Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: From Man to Man by David E.M. Emrys

 "Every man has a past, none more so than Draven Reinhardt. Abandoning his old life to settle down as a villager, he struggles to fit in, let alone hold down a job. When opportunity offers the much needed coin, Draven is torn between a promise and a purpose. 

But, what’s one last job if you’ve already got blood on your hands?
‘From Man to Man’ is the story of how one man can change – or not – for the best. Prequel to the upcoming novel ‘It Began With Ashes’, the short (6400 words) introduces the reader to a world of suspense, intrigue, and action."
Draven has traded in his life as a mercenary for the life of a villager for the sake of his wife and son. But he seems to be having quite a time adjusting to his new life. Constantly getting in fights and losing his job, it's clear that he needs to do something in order to support his family. So, when an opportunity arises that offers the money that he so desperately needs, Draven must decide which choice is the best one for him and his family, even if that choice means going back on a promise. From Man to Man is the short prequel to David E.M. Emrys's Wroge Elements series.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick and simple read, which is always something I like, especially when I'm busy with schoolwork. I liked that the reader was able to see things from Draven's perspective. In my opinion, it made the story feel more realistic, even though it was set in a fictional village. It helped me feel like I was actually right there with Draven throughout all of the action of the story.

Another thing that I really liked about this story was the world that the author created. From the very first page, it was obvious that the story was set in a fictional world. And that's always fun for me, because it clearly shows the author's ability to weave a web of intrigue and imagery for readers. This story was no exception. It kept me interested from the very first description of the village where Draven lived and I was hooked until the end.

I also enjoyed how well-developed Draven was as a character. It's evident from the beginning that he has a secret past that he doesn't want to talk about. Yet, gradually throughout the story, the reader is given enough details to understand some of his background, as well as the kind of person he is. This went a long way to increase my interest in the story itself. Draven was such a strong character, that he made me want to keep reading. If I had to name something that I didn't particularly care for about this story, it'd have to be that it was so short. I got to the end and wanted to read more. So, I guess it's a good thing that there's another novel available.

I rate this book: 

Like I said, I really enjoyed reading this story. It was quick, simple, and very intriguing. If you like stories with action, mystery, and well-developed characters, then you should definitely check out From Man to Man. It's a perfect prequel to Emrys's Wroge Elements series. And if you find that you enjoy From Man to Man, then be sure to check out the first novel in the series, It Began With Ashes. I know I will be. 

David Emrys, known as D to his friends, is a serving soldier and author. He has clearance to know more than he should, but not the sense to know better. Leaving education with no more than a fifteen year old's understanding of English Literature, D’s storytelling craft is self-taught. Growing up with the heroic tales written by authors such as David Gemmell and James Barclay, D was inspired to write stories of his own. After joining the army D used his free time to focus on his dream of sharing shelf-space with his idols. D testifies to the fact that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword – but swords make for better letter-openers. He lives where the army send him, but home is in Chelmsford with his girlfriend. They say that behind every great man there is a woman pulling the strings, but she lets him dance to his own song whilst being the perfect partner in step. D claims that his books would not have been written without her. David Emrys is not his real name. Nor is D.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guest Post: David E.M. Emrys

Hey everybody! We've got a guest post for you today from new author, David E.M. Emrys. David is the author of From Man to Man and It Began with Ashes. Everyone, please welcome David!

Can there be such a thing as too much fantasy?

Is the fantasy world over-populated? It’s a valid question and one that keeps raising its ugly head in the current era of ‘Lord of the Authors: The Fellowship of the Fantasy’.

Without battling out the topic of Indie vs Traditional, I want to take a moment and talk about fantasy worlds. A simple blog post can’t cover every single fantasy tome to have ever graced a book shelf (or a digital market place like Amazon, for all you e-publishing gurus), but we can highlight a few.

J.R.R. Tolkien with his elves, and his dwarves, his hobbits with their hairy feet, and his trolls. Ringwraiths, a dark lord, and a powerful artefact that is a curse to all those who bear it.

George R.R. Martin with his thrones, and his games, the squabbles of men, and the treachery, futility and thick-fast plots (oh, and if you’ve watched the tv adaptation, there’s a fair share of boobage, too).

Peter V Brett – demons galore! How ‘man’ (and woman!) can overcome their fears for what they believe is right.

Mark Lawrence explores the moral depravity of a Prince who won’t let anything – or anyone – stand in his way, even if that involves burning the world just to keep warm.

Michael J Sullivan brings bromance to the fold (Webster’s unofficial definition of bromance: bro-mance, a combination of brother and romance, meaning ‘a brotherly romance’ between two males. Often seen sharing large quantities of bruises, beauties, and beatings) with a healthy dose of death-defying escapades and swashbuckling adventures.

John Gwynne breaths fresh life into the folklore and legend side of fantasy, giving Giants, Wyrms and even Angels a gritty new lease with a Nordic/Celtic feel.

Brent Weeks forefronts assassins in one, and mages in another, but above all else they struggle with their own powers for further means.

Brandon Sanderson…magic, need I say more? But then again, his world-building is second to none.
Joe Abercrombie touts more knives than any sane man should ever need, but lucky for us not all of his characters can be deemed sane enough to count or care for that matter. But when all is said and done, it’s down to being what you’re meant to be, and (as he often states by way of infamous barbarian Logen NineFingers) once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it.

I’ve barely even touched the surface here. I could go on for hours. James Barclay, David Gemmell (big daddy of British heroic-fantasy), Robert E Howard, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, David Dalglish, Mazarkis Williams, Moses Sirergar III, Ben Galley, Steven Erikson, Christopher Paolini…ok, ok – I’ll stop.
So, fantasy is a busy world(s). But each and every one of them is different. Yes, a lot of them share themes or creatures (elves, dragons, hobbits, dwarves, damsels in distress…hobbits, or other creatures with hairy feet?), but would you really say: ‘No more’! Heck, I’m sure if you asked a lot of these authors they’d admit to being inspired by one another. Of course they would.

Ok, let’s imagine if someone said ‘No more’ to Robert Jordan. Would we have the Peter V Brett’s, and Christopher Paolini’s of today? ‘Put that pen down’ David Gemmell…and voila, no John Gwynne’s or James Barclay. How many would we lose if Robert E. Howard had run out of ink on the first page, and Conan had been lost to an unfinished sentence?

IMAGINE THE CHAOS if someone told J.R.R. Tolkien to shave his hobbit and write a romcom. Think of the children, pray for their futures!

Publishing is an ever changing industry, and fantasy is an ever changing realm of possibilities. If you’re Indie or Traditional, reader or writer…could you really say NO to one last fantasy? And before you start culling dwarves, shaving hobbit feet, or cashing in dragon fangs for the last copy of ’50 Shades of Grey’ from Amazon…just remember:

A Fantasy author isn’t just for Christmas. They’re for life.
(And even then, they’ll think of a way to come back and haunt you from the afterlife – they’re fantasy authors after all).

D. E. M. Emrys. Author. Soldier by day, Soldier by night - Writer in between. Knows war to write war.
David Emrys, known as D to his friends, is a serving soldier and author. He has clearance to know more than he should, but not the sense to know better. Leaving education with no more than a fifteen year olds understanding of English Literature, D’s storytelling craft is self-taught.
Growing up with the heroic tales written by authors such as David Gemmell and James Barclay, D was inspired to write stories of his own. After joining the army D used his free time to focus on his dream of sharing shelf-space with his idols.

D testifies to the fact that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword – but swords make for better letter-openers. He lives where the army send him, but home is in Chelmsford with his girlfriend. They say that behind every great man there is a woman pulling the strings, but she lets him dance to his own song whilst being the perfect partner in step. D claims that his books would not have been written without her.
David Emrys is not his real name.
Nor is D.

Thanks so much for that, David! You guys should be sure to check out David's books; the links are below for you. And be on the lookout for a review of Emrys's From Man to Man later this week. 

Published Works:
'From Man to Man'

'It Began With Ashes'

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mainstream Monday

Happy Mainstream Monday!!!  There has been a LOT of news in the mainstream story world the past few weeks.

Julie Kagawa, author of the Iron Fey and Book of Eden series, sign a six digit contract with Harlequin for a series that isn't set to come out until 2015.  All that has been released about the series is that there are supposed to be five books.  But that isn't all of the news.  Universal has already snatched up the books, all five, to be made into movies or a series.  I am a huge Julie Kagawa fan and although as of now I would love to see the Iron Fey be made into a movie I'm excited to check out these new books and definitely excited for another book series to look forward to.

With Harry Potter's 15th aniversary coming up Scholastic announced that they will be rolling out a new shipment of covers for all of the books in paperback.  Illustator, Kazu Kibuishi, will be doing the covers.  Each cover will be a scene fromteh book and the characters in the that particular scene.  The imagery for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has already be released.  The Harry Potter books are the reason I love to read.  Until I started reading those, reading was a chore and a struggle so these books are near and dear to my heart.  I part of me hates the idea of the covers being redone and a part of me is planning on running out and buying them all.

Divergent, by the young and talent Veronica Roth, is also in the long process of coming to the big screen.  The only character currently cast is Shailene Woodley as Tris.  You may know Shailene from Secret Life of the American Teenager or The Descendents.  The movie rights were taken by Summit Entertainment in March 2011 and the movie is currently set to release on March 21, 2013.  The screen writer is Evan Daugherty, who is best known for his work on Snow White and the Huntsman.  A lot of people are probably going to say, "Oh it's another Hunger Games" but for these books blew the Hunger Games Triology right out of the water.  The second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, was basically the same as the first and then the third one completely flopped for me.  I'm a rereader but that is one series I probably won't reread.  While all of the Divergent books are out yet so far so good.  The second one was just a killer as the first.  The third book, that's title and cover have not been released yet, is set to come out October 22, 2013.


 The information found for todays post is from IMDB, MTV's website, and USA Today.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

"There were no surprises in Gatlin County. 
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything."
Gatlin is just a normal Southern town. Small, rural, and quiet. Nothing interesting happens in Gatlin, South Carolina. That is, not until Lena Duchannes arrived in town. Beautiful, smart, and dangerous, Lena carries a secret that she is trying desperately to keep hidden from the narrow-minded townspeople. But there's one person in town that she can't hide anything from - someone who shares a mysterious connection to her. Ethan Wate is drawn to Lena, the girl he's been having dreams about night after night before she ever set foot in Gatlin. Surprises are coming to Gatlin on Lena's heels. Surprises that could very well turn the town on its head. Beautiful Creatures is the first novel in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. And it's sure to leave you on the edge of your seat, from beginning to end.

I picked this book up after seeing the trailer for the new movie adaptation a few times. And I could not put it down once I started reading it. The authors have done a fantastic job of weaving a story of love, loss, and magic that is simply breathtaking. I loved how vivid and descriptive they were throughout the entire novel. Every single detail made me feel like I was right there in Gatlin County with Lena and Ethan every step of the way. That feeling of everything being so very real is something that really made me want to keep reading.

I also really enjoyed the fact that the reader is able to see everything from Ethan's point of view. Because he is the narrator of the story, we are able to experience things as they happen for him and Lena throughout the entire novel. We share his thoughts, his feelings, and get to see his actions firsthand, which only adds to the realness of the story. And, considering he's a mortal who has been immersed into the magical world of a Caster family, it's almost as if Ethan serves as our guide to the strangeness that surrounds Lena and her family.

Another thing that I really, really liked about this book was the relationship between Ethan and Lena. These characters are so well-developed that it's difficult not to see them as real people while reading. And, since you guys know I'm a sucker for romance, it should come as no surprise that I was rooting for them as a couple from the very beginning. The authors did a flawless job with the characters of Ethan and Lena, and developed their forbidden relationship in such a phenomenal way that it kept me intrigued throughout the entire book.

I rate this book: 

If you haven't read Beautiful Creatures, I seriously recommend that you pick it up as soon as you can. It's an amazing and quick read that is sure to please all types of readers. And the best part: It's been made into a movie that just came out yesterday! So grab a copy of the book and be sure to check the movie out, too. I know I'll be headed to the movie theater in the very near future. Will you?

Margaret Stohl is the author of the ICONS series, as well as the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Indie-Bound and Internationally Bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels. She is a graduate of Amherst College, where she won the Knox Prize for English Literature and earned a MA in English from Stanford University. She also completed classwork for a PhD in American Studies from Yale University.

Kami Garcia is the New York TimesUSA Today, Publishers Weekly & international bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels (Beautiful CreaturesBeautiful DarknessBeautiful Chaos & Beautiful Redemption). She is also the author of Unbreakable, the first book her solo series, THE LEGION. Kami grew up outside of Washington DC, wore lots of black, and spent hours writing poetry in spiral notebooks. She has an MA in education, and taught in the Washington DC area until she moved to Los Angeles, where she was a teacher & Reading Specialist for 14 years. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, daughter, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mainstream Monday: Beautiful Creatures

Happy Mainstream Monday!  As many of us know on Valentine's Day the movie adaptation of the southern gothic YA novel Beautiful Creatures hits movie theaters.  So whether you're spending Valentine's Day with your love, hot fling, family, or pals, here is everything you need to know before Thursday (an excellent date idea btw ;]).

The movie Beautiful Creatures takes place in Gatlin, South Carolina and while you wouldn't think of it as a southern place compared to Louisiana or Texas, in the movie it very much is.  It's a small town full of Republican church goers that are portrayed to be very hateful and narrow minded.  That is except for Ethan Wate who wants nothing more than to get out of Gatlin.  He spends his time reading and dreaming of the all of the places he'd rather be.  When a new girl joins his class at school things become a lot more interesting for him.  Lena Duchannes comes from an old family from Gatlin but is the first in twenty years to join the town and go to school although there she isn't accepted by her peers.  At school she is called a Satanist and kids don't even want to be in the same room as her.  Except Ethan.  He sees that Lena is different and that is exactly what draws him to her.  When Ethan discovers that Lena is a Caster (witch) he becomes even more fascinated.  But their relationship is far from easy for them.  Besides the town of haters, her family doesn't approve of her being friends with a mortal much less dating one.  Then there's this little thing where Lena's powers can be claimed for the light or the dark on her sixteenth birthday and some type of curse where it appears that the Duchanne women keep being claimed for the dark.  On top of that Lena's mother, Sarafine, and cousin, Ridley, both seem to be pulling for her powers to be claimed by the dark while Macon Ravenwood, Lena's uncle, is hoping they are claimed for the light.  This is a major deal considering that she may be the most power Caster the world has ever seen.  No pressure or anything.  

Lena Duchannes is played by Alice Englert, a New Zealand actress born to oscar winning director Jane Campion and film maker Colin Englert.  She has only been in a handful of films starting in 2006 but it wasn't anything that I have ever heard of but with parents like that she's bound of have had plenty of unofficial practice growing up.  Plus, we've all go to start somewhere right?

Alden Enrenreich will bring the beloved southern gentleman Ethan Wate to life.  Alden currently goes to NYU, has had appearances on the hit shows Supernatural and CSI, and will star in Running Wild that comes out later this year. 

While the movie has some new comers there are some major big name favorites that will bring the town of Gatlin to life.  Jeremy Irons, an Oscar winner who does the voice of Scar in The Lion King and is in blockbusters such as Die Hard, Eragon, and The Man in the Iron Mask will be playing Macon Ravenwood.  Viola Davis, who won a Tony award for her work in theater and was in movies such as The Help and Disturbia will play Amma, the keeper of information and secrets about being a Caster.  Emmy Rossum, who is on the Showtime show Shameless, was in the movies The Day After Tomorrow, and The Phantom of the Opera, will portray Ridley Duchannes.  British actress Emma Thompson, who played Professor Trelawney in the Harry Potter movies, did the voice of Elinor in Brave, and starred as Nanny McPhee in the 2005 adaptation will play Mrs. Lincoln a "bible thumpin" hater, as Emma calls her, as well as Sarafine, Lena's dark mother.

The screenplay writer and director is Richard LaGravenese who was the screenwriter for other big movies such as the tear jerker P.S. I Love You as well as A Little Princess and Water for Elephants.  He has several popular movies under his belt so with those type of writing skills and the killer cast he has to work with, Beautiful Creatures may just be one of his best movies to date.    

Is anyone planning on spending there Valentine's Day at the movies?  I'm think this is going to be a girl's night movie more that a Valentine's day movie for myself.  Although Harry Potter will always take the cake for my witch/wizard book and movie I am looking forward to seeing this one.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Luathara by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson

**Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read the other books in the Otherworld trilogy, then you'll want to wait on this review.**

"Meghan Elam knows that she belongs in the Otherworld, but she doesn't know if she's quite ready to take that leap. With Cade on the mend and her mortal family aware of their daughter's true identity, everything seems lined up for her to make a smooth transition into her new life. Unfortunately, Meghan has a mortal enemy, an angry goddess who has not yet given up on her chance for revenge.

As Meghan struggles to find her place in Eile, secrets from a past she knows nothing about well up and threaten to tip the scales even further. And when the Morrigan vows to bring a war down upon the Otherworld, she finds herself stuck in the middle of an epic battle, one that promises to destroy all that she holds dear. In order to save the ones she loves the most, Meghan must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and hope that she will be strong enough to vanquish her enemy once and for all."
Now that she's graduated high school, Meghan is free to live in Eile, the realm of the Otherworld where she was born. It's where she belongs, where she can learn more about her magic and how to use it. Unfortunately, it's also where a powerful goddess lives and wants to kill Meghan so that she can harness her magic and become more powerful than any other Otherworld god or goddess. Thankfully, Meghan's got a few friends - and even some family - who are willing to help protect her from the Morrigan. But will they be enough to rid the Otherworld of the Morrigan's evil once and for all? Luathara is the third and final installment in the Otherworld trilogy by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson.

Like the other two books in this series, I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it was a perfect way to wrap up the trilogy. Something that I fell in love with from the very beginning of the series was the relationship between Cade and Meghan. And this book didn't disappoint in that area at all. I loved how real the relationship felt while I was reading and I'm really glad that my favorite characters got a good ending.

 While I still really enjoyed the way that Johnson incorporated ancient Celtic figures into her story, I think what I loved most about this book was the world that she built for this series. The Otherworld is meant to be this beautiful and magical place in the series. And, while I was reading, I could picture it in my head, thanks to the immense details that the author used to describe the scenery.

One thing I didn't really care for while reading this book is actually a problem I've had with the series from the beginning. That is the overabundance of internal dialogue that we are shown from Meghan. I'm all for seeing inside a character's head, but there comes a point where it begins to hinder my enjoyment of the book. Luckily, this wasn't enough to keep me from loving the book overall, it was a little annoying.

I rate this book: 

If you haven't checked this series out, you have no idea what you're missing. The Otherworld trilogy is full of magic and romance, with a little bit of myth thrown in, too. You guys should definitely check it out. And, if you've already read Faelorehn and Dolmarehn, then it goes without saying that you should pick up Luathara as soon as you can. You won't be disappointed in this ending to the series. 

Jenna Elizabeth Johnson grew up and still resides on the Central Coast of California, a place she finds as magical and enchanting as the worlds she creates. She received a BA in Art Practice with a minor in Celtic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. It was during her time in college that she decided to begin her first novel, The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding. Reading such works as Beowulf, The Mabinogi, and The Second Battle of Maige Tuired in her Scandinavian and Celtic Studies courses finally inspired her to start writing down her own tales of adventure and fantasy. She also enjoys creating the many images and maps for her various worlds. Besides writing and drawing, she is often found reading, gardening, camping, hiking and bird watching. For more on the author and her books, and for contact information, visit or her blog