Thursday, May 30, 2013

Roving Readers Report - Welcome to the Jungle (part 2).





The latest news on books, publishing and other literary tidbits. 
Today's Roving Readers Report is brought to you by resident info junkie Mona. 


Rover to Reader:
Welcome to the Jungle, part 2

This is part 2 in an ongoing analysys of Amazon's newest deal to publish fanfiction and pay royalties to authors and copyright holders for stories sold. 

Disclosure: I’ve served as a hired pen and editor of licensed publishing. I’ve also posted my own fan fiction opus (teenage hottie superheroes in birdsuits!) without any monetary recompense, yet.

In a content-rich world, it’s getting mighty confusing who owns what and who should get paid. This is my analysis of the ever-changing publishing landscape and why writers can rejoice and be wary.

Traditional publishing is racing to keep up with the digital content streaming out of writers’ computers and into readers’ phones. Publishers of every format constantly hunt for the next Big Deal. The writer whose work ignites a phenomenon can come from anywhere: a mother who scribbles a middle-grade series between her child’s naps; a wife expanding a dream into a supernatural trilogy; a fan of a franchise playing the “What If…?” game by writing her own stories and changing the names to protect her copyright.

Editors had been bringing popular, self-pubbed authors (Amanda Hocking) into their publishing house. Now they could start scouring the wildest jungle from where E.L. James emerged: the fan fiction universe.

For those uninitiated (oh what fun you are due), fan fiction is where writers go to play. Any writer. Not just newbies cutting literary teeth. Pros using pseudonyms (and not) are there blowing off steam. It’s a game of “What If…?” that oils the gears of the imagination and the sticky wheels of writing mechanics. Fans of another writer’s copyrighted characters can write in that universe (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Japanese anime, video games, everything goes) and spin their own stories without fear. Go write, with a safety net. The world has been built for you. And you can mess it up minus consequences. You never have to show it or you can post it on a website for free and nobody laughs at you because they’re doing it too! It’s not plagiarism because it’s not copying per sec. It is for FUN to be had by writers and readers free of copyright infringement lawsuits because no monies are gained through publication.

Until E.L. James unveiled Fifty Shades of Grey. Its origin story: A fan of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, she supposedly wrote naughty stories starring Meyer’s characters that lots of people enjoyed reading for free online. A make-money lightbulb flashed on in someone’s head. Names and scenarios were changed, thereby separating it from the copyright of the inspiring source material and resulting in an original work that became a publishing phenomenon.

Whatever the origin, good for all. Good for E.L James who launched a profitable writing career. Good for readers to enjoy (or not) in public (or private). Good for writers to be inspired and bookstore owners to sell books and the publisher smart enough to capitalize on it (Random House, the biggest fish at the time). The success of this new formula ignited the hunt for fresh writers. Some misinterpreted the goal as finding writers of soft porn. Amazon looked for unincorporated territory to explore.

The book industry bemoans Amazon of devouring the business from all sides. It ate the brick-and-mortar bookstores through price-cutting and spat out its own line of imprints through self-published superstars. Now it’s steamrolling through licensed publishing by seducing na├»ve fan fiction writers. Maybe.

When I discovered the secret world of fanfic, I wept with joy. My fandom (the beloved franchise) continued to live on although it was no longer on TV or in bookstores. My family (the characters) continued to love, fight, and go on adventures. There were mash-ups of worlds (CSI hires Buffy) and shipper fantasies set sail (I knew s/he liked hir). All created by the minds and hands of other artists. Some of the most exquisite writers yet to be discovered were building this sanctuary and filling it with beautiful stories – in drabbles and to epic lengths – that could never be officially published because of copyright laws. That was the rule we understood. We couldn’t make money off another’s world.

Until Amazon’s deal to publish fan fiction of a “few licenses” such as The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars to start the Kindle Worlds river flowing with a revenue stream to the copyright holders and (gasp!) even the fan fiction writer.

So what do I think of this opportunity? Rejoice, Writers! Bring out your secret works and dance by the fire. I’ve got my fanfic opus ready. But what will this do for me? Make me a published professional author earning money? Maybe…. Beware, Writers! The hunters have entered our jungle. Careful where you step, there may be traps. Read the fine print before checking that box. The copyright owner still holds the copyright; however, Amazon now owns your story. What will they do with it? You may hold copyrights for your original characters… until someone else decides to play in your universe. Do I want to share my toys?

The jungle has its rules and we play by them: eat or be eaten. Publish or perish. The Internet gifted us with immortality and anonymity. How do we use these gifts? Wisely, please, and thanks for the fun.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roving Readers Report - Welcome to the Jungle, pt. 1.





The latest news on books, publishing and other literary tidbits. 
Today's Roving Readers Report is brought to you by resident info junkie Mona. 


Rover to Reader:
Welcome to the Jungle, part 1

Writers know life is a jungle. The jungle of our brain is where we cull fruit off the vines of Imagination to carve out a story, but it’s also a jungle in the mission To Be Published. The brave (and batty) forge trails if the pathway is blocked. Rejection doesn’t kill a career. Can’t get an agent? Build a website. The big house still won’t buy your book? Go indie. Or self-publish and wait for that same big house to call you, maybe.

Or you could become an Amazon. As in sleeping with the enemy of publishers. “Don’t worry, Writers,” coos Amazon the electronic retail giant, “if they won’t print you, I will. Just click this box here.”

Amazon’s latest deal:

This new pathway named “Kindle Worlds” offers a breakthrough for undiscovered writers and some money to both the copyright holder and the fan fiction author. It also raises questions for publishers and their stable of hired guns already writing in the world of licensed publishing aka media tie-ins.

What happens to those commissioned works? Are these stories considered the officially sanctioned adventures in the franchised universe? Is continuity a concern? Are there now multiple universes in a franchise? These already exist: see The Walking Dead comics vs. TV show; True Blood TV show vs. Sookie Stackhouse book series.

Writers hired to create in a licensed franchise receive a flat fee for their work and release all claims to it, no royalties are paid to them because these go to the franchise’s creator, the copyright holder. This used to be the rule in licensed publishing. Are these writers no longer welcome to play in the fandom they were previously hired to expand? Are they due an extra payment? Do they need a publisher to hire them or can they sign an agreement with Amazon?

Does the licensed publishing world as it currently stands co-exist with the new Amazon initiative or is it subsumed by the Amazon’s regime? What about book clubs whose foundation are media tie-in series?

A lot of questions without answers — it’s too early to tell and I’m not a lawyer. Amazon’s deal is one answer to the question asked at 2012’s BEA (Book Expo America): How do we find the next Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon? Lure writers out of the fan fiction jungle, from where supposedly came E.L. James. The new question: If E.L. James had pubbed Fifty Shades of Grey through Kindle Worlds, would anyone other than Amazon benefit and how? I will be scouting 2013’s BEA for buzz and posting about this ground-changing deal.

Stay tuned for part 2, a personal history of the jungle.

Disclosure: I’ve served as a hired pen and editor of licensed publishing. I’ve also posted my own fan fiction opus (teenage hottie superheroes in birdsuits!) without any monetary recompense, yet.







Saturday, May 25, 2013

About Last Night's Book Dream... (May 25, 2013).






Last night's dream:

I'm at BEA and I have two  ARCs in my hand.  A woman hands me two more prequels to them.  She leads me to a library where they are holding some kind of event.  Tori from The Book Faery and Karen form For What It's Worth Reviews are there as well.  The woman tells us that we can't bring our ARCs in the library and to leave them on the table.  I'm a little hesitant but she assures me that no one will take them.  

Once we are in the library we have to go around to different sections to talk to authors and get books.  It's kind of like a treasure hunt.  At some point, Tori, Karen and I are in a huge room with a very long table.  The table is holding antiques and bric-a-brac.  Then my dad is there.  He points out a potholder that he wants and I tell him he can have it.  Then Karen says he can't because she made it.  I know this is going to be hard to relay because he is hard of hearing.  Tori hands Karen a health drink, but then a bee flies out of it. Apparently bees are very healthy and live ones are an ingredient.  I dive under the table but Karen is not afraid of it.  

I make my way out of the library because I realize practically the whole day has gone by and I've missed all the signings I wanted to go to.  I try to find my books on the table, but it is covered with other piles of books that I know belong to other people.  I desperately try to find my books, but I can't figure out which ones they are.  I only really want one of them anyway, so I take a random one on the table.  I feel guilty because I know it is probably someone else's but I hope that it will even out, because mine is under all the books.  

I'm pretty sure this is an anxiety dream regarding BEA.  I often have dreams like this where I miss something.  If you are going to BEA are you having any kind of dreams about it?

Do you think this dream has any deeper meaning?  Have you had any bookish dreams lately? 

This is also a good time to announce that I have a few posts planned this week, but I will be busy hopefully *not* missing any signings at BEA.  


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feature and Follow #150 (Friday, May 24, 2013).


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.


I know that GFC is probably going by the way side, but feel free to follow using it.  I'm hanging on to the bitter end.  You can also follow using Mister Linky, Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail.

This week's question:  The #FF is 150 weeks old!  What would you change about the hop?  What do you like about it?  Or just suggest a question to be used for next week!

150 weeks.  That's like 3 years or so right?  What a great hop!  What I love about this hop is the blogs.  So.  Many.  Blogs.  It's as if I'm ignorant of how many blogs are out there because every time I participate, I find blogs that I have never heard of before.  I love seeing all the designs and the unique blog names.  I try to figure out what kind of books the blog features from the name.  Sometimes I'm close, sometimes not.  I've made so many great friends through blogging, met so many other book lovers and found so many great authors.  I wonder how many more I will make in the future.  This hop reminds me that there are so many more opportunities out there.

How about you?  What do you like about this hop?  Would you change anything?

Roving Readers Report - Stephen King in Sleepy Hollow?




The latest news on books, publishing and other literary tidbits.
Today's Roving Readers Report is brought to you by resident info junkie Mona. 

Rover to Reader:
King Horror Claims a Hollow Home

Stephen King's short story, “A Good Marriage” from his 2010 novella Full Dark, No Stars, is becoming a feature film starring Joan Allen as a wife whose spring cleaning unearths her husband’s darkest secrets. Film scouts found the couple’s perfect house languishing on Bellwood Avenue in the ritzy “Manor” neighborhood of Sleepy Hollow. Since the 1950s, the house was used as a library and office space for the Historic Hudson Valley organization. It fell into disrepair until discovered by Hollywood. Now film crews are giving the house a transformative facelift! The expansive street is packed with crew trucks busy with home renovations and nosy neighbors (like this roving reporter) testing camera phones (blurry shots from our move-along-now car). Filming is rumored to start at the end of May. No sightings yet of Uncle Stevie, but TPTB hope the Master of Horror will pose for some gruesomely great Halloween photos during his visit to the Home of the Headless Horseman.










Mona lives in a glass castle and tries not to throw heavy objects, especially stones, that can shatter her belief system. She owns many books yet doesn't make enough time to read them all or write new ones. She is presently trying to teach her cats to read.




Image credit: joanneweston / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: seamartini / 123RF Stock Photo


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blood Street - Blog Tour! Guest post by Carl Alves.


In my novel Blood Street, most of the main characters are either vampires or members of the Philadelphia Mafia. This gave me many opportunities to create colorful and memorable characters. On the vampire side, there is Magnus, the ancient leader of the brood who has lived for so long that he no longer finds pleasure in life; Alexei, an equally ancient vampire who lives life to its fullest and recklessly gets his brood into trouble; Gabriella, the moral compass of the brood who manages to keep them all together.


Among the mobsters there is Enzo Salerno, the highly educated and intelligent leader of the Mafia, who is trying to bring his organization to a new era; Tony “the Wop” Scrambolgni, the dedicated underboss who is the definition of someone you would not want to mess with; Sophie Koch, an intelligent and attractive consigliere, who Enzo leans on for sage advice in a world of thugs and cutthroats.

Out of all of these characters, my favorite is Pat “the Goat” Adesso. The Goat was a fun character to write because he is hot-headed, passionate, fearless, and often times out of control. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble, something that despite his skills and talents, prevents him from rising in Salerno’s syndicate. His relationship with his girlfriend Karen is volatile. He is also the character that changes the most in the story. He matures after the vampire Alexei attacks him, sparking the war between these two factions. As the story evolves, Enzo Salerno gains more trust in him, and the Goat’s entire outlook on life changes. He becomes a “man of honor”, someone that Salerno can rely upon in the most difficult of times. Fighting the vampires for him has nothing to do with vengeance and profit, his normal motives, but his motivation becomes more moralistic and religious in nature

Purchase Blood Street from True Grit Publishing - HERE.
Purchase from Amazon for Kindle for only $2.99! - HERE.
Add to Goodreads - HERE.

Carl Alves bio:
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and later an MBA degree from Lehigh University, Carl has worked in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. His debut novel Two For Eternity was released in 2011 by Weaving Dreams Publishing. His short fiction has appeared in various publications such as Sinister City, Alien Skin and Behind Locked Doors anthology. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and has attended the Penn Writers Conference. You can visit his website at www.carlalves.com.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Winner Announcements!

I'm trying to be better about posting winners from my contests.  I had a few in the past month. 

Earring winners:
Georgia Peach Swirl Earrings - Miki.
Georgia Peach earrings - June M.
Georgia Peach earrings - Shadow K.

The Janus Affair winners:
Logan Turner
Miki
Shadow K.

Dan Wells books:
Shadow K.

You can also view the winners on the Rafflecopter widgets on the original posts.

Beautiful Sorrows.

Title/Author:  Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley.

Genre: Short stories, Dark Fiction, Fantasy.

Publisher: Shock Totem Publications.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite Quote: "She thought of how the moon was always alone, never invited to tea, an eerily beautiful voyeur." ~The Girl from She Called Him Sky.

Synopsis: There is a place where sorrows pile up like snow and rest in your hair like cherry blossoms. Boys have wings, monsters fall in love, women fade into nothingness, and the bones of small children snap like twigs. Darkness will surely devour you—but it will be exquisitely lovely while doing so.

Mercedes M. Yardley’s Beautiful Sorrows is an ephemeral collection encompassing twenty-seven short tales full of devastation, death, longing, and the shining ribbon of hope that binds them all together. ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts:  Take a step into another world with Beautiful Sorrows, a book that I urge everyone to read.  It is a collection of page turning, heart breaking, show stopping stories.  The writing is ethereal and dreamlike.  Unlike anything I've ever enountered. 

In the first few stories, I realized that Yardley is very good at changing her tone.  From urgent and frightening to soft and lyrical.  Yet all the writing has that same thread of mystical prose to make them cohesive.  I definitely have favorites, but there were no weak stories as is usually the case with a collection or anthology. I love her very short pieces that convey so much power and emotion in a few sentences. I love Black Mary, a mystery mixed with sorrow and horror. I love the stories about stars and pixies and broken hearts and love affairs and the one that portrayed The Universe as an unsympathetic and sentient force.

This collection reaches above and beyond genres yet I think readers of dark fiction and horror would love it as there are some very somber themes. 

I also loved the hysterical little drawings that headed each story and the story titles themselves.  The title itself is deep and sublime to me as well.  The two words are at odds with each other, yet sorrow, as well as pain and the hardships people go through are what make them human. 

I know stories can be up to interpretation, but I wanted to know just what was going on in a few of them. I was happy to find an index in the back that explains why Mercedes wrote each story. It doesn't necessarily spell everything out, but it gives the process and I appreciated her journey.

This is a book I'm going to keep on my shelves and I hope Ms. Yardley continues her literary journey so I can follow her path of words.

I want to thank Darkeva's Dark Delights for bringing this book to my attention.  If you're not convinced to try it, check out her thoughts HERE.

All in all: Stunning and beautiful.  Read it!  Read it!  Read it!

Challenges:













Sunday, May 19, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions - Co-reviewers (Monday, May 20, 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: Have you added or considered adding additional reviewers to your blog? Why or why not? If you have, please share how you found the right match when bringing new people to your established blog. Did you encounter any problems? 

Answer: I would love to have another reviewer on my blog.  Not only would it take some of the pressure off, but I would just love to be able to offer more to readers.  This is why I will usually take a guest post or review as long as it is a good fit. 

If I had another reviewer, we could also share books, go to signings and cons together and be bff's forever!  Yeah, I'm a little lonely in my blogging bubble at times.  I think it would be great to be able to brainstorm features and ideas.  Also, for hosting duties on Challenges and events it would be helpful as well.  I think having someone else involved would increase my excitement and productivity.  What's the saying?  Work shared is work halved?  But as stated above, how would I find the right person?  I think it would have to be someone I knew well already. 

On that note, I'm happy to say that one of my friends who has done a guest post in the past and who I've been pestering to write reviews is going to be doing another kind of feature on the blog.  So stay tuned for it, but in the meantime you can check out the new About Us page HERE!

On the flip side, I'm happy being solo as well.  I can do what I want, when I want.  If I'm not in the mood to blog, there isn't someone shaming me into it (except myself).  I'm not constrained by a project if I don't feel like getting to it at that exact moment. 

I've also heard of problems that some bloggers had with co-reviewers and I wouldn't want that headache.  Also, what if I want to change the header and my co-blogger vetoes the idea?  I guess you would need to determine the "terms of service" beforehand.  Would that blogger have just as much say as you?  Maybe if you started the blog together it would be, but maybe not if you brought them on in a specific capacity. 

How about you?  Do you have a co-blogger?  Would you want one.  What do you see as the pros and/or cons?


Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Diviners.


Title/Author: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Genre: Supernatural.

Publisher: Little, Brown.

Source: BEA 2012.

Favorite character: Evie.

Synopsis: Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first. ~Goodreads.com.
My Thoughts:  I can't believe I finished this book!  It took forever because I'm a slow reader and I was reading it in dribs and drabs.  Not because I didn't like it, but because it is just so big that I was daunted.  I had trouble getting into this book at first.  I felt that I had kind of seen the story before.  However, as I delved deeper, the story and the characters became richer and more intriguing. 

I thought the way the book is framed is very cool.  It starts and ends with the wind, which observes the United States as if it's another character.  The wind could be a metaphor for the evil that brews or just a neutral force.  Nostalgic, cynical and lovely at the same time, it is some of the most beautiful prose in the book as American History is summarized.   I also noticed the unique and very clever chapter titles. 

Evie is my favorite character.  At first I didn't like her but still thought her a great character.  She just seemed too selfish, too much about having a good time.  I wouldn't want her as a friend.  I've had friends like this and they've gotten me into lots of trouble.  However, as I got to know her and her past, she either grew on me or she calmed down a bit.  Or maybe she just embraced her responsibility.  She was still Evie though, with her flippant personality and rash behavior, just more...loveable.

I think Libba Bray outdid herself regarding the research that went into this story.  Set in New York City in the 1920s, I felt as if I was peeking through a page in time.  I could hear the thin car horns and listen to the cadence of the speech and watch the Zigfield Follies.  I learned about the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882 and experienced the fun and sometimes danger of a speakeasy.  I was amused to find that the prononciation of Long Island Lawn-GUY-land was around even back then.  I admit I had trouble following the language at first, with all the slang. It is like a whole other world and there was so much of it, that it kind of threw me. At an event at Oblong Books I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Bray if the people really talked like that back in the 20s.  She explained that in her research she discovered that the language was indeed very quick, witty and fluent with those sayings. She listened to broadcasts such as radio ads and newscasts. After a while I settled into the language and I also began to think how our language will sound in 100 years, with words like "Awesome," "Dude" and our infamous. "Oh my God." Heck, sometimes I have trouble following the conversation of my nieces and nephews.

I was also told that this was extremely creepy.  Well it is, but where I come from, I would say it's moderately creepy.  Again, I feel that the scares were ones I had come across before.  However, they are still impactful and mysterious.   That being said there are many events that surprised me in this story and I can't wait to see how they play out in the future.

I thought the different romances going on in this book were perfect.  *Spoiler Alert: Memphis and Theta who will have to fight the odds of their races.  Mabel pines over Jericho, Will's assistant yet she might find another interested party.  Jericho watches Evie.  Sam the con flirts with Evie.  :End Spoiler Alert*  There are a lot of characters in this book, but it is not hard to know who is who.  Everyone serves an important purpose and there didn't seem to be any weak characters.  They all served to bring the plot forward, whether you realized it at the time or not.

I look forward to the upcoming danger that these characters have just touched upon and how they will handle them.  I look forward to finding out who ends up with whom and what certain people are up to.  There's one thing I think I can count on though.  How ever many books are in this series, I am positive it will end up with a satisfying conclusion with a lot of fun, thrills and chills along the way.

All in all:  Intriguing.  Epic.

Other Editions:


Challenges:












Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Midnyte Snack - Benne Wafers from The Restorer.


Welcome to Midnyte Snack, the feature that combines books and food!  
What could be better?
Book: The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens.

Snack: Benne Wafers.
 
When Amelia went to visit John Devlin's aunt, she was served refreshments and one of them was benne wafers.  
 
Benne is the Bantu (an African language) word for sesame. The slave population brought these treats with them from Africa in the 1600's and soon became a staple on the plantations in the south.  Because sesame is high in protein, workers would eat these during their days of hard work.  Benne wafers are popular in the Lowcountry, a region along South Carolina's coast including their sea islands.  The Bantu believe that eating these bring good luck. 


Recipe for Benne Wafers:
1 Cup Sesame seeds
1 Cup brown sugar
4 TBLSP butter (1/2 stick)
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 Cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg.  Mix together the dry ingredients and slowly add to the butter mixture.  Drop by teaspoonfuls about an inch apart onto a well greased cookie sheet or parchment paper so they have room to spread.  Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes.  

I had a somewhat difficult time finding sesame seeds.  Finally, I came across them when I went into one of our smaller supermarkets near me.



You need to stir these quite often, as they brown (and can burn) quite quickly.  Don't be surprised when some of them burst like popcorn!

The "batter"was really like a kind of paste.





Unfortunately, they didn't taste too good to me.  Or my husband.  I even found 2 on the floor, when the cat obviously jumped up on the counter and knocked them down so he could eat them...but he didn't so I guess he didn't even like them.  In my research these are supposed to be thin so I think these were too big.   The flavor of the sesame seeds was too overpowering.  If I ever tried to make these again, I might cut the amount of seeds and I would definitely try to make them more wafer like instead of cookie like.

The Restorer was the first time I had ever heard of Benne Wafers.  Have you ever come across them before?  If so please share!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Best Book Adaptations Coming to the Theater in 2013! (Guest Post by Lindsay McMahon).

Whenever books are converted to movies it's always something of a hit or miss prospect. No matter what happens, there will always be some purists who complain on one side and people who think that the original book was too boring anyway on the other. Every once in a while, however, you'll find a filmmaker who manages to find the right balance in adaptation. Here are a few that just might get there in 2013.


Catching Fire
The Hunger Games series of books were a smash hit trilogy even just in book form, with a focus on preteen girls as far as demographics are concerned. The first book in the series which was just called “The Hunger Games,” did extremely well, and there's no reason to think that the second installment, Catching Fire, will fare any differently. The series explores a post-apocalyptic world where a city called the “Capital” oppresses people from the surrounding “Districts” by forcing selected individuals from that area to fight to the death on something akin to modern reality television. The Catching Fire installment focuses a lot more on the resistance movement.

Great Gatsby
This is a classic novel from nearly 100 years ago about Gatsby and his quest to become wealthy and affluent. This one has been adapted many times, but the most recent version has Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role.



The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The first version of Tolkien's children story came out last year, but the story continues in 2013. This is a sort of prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, though it was written first in actuality. It follows the tale of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit from the shire who is pulled into an adventure that involves helping some dwarves get their home back from a dragon named Smaug, who is described as “a fire drake from the north.”

The second installment of the Hobbit trilogy will focus more on the dragon, who barely appeared for more than a few seconds in the first movie. The Hobbit has been around a long time, and there have been many different versions of it done in radio, in animation, and so on, so it will be interesting to see what Peter Jackson does with his continuing Hobbit story this year.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
The Percy Jackson series is a book series aimed at young adults, that follows the exploits of a young man who happens to be a demi-god born of Poseidon, the god of the sea. The most famous installment in the series is probably the first one, which was called “The Lightening Thief.” The Sea of Monsters installment focuses on a quest to find the Golden Fleece in order to restore a safe haven that is slowly dying.


Writer Biography:
Lindsey Mcmahon likes to travel, play and read in her free time. Her interests are entertainment, television, parenting and health but she is constantly extending her field of view to incorporate interesting news suggested to her by her readers. She currently works for Cable TV Advisor.






Monday, May 13, 2013

Mister Slaughter.

Title/Author: Mister Slaughter (Matthew Corbett #3) by Robert McCammon.

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller.

Publisher: Subterranean Press.

Source:  Purchased.

Favorite character: Matthew Corbett.

Favorite Quote: "Never let it be said that the New Yorker did not posess courage." ~Matthew Corbett.

"Let yesterday go, so it will not betray tomorrow." ~Lark Lindsay

Synopsis:  The world of Colonial America comes vibrantly to life in this masterful new historical thriller by Robert McCammon.  The latest entry in the popular Matthew Corbett series, which began with Speaks the Nighbrid and continued in the Queen of Bedlam, Mister Slaughter opens in the emerging metropolis of New York City in 1702, and proceeds to take both Matthew and the reader on an unforgettable journey of horror, violence and personal discovery.  The journey begins with Matthew, now an apprentice "problem solver" for the London-based Herrald Agency, accepts an unusual and hazardous commission.  Together with his colleague, Hudson Greathouse, he agrees to escort the notorious mass murderer Tyranthus Slaughter from an asylm outside Philadelphia to the docks of New York.  Along the way, Slaughter makes his captors a surprising - and extremely tempting - offer.   Mister Slaughter is at once a classic portrait of an archetypcal serial killer and an exquisitely detailed account of a fledgling nation still in the process of inventing itself.  ~Goodreads.com

My Thoughts:   This book is just delicious.  It brings you into the world of Colonial New York with engaging characters, an impeccable setting and a flowing story.   I had no trouble immersing myself into Matthew's world once again.

Matthew Corbett is back with more adventures working for the Herrald Agency.  This time it is to bring notorious killer Tyranthus "Slaughter" back to New York so he can be sent to England to stand trial.  However, there are several bumps in the road as Matthew and co-worker Hudson Greathouse travel to deliver this sinister character. 

If Matthew's previous adventures tested his mettle, this one in particular, humbles him, brings him to his knees and shows strengths of reserve, stamina and wits that seem unbelievable for an average law clerk turned problem solver.  Where any other person may have given up, Matthew seems to fortify his soul with each trial and keeps going.  Indeed it is the horrific acts that he sees that does not let him rest.  His fear is not for his own personal welfare anymore.  He only fears for the other people that Slaughter's escape will inevitably impact.  The fact that he blames himself also adds fuel to the fire.  "He cursed his stupidity and greed, his smallness and his vanity."  At the start of the book, Matthew is a celebrity because of his escape the previous summer from a very perilous situation.  I was a little disappointed with him, but had a feeling that this was just a bump in the road and Matthew would quickly realize what was truly important in life.  Unfortunately, he had to find out in several very cruel ways. 

Matthew's journey with the notorious Mister Slaughter also coincided with another "problem" he is entwined with and instead of seeming too contrived it all works into an epic story where the evil that is waiting for Matthew is just hovering on the edge of his existence, waiting.  The ups and downs and surprises in Mister Slaughter are filled with anguish, mystery, intrigue and a great many surprises.  This book has it all.

What I also loved about this book was the tone.  McCammon uses the language of the day (roundabout vs. fight, etc.) and the vocabulary and speech are just a few of the detailed touches that makes Mister Slaughter (and the whole Matthew Corbett series) successful.  I felt as if I was immersed in New York City and the area in the early 1700s.  Other details are the clothing that the characters wore, the landscape they traversed in, the culture of the Native Americans and even different guns and how to shoot them.  All these elements made the story that much richer and more believable. 

Issues are brought up that we still think of now.  The problems of caring for the eldery and aging itself.  There is an especially poignant scene where a worker named Opal who works with the elderly throws herself at Matthew in order to feel and to stave off her fear of aging.  Matthew realizes that her behavior is not about him and he empathizes with her.  "It was about the wrinkled flesh and the spottings of age and the old women who talked about old dead loves and the old men whose adventures had dwindled down to the size of a chamberpot. It was about the silence of midnight and the frost on the windowpane, and the way a day could be so slow and yet so quick..."  The question about faith is also mentioned.  Matthew doesn't understand how God could let such atrocities occur in the world.  The kind that Mister Slaughter has committed, the troubles that he has witnessed and the injustice of it all.  It is a question that will be struggled with for centuries. 

I absolutely adored the characters.  Of course, Matthew is my favorite, but all the supporting cast is strong.  Walker, Matthew's Native American guide is a pariah in his own village because of his past and he understands Matthew more than most.  Lark Lindsay seems to act as ethereal guide in this tail.  Although she has suffered at the hands of Slaughter, her spirit and heart are not broken.  She encourages Matthew where he might give up, she validates him where he might wallow in guilt and doubt.  I want to give the award for most unforgettable to Tom, the orphan boy who is a scene stealer and is tenaciousness personified.  Even the loathsome and crafty Slaughter is quite the villain and puts this book into Horror territory. 

All in all: This book is quite powerful and Matthew's journey in this installment is his deepest and darkest.  McCammon's storytelling is just as delightful as when I first started reading him. 

Afterthoughts:  I read some of the reviews on Goodreads.  The 5 star ratings far outweight the lesser ones, but some people were underwhelmed and disappointed with Mister Slaughter.  I personally loved it and for me, it was a real page turner.

Challenges:













Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dan Wells giveaway!





Contest:
~ One winner will receive I am Not A Serial Killer and Mr. Monster.  These books are signed by the author, Dan Wells.  

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. 

Rules:
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Contest ends on Sunday, May 19, 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. 
~If I do not announce winners on a new post, please check back here on the Rafflecopter widget if you'd like to see who won. 


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