Friday, 31 July 2015

Fools Journey by Brandon Tackett

3 out of 5 stars
This was a bit of an odd book. The thing I really didn't understand is that it is "book one: Episode three"wouldn't it just be easier to make it book three?
You can't tell that you tuned in too late right off the bat- at least I asume I turned into late? It wasn't until the love interest popped up that I thought I might be missing something.
But, the plot was interesting, and the story was good. The characters were fun (which is a big deal to me.) and I wasn't completely lost  even though I', pretty sure there were other books out before it. It was a short read, a light read but a good read. I had it done in probably 5 hours at the most and would fully consider getting more of the series.

The one thing  will add that I realllly liked about this book is that the author was able to give a date to when the next one would be out!

Friday, 24 July 2015

About Detour to Apocalypse by Michael Panush

4 out of 5 stars
This is a hard book for me to review. I loved the first one (Dead Mans Drive) and was beyond excited to start this one, but... I can't say it was what I was expecting.
First, it was a very short story. I thought it was going to be a second in the series, but it felt a little bit more like a 1.5 to me. It did start off a little slow but I love the characters and the world this series is set in.

Despite the fact that it was a little slow for me to get into by the time the action arrive I was into it! I love the main character and there isn't anything bad I can say about any of the side characters.
Despite the fact that it was so short it did keep my attention- sometimes a short read is just what you need after all!
Again, I'm a psychobilly girl at heart and I loved seeing the rockabilly themes in this book. I'm a hot rod girl and spend my weekends out in the garage with my dad- I loved hearing about the old cars and I felt like the author actually knew what he was talking about when he talked about the cars. It was nice to see something other than "Pretty 1950's car" because I see that pretty often.

More than anything this book got me excited for what is coming next, whatever that may be, and just solidified that I will be getting my hands on the next chapter (um book) in this hot rod loving zombies story.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

[Excerpt] Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel

Today I'm thrilled to be posting an excerpt from Karissa Laurel's new book: Midnight Burning! 
Chapter 1
My brother, Mani, once told me Alaska was the first place he had ever travelled where he knew he was somewhere different—somewhere decidedly not home—before he ever set foot on the ground. I didn’t understand what he meant until now. Outside my airplane window, the glassy waters of Cook Inlet reflected a bright blue late-summer sky. Dark and looming, the Chugach Mountains encroached from the east. Far to the north, the ghostly, snow-crusted visage of Mount McKinley rose above the landscape, an ancient king, high on his dais, surveying his kingdom.
By comparison, Mani and I had been raised somewhere a little more commonplace. Home was a small town in the foothills of North Carolina, over three thousand miles away. And this was the first time I had ever left it. I probably should have eased into long-distance travel in the same way I eased into a cold swimming pool—one toe at a time. A trip over the border into Gatlinburg. A weekend visit to D.C. But no, I had taken a plunge from the high dive instead, and boy, was I in over my head. 
The captain’s calm and assuring voice spilled across the cabin, announcing our approach and descent into Anchorage. Seatbelt signs chimed and flashed. A pair of flight attendants swept down the aisles, collecting trash and reminding passengers to raise seat backs and lock away tray tables. I closed my eyes, drew in a deep breath, and urged my heart to return to its regular pitterpatter pace, but it refused to obey. 
I breathed in again and trapped the breath in my lungs. Chill, Solina, I told myself. It’s only a week. I could survive anything for one week, right? And I wouldn’t be on my own. My brother’s best friend, Val Wotan, was at the airport waiting for me. Val had texted me a dozen times to make sure I hadn’t missed my connecting flights or fallen out of the plane somewhere over Canada. Val was expecting me, and I was a glutton for fulfilling others’ expectations. I also owed this trip to my brother, to the honor of his memory. How could I ever look myself in the eye again if I gave in to my doubts? If I didn't give Mani my absolute commitment? 

Add to Goodreads

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Dead Man's Drive by Michael Panush

5 out of 5 stars
Alright, I don't even know where to start with this book because I loved it!
I was raised on rockabilly and psychobilly and to me this was a pure psychobilly novel! We had zombies, rockabilly, the fashion, the cars, everything!
But despite that I actually really enjoyed this book based on content. It didn't feel drawn out, and even though the character made some stupid choices I enjoyed him as a main character.
I loved the fact that cars had a big roll in this. I'm a hot rod girl and it was great to read a book that actually seemed to know what it was talking about when it came to hot rods and didn't just reference them as "pretty cars from the '50s"
The one thing I've noticed with this publisher is that they often seem to have formatting errors with quotation marks. So that was close to taking points off, but honestly I just couldn't bring myself to. I really, really enjoyed this book.

I think this was a good light read for anyone who is into the pin up/rockabilly/ psychobilly thing, or anyone who just wants to see a spin on zombies (those are popular right now, right?)
The characters were fun, though I would have liked to be able to get to know them a little more and I would have LOVED to see actual bands referenced. I did try to google a couple of the names in there and didn't see any hint that they were real.

This world was a great world, though a little odd I had a lot of fun with it and jumped right into the next one, so stay turned for that review!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Interview with Steve Moore

Why don't you tell us about your latest work?  My latest novel, Silicon Slummin’…and Just Gettin’ By, continues the story about Mary Jo Melendez, ex-USN Master-at-Arms.  After the events in Muddlin’ Through, where she beats the frame for the murder of her sister and brother-in-law, she heads west to find a job as security officer in a Silicon Valley firm.  She discovers she has a stalker; two different groups of agents are also pursuing her.   She hires a local PI to help with her own personal security and develops an emotional relationship with him.  An autistic boy who’s a computer guru also helps her.  Will she survive the attacks from three different parties?  That question makes this a mystery and suspense novel as well as a thriller.  (By the way, I’ll send a free copy of any book from my catlog in return for an honest review.) 
What inspired it?  At the time I finished writing Muddlin’ Through, my muses (AKA banshees with tasers) were already clamoring for a sequel.  Mary Jo told me she wanted to straighten out her life a wee bit too.  With the sequel, I satisfied the muses and placated Mary Jo, but only to the extent that she didn’t have to travel so much in this one.  She became very busy in California, though. 

That’s part of the inspiration.  The other part is more general: I like strong, smart women and love to feature them in my writing.  Mary Jo is Hispanic too, so both novels are a nod to those years I spent in Latin America, specifically Colombia.  The mystery, suspense, and thriller genres need to feature more Hispanics. 

Is there something you are currently working on?  I’m always writing, whether blog posts (op-ed about current events, book reviews, movie reviews, author interviews, and articles about the writing business), or storytelling.  For novels, More than Human: The Mensa Contagion, a sci-fi tale, is coming soon, and I have another novel for the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series,” Family Affairs, in the works (an expert can be found in The Collector, the last book in that series).   

Is there a topic you would like to write about but haven't gotten around to yet?  I’ve been collecting a list of what-ifs for years.  Most of my books deal with one or two social issues.  For example, The Collector treated sex trafficking and the exploitation of women and children for porn and prostitution.  If a reader is borrowed by these issues, I’m sorry, but they’re unfortunately part of modern life. 

I also celebrate diversity in my novels.  One thing I’ve learned from my travels is that most of us are more alike than different, but understanding and celebrating the differences can only lead to peace and understanding.  I’d like to see more of the latter, of course. 

Within these general parameters, there are specific themes on my list.  I won’t go into them in detail because that would be a bit of a spoiler, wouldn’t it?  I like to surprise my readers.  That’s part of entertaining them, my most important goal.  

When did you finally feel like you could call yourself an author?  That’s semantics.  I wrote my first novel the summer I turned thirteen.  At that point, I might have said I was an author, but it was terrible (the plot wasn’t bad, more or less reversing the gender roles in the film City of Angels).  I suppose after ten ebooks or so, I started calling myself an author.  Some people don’t want to do that until they have a NY Times bestseller, though. 

Other than writing, what are your favorite things to do?  Music, forensics, genetics, math, physics, study religions of the world, scientific ethics…I’m a dabbler in ideas.  I read a lot too, and not just fiction.  An author should read a lot in her/his genre, of course, but also go beyond that to broaden her/his horizons.     

Are there any websites where readers can connect with you?  I have a contact page on my website,  I love to hear from readers and writers. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Excerpt: Test Your Metal

Once the shaggy looking roadies had finished setting up, the lights went down and the entire place took a deep breath. The drummer came out first and sat behind his kit in silence. Then the bassist and two guitarists did the same. All the while, we looked on in awe. Three crashes of the cymbal smashed the silence and the horde of bodies surged forwards. Dry ice ebbed from the stage that was not even a metre from us. The other members of the band joined in forming the backing to “In my Veins.” That’s when he walked out, blue beams highlighted his perfect body as he began to belt out the lyrics. I couldn’t believe how many people in the room loved these men as much as we did. Every word he sang was accompanied by a thousand or so other voices. I thought I was going to melt.
The sweat that dripped from his perfectly smooth brow and plastered his glossy black locks to his face only enhanced the visual sexuality of the man who was screaming into the microphone. He was even more beautiful in real life. His hazel eyes glittered like nuggets of gold in the beams of the LED lasers. The girls and I screamed when partway through the show Brad peeled his soaking wet T-shirt from his muscled torso and flung it carelessly into the mob. Within minutes, the garment had been shredded to bits by a million grabbing hands (unfortunately, I wasn’t near enough to swipe a piece) and the American just laughed at the sight, flashing his pearly teeth.
“Oh you like that, do you?” He taunted us. “What, you want a piece of this?” He slid a long slender hand over one of his distended powder pink nipples and down the glistening valley in the middle of his rock hard abdomen stopping with a black-nailed thumb hooked into his buckle.
Having come onto the stage bare footed, he now stood in just his patent leather trousers which left little to the imagination. Slug low, they revealed a tattoo of purple and black flames licking up towards his naval from beneath the impossibly tight waistband. The gyrating of his hips sent shivers down my spine and straight to my groin area. An ear splitting guitar solo filled the room from Nicole’s preferred guy and Brad used that time to vault down of the stage and over to us, the public. He high fived some fans jovially on his journey along the front row.
My heart beat wildly when he came towards me. Random hands, like claws, brushed past every part of me trying to grab at him. Those soulful brass eyes were looking directly at me. Suddenly, he hopped up onto the silvery railing so his body was now in line with mine; the cold hard steel was the only thing hiding my straining cock from the pretty boy I was now chest to chest with. It was quite possibly one of the most surreal moments of my life. It was like a dream only the elbows that were now jabbing furiously in my back were really quite painful.
He smelt of fresh perspiration and whisky. I watched astonished as he didn’t even flinch as fingers from all directions dug into his tight shoulders and bulging biceps, leaving scratches and bruises almost immediately. Without warning, his arm that wasn’t grasping the gate snaked around the back of my neck and he took a handful of my hair.
He pulled my face towards his and pressed his burning forehead against mine. The microphone was between our mouths and he was singing again, singing to me, the intensity of his stare nearly enough to cause me faint. The throng of mainly females around me became even more frenzied, shrieks piercing my ear drums. I almost whimpered when the front man let me loose with a light shove against my chest and hurdled back to join his band.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Interview with Dylan Madeley

Why don't you tell us about your latest work? 

My debut novel is called The Gift-Knight's Quest. It's a low-magic fantasy, sometimes labelled historical, though the world in which it's set is not our own (hence the need for a map). The plot follows a young woman who finds herself on a throne she was never really brought up to expect, that of the world's largest empire. Where her comfort zone might be in a library or just wandering the palace halls, now she has a huge burden of responsibility, this empire of Kensrik with its many enemies inside and out, and which is in political turmoil. As if that wasn't enough to cope with, enter the second main character, Derek, who gets summoned to Chandra's court in a manner that leaves him suspicious; his family was historically at odds with hers, so why would they request his services as a guard? What can he do about that, or what is he willing to do? The Gift-Knight's Quest is about the personal struggles of Derek and Chandra. It introduces these characters and what made them who they are, and also what made their world how it is by the time they have to decide each other's fate. Each character is briefly introduced in a pair of book trailers that I had produced for this novel. 

What inspired it? 

Coming up with a novel-length story was a personal challenge that I faced from 2006 onwards. Off the top of my head, I came up with two different story ideas. One was about a character making a lonely journey, battling with his thoughts, and not sure what he could expect upon arrival. The other was about a princess who had to solve the mysterious deaths that landed her on the throne, before the conspirators could correct their mistake. I didn't manage to get either idea past a couple of chapters. I resolved this by weaving these stories together, though they start as separate threads. So, by 2008, I participated in National Novel Writing Month and used that boost to finish a manuscript barely over fifty thousand words in length, which doesn't look much like The Gift-Knight's Quest today. Being a writer is a childhood dream, and this happened to be the story that worked for me. 

Is there something you are currently working on? 

I do keep writing one manuscript per year, and last November's work pertained to Derek's famous ancestor, Duke Lenn. I show some of Lenn's life in The Gift-Knight's Quest, but the story isn't really about him. Lenn is just this historical figure. I wanted to tell the rest of his story. In the meantime, I should probably get cracking on revisions for things I have already written! 

Is there a topic you would like to write about but haven't gotten around to yet?  

I have yet to write a story in a contemporary setting that actually works. Every time, it feels wrong and it is wrong. I may try again some day. 

When did you finally feel like you could call yourself an author? 

I feel like “author” is descriptive, something other people had to call me in order to validate it. I still think of myself as a writer, just having some fun, some frustration, grinding through the process, not really having achieved some form of recognition that would unanimously change what I'm called. I do see that people are more willing to refer to me as an author now that one of my books has an ISBN, but that can get fuzzy, too; traditionally published authors may view me differently because I fall into the self-pub category. 

Other than writing, what are your favorite things to do? 

I like to watch movies, both the mainstream type and ones with arty intentions. I like to take pictures at concerts when I'm allowed, and send the photos along so that the artists can approve and/or find a use for them. Though I'm not much of a gamer and don't have the skills, I like to keep up with the latest videogame releases via YouTube walkthroughs, and think about the plots, characterization, and the role of the gamer as both audience and participant in the unfolding drama. 

Are there any websites where readers can connect with you? 

My social media profiles are generally casual/personal at the moment, but I do maintain a Facebook page for The Gift-Knight's Quest. I am also on Goodreads: