Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blog Tour Review: Shadow of the Sun, by Laura Kreitzer

Shadow of the Sun (Timeless #1)
Laura Kreitzer
Paperback; 524 pages
Obsidian Mountain Publishing
February 22, 2010
Rating: (Avg 4.0)

Gabriella's past is a mystery, but that never stopped her from achieving her goals. As a supernatural specialist, and far more intelligent than anyone her age, she has always been ignored by her peers. Because of the isolation she has always felt, she put her life and soul into her job. Being a supernatural specialist hasn't given her the divine intervention she always longed for, until one day a shipment arrives from Italy containing three dead bodies with an uncanny ability to regenerate. Gabriella is frightened and intrigued, but not as scared as she becomes when a dark creature attacks her.

As the bodies come back to life, the plot takes an unexpected twist that you won't see coming. The supernatural world only begins to unfold before her as angels appear, her dreams start to haunt her, and the very past she has forgotten comes back with startling clarity. Romance blooms, escape plans are made, an assassin is out to kill her, and death is only around the corner. But what is more terrifying than all of it is the fact she is the chosen one, the Illuminator, the one who will save them all.

This is one of the most masterfully crafted beginnings to a series that I have read in some time. Although a little slow-moving in some areas to give the reader more information and insight, overall this book was pretty fairly paced and filled with mystery and intrgue.

The characters were well fleshed out and never fell flat in character development. Gabriella is bright, gifted and a very strong heroine. She's also strong, independent and relatable with her human emotions. The angels were unique yet still managed to feel very real and believable. I think my two favorite parts were the bond between the three angels as well as the interaction between Gabriella and her guardian angel Andrew. The chemistry between them was amazing and fit into the story perfectly.

Shadow of the Sun is a very enjoyable read. It is a bit lengthy, but it doesn't deter you from the story at all - coincidently, it makes you thirst for more after just as the shorter novels would. It's a fresh take on angels with plenty of action and story to keep you reading until the very end. Not only is it a recommended read for the paranormal and urban fantasy lovers, but I would also definitely say the older YA lovers will love this book as well. I'm now itching to read the second installment, Soul Stalker, and I know that once you read Shadow of the Sun... you'll be biting at the bit for the sequel as well.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Author Interview: Lori Brighton & Giveaway!

Lori Brighton
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Lori's Books
The Mind Readers [Buy]
The Ghost Hunter [Buy]
Wild Heart [Buy]
Wild Desire [Pre-Order]

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I went to college for Anthropology and ended up becoming a natural science curator at a Children’s Museum. I’m a bit of a treasure hunter; I love collecting shells and fossils. I also love history and reading. And I’m addicted to watching T.V.!

What made you become a writer?

I’ve always had a huge imagination and constantly made up stories, but never wrote them down. Then I had to quit my job at the museum because we were moving. Once we moved, at home with not much to do, I decided to try and write one of those stories I’d had rolling around in my head. Seven years later, I was finally published; an adult romance.

What is your writing schedule like? Do you put a lot of time into research for your novels?

I write all the time! Although I find I write best at night; I’m a night owl. Writing isn’t a job for me. I think that’s the difference between writing and most jobs; whereas most people complain about their jobs, I actually want to work!

As for research, it depends on the book. When I write historicals, there’s definitely a lot of research involved.

Most of your books seem to have some paranormal aspect in them. What is it about paranormal that you like so much?

I know! I have no idea how that happens! lol. The paranormal is just so interesting; the idea that there is more out there than we see. Plus, when you write paranormal, anything can happen.

Your Young Adult book is called The Mind Readers. Can you tell us a little about it?

Sure! It’s basically about a girl who can read minds and the feelings and expectations that go with that. Here’s the blurb:

Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows the truth …that Cameron can read minds. For years Cameron has hidden behind a facade of normalcy, warned that there are those who would do her harm. When gorgeous and mysterious Lewis Douglas arrives he destroys everything Cameron has ever believed and tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a secret haven with Lewis; a place where she meets others like her, Mind Readers.

But as Cameron soon finds out some things are too good to be true. When the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs. Cameron suddenly finds herself involved in a war in which her idea of what is right and wrong is greatly tested. In the end she’ll be forced to make a choice that will not only threaten her relationship with Lewis, but her very life.

Are any of the characters in The Mind Readers based on people you know in your life?

Not anyone in particular, although I do take bits and pieces of reality. In the beginning of the book you have a bunch of teens who want to be popular. Let’s face it, that’s completely true. Deep down we all want to be liked. Even adults. I also touch on the subject of older men seducing young girls, which, unfortunately, happens way too often in society.

The thing is I try to give my characters some sort of weakness. A lot of readers, especially in the paranormal genre, want characters to be these strong, kick-butt heroines. And that’s great, but not exactly realistic. I try to give my characters a touch of realism; I like to see them grow. I’ve had readers write to me and say they loved how realistic my heroine, Cameron, is. They loved the fact that she grew in the story. Other’s didn’t care for her and wanted her to be kick-butt right from the beginning. As I said, I like to have a little realism. I do have to say though, because you see Cameron grow in this first book, in the second book she’ll be more sure of herself.

What made you decide you wanted to write a Young Adult novel?

It wasn’t until I was around thirteen that I really started to love reading, so it’s those Young Adult books that had the most influence and have stuck with me. And I admit, it’s sort of nice writing about past experiences in books, sort of therapeutic. Honestly, I think we’re all teens deep down. The teenage years are so important. I talk to adults now and they are still working on the same issues that they had as teens, which just shows you how influential those years are.

Are you working on anything right now?

I’m working on a historical romance that’s for adults. But pretty soon I’ll be working on book two of The Mind Readers.

Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?

I love to hear from readers! Because I’m self-published and didn’t go through a N.Y. publisher, it’s hard to know when people like your work, so those reviews and emails from readers are all that more important. I don’t think readers/bloggers realize how important they are. So thank you!

As part of this interview, Lori was kind enough to offer up three (3) Ecopies of her novel, The Mind Readers (my review here). If you'd like to be entered to win, simply leave some love for Lori on this post - along with a way to contact you if you win. Easy, right? Have your comments posted by midnight EST on Sunday, February 13. Good luck, guys!

Review: The Mind Readers, by Lori Brighton

The Mind Readers
Lori Brighton
eBook, 170 pages
December 7, 2010
My Rating: (Avg: 4.0)
Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows that Cameron can read minds. When Lewis Douglas arrives, he tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a place where she meets other Mind Readers. But when the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs.

I have a confession to make: I have a soft spot for books about mind readers. I don't know when it happened, but it's some of my favorite paranormal readings now. I think it's because the mind readers are bombarded by people lying to their faces all the time and they become a little snarky with their inner dialogue to deal with it. Cameron is no exception, and that's why it made me fall in love with her instantly. Cameron was an absolute wonderful protagonist and I adored getting to know her. She's young, she's experiencing things for the first time - and you can tell that with the raw emotion that shows through. She's also a very strong mind reader, and you can recognize that right away with Lori's writing. Every single image described was clear in my mind as I read. It helped to make the story that much better.

The other characters were fleshed out just as well, even the characters with the smallest roles had their own voice. Lewis is a strong character and I thought that him and Cam had that perfect chemistry that you want in your book's love interests without it being all dramatic and OMG-I'll-die-if-I-ever-lose-him! Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the heroines that are only strong when there's a boy to hold them up all the time. Thankfully, it's not the case here. There's definitely strong feelings, but it's healthy. And Maddox? Well, yeah ... he just leaves me speechless. This boy has too much mystery for his own good.

Besides having wonderful characters, this book also had an equally intriguing premise and storyline that will keep you guessing until the end. I was gnawing at the bit trying to figure things out as I went, only to be turned upside down then right side up again with another new clue that had me second-guessing myself the entire time. It seems tiresome, but it was definitely the niche that sold the story for me. I was hooked until the end. And the ending? It was good, but left me knowing there's more... and wanting that "more" as soon as possible!

Source: Author

Other Reviews for The Mind Readers
Burning .x. Impossibly .x. Bright
Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind
Delusional YA Reviews

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Zan-Gah, by Allan Richard Shickman

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Novel
Allan Richard Shickman
Paperback, 148 pages
Earthshaker Books
July 15, 2007
My Rating: (Avg: 3.5)
Zan-Gah, seeking his lost twin brother in a savage prehistoric world, encounters adventure, suffering, conflict, captivity, and final victory. In three years hero passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes include survival, brotherhood, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, and nature's wonders and terrors. This is the electronic version of Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure, which has been awarded Mom's Choice Gold Medal for Series, the Eric Hoffer Notable Book Award, and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year.
While Zan-Gah is most definitely a different type of read for me, considering it's aimed more toward the younger audience, I can say that I definitely enjoyed it thoroughly. So thoroughly, in fact, that I actually surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the read. The story was full of adventures and moments that might take your breath away. Shickman's storytelling is wonderful. The writing was a little basic, but considering the age group and story, it did it's job to get the story across and still manage to evoke emotion.

Our main character is very courageous and I think one of the things that I find most interesting about this book is the character growth that you can actually see from the main character as the story unfolds. He literally grows before your eyes, doing what he has to in order to survive and find his twin. The other characters were just as fascinating, especially when you started to learn about the different clans.

The setting to this story is set in prehistoric times, which added a bit of uniqueness to this story compared to other books in its genre. The environment described were both beautiful yet scary at the same time, practically a force of its own to be reckoned with. The story moved fluidly, with no snags that made the story pause in any way. The ending felt not only believable, but very natural. It ends well, all things wrapped up nicely, but still leaves you with a feeling of wanting a little more... which is always a good thing.

I enjoyed Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure thoroughly. It's both realistic and enjoyable, full of action and personal growth. I'd recommend this for both middle grade and young adults, as well as some adults that may just want a quick, fun read.

Source: Publisher

Other Reviews
Smash Attack Reads!
In The Hammock
Book Sake

Teaser Tuesday

Hosted By: Should Be Reading

Zan's eyes lit up. "Do you think that..."

"Yes, Dael was alone when he was lost, was he not?"

"We think he may have been traveling up Nobla. He often said he would find her source."

"If so, he was heading straight for the dwellings of the wasp people! What you say confirms my thought, Zan-Gah. I have long suspected that he was their captive. That is the best explanation for his disappearance -- but it is only a guess. I know no more than you."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Before & After: Danette Vigilante

Danette Vigilante grew up in a Brooklyn housing project in New York City. She has two children, one husband, a sweet Yorkshire Terrier and a cat with a really bad attitude. THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON is her first novel. Her second is to follow in 2012.

I feel like I've given birth and I'm about to introduce my newborn to the world ... just see for yourself:

Now that TROUBLE is out and about, I'm feeling like I no longer have control over the path of my sweet book. I've been guiding it since 2004 and now it's out on its own. Sigh ... I did visit it first at a library (WhooHoo!), then on a store shelf so I know it is well and making its way. I still worry about it though and that will probably never stop!

Reviews for The Trouble With Half A Moon
A Few More Pages
Books in the Spotlight
Murdoch's Musings



Buy The Book:
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Book Depository

Monday Update!

While not having internet this weekend, I contemplated things I could do to put more information on this blog about authors and their books. I know I have the Before & After feature, but that only covers 2011 debut authors. So, I've decided that I'm going to start doing author profiles! It won't be anything complex - just a post for each author with a pic, bio, books by them and some links. I don't know how many I'm going to do and they'll be no rhyme or reason to who I pick and why, but I'm going to try to schedule them to post late at night to save your Google Readers throughout the day. Eventually, I'll have enough to start a master post to keep up with links and work from there. I'm pretty excited about this. =)

Besides daydreaming about my blog (I have it bad), I've also been reading up a storm again. I needed to get on top of some author requests, and I'm happy to report that I finished most of those books. Reviews will be popping up randomly throughout the next week or so.

Books Finished Last Week
American Vampire, by Jennifer Armintrout
Anna And The French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
Fall For Anything, by Courtney Summers
The Mind Readers, by Lori Brighton
Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric History, by Allan Richard Shickman
Zan-Gah and The Beautiful Country, by Allan Richard Shickman

Books On The List This Week
Awakened, by PC & Kristin Cast
Burned, by PC & Kristin Cast
Right Side Talking, by Bonnie Rozanski
The Amanda Project, by Stella Lennon, Melissa Kantor
... and more, hopefully. These are the ones I have down for sure!

In My Mailbox (9)

Hosted By: The Story Siren
Inspired By: Pop Culture Junkie

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