Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters

The past is never far. . . .
Elena Gilbert and her friends saved Fell’s Church from evil spirits bent on destroying it, but the town’s freedom came at a price: Damon Salvatore’s life.
Damon’s death changes everything. He and his vampire brother, Stefan, had been locked in a vicious battle for Elena’s heart. Now that he’s gone, Elena and Stefan can finally be together. So why can’t Elena stop dreaming of Damon? As Elena’s feelings for Damon grow, a new darkness is brewing in Fell’s Church. Elena has been to hell and back, but this demon is like nothing she’s ever seen. Its only goal is to kill Elena and everyone she loves.

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters; Phantom picks up right where the last book left off.  Elena, Stefan, Bonnie, Matt, and Meredith all made it back to Fell’s Church and the actions of the kitsune’s has been erased.  It’s as if Elena never died.  She’s been stripped of her wings and is having a hard time adjusting to be normal.  But things aren’t normal.  Damon didn’t make it back to Fell’s Church and he’s dead.  It took him dying for Elena to know how she felt about him which makes it all the worst.  

 When the gang all heads out to the train station to meet up with Alaric, Meredith’s boyfriend, and his research partner Cecily Bonnie’s hand is cut by a mysterious rose and the name Cecily forms with her blood.  But what does this mean?  That she’s supposed to die which is what almost happens when she almost is drug by her scarf when it gets closed in the door of the train.  Luckily Stefan saves her but her scarf forms another name, Meredith’s.  It seems that Fell’s Church can’t catch a break and it’s up to Elena and her friends to save it yet again.  But without Damon is it even possible?  And what are the meanings behind the mysterious death roll?  On top of it all Elena’s five year old sister Margret seems to know that Elena had been gone.  The Vampire Diaries latest installment is full of love, heart break, action, and a super natural presence that is often missing from even the greatest fantasy books.

I Rate This Book

One of the things I love about these books is that I’m invested.  I have read all of them, from the original series to the newest, The Hunter’s therefore I truly care about these characters and what happens to them.  I love that Elena is so strong no matter what she’s been dealt, that Bonnie seems like the weakest link but in reality she’s the strongest because of the love for her friends, Matt is the wholesome all American guy, Stefan is a deep Italian Renaissance vampire who’s too moral to feed on humans, and Meredith is cool, calm, and collect always except when she’s practicing her bounty hunter kills.

*Spoiler Alert* I love that that the book goes back and forth between point of views.  I especially love that you, the reader, knows that Damon is in fact alive, and fighting to stay that way all the while everyone is mourning him.  My favorite thing about any book that does this is that you get a bigger insight on the story than even the characters have.

L.J. Smith is the author of the best selling books The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, and The Nightworld.  The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle have been made into hit tv shows.  She lives in Northern California.  To learn more visit ljanesmith.net

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bouncing Back

Hello everyone,
I want to take this time to apologize. I've been thrown off track here recently and had a really hard time pulling myself and this blog back together. I hear that happens to everyone in blogging every once in a while but it's no excuse. You guys are here supporting us and we should give you what you come to this blog for: great reviews, guest posts and all of the fun posts that come along with reading. And that is exactly what we're going to do. Crissy and Meg have been very patient and wonderful through my icky time and I can't thank them enough, so now is my time to step back up.

To to all of you, I'm sorry, but my head is back in the game. We have two reviews posted and I'm in the process of creating a layout for the weeks to come.

Love you guys!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feature Friday: Sarah Ross

Hey everyone!
If you haven't read Awaken by Sarah Ross, I don't know what you've been doing with your time because this is a book you can not miss out on this one! And lucky for us, we have the wonderful author here today for a guest post! Everyone please welcome Sarah Ross...


 Death has always been a touchy subject to conquer. People don’t really like to talk about it, or even think about it sometimes. I think this is especially true for young adults. When you’re a kid, you think you’re invincible. Nothing can go wrong because I am going to live forever. And then one day, you don’t.
I taught eighth grade English for several years. While I was teaching, I was lucky enough to only lose a few students. But you never forget your first.

The school that I taught at in central Florida was in a rougher area of town. It suited me just fine because I loved those kids. They were so hungry to be appreciated and loved, and I think I learned just as much from them as they did from me. The year after I moved out of the area, I got word that one of my kids died. He was walking home from football practice with his little brother when a stray bullet from a gang shooting caught him. That’s it, just walking home.

I didn’t come up with the idea for Awaken because of this story, but as I wrote it I remembered this sweet kid. He always worked hard in class, and said thank you. He wanted football to be his second chance and fresh start. I think, if the world of the Patronus were real, he would have been given his second chance.
So many things in this world aren’t fair, but my absolute favorite thing about being a writer is that I can take any wrong and make it right. I can solve every problem and make every bad guy pay. It’s what we all want to do in real life, right? That bully from middle school: fat now. That guy that dumped you to go out with the prettier girl: bald! And that Spanish homework that you did but lost and the teacher didn’t believe you: she retroactively gave you an A (thanks Ms. Cruz!). Yeah, in my world I have all the power. Bwahahaha!

When I told my friends that I was writing a young adult novel where every character was already dead, they thought I was crazy. But in my novel, Awaken, I get to right all the wrongs. In my book, children who die are given a second chance. No judgments, no waiting. Just a fresh start. I know I write fiction, but I really hope it’s true. They deserve it. And while I don’t know what really happens when we die, but I am a believer in Karma. And I have faith.



~I’m dedicating this blog post to my step-dad, Tom, who passed away in December. He’d make the most awesome Patronus ever! And I’m sure he’s making a crank call to Elvis or someone right about now. ~
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Wow, thank you for opening up and being so honest with us Sarah, I truly enjoyed the insight into you personally as well as your novel. And I know I mentioned this before, but I can't wait to read book two. :)

So if all of you readers haven't had a chance to read this one, please do. Need prove of its awesomeness? Check out our review!

Review: Awaken by Sarah Ross


Lucy Donovan was supposed to have a weekend of fun in the sun, celebrating her upcoming graduation from college. In a split second, everything changed. A drunk driver ended Lucy’s mortal life.
Lucy opens her eyes to a world she never imagined possible and a new destiny: as a Patronus, a guardian of spirits. Adjusting to her new role and abilities while negotiating this confusing realm will test her limits and push her further than she ever dreamed she would go. From wayward spirits who don’t want her help to soul stealing vampires, and even a stuck-up British royal, Lucy must brave them all to save one spirit she can’t bear to lose. Further complicating her confusing life is an inexplicable yet growing connection she feels to a member of her team, Max, whose mysterious behavior leaves her both confused and intrigued.
Waking up dead was just the beginning of her problems. Lucy’s death is about to become the greatest adventure of her life.
I am a ridiculously slow reader, throw in going to college and working full time and it's a wonder how I keep up with this book blog, so when I zoomed through Awaken in less than 3 days, I shocked myself. But I could not put this book down! Awaken is filled with suspense, non-stop action, romance and just about everything you look for in a young adult novel.

Lucy is an AWESOME protagonist and a kick butt superhero. She may start at the bottom, but she will do anything it takes to pull herself to the top. Her friends are great too, each doing their own to challenge, console and of course, helps Lucy laugh. One of the super cool things Sarah did with this book was add in a few historical characters we know such as Queen Elizabeth and Amelia Earhart. Which, why not? Everything does take place in Lucy's afterlife!

The only couple of things that had me kind of eh was the beginning. I understood simply because the point wasn't who Lucy was in this lifetime, but rather the life she was about to begin as a Patronus. Still, it felt rather sudden. The other hesitation was Lucy and Max's relationship. Sarah plays up the insta-love but it doesn't feel like insta-love. It genuinely seems like Lucy and Max not only have known each other forever, but are just meant to be. However throughout the entire book, Max is holding a secret that has something to do with Lucy. The suspense is building and building until he finally reveals it to her and... what? I didn't see that coming. (No spoiler alerts here!) But I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that they expand on that situation further in the next novel because as much as I loved this book and loved the couple together, I was a bit let down with that outcome.

My favorite part of this book was the fact that Sarah was not afraid to have her characters fail, be slowed down or put in their place.


My Rating for this Book:

Sarah M. Ross started her obsession with reading at an early age, getting in trouble for sneaking Baby-Sitters Club and Nancy Drew books into math class in elementary school. She would read any fiction book she could get her hands on. She knew it was an addiction when instead of grounding her from TV or music, her mom would take away her books as punishment (The Horror!).
Her love of all things paranormal was inspired by her good friend Laurie, who convinced her that books with vampires, witches, and all things shifter were amazing. After a little reluctance, she gave it a shot with the Sookie Stackhouse books, realized her friend was right, and the rest was history. 
Ms. Ross grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English, and taught 8th graders to love reading as much as she does for several years.
She will always be a proud member of Steelers Nation, but couldn’t take the cold and moved her frozen tush to Florida where she now lives with her family and two cats.You will find her many days with her trusty Kindle in hand and toes in the sand!
 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Feyland by Anthea Sharp

WHEN A GAME...
Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn't suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch -- or that she'll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries. 
TURNS REAL...   
Tam Linn is the perfect hero -- in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he's the only one who can help her.
WINNING IS EVERYTHING...
Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen... before it's too late.”

What do you do when a game starts to cross over into reality? What happens when everything you thought was imaginary turns out to be more real than you could possibly imagine? These are questions that Jennet must find the answers to after she loses a battle – and a piece of her soul – to the Dark Queen in a new game called, Feyland. Jennet is forced to wrap her head around the fact that her health is slowly deteriorating, and the only way to save her own life is to return to the immersive virtual reality game and win back her soul with the help of a champion. For this task, she enlists Tam, a boy from the other side of the tracks who is the best gamer at her new school. But the pair soon learns that Jennet’s life isn’t the only one in danger – the entire human world is in danger from the creatures of Feyland. Feyland: The Dark Realm is an interesting book that combines fantasy and reality together in such a way that it leaves the reader feeling completely immersed in the story, as well as the fictional game itself.

I rate this book:
What I really enjoyed about this book was the way that Anthea Sharp described the scenery inside Feyland. It felt as real to me as if I were actually standing beside the characters in the book when they were interacting with the game. I felt like this was a part of the book that was extremely well done and definitely contributed to my enjoyment in the story. I also liked how the author was able to incorporate many of the common myths and legends about faeries into the story, particularly the inclusion of The Ballad of Tam Lin. It was incredibly interesting to me and made me want to know about the myths themselves. The incorporation of The Ballad of Tam Lin was a crucial part of the plot and was also very well done in the book. If you enjoy books that combine fantasy and reality with a little bit of suspense thrown into the mix, then you should definitely check out Feyland: The Dark Realm.

Growing up, Anthea Sharp spent her summers raiding the library shelves and reading, especially fantasy. She now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest, where she writes, plays the fiddle, and spends time with her small-but-good family. Contact her at antheasharp@hotmail.com or visit her website – www.antheasharp.com

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest Post: CA Freeburn

Today we welcome CA Freeburn with us to help promote her book, Dying for Redemption. Everyone please welcome Mrs. Freeburn!


The Working Shadow, Inc series came from a conversation I had with a woman after a mystery panel. She was telling me that she didn't read mysteries because people die during those types of books. Wanting to please all readers and being a chronic what-iffer, I started to think about her dilemma and a question popped into my head, "What if all the characters were already dead?"
Over the next few days, the voice of Callous Demar ... a tough PI who was murdered in 1955 ... filled my head and his story flowed onto the computer screen. He was a different character than any I had ever written and while I was having fun getting to know him, there were some bumps in the beginning. I had always written third-person point-of-view (POV), but because of the character's strong voice it wasn't working so I switched to first person POV. Third person felt a little removed and the true personality of the character was hidden. Plus, Callous just didn't speak to me the same way he did in first-person as third-person. And the first person voice was so 'alive'.
The fun part of creating this series was establishing the rules and guidelines for the afterlife in the Limbo where Callous resides: relationships between the ghosts, why some have jobs and others don't, the reason Limbo looks so similar to the world left behind. The challenge I had was making sure the detecting was done by the ghosts using traditional methods with a slight twist, an element of the story that was important to me. Interviewing was done by using a medium, haunting, or eavesdropping on the most likely to have done it. The ghostly detectives examined the scenes themselves or found ways to manipulate the living to look where you wanted them to. I wanted Callous' detective knowledge and skills to lead the way of solving the cases, not his paranormal abilities.
Callous has been in Limbo for over half a century when the first book in the series, Dying For Redemption, takes place. I knew there had to be a reason this would be the first 'documented' case and as I worked on the book another voice entered into the story. Abigail Harris, Callous' grand-niece, enters Limbo and it's her death that shakes up Callous' controlled world and invites the readers into their lives. Abby believes a college paper about the unsolved murder of Callous Demar might be the cause for her death. This is a perfect case for the beginning of the series as the reader learns about Callous' unanswered questions he'd rather never have answered.
I'm working on the second book in the series, Dying For Perception, which has Callous and Abby taking on a case of a recently murdered psychic who first has to be convinced she is no longer among the living.
Currently, Dying For Redemption can be purchased (or borrowed through Prime Lending) from Amazon.
_____________________
Thank you so much for stopping by! 
And everyone else, be sure to stop by Amazon today and pick up your free copy! For a limited time only though so be sure to jump on it! 

Thanks,
 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feature Friday: Emlyn Chand

Today we welcome Emlyn Chand from Virtual Book Tours. Emlyn is the author of Farsighted. So to begin we ask her a question that I've been dying to know the answer of since I read this book.


1) How difficult was it for you to write a story with the main character being blind? How did you go about writing such a delicate subject? (I know you haven't read my review but I thought you did it very successfully!)

Oh, yay! Thank you for the praise :-D Well, to connect with Alex, I read books about coping with blindness in a school setting and spent a great deal of time pondering how I might behave if I couldn’t see. In the story, Alex has always been blind; he’s always known the world to be a certain way. Not everyone understands that, and they have trouble talking about it with him. I gave Alex a tendency to overcompensate. He knows who he is and what he’s capable of, and he wants the world to know it too, so sometimes he overdoes things a bit.

2) What convinced you to use the runes throughout the book? Especially when you have so many magical type items at your disposal to write about.

Ooo, good question. Runes are a device that can be used without site as Alex does. I also found shaping each chapter around a rune gave the story order, which made me feel happy and comfortable. Whenever I got stuck and didn’t know what should happen next, I was able to learn more about that chapter’s rune and get the inspiration I needed to continue. The runes themselves tell a story, one that is successfully completed. I felt that boded well for Farsighted. There will be other psychic story-telling devices later in the series too!

3) Shapri seemed to have the hardest time out of everyone in the book adjusting to the idea that she had an ability. Will we be seeing her develop more and becoming more accepting of herself in the next book? Will she finally have a breakthrough?

Yes, definitely. At the beginning of book #2, Shapri is already more in touch with her abilities and willing to discuss it openly. Each of the novels in the series is told from a different main character’s perspective, Shapri’s turn to narrate will be in book #3, and boy, will she have to grapple with her powers then!

4) The idea of your powers controlling you if you don't learn to control them, isn't necessarily new. But the way that you implemented it brought something fresh. As we watch all of the characters grow and develop, will there be more conflicts within themselves? Or needs to use their powers for selfishness? After all, it's a lot of responsibility to have for a few kids.

They will. Each character has his or her own private struggle. In the beginning of the next book, many new people begin to move into town and some of them do use their powers for personal gain in a way that hurts others. At least one of our main characters is not the best of guys either. Remember, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

5) Now for a few simple, fun and silly questions, if you had to live off of 1 food for the rest of your life, what food would you choose?

Hmmm. Maybe pizza? It’s not necessarily my favorite food, but it’s so diverse. There’s a lot I could do with my pizza to keep it fresh :-P

6) Describe to us the place where your magic happens (where you write).

The comforting hum of its patrons wraps me in a warm embrace. Scents of vanilla, sausage, and coffee pour through my nostrils and make me feel at home. The springy cushion beneath me melds to my form. My keyboard is waiting. Ahhh, Panera.

7) When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew?

Oh, so many different things. The earliest one was a zoo keeper who takes care of elephants. The longest desire was to be a Disney animator. I used to be a pretty good cartoonist, but now I’m out of practice.

8) Favorite type of music?

Happy music! I love Frank Sinatra and all things croon. It just makes me “smile in my heart.” When I’m driving I listen to pop, so that I don’t fall asleep at the wheel… yeah, I totally have done that before.

9) When can we expect book 2? I saw at the end of this one that it 2012, but that's quite a vague answer... ;) Also, do you have anything else in the works?

Yes, yes, I do. Book #2 in the Farsighted series, which is called Open Heart, will indeed be coming in 2012. I’m hoping to have it ready sometime in the spring, probably later in the spring. I will also be releasing the first book in a new series called The Timewalker Chronicles this year. It’s of the YA science fiction persuasion, and I’m so so excited about it :-D
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Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining us Emlyn! It was so much fun and you were a joy to have. We hope you keep us in mind when you're looking for publicity on The Timewalker Chronicals, I know that I will be first in line for Open Heart so I can't wait to see what you do with this other series.


Review: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

“Alex Kosmitoras's life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival--an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to "see" the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.”
When I began reading Farsighted, I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t sure what to think. I mean how many books are about a blind teenage boy with supernatural powers? Not too many from what I’ve seen, and it is exactly that that had me speeding through the pages, desperate to read more.
Alex was born blind, his whole life growing up relying on his other senses to move through life, experience and see what’s around him. We get to live in Alex’s shoes as he uses a cane to walk around, has to go to school ahead of time to learn the route before simply going in the first day of class, to see how other students act knowing that he’s different. One of the coolest things was that he read books in Brail. Which sounds ridiculous, I know that’s how people who can’t see read, but it was something that I had never thought about it to that extent. So for those of us who not have a friend, family member or personal experience with someone with a seeing disability, this book is an eye opener. I wasn’t sure how Emlyn was going to pull it off, not being able to truly describe scenery or the background around Alex, but she does, and she may even pull it off better than those with every sense to rely on.
On to the rest of the storyline, there are some fantastic characters in this book. From sweet Simmi to sassy Shapri, from Alex's strong, loving mother to a father who appears rigid and mean, but truly just has more to him than what meets the eye. Since the view is from a fifteen year old, you get all of those sweet first love emotions that comes with that first crush, a reminder of how pure things begin and how complicated they end up.
The way that Alex’s powers slowly progress is unique. I didn’t find it your typical run of the mill, bam! I have powers, and the whole “What I’m special?!” routine, I mean don’t get me wrong, it was there, but it wasn’t nearly as in your face as it usually is. What I'm getting at, if you haven't figured that out already is that this is a fantastic book that you will not be disappointed to read. I know that I pushed off reading this book far, far too long.
My rating for this book:
 
And if you want to see our interview with Emlyn Chand, click here!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Spiritus by Dana Michelle Burnett

“When Becca moves into her ancestral home in Corydon, Indiana, her life takes a puzzling and thrilling turn when she meets the ghost haunting the halls. As the seductive spirit lures her closer and closer, she learns about her own past and starts to understand that some mistakes are meant to last.
Becca McAllister has always been different from other girls her age. Never part of the "in crowd", Becca never really fit in anywhere. When her mother dies and her father moves them to the small town of Corydon, Indiana, Becca didn't expect things to change.
But things do change when Becca accidentally makes contact with a one hundred and sixty year old ghost, Alastor Sinclair, that haunts the halls of her new home.
To Becca, Alastor is a seductive spirit that seems to see straight into her soul. To Alastor, Becca is what he has waited a century for--A second chance.
But the closer they get, the more Becca realizes that this isn't the first time she and Alastor have known each other. Worse still, is she the one responsible for his death so long ago? And if so, did he come back for love or revenge?”

How would you react if you had a ghost haunting you? What would you do if there was someone invading your dreams and thoughts, and you were the only one who could see them? That’s what Becca is faced with in Dana Michelle Burnett’s novel, Spiritus. In this first book of the Spiritus series, Becca McAllister meets a rather charming ghost after she and her new-found friends host a séance in her new home. At first, she’s a bit frightened when the ghost, Alastor Sinclair appears to her. But she slowly begins to fall in love with him, even as it seems her life as a normal, high school girl begins to fall apart. Spiritus is a book that is romantic, captivating, and a little chill-inducing. It will leave you wishing for the next book in the series. Who knows? It may even leave you believing ghosts just a little bit, too. 

I rate this book: 

I literally could not put this book down. And once I was done, I was immediately searching for the next book in the series, which isn’t out yet, sadly. I love how the author shapes the ending in such a way that it leaves you craving more. I also really enjoyed the fact that Becca, the main character, was completely believable. I felt like I could really connect with her while I was reading because she wasn’t the prettiest or most popular girl in the novel; she was just a normal, seventeen year old girl, trying to survive high school. Granted, getting through high school is hard enough as it is. But can you imagine adding in the extra stress of being in love with a ghost? So, while Becca is a very believable and relatable character for the reader, she is also incredibly remarkable because of what she has to – and does – overcome in the book. If you like romantic and haunting novels with characters and a plot that completely draws you in, then I would definitely recommend that you pick up Spiritus. You won’t be disappointed. 

Spiritus is the first novel in Dana Michelle Burnett’s new paranormal romance series by the same name. The second book, Haunted, is expected in the spring of 2012.

Dana Michelle Burnett was born and raised in beautiful Southern Indiana. She spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines, including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more.  Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was included in The Best of Foliate Oak 2006.  Burnett still lives in Southern Indiana. She continues to manage NanasAtticStore.com and works on her writing every day. Her site, DanaMichelleBurnett.com has more information about upcoming projects and appearances, or you can also check her out on Facebook. 
 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Feature Friday: Larry Peterson

Today we welcome Larry Peterson on The Ink Puddle with Tribute Book Tours. Larry is the author of the book The Priest and the Peaches. This is a book that deals with a lot of loss and struggle and knowing that, we asked him to write about a personal experience of his own in which writing has helped him through.

"Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960s
Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad's funeral.
They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of "grown-up world." A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles."
Since "The Priest and The Peaches" deals with "struggle & loss" you have asked me to post something about my own experience working through "pain" and how books and writing have helped me push through. Well now, you have truly challenged me. In fact, many of the requests from book reviewers such as you are forcing me to look inside myself and, I must admit, that many of  the memories that have been stuffed into the far recesses of my mind have been resurrected and it is sometimes unnerving for me when they start suddenly and unexpectedly begin reappearing. (Man, I feel like I'm writing in a journal here and maybe it is a good thing--not sure). Understand this---writing and books have come after the fact.
I was 15 when my mother died. Strangely, I could hardly remember a thing about her. The sound of her voice, what she liked to eat, her favorite color, favorite actor, etc. The only thing I remembered was  that she loved the "I Love Lucy" show. That was it. Even writing the book did not jar the memories loose. What has freed some memories from their dark cave has been posts like this one. They have forced me to think about what has been. This is a place I rarely go. I mean, I do know that this place exists but I avoid it. Sometimes I think that sub-consciously I have done this as an act of self-preservation. I'm not sure. We are all so uniquely different yet we are all so similar. Fascinating--
I have personally experienced the death of my folks when I and my siblings were quite young. I have lived through the death of my daughter at birth, the death of my first wife from cancer, the death of my kid brother and the death of my best friend. My second wife is recovering from chemo treatments and her cancer is in remission. I have had major surgery for prostate cancer and, after almost five years, I am cancer free. I also have MS which, for five years, left me almost unable to walk. That was 25 years ago and today I am doing great and walk around just like most folks. How all of this affects my writing, I have no idea. I guess it must and maybe someday I'll figure it all out.
Here's the thing and I know you guys are a lot younger than I so, take some advice from an "old guy". The key to overcoming adversity, first and foremost, is having faith in God. Now, I know a lot of folks think that is "gobbley-gook". But many know I am right. Faith is that great intangible. You can't see it or touch it or smell it. But, it is the greatest of all gifts and all one has to do is ask God to walk with them. He'll DO IT! Once you do that you have laid the very foundation to build an inner peace that will transport you through any adversity you may encounter. Then--write your little heart out.


Thank you so much Larry for stopping by! I really did enjoy your post and you being here! If you want to know more about Larry here are the links to his...
Blog                        Facebook                        Twitter 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wondering on Wednesday: Magazines on E-Readers

[This post is for those of you with the Kindle Fire, Nook Color or Nook Tablet. Unfortunately, the e-readers that don't work as mini tablets don't have this feature.]

So you have that new Kindle Fire for Christmas and you're all excited because you can now get all of those magazines your subscribed to onto your Kindle to take anywhere you want to go! But wait, as you're looking through you're noticing two types of magazines: your subscripions and the apps. Now you're all confused. What's the difference? How does it work? Do I even want to bother? Well today I'm going to answer your questions concerning magazines.


There found there are 2 types, the first one being the ones you subscribe to. These will show up just like the magazines you buy in the store. I’m subscribed to a couple of food magazines and Rachael Ray and I really enjoy reading them from my Kindle. The second type is the kind that you purchase through an app.


Say you find an app that is the name of a magazine, like Shape and Glamour (just ones I’ve seen off the top of my head- I’ve seen others), Amazon has it for free. You download it, bring up the app on your Kindle and it will ask you to subscribe to this magazine through the website. So you pay through the website instead of through Amazon. The super cool thing about these, is that, for example: it’s a fitness app. And it’s telling you about ab exercises you can do, well it will show you a picture and have words describing what to do like your typical magazine would, but when you clicked on this picture, it would actually show you a video of how to do the exercise. Normal magazines won’t do this, just the ones you go through the app for.

Meg has these and LOVES them. She's a huge magazine reader too, but to see how to do what the magazine is talking about brings this technology to a whole new level! I know I talked mostly about Amazon but it works the same way for Barnes and Noble. What has been your experience with magazines through your Kindle or Nook? Which ones do you follow?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Happy Birthday to You by Brian Rowe

"Newlyweds Cameron and Liesel Martin aren't able to celebrate their wedding bliss for long. Not only is Liesel unexpectedly pregnant... they're also facing the end of humanity!
Liesel's evil witch sister Hannah has cast a spell to make all humans on Earth age a whole year with every day. It's up to Cameron and Liesel to stop her... and save the world! Who will survive? And who will perish?
Here it is at last... the third and final epic chapter of the Birthday trilogy... Happy Birthday to You!"

Happy Birthday to You picks up where Happy Birthday to Me Again leaves off, the day after all chaos begins.  Cameron Martin just can’t catch a break.  He forced to age each day at the end of his senior year only to find that the girl of his dreams is the one that did it to him.  Then, he’s forced to go backwards, a year younger, each day until he’s a little baby.  Now, he’ll have to grow old within a three month period all over again, only this time he’ll have to watch everyone he cares about do so too.  That is, unless him and Liesel can kill her evil witch sister, Hannah, who casted the ageing spell on the entire planet.  Only now, Liesel is without her magic powers and with child, which really throws a wrench into things.  Happy Birthday to You is a dramatic, sometimes comical, fantasy that will leave you flying through the pages to the epic ending.

I Rate This Book:

Something that I not only love about this book, but about the entire series was that it’s a light read.  It’s truly a book that you can set down and enjoy and really get the whole package from.  Most books just have a few aspects, such as drama, action, love, comedy, etc.  But Happy Birthday to You really has a little of everything.  While no, it’s not a funny story, Cameron’s reactions and wording seem to always have a hint of funniness, for lack of better wording at the moment, to them.  It’s not necessarily The Fast and the Furious, but there is a some action to thrown in there as well.  There’s also Cameron’s love for his family and Liesel that never disappears throughout the story.  

I also love how much Cameron grows from the first book to the last.  In the first one he is that popular high school guy that we all loved to hate because although, yes physically, he was perfection, he was an arrogant jerk.  But through all of his aging dilemmas he really grows as a person and appreciates all the people that are in his life and would ultimately do anything for them.  In the last book you get to see him as a husband, although still young, and a hero.  I would give you the ultimate example but it would be a spoiler ;]





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.


Happy Birthday Meg!

Today is the day! Meg's 21st birthday! :)


So if you have a minute or so, wish her a fantastic birthday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guest Post: Pavarti K. Tyler

Today we have Pavarti K Tyler joining us for a guest post talking about the war going on between the Sualwets and Erdlanders in her book, Two Moons of Sera. If you haven't read this book yet, you're missing out. So right after you're done reading this awesome blog and taking the stellar quiz below, jump over and grab this book! You will not be disappointed.

Also, I want to thank Pavarti for taking time out of her busy schedule to write up this post, you're awesome, your book was great and I can't wait to read volume 3! Thank you so much!






War – What’s it Really Good For? – by Pavarti K Tyler

Conflict is at the heart of every good story. A love triangle, a misunderstanding, an argument, no matter what it is, the conflict is what gives us something to sink our teeth into when we read. We take sides (Team Jacob!), we feel the tension and fear and desperation of the characters as we read, hoping for resolution. And what better conflict that a real live, bonifide war?

The Illiad is the most memorable story in history, not because Paris and Helen lived happily ever after behind the fortress wall of Troy but because Ulysses, Agamemnon, Achilles and Menelaus all fought for the honor and reputation of their people. Hector was respected across the battle lines for his fearless courage in the face of nearly certain death. Its War that shows what a people are truly made of. War makes hero and shames the losers. Who remembers the names of the Trojans? I bet I’m the only one. You know why? They didn’t win.

In my serial novel Two Moons of Sera (Vol 1 is available now on Amazon and Vol 2 will be released in March) the main story is set on a world where the two dominant races are at war. The Sualwet, a waterborne race which can came on land is battling the earth dominant species, the Erdlanders.

Sualwet and Erdlanders are genetically related but that’s as far as it goes. It has been a millennia since the two species were close enough to interbreed and as their evolution has continued it has made the specialization of each species pronounced.

The Sualwet live beneath the water. They have evolved to breath through their skin, absorbing oxygen directly. With no body hair and webbed feet the Sualwet live in a tight community bound together by responsibility and mutual benefit more than emotion. Barely recognizable as human, the Sualwet have wide, dilated black eyes and have not had a live birth in 300 years. Until Sera that is.

The Erdlanders on the other hand are a deeply social species, almost pack driven in their need to have a community and mate. Despite their social community the Erdlanders are having fewer and fewer children. In an effort to continue their race The Counsel has set up camps where the young and fertile are kept until they Match and procreate. This has lead to highly specialized jobs, creating a class system where the most fertile and intelligent rule over everyone else.

In their effort to find a solution to the decreasing population the Erdlanders have been experimenting of Sualwet prisoners, attempting to solve the genetic link that allows the Sualwet to breed but not them. For generations the Erdlanders and Sualwet have fought. The Sualwet tactics are precise and cruel, leading to the deaths of thousands of Erdlanders.

This is the backgrop for SeraFay’s life. Ostracized by her mother’s Sualwet family due to her inability to stay below the surface for more than a few hours at a time and the hair growing upon her head, SeraFay and her mother live in a small cove, undiscovered by both species. The war is a distant thought as Sera grows up, something she reads about in books her mother is able to salvage for her from the sea. Nothing but bedtime stories her mother tells her, she can’t imagine the kind of devastation war can cause: until it lands on her small beach.

So which are you? Erdlander or Sualwet? What side of the war will you fight on?

Review: Two Moons of Sera by Pavarti K. Tyler

[Note: This review is on parts 1 and 2 of Two Moons of Sera]

"In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one?"



What would you do if you spent your entire life alone, fending for yourself, with no one to talk to but your mother? This is how part 1 begins, with Sera as a "monster", part Sualwet, part Erdlander and accepted by no one.

You never know what you don't have until it teases you.
When she finds Tor, she longs for physical contact and to share her life with someone. After becoming friends, soon Tor and Sera find themselves in a war, thrown into the world Erdlanders having to either blend in or stand out and take the consequences.

The imagery that Pavarti creates is gorgeous. A life blended between land and sea, the intensity of books and pages, words and poetry. Sera's webbed toes standing out, digging benieth the sand, scarred and torn from running, Tor's scars all over his body as you long to know more of the story that Pavarti hints at. She makes you feel everything.

I found the characters easy and believable. Afterall, how would you be if you lived in the wild, fending for yourself all of your life? You might be a little crazy, a bit on edge and hidden just as Tor was. I know that if I was kicked out of my homeland I'd be a bit bitter, hurt and shut down as Sera's mom appeared to be. Although I'm not sure I could ever live like Sara or Tor, you get to see how you might live if you were to grow up in their situation.

Part 2 of Two Moons of Sera took a turn I didn't see coming with an ending that left me wanting more. My only complaint being the abruptness of the endings. If you're looking for a good, fast paced book to read with a different paranormal approach, this book is for you.

My rating for this book:

Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number-cruncher who has been committed to causing trouble since her first moment on this Earth. Her eclectic career has flirted with Broadway, Teaching, Law Firms and the IRS. Author of many short stories, Pavarti spans genres from Horror and Erotica all the way to Fantasy. Currently, Pavarti is hard at work establishing her Indie Publishing Company Fighting Monkey Press.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekend Roundup (1/30 - 2/3)

Hey everyone!
Here's what you may have missed on The Ink Puddle this week!

Monday: Review: Crossed by Ally Condie
Wednesday: Deleting Kindle Books
Friday: Review: The Lightforce Rebellion by Christopher Walker, Feature: Christopher Walker

And that's that for this week! The month of February is going to be an awesome one, we have so much in store for you guys. And was it just me or did Crissy do a stellar job with her first review/ interview with our blog? I can't wait to see what she's going to read and review next.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend! Be safe and stay classy,

Friday, February 3, 2012

Feature Friday: Christopher Walker

Today, I’m really excited to say that we have Christopher Walker, author of The Lightforce Rebellion, here with us. Everyone, please welcome Chris…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
Hi, my name is Christopher Walker and I currently am a technical writer for a computer storage company up in Washington state. I'm a Star Wars fan, enjoy reading fantasy and sci-fi fiction, and this book represents my first step to becoming a full-time writer.


What is it like to self-publish your own book? 
It's empowering because I don't have to wait for a large publisher or agent to accept my work. Although my eventual plan is to publish a few of my novels through New York. So the upside is that it's very easy to do. But the down side is that it's, well, very easy to do. That's why if you've browsed around any of the major eBook retailers you'll see a glut of self-published novels with horrible cover art, and probably even worse writing. 

Where did you get the idea for Foronar, the world that Zach finds himself in for most of the story in The Lightforce Rebellion? 
The name just popped into my head. Not sure where it came from. But the world itself was based on a place some of my friends and I built up online in this virtual world called SW City (swcity.net). It's miles and miles of virtualized terrain we made while we were growing up in high school and college. SW City is a little more light-hearted and whimsy than Foronar, but some of the elements of SW City found their way into Foronar. 

There are obviously a lot of fantasy elements in your book, such as the races of cloud- and rock- people that inhabit Foronar. Where did you get the idea for these two unique races? 
The cloud people, the Cirrans, actually came fairly directly out of SW City from a race of cloud beings I had invented called Nimbusians. And those were based on a Nintendo character named Mallow. One of my friends from SW City also invented a counterpart race called the Submins who were very physically similar to Nimbusians. I toyed with using them, but eventually I ended up creating an entirely new race of volcanic beings and named them the Fyros, and they fit right in with the story I wanted to tell. 
And I justified using the fantasy characters by saying that the Cirrans the Fyros are both made out of the four basic greek elements of earth, air, fire, and water. The Cirrans are made out of air and water and the Fyros are made out of earth and fire
.

You put a lot of detail into describing the worlds of Foronar in your book. Do you plan to write other stories set in this same world?   
I would certainly like to. I left the door open for more adventures, so hopefully it won't be too long before I can write another.

Your main character isn’t exactly the typical hero that is seen in most novels. What inspired you to create a character like Zach?
Zach is a 14 year old Kansas boy who is the protagonist of the story. Zach kind of came up out of combination of elements. I wanted to do a story about bullying, but there's also a bit of me in there at 14. For example, he's from Kansas. I'm from Kansas. He goes to my school. I went to my school. As an aside, I actually put in those demographic elements because I figured that I won't be writing too many stories set in the modern world and I wanted to do an homage to where I grew up while I had the chance. Hopefully I didn't make Zach a Mary Sue because I tried to give him characteristics that I didn’t have at that age. For example, I never would have gone through that door in the tree. 

The characters in your book are really fun to follow throughout the story. Do you have a favorite character from the book or one that you relate to more than the rest? 
Erika was really fun to write. I approached her with some trepidation because she's female and I'm not, and she's 14 and I'm not. And I think she turned really well! 

Do you have a certain process that you go through when you’re writing?
I plotted the story out ahead of time on note cards, using various methods like Dramatica and a few of Holly Lisle's tricks. I then used the note cards as a guideline while writing the story. I set a goal to write about 4000 words a week, because I figured I had four evenings a week that I could write. So I wrote 1000 words a day. By the end of it I was writing two days a week and 2000 words a day. 


Where do you do your best writing? 
I did a lot of it out on my balcony, and a lot of it on my couch. And only some of it on the new writing desk I bought. 


Are you working on anything new right now?
I'm noodling around an idea involving space Nazis. It'll be science fiction/fantasy, but not young adult. 

What do you do when you aren’t writing? 
I'm probably working, watching Survivor or some random movie, or playing a game with my friends. 


I’ve heard that you’re a fan of Star Wars. If you could be any character from Star Wars, who would you choose to be?
Well, I'll be playing a Jedi Consular in the new Star Wars MMORPG "The Old Republic". I wouldn't want to be any of the named characters. Their lives are much too harsh and exciting.


I’ve read that you are also working on a voice acting career, in addition to writing novels. Can you tell us a bit about what that’s like? 
Voice acting is great fun because you get to do all these crazy voices, and you really get to act. I actually play the lead in an audio drama you can find on Amazon and Audible called "Stitched Crosses" about a knight named Marcus who's become disillusioned with the Crusades. 

Has any of the work you’ve done as a voice actor inspired your writing at all?
So far they haven't crossed over, because typically I'm voicing someone else's writing. However, having multiple voices is very useful when reading your work aloud. And kind of fun.


Thanks for joining us today, Chris! I hope you guys enjoyed that interview. Be sure to check out Chris’s book, The Lightforce Rebellion. And, if you want to get a glimpse at the virtual world that was the basis for the world in book, give swcity.net a look.