November is notorious among readers and writers. National Novel Writing Month has seen to this. Each November readers, writers, and anyone else are challenged to write a novel (50,000 words) in one month. But then, you knew that didn't you?
Last year I participated for the first time. My husband has done NaNoWriMo for several years, and won most of them.......minus the one where he had to stop writing to help plan for our wedding. I had a great time. I was nervous as all get out. I'd never written a story before. I'm not a creative writer. I can research and write essays like nothing else, but fiction? I was in a whole new world. I loved it. I became obsessed with writng my story and beating the deadline. I won! That's right, I won...and walked away with a pile of words so terrible it doesn't deserve the title story let alone novel. I'm a terrible creative writer.
So, because of my ability to write terrible, awful, no one should ever be aware of its existence fiction, I thought I had better think of another way to show my support for NaNoWriMo and the actual writers who compete. Then it hit me. I am a significantly better reader than writer.
In November I will be reading in honor of those who write. I've even created a challenge. I'm challenging myself to read (completely, dnfs don't count) five novels in November. Five doesn't seem like all that many, but with life, work, and other distractions like tv / movies....five will be hard to reach.
CupK8 even created a button for it. (I did one too, but her's is much more interesting. I'm totally featuring it here.)
I challenge you! If you aren't writing a novel this month, show your support for the writers. Without their skills we wouldn't have anything to read! If you'd like to participate, please leave a comment with a link to a blog post where you declare your support. Create and share your reading challenge for the month. Then get ready to read...we start tonight at 12:01 am Nov. 1st!
Author: Teel McClanahan III
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Source: free with no expectations of anything other than reading.
Ok, now that's out of the way. I've been trying to decide if I should do this review. Not because I didn't like, but because I do. You see, I'm in a bit of spot here. My husband is an author. In fact, he is the author of this book. So it could be seen as a marital obligation or some such....but it's nothing like that. I promise. I enjoyed this novel.
I'm a bit surprised with the revelation that I enjoyed a zombie novel. To date, I've only read one other zombie novel (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and I didn't finish that one. I don't think it was a conscious choice to not read them, I just managed to read stories with other kinds of monsters. Wait! A year or so ago I read a novel with some vegetarian zombies. I don't think I'm going to count that one. This one is the real deal. Slow moving, non-thinking, brain craving zombies. Plus, it had some emotional situations that all but forced me to feel for the characters.
What I liked:
1. It's set in Denver, CO. I have a soft spot for stories that are set in locations I know well. The area of Denver this takes place in is one I've spent several weekends in. It's easy to picture where they are.
2. Frances has emotional responses to the situations she's placed in exactly how I expect people to react. She goes into overload and shuts down. Her character is well written and easy to sympathize with.
3. The story just builds and builds. The action movies fast and flows easily from one event to the next. Though each event isn't exactly unexpected....it's a zombie novel after all...each is surprising in its own special way.
What I didn't like:
1. This isn't a real complaint. It's more of a recommendation. Don't expect a completely satisfying, wrap everything up , ending. As a stand alone novel the end seems to come to fast and is honestly a bit of a let down after the continual action of the book. However, I know something a lot of readers might not. The events in this story lead up to the events that happen in another novel. Seen as a series, the ending is perfectly reasonable.
I had a lot of fun reading this novel. I read it in the course of an afternoon and was hard pressed to put it down anytime during. The wife in me wants everyone to read it. The reader in me thinks most people....people who enjoy zombie stories...will enjoy it.
Heretic's Daughter Giveaway:
1. #43 Stacey
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5. #126 TwiFanHeather
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.
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Stacey, thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your novel and ask you some questions.
Here are the questions I have for you (in list form because I'm odd that way):
1. Thunder and Blood is set in your home town of Thunder Bay. Did you ever consider setting it else where?
I wrote Thunder and Blood while I was living in Germany and I really missed my home town. I never considered setting it anywhere else because that’s where my heart was at the time. We ended up moving back here because even my German husband loves it here. During the three years we lived in Germany, we travelled back to Thunder Bay to visit four times.
2. Does the city of Thunder Bay like being featured?
Well, I think, for the most part, the city likes it. I’m sure there’s one or two people who wonder why anyone would set a vampire novel here. The mayor came out to my book launch and I gave her a signed copy and she seemed pretty pleased though. For the most part I’ve received a lot of support. I’m doing a signing and reading at the main library on the 17th.
3. Are any of the residents inspiration for any of the characters?
Adelaide is inspired by one of my best friends in appearance only. Otherwise, I haven’t used anyone local at all. I’ve had a few people ask me if they’re in my book but, no, these characters are totally independent of anyone I know in real life.
4. Let's talk about that portal. Time travel or alternate reality? Other?
Alternate reality. Basically think “Quantum Leap” - you know, that old TV show? Our world and the world of Donner were the same until the 1500’s when one person was changed into a vampire and that changed the entire future of that world.
5. There is a strong German influence in the story. Is there a strong German community in Thunder Bay in reality?
Actually, Thunder Bay has stronger Finnish and Italian communities. There are Germans who lived in the city, but I never really recognised that until I first started dating my husband. I included the German aspect because of where I was living when I wrote Thunder and Blood.
6. You also lived in Germany for a while....what was your favorite part/place?
I loved the fact that everything was so close together. We could drive for a few hours and go through a few countries. I loved the history that was everywhere. We travelled through a lot of castles which helped me to envision the castle in the novel. I got to see so many historically significant places. We took my mom and aunt to Berlin for a few days and saw Checkpoint Charlie, bits of the Berlin Wall, and the Holocaust Memorial. It was really amazing.
7. Why have two leading ladies instead of the standard one?
I originally planned on just having Sarah as the leading lady, but once Christine was captured I knew that she had her own story to tell. It would just have been too disjointed to have Sarah and Adelaide rescue her and discover that she was a vampire. I suppose I could have had her tell her story later, but that’s just not the way it came out. I had one reviewer accuse me of head-hopping, and I’m sure that’s a valid complaint, but that’s just the way the story rolled out of me.
8. From the excerpt of the next novel we get to see both again, right? Are they ever going to have their own stories?
We do see both of them in the next novel. Since I haven’t written more than the first chapter of that one I’m not sure if we end up focusing more on one than the other. As for having their own stories, I would think that would be quite possible, we’ll have to see what happens if the Vampire Counsel discovers Sarah’s conversion.
9. I was reading on your site that Da Vinci gets his own vampiric prequel. Are there any other famous vampires in the works?
The era of Da Vinci was full of famously powerful and knowledgeable men. I’m sure they will all feature in one way or another in his story. As for any others, not that I know of, but you never know.
10. Who is your favorite vampire (either in books or movies)?
Great! I'm excited to see the vampire Da Vinci! Now, it's your turn, readers. What questions do you have for Ms. Voss? You can discuss the novel, vampires in general, Canada, or pretty much anything else I'm sure. Stacey will be here all day (Oct 15 8 am - 4 pm EST) to answer your questions and chat with you. I'll be peeking in from time to time....unfortunately my job as a teacher means I can't spend the whole day with you all, no matter how much I'd like to. Please make her feel welcome and enjoy yourselves. If you'd like to use the google chat box on my sidebar, to have a more direct conversation with Stacey, just log in and then add her to your contacts. Her google talk is Voss (dot) Stacey (at)googlemail (dot) com
Author: http: Stacey Voss
Genre: Paranormal romance
Source: Free PDF from author for the purpose of participating in the book blog tour.
Readers can purchase it here: Author's website or Amazon.
I jumped all over Stacey Voss' offer on Twitter, to host a day of the book blog tour, for one reason and one reason only....her advertising for the book was something along the lines of "vampires and portals" oh my! Who could resist that?
My synopsis: Two women from Thunder Bay, Canada accidently happen upon a portal into another world. This alternate world is almost exactly like the Canada they left behind, except for a few changes...there are castles and vampires.
What I liked:
1. Two female leads. This is awesome for several reasons, but particularly because it allows the reader to identify with and follow two separate story lines. They intertwine, they separate, and you get to see it all!
2. The bad guy is really a bad guy. Like seriously. Bad as in he's willing to starve and/or kill off all the peasants in his village to get his own dinner. (Their blood, btw.)
3. Hillard. I dare you not to fall for that man.
What I didn't like:
1. I'm not a huge fan of the cover. I'll give it this though, it is eye catching and accurate (to a point) with the story. The vampires do have glowy eyes.
2. The first few chapters are a tad slow. They are set up for character growth later on - that's easy to see- but they do seem to drag and not be applicable to most of this first novel.
Overall: Once I got into the story I loved. I had so much fun while reading it I actually tried to get spoilers from Stacey via twitter. She laughed at me. ;)
Author: Sarah Blake
Genre: Historical fiction, women's lit
Source: Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club - I'm not expected to send it back.
I fell in love with this cover. When the book arrived I actually squeeled and petted the book. It has a great cover...colors, textures, all of it. Perfect.
That's where my adoration ended. I just can't get into this book. I like the idea of the story, but it just gets buried under the strikingly heavy descriptions of the war and the more-often-than-not confusing transitions between characters. I want to finish this so badly....but I just can't force myself through any more of it. I think this may be my first and last foray into the land of Barnes and Noble First Look books.
Synopsis from B&N:
The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.
On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.
The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.
Title: Covet : A Novel of the Fallen Angels
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Library - which means I have to return it when I'm done. :(
I was a bit worried I wouldn't get this novel in time to participate in this round of reviews for Blogs With Bite, but luckily the Phoenix public library system rocks! They ordered enough copies that everyone on the wait list....and it was quite long....could get a copy the first round.
Now, onto the book. I'm just a little over halfway done, but I feel I can give an accurate review of the book and my experiences with it. Just wanted to let everyone know that.....plus, I fully intend on finishing this book. The epic battle between angels and demons is down to seven souls...who wouldn't want to know how this goes down?
What I like:
1. The underlying story of angels vs. demons is always one that is fascinating for me. Throw in some fallen angels and it becomes even more so.
2. I like that our hero is rough around the edges. He isn't perfect. He's dirty. He cusses. And honestly for most of the first part I wasn't sure which side he was supposed to be on. I'm still not entirely sure.
3. The sex scenes are quick, hard, and emotionless. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for steamy, hot, romantic love...but sometimes it just isn't that way. It fits these characters and the story well. Gushy romance just wouldn't feel right.
What I don't like:
1. I'm putting this here because it's more negative than positive, but it's not really bad: I had some trouble getting into the story. I believe it is due to the writing style. I haven't read any of Ward's other books so I'll have to look into this. I get the feeling that with our male lead who's a bit rough around the edges, she wanted a storytelling style that matched. In the long run this could be really good, but right now it's a bit hard to adjust to sometimes.
2. I'm having a bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight. Some are only there for a scene or two. Some scenes flip too quickly to another character. This is making me have to go back, occasionally, to figure out who I'm reading about.
Overall: I'm still excited about this story and plan on finishing the novel....and if all goes well eventually the rest of the series. I want to know how the war plays out.
Blogs With Bite Discussion Questions:
Q#1 - Did you relate to Jim at all? Did you feel like he was a good choice or worthy of this mission? I like Jim. He's a good guy. He's trying....he really is. I think he will eventually become the right choice for his mission. He's able to play in both fields, so to speak. This will help him out, I think.
Q#2 - How do you feel about the tone of the book? Did you think that there was too much slang/not enough/just enough? How did you feel about the word choice in the book- did it add to your reading of the story or take away from it? I'm occasionally thrown off by some of the word choices, particularly the cussing. I'm not overly bothered by cussing in general, I just don't see a lot of it in the books I read. However, so far it has seemed wholly appropriate for the characters and the overall rough feel of the story.
Q#3 - When the "fantasy" of the book is based on a belief system that is regarded as truth by some religions (the angels & demons) does it help you relate better with the story, as opposed to a story about vampires and werewolves? Not necessarily. I have a strong background in monster stories and myths but I'm not so strong on the angels and demons stuff. I love the idea of angels vs. demons though. Maybe that will be my next obsessive researching topic.
Q#4 - In the opening of this book we read about a football game analogy of Demons verses Angels, even though this is fiction what do think of Demons in this case Jim the Fallen Angel being portrayed as a "Good Guy"? Are fallen angels demons? I didn't get that from the beginning. I was seeing Jim as still angel, but able to play the game dirty (like the demons) because he no longer held perfect angel status. He's fallen, yes, but not demon. Hmmmm....I don't know how to answer this question your way.
Q#5 - How do you feel knowing this will be a 7 book series featuring Jim and he might win all of the battles? I like Jim. I'm fine with him being the focus of the whole series. That said, I hope he gets a run for his money in some of the battles....maybe even loses one or two. The stakes have to be raised somehow...if he's just going to win there is no point even coming to the field for the other team. (Hee! I continued the sports analogy!) ((Yes, I'm a super dork!))
Now I have a question: In recent literature trends vampires, werewolves, dragons, fairies, and etc. are considered paranormal, yes? Are angels and demons in that same general paranormal category....or something else?
(OMG Squee!! I got an award!)
Here's what it means:
This blog invests and believes in the Proximity - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award.
Who are the eight I'm giving this to?
1. Nina at J'adorehappyendings
2. Emily at What Book is That?
3. Cheddar Fish and A Peek Inside My Fishbowl
4. Mary at The Sweet Bookshelf
5. Natalierenae at Mindful Musings
6. Tina at TinasBookReviews
7. Lusty Reader
8.Book Chick City
These were so hard to choose! I read / follow so many great bloggers, but these are the ones that have welcomed and supported me since I started. You should definitely check them out....they deserve this award!
Author: Michelle Bardsley
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Read an excerpt!
When I originally picked up this book I had no idea it was part of a series. I loved the cover. The bright colors and the varieties of shiny textures all over just made me want to touch it. Besides, in this one the vampire lead is the woman. Awesome! The story itself did not disappoint either. The story takes place in a world very much like our own, only paranormals are becoming increasingly open and part of the society. (Hmmm, sounds like several other books) But this one is a bit different. In Broken Heart, Oklahoma the paranormal population is finding a safe haven...mostly.
What I liked:
1. The cover, but I've already talked about that.
2. Broken Heart, Oklahoma - The setting just makes this book for me. See unlike a lot of books where the authors have built worlds where paranormals are easily accepted, this world is just getting their first real tastes of it. While vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, and the likely are widely spread they are still looking for safe havens. Broken Heart is just that. The variety of stores and businesses are owned by local residents who just happen to be paranormals themselves and are trying to make a welcoming place for others. It is down home Southern comfort.
3. Michelle Bardsley lets a quirky sense of humor come out through the characters. Even in the midst of a life or death battle there is something funny. This works for me. It's hard to describe, but the one liners and the personal snark that some of the characters share make this a fun read.
What I didn't like:
1. Not much really.
2. I wish I had known this was part of a series; I would have liked to start from the beginning to see if some of the world building things are explained better if I'm with them from the start. Just as an FYI, although I'm labeling this as a series, it seems to be a collection of stand alone stories that are all occuring in the same world / place / Broken Heart. From looking at the author's web page it appears that the world building and some of the characters over lap, but each book focuses on a different towns person. Which could make this end up being a positive.
Overall, I can't wait to get my hands on more of this series. I really enjoyed reading Ms. Bardsley's novel.
*This was read as part of my Fall Into Read Challenge list.*
I'm so doing this challenge! Beth over on Beth Fish Reads is offering this challenge. It runs from July 2009 to July 2010. So, I've missed a few months, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to complete it. I've become hopelessly addicted to Sookie's universe via True Blood. I. Want. To. Read. These.
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone