October 08, 2012

Free E-book - Nebador

Hello everyone!
Despite my missing posts, I am alive and well. Well, sort of. I have been working on my graduation thesis while working around 11 hours per day and attending 5 different classes, so I've been busy.
I've been reading, but not enough, and I've been writing my posts, just never getting around to finish them, so that's why you haven't seen posts around here.

But I do have something for you!

J. Z. Colby, the lovely author of the Nebador series has informed me that to celebrate the release of Book #6 or, as he puts it, the second trilogy of Nebador, the first book of the series is free for download in 3 different formats.

I've been talking about that series for a while now, my review for book #1 (the one for free, above) is here and if you want to hear more about it, browse my reviews here: Nebador tag, just be aware that there are reviews for the 5 books (I'm starting #6 next week) so if you read it all, there may be spoilers.

August 21, 2012

Review: Crossed - Ally Condie

Well hello there!

Just recently, I posted my review for Matched (you can read it here) and if you still didn't read Matched, I'd advise you not to read this review. I will try not to spoil Crossed for anyone, but I can't be held responsible for Matched spoilers.

Now that the warning has been made...

It's not a popular opinion, but I really liked Crossed. I thought it had an amazing world building, it showed us a lot of what people were questioning after Matched and it let us see what Society is really like - on the not so perfect side.

We start seeing Cassia at a kind of forced work camp. She's arranged with her parents to be deemed a rebel and they ask her to be sent there to be disciplined. Actually, they are trying to help her to find Ky.

Ky, on the other hand, has been sent to the Outer Provinces where he is expected to pretend he lives there, pretend he's a settler/farmer while, on the other hand, enduring attacks from "the Enemy" and just die, eventually.

Crossed alternates points of view between Cassia and Ky. We get a small moment of Xander when he visits Cassia - after all, they are still Matched together, their Match was never undone by Society.

Cassia goes off to the Outer Provinces, after Ky, to look for him and, while at it, she also starts looking for the Rising, the last drop of resistance against The Society. She's not quite sure, yet, why she's trying to fight the Society. She's not sure it's all bad, but she wants to love Ky and if she wants that, she must be willing to leave The Society and work with her life the way people used to and more - not only deciding for herself, but fighting all those who want to decide for her.

People say this book is bad and that it's too slow. I sort of agree. But not really. It's not slow, I mean, Matched was slow as hell, this isn't worse, it does, however, show a lot more personal growth for the characters, a lot more of who they are and what they think. Also, we get to know a lot about Ky, which we didn't before, and we get to see so much of the Society's hidden side that I find this book much better than Matched. It's kind of predictable at times, but still surprises us, sometimes. It raises more questions than it answers and I really do hope they answer at least a lot of them on Reached, or I'll be very frustrated. I like books with a decent dose of internal/emotional growth as well as some action and yay new characters.

With Matched, we learnt more about the green tablet and how it keeps people calm (and Cassia's thing with her grandpa over not taking it), how it helps people be controlled, since they are under control, not anxious and not really thinking about their problems. With Crossed, we learn about the blue tablet, the one that is said to help you, if you are caught without food or water, you can just take one and be fine. With Reached we will hear more about the red tablet, I am sure. We know it makes people forget... And how many people have taken it already? What have they all forgotten? How much has been forgotten by society as a whole?

Other questions I'd like answered include (but are not limited to):
- Who is The Enemy and how did they become "The Enemy"? 
- What happened (history-wise) to create the separation between The Society and The Enemy?
- What's with that weird Society Employee who told Cassia that they'd put Ky's name on her card? Why did she lie like that?
- What's with The Rising and what's the connection with The Society?
- What's with Xander? Did he know... (spoiler)?
- What's happened to the artifacts? Where are the things that were "removed" from The Society?
- What's happened to the farmers (sure we know part, but why now?)?
- What's happening in The Society? Why it's getting different?


My guesses on things that will be told/happen on Reached:
- Cassia is the Pilot.
- She's meeting Xander at the end of Crossed.
- The Enemy doesn't exist. It is The Society's way of killing people they can't or won't control and a scare tactic.
- The Rising is not quite as clandestine and not quite as "against" The Society as it wants people to think.
- The red pill has been used in almost everyone. People who can't forget, if found out, become The Rising or Anomalies/Abominations (depending on how dangerous they can be)
- There's something in the past The Society wants forgotten. It's deliberatelly erasing people's pasts.

August 16, 2012

Review: Matched - Ally Condie

I really love dystopias.
But Matched has been on my "To Be Read" pile for months, I just didn't get to it and it wasn't pulling me in. It did feel like a decent distopia, but it also felt too teen-ish and Twilight-y.

The story tells us about Cassia, a teenager of the Society. Where she lives, the government and all its ramifications is called The Society and it's all perfect. Her life is all planned - they control everything, where she lives, what she eats, where she goes to school, where she goes to work and, more than anything, who she's going to marry and all their actions together (children, houses, jobs) but that is not considered a bad thing, they are not really opressed, but they are happy, they understand that only the Society knows what is best for them, since they have the technology and methods to predict what each person should have.

Cassia is fine with it and excited about it. She's 15 and she's going to her Matching Banquet, where she will meet her Match, the person she is most compatible to in the whole of Society and who she's going to marry.

It's very unlikely to be Matched with someone you aleady know. With so many people all over the Society, the probability is small, but that's exactly what happens to Cassia: she is Matched with one of her best friends, Xander, and it feels right. When they tell her he's her Match, she feels like she should've known, since they like each other very much and that the Society is always so right, they knew it even when she didn't.

But when her card flickers and another face shows up, a face she knows too, but that wasn't an option, she starts to question everything. She is sure the Society knows what it's doing... But does it? Ky is so mysterious and sweet. He knows so much and tells so little... And Cassia has a desire to know.

This is where I stopped writing this review, months ago. I have conflicted feelings up to this day. Even after reading the sequel. Let me try to explain...

This book is slow. When you think back, nothing happens in it and it makes you turn pages quickly because the scenes and all of the plot could have taken half the book to happen, but, on the other hand, taking as long, allows you to know much more about The Society and that's what attracted me that much. You see, I didn't like the pace, but I did love the setting of the story and that's, mostly, what's kept me reading. I'm sort of over YA love triangles... But not while I'm reading them.

There's this thing, where... While you are reading the book, you don't feel like it's silly or dumb or teen-ish. But when you finish and review it, you decide that it's not really that good, that's mostly written for love-sick teenagers. And then you go wild and read the sequel. lol

Cassia is not really a passive girl, which was interesting. She had her doubts, she's just a teen after all and she's lived all her life without thinking - without even thinking about thinking - so you have to give her some credit, but she decided that life is worth living - REALLY living - and that people deserve to be, well, people, with rights and wrongs, with issues and loves and all that comes with it. I respect that.

I recommend Matched to people who enjoy a love triangle, who enjoy dystopias (Admirable New World style) and who aren't bothered when the book doesn't have much action.

Stay tuned for my review of Crossed, Matched's sequel.

You can buy Matched at Amazon.

August 13, 2012

About Blogging

Well hello there!

You might have noticed that I've been kind of gone and now kind of back? All my... 5 readers or so :)
I'm really convinced of the theory that the less time you have, the more you do, because you end up making the most of your time. That's what's happening to me lately.

I'm doing 5 classes at college (which is the most that someone will do, since that means 5 nights a week) and working all day (8am to 7pm). Aside from that, I maintain 2 and a half blogs, so that's a lot of work.

For a while now, I've let this blog down, poor thing, and I have so many reviews late. Mostly books I've bought or won in giveaways or in gifts, but still they deserve their reviews!

I've also decided to play with the layout, as you can see, I'm using a basic one now. That's because DisqUs wouldn't show the "x comments" thing on my main page with my old layout (which I loved, but just didn't work right!), so I'm trying a new one... But I didn't get to changing the header or, well, anything, just yet.

I'm back to writing reviews, I think my block is over, and I've been reading quite a lot lately, so that's really good, because my list is huge nowadays.

These 5 classes I'm taking are, actually, my last ones. I'm graduating college this year, finally, and then I'm taking at least a year off. I need it, definitely. I will have a few chaotic months near the end of the semester, so I can't promise I'll keep on posting like I am now (I'm aiming at 2 times a week), but I will be posting as often as possible.

So, that's about it. Just wanted to give you some news... And keep on checking back, I'll be posting several new reviews this month :)

August 10, 2012

Review: The Do-Over - Andrew Hessel

May I say I'm in awe?

I just finished "The Do-Over" by Andrew Hessel and, well, it's been a while since I stopped what I had to do and did what I wanted to do: write this review. It's been a while since I finished a book by wasting one good hour of much needed sleep and then spent another 30 minutes laying awake thinking of it. It's been a while since I last ran to the computer to write a review.

That's not to say I didn't absolutelly love the books I finished reading before this one. That's just to say that The Do-Over has touched me. So let's do this!

Summary: Kimberly Ann “Kiki” Kinsler is a twenty-one year-old college student excited to be returning home to Portland, Oregon for summer break and eager to see her family. Instead of the happy homecoming that she anticipates, Kiki’s world is upended by an unimaginable tragedy. Her parents and younger sister are dead, victims of Little Mo Biggs, a tragically accidental monster, himself a victim of profound parental neglect and abuse. Kiki is also attacked and hospitalized but survives. In the hospital, when all appears lost, she is given an opportunity to wipe away the nightmare, to un-do it, and correct the senseless tragedy. A second chance, a wonderful, improbable, and miraculous gift, that doesn’t come easily. To reclaim her future, Kiki must first correct the injustices of Little Mo’s past, which can only be corrected at the root. In doing so, she learns that home is more than a place, it is also a time, and must confront the parallel challenges of life and love, past and present, in a love story with a foot in each world, 2012 and 1981.
Kiki is an ordinary undergrad student, with a best friend, two years out of her parents' house, just broke up with a crappy boyfriend... Until tragedy sets in.

Little Mo Biggs is a poor young man, with brain damage and badly abused.

Their paths cross and life will never be the same. Kiki will have to understand that evils can be undone, using The Gift, given by The Guardian.

There's also Jenna, who is Kiki's best friend and so much like my own best friend and my relationship with her that I could feel their relationship rather than reading it and there's Clark, who is Kiki's father's best friend and sort of like a favorite uncle to Kiki.

Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but I loved this book very badly. Just as the movie "Somewhere in Time" (which Kiki actually watched, back in 1981), we see, along with the people trying to fix the present/future, a love story. One that transcends time itself.

It saddens me. I don't understand people who think "Somewhere in Time" is a beautiful love story - it is a tragic love story, since whenthe guy goes back to his time, she is dead! I mean that's SO sad, she's lived all her life just to be able to give him the means to go back to her. It reminds me of Doctor Who (River Song's story, if anyone follows the series).

There's nothing just as tragic in The Do-Over, but there is something very similar and it broke my heart. The ending really hurt me and I hope we see more of Kiki Kinsler and that we actually see that part of the story fixed.

I only have one complaint and it is a minimal one... The descriptions of Oregon and the city of Portland are a bit too much and I got lost in them, since I don't know the city or the state and it made me feel strange reading all of that since it didn't add up to the plot. But still, it didn't bother me that much.

I really loved the book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy/sci-fi/love story. I mean, really, how can we have so many cool things all at once? :D

You can buy The Do-Over at Amazon.

August 02, 2012

Review - Silent Partner - Jennifer Chase

Silent Partner by Jennifer Chase is a police book, about a K9 (canine) officer (Jack Davis) and his loyal partner - a dog, of course.

When you read Silent Partner, it looks more like some ordinary Law and Order episode, but with a bit more of a background, since we hear more about the officer and we get to see some different Point of Views.

It's taken me months to finish this review, because I'm not quite sure what to tell without spoiling, I'm not quite sure how I feel about it either.

I wasn't very much into the book at first, specially since the theme appeals more to me as a TV show or movie than a book, but I kept on reading and I don't regret it, since the ending makes a lot of difference. 

I love dogs, my family has had dogs for all of my life and German Sheppards for most of that time, so I'm very attached to large, beautiful police dogs. There are two injured dogs during the book and my heart went with the police officers - they too grow attached to their partners, as if they are humans and, well, sometimes more than humans - and when one of the dogs die, well, I cried a little, I admit it, since I remembered my German Sheppard who died a bit over a year ago. She had diabetes, it wasn't anything "criminal" but it hurts a lot.

What I can say about Silent Partner is that not everyone is what they look to be and not every victim or suspect is such a thing, even if we are reading their minds, they might not even know it themselves.

Megan, suspect of killing her sister and other women, is Jack's childhood friend and former girlfriend, and has suffered a severe trauma which leads her to developing agoraphobia.

Darrell is trying to make some money and all that stand on his way is Megan, so driving her insane or getting her arrested is an interesting idea.

If it wasn't for the ending - which I did not see coming, even with my years of law/police shows, I wouldn't have considered this book so high, but now I must say I liked it very much.

You can buy Silent Partner at Amazon.

July 22, 2012

Interview - Rebecca Forster

Hello people! After a long time without posts, I bring you something really cool. Please welcome Rebecca Forster, an amazing author of thrillers, on an interview. She's worked on advertising, she's wrote traditionally published books and she's been publishing her books the indie way. She's achieved "bestselling" status, which is something all authors would want to and you can read all of her books digitally. Check it out on her E-thrillers page or her Early Books page.

More information: http://www.rebeccaforster.com

- After publishing traditionally, why go Indie? 
I could see traditional publishing changing. Book stores were closing, retail outlets were cutting back on space for books, and the costs of production were rising. That meant that traditional publishers were tightening up on what they were buying, distribution was limited, and retail costs were rising. Like any author, I want people to read my work (and hopefully love it) and with the new distribution channels, publishing independently seemed like a great opportunity. I love that my work will never be 'out of print', that I can price my novels so that even the most voracious reader can afford them, and that there is potential for readers in other countries. This is a very exciting time for writers.

- How many books do you have nowadays? Traditionally and independently published? 
I have written 25 books and am working on number 26. Of those, 3 are independently published: Expert Witness (book 4 of the legal thriller series), Before Her Eyes (a thriller with a fantasy edge), Wilde's Gamble (a fun, short, romantic suspense)

- Do you write more than one book at a time? 
 I have many books planned, but when I write I concentrate on one at a time. With the witness series, however, I pay close attention because a detail that appears in any of the books might have consequences on the next ones. Readers are very sharp and will notice.

- Do you have a favorite among your own books?
Each book is special at the time I write it, but there are two that stand out. Before Her Eyes was inspired by personal events - the passing of my father and father-in-law within three months of each other. I wondered what people would sacrifice to stay alive and what your last thoughts as death approaches. Those were the themes I explored in this thriller. Hostile Witness, the first in the witness series, is also a favorite because the characters are so real to me. I love the way they grow with each book, but I first 'met' them in Hostile Witness.

- What are your favorite or least favorite scenes to write? 
I am not very good at sex scenes. I love portraying relationships, but I get too embarrassed by anything graphic. I guess that's why I write thrillers.

- Which genre do you feel it would be a challenge to write? 
Science fiction would be the most challenging. I would love to try my hand at dystopian literature.

- Do you relate more to any of your characters? Why? 
I love Hannah. even though she's sixteen-years-old she is an old soul, a loner, but a person filled with incredible honor and courage. I tend to be a bit of a loner, and I hope I would be as honorable as Hannah if I were faced with a dire situation.

- Which writer/book would you mention as an inspiration? 
Stephen King. Scott Turow.I love those two authors. I think King is a master of characterization, and I love Turow's plots.

- Do you read much? What kind of books do you usually read? 
I don't read much when I'm working. When I'm between books, I read a ton. Lately, I've been reading indie authors. I am in awe of the talent that is out there. David Wisehart (Devil's Lair) was the first indie I read and it was beyond fantastic. I usually read thrillers but this was a historical fantasy based on Dante's inferno. Not only smartly written but incredibly exciting. Johnny Oops by Arthur Levine and The Santa Shop by Tim Greaton are some incredible indie novels I've read lately.

- What inspires you? And how's your writing environment - music, place, etc.?
Funny you should ask. I just started doing Pintrest and the first board I put up was about things that inspire me. I am inspired by the small things people do - the way they look and sound, how they hold themselves. I'm inspired by my mom and my sons (one's in the Peace Corps and the other is striking out with his own business). I travel a lot and am inspired by destinations - city or country, land or sea. I used to try to work at home but I got too distracted. For the last 12 years I've gone to a small coffee shop near my home. It's very eclectic. I start to write about seven in the morning and leave around one or two in the afternoon. There are come regulars but there are always new people coming in. I plug into talk radio or music (country western, show tunes, classical). Then it's home to chores or to answer e-mails. There's always something to do. Writing is only part of the process. Every minute of the day is filled with something related the the current WIP or books that are already published.

- What are your plans for the future, writing-wise? 
New books, sequels, publishing deals, etc.I recently signed with Trident Media Group with the intent of exploring traditional opportunities while still pursuing indie publishing. I've been re-energized as an indie - pushing creative boundaries, being responsible for the total package, interacting more with readers - this is truly the Wild West of publishing and it's a thrill. I also have two screenplays in development - one based on my USA Today bestseller, Keeping Counsel - and another which is a sweet romantic comedy inspired by my grandfather. The witness series is in talks to become a television series. Fingers crossed. You just never know what can happen.

My work in progress is Eyewitness, book 5 of the series. I hope to publish it in November or early December. There is one more witness book planned after that. Then I would like to take Before Her Eyes and create a series based on the sheriff, Dove Connelly. I love the overlay of fantasy in the forest town in which he works. There is always a real explanation for what happens but following the fantasy path was such an exciting thing for me as a writer.

June 15, 2012

Review - Prologue - Greg Ahlgren

Hello you all!

I bring you today a book called Prologue, which falls perfectly into two of my favorite genres - History and Sci fi.
Greg Ahlgren brings us a world where the Soviet Union has won the Cold War (which wasn't so cold after all) and the United States is now part of it. Actually, half the world is Communist.
Our heroes, Paul DeVere and former Special Operations Officer Lewis Ginter have discovered a way of working with wormholes and going back in time. With that, they develop a plan to go to the past and change the course of history. But the soviets are on to them, Igor Rostov and Natasha Nikitin are watching them to find out what they are doing and how can they stop them.

I absolutely loved the story. Sci fi and history mixed up, both genres get this girl moving and in love.

We also have Amanda, to complicate the story, who is Paul's ex-girlfriend from years ago, who was shipped to the most soviet part of the soviet countries to study and be taught just how to be a good comrade.

The questions asked are important: if we change the future, what happens to us and the ones we love? Why are some people supporting the soviet system if even them are crazy to go to the not-so-soviet parts of the USA? And could that really have happened?

I think Greg has painted a very well done picture, considering several alternatives, several pieces, that put together avoided the advance of communism, but if apart, might have let open the frontiers.

The explanation to how the USA becomes part of the soviet union is perfect and it makes sense - conquer and fear, so instead of a cold war, we get a war war, and a dirty one at it.

Our characters here have fears and ambitions, they want revenge, love, friendship and are suspicious of each other, they are real people. They choose their paths, not always the best one, not always the right one, not always the easy one either, but they choose and work the best they can.

I think one of the most interesting things, aside form the human drama that surprises us around the end of the book and is, because of that, a spoiler, it's how we can see that changing the past isn't so easy. Who would believe you? How can you choose one moment, one definite point of time that can be changed and that will result on whatever you want? Are there such things?

I mean, if you wanted to change the world today, what would you do? When would you go back and what would you do there? And how?!
You can't talk people out of what they wanted, how would you prove you are from the future? Wouldn't they just lock you up? Because if someone came to me today saying they were from the future, I very much doubt they'd stay out of the mental institution...

Either way, I don't want to tell much about the story, because I don't want to spoil it. Parts of it I thought a bit predictable, like what they were going to do to change history, but a major part I could not discover before it was happening and, I must say, the signs were there, but so well placed that I couldn't see - that's a major thing to say.

Recommended to: Sci fi fans, history fans and everyone who likes a good "what if".

Available at Amazon Kindle or Nook, Amazon paperback.

June 01, 2012

Review: Heartless - Gail Carriger

Hello there.

Heartless was called, by some, a passage novel. That it was there to fill the blank between Blameless and Timeless. I agree partially.

From here on, there will be spoilers of Soulless, Changeless and Blameless. Be warned!

So, after our beloved Alexia manages to get back with her Lord Maccon, they go back to England, she gets her position back and they end up with still more problems, of course.

Because the vampires that wanted her dead on the previous book, well, they still do. And they send undead porcupines to do the trick of luring her husband out while some vampire finishes her off. I mean, really, undead porcupines? How cool is that?

Either way, Professor Lyall, the genious on the bunch, finds a solution - one that Alexia doesn't exactly love, that Lord Maccon doesn't like at all, but that will have to do. Alexia and Conall's baby will have to be adopted out. The vampires are worried that such a powerful and important being will be dangerous if raised by werewolves. So the Woolsey Pack Beta believes that it can be countered if a vampire adopts the child - and who better than Lord Akeldama to do it? Trustworthy and not tied to any hive, a friend of the family and always well informed, with an army of dandy drones, he'll be perfect to raise the baby in all the niceties of England's society.

Of course, Lady and Lord Maccon want to keep up with the baby so they rent the house next door and end up living on Lord Akeldama's second best closet. Secretly, of course.

Biffy, who is now a werewolf, because of the "accidents" of the previous book is having a hard time to adapt, so he's taken to the city along with Lady Maccon, Floote and some others, so to make everyone more comfortable.

At the same time, we have Alexia's sister Felicity joining the sufragette movement (le gasp!) and showing up to live with Alexia, since she's been kicked out, aparently.

Madame Lefoux is a rare show on this book, but she has a great part and a great reason to be away. We find more about Professor Lyall's past and it's simply heartbreaking, we find out more about the Woolsey Pack's past, how was the previous Alpha, we find out more about the treason that made Maccon leave -specially since Alexia decides it is important for a current problem and she must find out. We also find out more about Madame Lefoux and Former Lefoux, Genevieve's late aunt and a thing or two about ghosts, who seem to form some sort of... Whispernet... To talk to people who are away from where they are thetered.

Back to my first statement, this book does feel like an in between thing - it's there to show Alexia pregnant and to hold space for Timeless - but, at the same time, it's got a decent story in it and it explains so much about the past that I just loved to hear, specially Lyall's story and a lot of Lord Akeldama.

There're the food talks, the dress and hat talks, the setting of the real Parasol Protectorate - finally! - where Ivy Tunstell is nominated a member of a secret society and reveals herself to be not as shallow and silly as we first thought.

There is that one moment where you are screaming at the book "don't do that you fool, don't you know vampires??" but then again, you must forgive Alexia, she's enormous, she's in pain and she's trying to help while her husband and the whole pack is, well, locked up.

All in all, another one of Gail Carriger's masterpieces. Totally worth it, even if not her best work, simply because it leads to Timeless.

Oh, and I must say, it is NOT my favorite cover, right along with Soulless. My favorites would be Blameless and Timeless, definitely.

May 24, 2012

Review: Blameless - Gail Carriger

Hello all!

Today I bring you another review of this series I love so badly, The Parassol Protectorate. You can read the previous reviews of Soulless and Changeless, before we start.
Also, be aware, there will be spoilers of both Soulless and Changeless, since they are needed to better talk about Blameless.

You've been warned.

We begin the book with Alexia Maccon unfortunately stuck at the Loontwill's home. Again. Not as a spinster, but as a married woman with, well, problems. When one's husband is a werewolf and one's pregnant, well, something must be explained - this is not Twilight, after all and Werewolves just don't have children. It's not done!
So Alexia is casted out from the Shadow Council, from her home and marriage, from the Woolsey Pack, from society, since she must've been "indiscreet". Well that's absurd, Alexia would never do such thing - she finds most people impossible to even talk to, why would she do that when her husband is, well, such a big piece of man...
Gail Carriger delivers another one of her masterpieces, with witty comments and steampunk fantasy goodyness.

I just adore the setting of the story, with Alexia, who is a wonderful main character, with the vampires and werewolves, who are amazingly well written and the whole steampunk thing which is amazing. I mean, really, killing clockwork-ish ladybugs? Just a-may-zing. Ah, and the dresses and the parasol, of course.

So Alexia is cast out of everything she found on book 1 and everything she loves. Along with that, the only one who can really help her understand, our favorite fashionable vampire, is gone. Poof, possibly turned into glitter. Ok, not really glitter, he swarmed, which means he was in immediate danger and he ran away.

Professor Lyall is left to investigate the dissappearance of Lord Akeldama and Lord Maccon getting drunk on any kind of alcohol he can find (which is very hard for a werewolf), while Alexia decides that a trip to Italy to talk with the Templars, the only people who may possibly know anything about her "delicate condition". She takes Floote and Madame Lefoux, as help and protection, and travels to Italy in a "not so swift" travel, as anything Alexia does.

I'm not going into detail as to how things go, since that would be bad, mean, ugly spoilers, but I simply love how Alexia conducts things. Since she is soulless, her answers are what we would call sceptical. When asked what she thinks of "this lovely city" she goes "well, it's orange", since it was all so orange and, aparently, she is soulless and can't see the beauty and magic of things. I happen to disagree, I think she sees the beauty of things, just not the futile things, futile ideas and, well, maybe I am soulless too ;)

Floote is one interesting guy and I like how he shows up more here and on the following books. I also adore Lyall and I think he makes everything more interesting, such a perfect gentleman, so impecable and a perfect Beta.

I have so much more to talk about the characters, but I will wait to tell on my review for the next book. I strongly advise everyone to read these books, they are lovable, unbearably cute, amazingly fun and just all around awesomeness. Stay tuned for reviews of Heartless and Timeless.

May 07, 2012

Review: Nebador #5 - Back to the Stars - J. Z. Colby

There is no way out. Now, they're part of the Manessa crew, they're out in space and they just won't be able to run away anymore.

Rini, again, makes a bad decision. He's a good boy, he's just what we'd call airheaded. But that's not exactly that: he's contemplative. He can meditate for years and never reach the edge of his patience, he jumped into adventure more than anyone else, simply because he wants to see what else is there and that's how he gets into trouble right at the first page of the book, he contemplates so much, he stays there, staring at the stars and forgets that he must get inside before he runs out of air.

The rest of the crew ends up saving him, but he learns the lesson - there are times to let yourself get lost in thoughts and watch the universe and there are moments when you need to be aware or you and other people might get hurt.

This is the fifth book of the Nebador Series, called "Back to the Stars", it shows how 4 former slaves and  one innkeeper's daughter end up flying an intergalactic ship. This specific book shows our lovely ones flying away from their planet and into the stars, into experiences that they can't even imagine. If the previous books show them learning things way beyond their rank on that planet, their possibilities and more than anyone on that planet would know for ages, this book shows them growing up. It shows them becoming more adult, more developed, than most adults on Earth, nowadays.

We watch our crew get too close to the Sun, explore new worlds, solve puzzles - oh I love a good puzzle! - and meeting new people! They stumble into another ship and it's crew, but they have this interesting feature: they are birds! And Manessa's crew must get used to talking to people of different "buildings", not only the kind they know, that is monkey-human like.

Also, they get, accidentally, into a desperate situation and neither Ilika, with all his experience, nor Manessa can help them out. They are trapped and they must ready themselves to die. Some are ready faster than others, some are more reluctant, but they all learn the lesson - and move on with the flight, as this will not be the last on the series and no reader would think they would trully die, right? I guess that's the negative part of knowing there are many more books on the series, it's almost impossible to imagine the author "killing" all of the characters.

Ilika himself has been learning so much. He's experienced as a crew member, but not as a captain, so he, too, must learn how to work with his crew, even if he's had this training before. Specially, he must learn about his feelings and how they'll work there, how not to push or expect things these people may not give him and yet, train them to be real people from Nebador, with a smile on the face while the universe is trying to crush you.

The crew gets to meet one of the big people from Nebador, the "golden light" that's helped them before, on the fires of Lumber Town and that made the lights dance during Miko's funeral. The power that had to make sure they were ready. That was probably the best part of the book to me, she was beautiful and the whole part was very interesting, with love and devotion, acceptance and guidance.

At the end, we see our crew getting ready to travel beyond their solar system, having to use much of what they've learnt and learning the secret and the why, why wouldn't their people ever leave their solar system unless they change so much - and maybe never leave at all - but I won't spoil that for you. ;)

This book also has two short stories, Buna's New World and First Taste of Freedom, but I admit it, I wasn't too fond of them. You see, they are set on the time of the first book and I just can't relate to that anymore. I would feel much more connected to them if they were set with those characters, the ones we left behind, but after the Selection, it would be much more interesting.

I'm looking forward to Book 6: Star Station, dying to know what's there and what kind of people they will meet. Summer 2012 can't come fast enough!

You can buy Nebador: Back to the Stars here or click here to see all the places where you can find it.
You can also read my reviews for books One, Two, Three and Four.

April 15, 2012

Review: Slippery Souls - Sunray Bay Series - Rachael Dixon

Libby is an ordinary girl, with a decently ordinary life, with a crappy boyfriend and a dog.
This one sunny day, she goes out to buy some milk with her dog Rufus, since her crappy boyfriend left her without any milk, she was just deciding that she would leave said crappy boyfriend when she dies. She's hit by a car, rather suspiciously, I might add.
Suddenly, she wakes up in the afterlife and her dog can talk.

She's in Sunray Bay, a little city by the sea, full of dead people.

But the afterlife isn't quite loving and peaceful, something is odd about it. She's left with no clue, no food and no extra clothing other than the one she died in.
Suddenly some creepy guy yells at her for being with a dog, another VERY creepy guy, high on something, keeps staring at her and suddenly, he steals her purse. Great, dead AND without money for icecream!

By then she's irritated and hot, it's very hot at Sunray Bay, and, most of all, confused. She meets Grim, a hot hot HOT Peace & Order Maintenance officer.

Grim is tall, dark and mean. And a jerk. Libby stays away from him but, it seems, they keep bumping into each other and they sort of save each other a few times before deciding that, well, they are both being hunted by people, they might as well try to be alive together-ish. Well, Libby decides, not Grim. He refuses. She's pushy - I love that.

I also love that she admits, clearly, she's in for lust. She's not hopelessly in love with him, he's not her soul mate or the love of her... well, death. He's just too damn hot and she wants a piece of that. Got to love an honest lady.

Sunray Bay isn't a place for your normal dead. Some just slip away, to wherever the other side is. Sunray Bay is sort of like the Purgatory, with monsters and criminals, some being able to redeem themselves and some not.
The real issue on the book is how did Libby ended up there? She's neither a monster nor a criminal. But I won't spoil it for you - it is revealed, of course, eventually.

But why are these people after her? Why are they after Grim? And why do these people do what they do?

As much as this phrase is a cliche, this book is a page turner, quick paced and full of emotion. I like Libby as a strong heroin and, gosh, I love my strong heroins! 

A soulless heroin, since her soul ended up in her dog and that's why he can talk, a fun and loving dog - I'm such a dog person - and a hot hot bad boy, along with some both good and bad monsters (mostly vampires and werewolves, but also ghouls, zombies and those other supernaturals) is a perfect recipe for a succesful book.

Slippery Souls has left a good bunch of questions unanswered, so I'm looking forward to Sunray Bay Series' second book, called The Forgotten Ones.

I recommend to all Urban Fantasy lovers, specially those who like kick ass heroins.

Available to download from Amazon, Smashwords - and from most other e-book distributors.
Also available in paperback from FeedARead and from most online book distributors.

April 02, 2012

Review: Fall of Giants - Ken Follett

Hello friends! It's with really heavy heart that I come today to write this review. Not because the book is bad, don't fool yourselves, but because it is just too good. I feel, sadly, I'll never be able to write a review that reflects how much it impressed me.

Kenneth Martin Follett is a Welsh writer, graduated in Philosophy by the University College, in London, started his carreer as a journalist, first on the South Wales Echo and then on the Evening Standard. His greatest success was "Pillars of the Eart" and Fall of Giants is his latest book, first one on the "The Century"  trilogy.

Fall of Giants talks about World War I, but without pointing fingers and trying to find guilt or innocence and that’s where it’s different from other books and movies about that theme. Americans are still considered a bit more “good guys” than the others, but all people involved have the right to show their side of the story and how, despite trying, there was no way of avoiding the war, because of the governments and their self defense, ego and greed.
The trilogy The Century talks about the 20th century, branded by its three grand happenings: World War I, World War II and the Cold War, happenings that branded and altered the course of mankind.

The story covers 9 years, from 1911 to 1920, showing the time before the war, the situation in Europe, until the after war and shows some of the reasons for World War II. Not only Europe's situation is covered, but also the Russian Revolution of 1917, the USA and their struggle with Mexico, who believes they were stolen on some territories (California, New Mexico, Arizona, if I'm not mistaken, correct me if I'm wrong because I couldn't find the quote), the situation of the colonies on European countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania, among others.

And how does the author do it? How can he put together so many themes, places and point of view? Well, it's simple and complex at the same time! The book is 900 pages long, maybe that would explain it, but many books are 900 pages long and don't tell such complex stories (like A Game of Thrones or even Lord of the Rings that, despite being wonderful books, they never tell the point of view, for example, of the said villains)... So, what's the trick? The trick, dear readers, are the characters: the main characters are 5 different families, from different social status and nationalities.

- The Williams, welsh, with the "Union Dai" and Cara, Billy and Ethel and Gramper, but, actually, Dai and Cara are called Da and Ma, because who tells the story are Billy and Ethel. Billy is, actually, William Williams and is also called of Billy with Jesus, Double Billy, among others, because everyone has a nickname, since names and last names are all very common and there are many people with the same names.
- The Fitzherberts, noble British, with Fitz, head of the family and a Count, Bea, his wife, a russian princess and Maud, his sister, single at the old age of 23, a sufragette (feminist), with political visions completelly diferent from her brother.
- Robert, from Austria and his cousin, Walter, German, both working for the government of their countries but in England, friends of the Fitzherbert.
- Gus Dewar, American, of a certain American aristocracy, families that have money for generations, soon becomes President Wilson's advisor.
- Lev and Grigori, orfan russian brothers, poor, opressed by the system, trying to run away to the USA to live "The American Dream", in which one manages to go and the other ends up being part of the Russian Revolution.

All of these families cross eachother's path, one of the russians goes through the Williams' town before heading to the USA, ending up in Gus Dewar's city, the Fitzherbert's, friends of Robert and Walter, enemies of the war, Ethel, housekeeper at Fitz's home and, later, getting envolved in politics with Maud and, after that, alone. One of the russians meets Walter, when the german start financing the Bolchevique Revolution in Russia, with the hope that they'll leave the war, among other crossings that I don't want to tell so I don't spoil the story.

Since we get to see all of the sides to the story, the aristocracy and the people, the opressed and the opressors, we get to understand history as never before. Human history was never as clear, it was never, exactly, human. In school, they taught us that German said that and England said this and German caused the war. Basically, despite showing us a lot, what is passed until today is that it was Germany's fault and on this book we can see clearly that many people and countries could've stopped both World Wars, but they didn't want to, the preferred to squeeze and push to make sure their own ego would come out on top, to ensure their pride not to be hurt, that, maybe, they would have more land and ensure their right to boss around other people.
While the book as a whole is a story of struggle, be it in politics, economy or literally (war, violence), it is also a book of love, the two strenghts that move the world: love and hate. Couples get together, get married, have children, couples fight, but usually get together again, specially because of the period - it wasn't "right" for a couple to split up. Some families are destroyed by war, some are united.

What I understood is that the books will be following eachother, maybe with a slight separation of years among them, but connected, using the same families: the couples that started the books, but also their children and grandchildren, until the end of the century and I'm looking forward to read the rest - too bad it'll only come out late this year and who knows when it'll be out in Brazil.

Ken Follett skilfully deals with all these characters and many secondary characters, including real people, like Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, Lênin, Trotsky, Stalin (who's definitely going to who up more on the next books), the King of England, the Russian Kzar, the German Kaizer, etc. And dealing with the different social levels, showing that the popular revolution made a difference, but that the nobleman didn't understand what they were dealing with - specially in Russia, they had no idea.

It shows that there were no good and bad, right and wrong, perfect. Everyone had their motives, their passions, who wanted the war and who wanted the peace, all had their reasons, more or less noble, but none incomprehensible (as much as it was greed, it's easy to underrstand, from the point of view of someone who's always had it all).

It's interesting to see how power corrupts, poverty changes a wealhty person, how some adapt well, seeking everyone's good and some whine more than do something to change: it's a mirror of our current society, after all, who studies history, understand the present.

March 22, 2012

Review: Nebador #4 - Flight Training - J. Z. Colby

Well hello there!

I'm back with the Nebador Series. I can't tell you how much I adore this series!
I'm divided, I'm glad it goes to book 8 (and who knows, maybe more), but I'm sad it'll take long for them to be out (2014 for book 8). But hey, at least it's no Song of Ice and Fire, taking 5 or more years between books :)

I finished book 4, "Flight Training" and Book 5 "Back to the Stars" but I started writing this review while I was still reading book 5, since I was starting to mix them up.

Author J. Z. Colby has been nice to send me a copy of the latest two books, after I reviewed the previous ones, so I must thank him deeply.

We find our crew right where we left them at The Selection, stopped at the desert, starting their real training. They already know well their beloved ship Manessa and their captain, Ilika, but now it's time for some real learning.
Altitute and movement training get some of the crew members spilling their guts - and not on the talking way. Also, all of our friends have their own issues to solve, including fear of heights, fear of the dark, fear of closed spaces and so on.

Kibi considers to run away. Mati thinks about going back to one of her previous choices. Rini makes a bad mistake, but makes the right decision, in the end.

With this Flight Training, we get to see our crew in action, solving puzzles and knowing more about their home world. Aside from that, we get a pretty big scare in one part, but they work it out.

As Ilika is, we are proud of our little crew members. We are happy to see how much they learnt and grew and we are sure Ilika did the right choice, they were the best he could've found.

I am considering to read Book 1 (The Test) again, as now I know what comes, I know who's who, I think I can appreciate it even more.

After going all over the world and  knowing some interesting points (the tallest mountain, the deepest ocean, some different cities), Manessa's crew flies out of the planet, into orbit. That's where we leave them and that's where we'll find them again on Book 5 - Back to the Stars.

I loved the book, as I loved most of the series (Book one had major potential but I had a hard time loving it, which is why I'm thinking of re-reading it), I thought that after they had learnt all those things and knew of the real shape, form and nature of Manessa and Ilika, there wasn't much more to learn and not much would happen - I was afraid the book could be a bit boring, since the characters were all pretty much developed.

Boy was I wrong.

The characters are nowhere near ready - as we all aren't. That was silly of me to think. They are only teenagers and young adults and they have a lot of personal and professional development to work through, Ilika included.

I was sad that we don't get to see the previous characters anymore, I thought, all the time, we'd get a glimpse of Buna, Toli, Neti and Misa, but I guess the author is leaving it for young writers and readers to write their own short stories, like the ones published along with the series books.

You can find Nebador Book Four: Flight Training on several shops in several different editions, see them here. 

Also, you can read my previous reviews of the series here: Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

March 12, 2012

Review: Sunrise Over Disney - by Bert

Hello readers!

I entered a giveaway for this book on Goodreads, and I ended up getting a copy for review, which I thank the author very much.
Technically, this book isn't by Bert, but by L.N. Smith (which is also a pen name, it seems). And yet, it IS Bert who writes it.

This is a complicated book. It's not properly fiction, but it is fiction. If you've read Sophie's World or anything by Jostein Gaarden you probably know what I mean - it is meant to teach people, but also fascinate and entertain.

The book tells the story of awakening, of learning and of the world today and tomorrow.
You only understand that if you went all the way through, it's impossible to understand before then. It has something to do with Disney, but not really. It is about Walt Disney, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln and so many others, but what it is most about it us. Human beings. Normal and ordinary humans.

We start by meeting Bert and Mary, their two children Michael and MJ and the rest of the family, specially "Mom" and "Dad", Bert's parents, and Uncle Albert. We also hear about Mom and Dad's proposal to take the whole family to a Disney World trip, which they reluctantly accept - by Bert's incentive.

We get to know Disney World and it's history, as well as Walt Disney's history.
We discuss, along with the author, how can someone very prejudiced also be a good person and when or how cna we judge people without forgetting that we must consider their environment and time on history.
We end up keeping company to Bert while he learns and tries to decide what to do with his life - it's a difficult thing, for some people, I understand. On one hand, you want to keep on learning and learning and on the other, you must "grow up" and get a job, take up responsabilities... But, specially on the job department, you usually end up doing several of the same things over and over again, which kills the learning for you, and for some people, learning is much more important and much more interesting...

Bert says that there is so much that people should learn and they don't know even how to start. Things that may challenge their beliefs so he proposes that it's made into a Disney ride, where people have fun while learning and  if it so happens to be way too much in the way of their beliefs, they may dismiss it, as the entertaining experience it is - and it still might make its way into their subconscious mind.

I found it to be a very entertaining book, while teaching, which is something I love. It is a "not so easy" book, while it's not hard, it's just definitely not a summer afternoon reading.

You can buy the book here.

March 06, 2012

Review: The Phantom's Legacy: Family Secrets - Ann M. Kraft

Well hello there!
I've reviewed Ann Kraft's work before, The Opera Ghost Lives and The Red Diamond of Nadirijna.

After reading The Phantom's Legacy: Family Secrets I can tell, for sure, that Ann is an amazing author, with lovable characters and deep family plots. On the other hand, I believe that her being amazing tends to let me down on sequels. I've been slightly put down by The Red Diamond of Nadirijna and now Ann shows me just how amazing she is, again, which makes me think the problem isn't me, it is that Erik on that book really just isn't quite as cool.
The Phantom's Legacy - Family Secrets is a contemporary book, where we meet Amanda Slaughter, a history teacher, who loves antiques. She ends up buying a dresser that is full with old papers and evidence on a long lost mistery.
Her "old stuff" must have a story, they can't be just old stuff, so the owner of these "old stuff" agrees to let her buy a piano, that just happens to come with the owner's great-grandchild, Ayrik.
The plot develops sort of the same way that The Opera Ghost Lives - they meet, they work together to discover some of the plot hidden by a deceased family member of one of the two and they end up finding out much more about others and themselves than they intended to.
I can't speak much more about it or I would be spoiling it, but I must say that I fell in love with the characters. Ann sure knows how to build loveable people, with flawed backgrounds and definitely confusing families.
We, who read the previous books, know in a second that Ayrik is Erik and Amalie's descendant, Louisa's family. But I'd be a bit happier if there was someone in the family with the same deformity as Erik's, maybe not on their face, I don't know, since it was supposed to be passed around by family/blood line (as stated on Book #1 - The Opera Ghost Lives), so it would make sense that on a large family, at least someone... But it's ok.
Reading this book we learn more about Louisa and how her life went after those childhood years we saw, how she grew up to build a wonderful and loving family.

Most of all, you can read the first chapter HERE, buy the book autographed HERE or on Amazon HERE.

February 02, 2012

Interview - Dorota Skrzypek of SEX, LIFE, & HANNAH

Hello readers! Today I bring you Dorota Skrzypek, the author of Sex, Life, & Hannah "a book series about a 20-something year old girl living in Los Angeles, and her dating misadventures after The Ex breaks up with her. It is, quite literally, about the sex and life of Hannah as she struggles to find The One and figure out whether he even exists."
It's sort of lilke Sex and the City, but with a bit more sex, from what I've seen ;)
We'll have a giveaway early next week for a Sex, Life, & Hannah Book Club Membership, which gives access to the two finished book and the two that will be released this year, so stay tuned!

You can also read more about it, and some excerpts here: http://www.sexlifeandhannah.com/, including the purchase buttons!
Thank you, Dorota, for your time and patience with me, I hope you enjoyed this interview, I was very happy with your answers, I loved some of your answers and I'm putting your books on my e-book list, which is, unfortunately, even longer than my "paper book" list, but I'll get to them, I'm sure.

Hi Dorota, is that your real name or a pen name?

I wish I’d thought of a cool pen name, but no, Dorota is my real name.

Is this your first book(s)?

Actually no. The very first book I published was a graphic novel called The Dentist and The Toothfairy. I wrote the short story, and an amazing artist out of Montreal, Canada did all the artwork.

Tell us a bit about your writing and your latest book and a bit about the sequels that will come this year.

My writing tends to focus on relationships, and often their downfall. I am hugely fascinated by human relationships of all sorts; friendships, lovers, partners, husbands and wives, what makes people click, fall in love or lust, what makes people part ways, and I can’t seem to write about anything else at the moment.

The latest book in the Sex, Life, & Hannah book series is basically another nail in the coffin that is Hannah’s love life. She continues to make awkward decisions about the men in her life, pin all her hopes on nostalgia and passionate romps in the sack, and acquiesce to the pressures of what society thinks your life should look like by the time you reach your late twenties. But don’t worry; just when Hannah starts to believe all relationships are doomed, she has the epiphany that all women should have: men, marriage, and babies aren’t going to make you happy, only you can make yourself happy, and you need to start living your life that way instead of chasing some expectation.

When did you start writing?

I got my first journal in elementary school; first grade to be exact. I was basically a journal writer from then on, until I realized I wanted to write books, which didn’t occur until my mid-twenties.

What made you start writing?

Not sure exactly why I felt compelled to start or keep writing in my journals. At first I think I just wanted to keep track of what was happening in my life, and then it became a form of therapy for a long time. I don’t write as much now in my journal, maybe because I spend a lot of time blogging, or maybe I fixed all the problems I thought I had…

How did you choose your style, the genre of writing?

I write in two very distinct ways. The first way sounds very much like the fairytales I used to read before bed, the second sounds a lot like I’m still writing in my journal.

How spicy can we expect the books to be? How explicit?

I like to be emotionally and sexually explicit in my Sex, Life, & Hannah books without crossing the line of pornography, because I want my writing to feel relatable. I want to express the thoughts that sometimes we’re too afraid to say, and I want the characters to do some things that we might be too afraid to do.

Are the books in any way inspired by your life (at any point of life)?

Yes, absolutely, especially the first book in the Sex, Life, & Hannah series. When I wrote that first manuscript I literally had my journal open right next to my computer. That first book is really about my first major heartbreak.

Is there prejudice, among bloggers, among other authors, among critics, anyone, for the "spicy"/sex-related genre?

Probably. I think some people won’t even go to my website because the word “sex” is in the domain name. But to me, the word “sex” encompasses so much more than just the physical act. Our sexuality makes up so much of the person we present to the world, and that is more my intent of the use of that word in the title of my book series.

Why did you decide to publish your books online?

I am of that in-between generation that grew up on print books, but has seen the publishing world change dramatically over the last five years. When I first thought about publishing books I didn’t think eBooks stood a chance, and now I find myself reading books on my Droid Kindle before I think about buying them. I also feel that having my books available online makes it easier for people all over the world to access them. 

What's your writing routine - do you like music on or not, do you have a special environment, etc.?

I like to think about the perfect song for the scene I’m about to write, and then put that song on repeat until I’m done. I can’t even imagine writing without music. It would be like watching a movie without music—impossible.

What are your plans for the future? Sequels, new books, new themes, etc. (especially after the next 2 books of the series)?

After I finish the fourth book in the Sex, Life, & Hannah series, I am planning on doing another book with the artist in Montreal. It will sort of be a sequel to The Dentist and The Toothfairy. I am also planning on writing a short script and shooting the movie, hopefully in Poland, in 2013.

Anything else you want to add?

Anyone that enjoys a good romance series will not be disappointed by Sex, Life, & Hannah.