Thursday, May 31, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Title/Author: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Genre: YA.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.

Source: ARC from BEA.

Favorite character: Karou and Brimstone.

Favorite quote:  "He was copper and shadow, honey and menace..."

"The air in the grove was rich enough to sip, full enough to dance with."

"Hope is the real magic..." Brimstone

All in all: Breathtaking and beautiful.

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?

Thoughts: I waited so long to read this book. I just kept hesitating every time I saw it on my book pile. When Karen from What It's Worth said she was going to read it, I decided to join her and read it as well. You can read her awesome review HERE.  One thing that surprised me is that it didn't start out with a flash like so many books do today to grab your attention.  (Well that's what all the writing teachers say right?  Start with a punch!)  However, this is how most books I've read all my life have started, with an introduction to the main character in order to get to know him/her.  I loved it.  I was drawn to 17 year old college student, Karou, her artistic flair and her blue hair.  The action is like a boulder going downhill and picks up speed as it moves.  It also picks up details, emotions, backstory and characters.

The mythology that Taylor creates is breathtaking in it's imagination and scope.  The entire tale is one big puzzle that gets unravelled a bit at a time.  I have never read a story crafted quite like this one.  Even if you don't like Angel and Demon mythology, this story could relate to any two different warring factions. 

The author's writing is exquisite and creates a canvas of soul wrenching emotions.  Her details are concise,  the way she clearly shows Prague and Morroco in so much depth that now I want to visit.  The landscapes, the characters, even the war are so well fleshed out that I felt as if I was reading a storybook with pictures as opposed to a novel with only prose.  I also want to point out the clever chapter titles. 

I like the creepiness of it, the otherworldy-ness as well.  How shadows didn't match their owners and the details of some of the demons add to the richness of this world.  It feels clandestine and mysterious.

Karou is a wonderful protagonist. Spirited, innocent, kind and impish.  She is someone you would definitely want as a friend, someone I would want to be...or would want others to see me like her.  "There was almost always something to take delight in, if you were trying."  Karou thinks at one point, and this sums up her optimistic character.  However, she is lonely at heart and this adds to a wistful presence.  Her discovery and growth throughout the story bring even more to her character.

The romance in it is half expected, and some aspects of that didn't work at first, but it all felt right to me eventually. Akiva, the male lead character is fierce and frightening and has a lot to learn, but also has a lot to teach.  He has been changed by a past event and will have to re-evalute his perceptions. 

This is a sophisticated story with surprises and twists.  It brought something different to the table and in a creative style. If you have been waiting to read this book, don't wait any longer! 

Other Editions:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New York City Spooky Stuff

Are you going to BEA this year?  Last year I gave a few tips which you can revisit HERE.  This year, I thought I'd give a few mentions of some spooky places that you might want to visit. 

Jekyll and Hyde of Greenwich Village - Greenwich Village. This is a great place to get a drink in.  I can't recommend the food.  Sorry.

The Slaughtered Lamb Pub - Greenwich Village. I actually really enjoy going to this spot.  The decor is rustic, but not over the top.  Touristy fun "light" I would call it and I like the pumpkin ravioli.

(In case you were wondering there was a Jekyll and Hyde restaurant uptown on 6th avenue.  They closed about a month ago and will re-open at some point at a new location in Times Square.)

One if by Land Two if by Sea - I haven't been to this restaurant (yet) because it's pretty pricey.  However, the promise of it being haunted by over 20 ghosts is enough to get me to lay out some cash for a lovely meal and a supernatural experience.  The staff frequently report spooky antics and since the building was once Aaron Burr's carriage house, the rumor is that one of the spirits is his.

The Landmark Tavern - What I think is cool is that this was originally a waterfront property since originally there was no 12th avenue in NYC.  Although it doesn't boast 20 ghosts, it is said to be haunted by a Confederate Civil War veteran who died in a bathtub after he was stabbed in a skirmish, an irish girl, and George Raft, a Hollywood actor of the 30s and 40s.

Ghost Tours
Ghosts of NY Walking Tours - Dr. Phil Schoenberg shows up in top hat and coat even in the height of summer to give an informative, historical and ghostly excurstion around NYC.  Usually you can just show up and pay and not have to worry about a reservation. 

New York Ghost Tours - I've never been on this one, but it's another option. 

Sleep No More - If you fancy walking around a giant warehouse, with a mask on your face while following actors who are re-envisioning MacBeth through dance, then this is the show for you.  It is more than a show.  It's an interactive experience.  If you get fatigued or worn out you can always go to the lounge.

Phantom of the Opera - Try TKTS in Times Square to see this classic Broadway show.  My favorite part is the party scene at the beginning of Act II.

Ghost The Musical - I think this would be very interesting to see translated to the stage.

Obscura Antiques - as seen on Discovery Channel's show Oddities, this shop has creepy crawly eerie bizarre articles.

Enchantments  - This store in the East Village serves your pagan and enchantment needs.

Halloween Adventure - It doesn't need to be October for you to visit this huge costume and accessory store.  Get ideas and inspiration early!

Gothic Renaissance - This store is right next door to Halloween Adventure and has a lot of steampunk, gothic clothes.  If you're a sucker for corsets this is the place to visit.

Trash and Vaudeville - Punk Rock, Metal and Goth clothes.  You never know what you'll find with each visit or who you'll meet.   On the same street is a veritable carnival of shops and restaurants.

I hope some of these ideas interest you.  If you don't have time to peruse these suggestions during BEA, you will just have to come back!

Photo By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, May 24, 2012

AAD NOLA 2012 Reading Challenge Contest #4

Here is my fourth charm bracelet that I made especially for my 2012 AAD NOLA Reading Challenge Participants. 

This is the "Black Heart Loa" design based on the Kallie Riviere books by Adrian Phoenix.  It consists of mainly black hearts with other charms representing elements from the story.  The fox for Layne's clan, a motorcyle representing his bike.  A tank top because Layne's ex wife calls Kallie "trouble in a tank top."  There are also various voodoo charms and it might be fun to see if you can decipher them all. 

To enter, you MUST already be signed up for my 2012 Authors After Dark NOLA Reading Challenge as of this post (May 24, 2012).

If you enter the contest and are not signed up for the above mentioned challenge, you will be disqualified.

You are only signed up to the above mentioned challenge if your entry leads to a blog post about the challenge (not just your blog), or leads to a Goodreads or Facebook page regarding the Challenge.

But don't worry, I will be having more contests in the future and you can sign up for this challenge anytime during the year. If you are interested in signing up you can do so HERE.

I made this using a sterling silver bracelet, Swarovski crystals, glass heart beads and various metal charms. The bracelet measures 7 1/2" long.

Please note: I am NOT a professional jeweler so if anything looks wonky on closer examination, my apologies.

~This giveaway is for the charm bracelet pictured.

To Enter:
~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form and leave an answer for the question in the comments section.
~Extra entries are optional.
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY! If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry. (For example, if I ask you to leave a comment and you do not, or you don't answer the question, that entry will be removed.)

~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Again, to enter to win this prize, you MUST be signed up for my 2012 Authors After Dark NOLA Reading Challenge as of this post - today's date 5/24/2012.
~Contest ends Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:01 am EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and thanks for entering!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Devil All The Time

Title/Author: The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock.

Nominated: Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, 2011.

Genre: Horror/Thriller.

Publisher: Doubleday.

Source: Purchased from Amazon.

Favorite character: Arvin.

Favorite quote:  "It's hard to live a good life.  It seems like the Devil don't ever let up." ~Roy Lafferty.

All in all:  Dark but compelling. 

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial kill­ers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.

Donald Ray Pollock braids his plotlines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.

My Thoughts:
This book was chosen for the Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads for the month of May.  I really have to thank them, because I don't think I ever would have come across this title on my own.

Reading this book made me uncomfortable.  It made me squirm.  At times the images were nails on a chalkboard and it just made my teeth ache.   It wasn't the gore or even the death, it was the way the characters thought and behaved.  It was the physical and mental festering.  However, I couldn't put it down.  I was sucked into the characters and the story.   The words flowed and the chapters flew by.

It is a mesmerizing read and the author conveys characters with such ease I feel as if I know them intimately, their dreams, how their mind works and their inner demons. It is dark, gritty, and dismal.  What I think is brilliant is that every description is grim so as a reader, I never felt like I could escape this world.  Even sunshine is not bright and cheery, but muted and oppressive.  The entire world is sad.  

It is a book filled with killers, corruption, people making poor choices and how their stories intersect.  Everyone is interesting to me even as I peer into their hopeless lives.  I think one thing that draws me to these people is their tenacity.  They just keep going, muddling through their days looking for satisfaction.

The characters I like are Arvin, his uncle Earskell and his grandmother Emma.  Emma and Earskell are good people who don't ask for much and have taken Arvin and another orphan into their home.  Arvin has gone through a tough time in his life, traumatic actually, but throughout I feel he still keeps a quality of innocence and is endearing.  I was drawn to him and cared about him even when he didn't always make the best choices. 

There is a some debate on the Goodreads thread whether The Devil All The Time fits into the horror genre.  It is also described as Southern Gothic.  Some think it's more a psychological thriller and one person even said that it "...defies genres."  I have to agree with all of these descriptions.  While I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, I do recommend it as an undeniable powerful story with gripping characters.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions. (Monday, May 21, 2012)

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Tiger from All Consuming Media and Karen from For What It's Worth Reviews to discuss issues unique to book bloggers. To find out details, click HERE.

Question for Monday May 21st: Memes. Love em or hate em? How many do you participate in? Which kinds do you like best? Do you feel like there are too many? 

Answer: Oh yeah, I love memes!  I think they are so clever.  I participate in a couple.  A few that come to mind besides this one are Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's Friday Follow, The Broke and Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday and Larissa's Bookish Life Top Five Sunday.  Not every week though because I either forget, don't have time or don't have an answer. 

I like memes that are fun, really discuss a topic, or delve into something in a quick and interesting way.  If a meme is too complicated or has too many rules, I tend not to participate. 

I don't feel like there are too many memes...if someone doesn't like them they don't have to participate. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Feature & Follow

Feature and Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and  Allison Can Read.  This is a way to find other blogs and let others find you!  For more details click on the button above.

Q: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & relax?

A: I do not like the heat!  Therefore summer locales are not my favorite unless I have a pool or an ocean at my unlimited disposal.  But since I'd have to get out of the water at some point, a winter destination would be more restful for me.  
So my choice for a perfect vacation spot to catch up on reading and relax would be a house where I'm snowed in and could sip hot tea all day under a blanket. Here's a nice spot I found. Buffalo Bills Retreat, in Vermont.  Now I guess I just have to wait till winter. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Author Interview - Vanessa Morgan

I would like to welcome author Vanessa Morgan to the blog today.  After checking out her blog I became increasingly intrigued with her stories and her writing process.  Vanessa has several spooky projects published which are all available on Amazon

1. How did your latest work, A Good Man come about?

In 2010, my short story The Strangers Outside was brought to the screen. The main actor in that film, Pierre Lekeux, is also a producer. He loved what I had done with The Strangers Outside and he asked if I’d agree to write their next feature film. He wanted to jump onto the wagon of the current vampire-craze and he thought that I was the ideal person to bring this project to life. The result is A Good Man that I could best describe as American Psycho with a vampire. Some people have also compared it to the TV-series Dexter.  It's a fun and moving story and it turns the vampire myth completely on its head. It's not the kind of vampire story you've seen before and if you think you know how things will turn out, then think again.
2. So A Good Man is a screenplay?  
To clarify a few things, A Good Man is only a screenplay and not a novel, but I released it in book-form on Kindle etc. A lot of filmmakers do it; even Quentin Tarantino.

2. What is your writing process like?

Writing is my day job, so I get up around 8 a.m. and after having fed my cat I start to write, usually until about 6 p.m. or much later depending on my evening activities. I mainly write from home, but I also like to work in coffee shops, airports and hotels. As I’m currently visiting my niece who lives in Ibiza, I’m filling in this questionnaire on the sunny terrace a with view on the old city.

As for the writing itself… I mainly use freewriting, especially for the first draft. I noticed that outlining too much blocks my creative process, but when I use the freewriting technique I always manage to surprise myself and be truly original. The rewriting phase is definitely the most difficult one, because rewriting is all about crossing my own bounderies and leaving my comfort zone as a writer. Every writer has his or her limits and the rewriting process is about overcoming those. Having a clear vision of what you want your story to become is important while doing this. So is listening to the advice of others in your field, as long as you stay true to your own voice.

3. I saw that you have a quote from Lucky McKee on your blog. I *have* to know how that came about. (May is definitely one of my favorite horror movies.)

Lucky and I met on the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Films in 2009. He was there to present his movie Red while I was at the festival to present my first novel Drowned Sorrow. We got along really well and he read Drowned Sorrow on the plane back to the US. When he came back home he emailed me to say how much he loved the book and thought I was ‘a startling new voice in horror’. I jokingly answered if I could use that as a quote and he agreed.

4. I know authors don't like to pick a favorite book, but out of A Good Man, Drowned Sorrow and The Strangers, which one did you enjoy writing the most, which one effected you the most.

I think that my first novel, Drowned Sorrow, is still my favorite. I wanted to write a story that was so eerie that my readers wouldn't be able to sleep for nights to come. One of the reviewers said about the book: "Drowned Sorrow is definitely creepy. Possibly even crawly. I wouldn't sleep in the same room with it." That's exactly what I wanted it to be and that's probably also why I like it the most.

5. Have you seen a change in your writing or storytelling with each book?

Every new story makes you grow as an author, especially if you take the rewriting phase seriously. A Good Man in particular was helpful, because I wrote it for a production company and they gave advice and constructive criticism along the way.

6. Why scary stories? What attracts you to this genre?

I've been a horror girl for as long as I can remember. Even as a toddler, I was torturing my Barbie dolls and acting out horror movies with them. I guess horror is in my genes.

7. What are you currently reading?

I'm reading a French book called L'enfant nucléaire. It's the second novel from Daph Nobody, who is by far the most original new voice in French literature.


Screenwriter and novelist Vanessa Morgan is known as the 'female version of Stephen King'. You can find out more about Vanessa Morgan and her work by going to her personal blog If you like cats, you might also like the web comic about her cat Avalon at

Books by Vanessa Morgan

A Good Man

Do you like Dexter and American Psycho? Then chances are you will love A Good Man.

Louis Caron is a good man – he's a vegetarian, feeds homeless people, takes care of animals and is converned with the ecological well-being of the planet. But his altruism has a sinister edge – he's a vampire and local detective Taglioni becomes increasingly suspicious of him. Louis' attempt to escape the police will take him on a journey into his own private hell where he is not only forced to confront his worst fears, but where he will also destroy the lives of those he cares about.

The Strangers Outside

Two sisters, Jennifer and Louise, return to their remote holiday cottage after a day at the seaside. But little do they know they're being surrounded. Soon after their arrival, the girls will come face to face with the strangers outside. When the assailants make their intentions known, things take a shockingly terrible turn and an intense battle for survival will begin.

Drowned Sorrow

Megan Blackwood has just lost her son in a terrible accident. Now she has come to Moonlight Creek with her teenage daughter Jenna, hoping that a change of scenery might help to put her life back together. But something odd is going on in Moonlight Creek. When rain falls over the village, the inhabitants commit grisly murders, leaving the village deserted with the first rays of sunshine. Beneath the lake's surface, an eerie presence watches... and waits... Waits to reveal a tragic past drowned in mystery and fear. One that doesn't bode well for visitors. By the time Megan realizes that her daughter is in danger, it might already be too late

Thank you for joining Midnyte Reader today.  Ibizia and Lucky McKee...Can I get any more envious?   Yeah, I used to torture my Barbie dolls too.  I drowned them and then froze them.  My parents got mad when they used to find dolls in the ice bucket.  Please visit Vanessa's blog's not just about her books, but what she enjoys and other interesting tidbits.  I just downloaded The Strangers Outside and I hope to get to it soon. (pssst! It was only 99 cents on Amazon!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

50 Shades of Crack!

"What is this 50 Shades of Grey I keep hearing about."  I asked my friend.
"It started out as fan fiction and got so popular the author got a publishing deal."

Oooh okay. 

On Twitter I asked why it is so popular and someone replied that it was Bella and Edward fan fiction.  OOOOOHHHHH!  Okay. 

Since then I've been running into readers more and more.  "It's like crack." Rachel from Parajunkee commented and so I attribute her to the title of this post.  She is actually doing a read-along and while I'm not participating, I'm keeping up on her observations which are quite enjoyable.   

People are all aflutter over this book, so I thought I'd list a few of my encounters with the "50 Shades" phenomenom.

1. I went to get my haircut and asked my hairdresser what she was reading (since it was sitting open and folded on her station and I couldn't see the front or back cover.) 
She looks down. "It's trash."
I give her a questioning glance.
She flips it over to reveal 50 Shades of Grey.

2. Last weekend when I was in Pittsburgh, I found a huge Barnes and Noble.  I went to the information desk to see if they had a horror section.  A harried woman came rushing up. "Do you have 50 Shades of Grey?  They didn't have it up front!"  The employee reaches behind her and pulls a book from the cornucopia of Grey books they must have.  Another woman in line exclaims that she wants her book club to read it. 

Oh yeah, they had no horror section.

3. I was in the doctor's office making an appointment.  The receptionist looks at the book I'm holding and her voice rises in excitment.  "Is that 50 Shades of Grey."
I turn the book so she can see.  "No. It's 'The Devil All the Time.'"
The receptionist told me that she and her daughter are reading it and discussing it. 
"Any book that gets people talking especially if it opens up a dialogue between a mom and her child is great."  I tell her.
The woman behind me in line pipes up. "I just finished the first two!"

4. This morning I came into work and my co-worker tells me that she is reading 50 Shades of Grey.  I was surprised, okay shocked, because this is not the kind of book she would read.  Our other co-worker lent it to her and brought it to work in a brown paper bag like contraband. 

5. There are long Facebook threads about 50 Shades of Grey, debating the merits of the book and people defending themselves for reading it.   

I probably won't read 50 Shades of Grey and therefore, I really can't judge it personally.  The premise alone doesn't interest me and from what I've heard from others it's just not that well written.  But hoorah to all the readers enjoying it. 

What are your thoughts?  How did you discover the 50 Shades trend and are you reading it?  Why or why not?  Are you running into people left and right talking about it?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Robert McCammon and Open Road Media.

Sarah from Open Road Media contacted me because she noticed my fanatical posts about Robert McCammon and thought I may want to spread the word about their company publishing some titles of his in e-book format.  McCammon to go!  I'll take fries with that please.  Click HERE for a list of McCammon ebooks and wonderful wisdom from the author.

Open Road Media also fashioned the above nifty graphic illustrating the covers of Swan Song over the years and in different countries.  I think it's very cool that one of my favorite books were printed in so many languages.

Jen from The Book Den is one of my McCammon fan buddies and she wrote an excellent Robert McCammon update post HERE.

Take a moment to check out some other titles that Open Road offers.  A few that caught my eye are Celtic Lore & Legend, Dark Fairies and Encyclopedeia of the Undead all by Dr. Bob Curran.  They also carry titles by Stephen Coontz and Ted Dekker.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions. (Monday, May 7, 2012)

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Tiger from All Consuming Media and Karen from For What It's Worth Reviews to discuss issues unique to book bloggers. To find out details, click HERE.

Question for Monday May 7th: Comments. The holy grail of blogging success! What type of posts do you leave comments on? How do you try to encourage more comments on your blog? Do you respond to people who leave comments on your posts? How do you handle negative/spam comments? Do you use captcha?

Answer: I leave comments on any post that interests me!  I haven't figured out how to encourage more comments on my blog yet, lol.  I try to ask questions sometimes, but it doesn't always work for me.  I try to respond to people who leave comments, but sometimes I am not able to due to time or the nature of the comment.  I don't get a lot of negative spam/comments...So I've been pretty lucky.  I do not use Captcha after I realized that it made it more difficult for people to leave comments.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dust & Decay

Title/Author:  Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry.

Genre: YA/Horror.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster for Young Readers.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Tommy Imura. 

All in all: Fast, fun, action packed.

Cover: Unique and powerful.

Synopsis: In post-apocalyptic America, 15-year-old Benny Imura and his friends set out into the great Rot & Ruin hoping to find a better future but are soon pitted against zombies, wild animals, insane murderers, and the horrors of Gameland.

My Thoughts:
Twisty, turny Dust & Decay.  Oh how you entertained me and surprised me again and again.  You may not think a book can keep your attention for a little over 500 pages, but this one kept mine.  Just when I thought that nothing was around the next corner, Maberry would throw a grenade in the story.

Dust & Decay is fast paced and easy to read.  The writing is lovely yet brutal when the circumstances call for it.  The world itself is still pretty.  Trees, flowers, bees...and Mayberry does not forget to show us that.  But events have made humans and humanity ugly and that is shown as well.  The contrast is interesting.

A great plot device is Nix's journal entries.  She asks questions that the reader may ask and also gives important workings of the world in Dust & Decay, including zombies.  I would bet that a lot of the scientific details in Nix's journals is accurate since I know that Maberry is very conscious about research.  I also really appreciate how the events of the first book Rot & Ruin are peppered throughout the book, not recapped all in one place and only important pertinent information is given.  And the humor!  Let's not forget the humor throughout.  It gives a refreshing break from the stressful plot.

The zombie mythology and the slang that comes out of this world is pretty cool.  "If you look into a zombie's eyes you will see how you look as a zombie."  Chilling isn't it?  How some people feel that the zoms are the meek that are inheriting the earth.  The questions and theories are laid out for the reader by the characters.  The slang is also a lot of fun that the Bounty Hunters use.  The world building is subtle, yet thorough and organic. 

I also really like how the romance is played out between Benny and Nix.  They truly love each other, but both question the reality of being "in" love.  Is it only because they've known each other for so long?  Or because of what they went through together?  Either way they have a bond which grows stronger as events unfold.

Many of the characters go through transformations.  Harsh words, contemplation and regret lead to change between many, but I feel most dramatically with Lilah. She realizes that people she has been avoiding all her life, may actually care for her.  It was interesting to watch her deal with the implications of that.

Two of my other favorite characters are Dr. Skillz and J-Dog.  I love their surfer slang and attitude.  Surfers can be so zen and they show it with humor and class in the midst of defending themselves and their friends.  Sally Two Knives is also a great character, a tough woman who always does the right thing and I loved the Greenman, with his gentle ways and contemplative words.  I think he is the Yoda of the land. 

Someone stated to me that they felt the dialogue is a bit preachy at times.  I can understand this opinion, but it didn't bother me.  Sometimes people need things spelled out for them to roll around in their mind.  Benny and Nix's adventures are always going to be lessons and Tom has to try to be the teacher so that they can survive.  However, for the most part, the story lets the characters learn without someone having to point out the right and wrong of it. 

At first I didn't like the alternate point of views, but it was used sparingly until the end when it was needed most.  I liked how I saw the different "scenes" of the book simultaneously and got to know different characters a bit better.

This is a first rate book that everyone should read.  Adults, kids, reading groups, zombie lovers.  I definitely see it becoming an important piece of fiction and it has very teachable moments. 

***Spoiler Alert: (Highlight to read): I usually would make a much more subtle reference to this part, but I HAD to talk about it!  I really never thought that Tom would die.  In fact there was a time in the book when it seemed close but I even wrote a post-it note on my book notes, I was nervous but I knew Maberry would never kill my Tommy.  But he did!  Another twist!  I was upset, shocked, and so very, very sad.  However, it also felt kind of "right" somehow and I felt Maberry made a good choice.  Sometimes it drives me crazy when everyone lives.  (Although I'm still upset it was Tom.)  To kill off someone who is a legend and seems unstoppable is a bold move.  Tommy was almost too perfect to live and his death will make him martyr like, at least in my eyes.  End Spoiler Alert***


Other editions:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Rebel Angels

Title/Author: Rebel Angels by Libbra Bray.

Narrated by: Josephine Bailey.

Genre: YA/Supernatural/Fantasy.

Publisher: Listening Library.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Felicity and Gemma.

All in all: Fast, fun, action packed, mysterious.

Cover: Pretty.  It fits the time period.

SynopsisAh, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship. 

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous

My thoughts:
In the midst of reading Rebel Angels, the second installment of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, I realized that it is as much fantasy as it is supernatural and it actually reminded me of the Harry Potter books.  Not that I'm complaining.  There are definitely supernatural and scary elements in it and I enjoyed it very much.

As in the first book, I love the setting of the story.  This time, the characters are on Christmas Break  and the Victorian Era in London as seen through the eyes of these girls is delightful.  The courtly hand kisses, people tipping their hat, the language and traditions.  I felt as if I was there and I was able to experience carriage rides, dances, teas and social calls.

Although Gemma is a very powerful magic holder/user, she is also a typical teenager at times, which I appreciated.  She is swept away by Simon Middleton, a Viscount's son, but gets jealous when Kartik gives his attention to another girl.   She still wants to have her cake and eat it too.   The plot includes threads of Gemma dealing with decisions about relationships and her future and she does so with grace.

However, she has more than boy problems to contend with.  She has to fix the magic that she's been accessing, all the while trying to determine who exactly is friend and who is foe.  There are definite twists that I thought were going to come to pass in the first book.  So in a way I felt safe, but then the author surprised me. 

Again, my favorite characters besides Gemma are Felicity and Miss Moore.  Felicity is so calm, cool and collected and Miss Moore makes sensible comments among all the magic talk and hysteria.  I did also enjoy Gemma and her brother Tom's relationship.  Like most siblings, they tolerate each other, but I also love that they come together more in this book in the task of helping their father. 

The story also touches upon destiny, making your own choices and being accountable for your own actions.  Gemma realizes actions have certain consequences and in turn hesitates at times.  She makes mistakes and poor choices, which I love and you will have to read this to see if she can handle the reins of responsibility. 

There are a few clues in the story which are very obvious that the character is not catching onto, making me, as a reader, think the main character is being obtuse, but they lent themselves well when the reveal was in position. 

I wish I could write like Libba Bray.  Her prose is as beautiful as a running stream because it is so lovely to listen to.  Just when you think she is done with a sentence or description she takes it a tiny step further for elaboration. 

I absolutely adored the narrator.  She is fantastic.  Each voice is represented so well and she makes it believable, from scullery maids, to evil creatures, to males, to crazy inmates.  I really wonder if I had read this book instead of listened to it if I would have enjoyed it as much. 

If you like a good mystery, fantasy I highly recommend this series.

Other editions:


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 World Horror Convention - Other stuff

Joe Landsdale Kaffeeklatsch


Dealer's Room

Benjamin Kane Ethridge holds his book Black & Orange. 

Mass Signing

Dan Wells.

Robert McCammon.
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kim.
Yvonne Navarro.
Christopher Rice.
My new friend Wendy and Joe McKinney.
Jeff Strand and Wendy.
Wendy, Robert McCammon and me. 
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Wendy.

Christopher Rice and Wendy.
Me and Christopher Rice. 
"It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man."
The box of books I mailed home. 

Stoker Awards: A lovely meal, a humorous emcee and an entertaining evening.  For a full listing  of winners, please visit the HWA website.

Rio Youers Launch Party for Westlake Soul.

(l-r) Chrisopher Rice, Michael Rowe, Rio Youers. 

Rio Youers reading from Westlake Soul. 

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