straight to Hell.

And Dawn has a backstage pass.

My Thoughts: First let me start off by saying "OH SHIT, OH SHIT, OH SHIT" (sorry for those of you that don't like profanity but after reading this book, you'll be saying the same thing). Now that that's out of the way, I can get to my review.

The Devil's Metal follows Dawn Emerson alias, Rusty a tall red head on her journey to becoming an amazing journalist by documenting the tour of her favorite band, Hybrid. After receiving the call, Dawn jumped at the opportunity. I mean really, how often does something this monumental happen to a girl, and with their favorite metal band of all bands. She goes to join the tour leaving behind her alcoholic father and her little brother suffering from tourettes. At first, it's amazing. Granted the bands only woman, Noelle, doesn't seem to like her and treats her like a groupie, and the band's drummer, Graham, seems to be a, and the bands leading guitar player, Sage, doesn't want her there but so what. She's on tour darnit and she's making the best out of it.

It's not long though before things start to go downhill. First, there are these 3 groupie women, the GTFO's (Get the F**k Outs...too funny I must admit) that follow the band around and are at every stop. They're creepy, and we know from the beginning that something is not quite right with them. Then there's Graham. He's all dark and satanic and upside down crosses and all that, but is it for real or just a show? Then there's Sage and Jacob who seem as if everything is okay, but is it really? And why do they always seem to be at the middle of things. Eventually we find the answers to our questions, and some big surprises along the way, things we didn't even consider, things that make you fear for these poor characters lives and enforce the ever popular saying, "Be careful what you wish for." This book ends in such a way that I'm still somewhat shaken up and I'd die to get my hands on the second book. (Please, don't take that literally. I'd prefer not to die)Yes, this book was so good and creepy that I'm somewhat worried about the promises, deals, and general statements I may or may not have made in the past, and it's a good thing when a book is so good that it makes you question your own choices.

In terms of the characters, I loved Dawn. She just made sense, she wasn't an idiot and she knew when things got a little fishy. She could have been a real person for all I knew (and I suppose she was since the author took some real life occurrences and added them to the story....I'd like to know which ones were real...hmmm). In terms of Sage. OMG SAGE. He's a sexy mix of Mexican and Caucasian and I'd love to meet him and....oh! I forgot you were still here. Just know that Sage is definitely a man. The secondary characters, Noelle, Jacob, Graham, Robbie, and Mickey were designed in such a way that I loved every last one of them (except Graham) in different ways. I even liked the GTFO's (as far as bad guys go). This book was so well thought out and I loved it.

This book does take place in the 70's, and does follow rock stars so u can expect to hear quite a bit of vulgar language, encounter some very sexual scenes, and read about gratuitous drug use so be advised that you should probably be 18 to read this. For all you scaredy cat's out there, I must say that this book is no more scary than Karina's other series Experiment in Terror. Somewhat less so even. And, to further bring you over to the dark side (pun intended), know that this book isn't like a scary movie. Your mind can skitter over the scary parts and still get by without keeping you up at night. The pictures don't haunt your dreams because you can choose not to completely visualize them. It's a book you MUST read (this means you!) Give it a chance, or checkout Darkhouse (it's free on kindle right now. You have nothing to lose). Trust me, you'll love them, and all things Karina Halle.

Karina Halle is a very talented author. I absolutely love all her work and am now a die hard fan. I'd read anything she put out (and tell me that cover isnt gorgeous. I'm in love). As for this book, I give it 5 stars!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Bared to you by Sylvia Day

Note: The following book review is for followers and readers who are 18 years of age or older. If you are younger, I love you dearly but please feel free to skip this one and peruse my other reviews. Thanks!!!

Book: Bared to you
By: Sylvia Day
Published: April 3, 2012
Published by: Berkley Publishing Group

Description: Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness...
He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...

My Thoughts: Being a lover of Fifty Shades of Grey but still having a few qualms about it's writing style and the main characters made me slowly lean toward giving this book a try. Many people say its better than FSOG, especially in terms of writing style and the characters. In my opinion, it was. Like FSOG, both main characters have haunting pasts, they connect through sex, and they like dominance/submission, although Eva didn't allow the whole whips, chains and spankings (at least not yet). Yes, this book was everything FSOG wasn't.

Since this book is not for those under 18, and since I'm sure many of my followers who are under the age of 18 are still reading this, I won't give out all the gory, hot, and steamy details of this book (boy, were there many). Just know that they were definitely in there in full swing. Gideon Cross was powerful, rich, dominating, and sexy as crap. To me, visually, he was like the definition of everything good and bad about a man. He had a temper, he was protective, he had wounds he wanted to cover up, he craved sex, and he wanted control and power. If I'd have met him, I honestly would have felt the same way Eva did. (Don't tell anyone, but there's this guy at my job that gives off the same vibes, minus the rich part, it seems I can't quite talk correctly every time he's around, and I tend to stare at him like he was gods gift to women. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to really know me, or that I blush uncontrollably every time I see him. Pitiful!)

Eva is strong, and weak at the same time. She makes some really stupid decisions, but she still makes sense. She also (infuriatingly) tends to run away from her problems a lot, which annoys me a bit, but I do it too so I can't talk. She knows not to let a man control her. She knows not to do stuff she doesn't want to do. She's her own woman and she stands on her own two feet, but she too has a past that she fights with, and the two of them together help them overcome the atrocities of their pasts. I love their chemistry and devotion, and irrational love for each other.

I don't want to give too much away, most of the appeal of this book (besides the steamy scenes) is finding out the inner workings of these characters and watching to see what happens next. I give it 4 stars.