Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Destiny's Revenge by Nancy Strange

Nancy Strange has done it again. Destiny's Revenge is a fantastic book, longer, stronger, and full of the twists and turns I've come to expect from her stories.

This book picked up where Meeting Destiny, the first of the series, stopped. Lauren Davis is recovering from the attack while she was camping with her boyfriend, Max. When she wakes up from the coma, it's two years later and Max is in Afghanistan as a corpsman, having given up on her coming out of the coma.

I won't give the rest of the story away but Lauren comes into more of her powers, she learns of a Council that keeps an eye on the destiny of people on earth and a Cabinet of the Council's opposites. For the Counselor of Confidence, there is a Cabinet equal of Doubt.

And a demon who wants Lauren dead, or else.

This is a very long, meaty book. It's not a one-day read, it begs to be read slowly and savored. Max and Lauren, all of her friends, her parents, Peanut (my favorite character) and all of the Council/Cabinet people fill each page with a world that is part of this one and not at the same time.

Am I gushing? In a word, yes. I laughed, I cried, I screamed at some of the characters, and I sometimes had to put the book down and let the words sink in. I love Destiny's Revenge and I'm giving it five stars.

As I have said previously, I'm not into young adult books. This one really isn't young adult, there is some mild sexual discussion in it, so I would say it's not for under at least 15 year olds. But it is so good, I didn't even notice it was supposed to be a youth book.

It's so good, I'm going to go get the third and last book in her series, Destiny's Wrath, and start it soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Enchanted Life by Laura Eno

Here's my newest review, a Young Adult read by Laura Eno. I gave it 3-Stars.

Emma is 18. She graduates high school, has plans to spend time with friends and family until college starts until she gets a couple of mysterious envelopes. She has inherited a house in England. She gets a plane ticket, money, and directions on how to get there. What's wrong with a little vacation before school starts again?

Everything. Especially when you find out you have special powers, a hereditary job to do, and people depending on you. And a boy named Matthew who is handsome, nice, and a half-demon.

Her teacher, Randolf, is a stuffy, stodgy, and bossy Sentinel who has been picked to teach her what her job is and how to do it. He is all about rules and laws and things and he hates demons, even half-demons.

I enjoyed this book for what Laura put in it. It's whole dimension of fairies, ogres, dragons, gnomes, and other mythological creatures. It is written for young adults and I spent some time reading part of it to my 10 year old grand daughter, who loved it. I didn't get to the part with the kissing, that may have been "icky" but she loved the adventure of finding out about a house and new people who were different than human.

The thing that I didn't like was the lack of character development, the rush to finish. It was like everything was just "accepted" as fact. Matthew is one-dimensional and the time at the end when he is separate from her and then comes back is rushed to the point that it left me wondering what happened and how he fared where he was. There were a lot of questions left unanswered as she pushed to finish the book.

The six-month jump to her family's visit was another void that left questions. What happened during that time? Did she improve her power? What happened with Randolf? Was there further interest between Matthew and Emma? And how did her family handle him being with her? So many questions left undone.

It was so short and she could have written more in that first book to clear up some of the questions and still lay down the clues and build the interest for the next book that I know is coming from something she was told late in the book. I do want to read the next one because I did enjoy most of the book.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Author Exclusivity in Sales Areas

This is going to be a rant. It is my thoughts on this situation and yours may differ. I would like to hear from you and what you think, especially if you are a published writer who has faced this.

I am a Nook user. Before I bought my Nook Color a year ago, I spent several days researching all the different e-readers and their features. I looked into how they worked, what they would do, what book service they would use, and how to get other books from other services. Some were horrible, in my opinion, others were ok, and it came down between Ipod, Nook, and Kindle. We're not Apple users and I just didn't like the fact that it was an "everything" pad and it was larger than I was looking for. I chose the Nook because of the pricing, it is light and it has a back-light included (you don't have to have a clip-on or a cover with a light like the Kindle did), the ability to get service and help, and the fact that it was easy to deal with Barnes and Noble on things. When the Nook Tablet came out, I passed my Nook Color down to one of my daughters and I bought the Tablet. It is light, which is necessary since I am disabled and a heavy book is hard for me to handle now.

I do all my reading on the Nook unless it is a history book or a book on Paganism that I'm adding to my library. Regular "for fun" reading is done exclusively on my Nook and I read everywhere. I read at night in bed when I can't sleep. I read when I'm waiting for doctors, my husband to get off the bus, my grandchildren after school, and other places. It never loses my place and I always can write notes where I am needing to remember something. I have really come to love having the thing. Now I'm doing reviews for Good Reads and other places on it and that has been a lot of fun so far. I've picked up books that I probably would never picked up except for the assignment. I can usually always find the book both on Amazon and Barnes and Noble with no problem.

I ran up against a problem doing a review of the last book I was assigned by the Read 2 Review folks at Good Reads. I had read the first book in the series on my Nook and it was good and I got the second book in the series as an assignment for this week. But the author and publisher had decided to put the book on Amazon exclusively. This was very upsetting and not just for me. Several of the other reviewers were on Nook only and had to back out. So many were only Nook readers and that makes it hard to get reviewers to take the assignment.

I downloaded it and tried to use Calibre to change it from Amazon's Kindle format to the e-pub or at least a PDF form for my Nook to handle. Amazon not only had an exclusive buy on this book but they had a digital lock, a Digital rights management (DRM) on the book and it could not be converted from Kindle to Nook. So I ended up having to download the Kindle app for my laptop and spend time stuck on my couch with my enormous Dell XPS M1730 laptop in my lap reading this book. Not my favorite way to spend my time, and for someone with muscle problems who gets tired, this was also a disability access issue.

Not everyone was as determined as I was, they saw it was Kindle only and they dropped the assignment for this week.  It was just really hard to try to find a way around their rule of "Kindle only" and in the end, having to sit at a computer and read when you have a perfectly good e-reader you can't use to read the book is just not an enticement enough to read a book that you may have not picked up on your own anyway.

Why in the world would an author or publisher limit their readership to one sales unit and one type of reader? Why would you lock out the rest of the reading public when you wrote the book so people would read it? Is Amazon giving you such a great deal that you can stand to lose the readership of the other book dealers and it not hurt your bottom line? Face it, very few writers are doing this job to just put their work out there because it is fun to do, they do want to get paid for it, that's why they call it a profession. So why limit that pay?

I just do not understand this. Can anyone explain it to me?

Wicked Sinners by Charity Parkerson

This was a very different read from the first in the Society of Sinners series and quite a surprise in the end. I was not sure how I was going to comment on it because right up to the last quarter of the book, I wasn't sure that she was writing a sequel to the first Society book at all. The book was good, I was really interested in Adriana Claymore and the Druid, Julian Dubois and the whole triangle with his twin brother Jacques and Alain Moreau. But I really could not see where it was going in reference to the series itself.

Adriana buys a house in Martinique to get away from an abusive sister in Alabama. A delivery guy named Jacques Dubois helps her hang the drywall he delivers. Then she meets his twin, Julian, but he plays like he's Jacques so he can try to find Jacques because he's hunting his brother to kill him. It gets very complicated with Adriana finding an old diary that says that the twins are very old, the diary is dated to 610 BC. And she begins to find herself falling in love with Julien.

So much more happens but to tell you would mean I would have to spill all the good points of the book and I recommend picking up the book. It is good, with lots of twists and turns and surprises that make this one actually better than the first one.

My only criticism of this book is that Ms. Parkerson chose to go exclusively with Amazon's Kindle. That makes it hard to impossible for some readers to get to read the book. I am a Nook reader and the way I ended up reading it was on my laptop. This tied me to my house and couch. I love to read in bed or when I'm waiting at the doctor's or waiting to pick up a grandchild or my husband and I cannot do that with the laptop. Some readers will not even have this option and it will limit the readers she gets for her books, which is sad because it is a book that deserves to have a wide audience. This is why I didn't give her a 5 star on the book.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight

I spent all day reading this. I do not ordinarily read Young Adult books but this one is very interesting. And she has 2 more out. I'm glad because she left this first one in a pretty cliff-hanger.

Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight

This book was a lot different that I expected and it was a very pleasant surprise to say the least.

The written description of the book had me thinking this was going to be more of a young adult romance read with some paranormal elements thrown in. I originally put this back on the "Maybe I will read it" list and went to read another book. I really don't read young adult books, most of them do not catch or hold my attention and I did not expect much from this one either.

I finished another book I was reviewing and then looked for something to read and picked this up again. I was on the second page when the action started rolling and it did not stop until the very end. I read it in one sitting, something I do not do unless the book is really good, and this one was really good.

Lauren Davis works for the local burger shop. Her long-time friend, Seth, drops by to get a salad and check on her ride home. Then a man comes in that makes Lauren pay attention, he didn't look right, like he was there for no good. And he was, he was robbing the shop. She had made excuses to get everyone out of the way and tried to get him tended to and out the door but a kid comes back to demand a toy and the robber swings to shoot him. Lauren puts herself in front of the bullet and she meets the man of her dreams, the man she has called her Destiny, Max Meyer.

There is a lot of back and forth with Max not wanting to interfere in her life, and misunderstandings with her friend Seth, her mother, Seth's mother, and others. It sometimes seems like everyone is trying to run Lauren's life, including a woman on a bus who talks to Lauren by telepathy and says she's watching her, and to stick to her path.

Lauren seems to be a trouble magnet. The police begin to be on a first name basis with her. Things happen around and to her and she always seems to be able to pick up on what's going on before it happens. And always, Max is there to hold her and help her think things through even though she sometimes fights that.

This book has a lot of very good story lines going through it. I actually cared about Lauren, I really liked Max. I sometimes wanted to smack Seth and sometimes I wanted to hug him.

And Nancy Straight has two more Destiny books out, which is good because where she left this one had me so flustered, wanting more, I'm ready to go get the next book right now and spend the rest of the night reading it. Yes, it's that good.


I did like this. FYI: if you like sex scenes in your romances, you won't find them here, this is a YA.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So Where Have I Been?

Oh where have I been? It's been a busy week. I'm on deadline for Meeting Destiny by Nancy Strange and have Wicked Sinner by Charity Parkerson on for next deadline waiting for me.

Meantime, I'm working on my novel. I've not talked much about it but I've not wanted to until I have it a little more solid. I can give you some tidbits about what I'm doing for the background and work that I have needed to get ready to write. I've been dreaming about these things for, literally, months. I go to sleep and the story keeps coming out. Now I've been putting it on paper. At least this first part has been the old fashioned way, pen and paper.

I know the name of the ethnic group in the stories, Galno. They are a race of Scottish, Irish, and Welsh human warriors and vampires who are almost extinct due to a mysterious portal that has begun to open up and pull the Galno into it, either by capture or because the person is evil by nature, or has attempted suicide. Those who go into the portal are changed into what can only be described as ghostly vampiric evil entities resembling those they used to be. What they really are is yet to be discovered.

The Isle's Galno have no idea if there are any other Galno from anywhere else on the Earth and when they are forced away from their island homes, they head toward the North American continent and they find a few clues of other Galno but none living.

With that thought through and put down into writing, then I had to come up with characters. And OH did I come up with characters. I did this probably the weirdest way possible. I started with names. I picked out names of males and females and then of families that would be native to those three countries. This means a lot of Ap and Ferch Welsh names and Mac's for Scottish and Irish. Once I found the names, I divided them into families, took out one or two for those who were evil (gotta have bad guys), and then started looking for pictures online for them.

I found pictures for each name. Now, you will never see these people because there are a LOT of big name people in the list. I wasn't really judicious about keeping it to non-known people, sometimes because I had no idea if the person was famous or not, other times because the person just "fit" the image I had in my head. I'm quite sure Prince Harry of Great Britain would frown on having his picture, with a different name, in a book or on a website without permission, but he's in my photo gallery because I needed a cute redhead. I needed a lot of redheads and dark headed people and I ended up with 56 total photos.

Then I had to figure out what the picture and name made these people like. And what they would be doing. So a biography and a set-up for the book was written for each and every character, both good guys and bad guys. As I wrote, each character seemed to wake up and start telling me their story and what they were going to be doing. I may have had an idea about what I was going to do with them but they oftentimes had the last laugh as they changed my story to suit themselves. But it got much more interesting!

So now I sit here, blogging before having to pick up my Beloved and before my grandkids get here, with a full community of good guys, a cabal full of not so nice guys, and a portal full of bad guys waiting for me to put pen to paper and get their story out there.

Oh, and with 56 characters and so much material, I've already seen the light in the tunnel, it's the oncoming series train. Oh yeah.

I need to get busy writing, and reading, and stay off Facebook and out of my email and away from World of Warcraft. I have work to do!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review-Society of Sinners

This book is a paranormal romance and the second of the Read 2 Review that I'm participating on GoodReads. Unfortunately, this is the second writing of the editing. I was writing it in the review window last night and had finished it. I thought it was one of the best reviews I had written and I went to check a fact and instead of going to the open window I had with the information in it, I hit the Back button and "pthththth", the Interwebs ate my review (which is worse than the dog eating my homework!) I screamed and then I said "screw this, I'm going to bed" and tried to put it out of my mind until today. It worked, I guess because I can now present the review, as published up on the Goodreads site.

Society of Sinners by Charity Parkerson

With her book, Society of Sinners, Charity Parkerson has created a very interesting and refreshing twist on the vampire mythos. The book is the story of five men, members of the Society. Brandon, the vampire next door who ends up working with humans to help humans and vampires start a new life. Jazz, the vampire who is like a monk, serving God and the Society as a special elite warrior. Gabe, the werewolf, who walks away from the Society to try to live a normal life as a game warden for the mountain surrounding the little town of Jackson Station, Tennessee, where all the stories take place. Dominic, the vampire who tracks those who are sought by the Society, and Dimitri, a tainted vampire.

Vampires are not cursed by the devil or made by evil but by God as warriors for good, to battle evil and protect humans. They are much more than the familiar undead from so many of the books on the species. They are living beings who eat, sleep, and live like humans, however they have the usual strength, agility, and the eternal life to be able to perform the duties given to them.

The organization that kept the vampires and other supernatural entities from evil and who avenged those who were harmed by that evil is the Society of Sinners. And they take their mission very seriously in this first book. The evil comes from other vampires. Those who have the same powers as the warriors, who were once warriors in their own but who decide they want to rule, to have power over others. They use those powers for their own gain and to harm others. They create minions by harming and turning humans into vampiric slaves, they kill, and because of their actions they and their progeny are targeted by the Society.

The book reads like an anthologized novella, written in segments for each main character with a prologue for each that defines the background of the vampires and the Society. The stories have a main focus on the character but it has the other characters involved as well and it connects with a weaving that is complex yet very beautifully done. Each story gives the character his own voice and sets up the next and the situations with smooth grace.

I've not read a paranormal romance quite like this one and I'm looking forward to reading the next one in the series.