Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wither

Well this week is keeping with all the rest this quarter. This weekend I had to do: a ten page short story, a five page paper, another five page paper, plus regular homework. It's been a tough week. Between work, my release next week, and preparing for study abroad, I've been slammed with having to make lots of decisions. I finally had a pretty big panic attack, and  then I settled down. Things are starting to fall into place. Balancing Act is coming out in less than a week! I'm leaving for England in less than two months! Anywho, in between freak outs, I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano.

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Rhine lives in a world where women die at age 20 and men at 25 of a virus that has no antidote. This has led the world to devolve into selling women into polygamous marriages where they are forced to shoot out as many babies as possible to keep the species going. Rhine managed to stay free until she was sixteen. But now she's the sister wife to Jenna, Cecily, and Rose, and the wife of Linden, a rich house Governor. She wants nothing more than to escape and find her twin brother Rowan. But there seems to be no way out of this endless house. There are a few brief moments of joy in her life now, and most of them are with Gabriel, the attendant who seems to have forgotten there is such a thing as freedom.

I loved DeStefano's writing. It was lyrical, but understandable. I have trouble with books that use so many metaphors I'm drowning in them. This book wasn't like that. It made me feel for Rhine, and when thirteen-year-old Cecily goes into labor early my heart was pounding and I was sickened that she'd been forced to get pregnant. Overall, an enjoyable book. But I did have some issues with it. 1) Confusing world building. Apparently the ice caps were obliterated, but there was no rise in sea level? Maybe it's the earth sciences minor in me, but that seemed far fetched. 2) Lots of telling. There were quite a few scenes described I would have liked to have seen rather than heard about to develop the sister wives. 3) Rhine is never forced to have sex. In a society where women are baby factories, this made no sense to me. Sure, her husband is weak willed and grieving for his first wife , but I just couldn't imagine her barely having to push him away to get her way. 4) Bunch of girls are killed if not sold into marriage. In a world where a womb is sacred and they're trying to make more babies, my mind couldn't wrap around this. All this, and I still liked the book because of the writing. I will be reading Fever.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Friday, January 24, 2014

Defiance

I know I keep saying that this quarter is really work-intensive, but seriously, guys, it's kicking my butt. Night before last my head was spinning with all the stuff I had to get done for school and my book launch and I honestly couldn't sleep. I'd been slowly working through Defiance by C J Redwine for a couple days, but that night I was so stressed out and unable to sleep that I read a huge chunk of it. Then I finished the rest off last night. Of course, I still have a lot of work to do, but now I feel as if I had some time for myself.


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Rachel Adams' father, the best courier in Baalboden has been missing for sixty days, and is now presumed dead. This means many things. 1) Rachel is assigned a new Protector, her father's apprentice Logan, who she confessed her love for two years ago only to have him throw it back in her face 2) Rachel doesn't think he's dead, but the only way to go and find him is to sneak out of Baalboden under the watchful eyes of the Commander. 3) The Commander doesn't think he's dead either. Escaping is only the start of Rachel and Logan's troubles though. Once they escape there's the Wasteland to deal with, and the threat of death if they don't succeed in finding whatever it was Rachel's father disappeared with to keep out of the Commander's reach.

I know that this book has quite a few bad reviews on Goodreads, mostly with words like "overwritten" and "one note villain" and "contrived emotional responses" and they are all valid. But I actually really enjoyed reading this book. It might have something to do with the fact that I was starved for some kind of reading material that wasn't history annals from the 7th century. But I liked reading about Logan and Rachel as they try to get out of Baalboden. Yes, the world building is shoddy at best and the villain in Commander Chase is really a one note character. But through it all, I just liked the story. The Cursed One that ravages the country side was weird, but I liked seeing Rachel go from being this hopeful girl to being torn apart by all the horrible things she sees and does. Does that make me a bad person? Probably. Anyway, I will definitely be reading Deception, but if you're thinking of picking this book up based on this review, be warned, it's not for everyone.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blog Tour Sign Ups

Guess what, folks! It's less than two weeks until Balancing Act comes out, and I'm starting to panic. This quarter has been burying me in work more than usual, and then I've got my job and the last vestiges of a social life. But that all doesn't matter, because my first book is coming out on February 3rd! With that in mind, if you'd like to sign up to be part of the blog tour taking place in February, you can do it here! I'd really appreciate it if you would!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So Silver Bright

Yeah, I know I've been MIA. But I swear I have a good reason. The last couple weeks of school have been hellishly busy, and I've read so much I've gone to bed with a headache basically every night. Might be time to get my eyes rechecked. But this weekend I had finally gotten a leg up on my work, and I had enough time to read So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev. This is the third and final book in the Theatre Illuminata series. Aaand here we go.


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Bertie has survived her ordeal with the Sea Goddess Sedna, and saved Nate. But her last act has yet to be played. Sedna is out for revenge, Bertie's father is missing, the Theatre is in limbo because of Bertie's actions, and it's tearing at the threads of Ophelia's memories. The only hope Bertie has to turn everything right is to answer a summons by Her Gracious Majesty, Queen of the Distant Castle, and win the magical boon to be given to the best performance. Armed with her words, four fairies, and the two men who take up equal shares of her heart, Bertie sets off on the hardest part of her journey.

I think I've already told ya'll this, but I picked up Eyes Like Stars because of the cover. It kept popping up in my recommended Amazon list, and finally I bought it. And I liked it. I found the magic confusing, but I loved the fairies and how Bertie's words came to life. Then in Perchance to Dream I totally didn't understand the world outside the Theatre or the magic. Much the same is true in So Silver Bright (which has a gorgeous cover, wouldn't you agree?). The world outside the Theatre is like taking every time period and mixing them in one big pot. There are steam trains, motorbikes, tunics, old fashioned speaking and much much more, and we are never given an explanation for any of the magic that happens. That being said, I did enjoy reading this book. It mentions all these different musicals and plays, and I was pretty impressed by the number of references I picked up on. And the four fairies were easily my favorite part. Boring love V. Deliciously described food that made me salivate for chocolate. And a few quotes that truly touched me. Quite a mixed bag of a read.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Up Next: Defiance by C J Redwine

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Perfect Match

Happy New Year, everyone! I know I've been MIA the past few weeks. What with Christmas, editing, and travel, I've been slammed. I spent my New Year's Eve as any college student would--I laid in bed and watched the ball drop and then went straight to sleep. Granted, I did this in a hotel room in California, so no complaints at all. I had a great few days in California taking in the sights and eating delicious food. And between some down time at the airport and the flight home, I polished off The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins.

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Honor Holland has always been the reliable, predictable one in the family. And she likes it that way. But when some news concerning how precious the years are for fertility comes from the family doctor, she's starting to feel the crunch of settling down. After she's rejected by the man she's loved for 17 years, it seems like things can't get much worse. But then three weeks later he's engaged to her best friend. Meanwhile, Tom Barlow, a British mechanical engineering professor, needs a green card. He wants to be near his almost-stepson Charlie, who he's not even sure likes him. With no job prospects in sight, he may need a marriage of convenience. When the two of them meet, sparks of practicality fly and they decide to tie the knot. But more than fraud may be in the air.

Higgins' books always make me laugh, cringe, and well up. This one did not disappoint. Honor is such a loyal sister and daughter, and seeing her interact with her family was probably the highlight of this book. I felt so bad for her when her friend betrays her and doesn't even apologize, and when the man she loved didn't understand what she'd been feeling all these years. I will definitely continue to read Higgins' work. But there were a few downsides to this book. Unlike other books of Higgins', the sparks of romance didn't really seem to fly between Tom and Honor. They aren't together for much of the book, and when they are it's hardly steamy. And I was a little weirded out by the fact that Honor's eggs became a fake character in the book. Funny, but weird at the same time. I love the Holland family, and will read more for them. But Barlow just didn't cut it for me with his meanness and his drinking. When he was with Charlie I liked him, but other times he was just a jerk.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: A Darkness Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Vision of Shadows Blog Tour

Today I have with me Vincent Morrone, author of Vision of Shadows, a YA paranormal romance. It was released December 30th through the Rush imprint of Entranced Publishing (my employer). Before you meet the author, here's the summary of the book.

Is Bristol Blackburn about to meet the love of her life...or her killer?

After the death of her parents, Bristol Blackburn's life is thrown into chaos and she's forced to move to Spirit, a small town where shadows are stirring. As she learns to navigate her new school and figures out how to keep her psychic abilities secret from her family, Bristol comes face to face with the boy who makes a regular

appearance in her dreams: the gorgeous, possibly deadly, Payne KcKnight. Soon she'll find out if Payne will be the love of her life, or the end of it — and she has no idea which possibility scares her more.

And that's not even the worst of it. Strange shadows are haunting her dreams, and they're up to something that could put Bristol and the lives of everyone she loves in jeopardy.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs.


Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry, and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies, and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.


  1. If you could tell anyone in the world five things about yourself that really define "you," what would they be?
    1) I'm defined first and foremost by my family. My two daughters are my world. And my wife is my best friend.
    2) would be my writing. I've wanted to be an author since I was young. So it's finally coming true.
    3) My love for the band KISS. I've been a fan of KISS since I was 7 in 1978. They literally have been the soundtrack of my life. If you ask people who knew me in high school that I reconnected with on Facebook after many years, they'll probably tell you that if they ever saw or heard KISS, they thought of me. As it should be.
    4) I'm a huge Star Trek fan. I grew up with the original and was a complete Trekkie with The Next Generation. I followed each series, even Enterprise.
    5) My home is run for the comfort of our dogs. We've got a black lab named Toby, a dark brindle named Molly and we just got an Old English Bulldog named Lilly who is about 6 months old. Lilly sleeps with my wife and me and hogs the bed.
  2. What was your inspiration for Vision of Shadows?
    I don't think there was any one thing that could be considered an inspiration. I decided that I wanted to write something where the main character told the story. There were things I wanted. I wanted something where I could have a lot of humor and a lot of emotional moments. I wanted to be able to make the reader laugh and cry. (My wife told me she did both within the first few pages!)
  3. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
    9 months for the first book. The second book which is done was about the same. Book 3 however only took me 2 months.
  4. What is your writing/editing process? Pantser? Outliner?
    I definitely plot. In High School, I pantsed when I wrote short stories, but when I tried to do that with a novel I'd have these amazing beginnings and then hit a wall and stop. Then I realized I needed to have an outline. So I knew the plan. I need that.
  5. How did you decide to go the indie/small press route?
    I met Eden Plantz through a writers group and she read VoS and the rest is history. I didn't really know much about self-pubbing and I didn't have an agent to get submitted to the big press. I love Entranced.
  6. What are your favorite YA/NA books overall? Recently?
    I adore the Harry Potter novels. I've read them each a dozen times. More recently was the Gone series by Michael Grant.
  7. Favorite type of ice cream?
    I'm usually a simple vanilla kind of guy, but I do love Cherry Garcia.
Buy it here!