Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions - Special Edition! (Monday, April 28, 2013).

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month we will post a question and invite you to answer, comment and discuss opinions and different views.

Please keep the dialogue courteous. No bashing!

If you would like to participate in this meme sign up below and please feel free to to grab the button to include in your post with a link to For What It's Worth Reviews or here at Midnyte Reader.

Question:  We have an extra Monday this month and thought we’d address some hot topics in the book blogosphere. Pick one – or answer them all! It’s up to you. If a new crisis hits by then (& it probably will lol) feel free to address that as well.

~Amazon buys Goodreads (Find the announcement here) Do you think this is a good thing for readers – or is Amazon the devil? Will this move effect you? Will you be leaving Goodreads?

~ The death of Google Reader As Google continues to phase out it’s less popular products, bloggers were scrambling to find a new reader platform to follow their favorite blogs. What have you switched to for a reader?

~The big fear though is the loss of Google Friends Connect. How are you preparing if indeed GFC is discontinued? How many subscriber options are too many to offer your followers? What ones are the most popular on your blog?  Also, how are you preparing if GFC does go by the wayside?

~What do we owe authors?  There are several schools of thought.  Authors of course would like us to buy their books and promote them.  And that's okay, right?  I mean we do that!

However, when people start to get pushy and expect bloggers to be publicity machines it can get a little...uncomfortable.  My co-host Karen from For What It's Worth brought this post HERE to my attention.  It originated from this post HERE about an author that tweeted if you get all your books from the library it deprives an author of income and another suggested using this graphic to help readers spread the word about a book. You can get lost reading these posts that link to other posts, but I wanted to present all the information.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do authors have a point or do they go too far with reader expectations?


~Amazon/Goodreads: I am pretty ambivalent about Amazon buying Goodreads.  Some claim that Amazon is akin to the Evil Empire and I can see their point of view.  Amazon has been instrumental in putting smaller bookstores out of business, Amazon doesn't just sell books, but other merchandise as well with competitive pricing.  Not only that, but now they have their own publishing and fashion line.  Parajunkee wrote a great post about it HERE.  However, although I see the scheme, it doesn't bother me.  I often buy from Amazon anyway.  I can't afford to make a economic statement by NOT buying the cheaper priced merchandise from them.  Do I think they're trying to take over the world?  Perhaps.  At least the online purchasing market.  However, I don't think they will brainwash me, but maybe I'm being naive.  To be honest, I really can't afford to go on spending sprees because of mind altering consumer tacticts.

~Google Reader:  I never really used Google Reader to follow blogs.  I have them in my bookmarks and I go down the list using that.  Maybe it's not so efficient, but it's what I do.  I did sign up for Bloglovin though and I am finding myself utilizing that.  It's a platform I like.

~GFC:  Yes, I admit it.  If GFC goes away I will be very sad.  So sue me.  I can't help it.  I like seeing how many people are on my little widget, even if they never come back, even if it's bogus, even if it is not really a clear indication of how many people are following my blog.  There is just something validating  and satisfying about GFC and I still get a huge thrill when I see a new follower.   I'm not sure how many ways to follow is *too* much.  I mean one reader may prefer a subscription by e-mail, while another prefers a GFC.  I think it's okay to offer people different ways to follow.  I do think that GFC will go away.  First I will cry.  Then I may finally make the move to Wordpress.  Do you hear that Google?!!!

~Author Publicity:  Wow.  WOWWWW.   For an author to dictate to their readership is mind boggling. Books are entertainment (in some cases educational), but basically, for me they fall into the same media category as movies and magazines.  They are there for the public to enjoy.  We don't have to read a book to live our lives, the same way we need to buy food.  We read to enhance our lives.  We read for pleasure and enjoyment.  Is it our responsibility to pay full price for a book so that authors and the publishing industry can survive? 

Clothes get put on sale.  Should we not buy from a sale rack or a store like TJ Maxx because the original stores (like Macy's or Nieman Marcus), designers and manufacturers are not getting the highest price they should?  As a consumer we always try to find the best bargain we can.  Otherwise, we may forego that pair of pants altogether.  I've never heard of designers demonizing us for going to a thrift shop or demanding we rate their shoes.  This actually is done already on several purchasing sites anyway.  Maybe this isn't the best analogy because we definitely need to wear clothes, but we don't need to wear the nicest clothes on the racks, correct? 

I don't go to movies in order to support an actor's salary.  I go because the story looks good or the actor starring has been compelling in the past.  Again, I go to be entertained.  If we all decided to stop going to the movies because we want to see the show for free on television (which we pay for cable anyway) and the whole motion picture industry crumbled would the Hollywood executives blame the public?  Or would they find some other solution?

Along the same lines THIS article about author Terry Dearey's views made me want to cry.  Or scream.  

                              "The libraries are doing nothing for the book industry. They give
                               nothing back, whereas bookshops are selling the book, and the
                               author and the publisher get paid, which is as it should be. What
                              other entertainment do we expect to get for free?" he asked.

I thought this was kind of appalling.  My library is crowded every time I visit.  There are plenty of people who utilize it for their (gasp) free services.  There are plenty of populations that don't have computers or income for books, even in so called affluent areas.  Libraries give nothing back?  Really?  Really?

Look, I tell people in my own office who complain that they don't get paid enough for what they do that maybe they should consider another job.  Simple as that.  If an author is writing to "make money" they are writing for the wrong reason.  Of course, that's just my naive starry eyed opinion.  But if someone simply wants a job to make money consider medicine or law or something else lucrative.

Again, maybe I'm naive but I thought writers wrote because they wanted to were compelled to tell a story.  Seeing your book published is excellent, but the expectation that because you wrote a book you should be supported by the public is unrealistic.  If you're writing and story exceeds our expectations it will happen. 

In a follow up article Mr. Dearey defends himself: 

                           "No-one is even reading what I’m saying. I never attacked
                           libraries, I said we need to think about people’s access to
                           literature. I don’t see poor people in libraries, I see middle
                           class people with their arms stuffed like looters...People are
                           entitled to their views but I wish they would just discuss them
                           with me rather than try to poison me with spiteful remarks."

Hmmm.  How does he know he's not seeing poor people in libraries?  Also, maybe he should go to a depressed socio-economic area and browse around the libraries there.
Okay, so I don't really know how Mr. Dearey would change people's access to literature, but it does seem that publishing houses are certainly thinking about it with the rise of digital books. 

If libraries do go by the wayside or are drastically changed because books and magazines should not be free, (because let's face it NOTHING in life should be free), I think that there will be more bargain book stores, book swaps and maybe more organizations that give out books to promote reading (kind of like World Book Night).

How about you guys?  Do you have any feelings about the above topics?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - April 27, 2013.

I'm signing up last minute for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon.  I'm not sure what I'll get done, but for slow readers like me, readathons can be very helpful.

This also coincides with the Spring Into Horror Readathon, which I'm also participating in.

I don't have a list or pile yet, but I'll keep you posted.  As of now, I hope to finish I Travel By Night by Robert McCammon and then I'll see what else is waiting for me on my TBR shelf.

Update: I woke up and walked on the treadmill and then started reading.  If course I fell asleep, snacked, cruised the net, etc.  I'm almost done with the above title, but it took me all day.

MINI CHALLENGE: Re-title your current read.
Hosted by: The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog

I think the title of this book is perfect, but if I had to re-title it I would retitle it either Nocturne, which is the name of the town that the main character is looking for or Night Song.  If you read the book, you will know why, but I'm sure you can use your imagination.  It is a vampire story after all.

Paperback Contest.

Did you ever buy a book and then realize a little while later that you already had a copy? Well my mistake is your gain.  I have four paperback books to give away today.  Most of these books also meet the requirements for one of the reading challenges I'm hosting (see buttons on sidebar).

Afterlight by Elle Jasper.

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. 

Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge. 

~Four (4) winners will receive one (1) paperback as shown above.  First winner will have their first choice and so on.    

To Enter:
~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~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. 

~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Contest ends on Friday, May 3, 2013 at 12:15am. 
~To enter you must fill out the Rafflecopter form.
~Winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international!  
~Winner has 72 hours to respond to notification e-mail.  Otherwise another winner will be chosen. 

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Title/Author: Fangboy by Jeff Strand.

Genre: Dark Fantasy.

Publisher: Delirium Books.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Nathan.

Favorite Quote:  "You will grin and you will speak in creepy whispers..." ~Professor Kleft.

Synopsis: Nathan Pepper seemed like an ordinary baby…except for a mouth full of scary sharp teeth. Because his life began with his grandmother strongly recommending that he be destroyed as soon as possible, it's safe to say that Nathan was not destined for a typical existence. 

He hated the nickname “Fangboy,” but nobody could deny that he was the most frightening little boy in town. And he would have adventures of every sort. Tragic adventures, like what happened to his parents. Dangerous adventures, like his encounter with the sinister Professor Mongrel. Thrilling adventures, like the part where he's on an out-of-control horse and he can't make it stop running and you think “Well, he should just jump off,” but he CAN'T because it's going too fast and he could break a leg. And, yes, one particularly gruesome adventure, though it is not described in great detail.

Will things end happily for Nathan? Will he bite somebody? Gather your family and your most deranged friends, make some chocolate chip cookies, and share the dark comedy treat of FANGBOY, a bizarre yet heartwarming yet rather tasteless saga that—all ego aside—will define a generation.
My Thoughts:  Poor little Nathan.  All he wants is to fit in and be liked.  Doesn't everyone?  The problem is he has fangs for teeth.  His situation probably is not helped by the wacky world he lives in either.  His grandparents reject him at birth, his parents basically hide him.  Then they pass away and he is thrust into the hard, cruel world.  First an orphanage, then the woods, when he finally finds a nice home a mishap sends him out into the cold world again. 

This is a laugh out loud and shake your head in wonder tale.  Jeff Strand has a talent for taking his meandering thoughts and observations and spinning them into a narrative full of an oddly joyful silliness.  You could say this is a dark tale, delivered in a humorous way. Along with this Fangboy elicits a world weariness and reminder that people can be cruel regarding one's differences.  As a reader, my emotions brought me up to giggling amusement and down to sad empathy.  Happily, the tale of Fangboy ends on a positive note with Nathan learning from his experiences and wanting to emerge in the world as a do gooder. 

Nathan is a delightful character not really different from other little boys at all.  His circumstances perhaps have made him a bit more thoughful and a bit more pensive.  He has to be conscious of his fangs at all times and the trouble they might bring, but of course, that's not always possible.  The other characters in the book were just as interesting.  Some were more over the top than others, but they never failed to deliver a measure of folly.

Although I often wondered where exactly the story was going more than a few times the book this book went by quite fast although it seems that every time Nathan takes one step forward he takes two steps back. It's an easy read and quite entertaining. Fangboy has a fairy tale quality that includes journeys, magic, villains and fairy godmother type encounters as well.  Fangboy has to prove himself just as any hero and experience the trials and tribulations before he can find a happily ever after.

All in all: A cute and charming book, suitable for all ages. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blog Tour: Otherborn by Anna Silver - Excerpt.


“Hey London! Wait up!” the familiar voice called out.

She turned to see Rye running up behind her, drumsticks in hand, his crop of ruddy hair pointing in several directions at once. He was the only person she knew whose eyes were the exact color of his hair, something she noted with more affection than she liked to admit. “Where the hell have you been?” she asked him.

“Packing up my shit. And everyone else’s. You didn’t even come inside to get your guitar.”

“Pauly said we could leave our stuff there tonight.”

“Yeah. He’s pretty freaked about what happened. Said to give it a few days before we come back. I think he’s worried about you.”

London gave an ambiguous shrug. She didn’t want to think about how this might reinforce Pauly’s concerns for her.

“Did you play the song for him yet?” Rye asked her eagerly.

“Nah,” London lied, afraid to disappoint Rye. She was as protective of him in her own way as Zen was of Avery. “No chance."

“It’s a good song though, isn’t it? You think he’ll like it, don’t you?” Rye was always overanalyzing stuff, thinking things to death. It made her crazy.

“I guess,” she said curtly, hoping to discourage him off the subject

"We put a punk spin on it. I think the Dogma crowd will love it.”

Dogma was the name of Pauly’s grubby hole in the wall with poor lighting, bad acoustics, and a ragtag patronage. But his reputation for authentic pre-Crisis discs and live music meant more to a lot of people than expensive seat covers or a state-of-the-art bar. Pauly knew a good thing when he saw it. He’d been loaning them discs, letting them practice tracks since they formed the band just over a year ago, after the dreams began. Drawing a bigger crowd to Dogma, and more rations for the cover charge, was the least London could do to repay his years of kindness.

“Maybe,” London sighed. “Maybe not.” She didn’t feel like reminding Rye that some people feared New the way little kids feared the boogieman. Seemed silly until she’d actually created something New herself and had Pauly’s paranoia blow up in her face. It had come so easy, they kept forgetting it was supposed to be impossible. Then again, so was dreaming.

Rye picked up on her reluctance to discuss it. “You goin’ to class tomorrow?” he asked, changing tactics.

“I don’t know.” London shrugged. “Seems kinda pointless.”

“Yeah. I know what you mean. I still can’t believe he’s dead. I never even talked to the kid till he approached us at lunch last week. And now—boom. Dead.”

“Me neither. Pretty jacked up, huh? Makes me feel like some kind of curse.”

“It’s not like it’s ever happened before. We’re all okay,” Rye comforted her. “Even after we started hanging with you…and dreaming.”

London rubbed at her eyes. “Let’s just hope this isn’t the start of a new trend."

Rye was pensive. “If it is, Avery will be next. She’s the newest. Except Degan, of course.

”London stopped Rye with a hard punch to his shoulder. “Don’t say that, Rye. Don’t you ever say that! Degan wasn’t one of us. He wasn’t Otherborn.”

“Okay, relax. I know he wasn’t officially in our little circle yet. But come on, London, you have to admit it. He was Otherborn. He was one of us.”

“We don’t know that for sure.” London decided to finally light the dangling cigarette, which had migrated from her mouth to behind her ear then back to her mouth during the course of their conversation. Degan’s murder was making her edgy. “We never really talked to him. We didn’t get the chance.”

“We knew enough,” Rye said. “He told us enough last week.”

“Maybe, maybe not.” London exhaled a cloud of smoke and picked at her pouty bottom lip. “I’m just saying this doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of us.”

“Do you really believe that?” Rye pressed her as they began walking again, their building coming into view.

“No one even knows about us, Rye. Not about the dreams,” London reasoned. She hated the way he overanalyzed everything.

Rye paused in front of their building, taking a drag off London’s cig. “Degan did,” he said, blowing the smoke back in her face. 

London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.

Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.

What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.

When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

Purchase paperback of  Otherborn at Amazon.
Purchase e-copy of Otherborn at Amazon.
Purchase c-copy of Otherborn at Barnes & Noble.

Author Links:
Publisher - Sapphire Star Publishing.

Anna Silver grew up with a passion for words, books, and storytelling.  She began writing as a child and eventually landed at St. Edward's University in Austin where she studied English Writing and Rhetoric.  She has always nurtured a vivid imagination and a love for art, expression and fantasy.  Currently she resides in the greater Houston area with her family and pets where she continues to read, write, and dream.  Otherborn is her first published novel. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon giveaway.

To keep your scare going even after the Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon, I am giving away a copy of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab. 

To enter, you MUST  be signed up for Seasons of Reading Horror Read-a-Thon.  You can sign up HERE.

If you enter the contest and are not signed up, you will be disqualified.

~One (1) winner will receive a hardcopy of The Near Witch.  

To Enter:
~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~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. 

~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Contest ends on Sunday, April 28th at 12:15am. 
~To enter you must fill out the Rafflecopter form.
~Winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international!
~Winner has 72 hours to respond to notification e-mail.  Otherwise another winner will be chosen. 

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spring into Horror Readathon.

It's that time of year again.  No, not Halloween.  No, not Women in Horror Month.  And, not quite time for the World Horror Convention.

However, it IS time for the  start Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon hosted by Michelle from Seasons of Reading.  Please check out her page for details and to sign up!

The only requirement is to read one scary book during the marathon.  That's it!  Just one!  I think this slow reader can handle that.  It also ties in perfectly for my Horror Reading Challenge.  (See button on sidebar.) Also, if out and out Horror is not your thing, you can participate by reading a paranormal, thriller or mystery title.  Those all have scary going on as well. 

I'm just finishing up Mister Slaughter right now by Robert McCammon.  While not strictly Horror, it does have elements of the genre. 

I will be tracking and updating my progress on this page so please check back.  I will also be hosting a contest for the Read-A-Thon.

I have a hard time with lists because I usually choose my books spontaneously.  However, I did just buy I Travel By Night by Robert McCammon, so I may start on that after Mister Slaughter.

Monday April 22, 2013:
Finished Mister Slaughter by Robert McCammon (Read p. 419-440).
Blood Memory by Greg Iles. (Listened to approximately 1 hour to/from work).

Tuesday April 23, 2013:
I Travel by Night by Robert McCammon (Read 9%)
Blood Memory by Greg Iles. (Listened to approximately 1/2 hour).

Wednesday April 24, 2013:
I Travel by Night by Robert McCammon (did not track %).
Blood Memory by Greg Iles. (Listened to approximately 1 hour to/from work).

Thursday April 25, 2013:
I Travel by Night by Robert McCammon (did not track %).
Blood Memory by Greg Iles. (Listened to approximately 1 hour to/from work).

Friday April 26, 2013:
I Travel by Night by Robert McCammon. (did not track %).

Saturday April 27, 2013:
I Travel by Night by Robert McCammon. (Finished!)

Odd Hours.

Title/Author: Odd Hours by Dean Koontz.

Narration: David Aaron Baker.

Genre: Supernatural Thriller.

Publisher: Brilliance Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Frank Sinatra.

Synopsis: The legend began in the obscure little town of Pico Mundo. A fry cook named Odd was rumored to have the extraordinary ability to communicate with the dead. Through tragedy and triumph, exhilaration and heartbreak, word of Odd Thomas’s gifts filtered far beyond Pico Mundo, attracting unforgettable new friends—and enemies of implacable evil. With great gifts comes the responsibility to meet great challenges. But no mere human being was ever meant to face the darkness that now stalks the world—not even one as oddly special as Odd Thomas.

After grappling with the very essence of reality itself, after finding the veil that separates him from his soul mate, Stormy Llewellyn, tantalizingly thin yet impenetrable, Odd longed only to return to a life of quiet anonymity with his two otherworldly sidekicks—his dog Boo and a new companion, one of the few who might rival his old pal Elvis. But a true hero, however humble, must persevere. Haunted by dreams of an all-encompassing red tide, Odd is pulled inexorably to the sea, to a small California coastal town where nothing is as it seems. Now the forces arrayed against him have both official sanction and an infinitely more sinister authority…and in this dark night of the soul dawn will come only after the most shattering revelations of all.
My Thoughts:  Aliens and dogs.  Those are the ideas that Koontz left me with in Odd Thomas.  I'm not really spoiling anything so just bear with me.

First of all, I really love Odd.  I truly think he is one of the most memorable characters in Horror/Dark Fiction and definitely Koontz's most memorable and probably most popular.  I've loved other Koontz books, but I can't remember anyone's name in particular to be honest.  Maybe it's because it was the title of the first book in this saga or maybe it's because he is just a compelling character and a tragic hero.  Odd is a good person.  Wonderful really.  If I had his gift, I would probably be on the talk show circuit.  But not Odd.  He just wants a simple life and does not seek fortune or fame.  Just a little peace. 

In Odd Hours, we are introduced to Annamaria, a pregnant young woman who plays a key role in the dangerous events that are swirling around Odd.  She is a very strange, elusive character who speaks in riddles and my prediction is that in the next installment she is going to reveal that she is an alien.  Her character reminds me of the character Deliverance Payne in his book Tick Tock.  Her dialogue with Odd is filled with cryptic statements that is very similar.  A bit too similar for her to be original for me, but she is still likeable.  Also in this book we meet Odd's new employer, a retired actor.  He is a very funny and endearing man and has the quirks that we expect with a Koontz story.  Also, Elvis has moved on and now Frank Sinatra is keeping company with Odd.  Although I kind of miss The King, Ol' Blue Eyes is a refreshing change and gives a nice spin to the story.

The plot of this story is not out of the realm of possibility, especially in this day and age, but the fact that Odd is able to thwart these villains without any help from authorities had me a little dubious.  Of course though, after watching The Following I'm not sure I would completely trust the FBI to keep me safe.  Time is a factor in Odd's decision to carry out his own plan, which I understood and anyway, I guess Odd has prevailed enough in the past to give him the confidence and skills to beat any bad guys. 

This is a thriller with the clock ticking and Odd is very aware of that.  The events happen quickly yet there is a lot of exposition.  While I appreciated the short biography of Mr. Sinatra and actually found it interesting, it was long as were a lot of other parts.  I actually had to skip most of a disc because it wasn't working, but when I put the next cd in, it was practically in the same spot.  Odd tends to overexplain his thoughts.  Some are beautiful, but sometimes I feel that less is more.

One exquisite piece of writing however, is when Odd (and hence Koontz) talks of the death of a loved one and the deeper meaning of how it relates to life.  "'re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life."  Exquisite.

Why do I think of dogs when I think of Dean Koontz books?  He includes them quite frequently,  which I actually love and Odd Hours includes a ghost dog who helps him and a dog, a Golden Retriever of course, who he liberated from another home. 

Narration:  The narration was done well.  Characters were differentiated I liked how he portrayed Odd's voice and cadence.  Also the women weren't ridiculously portrayed.  The voices of the thugs were pretty funny as well. 

All in all: Odd Thomas lovers will want to read this as it sets up the next installment.  I felt kind of ambivalent about the story.  It didn't grab me but I always like spending time with Odd.

Other editions:


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Undead and Wed.

 Title/Author: Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson.

Genre:  Paranormal Romance.

Publisher: Berkley Trade.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character:

Favorite Quote:

Synopsis: It's been a hell of a week for Betsy Taylor. First, she loses her job. Then, she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites (besides waking up in the morgue dressed in a pink suit and cheap shoes courtesy of her stepmother) is that she can't seem to stay dead. Every night she rises, with a horrible craving for blood. And she's not taking too well to a liquid diet. Worst of all, Betsy's new friends have some silly idea that she's the prophesied vampire queen.

My Thoughts:  This book is *very* funny.  Very.  Main character Betsy does not take her new status as a vampire too seriously.  In fact, you can say she doesn't take it seriously at all.  She makes fun of all the vampire tropes and myths and is even immune to a few things that hurt other vampires.  In the midst of all this, the two vampire gangs are trying to get her on their side or kill her, because her appearance has been foretold for centuries. 

Betsy is a likeable character and her humor and sassiness shine through at every turn.  She shows vulnerability in regards to her father, stepmother and mother which I enjoyed too.  I loved her shoe obsession and how she could practically be bribed by Jimmy Choos and Milano Blahniks.  She is also very sympathetic to others around her.  She helps people and vampires alike when the most rational thing would be to walk away or kill them. 

Her love interest and mentor Eric Sinclair is a typical suave, handsome, hot vampire who tries to help Besty while helping the vampire population at the same time.  He and Betsy annoy each other and she resists his help and his advances, creating tension between them. And Bety's nickname for him is hysterical. I didn't love him but I didn't dislike him either.  I would like to see him more developed in future adventures.  Then we have the bad vampire who wants Betsy on his side.  He is funny and pathetic in the way that Betsy views him...a walking cliche.  However, the atrocities he has commited over the centures show how crazy and dangerous he is.  Betsy's friends are fun as well, especially her best friend who is so thrilled that she has her friend back, she doesn't care that she is a vampire, which is just awesome. 

Even though I think this would be catergorized as Paranormal Romance, there is not a lot of romance found in this book, which is fine for me.  However, there are a few extremely intimate scenes that will satisfy (so to speak) people who like their erotica.

This might not be a problem for some readers, but because the humor did not let up, about 2/3 of the way into it I found myself struggling.  I think it took too much energy for me personally to stay in that mindset.  Yes, there are moments of seriousness but they are few compared to the humor.  Maybe if there were more it would feel more balanced.  Also...I hesitate to bring this up, but ultimately I decided to because I like to think of this blog as a discussion platform of a book, not just a review site.  I don't think the author meant to use this word as anything but trying to get her point across and I don't hold it against her, but she uses the word retarded twice.  I would bet a million dollars she didn't mean anything disrespectful by it, but it just made me uncomfortable. 

The humor and plot of this story -- thinking outside of the box and taking vampire myths and cliche's and turning them on their ear outweight any minor personal setbacks for me.  This book is a lot of fun and I wonder how Betsy will deal with upcoming vampiric issues.

All in all: Very original and laugh out loud funny.

Other Editions:


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions - Blogging Longevity (Monday, April 15, 2013)

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month we will post a question and invite you to answer, comment and discuss opinions and different views.

Please keep the dialogue courteous. No bashing!

If you would like to participate in this meme sign up below and please feel free to to grab the button to include in your post with a link to For What It's Worth Reviews or here at Midnyte Reader.

Question:  April 15th - How long do you see yourself blogging for? Do you think it's ok for a blog to evolve over time? For example: You may have started out as a book review blog but now your interest is in cooking as well. Do you incorporate that or start over?

Answer:  I really never gave myself a timeline and I'm not sure what the future will bring.  I don't have a picture of me blogging or not blogging in the far future, if that makes sense.  I guess I will just have to take it as it comes.  I would like to think I would be able to keep up the enthusiasm and stamina to do it for many years, but who knows?

I absolutely think it's okay for a blog to evolve just as people evolve.  I think it would be fine to incorporate new hobbies into your present blog.  However,  especially if I wanted to blog about something totally different, I'd use a different name...but probably still use Midnyte in the title somehow!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Fear Factor - Guest Post by Alex Woolfe

The Fear Factor

My first encounter with horror came, like most people, from fairy tales. My brother and I had some twelve-inch LP records (showing my age here!) of readings of Red Riding Hood and Snow White, complete with spooky sound effects. The lack of pictures made it scarier for me. I was left to imagine exactly what the wolf in granny’s clothing looked like. My older sister loved the ancient Greek myths, and I loved reading stories from her bookshelf of Medusa and the Minotaur. When I was a teenager, I read everything I could by Stephen King, James Herbert and Clive Barker. I loved horror films, too, especially Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. I was never as into Dracula or Frankenstein. In those films, the monster was too ‘centre-stage’. It was always the unseen or unknowable monster that intrigued and scared me. I remember going with a friend to see Nightmare on Elm Street in this old, rundown cinema in North London, and I swear we were the only two in there that evening, apart from this creepy old usherette. It was terrifying.

What is it I love so much about horror?  People often say it’s about finding a way of exploring your own fears in safety.  I’m sure that’s a big part of it.  When I’m reading or a scary scene, I often feel like I’m on a precipice or a very narrow path, surrounded by darkness.  I feel I’m somehow at the very edge of normal life, at the point where it fades into something quite wild and mad and out of control, and if I step off, I might never get back again, or if I do I won’t be the same.  It’s that feeling of being on the brink of madness that I find so addictive, and which brings me back for more each time.  I remember reading Where the Wild Things Are as a kid, and the illustration that got me each time was the one where the bedroom starts turning into a forest – the bedposts become trees.  Similarly, there’s a scene in Halloween when the main character is walking along a suburban street and the guy in the mask appears, for just a second, in the distance behind her. It’s the point where normality fades into something strange and inexplicable.  That’s what I find most freaky, and what I’m always searching for in horror fiction.

For me, the reason why the best modern horror stories and films work in the way that old-fashioned gothic horror doesn’t is because they’re set in worlds that we can relate to.  In my book, Soul Shadows, I deliberately chose a dull, rural setting, because, for me, the more ordinary the starting point, the closer it seems to real life, and therefore the scarier it feels when things start to become strange.  That’s not to say I don’t love a good old-fashioned horror tale by the likes of H P Lovecraft or Bram Stoker.  They’re full of drama and thrills, but they rarely take me to that nightmarish precipice, that proximity with madness, I was talking about earlier.  This may have a lot to do with the characters, which often appear a little one-dimensional: incredibly virtuous and brave, or else demonically evil. In the best modern horror, the main characters are ordinary people, with good and bad qualities, just like us.  We identify with them, we root for them, and when the bad stuff starts happening, we feel, in some way, it’s happening to us. 

Luckily, of course, it isn't.  And the best part for me is that, in the end, we can close the book, turn off the television, switch on the light, and breathe a huge sigh of relief. We survived!

Thank you Alex for your insightful observations and your experiences regarding fear.  It was always the unknowable monster that scared me the most too and I can appreciate the difference between prominent monsters and hidden ones.  

Please check out Alex's new novel Soul Shadows for more scares!

Estelle thinks that a stay in a remote cottage will give her the peace and quiet that she needs, but the nearby wood holds a terrible secret. Can she and her friend Sandor discover what’s going on in the mysterious military lab before it’s too late? 
Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf
Gripping, vivid, creepy – just some of the words used in early reviews to describe SOUL SHADOWS, the new novel by Alex Woolf publishing with CURIOUS FOX this April.

Tying in with a recent trend for YA ‘fright-write’, Soul Shadows can be compared to Charlie Higson’s The Enemy or Darren Shan’s series, in its ability to grip and scare in equal measure. Exploring themes like mental health, childhood psychological abuse and the morality of science, SOUL SHADOWS offers much more than a one-dimensional scare story. Through his central character, Estelle, Alex Woolf places the reader right in the centre of the action – Estelle is an immediately gripping, though clearly damaged and vulnerable, personality, and it’s the reader’s connection with her from the first page that makes the unfolding horror feel so true, so raw.

In the world of SOUL SHADOWS, Woolf explores what would happen if your shadow could come to life, and, ultimately, try to take your life. It’s a sinister concept which leaves readers jumpy and, literally, scared of their own shadow. Set in an unspecified rural English landscape there is a feeling of extreme claustrophobia as Estelle, and her friend, Sandor, try to escape the world of shadows.

Woolf admits he has been scared of shadows or the ideas of shadows for some time “I’ve always felt your shadow is a scary idea, sometimes the light or dark warps your shape and you catch a flicker of movement from the corner of your eye, rationally you know it’s just your shadow, but what if...what if...I began to think – and then Soul Shadows was born.”

“Wow! Soul Shadows had me gripped from the beginning to end. The writing style is very vivid and descriptive which is perfect for this creepy story.” Comacalm’s Corner blog

“I thought this book was brilliant; it was extremely gripping and had just the right amount of horror to scare you!” Hannah, 15 years old

Known for his successful sci-fi Chronosphere trilogy, Woolf has been a full- time writer for over a decade after leaving his job as a non-fiction editor in 2001.

He lives in North London with his Italian wife and two children. In his spare time, he likes to play tennis, draw sharks, watch horror movies and teach himself the piano

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Title/Author:  Tribesman by Adam Cesare.

Genre: Horror.

Publisher: Ravenous Shadows.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character:  Jacque.

Synopsis: In the early 80’s — at the height of the ultra-violent “Italian cannibal” grindhouse film craze — a small international cast and crew descend on an isolated Caribbean island, hoping to crassly exploit the native talent.

But the angry, undead spirits of the island have a different, more original script in mind. And as horror after staggering horror unfolds, the camera keeps rolling. To the blood-spattered end...

My Thoughts:  "Ew.  He he he.  Ew.  He he he."  That's the reaction I had while reading Tribesman, a no holds bar out and out slasher tale.  It has the supernatural, gore, great characters and more gore.  Taking place in the height of the golden era of Slasher Flicks, the 80s, Tribesman gives a close look at the world of filmmaking on a shoestring budget.  I would have to guess that Adam Cesare worked in film to bring the details of producing, camerawork and scriptwriting so easily to the page. 

No fluff here, no meanderings of prose, and yet I still got a sense of who these characters were in the short time I knew them.  I adored how some of the characters are over the top, yet real...because we've all met people like the creepy leading man and sleazy director who don't realize really there is anything lacking in their persona.  They are made all the more realistic by the calm screenwriter Jacque and the inexperienced female lead, Cynthia.

I also loved how each chapter switches to a different member of the crew/cast.  It seemed to me that this style was another reflection of a movie as the scenes play out.  Also unique is the punch the story has.  The horror starts quickly and never lets up.  The writing is direct and colorful.  It is simple without being over simplified.

This is a novella I enjoyed reading and once I started I didn't want to stop.  The story flows quickly toward the end *Spoiler Alert: where I was happy to see the quintessential Final Girl prevails.  If you don't like blood, violence and killing this is not the story for you.  If you do, then it will more than satisfy your thirst for a good dose of the grisly.

All in all:  A straight shooting horror story.  Fast paced and fun.


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