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The Brujo---Book Version---four university professors learn the hard way that the world of the shaman is as real as their own : Ernest Kinnie

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Novel version. Four university professors invite a Brujo from the Sonora desert to explain shamanism. He guides them into an alive, creative world which turns out to be both seductive and dangerous. They try to return to their safe, familiar world but it's too late. When they invite the Brujo to return, he uses guided fantasies to begin their adventure into the nature of reality. Beyond time and space they slowly become aware of their true identity. The reader is invited to participate in the drama.

Adult language, especially when one of the professors finds himself dressed in black and white stripes, working on a chain gang.
The bi-weekly meeting of the Prolific Professors of the Sun Coast has just begun. As usual it is held at night in Ralph’s study. Ralph, Jean, Bill and Johnny sit around the table sipping an Australian Merlot that Ralph recently discovered. A Mozart sonata is softly playing in the background. Bookshelves full of book line the walls, and research papers are piled here and there. Not much color in the room. Mostly tans and grays.

The group is stiff and formal. Ralph is a big bear, who much prefers to go along to get along. The woman, Jean, is slender and has the look and manner of a bird of prey. Bill is tall, serious, self-confidant and has very sharp fangs. Johnny prides himself on being open-minded and multi-dimensional, and is intolerant of those who are not.

“A toast to our newest full-professor,” Ralph said, raising his glass to Jean. “No one deserves it more. Your book analyzing the effectiveness of different therapies on rape victims was outstanding. May the power and glory lie softly upon your shoulders. Or is the word lay? Never could keep them straight.”
Everyone chuckled politely.
“Thank you. I’m so lucky to have such decent people as friends. They are hard to find these days.”
“You had something Johnny?” Ralph asked.
“Yes. I want to bring a guest to our next meeting. A magical man who will amaze and Delight.”
Bill rolled his eyes, “I don’t know Johnny. That theologian you brought last time didn’t exactly amaze and delight.”
“You and Jean were all over that poor guy.”
Jean grinned, “We were just testing his sainthood---he didn’t pass. I didn’t know human faces could get that red.”
Everybody laughs.
“Well, the man I want to bring isn’t a saint either, but I doubt you can get his face red. He’s not a theologian, not a philosopher not a physicist. He’s a shaman, a Brujo from the Sonoran desert.”
“Oh my God Johnny,” Jean said, “you have to be kidding. Is he that creepy character out of Castaneda? Or just an old fashioned guru, gulling the gullible as he drives another Jaguar into his garage?”
Johnny laughs again but is becoming irritated.
“That is for you to decide. I just hope that he can get past your iron-plated skull.”
“No problem, if there is any merit in what he has to say. But, I don’t waste time on nonsense. And, you shouldn’t either”, Jean said, with a slight trace of condescension.
“How can you evaluate an idea before you hear it?”
“You do it by playing the odds. You know in advance that ideas coming from some people are just not going to be worth wasting your precious brain cells.”
“I felt sorry for that poor theologian.” Ralph said. “We never gave him much of a chance.”
“He didn’t deserve a chance.” Jean said, “He still lives in the middle ages. And this shaman still lives in a cave, somewhere far out in the wilderness of the Sonoran desert. Stones talk to him as he walks by, and the friendly crows he meets are smarter than he is.”
Johnny felt even more irritated and a little sad, “And now the stones are dead, and crows are just big, black birds. Science sucked the magic and mystery out of life, and left us with what?”
“Your safe, easy life for starters. You’d rather eat cactus grubs and live in a cave?”
“Some days that is exactly what I’d like to do. But, you’re right, Jean, I love my computer and microwave too much for that. And, so sad, I lost the magic and wonder of my childhood a long time ago. I know how T. S. Eliot felt when he wrote, ‘I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing for me.’”
“Yes, it is sad. I loved the fairy tales of my childhood too. My mother used to put me on her lap in front of the fire and read wonderful stories of beautiful princesses and ugly goblins. But now I prefer to live in the real world, not one of make-believe.”
“But, how can you be so sure what is real and what is make-believe?”
“You can’t be sure”, Bill said, “but Jean’s right. You play the odds. And the odds are way against the fantasies created by people who believe in the supernatural. You can bow before those wondrous worlds if you like. I bow to facts and logic.”
“Bloodless wonders of the Western World.”
“I don’t see you kicking those bloodless wonders out of bed, Johnny.”
“No, but I don’t bow to them either.”

Ernest Kinnie once again challenges the reader’s imagination and boundaries.  The bruja, invited by the four university professors to explain shamanism, whisks them to an imaginative, innovative world where the professors discover they don’t know how to leave.  The bruja dares the professors to discover their true identities through this world, in a sense, he also challenges the reader.  The reader will enjoy getting to know each character as individuals, he/she will enjoy following their development through the novel.  The imaginative world will feel more and more real to the unsuspecting reader.  This novel is truly a page-turner.  The plot will never be found in any other novel; Ernest Kinnie is truly an original in this way.  The dialogue is easy to follow and enjoyable to interpret.  Almost akin to a Dr. Seuss novel for adults, both adults, teens, and young adults will enjoy this fun, inspired novel. 

Paradox-The Angels are Here: Patti Roberts

A little girls world is turned upside down by a visitor, the Angel of Death. She finds herself trapped in a nightmare, consumed by her paralyzing loss and overwhelming grief. Haunting visions and the untimely deaths of others are a constant reminder that life and death are only a heartbeat away.
She eventually befriends the unusual little girl who moves in next door with captivating violet eyes and a profound knowledge of things that far exceeds her tender years.
"Masks camouflage the faces of both good and evil. Keeps hidden what is a truth and what is a lie."
Lives - bound together by blood - forge an unforgettable trail of heartbreak, loss and betrayal spanning over centuries to the present day.

Amazon Summary

This novel will have the reader at the first page.  The reader will enjoy Patti Roberts’ view of guardian angels.  The main character, a little girl-Grace, has the power of sight.  The very same guardian angels sent to protect her father protect her; her father perishes and leaves the little girl and her mother on their own.    Grace conveys her deep sadness and hopelessness to the reader with extreme clarity.  The angels watching over young Grace are meant to be “good”, however, there are two factions of angels-ones who destroy and ones who seek to help and are “good”.   Grace’s story is interwoven with this important fact that the reader must remember in order to fully understand this novel.  Grace puts the emotion into the novel, the angels build the structure.  The reader will be introduced to a world of angels and their background, very interesting and intriguing.  The reader will enjoy the conspiracy, good, and evil parts of the novel.  The ending is a somewhat surprising, but satisfying conclusion.  Patti Robers writes clearly and evokes an emotional reaction as well as deep thought in her readers, clearly an amazing writer.  The reader will look forward to the sequel of this novel. 

Vallar: Cindy Borgne

Ian Connors struggles to save the girl of his dreams and escape the corruption surrounding him - otherwise there is no future for either of them. He must take charge of his life or he will remain a pawn and forever separated from those he loves.

The story takes place in the future about a hundred years after the people of Earth decided to abandon the colonies of Mars. This happened due to Earth’s population problems and a dwindling of their own resources. Over time, the scientific colonies evolved into military factions. The leaders of Marscorp believe that by conquering smaller organizations they will be able to gain enough power to force their way back to Earth. They seek to use Ian for his psychic ability in order to complete their mission.

Good Reads Summary

This novel will immediately draw the reader into this strange world of scientific wonder and fascination.  The reader will be rooting for the main character throughout the book.  There are not many difficult scientific language/words that a reader that does not typically read scientific fiction will need to muddle through; the novel is decidedly more light-hearted and even more enjoyable than the nail-biting science fiction books many readers peruse on the shelves.  Ian, the main character, has the special ability to have visions.  He is utilized by a military faction to locate other colonies to plunder them.  As his visions continue he begins having visions about a young girl who he feels he must know more about, he has one disturbing vision when he attempts to force visions of the girl.  He escapes his colony to find and protect the girl, who he is drawn to.  In order to fully escape, he joins Vallar-an alliance of rebel organizations willing to stand up to Marscorp.  The reader will enjoy this new twist on science fiction, the terrific development of the characters, and the descriptive writing and dialogue of the author.  This novel is terrific for young adults and adults who enjoy light science fiction or want to try this genre. 

Guest Post With Melanie Nilles

Sunday, May 29, 2011
SUBJECT: In the Beginning… (aka How Angels Became Aliens)

Angels, messengers of God, are often seen as having wings. Why? They aren't mentioned in the bible as having wings, so why do painters give them wings?

The three major religions of the world all share a belief in angels. Some may say that angels aren't myths, but that's not the opinion shared by everyone. I believe they're real, but not as artists portray them.

In my Starfire Angels series, I wanted to cast angels in a new light. Instead of the usual supernatural beings, I thought it would be fun to make them real but not as we expect. I asked myself "What if..." (Yes, a writer's favorite question, because every story expands on a "what if" scenario.) In this case, I thought what if we see angels in pictures with wings--since I'd never read a Bible passage that mentioned angels having wings, although found in my research it's mentioned once--because they weren't angels as we know? What if they were alien visitors; but early civilizations didn't understand or accept the idea that the world wasn't only one of a million in a vast universe and thought what was technology was magic. What if those primitive Earth civilizations saw them as supernatural beings, messengers of a higher power when they were really a far more advanced civilization?

Because I wanted to use that and keep it plausible to what I knew of angels in the Bible, I wanted to have a way to make these beings match much of that. I gave them a purpose, which came from an element of a story I wrote in college. In this case, some of their species have the power to hide their wings because of a special symbiosis with a higher intelligence, or rather a collective of creatures from another dimension. It fit perfectly with what I wanted to do. I had my explanation for how they could hide on Earth among humans, since they otherwise looked human and didn't always have wings.

Usually, we think of angels as helpers and that's how I wanted to use them. If my aliens came from an advanced civilization, they might come to help us. I'm an optimist and took that road. However, even aliens can have their problems. The fun part was then to bring those problems to our world as those jealous of the small group with powers hunted them down.

I've also created a history for my Inari angels that links the present to the past and shows how so much has changed yet some things always stay the same. Those are shown through the Starfire visions Raea receives as guidance. The entities are ageless, being of pure energy, so they have much to impart to their Keepers. In a way, I also created a life after death, as you'll see in more of the entities' perspectives in CRYSTAL TOMB. I wanted to show the beginning of the crystal's creation, so I give the reader a window onto their home dimension.

It's been a lot of work, but I've set up a world that could explain the stories of angels visiting humans by giving it a new twist.

Learn more about the Inari as angels on Earth in the Starfire Angels series (STARFIRE ANGELS, BROKEN WINGS, and CRYSTAL TOMB) and  the website at

To enter the drawing of an original bookmark and signed paperback of STARFIRE ANGELS, please post your comments on or before May 31st. (Comments may include questions for the author.)

Look at Flower: Robert Dunn

Saturday, May 28, 2011
Capturing the zeitgeist of 1967, this story follows a young girl named Flower as she discovers the hippie counterculture. At turns na├»ve and wise beyond her years, scruffy yet beautiful, heedlessly adventurous and endlessly savvy, Flower is a character for any time, not just her own. From “Cowtown, Oregon,” Flower runs away to San Francisco to experience the Summer of Love and then goes off on train-hopping, hitchhiking adventures across the USA, with stints working at a bank and at a summer camp disguised as a boy, and stays at both a timber camp and then a commune called Old Bison. A picaresque journey, this tale explores the music, romance, politics, and world-changing dreams of the late 1960s.
Good Reads Summary

The first quality the reader will notice is the carefree nature and spunk of the main character, Flower.  The reader will be introduced into the world of "hippie".  The novel is fast-paced and fun to read.  The reader follows Flower's adventures on the train to taking risks by hitchhiking.  Living vicariously through the characters is very possible.  The experiences in the novel are unusual and will take the reader for a spin.  The supporting characters don't have too much of a say in the novel, the reader will focus on Flower and her quest.  The plot is interesting, it jumps around as the main character randomly decides where to go next.  This is one of the few novels that appears to explore the true hippie world without focusing too much on the subject that a reader may be "turned off".  This novel is terrific for young adults who enjoy exciting adventures interwoven with a bit of history. 

Giveaway :)

A Deep Kiss of Winter: Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter

Friday, May 27, 2011
Good Reads Summary:  Two never-before-published paranormal stories to delight the senses and tantalize the imagination!

KRESLEY COLE delivers a breathtaking tale of a brutal vampire soldier about to know love for the first time...and a Valkyrie aching to be touched.

Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice Maiden -- the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can't be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure. Soon desperate for closeness, in an agony of frustration, Murdoch and Danii will do anything to have each other. Together, can they find the key that will finally allow them to slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?

GENA SHOWALTER puts a daring spin on a tale of huntress and hunted...and concocts a sensual chemistry that is positively explosive.

Aleaha Love can be anyone -- literally. With only skin-to-skin contact, she can change her appearance, assume any identity. Her newest identity switch has made her an AIR (alien investigation and removal) agent and sends her on a mission to capture a group of otherworldly warriors. Only she becomes the captured. Breean, a golden-skinned commander known for his iron will who is at once dangerous and soul-shatteringly seductive, threatens her new life. Because for the first time, Aleaha only wants to be herself....

This novel is perfect for the reader who enjoys a few medium-length stories in one book.  The first story, by Kresley Cole, will leave the reader excited and feeling as if she/he really knows the characters well.  The characters are both "spit-fires" whose conflicting personalities and ideologies will keep the reader interested.  The culmination of the novel doesn't fall flat, but leaves the reader dying to read the rest of the novel.  The story is fast-paced and the supporting characters help pull the novel together.  The reader will admire Daniela's determination and sincerity, while ogling the love interest, Murdoch, who the author describes in aching detail and fits Murdoch with a "devil may care" attitude.  The love scenes are explicit and detailed.  The ending is fulfilling and will leave the reader with a surety that he/she needs to obtain more of Kresley Cole's books. 

The second portion of the book is no less satisfying.  Aleaha is a strong character who is portrayed as a team fighter, Breean is handsome, a fighter, and just as hard-headed.  What else could happen expect sparks flying between the two?   The author's choice of utilizing aliens as both main and supporting characters will serve to interest the reader further in the novel.  The novel is a very quick-read, the reader will easily finish in one sitting.  The novel has several twists to it, the plot is intriguing, the characters will become friends to the reader, and the love scenes leave nothing to the imagination.  The dialogue between the main characters is, at times, a light banter or firm and unyielding.  The ending is a slight surprise, but just as good as the reader will have hoped. 

This novel is terrific for any adult reader who enjoys a little alien/Ice Maiden mixed into an exciting romance. 

Giveaway :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011 check it out!

A Line Blurred: Bryan Healey

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Good Reads Summary:
Kevin is a depressed executive living a predictable life. When he unexpectedly deviates from his paralyzing routine to be with another woman, he finds himself risking everything for redemption.

Kylie, his frustrated and defeated wife, finds solace in a flirtatious encounter with a younger man that sparks a dangerous relationship.

Both unable to pull themselves from their newfound happiness, they rationalize their actions to satisfy their guilt, coming ever closer to an emotionally shattering end for both themselves and their children, who are unwillingly swept into their downward spiral.

Can one event conspire to ruin a life?  In this novel, one blurred line sparks a chain of events throughout the novel.  Kevin is a depressed executive whose life didn't turn out quite like he thought it would while Kylie, his wife, is hanging in the seemingly loveless marriage they share.  Rachel comes into Kevin's life and they immediately begin an affair.  Kylie begins an desperate affair with a younger man, Christopher.  The unhappy spouses ignore each other and their infidelities.  They eventually tire of their deceit, their bad decisions run rampant.  Their family begins to fall apart, as the reader may suppose, expected.  The reader may grow close to the characters, feel the frustration and anger.  The reader will question why the two even remain in marriage.  This novel is a good book for exploring the lines of marriage and consequences, this novel is great for adults. 

Fever ARC Giveaway!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 contest here :)

Die For Me: Amy Plum

Monday, May 23, 2011
Good Reads Summary: 
My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

This novel is terrific and cannot be recommend enough.  The main character is compassionate and caring, struck low by an accident resulting in her parents' death.  The romance interest, Vincent, is sweet and endearing; he is shockingly perfect for a guy, possibly the only thing iffy about the whole novel.  The plot is terrific, the idea of revenants is not a common one and most readers will never find another book on the subject.  The setting is Paris, France and the author describes Paris beautifully.  There is no lack of exquisite detail in the novel.  The events are fairly quick and the reader will be pleasantly surprised by some of them while shocked and rooting for the characters about the others.  The supporting characters play their roles perfectly and efficiently, highlighting the main characters.  The excitement is tangible, the environment allows the reader to picture him/herself there, the characters become his/her friends and confidantes, etc...  This novel is a love story against all odds, combined with action, drama, intrigue, and mystery.  Cannot highly recommend the novel enough to young adults/teens/adults who enjoy an amazing book (especially being her first).  Keep writing Amy Plum!!!

Smackin' The Monkey: Ernest Kinnie

Good Reads Summary: 
A 10-minute play. Two old actors try to keep in shape by faking heart attacks in the park. It doesn’t work out so good. The sweet old lady steals the wallet from the actor faking the attack, the tough guy thinks the actor is having a bad trip and pops a white pill down his throat with unfortunate results, and the clown kicks the actor in the rump as he goes by. A pointless, meaningless farce with no depth or message, and a very chaotic ending.

Every once in a while a reader may like to take a break from a book trying to impart a serious moral/lesson or attempting to convey extremely dramatic, intense scenes and just have fun reading.  This book will allow the reader to do so.  An extremely fast read, this book took me just over fifteen minutes to take in.  The reader will enjoy the antics of the two main characters, both elderly actors trying to get their groove back.  The scenes are all funny and the reader waits in anticipation to read what the two characters will come up with next.  This book is great for comic relief for any adult/young adult reader. 

A Light In The Darkwood: Ernest Kinnie

Sunday, May 22, 2011
Good Reads Summary:
The story of two childran who learn to create reality. The brother and sister run from a sow bear into a magical wood where they are captured by little people. They create food for the little people and then realize that they can also use their imagination to escape. After they escape they learn to use their imagination to create a marvelous, magical world.
Two children go from the safety of their backyard to unleashing their imaginations.  This story is very enjoyable and one the reader will choose to read again and again.  The main characters are both endearing and inquisitive, the reader will come to like them immensely.  The reader will like the dialogue in the short story, the descriptions of the scenes.  This kind of adventure is the type that every child dreams about but rarely gets to indulge in.  Within a few paragraphs, the reader will be anticipating the next scene or creation of the two children.  The author makes a very strong point:  use your imagination and have fun with it.  This book is great to read to young children, but it is also fun for kids at heart at all ages. 

Still Life With Brass Pole: Craig Machen

Good Reads Summary:

Craig is 16 when he returns from a drug-fueled visit with his gay dad in Miami to find his mom leaving town with her 23 year-old boyfriend. In the same moment, his dreams of settling down with his pregnant girlfriend are dashed when she is moved off to Texas by her parents. Left alone in small town Oklahoma, he embarks on a deranged, cross-country quest for a family of his own.

STILL LIFE WITH BRASS POLE is Craig Machen’s funny, debauched and heartfelt memoir about young love and coming of age in the titillation business. And how a roaring White Knight Complex, an eccentric comedy club owner, and a trio of unpredictable striptease artists conspire to help him achieve his aims.

The reader will love the writing style of the author, it truly feels like he is telling the reader about events in his life.  The reader will literally bite his/her nails in anticipation...and then later in anguish...and smile at the author's personality.  The reader will be immediately drawn into the novel.  The author describes his adoptive parents and how one abuses him, then takes the reader on a wilder ride through his time of sex, drugs, and steroids.  His forays into strip clubs leads to him being hired as a bouncer.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is his main focus in regards to body-building, something the author is unabashedly single-minded about.  He shares how he seems to be a "sex-fiend" at times, telling the reader without any qualms.  Machen is a very likable character; funny, truthful, and unashamed.  He reveals his desire to "walk in the light", get married and have children, and improve himself-all admirable desires.  The reader will be enamored of Machen, the pages will fly quickly.  This novel is great for adults and even young adults. 

Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide: Jill Homer

Good Reads Summary:
Jill Homer, a newspaper editor from Alaska, has an outlandish ambition: Racing a mountain bike 2,740 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide. But in the tradition of best-laid plans, Jill’s dream starts to unravel the minute she sets it in motion. An accident on the Iditarod Trail results in serious frostbite. She struggles with painful recovery and growing uncertainties. Then, just two days before their departure, her boyfriend ends their eight-year relationship, dismantling everything Jill thought she knew about life, love and her own identity.

“Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide” is an adventure driven relentlessly forward as foundations crumble. During her record-breaking ride in the 2009 Tour Divide, Jill battles a torrent of anger, self-doubt, fatigue, loneliness, pain, grief, bicycle failures, crashes and violent storms. Each night, she collapses under the crushing effort of this savage new way of life. And every morning, she picks up the pieces and strikes out to find what lies on the other side of the Divide: Astonishing beauty, unconditional kindness, and boundless strength.

The story was told simply, without unnecessary details. The reader will endure Jill's struggles with Ultrasport, the possibility of leaving her job as a newspaper editor and her home in Juneau.  Her boyfriend of eight years will break off the relationship.  The author gives the reader the straight-forward facts, revealing all and hiding nothing.  The reader will be impressed that the author is willing to share some tough choices and events in her life.  This comprises the first part of the story.  The second part is not less emotional.  Jill goes to her childhood home in Utah, trains, and builds up her abilities and emotional/mental fortitude to perform in the Tour Divide.  Even with bad events and tough choices, Jill is able to ready herself for the race.  The reader will enjoy living vicariously through Jill, experiencing the ups and downs and the incredible mental/physical endurance that Jill possesses.  This novel is terrific for young adults/adults. 

Bandits: LM Preston

Good Reads Summary: 
Daniel's father has gotten himself killed and left another mess for Daniel to clean up. To save his world from destruction, he must fight off his father's killers while discovering a way to save his world. Time is running out, and Daniel must choose to either walk in his father's footsteps or to reinvent himself into the one to save his world.

The first quality of the book that struck me as amazing was the ability of the author to describe the scenes in such descriptive detail.  The reader will literally be able to see each scene through the main characters eyes; the scenes will be tactile, the reader will feel as if they are truly in the moment.  The main character lives on Zukar, an area where thieves/criminals live.  The main character is trained by his father to become a criminal.  Quite quickly, his father dies and the main character is left with the need for revenge and a need to know why his father as killed.  His best friend, Faulk, accompanies him on his journey to find out the truth.  He discovers that his father had stolen a treasure, his father had not shard with the Zukar.  The treasure may have the potential to destroy the world.  The book is littered with pirates, the characters are exciting to read about and follow.  The plot is very interesting, a new twist containing pirates.  The scenes are graphic and tangible.  This book is great for teens/young adults.

Amazing Giveaway!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

BEA Week Epic ANGELFIRE Giveaway!

The greatest celebration of literature is upon us once again and I have the amazing opportunity of getting to experience it for the first time! I'm so excited to meet readers and my favorite authors. I will be attending the Teen Author Carnival on Monday and signing at Table One at BEA on Tuesday at 10:30 so drop by and say hi!

To start this week off, I'm giving away a bag of prizes right here on my blog! Check this out:

All that you see is what you'll get!
(click the image to view full size)

1 signed copy of ANGELFIRE
1 signed copy of A TOUCH MORTAL
1 ANGELFIRE "Will" T-shirt size Medium (unisex)
All 3 ANGELFIRE character bookmarks
1 ANGELFIRE sticker bookplate
1 ANGELFIRE pin button
1 WITCH EYES bookmark

How to enter:

You may accumulate up to three entry tickets.
1 entry for leaving a comment telling me why you want this junk so bad
1 entry for linking to this contest from your blog
1 entry for tweeting a link to this contest and include the hashtag #FEARTHEREAPER (so I can find it)

YES! This contest is international =)
You must at least comment on this post in order to enter.
Please leave your email address and/or blog link so I can contact you

This contest ends at 12:00AM May 28, 2011

Good luck and thank you for entering!

Miya Black, Pirate Princess I: Adventure Dawns: Ben White

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Good Reads Summary:

There's no place like home. For Princess Miya Black, 'home' is Clover Island, a tiny dot of a place not even named on most maps. Founded fifteen years ago by her parents, ex-pirate Tomas "Boots" Black and ex-princess Lilith "Lily" Brightburn, it's a place for second chances and new beginnings. It's there that Miya was born, there she grew up, and there she now lives, spending her days riding with her best friend, practicing swordsmanship with her fake uncle, sailing with her father, and avoiding book lessons with her mother. To Miya it's the best place in the entire world, and she knows how lucky she is to have it. So when her home is threatened Miya doesn't just sit around around sulking. She's the princess of Clover Island, with the blood of pirate legends running through her veins, and she'll do whatever it takes to protect her kingdom.

This novel makes for a good, quick read on the beach or somewhere just as pleasant.  Miya is a very likable and fun character to read about, constantly active and always inquisitive and caring.  There are spikes of excitement for the reader when he/she becomes aware that the small island Miya lives on is being threatened by outside forces.  The overall plot is interesting, a little bland in places, and will keep the reader entertained for most of the book.  The reader will find the pirate history a nice touch and that will help to pique his/her interest.  The supporting characters help to amplify Miya's main role and serve to move the events along at a quick pace.  This is a great read for children, teens, or anyone who is a child at heart. 

Legacy - Book One of the Balancer Chronicles: Chris Adonn

Good Reads Summary: 
Legacy begins with Katrina (Kat) Blake’s return to her childhood home after a five year absence. She has come back with the sole intention of reading the letter her estranged grandmother (Rosemarie) left her, before she sells the estate—but it’s not that simple. The letter comes with a journal which promises to unveil all the mysteries surrounding her life which have confounded her for years. She soon realises that the account was not written by Rosemarie but by a man named James Blackburne, and according to him they are related.

James is a four-hundred year old immortal; a balancer. His primary function is to protect the natural world from supernatural entities. In an attempt to connect with Kat, and aid her in her adjustment to her new life, he tells her his life story, starting with his birth in 1625, his death in 1650 as well as his subsequent rebirth as a balancer and the adventures which ensue.

James’s story takes Kat on a journey she never imagined possible. He weaves a gripping tale of life, love, adventure and self-discovery which ensnares her interest and compels her to keep reading, but he does a lot more than that. He reaches across time and space to connect with her in the present, as well as explain the motivations behind her grandmother’s apparent cold dismissal of her when she was a sensitive and fragile girl of eighteen. For Kat this is a precious gift as the emotional wounds their parting inflicted have never really healed.

This book is a great rainy day read, very enjoyable.  The plot is interesting and leaves the reader wanting more; the characters are mysterious, yet very honest.  The writing style of the author is good, nothing undesirable there.  The reader will enjoy the subtlety of the author in explaining delicate scenarios and their resultant affect on the characters' feelings.  The connection between the past and the present is strong in this novel, the reader will enjoy two stories: that of the main character and her male counterpart, James.  The reader will be happy throughout James' forays into love and romance and feel unhappy along with him as his life inevitable leads to sorrow.  The reader will hold on to residual anger at Kat's grandmother for her seemingly hard facade in front of her granddaughter.  This book is a great read for young adults/adults who enjoy discovering well-kept secrets. 

Chasing After Wind: RW Holmen

Good Reads Summary:
A short story about life as a soldier in Vietnam.

This is the fourth installment in the series of Vietnam short stories entitled "LRRP Rangers Vietnam". The first three short stories were set in the mountains and jungles of Vietnam's central highlands, but "Chasing After Wind" takes place on the Ranger company grounds in the base camp of An Khe. Yet, this installment is no less bold, dark, and intense (the words of a reviewer) than the earlier stories that recounted missions in the field.

The title is borrowed from the Old Testament, and the short story begins with this epigraph:

"No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle ... all is vanity and a chasing after wind."

Ecclesiastes 8:8 & 1:14

"Chasing After Wind" considers twists of fate in the context of a barracks poker game, the uncontrollable wind, and a malevolent joker in the deck.

The reader should be prepared to read about the gloomy, gory reality of Vietnam. 
""Chasing After Wind" is the fourth volume of a series entitled LRRP Rangers Vietnam. The LRRPs of Vietnam (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) were the cavalry scouts of their war, traveling by helicopter rather than mustangs into remote and unfriendly territory. The mountainous jungles of the central highlands were especially inhospitable, filled with snakes and wild animals, and criss crossed with the tributaries of the Ho Chi Minh trail that lay hidden beneath the thick, triple-canopy jungle foliage. It was the job of small teams of LRRPs to penetrate the ridges and valleys of the rainforest to track and identify enemy activity."

The above is taken from Amazon.  The novel itself is super short, but no less powerful.  The main character "keeps things real" throughout the novel, giving what the reader can only assume to be a true account of his surroundings.  The characters are not glorified or portrayed as "heroes"; they are meant to be men performing feats that are expected of them in times of battle.  The reader will enjoy the camraderie and the details provided by the author; the plot becomes real.  This novel is terrific for young adults and adults long as they are not expecting an action-packed novel. 

Dirty Little Angels: Chris Tusa

Good Reads Summary:
Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses' lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses' twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape.

The author really captures the young adult mind-set and feeling in this novel.  The novel is very "dark", even depressing; however, the author means to represent a certain reality in many societies.  The reader will have to restrain her/himself throughout the book from wanting to shake the characters and tell them what to do, however, this is likely the author's intention.  A good author evokes a response in the reader, a quality Tusa has down pat.  Hailey makes for a good protagonist, definitely eliciting sympathy in the reader.  Her brother is arrested at least three times for stealing, yet doesn't attempt to change his lifestyle and doesn't consider Hailey at all.  Hailey's mother is no role-model and constantly depressed; Hailey is surrounded by drinking, fights, drugs, etc...  The author's writing style kept the reader interested throughout the majority of the book, some of his words and/or phrases were a tad redundant in areas, but otherwise good.  The reader may feel that there is no "guide" in this novel, a trait that could be seen as negative, but the author crafts into a positive trait-the book builds upon itself, the plot unfolding slowly and the characters developing throughout the novel.  Hailey gives an "assumed to be" true account of the events surrounding her.  The ending could have used more explanation and detail, but the reader will be mostly satisfied. 

The Discovery of Socket Greeny: Tony Bertauski

Good Reads Summary:   Work comes first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother ever since his father died. That was 11 years ago. Now, in this tech-driven futuristic society, he's zoned on energy drinks and living in virtual worlds because Mom rarely comes home. He doesn't know what she does for a living. The bills get paid and the refrigerator is full, so why bother with details? His only real world thrill is fighting. He doesn't always win, but that's not the point. Breaking skin is a reality rush.

But a world can change in a single moment.

It's a school day like any other, until Socket starts hearing other people's thoughts. He's hallucinating, maybe brain rot from too much virtualmode. Even when time seems to stop, he ignores it. The mind playing tricks. But when his mom arrives at school, he knows it's for real. She's there to take him to work.

The Paladin Agency.

He discovers an evolved race of humans that have existed for centuries, where thoughts can be heard. And felt. They are people that can manipulate time through the body's metabolism. They protect the rest of humankind and strive to bring them understanding of their full potential. But some Paladins see humankind as inferior. Imperfect. Cancer.

Socket soon finds himself in the center of controversy when he's anointed a Paladin prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice, he just wants to go home and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mom tells him. And when humankind is threatened and the Paladins are forced into the public eye, Socket discovers what his mother means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, the world will change forever.

This novel presents a very possible reality, where technology is at the forefront and everyone and everything revolves around technology.  Socket, the main character, will appear likable to the reader.  His two best friends, Chute and Streeter, make for good supporting characters.  Chute is the more likable of the two while Streeter, a brilliant hacker, lusts after Socket's girlfriend.  Socket and his friends endure an attack, his "sim" is badly damaged.  It is on this prophetic day that he discovers he can feel and and touch in virtual mode-a feat which should be impossible.  After this day, Socket learns about his past and his parents in great, excruciating detail; he faces danger around every turn of the page. 
The world the author creates could easily appear great to the reader.  Who wouldn't want to transform themselves into any sort of person they wanted to be?  The plot is excellent, a great idea for this technology-driven society.  The characters will affect the reader separately.  Some appear to support Socket throughout his many disappearances and problems while others, especially his mother, will leave the reader with a cold feeling.  The reader will always remember that there lurks a traitor somewhere within the pages of this intriguing book.  This novel is terrific for young adult and adults who enjoy mystery, action, drama, and a novel that touches on a possible future outcome for our own society. 

Element Zero: James Knapp

Summary:Would you allow the military to reanimate your corpse, knowing it would commit atrocities, if it meant avoiding service in a brutal war during your lifetime?

What if your level of citizenship depended on your answer? To gain a chance at a better life, or feed your family, which would you choose then? Or would you choose neither, and accept a life of hardship and poverty?

What if you came face to face with your own death, and realized too late you had made the wrong decision?

Nico Wachalowski has been waiting for years for the other shoe to drop, and finally it has. When Fawkes resurfaces and awakens his hidden army of revivors, the city streets turn into a war zone in a matter of hours. Before anyone can react he finds himself maimed, the streets overrun, and parts of the city literally crashing down around him. As the chaos unfurls, he follows the last lead he had which hints at something even more sinister than the attack itself. When the violence escalates, and the revivors begin spreading out toward the city limits, he determines what Fawkes true plan has been all along - but has he realized too late?

Faye Dasalia has played an instrumental role in letting Samuel Fawkes execute the final phase of his plan. No longer needed by or trusted by Fawkes himself she discovers the truth he's kept from her for so long. With this new information in play, she finds herself at a crossroads; will she put her trust in Nico and help undo everything she's worked for? Or will she follow through with a plan that turns out to have been much broader than she ever believed, and which might end up changing the world forever?

Calliope Flax has found her place in society as a soldier with the private contracting firm Stillwell Corps. Leveraging the revivor nodes that still lay half-formed in her brain, she helps track down others who have been injected in an attempt to round them up before Fawkes can activate them. When that day comes, and Fawkes' enemies discover her secret, they attempt to use her as a weapon against him. Caught in the middle of the war zone, she realizes that she might be one of the only people left who can help Nico stop Fawkes and save the city.

Zoe Ott now lives and works with the elite members of Ai's organization. Cut off from Nico, her visions have been a key to helping them understand the future they might all be facing. When she finally realizes what the specifics of that future are, she also realizes that she might be the only one left with the ability to stop it. Backed up against the wall, she finds herself faced with an impossible choice, and millions of lives in her hands.

This book has it all, from conspiracies to massive, full-scale wars.  The reader will never be bored, the scenes are fast-paced and intriguing, the characters are designed to make the reader feel a connection to them-no matter their choices in the novel.  The idea, the ability to reanimate a corpse and possibly use that corpse to commit atrocities, is very interesting and begs for deep, detailed questions.  What if there were stipulations to your theoretical answer?  Would your answer vary if your life or loved ones depended on it?  The author chose a completely new topic, the reader will never come across a novel quite like this one.  This book is great for young adult and adults who relish the challenge of a novel that asks hard questions and reveals a completely new idea. 

The Second Fly Caster: Fatherhood, Recovery and an Unforgettable Tournament : Randy Kadish

Erik, a young boy, is proud that his father, the winner of several state championships, is probably the greatest long distance fly caster on earth. But then a threatening prelude and an unexpected outcome of a casting tournament leave Erik reeling with unanswered questions about what once seemed to be only a sport.

These questions linger and then, years later, deepen when Erik’s idealistic plans and actions are crushed when he experiences combat in the Vietnam War. He struggles, unsuccessfully, with his demons, until a seemingly accidental discovery lead him back to the ways and new meanings of fly casting. Through their prism Erik learns to see himself and the world in a forgiving light.

This novel is very short, but well-written.  The characters really serve to draw the reader into the novel, the reader will soon come to know them as friends and be able to predict their actions and thoughts.  This novel contains a universal truth:  parents cannot be as perfect as their children would like to believe.  The author finally understand this when he fights in Vietnam, an important lesson that should not be dismissed or taken lightly.  Flaws are a fact of life, the sooner we realize this the better off we will be.  The reader will enjoy the author's journey from a more oblivious childhood to a realistic, competent adult.  The novel moves along fairly fast, the reader will not have to drag through scenes.  This book is great for young adult and adult readers. 

Unholy Domain: Dan Ronco

Summary: Set in the year 2022, Ronco's techno-thriller continues the premise established in his first book, PeaceMaker. In 2012, the PeaceMaker virus, supposedly designed by madman software expert Ray Brown, shut down the Internet, resulting in worldwide devastation. Since this cataclysm, the government has curtailed new technology. Those who would see the government limitations overturned are known as Technos; opposing them is a group of dangerous religious extremists, the Church of Natural Humans. Several events have brought these two warring factions head-to-head: the creators of illegal technology, the Domain, has decided to take over the government, and Ray Brown's son, David, has undertaken an investigation in an attempt to clear his father's name. The basic idea is interesting, but there's something more than a little of the adolescent about the entire enterprise, from the constant sexual references regarding every female character ("She wore skin-tight jeans, which showed off her tight, round butt as she walked past") to such lines as: "She enjoyed a drag of her cigarette, which felt robust and full." This is the second volume in a proposed trilogy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This is a novel that really causes the reader to take a step back, look out the window, and think.  A possible prophetic message, the author crafts a realistic future for mankind.  Do we depend on technology too much?  Do we use technology as a crutch?  The author creates a very realistic novel, the computer technology appears all to real and the reader cannot dismiss the valid questions and facts discussed in the book.  A disconnect in communication for the people on this Earth currently would be disastrous, and yet, technology itself is a fairly new development.  The characters are fresh and help to draw the reader in, the plot is by far one of the best this reader has come across in the science fiction genre, and the overall book is both enjoyable and disturbing.  The novel is very fast-paced, contains intrigue and action, and is a guaranteed good-read for anyone (young adult-adult) who enjoys science fiction. 

Soul Quest: Amy Jones

Friday, May 20, 2011
Amazon Synopsis:
Do you remember how horrified you were about the idea of attending high school? I remember ticking off those last miserable days of my summer vacation following my eighth grade year. Maybe you don’t, maybe you were one of 'those people.' You know who I’m talking about, people like Melissa Small, the distinguished District Attorney, Larry Small’s daughter, popular, gorgeous... and absolutely terrifying to someone like me, Liv Glyn. No, I am far from measuring up to the standards required to make Melissa’s crowd. I’m not even close. I’m just a simple man’s daughter, mostly tolerated by my peers with average looks. If this isn’t depressing enough for you, stay tuned, it gets worse. I was commanded with Spirit at birth by the Great Spirit, Hala. I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. If you think it's difficult being a teenager, try being a teenager who was born destined to save the world from soul sucking Daevas and their mutant progeny Aengels. There are four of us. My companions of Spirit are Laith, Brayan and Meena. Melissa Small is Laith’s step sister and she is always meddling where she doesn’t belong, further complicating our lives. To make matters even worse, my best friend Jedd is apparently aware of things that are typically undetectable to ordinary humans. So, I have to lie to Jedd, the boy who has been my constant standby since the third grade, to shield him from the horrible and very dangerous truth. Did I mention that I think I’m falling in love with him? The term awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it, trust me. Welcome to the mess that is my life.

This book is great.  The author captures the true young adult voice and creates a teenage atmosphere.  The plot is intriguing and novel, the characters fresh and charismatic.  The mystery moved the book along quickly with the romance being the added draw-in for the reader.  This book wasn't a run-of-the-mill teenage romance, the plot prevents the reader from thinking that.  The main character easily endeared herself to the reader, the meddling supporting character provided a good foil for the main character as well as some comic relief.  The background of the plot is both exciting and interesting, the reader will not be disappointed.  There is a bit of something for everyone: intrigue, romance, action, drama, young adult, mystery, comedy, etc...  The ending was a little bit surprising to say the least, but this reader was happy to learn that there would be another book to come!  This book is great for young adult readers. 

Book Blogger Hop

If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?
Hosted: Good Choice Reading

I would choose to spend a day in Paris with Vincent, the sexy revenant from Die For Me: Amy Plum.  Paris is obviously an important cultural and historical place, but it is also the home of the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.  I have some family living near Paris currently and hope to see them on a visit soon, Amy Plum describes Paris so beautifully and elegantly that she made me even more eager to run to Paris :)

Giveaway courtesy of Good Choice Reading

Also look for the giveaway of Vanish!!!

Sunset Lavaflies:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Good Reads Summary:
Aboard a spaceship, a crew made up of children heads back to Earth to deliver a message from God. In the Sonoran Desert, a mother protects her daughter from a horrifying event. And in a drought-ravaged farm, a farmer seeks help from a supernatural source. Sunset Lavaflies collects these three tales of speculative fiction into one short story collection that will have you wondering "What If?" all night long.

This book is a terrific read.  The author creatively sets the plot, evokes emotions in the reader, and causes the reader to ask unusual questions.  The characters are well-developed for being separated into three segments in the novel.  The reader will hope along with the farmer, feel the mother's rage and hopelessness, etc... The author manages to craft all of his characters to cleverly fit each of the very different short stories.  A mother approaches a hard decision with practicality in the second story while the third story is filled with a child-like wonder.  This book is a very enjoyable read and should be read by young adults/adults.

Polo in the United States: Horace A. Laffaye

Though polo is more commonly associated with Britain and South America, the sport also enjoys a strong following in the United States. This comprehensive history describes the evolution of polo in the U.S., from its beginnings in a New York City riding academy in 1876 until the 2010 Open Championship held in Florida. The principal early players and the first polo clubs are covered, as is American participation in the Olympics, polo at universities and colleges, women's polo, indoor polo, and polo in the military. Additionally, chapters also examine polo in the arts and in literature.

This nonfiction novel was surprisingly enjoyable to read.  The author gives the reader tid bits of history entwined with funny or intriguing stories designed to draw the reader in.  The text is easily understandable and a reader unfamiliar with the sport will come to understand and potetially love the sport through the authors words.  The author highlights the main events leading up to the formation of the first polo team and the major players.  The reader will grow interested in the politics behind the game and the intricate organization.  The author also intersperses the sport itself with the sport in art and literature, a welcome break for a reader who is not so athletically interested or inclined.  The reader will learn new historical facts throughout the book and come to understand the sport and its players quite well.  This book is good for adults who enjoy learning about a topic many are less familiar with. 

This book was provided to me by a Library Thing giveaway, this in no way influenced my review. 

Rage: Jackie Morse Kessler

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Amazon Summary: Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

Who would have ever thought that a book about self-harm and the four riders of the apocalypse could be a good idea?  This book was not just good, it was terrific.  The main character, Missy, engendered pity in the reader, yet the reader was never quite sure whether or not to like the main character.  The supporting characters were perfect fits in the novel, from charismatic death to Missy's meaner sister.  The plot is outstanding, a self-harming teenager who is constantly at war with herself becoming War, a rider of the apocalypse; Death is show-cased as a bit of a savior, preventing Missy from dying to give her a chance to make peace with herself and become a Horseman.  The evil, cruel classmates set the scene for Missy's anger and hatred, emotions the reader may actually approve of in this situation.  The author has managed to allow the reader to better understand the emotions and/or actions behind cutting, even though the concept will remain foreign to the majority of us.  This book is terrific and will be enjoyed by teens/young adults/adults. 

Mad Love: Suzanne Selfors

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Good Reads Summary:
When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother—and she needs one fast.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth—that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

This book was shockingly good for being a twist on a Greek myth.  The characters were well-developed and the reader will grow to know the main characters very well.  The plot was interesting and unique; the fact that the author addressed bipolar disorder is a huge plus, especially because the author clearly did her research on the disorder and integrated it so well into the story.  Anorexia also is mentioned and even explored in the novel, the main character's best friend, Realm, suffers from the disorder.  The main character herself is a teenager with too much on her plate due to her bipolar afflicted mother and her withdrawn, sad best friend.  Errol, aka Cupid, comes into the main character's life in an opportune time and gives her a chance to save her mother's amazing romance author reputation.  The main character, Alice, also grapples with her growing attraction to a skater boy.  The book has romance, action, and comedy/drama with a healthy dose of strong emotion; the author really portrays the emotions of the characters in the book to the point of where they are tangible to the reader.  The ending is a satisfactory one, the reader will not be disappointed.  This book is great for young adult/teens who still believe in star crossed romance. 

Abandon: Meg Cabot

Good Reads Summary:
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

This book is amazing, Meg Cabot never fails to write a terrific novel.  The main character, Pierce, will both annoy and endear herself to the reader.  The amazing thing about Cabot as a writer is that she manages to make her characters into what they are supposed to portray, Pierce is the typical high school girl who reacts accordingly when her life goes awry, John is the handsome, tortured male from the 1800's.  The supporting characters all fit into the story and help move the story at a faster pace.  The plot itself is intriguing, set on an island known for its dead floating up from their burial grounds when a hurricane hits, the reader will always pay attention to the weather, a typically mundane topic becomes interesting.  The reader will enjoy how Cabot integrates Pierce's memories and applies them to Pierce's actions at the time.  Little tid bits are handed out to pull the reader further into the book.  The foreshadowing, such as the tassels on Pierce's and her grandma's scarves, is perfect and portrays exactly what Cabot wants the reader to see.  The only disappointing bit in the book could be when Pierce appears to have no or little reaction to her parents' divorce, something a normal teen probably wouldn't act like.  This book is terrific for young adults/teens/adults (females especially) who enjoy a good Greek myth set in modern times with a twist and a dash of romance.


First 99 pages of Starcrossed!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rise of the Raven: Steven R. Drennon

Good Reads Summary: Since before man had taken up quill and parchment to record the history of his struggles, the Laikens had practiced their black arts. With great skill, they summoned beings from the Spirit Stream that should never have darkened the canvas of this dimension. Breaching the natural barrier that divided the worlds with their magic, the Laikens conjured demons they were barely able to control.

The temple of Amendeth was carved into the holy mountain and the Laiken Empire thrived within the misty forests of the north. All about them, humans warred and found new ways to slay one another. Meanwhile, within the haze of the Norvrost and Rikon forests, the Laikens firmly held their ancient homes with the aid of the summoning lore, of which men knew nothing.

And then, a man sought contact with the angels of the void, seeking to bend their wills to his own, just as did the Laikens. Dorgaiin was powerful, and soon he bound the demons that the shamans of Amendeth could never hope to master. A price was paid, however, as the forces that he channeled affected his mind. Power lust overcame him, and his ambitions grew more wicked as the days progressed. Only his servant, Baldarin, endowed with power from his master for a dark purpose, saw through his lord’s designs. Betraying him at a crucial time, Baldarin banished Dorgaiin to the Spirit Stream with the very stone from Amendeth through which he had hoped to realize his perverse aims.

The stone was set in Evindale by Baldarin. Afterwards he created the Khand to keep vigil over it as it strengthened the barrier that barred Dorgaiin from the world he had hoped to conquer. Over the years the art of summoning began to die, for now even the Laikens could retrieve only the most insignificant of spirits through the fabric of the barrier. As long as the Watchstone, the Surun-Tai, remained in Evindale, things would remain thus.

Rise of the Raven chronicles the efforts of the Mage of NorAmen as he struggles to free Dorgaiin from the demon haunted plains of the nether dimension where he has been exiled for over fourteen hundred years. Striving to prevent him are the five wizards of the Khand. The keepers of the stone, they have sworn to uphold the integrity of the barrier that separates the two worlds.

And thus the story begins . . .

This book had lots of action and excitement contained within its pages.  The characters seemed to rarely speak to each other much, but that wasn't a huge negative of the book.  The characters themselves were fairly developed, not as much as the reader may have wanted, but that might have been the author's intention.  The first few chapters could have moved faster and had more action within them, but the next few chapters made up for the lack of excitement and intrigue in the first few.  There weren't any noticeable errors in the writing, grammar or otherwise, which is always a plus.  The battle scenes were graphic and dramatic, very enjoyable and realistic.  The plot was interesting and innovative, doubtful the reader will find a book the same or similar to this one.  Overall, this is a good book for young adults/adults who enjoy epic battles and fantasy.