Monthly Archives: June 2012
Shalini Boland weaves a story of ‘Perimeters’ and devastation in a post-apocalyptic world. This story is told from two different character point of views, from different times in their history. Riley, a sixteen year old girl, who grew up inside the Perimeter walls, born after the terror attacks and devastation that happened to the world, and Eleanor, another teenage girl before the attacks. The ‘Perimeters’ are closed communities of people who are lucky, and rich, enough to buy safety. Others are not so lucky as poverty rampages the world, and it is a fend for yourself mentality.
Riley’s story starts off with the death of her fourteen year old sister Skye. Riley decides to go after the killer, taking along her neighbor Luc. They set off on a journey outside of the Perimeter walls that takes them through all sorts of scary and thrilling adventures. Riley, who comes to realize she has feelings for Luc, feels guilty because Skye had a major crush on him. Both Luc and Riley seem strong and reliable, though sometimes Luc seems a bit angry with Riley and Riley breaks down and has nervous episodes. I would say that it seems like character inconsistenties, but they are teenagers and ups and downs go with that ride. Their journey is one that will have you biting your fingernails and wondering what’s next. It was amazingly sweet watching them grow and learn together. The brilliance of all their plans, even when they failed, had me rooting for them through every page.
The second main character is Eleanor. Her story starts off with her as a teenager. The world seems to still be intact and you really do not follow what her role is. It becomes clear later on, though her story is interesting and enjoyable, when it clicks in your head and you are like, “Oh my God, duh!” It is amazingly complex and at once impossibly simple, and it makes you feel for her character in a split kind of way when you come to the jaw-dropping conclusion. You do not know whether to pity her, dislike her, or empathize with her. I came away with all three feelings.
Shalini Boland did a bang up job of weaving a tale of a realistic post-apocalyptic world. I would have liked to known a bit more about what happened to cause the terror attacks because that did not stand out as explained really well. Besides that, the two concurrent storylines weaved together brilliantly, taking you on a ride of twists and turns, that had you confused and speculating about what was coming next. I mean that in a good way. Books that I can figure out the plot and twists before I finish reading them are not as good as ones that leave me guessing until the bitter end. I was completely shocked at how all the events unfolded at the end. I really did not see it coming.
I did think that the epilogue gave off too much information, especially since this is the first book in a series. I think I would have been left wanting a little more than I do now without the epilogue, as it seemed to tie up most of the loose ends. Though, there is plenty of more left to make me want to read the second book, as Shalini Boland makes you curious about new characters in the epilogue.
All-in-all, I thought this book was definitely worth reading. The realness of it makes me hope that nothing like that ever happens in mine or my children’s lifetimes. If you like post-apocalyptic books, this story is for you. I love post-apocalyptic books and thought this one deserved 4 stars. Great Read!
Once again, if I have talked you into reading this book, please leave a review where you bought it. Every review helps the author. I will put a link for the book below. I hope you give it a chance.
Here it is Ladies and Gentlemen, the much anticipated interview with Elle Casey. She is the author of so many great books and has many more coming out this year. She is responsible for the awesomeness (I think Jason is rubbing off on me lol) of the ‘War of the Fae’ series, ‘Vampire Seasons’, ‘Desperate Measures’, ‘Apocalypsis’, and ‘Wrecked’. She is also cranking out books left and right for the rest of the year. I am so looking forward to the spin-off series of ‘The War of the Fae’, which is called ‘Clash of the Otherworlds’. I will quit being a fan girl though, and let Elle Casey speak for herself. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Please share it everywhere it can be shared, you can reblog it, facebook it, tweet it…whatever floats your boat. Also, please like this page at the bottom if you liked this interview. I am also sure Elle would LOVE reader comments. Lets show some support for the Indie authors we ♥
Elle, I love your books. What made you decide you wanted to write? Why YA novels?
I read an article about Amanda Hocking last December and the success she had being an indie (self-published author). It inspired me to finish the novel Wrecked, which I’d been working on for years, on and off. I never finished it before because I’m a very impatient person by nature, and the idea of hounding agents to represent me and waiting for an agent to find a publisher just seemed like it could never happen – like winning the lottery. I had a life, a family, work … better things to do with my time, essentially. But when I found out I could publish the book myself, that changed the whole deal for me. I finished the book in about 6 weeks or so, had it edited, and published it. (And the rest, as they say, is history. lol) — I write YA simply because it’s my favorite genre to read. I’ve written one adult novel so far and enjoyed the process, and I will write more of it, but my heart is still with YA.
What made you move to France? How is life different living in a foreign country?
I needed more adventure in my life, and France was perfect for that. I crave what I call “controlled adventure”. Safe but awesome stuff. You won’t find me in the Amazonian jungle, but a country with wine that flows like water and over 4,000 cheeses? Sign me up. I also wanted my kids to experience another culture and become bi-lingual. I feared that as Americans who had never lived anywhere else, they were getting a somewhat skewed view of the world. France’s language, culture, and people have been near to my heart since I was young. My mom majored in French in college and was always throwing French phrases around at our house. Then I took French in high school. As an adult I visited a few times. I guess I could never get it out of my system. We were originally only going to stay here for a year – but we’ve decided to stay indefinitely because we love it so much. And now that I write for a living, it’s possible for me to live anywhere in the world that I have an internet connection.
The first book I read of yours was ‘Wrecked’. I loved the characters. It reminded me of the dynamics of high school. Do you have a hard time writing from a teenagers point of view?
No, I think I find it easy for two reasons: First, I have two of them at home; and second, because I’m very immature – practically still a teenager myself sometimes. 🙂
What do you think of sex in YA novels?
I think if an author is writing for older YA audiences (teens 15+) it’s perfectly okay. Why? Because that’s when most teens become sexually active (or their friends do), so it’s real; it’s a realistic world the author creates when it reflects the realities of a teen’s life. I wouldn’t use it in Middle-Grade YA, though. And I do have a middle-grade YA series coming out next year, so my 8-year-old can have something of mine to read. I have one chapter done, just because I had to get it out of my head, and it has the word poop in it a lot (I did mention earlier that I’m immature, right?) — I know some readers don’t agree that YA should ever have sex, violence, drugs, or any of the things some find “inappropriate” for teens who aren’t yet married adults. But those people, in my opinion, want authors to create unrealistic fantasy worlds; and even in fantasy worlds, I like to keep it real, if you know what I mean. I manage reader expectations by warning them there is foul language or sex or whatever in the books – then they can make an informed decision about whether to read it or not. And if I forget to warn about it in the blurb, my readers mention it in reviews, so it’s not a secret what’s in my books.
Most of your books have bad language in them. I, for one, think it makes them hilarious and more realistic. Teenagers have bad mouths lol, and that is just a fact. What do you say to people that do not approve of bad language in YA books? Where do you come up with some of the stuff your characters say?
I tell anyone who doesn’t like the swearing in my books to go to H.E. double hockey sticks. JUST KIDDING!! Seriously. I never say that to reader. I adore my readers, even the ones like my Uncle Doug who think cussing is the devil’s work. When a reader complains (which has happened twice in an email to me, and has been negatively mentioned in a handful of reviews) I tell them that I write in what I consider to be a realistic style and suggest they seek out middle-grade YA for more tame language or even traditionally published YA, because publishers tend to eliminate most cuss words from their books — Everything my characters say comes from the voices in my head, so I guess that tells you a lot about me, doesn’t it? 🙂
I absolutely loved Jayne in the ‘War of the Fae’ series. Is her character based on anyone you know?
Hell yes. Me.
Which do you like better: writing fantasy books like the ‘War of the Fae’ series or more realistic books such as ‘Wrecked’? I also know that you have written a chick lit book. I still need to read it! How was that different from writing YA?
I prefer fantasy and science fiction because believe it or not, it’s easier for me to write. I don’t have the same boundaries – if I can dream it and find a way to make is seem ‘possible’, it works in the story. Readers of realistic work (like Action/Adventure) have a problem when you portray things unrealistically; and of course, if you portray it too realistically, you get accused of writing things that are too cliché. Makes me crazy. I like the freedom of writing fantasy where readers are mentally prepared to play in my world, and I can build it how I want. — Chick lit is different in that I have to move out of the teen realm and move into grown-up realm. Everything’s different from clothes, to language, to habits, to behaviors … I have to make a big shift mentally to go into chick lit, but since I enjoy reading in that genre too, it’s not too big a stretch for me. Plus sometimes I actually have to act like an adult, so I know how to write it realistically, I think.
Why did you write your chick/lit book under the Kat Lee pen name, but immediately out yourself as Elle Casey?
The reason for using the different pen name was twofold: First, I am doing that project and any chick lit books I write with my mom. We’re business partners, I guess you could say. She’s handling the promotion for me and giving me lots of beta reading along the way as I write. Second, it’s not young adult, and the sex is a lot more grown-up and explicit, so I didn’t want to risk a young adult reader who actually is a young adult (I have mostly adult readers, even for the YA books) to pick it up thinking it’s young adult and have their parents get all up in my grill over it (I already get enough grief over the very vanilla sex scene in Wrecked). So a different name made it easier to say, “Hey! This is a sexy book! Maybe not for your fourteen-year-old!” But, on the other hand, I wanted readers who enjoy my writing style – many of whom ask me on a regular basis when I’m going to have new stuff to read – to have access to it without having to hunt for it too hard. The majority of my readers are adults, so I figured if they read chick lit and liked my YA stuff, maybe they’d enjoy that too.
Who is your favorite character, besides Jayne, in the ‘War of the Fae’ and why?
Tim the pixie. He’s hilarious and has lots of secrets I’m dying to know. Plus, I’m a sucker for a misunderstood guy.
Which book is your favorite out of all the books you wrote?
I honestly like them all. Wrecked was my first, and I think as I continued to write, each book got better. So if you want to know which one I think is the best from a technical standpoint, I’d say whatever the most recent one is. I become more skilled with each attempt. But my favorite world so far is the War of the Fae world. And that series is my most popular with readers, too.
If you could be any type of paranormal creature/person, what would you be?
And elemental of course. Mother Fucking Nature, baby. [Quote from War of the Fae, people. Don’t email me that you’re offended by my language. It wasn’t me! I swear!]
I just finished your new book, Apocalypsis. Where did the idea from that book come from?
I have been intrigued by the idea of kids living without parents since I was very young. I was always dreaming up scenarios like that and read books with those themes whenever I could find them. I even left home when I was 17, frustrated with the adults in my life. All of my books in the YA world have an element of teens surviving without adults or living more independently. I guess I just love the concept. As a teen I was depressed a lot and felt very lost and misunderstood, which caused me to want to live away from the adult influences in my life. The memories of those times have never left me and I want to write for people who also might have felt that way before. In my stories, you can escape for a little while and live that “what if” fantasy.
Do you really think that teenagers could survive without adults in a post-apocalyptic world?
Of course. Kids can be very resourceful when left to their own devices. Plus we’re hard-wired to survive.
What is one piece of advice you would give your kids if they were in the situation the characters of Apocalypsis are in?
Stick together, don’t give up, kick ass when you need to, and don’t forget to be kind to each other.
I also have to know because it was just a few days ago that you posted that the first draft of Apocalypsis was finished, and yet the second book comes out in a month…how do you write books so fast? What is your secret?
I’m a cyborg. Shhh. Don’t tell.
What is coming up for you after the Apocalypsis books?
Here’s my schedule for the rest of 2012: Apocalypsis 2 (July), Apocalypsis 3 (August), Clash of the Otherworlds [COTOW] 1 (September), COTOW 2 (October), COTOW 3 (November), Vampire Seasons 2 (November), Reckless, [sequel to Wrecked] (December), Desperate Measures 2 (December). And in 2013: Desperate Measures 3 (January), joint project with Jason “Dead Muskrat on His Head” Brant (February), and then, who knows? More YA series, including a middle-grade one starring an 8-year-old girl named Goo and her 2-year-old brother Looshie. I might also take a vacation for a couple weeks at some point.
Jason Brant told me to ask you why you were such a douche and how do you deal with his awesomeness lol, but you don’t have to answer that, if you don’t want to ♥
Well. You can tell Jason from me that … no. Wait. Let me start over. A-hem. The reason why Jason calls me a douche is because the word douche means ‘shower’ in French (and I live in France, so he’s always being cute and using French words with me), so it’s his sneaky way of ‘showering’ me with affection. It’s a cute little thing he does while guzzling cheap beer and huffing glue over his keyboard. I deal with Jason’s awesomeness by writing ten times as many books as he does in a year. BOOYAH, JASON! Why don’t you spread that on your toast and eat it, Muskrat Head! … wait … did I actually just write that?
Thank you so much for answering my questions! I cannot wait to read whatever is coming next from you. I am also so excited by the prospect of a Elle/Jason book. It is going to be one wild ride!
I hope you enjoyed that interview. Please do not forget to share this anyway you like, facebook, twitter, blog…anywhere you can. I am also sure Elle would enjoy reader comments/questions. Elle is also on facebook and Twitter, as well as has her own website. I am sure that she would love to connect with you on these. Please also ‘like’ my facebook page and/or follow my blog for more great reviews and interviews that will be coming soon.
(Elle’s website) http://ellecasey.com/
(Elle’s Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/ellecaseytheauthor
(My Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/cynthiashepp
Links to some of Elle’s Books! I hope you give them all a chance.
I am so excited to be announcing this! Tomorrow I will post an interview with Elle Casey. You will not want to miss this. She is the Indie author of the ‘War of the Fae’ series, ‘Wrecked’, ‘Vampire Seasons’, ‘Desperate Measures’ (pen name Kat Lee), and most recently ‘Apocalypsis Book 1-Kahayatle’. She has a boatload of new books coming out this year. I do not know how she does it! She is a wonderful and hilarious author and person. I hope you tune in for this event. You will learn so much about her and her writing. Something will be revealed that I think is just SO cool!!
I also have reviews up for the ‘War of the Fae’ series and for ‘Apocalypsis’ here on my blog. I would love for you to check those out!
I hope that if you do tune in that you will share the interview everywhere that you can think of…Facebook, your blog…everywhere. I would also love it if you would ‘like’ my Facebook page and follow my blog. I have so much more great stuff coming up soon. I know that Elle Casey would love for you to check out her website and Facebook page as well!
Let’s show some support for the Indie Authors we l♥ve by tuning in and sharing this news and the interview tomorrow!
I am going to post a few links to some of her books here and tomorrow at the interview. I hope you check them out if you have not already! They are mostly YA and oh so good!
Apocalypsis Book 1: Kahayatle
Elle Casey has done it again. Created a world that drags you in and won’t let you go. I think I am a little bit in love with her brain lol, at least the imagination part of it. I love books that make me root for the characters, and this one has you rooting from the very first page. This is a 3 book YA series.
Just imagine a world where there are no adults and no children, nothing but hormonal teenagers left alive. This is the world that 17 year-old Bryn lives in. All of the adults and children, including her beloved father, have died of a mysterious disease. Bryn is all alone in an unforgiving world, where danger lurks just outside her front door, and starvation is only a tin can away. But Bryn is no helpless little girl. Her father taught her to survive, taught her Krav Maga and taught her how to “Go American White Girl All Over Your Ass”. (I hear more than a hint of Jason Brant in that statement lol!)
Bryn thinks she needs nothing and no one until the day she almost runs out of food and decides to explore the house behind her. Despite the gangs raging through the streets, taking whatever they want, Bryn decides it is worth investigating. She gets more than she bargains for in this decision.
Cue Peter into the story. A small, skinny boy that holds up Bryn with a .357 magnum and instead of killing her, worms his way into her heart. Peter may be weak, but he knows who he is, which is a smart and able…even in a pair of too big red high heels. Bryn decides to take him in and realizes that Peter has a hell of a story to tell, one that changes their lives forever.
They decide that they have to leave where they are because the danger is too great to stay. There are “Canners” running the streets (I’m not going to spoil it by telling you what Canners are!), and after a confrontation that leaves one dead, Bryn, Peter and a naked pink poodle named Buster, hit the road on mountain bikes; hoping to find a new place to start a life.
There they meet the third member of their newly formed family, Bodo. He is a German exchange student that lost his family. He is cute, has an accent and a happy disposition. They take him in and continue on their journey. They are headed to a place they think that they can survive in and maybe that others won’t find them. A place to get lost in…and a place to start a new life in.
The journey they take to get there is often times hilarious, filled with raunchy teenage humor. “Peter has to go do a doodle. No poodles allowed during doodle time!” I will never hear the word doodle again without dying laughing. Bryn is loyal, hilarious and a bad ass. Peter is sweet, and strong despite his small stature. He is often funny at times as well. Bodo, well, he is just a big puppy dog. Always happy, always willing to help out, and would do anything for his new family…especially Bryn! “Dat’s not a problem.”
Their journey also has plenty of heartbreak. I found myself with tears in my eyes quite a few times. They meet many new characters along the way, some good, some bad, and some just so sad that you feel it in the bottom of your heart.
They do make it to their goal, but this is where my review stops. I refuse to tell you anymore because that would just ruin the story. Just know that they have many adventures waiting for them in their new home, and if you want to know what happens to Bryn, Peter, Bodo and Buster, well, you need to read the book! Also, if you are curious what “Kahayatle” means, as I was, go grab the book and give it a chance. You will not regret it. Once I started this book, I was hard pressed to put it down. I kept snickering and laughing out loud at the book and my husband kept telling me “You are so weird”.
Once again, if I have talked you into reading this book, please leave a review where you bought it. Every review helps the author. I am inserting a link below for the book. I hope you give it a chance!
Also, I would love it if you would ‘like’ my facebook page if you enjoyed this review. Thanks!
Fayth Devlin’s Blood Lust Rising is an explosive debut novel. It is sizzling hot. You can almost feel the slide of skin against skin; the scrape of fangs in places better not mentioned….this book defines sensual, raw and gritty. Fayth takes you on a fantasy ride of vampires, demons and shape shifters, all in a modern-day, believable setting. The plot was original and out of this world. The fights scenes would have you cringing and glad that you are only reading the action, not involved in it. Ella and Micah kick some major ass.
The characters came to life on the page. By the end of the first chapter I was already a little in love with Micah and Ella both. I would be hard pressed to say which one I liked better. The chemistry between the two of them was smoking; seriously tingle worthy.
“I wasn’t human, not anymore. But I wasn’t fully a vampire either.”
“I, Ella Grey, Shadow Hunter, was now the thing I’d been raised to kill.”
Ella is a feisty, living vampire. Her attitude endeared her to me from the very beginning. Ella was raised a Shadow Hunter, people who are sworn to protect the world from Otherworldly creatures. In her youth, she fell in love with a vampire, Julian. He ended up changing her into a half human-half vampire while trying to save her life. Ella has fangs but can go out in the sunlight and live without blood. She makes a vow to the Shadow Agency that she will not drink blood, even though she craves it. Ella is another one of those kick ass girls I love, but she is also feminine. She gets angry when she should, cries when it hurts or if it will make her feel better, and is fiercely loyal to those she loves.
Micah starts off as sarcastic; think I’m better than you, and oh so smug. Micah is a human, or so he thinks. He is a Shadow Hunter as well. Ella is intensely attracted to him but thinks that he would never really want her because she is a vampire. They fight a lot and the vibes they put off are sexual frustration. Micah comes out to be this fiercely loving, protective and possessive man who will make you swoon, or feel hot all over. =)
Ella, “One more word and I’ll bite you.”
Micah, “Try it and I’ll shove a stake through your heart.”
Julian is Ella’s sire. He is a 400 year-old vampire. He is sick, twisted and evil in a completely hot, bad boy way. He is one of those characters you love to hate. He wants Ella but Ella is bound to Micah and despises Julian. Ella and Julian have this twisted sire bond that causes all kinds of havoc.
Ella and Micah do not sound like star-crossed lovers but throw in a Succubus and mix it all around and you get beautiful chaos.
A four-day “retreat” that they barely remember. Blood soaked sheets and startling, bright blue eyes; changes that will rock the foundation of their very world.
A prophecy foretold their union. They are soul-mates that cannot be unbound. The Vampire Queen vows that Ella will be destroyed. Nothing, or nobody, will get in her way.
I do not want to say anymore because if I do it will be nothing but spoilers but I do want to mention her other characters. Fayth created not just a world for Micah and Ella, but for their family and friends. Her character development is very thorough. She put up a beautiful cast of people who you will fall in love with as well, and you can tell have their own story to tell in time. Hannah is Ella’s teenager sister and is beautiful but not a fighter. She is terrified of blood but a little spunky herself, or at least flirtatious. Eli is Micah’s teenage brother, a little geeky and a lot hot for Hannah, in a sweet, shy way. Ella’s Uncle Roy is a powerful man who would do anything for his nieces. Dante and Castro are otherworldly but become a big part of the story, on the friends’ side. There is also Micah’s father, a twisted man and the head of The Shadow Hunter Agency. He will give you the creepy-crawlies and not in a good way.
This book was action-packed suspense. It was romantic, steamy and at times it was laugh-out-loud hilarious. I would highly recommend reading this book. Blood Lust Rising is book 1 of the Vampire Queen Trilogy and I am eagerly anticipating the next installment. At only $2.99 on Amazon, this book is a steal.
Once again, if I have talked you into reading this book, please leave a review where you bought it. Every review helps the author! I am inserting a link below for the book. Please give it a chance. You will be so glad you did.
Blood Lust Rising (The Vampire Queen Trilogy)
What is your favorite book or series? I just asked this question on my facebook page and I sat down and really thought about it. I have decided that I cannot pick just one. Books are like friends. They are always there for you. Of course, you go back to the familiar ones and revisit them from time to time. There are books that you only read once and there are books you read dozens of times. I have so many books like that so I cannot say that I have a particular favorite. I loved the Harry Potter series. I have read it at least 3 times. I love Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. I love Elle Casey’s War of the Fae series, though that is a recent love and I have only read it once so far. I love Robert McCammon’s Mine (standalone). I love Tate Hallaway’s Garnet Lacey series. I love Pittacus Lore’s The Lorien Legacies. I loved the Sookie Stackhouse books. I love Nora Roberts. Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series is another love. I love so many different genre’s and authors. I loved so many different series when I was a kid and a teenager. I love so many different series and books now as an adult. How do you choose your favorite when there are so many that give you comfort and take you away from every day life? I do not think it is possible if you crave books the way I do. I mean seriously, if you can say love so many different times to so many different things and mean it, you can’t choose which one you love above all else. How many of you are like this? If asked “What is your favorite book?”, can you come up with one right off the bat? Does it roll off of your tongue or does it seem impossible to answer a question like that? I want to hear your answer to this question…or your non-answer. Maybe we will all find new books to read and love. =)
If you have not read the Pitticus Lore books you should. I did not think they were going to be that great but I was shocked at just how much I loved them.
I will put a few links to some of the books I mentioned in case you want to check them out!
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies)
This one below is only available for pre-order. I already ordered mine =)
The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies)
The book below has been on my favorites list since I was a teenager. I have read it many, many times. They have It on ebook now but the cover on the real book was so cool.
The first Lacey Garnet book
The First Troubleshooters book (This series makes me cry over and over again! There are at least 17 of these books so far and they get better each book)
The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooter)
War of the Fae series book 1
The Changelings (War of the Fae: Book 1)
Rachel Morgan series book 1
Dead Witch Walking
Please comment below with your favorite books or your thoughts on the matter!
I hope y’all are enjoying the reviews and my one interview so far. I also hope you will take a chance on some of the books I have reviewed and will review. Most of the books I have reviewed so far are by Independent authors, which means they self-publish. They need readers and their books are so worth reading! There are many more reviews coming! Upcoming reviews are Blood Lust Rising by Fayth Devlin, Outside by Shalini Boland, Spoon-Fed Addiction by Silvano Williams, Damphyr Heritage by E.G. Gaddess, Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy, Chasing Evil’s Shadow by Debby Hellen, Day by Day by Shaun Jeffrey, and literally a whole lot more.
I will also have some guest posts in the near future! I won’t mention any names yet but I am sure it will be exciting (: If you are an author and interested in doing a guest post, subject matter entirely up to you, please contact me here or shoot me an email: email@example.com
I am also interested in doing more author interviews. Authors, if you are interested in that, please contact me by email or on here. I would want to do a review of one of your books before the interview, just to acclimate myself with you and your books.
I am also interested in giveaways. Those would be more geared towards your review or interview.
I am also still taking review requests. They are coming in by the dozens and I love it! Please read my review policy before submitting a review request. Thanks!
A kidnapped child, a grief stricken mother, a self-centered actor, a determined reporter and a bootlegging aunt that has ties to the mob take you on an adventure through the 1930’s. Laura Kingsley Austin is a beautiful woman in her early twenties who decides to leave her husband, actor Phillip Austin, and start a new life with her one year old son, Todd. Laura pursues a career as a writer, and makes a home for herself and her son. All that crumbles away when Todd is kidnapped from her husband’s home, Willow Pond, while he was there visiting his father. Virginia Kingsley, Laura’s aunt, was the owner of a speakeasy that has ties to bootlegging and the mob. Erich, the reporter, follows the trail of the story and ends up involved in more than just his next article. With not many clues to work with, no one knows who the kidnapper is, though there are many different theories. Could the kidnapping be related to Virginia’s business affairs, Phillip’s acting career, or even a publicity stunt gone wrong? The police are no help and the trail is growing cold. This story is a long one that draws you into a world of speakeasies and flapper dresses, murder, mayhem and whirlwind romances.
This is Carol Tibaldi’s debut novel, and she did a great job on character development and the story line. As a mother, I did have a problem with Laura. She just seemed not real as a grief stricken mother. She purses a romance with Erich quickly, going out on the town and dancing when I feel I never would have left my house or the phone if my child would have been kidnapped. Also, the time in the story seemed off. It went from a few weeks after Todd was kidnapped to a year without any real sense that a year had passed. Other than that, this story grabbed you in and made you have to keep flipping pages to know what is going to happen next.
Virginia was my favorite character. Her image on the cover reminds me of someone, but I cannot think of whom. I like her attitude and the fact that she dominated as a woman in a man’s profession. She demanded respect and she got it. She kept looking for Todd, and did anything to get him back.
Laura, as I said, was not my favorite character, but she had good traits and bad. She continuously thought of her son, and even after another huge event changes her life, you can still tell all she wants is Todd back so that he can share in it with her. Though she is a little selfish, she tries to help people throughout the whole story, and her love for Erich rings true.
As for Todd’s father, I just wanted to slap him out of his self-centered world, and remind him that his son should be more important than his career. Erich, the reporter, was a lovely man and I thought his character was well defined. He went through a lot in this story, and there was never a moment I was not rooting for him.
I even felt for Todd’s kidnapper. I could relate to the kidnapper’s story. When Todd was finally found, I cried for the kidnapper as well as for Laura. I could picture the scene so clearly when Todd sang his little poem.
I did like the way Carol Tibaldi flipped back and forth in the story from Laura, Virginia, Erich, and Todd’s kidnapper. It helped the book feel more in depth by having the perspective of more than one character. If you like romantic suspense with a historical setting, this is the book for you. I did not want to post too may spoilers, but there is so much more to this book than what I described. It is life at its fullest, with many twists and turns, and many, many events that I never saw coming. You will have to read to understand the whole story, because it is complex and intricately woven.
Carol Tibaldi broke into the writing scene with her debut novel, and she did not disappoint. I cannot wait to see her evolve as she writes more, and I am looking forward to reading more from her.
Once again, if I have talked you into reading this book, please leave a review where you bought it. Every review helps the author. I am inserting a link for the book below. I hope you give it a chance.
For the last week I have been talking about this great interview with Jason Brant that I am going to post today. Today is finally here and it was worth the wait! Jason Brant is the self-published author of two wonderful books, Echoes and Gehenna. I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing them both, and I cannot wait for the next book of his to come out. I have gotten to know Jason a little bit in this interview process and I hope that you enjoy his wit and sense of humor as much as I do. I will post links to his books after the interview and I hope that you all will take a chance on at least one of his books today. You cannot go wrong with either one! Please leave your comments below for Jason, or the interview, or my bad questions lol. Show some support for Indie authors and make him feel welcomed on this page. I will stop my blathering now and let Jason take the stage. This was Jason’s first EVER interview and I am so excited that I am the one that got to do it. =)
Jason, I love your books but I know you just recently started writing. What did you do before you decided to become an author?
I did contract work as a Digital Forensic Analyst for the Department of Defense. It sounds more important than it actually is. Basically I broke into computers and looked for naughty things. I’ve also done IT work, and home theater installations. I tried to become a porn star after I quit, but for whatever reason my wife didn’t like that idea.
I asked around to a few different authors for interview advice and Elle Casey suggested asking “Why do you write?” So Jason, why do you write?
After the porn career idea was shot down I had to come up with something else. Writing seemed like a natural transition from pornography, so here I am. Actually, I have a degree in film and television production and was all set to move to L.A. (not for porn, really!), but I met my wife a few months before graduation. I decided to forgo that career to stay back East with her. Though I didn’t go into the business, I have a serious passion for movies and books that never went away. Writing novels isn’t too far from writing screenplays, and with the digital book revolution ongoing, I decided to throw my hat on the pile.
I read on an advice for interviews blog that most authors hate to be asked how they get their ideas…why do you think that is?
If I had to guess, it’s probably because most authors are turds, e.g. Elle Casey. Writers are like anyone else, and most people happen to be turds. Look at me – I’m an author, and I’m a turd. That question might bother some people, because they don’t know how to answer it. Sometimes ideas just pop in there, which is usually the case with me.
Lol…where do you get your ideas?
I have no clue. I wish I could say it was from all the cocaine I do, but I typically just blackout after a few lines. Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve had ideas hit me while sitting in traffic, from dreams, people watching, and pretty much any other random thing you can think of.
The first book I read of yours was Echoes. My favorite character in that book was Nami. Is her character based on anyone you know? How about Ash and Sammy?
Yup. Nami is based on a friend and former co-worker of mine. If you can imagine hanging out with Nami for a day, then you know what my life was like for several years. My friend isn’t a secret agent, and doesn’t shoot Desert Eagle’s, but everything else is very close. She’s a blast to have around, and was gracious enough to allow me to use her likeness in Echoes. The back and forth relationship that Ash and Nami have is very similar to our friendship. And yes, she swears that goddamn much.
Ash is an amalgamation (I’m smrt!) of the experiences of several people. My brother has a purple heart from one of his tours in Iraq, and I used quite a bit of the shit he went through to form Ash’s personality, angst, and opinions. My own experiences working with the government were also thrown in there. Because you read my blog, you’ve probably figured out that his smart ass attitude is from me.
Sammy isn’t really based on anyone in particular. A few of the ridiculous things she said are based on conversations I had with people, but that’s about it.
I have to know because I just died laughing during Echoes: Where did you come up with some of the sayings in the book, such as ‘Holy F*** Balls’ and ‘Kicked in the fart box’?
I say ludicrous crap all the time. Taking two unrelated vulgarities and combing them into one is something I do quite a bit. And balls works with just about anything. Add that to a character like Nami, and hilarity ensues. I’m sure that I picked up on some of the crazy things that the real life “Nami” says too.
The paranormal twist in Echoes was unique in a sea of all the paranormal out there, especially as this book is listed as an action/thriller. Do you consider Echoes in the paranormal genre? What made you want to write a book (Gehenna) in the paranormal genre? Are your following books going to stay in that genre or are you planning to branch out?
I struggled with how to categorize Echoes when I released it. Ultimately, I decided not to list it in any paranormal genres because it just didn’t seem to fit. Ash does have a special ability, but that doesn’t really define the book. I was also concerned that people tend to link the paranormal with ghosts and vampires more than something like telepathy. Most of the story is Ash being confused, and getting his ass kicked, so I went with the Action and Thriller categories.
Having said that, most of my books will have a paranormal angle to them, because that’s what I enjoy to read. I’ve said many times that Stephen King could wipe his ass with some paper, and I’d read it. The Twilight Zone, Tales From the Crypt, and MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs are all shows I grew up with, and I still love to watch them.
Do you relate more with the hero of a book or the villain?
In general I probably relate to the hero more. However, if the villain isn’t stronger, or more interesting, than the hero, then what’s the point? I love watching people overcome adversity.
Let’s move on to a question I am dying to ask. In Echoes, the lead female character, Sammy, was portrayed as dumb with big boobs and yet the lead female in Gehenna, Karen, is strong-willed and kicks ass. Which one are you fonder of? (and yes, this is a trick question lol)
I’m a huge fan of tough women. All too often they’re underplayed in books and movies, or they’re taken too far over the top and it almost becomes self-mockery. I’ll take Sigourney Weaver in Aliens any day of the week over Angelina Jolie in, well, anything. Having said that, who doesn’t like big boobs? Come on, what’s more American than giant boobs?
Let’s talk about Gehenna. This book is about cowboys, prostitutes and zombies, or as you call them, Moaners, in the old west. This is certainly a unique storyline. I know I have never read a book anything like it. Where did you come up with an old west setting for a zombie book?
I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone a couple of months ago, right after I finished Echoes, and he asked me what I planned on writing next. Somewhere in that conversation, the initial idea for Gehenna popped in. Originally it was going to be called Zomboys, and it would be strictly a comedy. After about five pages, the tone shifted and it ended up being much more serious than I had planned. Of course a lot of the humor remained, because that’s my style, but it definitely morphed into a wild zombie ride.
The old west setting added a different layer of danger to the survivors. Their crude weapons and lifestyles made it much more difficult for them to prevail. Placing the story in the 1800’s also explained why they had no idea what a zombie was, and I’m not sure if you noticed this, but the word ‘zombie’ is never used throughout the entire book. If the dead were to rise today, we would all know what they were, but the zombie mythology hadn’t been created yet for the characters in Gehenna.
I tried to eat while reading Gehenna and found I could not do it. You write insanely (in a good way!) descriptive scenes about munching on flesh. Some places in the book, my skin actually crawled. Does writing scenes like that bother you or are you just sitting back, grinning and waiting for audience reaction?
After the first zombie scene I actually sat back and asked myself what the hell I was doing. Then I figured, it’s a zombie/western, if that doesn’t necessitate going full bore, nothing does. So I let it rip, and when I finished I felt that it fit the story. Outside of another book about zombies, nothing else I write will have this level of violence.
Did you do any research on Zombies before writing Gehenna, maybe watch a few zombie movies? If so, which ones would you call inspirations?
I didn’t, but being a massive zombie fan I already have all of the greats memorized by heart. It was a very conscious decision to make the zombies of Gehenna the old school, meandering variety as opposed to the Olympic sprinters used today. If I had to pick the two movies that most influenced my book, I would probably pick Night of the Living Dead, and Return of the Living Dead. Night because of the claustrophobic atmosphere of being trapped in a house while surrounded by the dead, and Return for the quirky characters.
I just realized I’ve been entirely too serious over my last few answers. Balls.
I noticed that there was a lot of God talk in Gehenna. The main character, McCall, says he relies more on guns than God. What is your stance on God and however did you find that bible verse you included in Gehenna, Leviticus 26:28, that makes it sound like God is going to make zombies of us all?
And now we’re talking about religion. Shit just got real. Despite the biblical overtones of Gehenna, I’m not a religious man. I was raised a Christian, but no longer follow any kind of belief system.
I’d heard about the various Bible verses discussing the dead rising for a couple of years now. When I started writing Gehenna I hit up Google and was shocked at what I found. There are even more in there than the ones I used. And the zombie Jesus jokes go without saying.
As an avid reader of your blog, I am curious. Why do you call your wife ‘The Tall One’?
She’s six feet tall, which constitutes being huge in my book. When she wears heels she’s actually taller than I am, which just isn’t cool. I never called her The Tall One before a couple of weeks when I blogged about her. It kind of stuck after that, so I use it when referring to her on the blog now.
(Reader Questions) What about your writing environment? Any must have items on hand while you write? What are your top favorite books?
I just bought a laptop, so right now I’m writing on my couch and deck. We have an office upstairs, which is where I spent the winter and spring, but it gets too hot there in the summer. I don’t really have any staples with me when I write, like coffee or energy drinks, I just go with the flow.
My favorite books: IT, The Stand, Hell House, The Shining, The Hellbound Heart, At the Mountains of Madness, Dracula, The Mist, Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter (yeah, that doesn’t fit with the rest, but whatever, it’s my list!), Ender’s Game, Fahrenheit 451, A Wrinkle In Time, and so on.
What do you do after you finish a book? Any ritual or celebration?
There is a microbrewery about a mile from us that I always go to when I finish a book. Granted, I’d go there anyway, but it does give me a convenient excuse to start drinking at 3 in the afternoon.
I am not going to take anymore of your time, but I have to know, what are you working on now? Maybe a sequel to Echoes?
My current work in progress is about two college students who win a contest to be interns on a “Ghost Hunters” type of TV show. When they arrive at a church in Appalachia to shoot a new episode, they end up finding more than they ever thought possible.
After that I’m hoping to start sequels to both Echoes and Gehenna. I’m kicking around ideas for both, and should settle on them soon. After that, I have some interesting stuff coming on the horizon, particularly next year.
Thank you, Jason, for taking the time to answer my interview questions. I cannot wait to read your next book! I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did through this whole process.
I hope you enjoyed the interview. Please leave comments or questions below for Jason or for me. I am sure Jason will be checking this throughout the day. Everyone knows authors are a little vain lol, but of course they have great reason to be =) I am also placing links for his books below.
Kindle Version Links:
Now that I have Gehenna’s review posted, there is more to look forward too! My interview with Jason Brant will be posted on 6/18 and I am super excited for everyone to read that. Jason is a great author and a funny guy. The interview went so well and Jason’s answers are a must read! I don’t think I did too bad on the interview questions myself =)
My next book up for review is: Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi. I am planning on starting that book today. Willow Pond review will be posted on or before 6/19. The fun doesn’t stop there though. Coming up for review is Fayth Devlin’s Blood Lust, Shalini Boland’s Outside, Silvano William’s Spoon Fed Addiction, E.G. Gaddess’s Dhampyr Heritage, a book by Joanne Clancy (Haven’t decided which one yet), D.S. Hellen’s Chasing Evil’s Shadow, a stop at my blog by The Waiting for Daybreak Blog Tour (guest post), and much, much more. I hope everyone stops by often to check out these great authors!
Thanks for stopping by =)