Monday, October 31, 2011

Mainstream Monday: The Mortal Instruments

For all of you TMI (The Mortal Instruments) fans out there, here’s some important news regarding the movie.  ABC Family’s hit series Pretty Little Liars screen writer, Marlene King, who was also involved in the movie Now and Then and Just My Luck, will be writing the screen play for the movie adaptation of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  If you didn’t know already, Lily Collins has been casted to play the heroine, Clary Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower to play Jace.  It is also rumored that Sony is now involved with the production for the series that is said to be the next Harry Potter/ Twilight now that they are both coming to an end.  We’ll see!





Have you guys read the series? We'll have our review posted later this week on City of Bones!  If you have read them are you guys excited about the casting/movie?  Let us know!!
--M

Review: Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

I don’t think I ever really lived until this. I’ve never done anything that mattered before, but now. I’m fighting to save my life, and yours. And I know it sounds really cheesy and lame, but I don’t think I ever really felt alive. Not until I met you.”

"Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way - not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies."




Hollowland is the first book in the series The Hollows by Amanda Hocking. The book follows Remy as she travels across a post-apocalyptic Earth to save her brother. The book is written from her perspective, and handles the often generalized zombie survival genre with tact and intelligence. Maybe due to watching the entire first season while reading the book, but I drew some heavy parallels between Hollowland and AMC's series The Walking Dead.

What struck me most about the novel was how easily it roped me into a world with no prior knowledge. This isn't a world with magic and superhumans. It's a very accurate take of how our very own country would look if a major zombie outbreak happened right now. (And just in time for Halloween, how convenient.)

The characters are believable, the pain they feel genuinely grabs your heart from within the pages and makes you feel sympathetic for their cause and their loss. Remaining spoiler-free, I can tell you that all the way until the end, Hollowland has you intrigued about the next step, afraid for the character's well-being, and hopeful for their victory, all at once. Also, if you aren't the reading type (be aware, however, that you're reading a book blog), Amanda Hocking has announced that she is releasing Hollowland as a comic series with Dynamite Entertainment, to be released in 2012. Even though I've read the book, I'm super excited for this series, and you'll definitely hear from me again when it comes out. (Or not, you know, if I'm totally absorbed by them.)

It was a very quick read for me, which left me craving more of the tale that Amanda wove. Lucky for me, Hollowmen (the second part in the series) is with an editor right now, and should be released soon! (Please don't click that link if you haven't read the first book. MAJOR SPOILERS for Hollowmen!)
My rating for this book:

Amanda Hocking lives in Minnesota with her best friend Eric. She is the author of the My Blood Approves series as well as the Trylle Trilogy. Hocking was recently signed by St. Martin’s Press and You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads,  Email: hockingbooks@hotmail.com and Blog.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Roundup (10/24-10/28)

Just in case you missed anything this week, here's what went down at The Ink Puddle.

[Mainstream] Monday - Author Spotlight: Chris Lindberg
Teaser Tuesday - The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa & Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
Wondering on Wednesday - Renting Library Books (Nook) &
                                         Review: Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

Booking Through Thursday - Most Difficult Read
Feature Friday - Julie Kagawa and Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Giveaways: Don't forget our Halloween Giveaway is going on! Our goal is to reach 50 followers so we need 15 more by October 31st. To get full details, click here.

Freebies: It looks like Hollowland by Amanda Hocking is free today on Smashwords, as well as Glimpse by S.W. Benefiel. Not sure how to use Smashwords or even what it is? We got you, it's all explained here.

Also, a teacher of mine has convinced me to do NaNoWriMo so I'm going to give it a shot this month. Which means since I'll be doing work/ school/ life and this... you may not hear as much from us here at The Ink Puddle throughout November. But I promise you, we're not going anywhere and I'll post as much as I can. :)

See you Monday!
J

Friday, October 28, 2011

Feature Friday: Julie Kagawa

Sorry this post is a bit later than usual, we've had computer issues ALL day.

As many of you know, the fourth book of The Iron Fey series came out this week: The Iron Knight. Tuesday, Julie Kagawa did a book release at Barnes and Nobles in Louisville and I was lucky enough to be able to go! Julie read the first chapter of her new book, answered some questions from the audience then autographed books and talked to fans!

Julie reading the first chapter of The Iron Knight.


 Me and Julie. I know, I always look awkward in photos!

It's Julie with Ash and Puck!
(I snagged this picture from her blog since I didn't get a good pic of the boys!)

The awesomeness inside the goody bags we got!

 More awesomeness in the goodie bags...

So needless to say, it was one of the coolest things ever. I didn't buy the physical book because I'd already purchased it on my Kindle, so I had her sign the picture of Ash, Puck and Meghan. And thanks to a random person I don't know, I had her sign the back of my Kindle too! She was so down to earth and fun, just pumped to be living the dream. If you ever have the chance to meet Julie Kagawa, DO IT.

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

"Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.”
I thoroughly enjoyed The Iron King. The imagery was gorgeous as Julie leads us through each new land she’s created. I loved the take that she had on iron. As anyone who has a read anything about faeries knows, faeries don’t handle iron well; so the idea that there is an entire world made of iron beginning to emerge is a frightening one to all of faerie kind, Seelie or Unseelie courts. This was catastrophic. But Meghan is willing to face anything and everything to save her kidnapped brother, Ethan.
Meghan developed beautifully throughout the book. From the scared and terrified teenage girl who is struggling to accept and believe in the faerie world, to a strong woman who knows what she wants and is determined to make it happen.  
All of the characters were so defined and unique, some taken after Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. My favorite character was Grimalkin. I loved his responses to questions, “Because I am a cat.” He was always weaving in and out of situations. I wasn’t sure that he would be a main character through everything, but I was pretty happy when Grim ended up staying around.  But, let’s be honest, I’m a sucker for cats. My only complaint was that until about halfway through the second section (the book is set up in three parts) I found the book kind of slow. Although I understand why when you stop to think that you had to set everything up... As for the teams of Ash or Puck… while I loved Puck for his sarcastic humor, Ash’s dark, brooding self was quite sexy and lovable. It’s much too hard to make a final decision at this point.
If you’re looking for an unpredictable, action-packed fantasy novel, this is the book for you.
My rating for this book:
To see our Feature Friday post about her book signing in Lousiville, click here.

Julie Kagawa is a writer from Sacramento, California who spent her years working at bookstores to get by. Now as a published author she lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband and many pets. She is most famous for The Iron Fey series.
Website                    Blog

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

What’s the hardest/most challenging book you’ve ever read? Was it worth the effort? Did you read it by choice or was it an assignment/obligation?

Oh my goodness! I think M and I will agree that the most challenging we've ever had to read was Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It was for an AP English class we took together our senior year of high school and I truly thought I was going to die before finishing it. So was it worth the effort? Honestly, no, because I don't even remember doing all that well on the test or writing assignments afterwards. Haha. Most of it, until we discussed the ideas in class, went straight over my head due to the ridiculous wordy sentences with old fashioned language and extremely small print. Such a tease. Sure the book was maybe a centimeter thick, too bad the font was like 8pt and margins like .5.


Ah the memories of high school, how I'll never want to go back! :) What about you guys? What was the most difficult book for you to read?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wondering on Wednesday: Renting Library Books (Nook)

A few weeks ago, the Amazon Kindle released that they can now rent library books. (To see how to, you can click here.) But long before the Kindle came around to the idea, the Barnes and Noble's Nook has been actually been able to. I apologize to all of you Nook owners for not posting this sooner but better late then never... here's your step by step how to:

First off, you're going to have to install Adobe Digital Editions, if you don't already have it on your computer. It's a completely free program and a pretty simple step by step process that they lead you through, just make sure that you use the same e-mail and password that you use for your Nook (which should be the same e-mail and password you use to access B&N's website).

Next, just like when you do this on the Kindle, you need to go to Overdrive.com. Once that loads...
1) Find the box that says "New to downloads?" and put in your zip code.
2) This will lead you to a page where you find the closest libraries to you, click on the one you typically go to.
3) Now click on the link it provides for you. For instance mine is:http://kyunbound.lib.overdrive.com/
4) Once you're in your library page, search through to find the book you want. Be sure you find the Adobe ePub format of the book.
5) Proceed from your Bookbag to Checkout.
6) Be sure to specify how long you want the book out by clicking on the drop down box. Then press "Confirm Checkout".

Now go ahead and download your selection into Adobe Digital Edition. Once it's downloaded it will pop up so you can view the book on your computer, this will work as an iTunes library for your books so to speak. If you haven't already, plug your Nook into your computer using a USB cord to transfer the book over. Once it's connected, you should see "Nook" show up in your left hand side bar, simply drag and drop the book from your libary over to your Nook connection on the side.

And TADA! You have officially downloaded a library book onto your Nook.

Have any of you guys done this before? What did you think of the process? To be honest, I still haven't done this on my Kindle due to my over abundant book supply of TBR, and the fact that I didn't really see many books I was interested in getting.

Also, what other things would you guys like to know? Anything we can cover that we haven't already?

Review: Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

“Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day. High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a mischievous pretty boy who has never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.

It starts with a slowing metabolism, followed by gray hair, wrinkles, and a painful back. Within days his girlfriend dumps him, his plastic surgeon father forces him to get a facelift, and his terrifying high school develops a crush on him. All he wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition.

Now will he cope? Will he even survive? He’s faced with the greatest challenge of his life, and there’s no way of knowing if he’ll live to see graduation, or even the next day!”

Seventeen year old Cameron Martin is your typical popular high school guy; the great looking star athlete dating the hottest girl in school, Charisma, with the richest dad in Reno.  And like most guys his own age, he really wants to have sex with his girlfriend.  The thing is, Charisma won’t have sex with him until he becomes a man and by her definition, can grow a full beard.  Also much like other teenagers, Cameron likes to see how much he can get away with and does so by going to restaurants and telling them it’s his birthday so that he can get free dessert.  He would love it if his birthday really was every day.  Magically enough a week later Cameron wakes up to a full beard on his once baby smooth face but that’s not all he woke up to.  His beard was topped off with a inner tube of fat formed around his waist.  Something is seriously wrong, he is aging more rapidly that he should be and at this rate he might not make it to graduation.  Happy Birthday to Me is a interesting take on life’s hard lessons and morals and how we should all be careful what we wish for and how we treat other people.  If not karma might bite you in the ass.
I rate this book a:

Something I really like about the way this book is written is that the chapters go by Cameron’s age which works really well considering the content.  I also like that the story was pretty unique in itself and has a really good message behind it.  Even though Happy Birthday to Me is quite long at over 600 pages, the book really flies by and I had it read in only a few days.  I thought that the story was going to be more humorous but and although some parts were I found it to be a little on the sad side and felt really bad for the main character.


Brian Rowe studied English and Film at Loyola Marymount University.  His work has appeared in The Absent Willow Review, Mobius Magazine, and Wild Oat Magazine.  He likes works such as Fahrenheit 451 (no judgment).  He now lives in Cameron’s very own home town of Reno, Nevada.   To learn more about Brian, visit his Facebook.

Stay tuned next week for the sequel!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly event, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules: Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. (You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your teaser from, that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!) Remember not to post anything that could spoil the plot of the post.

"Then, I saw the eyes.
My heart stopped, and I sat up quickly, banging my head against the shelf. Dust showered me as I scooted to the far corner, gasping. I'd seen those eyes before, glowing green and intelligent..."

That is J's teaser for the week from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.

"We were looking eye to eye.  Dad looked like me.  I looked like dad. 
We were twins.  We were freaks."

And there is M's from Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe.

What do you think? What's your teaser today?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Author Spotlight: Chris Lindberg

Today we welcome Chris Lindberg, writer of Code of Darkness, on his pit stop through The Ink Puddle with Virtual Book Tours! 
Amazon Summary:
"When a routine bank robbery takes an unexpected turn, veteran Chicago Police officer Larry Parker witnesses a heroic act by a mysterious intervener. But seconds later the Samaritan disappears, leaving Larry only with unanswered questions.

Suddenly, vigilante activity begins popping up all over the city -- including several murders. Larry begins to gather the missing pieces of the puzzle, and finds evidence the Samaritan might be tied to them. When he learns the man's identity -- a loner known only by the name Rage -- he prepares to move in for the arrest.

But there is much more to Rage than meets the eye: the case has also drawn the attention of a covert Black Ops division within the Pentagon. Their mission: find Rage, while keeping their operation out of the public eye. Seen as knowing too much, Larry suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs as well. When Rage is captured in a deadly standoff, Larry is forced into hiding, and must search for answers while on the run.

The deadly chase leads cross-country to a top-secret military facility in Virginia, where Rage and Larry uncover the greatest danger of all -- and only they can stop the unthinkable from happening." 

We'll be reviewing this book in the next couple of weeks, but for now, please welcome Chris Lindberg! 
____________________________

Comments wanted!  Which comes first: character or story?  
By Chris Lindberg  

Every author has a different way he or she goes about building their novel.  It’s a brick-by-brick process, after all.  You start with the story arc as foundation, then take the raw materials of character, scene, detail, and dialogue … then bond them together with the mortar of storyline and plot twist, and at that point, you have most of what can be called a novel.  (After that, the real work of editing and revising begins, but that’s an entirely different story).  

A common question writers often ask (and get asked) is: where do you start?  Most of the time, we start with one of two elements: character or concept.  In the case of character, you somehow get an idea for a character in your head, and decide they are fascinating enough to build an entire story around.  Think Harry Potter, Batman, or Jason Bourne as a few examples.  In the case of concept, you dream up a high concept for a story, build a storyline, and weave in characters that will push the story along.  Think “Twilight”, “The Hunger Games”, or pretty much all Dan Brown novels.  

Again, each writer’s method is different.  Some probably switch back and forth.  When I began writing my debut novel, Code of Darkness, it actually began as an entirely different concept (and too long to talk about here).  But I opened it up with a character whom I found fascinating: an alienated, weaponized young man, with a chemical imbalance baked into his altered DNA that makes him want to do very bad things.  He becomes a vigilante in order to channel that fury into his own brand of justice, but he has inner demons to battle.  And unknown to anyone, there are others out there like him …  

While working on this first draft of Code of Darkness, I also spent time doing character studies, to broaden my comfort level with writing different kinds of characters.  In this process I created many new possibilities, including a widowed Chicago cop, and a small-town social worker who’d recently moved to her new home in the big city.  After writing a few short stories about both characters, I decided to retool Code of Darkness into more of a modern thriller, with these three characters (vigilante, cop, social worker) as the foundation.  I began revising the story to include them from the beginning.  The cop could be on the vigilante’s case, closing in to make the arrest.  The small-town social worker could provide his moral compass, and possibly be a love interest.  

So in the case of Code of Darkness, I switched mid-stream, starting off with a concept, but then scrapping that original concept and building a better one, based on the characters I’d created.  

I’d love to hear how any of you built your stories – did you start with character or concept?  Leave a comment below!  
_________________________________

Chris Lindberg was born and raised outside Chicago, Illinois.  After graduating from Northern Illinois University in the mid-1990s, he headed out to the west coast for a couple of years, where he began writing as a casual pastime. 
Some time after returning to Chicago he began attending writers workshops at StoryStudio Chicago, where he wrote two character studies, both of which have since been developed into key characters in Code of Darkness
Chris now lives outside Chicago with his wife Jenny and their two children, Luke and Emma.  You might catch him working away on his second novel while commuting on his morning train into the city. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Roundup! (10/17-10/21)

Here's our overview of what went on at The Ink Puddle this week, just in case you missed anything!

Mainstream Monday: Review- Eve by Anna Carey and our random fact of the week
Teaser Tuesday: Craved by Stephanie Nelson
Wondering on Wednesday: Kindle Update
Thursday: Versatile Blogger Award
Feature Friday: Review- Craved by Stephanie Nelson and Stephanie's soundtrack to the book

Giveaways: Don't forget our Halloween Giveaway is going on! Our goal is to reach 50 followers so we need 18 more by October 31st. To get full details, click here.

Until next week!
J&M

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feature Friday: Stephanie Nelson

So to go along with our review on Stephanie Nelson's book Craved, today she shared with us her sound track to go along with the book.

We are Broken.....Paramore
The Only Exception...Paramore
All I wanted......Paramore
I Caught Myself...Paramore
Conspiracy.......Paramore
If You Only Knew....Shinedown
I Dare You.......Shinedown
Someone Like You...Adele
Set Fire to the Rain...Adele
Near to you....A Fine Frenzy
Beautiful Disaster....Kelly Clarkson
Save You.....Kelly Clarkson
Mercy....One Republic
Secrets.....One Republic
All the Right Moves...One Republic
Sex on Fire.....Kings of Leon
Closer.....Kings of Leon
Bring me to Life...Evanescence
Bet You Wish You Had Me Back.....Halestorm
I'm Not An Angel.......Halestorm
All for Believing.....Missy Higgins
Warm Whispers.....Missy Higgins
Innocent....Fuel
Won't Back Down....Fuel

So what do you guys think? How well do you think the playlist goes along with Stephanie's book?

Review: Craved by Stephanie Nelson

"Gwen Sparks just wants to live a peaceful life in the supernatural town of Flora, but from the moment she read about the first murdered witch, all hope of peace was abandoned. Possessing the rare ability to read the memories of dead, she volunteers to help catch the culprit behind the string of drained witches. Gwen has to team up with the one man who broke her heart, deal with a ghost who pulls her into the deathly realm at will, and a fight off the advances of sexy but frustrating vampire who not only craves what runs through her veins—he wants her heart."

Stephanie Nelson develops some fantastic characters in Craved, and she is certainly not afraid of bringing them to hell in back for the sake of a fantastic tale. I loved her idea of witches blood and how it had the ability of getting vampires high. The idea that this topic could bring war between the two species just leaves even more for future books. And Gwen is so relatable as you get to watch her develop these abilities that she not only has no idea she's capable of, but doesn't necessarily even want.  

There were a couple of things that hit me awkwardly. You find out up front (don't worry, no spoiler!) that Gwen and Micah are exes. And the book does a fantastic job of shaping and forming why as Gwen struggles to move on and fall in love again. But I felt like we were constantly reminded throughout the first half of the book of how much Micah hurt Gwen when he left her suddenly. I personally felt like, "Okay... yeah, I got it. Breakups really suck." And then there are the sex scenes. Trust me, I can enjoy a good one just the the rest of you, and Stephanie has a few that will having you wishing you were busy making love to the characters in the book instead of reading about them doing it, but there are some times when she has comments that seem untimely. In time of danger isn't necessarily the time to notice the smooth, rock hard abs of your man..

Oh but what an ending! Craved provides the ultimate cliffhanger that will have you itching for her next release. Stephanie also manages to wrap up every loose end you could find within story though. So if you're looking for suspense, action, love and just enough sex, this is the book for you. It is well deserving of #1 spot it has held on Amazon's website.

My rating for this book:
 Note: This book is intended for ages 18+.
Hunted, book 2 of the Gwen Sparks series will be availible December 2011.

To see Stephanie's soundtrack for the book, click here!

Stephanie Nelson is a writer from Illinois. Inspired by Stephanie Myers' Twilight series, she realized how possible it was to fall in love with a book. So began the inspiration to create her own stories. When she isn't writing, she loves to play around on Facebook, watch movies, reading and being around her family. She considers herself to be "a very down to earth girl who just happens to be living her dream." To hear more about Stephanie visit her website at http://www.stephanienelson.com/ .

This book was provided to The Ink Puddle for review purposes by Stephanie Nelson.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award!

Nancy Cudis at Simple Clockwork nominated The Ink Puddle for the Versatile Blogger Award! And M and I just wanted to take the time to tell you guys how much it means to us that all of you get so much out of what we put in here. As this being the first reward, it made my day Monday when she told us. So thank you Nancy for considering The Ink Puddle out of the bazillions of blogs out there in the world! We truly do appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wondering on Wednesday: Kindle Update!

For those of you with the K3, or what is now called ridiculously the Kindle Keyboard, we're getting an upgrade to version 3.3. As always, the update is completely free. All you need to do is turn your Kindle on, click "Home" to access your library and turn your WiFi on if it wasn't already. Then press "Menu", "Sync & Check for Items" and the next time your Kindle goes into sleep mode, it should automatically upgrade. If for some reason this upgrade doesn't happen naturally, during the last one we had I ended up having to do mine manually, you can do it yourself here. That's a link to Amazon's website where they basically tell you which download is the one for you depending on which Kindle Keyboard you have. But basically after downloading that file, simply plug in your e-reader to the computer, drag and drop the update into your Kindle folder (My computer --> Kindle), disconnect, get to the "Menu" then "Update Your Kindle".

Tada! Let me know if you have any questions or issues with the process and I'll be more than happy to look into it for you.

What this upgrade includes:

- Easier access to archived personal documents
- Whispersync for personal documents
- AmazonLocal deals on the Keyboard with Special Features
- Voice guide short cuts

So it's nothing to big or drastic, probably things I personally won't even use to often but it's nice to know they still love us Kindle Keyboards with all of these new snazzy Kindles coming our way.

Have any of you done the AmazonLocal? It seems to be Amazon's version of the Groupon...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Craved

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly event, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules: Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. (You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your teaser from, that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!) Remember not to post anything that could spoil the plot of the post.
 '"This is their headquarters," a voice said from behind me. I dropped the clipboard and whirled around to face the potential threat. Hovering in the doorway was Bridget. She was more solid than I'd seen her before, the gray giving way to a more colorful hue. I could see the blonde in her hair and the purple on her shirt. Her eyes were filled with sadness and despair, a look I desperately wanted to forget.'
That was a little piece of Stephanie Nelson's Craved, I'm just about finished with that wonderful book and we'll have that review on Friday along with hopefully a little something from Stephanie herself! That portion was about 48% through the book.

What's your teaser today?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mainstream Monday Mayhem

Today we have a review on Eve by Anna Carey brought to you by none other than our awesome, amazing M! We also have your very first, totally fun, random book fact for Monday Mayhem!

Did you know...

Wendy wasn't considered an actual name
until it was made up in Peter Pan!
 
 
Also, Jenny Pox is FREE right now on the Kindle!
And S.W. Benefiel's Toilet Business (this sounds hilarious) is free on Smashwords!
Pitch Dark is also free on both Nook and Kindle.  This is a sampler of the following authors new books coming this fall: Kiersten White, Claudia Gray, Amy Garvey, Jocelyn Davies, and Anna Carey! Some of these books look fantastic.

Review: Eve by Anna Carey

“Where do you go when nowhere is safe?
Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose—and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust . . . and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
In this epic new series, Anna Carey imagines a future that is both beautiful and terrifying. Readers will revel in Eve’s timeless story of forbidden love and extraordinary adventure.”

Eve is a new novel that came out at the beginning of this month.  What it was that caught my attention about this book is that before it was even out they had already started writing out the screenplay for an option as a new TV show. I just kept wondering why they would go about doing this without even knowing if it would be a hit with readers or not.  So naturally, I had to check it out.

Eve is in the top of her class.  She will soon be graduating and going on to learn her trade so that she can move to the City of Sand and work for the king, preferably as a painter.  But she soon finds that the future that she has worked so hard for is nonexistent.  Instead they’re using the graduates to repopulate the New America, which the majority of its population was wiped out by a plague.  Her only hope is the escape the school.  But outside of the school walls are wild animals, gangs, and worst of all men.  Men are only after one thing and they will manipulate or just flat out take it.

There were many parts in this book where I couldn’t put the book down, but also many points when It felt like it drew on forever. There were some questions I had with how the society worked.. such as, why would you give these women such high educations if all they are becoming are breeding machines? They’re taught that there is so much more to life but underneath the glamor, there appears to be a dark future ahead. Overall,  Eve is the first novel in a new, interesting trilogy about a dystopian society filled with action, love, friendship, and death.

My rating for this book:
Anna Carey grew up in New York and studied Creative Writing at NYU.  She eventually got her Master’s Degree in Fiction from Brooklyn College.   She is the author of the Sloane series and Eve trilogy.  To learn more about Anna Carey and her work visit http://www.annacareybooks.com/.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend Roundup

This is what happened on The Ink Puddle this week (in case you missed anything...)

Monday: Making Notes on Your E-reader
Tuesday: 3 Month Update/ Memes
Wednesday: Review- Divergent by Veronica Roth
Thursday: How Blogging Changed My Life

I apologize for not making a post for Friday, I barely made it home from school on Thursday because I was so sick. I've been stuck in bed with a bottle of Nyquil, cuddling with my kitty cat. I'm slowly feeling better.

We got a new look for the blog this week. I got a little bit of feedback on what you guys thought. Everyone liking it alright?

Giveaway Info: Don't forget our Halloween Giveaway is going on! Our goal is to reach 50 followers so we need 18 more by October 31st. To get full details, click here.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!
-J

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Blogging Changed My Life

Not too long ago, Rachel from Parajunkie, one of my favorite book blogs out there- and super helpful for fellow book bloggers, did a post about how blogging changed her life. Today I want to share how it has changed mine as well.

1) Blogging gave me something for myself.
One of the major reasons I established The Ink Puddle was because Cory, our editor and my boyfriend, was moving to second shift with his job/ promotion. I needed something to fill my time, a hobby. And little did I know when I started this that it would become so much more than that.

2) Connecting.
Another one of my favorite things about blogging is the opportunity you get to communicate with the authors and people behind the stories. I get the chance to e-mail these people and interview, ask them to do guest blogs and even sometimes become friends. I get to watch indie authors grow from their first self-published book to hopefully someday being published. And I get to celebrate their achievements with them every step of the way.

3) A way to share my exciting book finds with people who read similiar things.
Many friends of mine don't necessarily read the same books as me. So blogging gave me a community of people who I can ramble on and on about how awesome the book I'm reading is and they totally get it, because they read it or they're reading it as well.

4) Accomplishment.
It's so exciting to know that I'm writing something that people want to read and that really helps them out. So much so that I've even changed what I'm going to college for to a double major: Elementary Education and English with a focus in writing.

5.) By decreasing my fear of failure. Expanding my comfort zone and pushing me.
Let's face it, when you start a blog, you don't know if it's actually going to go anywhere. All you can do is try and network and post everyday and keep your fingers crossed that you come in contact with other people as passionate as your topic as you are. You learn when something works and something doesn't, and when something doesn't work, you change things up a bit.

These are the ways that blogging has changed my life (in no particular order).
What has blogging done for you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bam! A whole new look!

What do you guys think of The Ink Puddle's makeover?

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

“In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself...."

I have had a sample of Divergent on my nook all summer long.  It a list of books I found on the internet that I had planned to read.  But as usual I was my difficult self, not wanting to read something new simply because I’m positive it won’t be good.  And as usual, though I’m pleased, I was wrong.  

Beatrice Prior has always known that she doesn’t quite fit in with her faction, Abnegation, in fact sometimes she guiltily catches herself being flat out selfish.  When she takes the aptitude test they day before the choosing ceremony, her thoughts are more than confirmed.  Because she showed qualities of multiple factions her aptitude test came back with a shocking and deadly answer, Divergent.  Luckily, it’s against the law to discuss your results with anyone.  Beatrice doesn’t choose her faction until she’s called during the ceremony.  During initiation she changes her name to Tris and makes friends, something that she’s never had before and begins to consider where she is to be home.  That is until she discovers that things aren’t as perfect as they seem.

Divergent is a book that challenges society as a whole to to accept that you can have more than one great quality. Just as Beatrice struggles with her emotions from being insensitive to at one point risking her life for another. Although the summary is a bit twisted and confused, this is a book you just have to read and be thrown into a brand new world to accept. Divergent is a dystopian full of excitement, secrets, friendship, and the ongoing struggle between what’s right and what’s wrong or maybe just what’s right for a single person. Read this and you'll be itching for the sequel coming in 2012.

My Rating for this Book:

 
Veronica Roth graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing.  Divergent was her first novel, and a pretty amazing way to start a career might I add.  The sequel to Divergent will be released sometime around May 2012.  To learn more about Veronica visit www.veronicarothbooks.com or follow her on twitter @VeronicaRoth.

You guys going to check this one out?  Do it.  You won’t regret.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

3 Month Update

Today marks 3 months for The Ink Puddle and I want to thank all of you for your support!

We're going to start a little something new. Many blogs do memes, and I thought it would be pretty cool to jump in on the fun. We aren't going to have them everyday, but we'll be doing them a couple of days a week.

Mainstream Monday Mayhem- Completely off the wall, fun book facts
Teaser Tuesday -Turn to a random page in the book your currently reading and share your teaser with everyone!
Wondering on Wednesday - Kindle/ Nook Tips and Tricks
Booking through Thursday - Questions about books you've previously read
Feature Friday - Author Spotlight
Weekend Roudup - Overview of the weeks events as well as what's to come.

Like I said, this won't be everyday. But M and I have tried hard to incorporate what we normally do into these days. And of course we'll still be doing at least 2 reviews a week! Not too much is changing. :)

On another note, did you guys hear about Amanda Hocking's news? Hollowland (or I guess The Hollows series in general) is going to be turned into a graphic novel by Dynamite Entertainment! I haven't personally read this series yet, but it's on my long to read list. So cool! This will definitely be coming out sometime in 2012 and we'll be keeping you updated every step of the way.


Thanks again for supporting us! We love The Ink Puddle and all of you.
-J

Monday, October 10, 2011

Making Notes on Your E-Reader

I'm always baffled when I learn new things that my Kindle can do, for some time I've known that my e-reader had the ability to take notes, but I hadn't actually tried it. Now that I've started highlighting and taking notes, I'm wondering why I never did this before! Hopefully this this will be helpful to all of you! The following are the steps that you need to know to make notes on your Kindle or Nook.

For the Nook Color:

To highlight within a book, open your book and find the passage which you want to highlight. Click on the word you wish you start with and drag your finger to the end of the selection. A tool bar will pop up where you will click "Highlight".
To make notes from that highlight, select "Notes" from the tool bar and type what you want then select "Post".
And unfortunately, from everything I've seen, you can't bookmark a page on any Barnes and Noble's e-reader. It's in their policy somehow. If someone knows differently, comment and let me know.

For your Nook:

To do this on the traditional Nook, click on your book you want to work in, click the menu button then "Highlight". A cursor will appear, touch the screen to the place you want to highlight and click "Begin Highlight." Use the arrow pad to scroll across to the end of the passage and press "End Highlight".
You can make notes from there by clicking "Add Notes" in your menu.

A couple of other little things to know are that your notes on the Nook won't transfer to the Nook Color (for now at least... they could update and fix this in the future.) and many magazines don't support highlighting or notetaking.

For the Kindle:

(These tips are for Kindle 3, I'll be updating everything once the Kindle Fire and Touch come out.)

To highlight words/ passages of a book, place your cursor on the work you want to start the highlight and hit the center button. Now move the cursor over until you hit the end of the passage and press the center button again. Now the passage will appear with a small underline!

Also, if you want to bookmark a page for future use hit Alt + B, you'll see a little tab folded over in the right upperhand corner. To unbookmark a page, just hit Alt + B again.

And while I didn't find a way to do this on the Nook (if I do find a way, I'll update this page and let you guys know.) You can also take notes on your Kindle outside of a book using a PDF type file. Here's how to do that:

1) From your computer upload a Wordpad document and save it as whatever you want it to be, I just used "Notes" as the title.
2) Open the folder you saved this document in.
3) Now plug in your Kindle using your USB cord.
4) Bring up the folder with all of your Kindle things on it. If it doesn't come up right away you can access it by going to My Computer -> Kindle -> Documents
5) Now go back to the folder you saved the document in, and drag and drop your Notes Wordpad page to your Kindle Documents page.
6) Unplug you Kindle, watch it download your new items.

From there you can go on your new document from your Kindle and click on "Menu" then "Add Notes". Type in what you want, and make sure you save your item. Then click "Home" and click on "Notes" again to see your new notes!

Now that you know how to do this on your e-reader, will you utilize it? As a college kid, I'm thinking I'm going to try and get my books on my Kindle next semester and start doing this even more. (Talk about a load off! My Kindle is much lighter than my 50 lbs books!)  What do you guys think?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Review: Abyss of Chaos by David Beem

“Askum, Ethiopia, thousands of miles from home,
& that bitch-commander Khory hasn’t the good grace to simply die.”
“A dying Ethiopian Priest, a cryptic prophecy, a centuries-lost map, and the fabled lost Ark of the Covenant – this is no way for a cellist to vacation. A great evil stirs, but Maxwell Sinclair simply wants to do right by his godfather’s unusually high expectations. As the world teeters on the precipice of chaos, Max hastens to retrace the footsteps of Menelik, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, though Max’s actions may have unintended c onsequences. Pack your bags for the thrill of your life, but hurry – the very fabric of reality is at stake.”
When Maxwell Sinclair travels to Ethipia with his godfather Phineas, all he really wants to do is breeze through the trip and maybe pick up some advanced martial arts moves from some history geeks. But when he and Phineas witness the murder of the guardian priest of the Art of the Covenant, Aqabe, is whole world is spun off in a wild new direction. Abyss of Chaos is a fantasy thriller with a touch ofhistory that will have you flying through the pages.
My rating for this book:

Although this particular genre isn’t my favorite, what I really like about what David did, and I’ve said that I liked this before, he switched points of view throughout the book. Although the main character is obviously Maxwell, you get a sense of the other elements in the books through the different key characters. I also like that even though it has a fantasy aspect it also contains current event like aspects that make the story seem real. If you enjoyed The DaVinci Code you will most likely love this book.
David Beem is a cellist and has been in multiple orchestras and has performed in three continents. He has also recorded a few string quartets. Abyss of Chaos is his first novel. To learn more visit http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MaxSinclair .
To see David’s guest post he did with The Ink Puddle, click here!

David Beem: Why 2011 Belongs to the Indie Author

Please welcome David Beem to The Ink Puddle as he talks about the excitement of being in the Indie business today! To see our review of his book, Abyss of Chaos, click here.
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There’s never been a more exciting time to be an independent author than now.  With the advent of e-publishing, the playing fields have been leveled and readers, not industry elites, get to decide what “good” is.  John Locke, Amanda Hocking, Stephen Leather, these are just a few names blazing the cyber tubes, and are folks who inspire me.

Why do I think 2011 is the year of the Indie?  Well, we’ve been headed that way for some time.  In 2007, Amazon launched its Kindle e-reader and the market changed forever.  Of the idea of being published by one of the larger New York publishing houses, John Locke, author of the Donovan Creed novels, said to the Wall Street Journal, “I don’t want to be told when to publish, I don’t want to soften my character, and I don’t want to be told what stories to write.”
 
Why be an Indie; Enter the Abyss.
 
Taking a page from John Locke’s book, I’ve decided to invent my own genre.  I call it: “Cool-Action-Adventure-Supernatural-Thriller” genre, and Abyss of Chaos is overflowing with the awesome sauce of everything cool.  Jewish mysticism, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Satanic cults, cutting edge technology and theories based in fringe science – all seamlessly blended with contemporary Middle Eastern faith politics.  Abyss chronicles the adventures of 26 year-old prodigy cellist Max Sinclair and his aging archeologist godfather as they discover their roles in a doomsday prophecy connecting them to the fabled Ark of the Covenant.  Sound cool?  It’s “Cool-Action-Adventure-Supernatural-Thriller” cool!  And because I’m a 21st Century independent author, I get to write what I want.

The Big Six = Big Business.

The largest New York publishing houses, also known as the Big 6, have a vested interest in meddling with their legacy writers’ stories, and interfering with other matters of authorship, because the publishing house thinks it know its readership better than its authors.  They do this because it’s the publishing house’s money that is behind these behemoth publications.  But as an Indie author, writing at the fringes of my imagination, without the meddling of publishers, matters to me.  Writing in that space inside my mind’s eye, with room to spread out, teaches me who my audience is.  I’m betting that Abyss of Chaos strikes people as different.  I’m betting that Abyss of Chaos strikes people as pleasantly unusual.  I trust my readership to recognize its intrinsic quality for what it is.  And I’m doing this because I can.  Because I didn’t have to collect a thousand rejection letters before my book sees the light of day.  I believed in it, and that was enough to make it come true.  As it should be.
Big New York Publishing knows the truth of these sentiments, because it’s a business first.  One which employs people to weed out books that look like they won’t sell.  Maybe your book.  Maybe mine.  But the truth is in the financials.  And this is the picture as seen from the highest floors of corporate offices, looking down at the Indie uprising.

In fact, the real question is: How can the big 6 compete?
 
In March 2011, John Locke sold 369,000 downloads on Amazon alone, all 99-cent eBooks.  At 35-cents profit per title, he’s reporting his Amazon publishing revenue at $126,000 for the month of March, 2011 alone. (You can find his titles at Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Apple as well.)

Then there’s Stephen Leather, another successful 99-cent author. Mr. Leather posted his Amazon sales charts for December 2010 on his blog:  43,827 books sold at 99-cents, as compared to the sales of his 507 “premium” priced books. (The “premium” priced books referenced, today, are selling for £1.98 and £4.45 respectively.)  
And what about Amanda Hocking?  A twenty-something traditional pub “reject” who struck out on her own.  Her story is that she collected “hundreds” of rejection letters before deciding to sell her books for 99-cents online, and last February Hocking sold a whopping 227,515 total units (all nine of her works). Barnes and Noble reported 55,135 units, and CreateSpace another 2,948. Round her sales off at 280,000, factor in Amazon’s 35% royalties for books under a $2.99, and she’s doing pretty well for an author no one wanted to publish.
Of course, the latest news on Ms. Hocking is that she signed a pretty sweet deal.  The New York Times reported that bidding rose above $2 million before St. Martin’s Press (not among the Big 6) secured print and digital rights to a new YA paranormal series.  Why the change of heart?  Says Ms. Hocking, "I'm a writer. I want to be a writer. I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full time corporation."

Amen sister.  That’s one way to approach the bargaining table.  And that’s the route I’m going.  Who’s with me?
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Great post David! Thank you so much for dropping by! So what do you guys think? This week we've had 2 posts on Indie writing/ authors and the business of it all. Has what we posted about made you think differently at all?