Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #21: The Trouble With Spells

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Make sure you do not include spoilers
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Teaser Tuesday #21: The Trouble With Spells

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” I said, mostly under my breath, without looking up, feeling completely irritated. “Hey now. You ran into me,” a soft, sultry, male voice returned, and I froze, slowly looking over at the feet in front of me. My gaze went up over the black laced-up boots covered by tattered Levis, and past the black belt with the silver buckle. I moved to the ever-present tightly stretched t-shirt and onto the leather jacket slung casually over the shoulder, across the pulsating veins in the neck. I paused at the soft wide-set lips, before looking straight into the piercing blue-eyed stare of Vance Mangum."

Taken from Of Witches and Warlocks: The Trouble with Spells by Lacey Weatherford. She will stop by at NBR as part of her book tour! Don't forget to visit the previous stops, you don't want to blow your chances to win a Kindle!

Share your teaser for this week below (:

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Making The Unbelievable Believable

Today, I feel like writing a rant. Just to get something off my mind that annoys me. Skip this post if you're looking for a thoughtful review.

Yesterday night, when I was reading Stray by Rachel Vincent, I was mentally slapping my forehead at how oblivious this heroine could be. Yes, you have to attend every council meeting since you were a mere ten years old, yet it never occurred to you that one day, you might were supposed to actually be in said council? Then, when I started to think about it, there were quite some more things that don't make sense. Main character Faythe (I quite like her name by the way) starts the book with saying goodbye to Mr. Human Boyfriend. She comes home and within two or three chapters she ends up with Mr. Childhood Friend on top of her (no, not having sex, but still, not in a platonic way). And nowhere, in the entire dissertation of her feelings, not one single thought is directed at Mr. Human Boyfriend she left behind. And as far as he knows, they're still together. Weird. I wonder if Mr. Human Boyfriend will show up somewhere or somehow in the rest of the book.

And this is not a problem that I have with only this book. I only use Stray as an example of how there are inconsistencies in so many books. Maybe some of those are intentional, but I'm sure not all of them are. And I can certainly understand that, as a writer, you've seen countless versions of your book, and maybe in one of those versions there was a Mr. Human Boyfriend that made sense, and in another you didn't really like him anyway so you removed him again, but I can't see why no one (like an editor or proof reader) asked Ms. Vincent, "Hey, what's up with that human dude?". There are countless examples where characters are suddenly (conveniently?) forgotten, then after some time come back again with no logical explanation what happened with them in the mean while. Even if there are werewolves and vampires and demons in your book, I want to believe your story. I want to feel like the actions of your characters make sense in your world. And yes, I'm a person that zooms in on every little detail that you write. If you bring up a Mr. Human Boyfriend, I want to know what happens to him, or at least have his apparently not so faithful girlfriend remember him once in a while.

Then, a common problem in fantasy genres, the gaps in world building. Often, authors try to be original and implement certain new things into the standard fantasy world to make it stand out. More often than not, this works, readers are surprised, and everyone is happy. The downside of this is that you're creating new lore. And with new lore, we need explanations. Why do your werewolves sparkle? An easy way out is to say hey, well, no body knows why we sparkle, but we think it looks pretty so we stick with it. Okay, so they don't know, then I will be fine with that, because in a way that makes sense. There are also those brave authors that venture into explanation-land and, well, fail. To illustrate this I want to take a very well-known book called Breaking Dawn (spoilers ahead for the 3 people on this world that haven't heard about it yet). We hear a lot about how these vampires are marble-like creatures. They feel like marble, they make marble sounds, the colour of marble, you name it. They don't have bodily fluids. They're not living things, so I accept all this 'cause it sounds pretty plausible. Now comes the fun part. When Mr. Vampire has sex with Ms. Human, they get a baby. Wait, what? Yes. As everything is marble, I guess having sex is possible. But ehh.. Ms. Author, you know babies aren't brought by the stork, right? You really need some kind of bodily fluids for that. I would love to hear you explain that.

My point is, readers aren't stupid. You can't fool us all. When you write a story, please make sure your story makes sense. Just keep away from those abyssal holes in logic. And I guess not every plot is perfect, but sometimes I get tired of seeing those inconsistencies.

End of ranting.

Note: this is not a personal attack on any of the authors mentioned. This isn't an attack on authors in general, because I know that if you stand so close to your story you probably miss a lot of things. This also isn't a review on what I think about the book Stray, I'm actually quite enjoying it, apart from my little irritations. And I really respect you if you read through that whole thing.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

New Blog Layout!

Today I won a brand new and shiny blog template from the site Suck My Lolly (I checked the FAQ, yet no one seemed to be asking questions about the site name..) in a contest from What Book Is That?!

And I'm very excited but..

I don't know which one to choose! Argh. They're all so very pretty. I guess I'll think about it for a night. Here are a few I'm considering:

There's also a very cute one with Bumble Bees but I don't think that really fits the occasional horror review. That poor unsuspecting reader that is suddenly bombarded with descriptions of that bloody decapitation.

What to choose, what to choose..

Friday, 25 March 2011

Book Trailer: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After

Yesterday the long-expected book trailer for the sequel of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is released! It looks totally awesome, I can't wait to read the book. Watching it also makes me think that a P&P&Z movie would be even awesome-er. What do you think?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.

The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating "unmentionables." But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe).

But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

Follow Friday #16

 Hosted by Parajunkee
This week's feature: Rebecca @ Confessions of a Page Turner

Weekly Question:
Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you.
  1. I can't concentrate on only one book. I have to read at least 3 at a time.
  2. Sometimes I read the last page of the book. Luckily, by the time I'm at the end I've forgotten what was on it, so it's still a surprise.
  3. I can't stand to hurt a book. If it folds one of its little pages I apologize and ask for forgiveness.
  4. Yet still it always seems like a good idea to eat soup while reading. It's really not.
  5. I have about 60 unread books. And keep buying.

Leave a comment so I can return the visit!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Review: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelley Keaton

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
(Gods & Monsters #1)
4.5 out of 5 stars

Published by Simon Pulse
ARC received through a giveaway

A great mix of action, the paranormal, and the sense of not fitting in.

Ari is different. Not in the standard I-don't-fit-in-on-high-school kind of way, but visibly different. Her straight silver hair cannot be cut or dyed, and her eyes stand out. She hasn't had the most standard upbringing either; after being left by her mother she's had foster home after home, before finally settling down with a couple that teaches her how to fight and handle a gun.

The story begins with Ari trying to find out who her biological mother is. This leads her to the ruins of New Orleans, that now, after two catastrophic hurricanes, is called Area 2. Area 2 is bought by nine families of power, the Novem. It has become the epicentre of everything paranormal and the outcasts. Ari hopes to find who she is here, or better still, what she is.

First thing that comes to mind while reading Darkness Becomes Her is that Ari is so mature for her age. She doesn't pay attention to the normal-teen stuff. While this could be a put-off, in this story it works. Her early matureness can easily be explained by her lack of a innocent childhood. We don't get a lot of background, but enough to see that Ari's life has not been easy. One thing that shocked me a bit is Ari's language. I'm used to the cutesy fluffy YA-heroines that say things like "Oh my!". Ari's favourite profanity seems to be "fuck" though. I'm not really a fan of foul language in books, and the word was used quite excessively, but that didn't bother me personally. I can understand that this might offend some readers though.

What made me love this book so much is it's oddness. The setting, the characters, everything is different from the ordinary. It goes hand in hand with the dark edge of the story. The plot is a daring mix of paranormal creatures we know and understand (like vampires and shifters) and an interesting view on the Greek mythology.

I had only one complaint that made me reluctant to give this book a 5-star rating. The plot moves extremely quick, which overall I only appreciated, because this kind of book has to move fast to keep momentum. But that also meant that the romance between Ari and Sebastian was completely incomprehensible at times. Just when I thought I understood what was going on, they did something that left me frowning and scratching my head in utter confusion. Luckily, towards the end it got more understandable for me so I wasn't condemned to stay in that uncomfortable state.

You will either love this book, or hate it. It depends on what your expectations are. Don't expect this to be a cute girl-meets-guy story with some paranormal elements and mythical creatures. A whole new world is created in Darkness Becomes Her, and I cannot wait to see what happens next with Ari!


Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.
She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.
Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

Other reviews you might be interested in

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #20: Stray

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Make sure you do not include spoilers
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Teaser Tuesday #20: Stray

The moment the door opened I knew an ass-kicking was inevitable . Whether I'd be giving it or receiving it was still a bit of mystery.
First sentence of Stray by Rachel Vincent, the first book in the Shifters series, about Faythe, who is not your common were, but a werecat! The book has a lot of recommendations from great writers like Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong. Looking pretty good so far!

Feel free to leave your teaser below (:

Sunday, 20 March 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

This week the long expected sequel to The Name of the Wind finally arrived! And man, this book is MASSIVE. With its 600 pages TNotW looks tiny compared to its big brother:

I also bought two more YA books. Look at those pretty covers:

And the first part of the Fever series. I wonder if the books live up to the hype:

I also received a review copy of Quicksilver, kindly sent to me by the author:

And last but not least, I won an ARC copy:

That was my mailbox, what did you get this week? Leave a comment below (:

Review: Haunted by Kelley Armstrong

Haunted by Kelley Armstrong
(Women of the Otherworld #5)
4 out of 5 stars

Published by Orbit Books
This review may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series

Whether you like the Women of the Otherworld series or not, one thing is certain; the books all have something that makes them unique. The most intriguing aspect of this book was our new narrator: Eve Levine.

What makes Eve so special is that she's dead, and has been dead quite a while now. She's a ghost, living in the supernatural plane. She can visit the world of the living, but she is unable to actually influence anything there. She is ripped from her obsessing over her 15-year-old still living daughter by divine influence, and sent on a not so divine mission to catch a rampaging demonic serial killer.

What I liked about this book is how it adds to the series. I found it very interesting to read about a world after this life. It was new and something I had never read before. Even though there are a lot of angel and half-angel stories out there, none of them really show what happens after someone dies. There were a lot of imaginative solutions to keep the supernatural system running smoothly and I loved reading about the structure of this worlds afterlife.

As we are used to, this book is one action-packed hunt to capture the bad guy. This keeps the pacing high, but at some point the constant running around gets a bit tiresome. There was some space for character development but at times I wished there was some more, to get a bit diversity in the story.

Which brings me to the major problem I had with this book. As much as I like Eve, and as much as I like her voice and overall character, I just don't feel for her. For some reason I don't see her as a narrator. This book seemed a bit like a sidestep from the running plotline. There was some of the usual cast present but at the end of the book I and I looked back, I didn't see it really change anything.

Still, an exiting read that doesn't bore at all. There were quite a lot moments that had me giggling which is always good. Does contain some pretty gruesome serial killing fantasies, but nothing extreme. Maybe not the strongest part of this series, but I would still certainly recommend the Women of the Otherworld books.


Eve Levine—half-demon, black witch and devoted mother—has been dead for three years. She has a great house, an interesting love life and can't be killed again—which comes in handy when you've made as many enemies as Eve. Yes, the afterlife isn't too bad—all she needs to do is find a way to communicate with her daughter, Savannah, and she'll be happy.

But fate—or more exactly, the Fates—have other plans. Eve owes them a favor, and they've just called it in. An evil spirit called the Nix has escaped from hell. She feeds on chaos and death, and is very good at persuading people to kill for her. The Fates want Eve to hunt her down before she does any more damage, but the Nix is a dangerous enemy—previous hunters have been driven insane in the process. As if that's not problem enough, the only way to stop her is with an angel's sword. And Eve is no angel…

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
5 out of 5 stars

Published by Harcourt Children's Books
ARC received through Netgalley

Dark, gripping, excitingly Victorian with a twist! I absolutely loved it.

This book combines two genres, taking the best of both. It has the ambience of a great historical novel set in the late 19th century and the gripping excitement of a paranormal book. Then, throw in a vibrant romance and mischievous friends and you have the wonderful book The Vespertine.

Amelia van den Broek (Dutch last name! I'm allowed some patriotism at times) is sent to Baltimore to have her first and last season, where she hopes to find a suitable groom. In the middle of the excitement her visit there brings (attending dances, calling upon friends) she finds out she has a special gift. She can see the future in the final sun rays at sunset.

It's hard to decide what I loved most about this novel. I think I will go with the characters. Amelia makes a great protagonist. She has her own opinion and takes no reserves in making this clear. It was great to see a female character in a young-adult novel that actually stands up for herself, and can take care of herself. Overall Amelia was easy to relate to. For living in a completely different time (where holding hands in the park is scandalous) her motives are easy to understand.

Then we meet her one weak spot. Nathaniel Witherspoon. Is it a coincidence that his name rhymes with "swoon"? Because there is some definite swooning going on in the book, and the worst part is that you can't help but swoon with her. I think it's an incredible accomplishment if you can create a scorching tension between two characters in a setting where a slight touch on the wrist is like a kiss.

Then we have the beautiful writing. I was enthralled by it within a few pages, and it didn't release its steel grip on me until I had finished the book. I did have an issue with the writing though; Ms. Mitchell has the habit to only talk about the events that truly matter. How is that a bad thing, you ask? It means that if the event she wants to describe is over, we jump forward into the story an hour, or a day. It means that in the middle of a deeply romantic moment between Amelia & Nathaniel, the story is broken off, and we're at home again. Talk about an anti-climax.

The paranormal elements are subtle, yet different of what we are used to. We don't get a lot of explanation on how the powers work, but then again, we only know what Amelia knows. What I though was brilliant is that Amelia doesn't try to hide her powers. She actually uses them. If this is the smartest thing to do is another story, but I thought she handled her precognitive powers in a realistic way.

The plot is a swirling mixture of both cheerful events and absolutely dreadful moments. Ms. Mitchell isn't scared to throw some pretty horrifying things at us. There are definitely some "Oh No!" parts in this book that make you have to keep on reading. I devoured The Vespertine from beginning to end.


The summer of 1889 is the one between childhood and womanhood for Amelia van den Broek-and thankfully, she's not spending it at home in rural Maine. She's been sent to Baltimore to stay with her stylish cousin, Zora, who will show her all the pleasures of city life and help her find a suitable man to marry.

Archery in the park, dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance-Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset-visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. Newly dubbed "Maine's Own Mystic", Amelia is suddenly quite in demand.

However, her attraction to Nathaniel, an artist who is decidedly outside of Zora's circle, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own- still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. And while she has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will remain in hers.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia's world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she's not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.


When looking for some more information about the book I stumbled upon an "Instant Interview" package on Saundra's site. Pretty cool, having an interview without actually having to do the interview! I picked out a few questions that I thought were the most interesting.

Why did you decide to write a novel?
I love writing films; I love that filmmaking is so collaborative. But sometimes, it's nice to write something that's wholly yours. The characters say what you want to say, the way you want them to say it- the scene focuses on the vista you choose. I love working with actors and directors, but sometimes you want to keep all the toys to yourself!

Did you decide to write for young adults intentionally?
Actually, it was an accident. I thought I was writing for an adult, mainstream audience. But one of my early beta readers asked, "Did you know this is YA?" And I didn't. Somehow, even though I like YA television and YA fiction best, even though I've written short films for a teen film series for more than a decade- I still had no idea that I wrote a YA novel. But now that I know, I'm digging even deeper into the genre and loving it.

What are your favorite YA novels?
I have a hard time answering favorite questions, but I can give you a short list. The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause, how i live now by Meg Rosoff, Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Alanna: Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce, and The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. But that's just the short list. The full list goes on to infinity!

Why Victorian?
First, I enjoyed the latitude. Instead of hanging out at the coffee shop, my characters could hang out at the park and goof off with a bow and arrow. It was perfectly reasonable for one of the characters to meet another when he came to sketch an autopsy in his living room. No seriously! There were so many interesting places to go and unusual things for them to do.

Second, I love how modern it is. The industrial revolution is starting, cars are coming, trains are connecting cities, states, countries. Telegraphs send instant messages, and telephones are coming. Suffragettes are demanding their equal rights, Spiritualists are trying to crack the code of death, Scientists are discovering radium and vaccines, Aesthetics are brazenly exploring sensuality-- this book may be set in our past, but it's also set on the very edge of the characters' future. It's a time so ripe and trembling with change that it was a delight to explore.

And thirdly, it was just plain fun to write characters who could use words like folderol, gibbering, miasma and temerity in common conversation. Reading through period newspapers to figure out the depth and parameters of the language of the time was like eating candy for me.

What kind of research did you do?
I read a lot of books-- books on Spiritualism and women in society, the early suffragette movement, household management, middle class social histories, period architecture and medicine, man, I read a ton of books. I also went online, and dug through the Baltimore Historical Society's website thoroughly, traipsed through the Library of Congress, and read a ton of period newspapers. I re-read novels written in the period to check my language.

The fashions are a little off, though. I originally set the book in 1881, then later moved it to 1889. So the girls' dresses are actually out of date. But, they all came out of period editions of Harper's Bazar, as did Nathaniel's wardrobe. Yow, we think of that period of time as being very sedate, but the real period color choices are WILD. I actually toned them down a little, because a purple and orange silk dress just doesn't sound like it would look good in 2011, even though it was a very popular color combination in the 1880s.

Where did you get the idea for THE VESPERTINE?
I knew I wanted to write a book about a girl who could see the future, but only at sunset. But the book went through several versions before I got to the one that became THE VESPERTINE. Funnily enough, what kickstarted it was watching a recent adaptation of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.

Burn Gorman was playing Hindley, and when he lost it, it was glorious. I remember thinking, "That's a dude who would lock his sister in an attic and leave her there to die." Which is how The Vespertine opens-- with August van den Broek locking his sister in the attic and leaving her there to die!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #19: Haunted

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Make sure you do not include spoilers
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Teaser Tuesday #19: Haunted

I was less than a half-dozen paces behind, but they never turned around, never even peered over their shoulders. Sometimes that really pisses me off. Sure, all teenagers ignore their mothers. And sure, Savannah had a good excuse, since I'd been dead for three years.
Taken from the first chapter of Haunted by Kelley Armstrong. This is the fifth book in the Women of the Otherworld series, and this time the narrator is the dead witch Eve. You don't see that much ghost-narrators in books.

Feel free to leave your teaser below!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Read The Trouble With Spells For Free!

I'm proud to be in the first blog tour hosted by The Bookish Snob Promotions. Lacey Weatherford will stop by at my blog on April the 19th with a guest post. She has been so kind to provide us with a coupon so everyone can enjoy her work! Just click on the coupon below and use the code. Enjoy!

About the book
Portia Mullins had always lived the life of a normal teenager, up until her sixteenth birthday. She is then informed by her grandma that she is actually a witch who is a descendant of a long line of witches and warlocks. After overcoming her disbelief she finds that being a member of the coven comes with one great perk in the form of the school’s handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum. Vance and Portia have an immediate connection as a budding romance begins, only to be threatened by turbulent skies on the horizon as Vance’s checkered past rears its ugly head to haunt them. Portia is forced to use her untried powers in defense of everything she loves in a desperate attempt to hold on to the one thing that really matters in her life. 

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Top Ten by Killian McRae (12.21.12 Blog Tour)

Today I would like to welcome author Killian McRae, writer of the wonderful book 12.21.12. I asked her to write her

Top ten things you like about being an author

1. EVERYTHING IS MATERIAL. There are no bad days, there are no good days. Everything is measured in conflict and resolution.

2. I have an excuse for talking to myself aloud. I'm not psychotic, I'm working.

3. It gives me an excuse to read prolifically. (I wish, however, that it also gave the time.)

4. I can use as a threat to anyone who upsets me, "Don't, or in my next book I'll name the ugly troll whom nobody loves after you."

5. Writing fiction makes you respect facts SO FREAKING MUCH.

6. Authors gather friends like squirrels gather nuts. We hide them much the same way.

7. Writing pairs nicely with my other bad habits: excessive coffee drinking and judging people by their vocabularies.

8. In what other profession could I use the words "paludamentum" and "marmoreal"... in the same sentence?

9. Did I mention the coffee?

10. That in the best of moments, you and a reader have an intimate connection, neither of you knowing of it, and yet forever touched and carrying onward of the effect

About the book
Archaeologist Sheppard Smyth has staked his career as well as the memory of his deceased wife and partner on proving his widely-panned theory: Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of Ancient Egypt, was murdered.  When a statue of the doomed Queen is discovered in an Olmec excavation site, Smyth is drawn to Mexico to investigate and, hopefully, find the proof that has evaded him for so long.  Soon, he finds himself in the middle of the rivalry between the sexy, bewitching international thief, Victoria Kent, and commanding, ruthless Russian mobster, Dmitri Kronastia.
Both Dmitri and Victoria hold pieces to the puzzle that will finally shed light on Cleopatra’s death.  As Shep is drawn further into their world of ancient gods, supernatural powers, and alternative history, little does he know that the fate of all—even humanity itself—may hinge on his ability to discover the truth among their fragmented claims. Working to decode the true past while attempting to save the future, Shep becomes a pawn in the hands of forces working out a quest older than the pyramids—a quest that may lead to the end of everything when it all comes together on 12.21.12.

About the author
An avid reader since a young age, there was always suspicion that Killian may end up a writer. She completed her first novel at age sixteen, though she wouldn't find the courage to publish her work for nearly fifteen more years.  She holds a BA in Near Eastern History from the University of Michican.

Originating from Southeastern Michigan, she now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Short Story Review: Celebrity Space by Alain Gomez

Celebrity Space by Alain Gomez
3 out of 5 stars
Short story, approx 3000 words

Short stories are always a bit tricky. They need to grab you from the first sentence, because there is no time to connect with the characters throughout the story.

For me, there was not enough time to get to know the main character. We get some background info, a bit like his life in 10 seconds, before we get on with what the story really is about. It made me wish this info wasn't there. If I can't get to know your character in such a short time, then don't give us some random facts that don't add to the story. They only make it confusing.

For a sci-fi story this didn't satisfy my inner science geek. So we can travel with shuttles to space? That's awesome! Yet we don't know what the shuttle looks like at all. Is it big, small, silver or maybe pink? Where is that hotel situated where the shuttle is heading? Well, somewhere in space I guess, but that's a rather wide conception. Here, I would have wanted more details. I want to see the shuttle crossing through space.

That lack of science-talk probably makes this story more accessible for the general public. If it wasn't set in outer space, you wouldn't have known this is science fiction. The plot was good, and the final twist was pretty cool. I didn't see it coming at least. It's a good short story. Maybe not so good a science-fiction short story.

Set in the not too distant future, a worker hopes that his new job at the spaceport will allow him to get his life back on track. While taking passengers to the space hotel "Moonwalk", a collision with an unknown object brings his dreams... and possibly his life... to a screeching halt.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Follow Friday #15

 Hosted by Parajunkee
This week's feature: Ashley @ Bookaholic Does Blogging
Weekly Question:
Who are You the Boy/Girl, instead of You the Blogger?
Wait, is there someone else than me the Blogger? I'm a book addict, gaming girl, maybe a tiny bit lazy and slightly too stubborn. I'm interested in about everything, from quantum-mechanics to fashion, as long as it has nothing to do with sports (okay maybe I'm a bit more lazy than I want to admit). I always have tons and tons of projects to keep occupied, and maybe one day I'll be a published writer. Who knows.

Leave a comment so I can return the visit!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Movie Adaptation: The Strangers Outside (Guest Post & Pictures)

Today I'd like to introduce to you Vanessa Morgan, whose short story "The Strangers Outside" is being turned into a film production. Here's Vanessa with more info and some pictures!

My short story The Strangers Outside has been used as the basis for a horror movie. It’s still waiting for the official release date, but the first images of the movie are starting to show up here and there. They have even been integrated in the music video of Alex Corbi’s latest track Avalon. As I thought you might be interested in knowing more about this movie adaptation, I decided to show you this music video and a few pictures of the movie set that haven’t been shown elsewhere. Enjoy!

In The Strangers Outside, a family returns to their remote holiday cottage in the woods. Soon after their arrival, they will come face to face with THE STRANGERS OUTSIDE. Here’s what these creepy strangers look like.

And here’s one of the costumes of the strangers.

Most of the scenes of The Strangers Outside were filmed in a small backwoods village in Belgium called Sint-Katelijne-Waver. It has everything a horror movie needs: thick woods, marshland, eerie statues and abandoned military bunkers. It’s a really weird place.

In case of a blackout, the few people that actually live in those woods have to go inside those military bunkers because that’s where all the fuses are. Creepy.

I managed to get my cat Avalon a part in the movie adaptation of The Strangers Outside (he doesn’t originally appear in the short story). Did you know that he’s also the star in a weekly online cat cartoon at http://avalon-lion.blogspot.com? Here’s a picture of Avalon on the movie set.

More pictures of the movie set and the filming locations can be found at my blog http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com.

And if you haven’t read my short story The Strangers Outside just yet, do so
now. It’s only $0.99 on Amazon.com.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #18: Shine

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Make sure you do not include spoilers
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Teaser Tuesday #18: Shine

Dust coated the windows, the petunias in the flower boxes bowed their heads, and spiderwebs clotted the eaves of the porch. Once I might have marvelled at the webs - how delicate they were, how intricate - but today I saw ghastly silk ropes. Nooses for sawflies and katydids and everything guileless enough to be ensnared.

Taken from the first chapter of my ARC of Shine by Lauren Myracle. If the story is as good as its cover I'm in for a treat!

Feel free to share your teaser below!

Monday, 7 March 2011

No Reading This Week 'Cause I Have To Read...Wait What?

This is the pile of books I'll be torturing myself with this week. I'm going to read 9 books (in total around 2500 pages) in 7 days. And these are not exciting and fast novels, these are heavy duty Dutch literature books.

For those who complain about the English literature they have to read, you have seen nothing yet. I can assure you, Dutch literature makes a book like Wuthering Heights look like light girly fluff. Unless it's about the Second World War, substance abuse, or sex, it's not considered a classic (preferably a book has them all). If the main character doesn't have suicidal thoughts or at least a traumatised youth that follows him the rest of his life, the chances of this book becoming a contemporary literary novel are slim.

If you haven't noticed it yet, I don't like Dutch literature. Overall, I don't even like normal Dutch adult fiction. There does not exist such a thing as a successful Dutch fantasy writer. There just isn't one. I don't know why. We do have the most erotic literary responsible collection of books of all the countries of the world. If these books would be published in a different country, they would go straight to the erotica section. Here, that is called literature. And as high school student you are encouraged to read these books.

Of course, this is a generalisation. Not all books are that bad, and not all Dutch books are full of porn. I'm probably a bit frustrated because I have to read 9 books that I don't like at all when I could be reading these wonderful books I got for review (like The Vespertine and Twilight's Ashes). Therefore there won't be any book reviews this week. I do have some other posts for you. On Wednesday Vanessa Morgan is stopping by to talk about her short story turned into film production, including pictures! And on Sunday Killian McRae is stopping by for her post on NBR for her blog tour. She'll be giving us her Top 10 reasons why it's awesome to be an author. Don't forget to stop by and leave us a comment!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Follow Friday #14

 Hosted by Parajunkee 

There's no weekly feature or question this week, so this week's post is a bit empty. Don't forget to check out my twitter @nyxbookreviews too!

Leave a comment so I can return the visit!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Audiobook Review: Pi-R-Us & A Most Heinous Crime

Today, I'll be doing something else. No book review this time, but two short reviews on two audio books of short stories I've received for review through sci-fi-cafe.com. Don't forget to check out their site too!

I usually don't listen to audio books so I saw this as a nice experiment to see if they work for me. Overall I really enjoyed these books. The narration was clear and surprisingly easy to follow. There are added sound effects and background noises to go along with the reading. While at some points I had a little trouble holding my attention to the narrator, they added a nice ambiance to the story and made the overall experience more exciting.

A Most Heinous Crime by Andy Severn & Mike Philbin
This was a surprisingly dark read (or do you call that "listen" when talking about audio books?). It paints a horrifying picture of a future world where human life is being sustained by Shrooms. These Shrooms provide all a human needs.

Because everyone has gotten so fat, one has to move by using a gravity field. Causing pain and suffering is the recommended pastime. In this gruesome world lives Judge Mahony. He has to deal with the most heinous crime he has ever witnessed.

I really liked this story. It was quite short, but gave us a clear indication of how the world works and how it looks and feels. This story satisfied my secret sadistic horror-need perfectly. I would love to read more about this world and its inhabitants.

Pi-R-Us by Andy Severn
As dark and horrifying as AMHC was, I though Pi-R-Us was a cute story compared to it. In this one, John's coffee break is crudely interrupted by some crazy man waving with his gun, chanting a sequence of numbers.

When this lunatic spots John, he tells John something he had never expected. This man has found the meaning behind the number of pi.

What fascinates me most about this story is that while you're listening to it, you start to believe the crazy man's explanation of pi. You start to wonder whether some of the things he says are true. I think this story will appeal to anyone with a little science geek within him or her.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #17: The Vespertine

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Make sure you do not include spoilers
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    Teaser Tuesday #17: The Vespertine

    Perhaps this once I could find my visions - my awful, eerie gift - without the fires of sunset. Perhaps this once I could abandon the vespers and go there on my own. To the place where I saw more than eyes could see. Where I knew more than minds could know

    Where I could be with him.
    Taken from the first page of an ARC received through Netgalley.

    What's your teaser this week?