Friday, 30 March 2012

Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3) By Jennifer Estep

Dark Frost (Mythos Academy, #3)


Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3)


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Description:

I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me—again.

Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects—and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me?

It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me—and I’m in for the fight of my life.

My Review:

Jennifer Estep has given us another terrific 3rd novel in the Mythos Academy series; the plot is fantastic, it’s faced paced and full of mystery and suspense. A few times I thought I knew what was going on then realized I didn’t. Jennifer Estep writing is terrific and I can’t wait for book 4 to be released. This is one of those books that once you begin you don’t stop till you reach the end.

Gwen is on a mission to find the Helheim Dagger that her mother hid before she died. Everyone knows that the reapers will stop at nothing to retrieve the dagger as it is the only artifact that can release the reapers champion Loki.

When Gwen and her friends come face to face with a group of reapers and fight for their lives, Gwen meets up with the reaper that killed her mother. The reapers may retrieve this time but everyone knows full well that they will be back.

Can Gwen find the dagger and keep it safe? Will she be able to figure out what is going on between her and Logan and why is her best friend in such a bad mood lately?

This is a fantastic read and I can’t say much more without adding spoilers, so buy this book and enjoy. I gave Dark Frost a 4 star rating and will recommend this series to all my friends.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Initiation by By Imogen Rose Blog Tour and Giveaways!



About Imogen Rose


Imogen Rose is the author of the bestselling YA series, the Portal Chronicles. She was born in a small town in Sweden and moved to London in her twenties. After obtaining a PhD in immunology from Imperial College, she moved with her family to New Jersey, where she’s been based for the past ten years.
For as long as she can remember, Imogen has dreamt stories. Stories that continued from night to night, from dream to dream. So, even as a child, going to bed was never an issue, just an anticipation of the story to come.




PORTAL, Imogen’s first novel, would have remained in her imagination, to be shared only with her daughter, Lauren, had her eight-year-old not insisted that she write it down. In the course of a month, Imogen typed while Lauren waited eagerly by the printer for the pages to appear, and a novel took shape.
The warm reception PORTAL received encouraged her to continue with the story and the Portal Chronicles. FAUSTINE is Imogen’s first book in her new series, the Bonfire Chronicles.
Imogen is a self-confessed Herm├Ęs addict who enjoys shopping, traveling, watching movies and playing with her dog, Tallulah.

Book Description:
 
 
Welcome to Bonfire Academy! Set in the foothills of the alpine mountains in St.Moritz, this exclusive private school caters to a special kind of student. Enter at your own risk... but if you are human, you may not want to enter at all.

WARNING: This YA story is set in a school for paranormals who are very different from normal human teens. Thus, the language and some scenes might not be appropriate for younger YA readers. Recommended for those sixteen and above.


My Review:

First I have to say I absolutely loved this book, Imogen Rose is a fantastic author, the storyline and character descriptions were well written and she gave you enough information to get to know each of them, and fall in love with a few. Initiation was one of those novels you don’t put down and I definitely will be following this series. 


Welcome to Bonfire Academy a school for supernatural’s...we first meet Cordelia who has decided to stay for a third year at Bonfire Academy so she could build up her skills and play tennis. Her first day back she is asked to go to the student president’s office for a meeting which is very unusual as the student president is normally kept a secret throughout the year, curiosity gets the better of her and she heads to the meeting. Here we meet Jagger; he asks Cordelia if she would be interested in becoming a mentor for a new initiate, Faustine who is half human and half demon. Cordelia wants to refuse but because of the unique situation she agrees. Cordelia and Faustine are both demon princesses and Cordelia realizes that because Faustine is half human this may put her in some difficult situations with so many other supernatural’s around the school. 

This story is full of mystery, suspense and a fantastic love triangle. Quinn who is Cordelia long time boyfriend is kind, caring and you fall in love with his character. Jaggar also has great qualities and knows that Cordelia and he somehow ended up synced together. The feelings that occur when they are together are intense and it appears like they have mated. So besides Cordelai dealing or should I say not dealing with all that going on in her life she still has to mentor Faustine.


When Faustine and Cordelia are attacked and strange things happen, one Cordelia dies and Faustine disappears into thin air, thank god Jaggar saves Cordelia and they find Faustine fast asleep in bed. Unsure of what happened and who attacked them Cordelia knows she needs to protect Faustine and figure out what is going on.

This story is fantastic and all I can say is it’s a must read, great beginning to what I think is going to be a superb series. The story does not focus on a lot of romance it is more action, suspense and mystery mixed with some romance. The author did an amazing job giving us a wonderful story, great characters and I cannot wait to read book two. I would recommend Initiation to all my friends and anyone who loves paranormal novels.


Interview with Jaggar:

I have to be honest. I approached this interview with some hesitation, perhaps even a little trepidation. After all, even though I feel I know him a bit through Cordelia, I’ve never experienced Jagger directly. As he sits before me, I can empathize with Cordelia. He is impossibly magnetic, his aura both powerful and dangerous, the only release, a hint of humor gleaming in his silver-gray eyes.
 
IR: Jagger, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Are you excited about starting a new year at the Academy?
 
JR: My pleasure. I am, though I’m not exactly sure what my role will be this year. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.
 
IR: So, you’re not heading back as the Student Council President?
JR: I wouldn’t think so. That position is usually only awarded for a year. Plus, my time at the academy is officially over.
 
IR: Why are you going back, then?
 
JR: Mainly to keep an eye on my brother, Ryker.
IR: And Cordelia?
 
JR: Yes, hmm. You said that you had some questions from my fans...
 
IR: I do! Here is one from Sean Sweeney. He wants to know what you got Cordelia for Valentine’s Day.
 
JR: Myself. However, like any girl, she obviously needed a “token” as well. I got her a little secret something from Harry Winston.
 
IR: Nice! The next question is about Cordelia as well. Al Kunz, the infamous celeb book blogger, aka The Snake, wants to know what really happened on the slopes. He wants details.
 
JR: He couldn’t handle the details.
IR: LOL! There you have it, Al! Moving on... Michelle Cable wants to know what you thought when you first saw Cordelia and what you thought of that electrifying kiss.
 
JR: That she’s stunning is apparent to all who are lucky enough to behold her. I was struck by her beauty as soon as I saw her, when she first arrived at the academy. It was my policy to stay away from demons, though. Every kiss with her is electrifying, but I’m guessing you mean our very first kiss. I was shocked, but immediately realized what had happened.
IR: Too bad that doesn’t happen to humans. Synching sounds unbelievably intimate...
JR: It is, but the realization that one is bound forever to this one being frightening, too. That’s unnatural in the supernatural world.
IR: I can see that. Faustine seems to bridge the gap between the human and the paranormal worlds. My daughter Lauren wants to know what you think of Faustine, and Vickie Boehnlein wants to know if you’re scared of Faustine.
JR: I love Faustine. She’s like a little sister to me. I feel very protective of her, even though I know that she can take care of herself. And yes, I’m scared of her. I’d be stupid not to be. She’s one of the most powerful demons I’ve ever come across.
 
IR: Demons seem to like their food, meat in particular. Lynn O’Dell would like to know if you prefer filet mignon or T-bones?

JR: I’m not a demon, but I do prefer Filet Mignon.
 
IR: That doesn’t surprise me. I have a last question from my friend Allirea Brumley. She wants to know what’s going to happen to you next?

 
JR: I’m not a Wanderer, so a trip into the future to answer that is not possible. Say “hi” to her from me, though. I love her name... Allirea. Is she a faery?
IR: Ha, ha. No, I don’t think so.  Thank you so much, Jagger!


Saturday, 24 March 2012

FEATHERMORE BY LUCY SWING


AUTHOR BIO:

Lucy Swing lives in sunny Florida with her husband and two children.

She is a YA Paranormal/ Romance writer, whose works include: Feathermore #1 (Feathermore Trilogy), Bloody Valentine, the novella, and Bloody Valentine is also offered in "Death by Chocolate," an anthology consisting of 6 fantastic YA short stories with a chocolaty twist.

She is an absolute book hoarder and must always have a book at arms distance. Music is her muse, and there is always a soundtrack that plays along her life.


Feathermore (Feathermore #1)
Title: Feathermore

Author: Lucy Swing

Genre: Paranormal Romance

My rating: 4 of 5 stars




BOOK DESCRIPTION:


When the one thing you live for is taken from you, do you let it go or do you fall?

Jade, like any other student at Brushwood High, awaits the start of the school year with a certain measure of dread. Worse, she is being threatened by a voice that only she can hear—a voice that lurks at the edges of her awareness, haunting her and warning her of something unknown. She has always been able to count on her two best friends, Claire and Nate, but can she confide in them now? About this? Would they even believe her?


Life takes a turn for the better when she meets Avan, a darkly handsome new student who, somehow, seems to drown out the voice and make her feel at ease.

But Jade soon comes to realize that good things don’t last forever. When everything spirals out of control, she is shattered by something she never saw coming. Dazed and despairing, she must now overcome tragedy and embrace her true existence and a new but dangerous love. Will she be able to save herself and those she loves, before it’s too late? Or will she let the surrounding darkness consume her?



MY REVIEW:


Lucy Swing is a fantastic author; I reviewed a short story in an anthology for her so when she asked me to read her full length novel Feathermore I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to start it. Lucy’s writing is excellent her character description and plot are good and written extremely well. She gives you enough detail without overdoing it and it was one of those stories you couldn’t put down. Lucy Swing is now one of my favorite authors, her debut novel is exceptional and one of the best paranormal stories I have read in awhile.


So we are introduced to Jade, a senior in high school, she has a small group of friends and appears to be a pretty happy person. But Jade does carry around a secret and hasn’t told a soul not even Claire or Nate who are her best friends. She hears a voice in her head and it always feels like the voice is trying to warn her. Unsure of exactly what to do she dismisses the voice and tells no one fearing that her family and friends would think she is crazy. 


One day in class a new boy arrives his name is Avan and he is drop dead gorgeous and Jade cannot keep her eyes off him. Feeling a strong connection towards Avan and finding out he feels the connection too, she decides to ignore her friends warnings to take things slow for now. Life seems to be going well and Jade is happy until a tragedy strikes and nothing in her life will ever be the same. Secrets are revealed and Jade knows she will never have a normal life again.


Feathermore is a fantastic read and I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys paranormal romances and I for one plan to tell all my friends to read it. Lucy Swing has given us the beginning of a new series and I cannot wait for book two in the Feathermore series.


Thank you Lucy Swing for giving me your novel to read and review and I cannot wait to read book two.

For more information on Lucy Swing please visit her website:



Website

Feathermore on Goodreads
Feathermore on AMAZON
Feathermore on BARNES & NOBLE
Purchase Paperback Copy here

Bloody Valentine - AMAZON
Bloody Valentine on Goodreads


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

THE WILLING BLOG TOUR (CRAYDER CHRONICLES #2) BY C.S. SPLITTER




The Willing (Crayder Chronicles #2)Title: The Willing (Crayder Chronicles #2)
Author: C.S. Splitter
Genre: Action/Suspense/Thriller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


BOOK DESCRIPTION:

How far would you go to protect your friends and family?

Tom Crayder is the All-American guy next door with a business, a wife, a son, a mortgage, and an expensive hobby. He is also a politically incorrect, wisecracking, operative working for a shadowy organization dedicated to administering justice outside of a broken system. Not even his wife knows of his other life when she finds herself unwittingly involved in a drug war.

Strap in with Tom as he navigates his way through the strata of a drug cartel. Lock and load with Lorena, a hard hearted assassin, as she lends her deadly skills to Tom’s fight for his family.

Sit back and watch Tom and Lorena figure out how to work together without killing each other. Join the rest of the cast from "The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles)" as they pitch in to track down the hitmen that threaten their associate.

Some mysteries are solved. Some questions are answered. Some live. Some die.



MY REVIEW:

The Willing is the second novel in the Crayder Chronicles; C.S. Splitter sense of humor and writing style is fabulous the humor is so funny it truly made me laugh out loud. This story is fast paced, full of action and has the right amount of suspense to make this novel a great read, I definitely will continue to follow this series. C.S. Splitter has written a story of a man who loves airplanes, guns, talking, telling dirty jokes and yet I still ended up liking Tom Crayder.

In The Willing Tom is has to step up and defend his wife who has accidently pissed the drug cartel off, here we get to see the love Tom has for his wife and I even got passed the issue of him thinking about fooling around on her in the first book. Tom and his friends step up to help him protect his family, we get to see Lorena who is funny, sarcastic and I for one would call upon her if I was ever in trouble. Tiny returns in this novel and I just loved his character. One of the best characters who is back is Tom’s dog, Sammy I can almost picture him giving Tom a hard time with his overbite showing haha. This is a must read!

The Willing is an absolute fantastic read, I have rated it a 4.5 and would recommend this series to anyone who loves a fast paced adventure/suspense novel filled with a dash of humor.

I'D LIKE TO WELCOME C.S. SPLITTER TO MY BLOG

C.S. Splitter is a business man, author, and stand-up philosopher living in rural Maryland with his beautiful wife, small dog, and astonishingly large cat. He is an avid shooter and loves being 5000 feet above the ground, upside down, in an open cockpit.

He will never again jump out of a perfectly good airplane and feels the need to color outside of the lines.

Now, enjoy the interview!
Q:  You have a male protagonist who is rather rough around the edges.  Do you think that makes this a “guy's book” and how do female readers respond to Tom Crayder?

A:  I never even considered who would read my stories when I wrote the first book.  I just wanted to tell a good story with good characters and not let the writing get in the way.  If I had taken the time and energy to do a little research, I would probably have altered Tom's character and he would have lost some of the things that make him “Tom.”

Judging from the reviews and emails, more than 90% of my readers are women.  From what they say, they end up appreciating Tom in the end.  He is not the prototypical hero, but he is real simply because he is not prefect.

I know it may come as a shock to some men, but it seems that women figured out how flawed we are a long time ago.  And they STILL love us despite our weaknesses.

Women make up about 80% of the fiction audience from that studies I have seen and I think their acceptance of Tom is testament to their imagination and acceptance of variety.  In Tom, they seem to see someone they know and they are able to look past his rough edges to see his heart.  He might make them roll their eyes from time to time, but they understand that he really is trying to be a good guy.

The truth is, they probably have to do that with most of the men in their lives that they love.

 Of course, I also think women tend to love Lorena.  Part of that is probably because she keeps Tom in check and often shows him the error of his ways. 

One interesting difference in the reaction I get from men and women is where they draw the line morally.  Early on in the first book, Tom considers cheating on his wife and women react very strongly to that while men seldom mention it.  But, when Tom is asked to dish out some justice to the bad guys, men question his decision while women seem to accept it.

There might be a lesson there:  Women will not accept cheating and they like seeing the bad guy get his in the end.  Men should take note!



Q:    How would you describe The Reluctant and The Willing?



Both are thrill rides with fun characters and stories.  That was my goal in writing them, at least.

“The Reluctant” centers around Tom Crayder, an All-American type regular guy, who is faced with a couple large moral dilemmas.

“The Willing” is really about the relationships he has developed.  When his wife is threatened, friends step up to help him do unto the bad guys before they do unto her.  Think of it as “It's a Wonderful Life” meets “Deathwish.”  Really!


Q:  Which character you had most fun writing?


That had to be Tiny.  He is a young and rather large man who is just full of quirks and personality.  I think he is a great mix innocence and acceptance of the strange world around him.  Everyone loves Tiny.

After the first chapter of “The Reluctant,” who would have thought of Tiny as being a neat freak or showing courage where his friends are concerned?

That's what makes Tiny great:  you wouldn't want to pay his dinner bill, but you would love to have him as a friend.


Q:  What should readers expect from The Reluctant and The Willing


Action, adventure, thrills, suspense, and some laughs.  Yeah, I know, that's a strange combination.

Tom Crayder cannot help making jokes at inappropriate times.  He cannot help insulting Lorena and others even when he doesn't mean to.  Except for being a private pilot, there really is nothing extraordinary about him on the surface.  Even in the worst situations, he finds himself acting like he thinks he should because he is usually scared to death...and I think that defines courage.

Lorena, the female protagonist, is a dichotomy of emotions and ethics.  She will step in to help a friend and have no qualms (outwardly) about torturing a guy to get the information she needs to render that help.

I have a lot of fun throwing together a group of disparate characters, making them face bad situations, and seeing how they interact with one another.  I really do not think we can call any of them heroes in the classic sense, but the good guys are good at heart even when they are doing some pretty terrible things.

The bad guys are just nasty.

The reader might even find themselves rooting for the protagonists as they pull of their less-than-legal and morally questionable capers.


Q:  How did you come up with the titles of your books?
I started writing the first book and the title just sort of hit me.  The book was about choices and their consequences.  Since some of the dilemmas presented choices that were gray, Tom found himself questioning his decisions quite often.

I could have written that book in such a way that he was forced into certain decisions, but I did not want to make him a victim.  For good or ill, whatever happens to him is a result of his decisions.

By the time the second book was being written, it became apparent to me that Tom had accepted his new role in life and was...er...willing to do whatever was necessary to protect his wife.  His friends also show a willingness to step and and put themselves in danger to aid him.
And I love one-word titles.  They are easy to remember and, if used properly, serve as part of the setup for the story


Q:  What are your current projects?

A couple months ago, I decided to set Tom's story aside for a little bit and tell Lorena's story.

The third book is really going to be a prequel and show us how Lorena's character was shaped and how she became part of “the organization.”

Her story is a challenge as far as writing it goes.  I already had her backstory fleshed out when I introduced her as a character (with one large exception that I added later) so the story itself is not a problem for me.  The challenge is in doing justice to a strong, deep, and real female character.

I have seen a lot of male authors fail at writing women well.  They often end up being “cookie cutter” and one dimensional.  I don't want to be that guy so I am preserving her kick-butt style while showing all sides of her.

I guess it would help if I understood women....



Q:  As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a baseball player!  Unfortunately, my glaring lack of talent prevented that.  I did, however, find the wonderful world of coaching because of my love for the game so it was all worth the early disappointment.


I guess the other thing I always loved was entertaining people.  I can't sing or play an instrument, and since I have been advised to never dance again, I resorted to humor.  I think my writing was really born out of my wish to entertain and that is also probably why I sprinkle in so many jokes. 

Q:  Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I LOVE hearing from readers.  Since “The Reluctant:” went nuts on the Amazon charts a couple times, I have started getting a lot more email from readers and, thankfully, it has been overwhelmingly positive.


I promised myself as soon as I started writing that I would respond to every reader who took the time to communicate with me.  Because they took the time to read my work, they deserved that much.  It takes a bit more time now, but it is well worth it because readers come up with some incredible insights.

After reading “The Willing,” most want to know more about Lorena.  As I said, that is coming in the third book!

Sometimes, the emails are a study in psychology.  Some readers thank me for favoring a certain issue while others thank me for opposing that same issue.  And they both just read the same book!  I almost feel bad when I have to tell them that, while I ask a lot of questions with my stories, I really do not take stands on issues as a novelist.  It is interesting that no matter what you meant to do, people will take something different away from the reading experience.  I think that is a good thing.

There is another big difference that I see between readers, but I will answer that in a different question.



 
Q. What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?

There is a TREMENDOUS feeling of accomplishment when you finish your first book.  It lasts about a day.  After that, you realize just how much work is left in the editing and making the book otherwise presentable to readers.  It is daunting.  After you get the book all polished up, it hits you that you have not even begun to try to market it.
Promotion is the most difficult thing about creating a book.  Writing is fun.  Choosing covers is fun in its way.  Even working with an editor (mine is Tricia Kristufek) is great once you realize that they are making your work better.  But promotion and marketing is a great big sea of uncertainty that will suck up all of your writing time if you let it.

HOWEVER!  After all of that, you see the sales start to pile up and, one day, you will have a real book in your hands with your name on it.  When I got the print versions of my books, that was probably the most powerful moment I have experienced as a writer.

Q:  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book?
The most surprising thing I learned was just how difficult it is to make a good book.  Writing it was more difficult than I had anticipated.  So was getting beat up by my editor who I was sure was trying to show me just how bad I was as a writer.  Then I learned just how many things I did not know about publishing and that was humbling.
Only idiots and insane people set out to write a book.  Seriously.  Don't try this at home unless you just cannot help yourself.  If you simply MUST write a book, that is a pretty good sign that you should do it.

Q:  Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get over it?

I guess it depends on what you call “writer's block.”  I spent more than a decade trying to come up with a good, original idea for a series.  As far as fiction went, I was stalled completely.
Once I got that “lightning bolt” idea that put my backside in a chair to write the first book, ideas started cropping up everywhere.  Now, I have more ideas than I will ever have time to put on paper.
I guess the lesson there is that writers need to write.  Even if what you write that day turns out to be garbage, the action itself puts you one step closer to turning out something readable.
 I outline pretty heavily but that still does not save me from getting stuck at times when I am writing.  I find that my outlines last through half the book and then new or better ways to get to the end come to mind.  Sometimes, I have to walk away from the keyboard for a little bit to decide on which way to take a story or a scene.  It generally does not last long.
In view of those statements, I guess it is fair to say that I had writer's block for many years and, in my confusion, I did nothing to get passed it which made it last much longer than it should have.  If I had just sat down to write, I think the  flood of ideas would have hit me much sooner.
Then again, my answer when I get stuck it is walk away from the keyboard for a while.
What is the answer to writer's block?  I have no idea and it probably varies from one writer to the next.  However, I think that if you get stuck for too long, the answer is just to start writing.

Q:  What was the hardest part of writing your book?
 

Find a balance between action, character development, and plot is an ongoing struggle.  You can't spend too much time on one aspect of the story or the reader will get bored.  Movies can be successful with one action scene after the next, but a book needs characters that people care about and a few surprises along the way.
I don't think I will ever be good enough in my own mind at striking the proper balance.  I hope the readers are more forgiving.
The other things that I had to realize was that it was never me saying or doing things, it was the character.  They all say and do things that I never would or make decisions that I would not.
Sometimes, I think writers hurt themselves by looking at something they have written and say, “If I leave that, what will people think of me?”  That is the wrong question, in my opinion.  The proper question should be, “Does that fit the character?”  If the answer is “yes”, then you have to leave it in.
If a writer is trying to say something and it is not working with the character, the writer needs to find another avenue or abandon the idea.  The one thing readers hate is when a character acts or speaks “our of character.”  They will nail an author on that in their heads every time.
Any last thoughts or words of wisdom you would like to share with the readers?

Just a big THANK YOU to the people who have downloaded and read my books.  And an even bigger THANK YOU to those that send emails or, more importantly, post reviews.
Those things really do keep my going.
Look for the third book to be published in June of 2012.
Thanks for having me here, Tana! 
CONTACT INFORMATION:
Splitter's Amazon Author Page:  http://amazon.com/author/splitter
SplittersWorld Blog:    http://splittersworld.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @SplitterCS

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