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Stacking the Shelves (3) June 30, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted byTyngaReviews.com and is a book haul post to show off everything you purchased or received for review.

Dark Beauty by Taryn Brown

It Happened One Bite  by Lydia Dare

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Dark Innocence by Rahima Warren

Smoke and Magic by Patti Larsen

Deadly Affair by Lucinda Brant

Tegan’s Blood by L.H. Cosway

I got quite a lot of books this week! It makes me rub my hands in glee!

Let’s start with Dark Beauty. It’s the prequel to the Seeker series. I’ve already read the book one, Dark Seeker. It’s about Janie Grey’s mother Isabelle and how she meets Abram, another Seeker. I suspect it’s also about how she meets Janie’s father as well.

It Happened One Bite should be a fun romance. I’ve been in the mood for romance lately and this one caught my eye. It’s a  Highland romance.  I love Highland books and it’s got vampires. I love vampires. I just hope it’s not too overblown.

If I Stay and Where She Went, the second book, has gotten really good reviews. I heard about the books from Blook Girl. I’ve already started reading If I Stay and I’m really enjoying it.

Blood Song was one of those Amazon recommendations. It was a good price and it got good reviews so I snagged it. It looks like a good, solid fantasy book. I’m looking forward to reading it. Dark Innocence is a book submission. It’s another solid fantasy novel.

Smoke and Magic was a free Kindle book. It takes place in Victorian London and it’s described as a type of steampunk historical YA novel. Right up my alley!

Deadly Affair is a Georgian Historical Mystery novel that caught my eye. It’s free Kindle book so I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I’ll probably just read it for fun. It’s book two in the series, but the reviews say it can be read as a stand-alone.

Tegan’s Blood is an urban fantasy that looks like it has a hefty amount of romance thrown in. There should be a lot of vampires, werewolves, witches, and warlocks in it. It looks like fun!

That’s my book haul for the week!

Review – Entangled June 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Entangled

Author: Nikki Jefford

Publisher: Nikki Jefford

Publish Date: February 20, 2012

ASIN: B007BCORJK

Available at: Amazon

Summary (From Publisher):

A Resurrection Spell Gone Wrong

Two months after dying, Gray wakes up in Charlene’s body. As a witch, can anyone
blame her mother for attempting to bring her daughter back to life? Only now
Gray’s stuck sharing her sister’s body 50/50 in twenty-four hour shifts. The
race is on for Gray to find a way back inside her own body before Charlene
purges her from existence. Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts,
not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell and worse – her heart. But
Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

Review:

This is truly a young adult book in every sense of the word. Graylee and Charlene truly act like the teenage twin sisters they are. They fight like adolescent girls over clothes and other minor woes. They tease each other.  Charlene has a hard time getting over the heartbreak of a break-up. They’re typical teenage girls.

Except for the witch part. Charlene can float and Graylee can turn invisible. Pretty cool stuff. Even Raj can freeze people in their tracks. In that way they’re not so typical.

Then you have the evil twin part of the plot. Charlene is hell bent on purging Graylee from her body after a resurrection spell goes wrong. Basically obliterating her existence. It sounds corny but it works for this book.  In fact the whole book got in touch with my inner sixteen-year-old that I never knew existed even when I was sixteen.

The romance between Raj and Graylee was sweet. Sweet as only romances between two teenagers can be. It evolved naturally and that was nice to see.

Raj was an interesting character. He had a lot of depth and emotion to him. I think he was my favorite. His tenderness towards Graylee was touching.

Graylee acted like a typical teenager. She made mistakes that a teenager would make but was remarkable in her own way. Graylee engendered sympathy for her plight as the book wore on as she was so obviously the victim.

It was a cute and fun book. I recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a good light-hearted read.

Short Stories Blog Tour June 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Author Interviews.
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I’m pleased to have Michael K. Rose on the Akamai Reader today. He agreed to do an interview for his Short Stories Blog Tour, which is available now.

1. Was there a catalyst or single event that led you to your writing career?

I can’t say that there was. I’ve always enjoyed writing and it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. But about two and a half years ago, I decided to get serious about it, began working on some novels and submitting short stories to the science fiction magazines.

2. If you had a chance to sit down with your favorite author, who would it be? What would you say?

If a poet counts, I would choose Walt Whitman. He’s the historical person I would most like to meet. His overall outlook on life is something I have tried to model. I have no idea what I’d say. I’d rather just sit and listen to him talk.

3. Did you always know you would write Sci-Fi?

Yes and no. It’s always been something I’ve liked writing but I never made a consciousdecision that I was going to be a science fiction writer. And I have an interest in writing in other genres as well. I suppose, however, that because it is what I have written and released first, I will be considered primarily a science fiction author, which I do not mind at all.

4. What are the challenges of writing short stories versus full-length novels?

Short stories are actually easier for me. I write with a great deal of brevity and 3,000 to 5,000 words feels like a natural length for me in which to tell a story. My new release, Short Stories, is a testament to this. But writing longer works is forcing me to learn new skills as a writer to keep the reader’s interest while also expanding my story-telling to cover much more than I would in a short story.

5. Who would you say majorly influenced your work?

In science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, without a doubt. Overall, I would also include Henry James, Arthur Conan Doyle, HP Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Stephen King. However, I don’t think all of those influences haven’t been revealed in my writing just yet.

6. What would you say are the major advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?

Advantage: complete artistic control. Disadvantage: complete artistic control. What I mean by this is that there is no one to decide for you that the decision you’ve made is right or wrong. Friends and readers can give you advice, but it is ultimately up to you. There is no editor or publisher to see when you’ve become enamored with an idea that may not necessarily be a good idea. On the flip side, you have the ability to bring your vision to fruition in exactly the way you want. This is highly fulfilling from a creative standpoint.

7. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Before you even think about publishing, get established on Facebook, Twitter, start writing a blog. If you interact with other authors and readers in your genre for a few months first, they will be much more receptive to you if they already have an idea of who you are. Get them reading your blog, write interesting articles and occasionally mention the book you’re working on. Read and review the work of writers in your genre. Interview them on your blog. Make the connections, and by the time you’re ready to release, you will have a built-in audience and group of people willing to help you out.

Thanks for the interview, Michael!

Contact Michael:

BLOGFACEBOOKTWITTERWEBSITE 

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Throwback Thursday (2) June 28, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Title: Guilty Pleasures

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Publisher: Jove

Publication Date: September 24, 2002

ISBN-10: 051513449X

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads: Anita Blake may be small and young, but vampires call her the Executioner. Anita is a necromancer and vampire hunter in a time when vampires are protected by law—as long as they don’t get too nasty. Now someone’s killing innocent vampires and Anita agrees—with a bit of vampiric arm-twisting—to help figure out who and why.

Trust is a luxury Anita can’t afford when her allies aren’t human. The city’s most powerful vampire, Nikolaos, is 1,000 years old and looks like a 10-year-old girl. The second most powerful vampire, Jean-Claude, is interested in more than just Anita’s professional talents, but the feisty necromancer isn’t playing along—yet. This popular series has a wild energy and humor, and some very appealing characters—both dead and alive.

Guilty Pleasures was one of the books when Anita Blake and co. were still mysterious and not gorging on orgies. It was the first Paranormal Romance series I ever got interested in. I tried to hang onto the series as long as I could but it just got too much for me. Anita became too much of a slut and I couldn’t take it anymore. I still look back on the series fondly though.

In the beginning of the series, she was everything you would want in a lead girl. Anita was independent and spunky. Plus she could seriously kick ass! And Jean Claude? Jean Claude was everything you could want in a lead man. He was sexy, mysterious, and debonair. They made a dynamic couple.

The early books of this series are definitely worth your time, if you’re into vampire hunting fun!

Review – Legend June 27, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Sci-Fi, Young Adult.
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Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Publisher: Putnam Juvenille

Publish date: November 29, 2011

ISBN-10: 039925675X

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

June is a military prodigy. Day is the Republic of America’s most wanted Criminal. They have nothing in common but their worlds will collide when Day murders June’s brother. June will be tasked with hunting Day down.

Review:

In the beginning of this book I had a lot of unanswered questions. The book takes place in Los Angeles so which lake are they near? How is Los Angeles sectioned into sectors? Who and what are the Colonies that the Republic have been at war with so long? None of my questions were ever answered but they didn’t become very important after awhile as the story evolved.

The novel is written in alternating perspectives between Day and June. It could be confusing, but it works. You’re given glimpses into two very disparaging worlds. The elite and the very poor. I still didn’t get a very good grasp of the world, but I was sufficiently gripped by the characters to keep reading.

Day is able to scale buildings in a matter of seconds. June is able to do likewise. They play a very intriguing cat and mouse game that held me breathless. There were a lot of twists in the plot. Enough to keep you guessing.

Day is motivated to find plague medicine for his family. June is determined to find her only brother’s killer, the only family she had left. They’re both extremely sympathetic characters which made it hard to cheer on just one person in the chase.

Even though the world building is lacking, the character development makes up for it. It’s still a worthwhile read.

Review – Sea of Crises June 26, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Thriller.
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Title: Sea of Crises

Author: Mary Steere

Publisher: Penfield Publications

Publisher date: April 10, 2012

ISBN-10: 0985401400

Available at: Amazon – Barnes and Noble

Summary (From Publisher):

“That shouldn’t be here.” Those are the last words uttered by Commander Bob Cartwright in September 1976, just before all communication with the crew of Apollo 18 is inexplicably lost during the astronauts’ first moonwalk. Frantic attempts to re-establish communications with the astronauts are unsuccessful. Three days later, however, as NASA is scrambling to put together a rescue mission, astronomers detect a burn of the service propulsion system, and, on schedule, but still in eerie silence, the command module begins its return transit, culminating in the welcome sight of the capsule descending majestically beneath a trio of parachutes into the South Pacific. But when the hatch is opened, the navy divers tasked with assisting the astronauts into the recovery helicopter make a gruesome discovery. The bodies of the three men inside have been burned beyond recognition, victims of a failed heat shield. And with them has died any chance of learning the meaning of Cartwright’s enigmatic last statement or what transpired during those three blacked out days in the Mare Crisium, or Sea of Crises. Unfortunately, unless and until man returns to the moon, it’s a mystery that will remain forever unsolved. Or will it? Thirty-six years later, Cartwright’s sons make a shocking discovery: The capsule that came down in the Pacific Ocean with three charred remains was not their father’s capsule. And the body they buried all those years before was not their father. What they’ve uncovered puts the three brothers on the run, chased by a ruthless group who will stop at nothing to preserve the secret behind the fate of the Apollo 18 astronauts. The brothers will need to set aside past differences and pool their talents if they are to stay alive and unravel the mystery behind what really happened in the Sea of Crises.

Review*:

I normally don’t accept thrillers. For some reason I thought this had a sci-fi element to it but it doesn’t. Nonetheless this book still had excellent plot development. It moved along at a nice clip and I found myself involved from the very beginning.

The Cartwright brothers were well-fleshed out. They were all multi-layered and had many believable facets. Their interactions were very interesting to read about. I especially enjoyed reading about the twins. There was a lot of conflict there as one twin was gay and the other had judged him harshly for it.

Even the minor characters were well-developed. Tim’s method of coping with the stress of being on the run by reading paperbacks stands out to me. A fellow reader will always stand out to me.

The dog was a nice touch. It brought a level of humanity to the book that I don’t think would have been there otherwise. I was always in fear of the dog getting hurt. I have a soft spot for pets.

Like all thrillers there was some unbelievable parts to the novel. I could suspend my belief though for the sake of the story. They weren’t so far-fetched to stretch my suspension beyond control.

All in all, it was an extremely well-written book with lots of believable thrills and chills.  Af ter I finished the book I was even ready for more thrillers by the same author, which is saying something.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It's Monday! What are you reading? (9) June 25, 2012

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This Monday meme is held by the The Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

Title: Dark Seeker

Author: Taryn Brown

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

She’s the Seeker. He’s the hunted. What’s at stake could kill them both…

For 17-year-old Seeker, Janie Grey, ridding the Baltimore streets of the undead is an inherited duty passed down from her Cherokee ancestors. Seeker Training Lesson #1: Never trust the undead. After her father’s tragic death, Janie creates her own life lesson: Love isn’t worth the risk. Both lessons are easy to follow until she encounters the flawed Kai Sterdam. At first, she believes he is the hybrid she is trained to hunt. But, when he has human traits, she determines she doesn’t know what he is. As Janie’s intrigue over who Kai is pushes her deeper into his mysterious past, she discovers a shocking truth that is even more harrowing than the evil they are up against. It’s a secret Kai wants to keep hidden, especially from Janie.

I couldn’t wait to read this so I dug in this weekend. I have to say some of the lines are pretty corny. The action isn’t bad in the book though. I can still enjoy that. The romance isn’t bad per say, it’s just not new. Then again I haven’t read all the way into the book. I’ll have to reserve my other thoughts for the review which I will most likely publish next month. I’m a little disappointed with this book. That’s the way things go when you get free books though. Maybe the book just got off to a slow start and things will get better from here on out.

It’s Monday! What are you reading? (9) June 25, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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This Monday meme is held by the The Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

Title: Dark Seeker

Author: Taryn Brown

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

She’s the Seeker. He’s the hunted. What’s at stake could kill them both…

For 17-year-old Seeker, Janie Grey, ridding the Baltimore streets of the undead is an inherited duty passed down from her Cherokee ancestors. Seeker Training Lesson #1: Never trust the undead. After her father’s tragic death, Janie creates her own life lesson: Love isn’t worth the risk. Both lessons are easy to follow until she encounters the flawed Kai Sterdam. At first, she believes he is the hybrid she is trained to hunt. But, when he has human traits, she determines she doesn’t know what he is. As Janie’s intrigue over who Kai is pushes her deeper into his mysterious past, she discovers a shocking truth that is even more harrowing than the evil they are up against. It’s a secret Kai wants to keep hidden, especially from Janie.

I couldn’t wait to read this so I dug in this weekend. I have to say some of the lines are pretty corny. The action isn’t bad in the book though. I can still enjoy that. The romance isn’t bad per say, it’s just not new. Then again I haven’t read all the way into the book. I’ll have to reserve my other thoughts for the review which I will most likely publish next month. I’m a little disappointed with this book. That’s the way things go when you get free books though. Maybe the book just got off to a slow start and things will get better from here on out.

Review – Daughter of Smoke and Bone June 24, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company

Publish date: September 27, 2011

ISBN-10:  0316134023

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Review:

Do you ever have wild expectations about a book? Do you ever expect a book to be extraordinary? That’s what I went into this book with. I was not disappointed.

This book was wholly entertaining. Maybe it’s because I’m also an artist and I could relate to Karou and her art, but I loved her. With her untamed blue hair and her outrageous tattoos and her mysterious nature, she was delightful. I felt for her and her loneliness. I think we can agree that we can all relate to loneliness on some level.

Akiva was haunting. A soldier of the Seraphim, he grew up only knowing war and killing. He was ruthless yet tragic. The love ignited between the two was poignant. I haven’t been moved by a romance like theirs in a long time. The twists it takes are heart-wrenching.

The world building was phenomenal. From the streets of Prague to the alleys of Marrakesh to the various places of Elsewhere. All of these vast environs were laid out for you in exact detail. From sight to smell, you could practically experience it all.

The Chimaera and Seraphim were magnificent in their differences. One so bestial, the other so beatific, both imparting awe in all their power.

It was hard for me to keep the images of what Brimstone, Issa, Yasri, and Twiga looked like down. There’s only a brief mention of what they look like in the beginning of the book. That didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. Neither did the moments of where the plot got rather predictable. There were also some rather far-fetched moments that stretched my belief a little thin. Like I said, none of these things kept me from enjoying the book.

Now all I have to do is wait for the next installment which is due out in November!

Stacking the Shelves (2) June 23, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted byTyngaReviews.com and is a book haul post to show off everything you purchased or received for review.

I didn’t get many books this week. I must have been sleep-walking. The first two books, By Darkness Revealed and Dark Seeker, are free. They’re both novellas.  The first is an Urban Fantasy, the second is a Paranormal Romance.

The last book, The Taker, I got at a special price. I think I got it for five dollars and now it’s back up at around ten dollars. The Goodreads summary says it’s “part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner”. Either way it looks really good. I just hope I can find the time to read it soon. The second book, The Reckoning, is already out.  That’s incentive to read the first book!

That’s it for this week’s Stacking the Shelves!  I hope everyone’s enjoying their weekend with a good book!