Friday, July 27, 2012

Spotlight: The Turbatus Bones (Bone of Evil), Author Interview, and Giveaway

Author Jack Speight was kind enough to send this to me for a review. It looks really good and I'm so excited to read it! However, since I won't be able to start reading it right away, he and I thought it would be fun to post a spotlight and interview before the review appears on this blog. So check out the description for this book and then check back later to hear my personal thoughts on it. Also, there will be a comment-by-comment interview with Mr. Speight at the end of this post, so make sure to follow his responses and feel free to ask a question of your own. 

And the best part - there's a giveaway for a personalized copy of this book! Perhaps the winner and I can share our thoughts on the book :) Internationals welcome.

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot to post the book excerpt from The Turbatus Bones (Bone of Evil)!! Sorry I failed and forgot to post this the first time around. Anyway, check out this awesome, action-packed excerpt from the Jack Speight's new book below the Goodreads Description.

Get set, Go!

Goodreads Description: 
There are four Turbatus Bones: HEALING, LIGHT, FORTUNE, and EVIL. Together, they give the power to travel through space and time. Apart, they can heal, reveal, destine, or doom anyone foolish enough to pick them up. And they are currently scattered across the fierce and fantastical realm of Tarkan.

When young orphan Jackson Walker discovers it is in his power to reunite the bones and find his parents, the quest begins. What Jackson doesn't anticipate is that the bones desperately want to be found by seemingly anyone except himself. When one of the bones falls into the hands of the cruelest man in all of Tarkan, the tyrant Mal, it will take all of Jackson's courage and cunning to retrieve it.

Luckily for Jackson, he is far from alone in his quest. His world is filled with quirky characters: Seven the oversized dog, Radio Flyer the undersized dragon, Jinda the distinctly disfigured herbalist, and the feisty and gorgeous serving-girl, Claire. All of whom are caught, with Jackson, in the perfect realm for fantasy - a world quaking with the turbulence of war, romance, and magic. Written as the first installment of the Turbatus Bones series, The Bone of Evil is ultimately as much about adventure as it is about finding a place in this world (or the next).

Here's an Excerpt from the book:
“Pull back! Pull back!”  He commanded.  He whistled the retreat signal. 

The men near the house either didn’t hear him or ignored him.
“Klest, Rinson, Trawl get back here now!” Rang yelled.  This time, Klest turned his head and looked up. Klest’s eyes went wide and a small breath escaped his lips.  The old man had driven the white stick right through Klest’s chest.  So quick had been the attack that Rang had barely seen the old man move. Before Rang could react, the stick had been removed from Klest’s chest.  As the soldier fell off his horse, the old man swung the stick and broke the front legs of Rinson’s horse.  The horse stumbled forward, putting Rinson in a vulnerable position. The old man swung again and severed Rinson’s head.  Trawl’s horse recognized the danger now and turned to run, but the old man was quick enough to level the white stick against the horse’s back legs. With a sickening thwack the legs were gone and the horse fell backward on its backside, pinning a screaming Trawl underneath. The old man jumped over and as quick as a lightning bolt he plunged the white stick into Trawl’s mouth, silencing him forever.
The old man looked up at Rang and smiled. He then leaped gazelle-like toward the back of the house.
Before Rang could warn the men out front, they had also broken rank and come running through the back door of the house.  Seventh Wold stormed out with sword raised and impaled himself on the white stick.  The old man pulled the stick out and Wold fell forward, so too did Eighth Fehyer and Sixth Farthin.
“My God,” whispered Rang.  The old man had impaled three men at the same time.  The old man then turned and began sprinting at him.  Rang’s head felt swampy again and his body hung limp.  He had never felt so helpless and terrified.  He watched as the old man approached and slowed down.  He was walking now, as he came up to Rang.  Commander Rang, winner of many battles for his homeland; a hero many times over, couldn’t even lift his hands in defense.  Then he saw something which didn’t make sense.  An arrow had pierced the old man’s stomach and then another in his chest.  The old man stopped and grabbed the arrow poking from his chest.  He looked up at Rang and rasped, “Thank you,” before a third arrow came through his right eye.  As the old man pitched forward and died, he dropped the stick.  Before the white weapon hit the ground, Rang’s head cleared and he came to his senses.  
Find this book on Goodreads - Amazon - BN - Smashwords

About the Author - Jack Speight lives on an island of the coast of Maine with his beautifully clumsy wife, two unexpectedly carefree daughters, an old arthritic dog, and an intermittently leaky roof. 

Now, welcome to the stage Mr. Jack Speight! This interview will take place in the comment section so please return to hear Speight's response to my questions. Also, feel free to ask one of your own. Let's keep this interesting :)

Here ya go Jack Speight, my first question: The Turbatus Bones is a pretty unique title. Where exactly did this originate; What inspired the Turbatus Bones?

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Showcase Sunday

Showcase Sunday #1

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Books Biscuits and Tea.
"Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to higlight our newest books or book related swag to see what everyone else has recieved for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information on how this feature works and how to join in click here."

So, this is my first time participating in this, but I had so much I wanted to share and it happens to be Sunday!

From the Library:

* Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
* Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London


*Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (read by Kim Mai Guest) 
*Revived by Cat Patrick (read by Tara Sands)

Books received for review: 
*I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie
Matched #1
published by Scholastic, 2010
366 pages
I received this book by volunteering at a Scholastic book fair

Goodreads Description:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no else has dared to follow.

My Review:

I picked this book up a few months ago, but was wary to read it because of the mixed reviews I had been reading. Of course, my curiosity wouldn’t allow me to let this one sit on my bookshelf, and I’m glad for it.

Condie’s writing style made for a very easy read. I seriously breezed through this book. The sentences were often short and direct. At first, this bothered me, but I think the writing was appropriate for the setting of the novel, in which everything is controlled and predictable. Speaking of controlled and predictable let me talk about the plot of this novel a second. Yes, the life of Cassia Reyes was quite predictable. Even the big shock that Cassia discovers, really didn’t surprise me. And for that, I would not say this book had a driving plot. Actually, as far as plot goes, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. It’s just too dull.

Now, I could probably go on for a while on all the dullness of this book, but well, that would be just as dull. Let’s just say that Cassia is completely unrelatable, and that her little love triangle is pointless and frustrating. Cassia, who is supposed to be our rebellious teenager, is too terrified to even cause trouble. Sure, she does little things (like kissing a boy who is not her Match) when she thinks no one is looking, but big deal. When it finally comes time for her to do something drastic, like leave her Borough and search for her true love, Condie places conveniences in her path, so Cassia can disappear without a fuss. I found this most disturbing since Cassia’s favorite poem, her little artifact of the old world, states “Do not go gentle.” Except, that’s exactly what Cassia does. Someone please explain this to me because I really thought our heroine would put up more of a fight.

However, despite all of my issues with the characters and plot of this novel, there is something that made me really glad I read this book. Condie’s novel is driven by thought. There are many abstract ideas that I just loved thinking about in new ways. Condie toys with the ideas freedom, rebellion, and creation. The greatest thing that changed Cassia (and myself in reading it) was the idea of freedom, and the knowledge that man’s greatest freedom is the freedom to create. Isn’t that beautiful? I know these aren’t exactly new ideas, but I’d say Ally Condie is one smart cookie. At least, Matched engaged my philosophy side, which, trust me, doesn’t engage in too much. Seriously, philosophy can make my head spin. I think this is a challenge for all YA authors, to express ideas beyond the story. Condie would have nailed this too had her story been, well, better.

Lastly, Condie wrote something that spoke right to me. On page 236 (if you wanted to look it up) Condie wrote, 
“Ky pauses for a moment before he answers, his eyes wide and deep like the oceans in other tales or like the sky in his own. “Even if he didn’t live his story, enough of us have lived lives just like it. So it’s true anyway” (spoken by Ky after Cassia asks if the story of Sisyphus is true).  
Ky couldn't have said it better. This is the reason I read stories at all, and I suspect that is true for most of you too. No matter if a book is a work of fiction, I'll cry at the sad part and laugh at the funny parts because, to me, it's always real. (Why do you read?

I give Matched a three out of five foxes. The plot was slow and dull and the characters really didn’t have any spark. It lacked action and the romance could have been spiced up. Condie’s writing style was attractive and even very beautiful at times. Also, the ideas behind the writing were capturing and thought-provoking.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dark Light Review and Giveaway

Dark Light
Edited By Carl Hose
518 pages
Published by MARLvision Publishing
Received through Innovative Online Book Tours
Find Carl Hose on Twitter --His Website -- Facebook -- Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon or BN 


Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for something good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every day of the year.

Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.

Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.

Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show

Here are a few images of Carl Hose and his family. They are very grateful to the Ronald McDonald House for the charity that was offered them while Ireland was in the Hospital. -- 
Carl Hose's daughter Ireland
The Hose family
My Review:
First, I'd like to say that I am honored to be a part of this tour. It is so great to see all of these wonderful authors come together to support something great like the Ronald McDonald House; it is truly inspiring. If you would like to read the full introduction by Carl Hose, please go here.

Now for my thoughts; Carl Hose certainly did a wonderful job putting together this compilation of stories. I'm a huge fan of horror, but have recently been reading novels of other genres. I was so excited to start reading a horror story again, and Dark Light certainly revamped my enthusiasm for all things Horror. Being a collection of short stories, Dark Light was perfect pick for me these past few weeks because of how busy I've been. It felt so good to finish an entire story before leaving for work or any time of day really. This collection of short stories can be read in bits or you could, like me, sit down and just read multiple stories at once. Chances are, if you read one story, you will want to read another, and then another, and so on. I loved that I could read one story and then the next without losing interest in the book as a whole.

Each story honors the horror genre and spooked me in one way or another. All sorts of fantastic and horrifying creatures roam these pages; from ghosts to misunderstood vampires to crazed men and beasts, Dark Light never quits delivering the good stuff. Also, since these are all short stories, the plot is fast-paced and your heartbeat will soon match! As soon as one horror ends, another begins. I recommend you read this one in the daylight. But on that note, I do recommend that you read it. Not only because your purchase would support a great cause, but this is put together by some very fine authors that deliver some of the best horror I've read.

My favorite stories include:
Harbinger by Carl Hose
After the Fall by Paul Fry
The Bride of Frankenstein Dances with Celebrity by C. Hugh
Animals by Kody Boye
Cut by Alex Bledsoe

This anthology is worth five foxes. It was written with heart, for a beautiful cause. And, it was a great read, one which I will be sharing with my fellow horror-lovers.

 Check out this cool book tour video!

Now, enter to win a Kindle!!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman

Review: The Other Side of the Island
by Allegra Goodman
Published by Razorbill, 2008
278 pages

Goodreads Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Allegra Goodman comes a post apocalyptic novel about love, loss, and the power of human choice.

Honor and her parents have been reassigned to lie on the island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life is peaceful there, the color of the sky is regulated by Earth Mother, a corporation that controls New Weather, and it almost never rains. Everyone fits into their rightful and predictable place...

Except Honor. She doesn't fit in, but then she meets Helix, a boy with a big heart and a keep sense for the world around them. Slowly, Honor and Helix begin to uncover a terrible truth about life on the island: Sooner or later, those who are unpredictable disappear.. and they don't ever come back. 

My Review:
I spotted this book on my bookshelf, and was washed in the nostalgia of reading this story. I received the book as an arc book many years ago. That was before the blog, so naturally I wanted to share a review with my readers today.

I haven’t read a lot of dystopian novels at this point in my life, but I do love them. The Other Side of the Island has only increased my intrigue in this genre. What I loved about this novel is the idea of Mother Earth being something dangerous. The idea of Mother Earth is, at least to me, a comforting one. Mother Earth is supposed to protect her people, but in The Other Side of the Island this beautiful ideal is corrupted by propaganda and distrust. The irony of a motherly figure collecting the chaos of a ruined world together only to become the persecutor of the new world is both disturbing and thought provoking. I think this aspect of the novel is what makes me want to return to it for another read. Also, in the years since I’ve read this, I have become more aware of the global concerns that threaten the world. I wish I had been more conscious of this in my first reading as I may have related to the terror of the dystopia better.

As for the main character, I really loved Honor. Referring back to a previous review I’d written for this novel (I’d share it with you, but it mostly just summarizes the novel) I was inspired by her fight against conformity. Honor was a good heroine, and I think that, even though she was a girl heroine, this book is appropriate for both boys and girls. Honor is relatable in her defiance of tyranny despite her young age. In fact, I would say this is a good read for all ages.

My only concern with the novel were Honor’s parents, I believe they could have done better at protecting their daughter, instead of drawing so much bad attention to themselves that they were taken away. I don’t know how to describe it; they just seemed, I don’t know, a bit remote. Again, it’s been a couple of years since I read this novel, so I’m not going to pretend like I could analyze its plot and characters without a fresher read. That said, the novel is still quite fresh in my mind; it was a good story, which has stuck with me. You know, like all the good ones do.

I give this a four out of five foxes for a thoughtful and well-crafted setting and for Honor, a great heroine for all ages. Despite a few character concerns such as the parents whom, I thought, were a bit reckless, The Other Side of the Island is a fascinating read.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Desperately Wanting Wednesday

Desperatly Wanting Wednesday, hosted by Parajunkee's View

This week's DWW...
"I put them on my TBR when I read about them, I might even request them and then maybe I don’t get them. Or I don’t manage to buy them…and then suddenly they’ve released and another hot book shows up and these books are forgotten. But, really — I shouldn’t have passed them up."

Goodreads Description (in case you didn't already know):

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line forcing them all to send on boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger siste, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katness has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I know, I know... you're probably thinking that I'm crazy for not having read this yet, but after all the hype about it, I guess I just didn't want to read something which I already knew the end to. I was all for it when I first heard of it, but now, years later, I've just put it off for so long that I feel like I've already read the book based from all the talk about it. I actually did get a free boxed set of the series by volunteering at a book fair, but, we'll see. As much as I'd still love to read it, I'm a bit nervous all the hype will have ruined it for me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getting Foxy

Notice anything different? 

Well, I got a new blog background and blogger button designed for me by the wonderful Jude of In Between Designs. She's a pretty awesome gal, so check out her website here! She's worked really hard on it, so feel free to admire the work. I'm still working on a few minor things myself before my blog is right where I want it to be, but I'm so excited for this new foxy design. I just had to share it with you!

Thanks Jude! You get Five out of Five Foxes:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Zahn's Review #2: NERDS- The Cheerleaders of Doom

Title: NERDS: The Cheerleaders of Doom (Book 3) 
Series: NERDS
Author: Michael Buckley
Publisher: Amulet Books
Zahn’s Book Review #2

Goodreads Summary:

 Matilda “Wheezer” Choi, the asthmatic who can fly and kick butt courtesy of her nanobyte-enhanced inhalers, loves pro wrestling and hates anything “girlie.” Maybe that’s because she grew up with six brothers—or maybe it’s because her home life has become a battle zone in the conflict between her parents. Unfortunately for Wheezer, when a former member of NERDS turned villain gets extensive plastic surgery in order to become a cheerleader, Matilda must swallow her pride to successfully infiltrate the squad. The newest supervillain, Gerdie Baker, assisted by the criminal mastermind Simon, has created a device that opens portals to other worlds, which she and the other cheerleaders have been pillaging. But the alternate realities are starting to get awfully close together, so it’s up to Wheezer and the NERDS to stop the cheerleaders before the worlds collide.

What I liked about this book is that it had action in it and a multiverse fantasy, of which I like. There were many creative dimensions and how they worked in this book.

What I disliked about this book is that it was confusing in the beginning, but that is very common in books. I did catch up with it though.

My summary: a former NERDS (a secret agency) is building a device that travels trough dimensions, and it is pulling the universes apart. Its up to the NERDS to stop it. But Mathlete has changed her look and gone to a cheerleading camp. Can tomboy Matilda find and stop her before our world falls apart? And Heathcliff plans on using Mathlete’s brain to take over the world! Can they make sure he doesn’t succeed?

I rate this book 3 out of 4 foxes


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