Thursday, February 26, 2015

Feature & Follow - Save your books! (2/26/2015).

Feature and Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Click on the links to visit their blogs and find out more about this great meme.

This weeks Question:
Your house is burning down and you have time to select three books you own to take with you. What three books?
Oh sure! Only three?  I have several signed books by Robert McCammon so probably one of those, one of my signed Charles de Lint books and my signed book of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

What 3 books of yours would you save?

Infographic - How to Zombie Proof Your Apartment.

Zombie Proof Your Apartment
Zombie Proof Your Apartment Created by:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Guest Post by Spencer Blohm - More Books Make Their Way to the Silver Screen in 2015!

Book and movie enthusiasts rejoice! A number of tales, classic and recent, are being adapted for the big screen this year. Below are a handful that are must-see, listed in order of their release dates:

J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, first written as a play in 1904 and released in novel form in 1911, is still going strong. Over a century after its creation, it’s inspiring yet another film version, this time directed by Joe Wright and due out July 24, 2015.

The original tells of the sprite Peter who whisks children Wendy, John and Michael to the island of Neverland, where they meet a gang of Lost Boys and fight the villainous pirate Captain Hook. Wright gives the story a unique twist, turning Hook into a hero and saving the villainy for Blackbeard, played by the incomparable Hugh Jackman.

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein tells a story of scientific power run amok. The brilliant scientist Victor Frankenstein discovers the key to animating life, only to find the man he has created is more monster than man.

20th Century Fox's horror film based on the classic arrives October 2, 2015. It stars James McAvoy as Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame, as deformed assistant Igor, and will be told from Igor’s point of view. Not part of Shelley's original vision, the hunchbacked character first shows up as Fritz in the iconic 1931 film, and later on was transformed into Ygor, played by the great Bela Lugosi.

Veteran director Ridley Scott helms a sci-fi adventure penned by debut novelist Andy Weir. The Martian, due to open in 3D on November 25, 2015, is based on Weir’s 2012 book. Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney. Stranded on Mars, he must use his ingenuity to survive and ultimately reconnect with a rescue attempt by fellow astronauts.

Weir’s self-published novel became a smash online before it was traditionally published. Fans of the novel should be glad to hear that Weir has acted as a technical advisor to screenwriter Drew Goddard and also considers the screenplay "amazing."

This Ron Howard directed adventure, set for release on December 11, 2015, is a thrilling tale of 19th century sailors shipwrecked by a sperm whale and fighting for their survival. It’s based on a true story that inspired Melville's classic Moby Dick.

Historian Nathaniel Philbrick recounted the events in his 2000 National Book Award winning book. Howard, known for attention to realistic details, reportedly has his actor/sailors eating light to better portray the starving men of the doomed whaleship Essex.

The Disney studio helms another version of the tale based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 story collection, which contained stories about a boy named Mowgli raised by wolves and befriended by a bear and a panther. This adaptation, directed by Jon Favreau, will combine live action and 3D CGI. It pays homage to its 1967 Disney predecessor (which is finally available on demand - check your local channels), including new songs by original songwriter Richard M. Sherman. Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray will star as Bagheera and Baloo respectively. Originally scheduled for a 2015 release, it’s now set to open in spring 2016.

Whether you love them or hate them, literary adaptations on screen provide opportunity to experience familiar stories in new forms. Readers who like to ponder that transformation have much to look forward to this year, from classic fantasy to sci-fi, horror and historic adventure.

Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I've been very discombobulated lately.  With all the snow, you'd think I'd have more time read, but it just seems I'm shoveling and wiping the ice of my dog's paws.  So with that said, I'll be on vacation for about 2 weeks starting Friday, February 6th and won't be blogging during that time.  I had wanted to at least get another book reviewed before then, but the best laid plans of bloggers and men, yadda yadda yadda.

I had started reading Welcome to the Dark House by Lauire Faria Stolarz.  It had gotten a lot of great reviews, but wow, I couldn't get into it.  I just feel the camp is pushed way too high and there are too many characters to follow and I'm not connecting with any of those characters either.  I do plan to finish it though because I want to see what is going on and who dies (muahaha).

I got Brood by Chase Novak out of the library, which is a sequel to Breed, and I'm really going to try to finish that by the time I leave, but of course - no guarantees.  Especially since there is another storm coming our way and I have no idea if I'll have to switch my flight to try to leave earlier.  It's definitely a "First World Problem," and I'm trying to keep that in perspective, but I just want to be able to take my flight safely to my destination!

If you follow me on Twitter, I'll keep you posted of my shenanigans!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Guest Post by N.P. Grittiths - Editing: A Necessary Evil.

There are very few things guaranteed to darken a writer’s day more than the knowledge that they are about to start editing their work. It’s a necessary evil but one that can be made, if not painless, then certainly less migraine inducing.

Editing should be a law of diminishing returns (Stephen King says that the second draft should be the first draft less 10%) so don’t be surprised to find yourself putting a red line through whole sections of text. This is a good thing (although I can guarantee you it won’t feel that way) because it means that you’re developing a much tighter idea for the stories prose.

From the viewpoint of how long you should leave it between drafts, I always do three months. This allows me to get some distance and perspective on what I’ve written. A month would probably serve the same purpose but I certainly wouldn’t recommend anything less than that.

Once you feel happy with the manuscript, then pass it across to someone to read and critique. I would recommend getting someone professional to do this if you can afford it. Getting a friend to look at it will only end in tears. It’s tempting to want to do this but you need an unbiased opinion. Friends are not unbiased and they are far more likely to be nice than honest. Also, be prepared for the criticism that will come back with the response. Remember it’s not personal (but it’ll hurt nonetheless). Once you’ve read it, put it away, go scream in to a pillow (we’ve all been there), and then leave it for however long you give yourself between drafts. When you go back you’ll be grateful for the honesty, believe me.

After that, it’s all down to you. Is your pride and joy ready for the wide world? If the answer is yes, then you’re good to go. If it’s no then, not a problem, just repeat the process until you are happy.

Like I said, editing is a necessary evil but if you take your time and are willing to be brutally honest with yourself, it will transform your work from a rough draft into a finished article.

Isabella’s Heiress by N.P. Griffiths

Lost in the hollow shade of a phantom London, the reincarnation of an ancient hero fights for survival amidst warring factions of angels vying for dominion over the departed souls of all mankind.
She is here now. She has come. The prophesied one.
British attorney Emma Elliott has no recollection of how she came to be in a
silent, misty maze of cold pavements and towering buildings. More disturbingly, she doesnt know how she came to meet this strange man now leading her swiftly through these darkened streets on an urgent, yet eerily solemn quest for shelter. The truth is brutal: Emma comes to the shocking realization that she has been killed in a freak road traffic accident and is now in the afterlife. Roaming the twilight version of London, Emma discovers her new world is ruled over by two groups of angels, one of which, the Cado Angelus, are disturbed fallen creatures who believe they have a divine right to rule the world. Emma finds herself drawn into an ancient conflict, the outcome of which will determine the
future of every human soul.
Joining forces with Father Eamon, a priest and her guide in this strange new world, and Taryn, her childhood best friend with whom she has been reunited in death, Emma must realize her full potential as a powerful spirit and work on behalf of the benevolent angels who have long kept their dark and tyrannical counterparts at bay. If she can harness her own hidden strength and reach her father, who remains in the living world, for the answers she has been charged to find, Emma may also have a chance of figuring out who she is. Could Emma be the reincarnation of Isabella Calabria, the only person in history to have ever taken a human stand against the divine? Could Emma Elliott be Isabellas heiress?
In this unique and captivating supernatural thriller, N.P. Griffiths conjures a chilling image of London as an ageless purgatory home to the countless souls of mankinds fallen. Isabellas Heiress explores themes of redemption and forgiveness as one woman desperately tries to silence the demons of her past while wrestling with the present. A haunting and intricate tale for all reading ages with a strong and enchanting female protagonist, fans of George R.R. Martin, and Stephen King will lose themselves in N.P. Griffithssingular fusion of escapist fantasy and gritty European history.
About the author: N.P. Griffiths lives in Chafford Hundred, Essex, where he writes steadily and works for a large company specializing in information technology. He is currently writing the next book in the Isabellas Heiress series. Isabellas Heiress by N.P. Griffiths (published by Clink Street Publishing, RRP $14.99 paperback, RRP $6.99ebook) is available online at retailers including and can be ordered from all good bookstores.
For a review copy or interview request please contact:
Diana Rissetto, Marketing and Publicity Executive / 646-664-4272 / 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Fever.

Title/Author: The Fever by Megan Abbott.

Narrators: Cynthia Holloway, Jonathan McClain, Sarge Anton.

Genre: Mystery.

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks.

Source: Library.

Synopsis:   The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher and the father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school, and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town s fragile idea of security.

My ThoughtsThe Fever follows one family as they navigate their way through a community crisis.  High School student Deenie witnesses one of her best friends, Lise, have a seizure in class.  Another episode puts her in a coma.  Then one by one, a few more students have "episodes."  Deenie's other best friend Becca and another girl who makes conspiratorial videos from the hospital and posts them on social media.  Gossip spreads and before you know it, parents are concerned, the press is intruding and the police are investigating.  

Is it the vaccines that the teen girls in town have been getting?  Is it toxins in their environment?  Is it poison in the forbidden lake?  These are questions that are constantly being thrown around and it seems to become the center of the Nash family lives.  At one point I even had a fleeting thought it had something to do with the tights the girls were described as wearing only because they were mentioned repeatedly.  

Meanwhile, they are dealing with other issues.  Deenie seems kind of lost and confused.  Her mom cheated on her father and left the family.  Now Deenie is on her own with two males in her household.  I can't help but feel a mother could help her navigate what she is going through, but it is obvious it is not her own mother.  Deenie doesn't seem to trust her anymore.  Eli is the school's heartthrob and he seems to take it in stride.  He's a nice guy but has had more than his share of girls.  Tom, their father comes off as a nice man who is simply trying to be the best father he can.  It is clear he adores his children and yet raising them also proves to be a riddle that he is constantly trying to solve.  I think the character development is solid and I felt as if the Nash family could be my neighbors.

There are a lot of questions and few answers, at least until the end.  I liked the constant questions.  The Fever has a feeling of a cloak and dagger plot in the modern world.   At times I felt like Deenie had the answer all along.  Maybe it was because of the way she seemed haunted by the events, perplexed by not having the answers, the feeling that some of her friends had secrets from her.  Maybe someone else will know what is happening right away, but I certainly didn't.  

The only thing I really didn't like is the big red herring.  This is going to sound cryptic but I'm trying not to give too much away.  I thought it was a great plot device, but where it is placed in the book gave it more importance than it should have.  However, I think putting a hint of what was really going on, may have given the truth away.

The book is told via first person through Tom, Deenie and Eli.  I liked the way you got to know the characters through each other's eyes and how they themselves were dealing with events.  It wasn't confusing to me and it also served to increase the tension.  Just when you were about to discover something about Deenie, the book switched to Eli, and so on.  

Narration:  I thought the narration was good.   The voices were all age appropriate and I enjoyed that they used three different people to portray each character, like in the book.  
The Fever is a thriller that comes off as so much more.  It leads you through the twists and turns of an event that effected a whole town and how one family in particular is at the center. 

Other Editions:


Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Post by Susie Cornfield - Introducing Piccolo.

Sometimes a character arrives fully formed in your mind. This was the case, for me, with Piccolo who arrived as I was writing the first chapter of Black Light, the first book in The Chronicles of Dekaydence. The moment I saw him, I knew Piccolo, his past and his future. He was a born musician; he was of mixed race. Abused as a child, he saw his mother and her boyfriend murder his adored dad who had given him a wooden piccolo. Piccolo didn't have to tell me anything because I knew already  who and what he was. So I was delighted to open the door for him to Chapter 3, where he made his entrance.

Understandably, Piccolo enters as a loner. Later, much later, and again, understandably, he battles terrible depression. But he learns how to make connections, to live and work alongside others, and it's a delight to watch him develop in his music, and yes, nudge me into writing more lyrics for the Dekaydence songs. And, of course, it was a joy to write his part in the conclusion of the trilogy, The Chronicles of Dekaydence.

So, I say, thank you to you, Piccolo, because you've given so much to me and to others who look to make the world a better, kinder place. So, until we meet again...

© Susie Cornfield

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