Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden by Philippa Dowding | ARC Review

Another dose to my fun read craving..  To say the truth, if I had written this review just after reading this book, I would have give it 5 stars.  But, now...

Original Title: The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden
Author: Philippa Dowding
Publisher: Dundurn
Release Date: February 18th 2014 
Source: Review copy from publisher
Genre: Middle Grade

"This morning, I woke up on the ceiling ..."

So begins the strange story of Gwendolyn Golden. One perfectly ordinary day and for no explicable reason, she wakes up floating around her room like one of her little brother’s Batman balloons.

Puberty is weird enough. Everyone already thinks she’s an oddball with anger issues because her father vanished in a mysterious storm one night when she was six. Then there are the false rumours about her being a drug addict. On top of all that, now she’s a flying freak.

How can she tell her best friend, or her mother? How can she live her life? After Gwendolyn almost dies one night flying too high and too fast, help arrives from the most unexpected place. And stranger still? She’s not alone.


Gwendolyn can fly.  All of a sudden, she wakes up in the ceiling and she don't know how to face this. Is this normal when puberty hits?  She feels already weird in the school, and is confused when this new ability shows up.  Should she even tell this to her mother and her only best friend?

But, there were other people aware already about her abilities, although she has no idea how.  And she soon learns she is a Night Flyer and there are people out to help her and things that will destroy her as well, just like they did her dad.  Dealing with emotional problems of losing her dad and new found Flyer status, Gwendolyn is faced with situations, that she isn't ready to handle yet.

When I read the first few lines of the book, I couldn't pick another book.  It's what a good middle grade book can be.

The easiness of the plot and the characters pulled me right in.  The author could have done a better job at expanding the story though.

The inner voice of Gwen was hilarious and amusing to listen.  The Midnight Summer’s party was brought out well and I could just imagine the scene.  And the scenes where she is scared of her flying right in the middle of a class or during a friend's party made me laugh.  All these are the good parts.

The bad parts are that Gwen never seem to grow up.  Even at the end of the book, I still feel like she is a kid; but that's okay, I can wait if she grows in the next novel at least.  And the character development is not full.  So, the readers cannot get more involved with them.

The writing has some problems.  Considering this is the first book in the series, there could have been more explanations, instead of simple questions and answer format type manual.  I want to know more about the fantasy part.  It might have been exciting.

Gwendolyn is your regular kid, with anger management issues and problems with fitting in at school. Gwen hasn't grown much and don't act like a eighth grader; but come on, not all kids have the maturity to act right when a situation presents itself.  And losing her dad might have everything to do with that.

I liked all the characters including the sweet shop and Gwen's sister and brother, but there is not a complete development of the characters' world.  It makes it difficult for the readers to sustain them in memory.

Strengths: I liked it maybe because at recent times, I crave for more fun-filled easy reads than emotional ones.  And I suppose that is the main strength.

Weakness: The slow pace and the improper character development may bore some of the audience.

Final Verdict:
Gwen's adventures is not your Harry Potter or Percy Jackson style adventures; but more like her dealing with life and her Flyer abilities.  And if you like children's book, I will definitey recommend it to you.  Adults, who are not into children's books, may find problem in liking it as much as I did.  But, at least, you could read it to your kids. :)  I had a good time with a middle grade novel after a long time.

Note: There is one place where Gwen's crush tries to kiss her; but nothing happens.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The True Beauty of Book Covers

- Guest Post by Garry Rogers

I only recently began to question the old line, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.”  Having never really given the subject any thought, I always assumed that the sole purpose of a book cover was to attract buyers.  I thought of it as an advertising gimmick that served a commercial purpose and had nothing to do with the quality of the story.  I felt that plain covers might be more honest and desirable.

When I completed my first novel, “Corr Syl the Warrior,” my attitude changed.  I was concerned that since I had no reputation at all, there might be no readers.  I was confident that some readers would like the story, but I was suddenly concerned that those readers might never stumble upon the book.  I decided that I needed a snazzy cover.

The only thing I knew about eBook cover design was that the fonts had to be legible at thumbnail sizes.  Other than that, I assumed a book-cover designer would create something attractive that would appeal to potential buyers.  I checked a few websites for examples, and chose a designer that had made some science fiction covers.  I provided a one-paragraph book description and a few pictures, and sat back to see what she would produce.

The designer did a great job with what I gave her.  She proposed a few options, suggested colors and fonts, and ended up doing a beautiful job.  Along the way, I thought more about book covers and realized that I had missed an opportunity.  I began looking closely at the covers on the books on my shelves and I realized that book covers could play a significant role in telling a story.

With shapes, colors, and text, a cover could set a mood and it could illustrate important story elements.  An author could use the cover to foreshadow important events within the story.  I realized that the cover could also help define characters, give a real glimpse of a setting, and give clues to the story theme.

The first book I read to myself, “Tarzan the Terrible,” has gone through numerous printings since its publication in 1921.  And it has had at least 20 different covers.  The covers range from simple text to images that seem unrelated to the story, and to images that illustrate important scenes and the story theme.

As a child, I often wondered what the image on the cover was.  I imagined several possibilities, and finally settled on one.  I think it depicts a particular scene in the story.  I could be wrong.  If you think you know what the image is, add a comment to the post on my website.

Book covers can be more than mere advertising, or even works of art.  They can be beautiful, informative, and suggestive all at once.  A cover designer might achieve all that, but a designer working together with the book’s author is more likely to take full advantage of the opportunity the cover provides.  If the author can describe what the cover could show, a good designer can probably put it together.

So, can you tell a book by its cover?  YES, if the author takes the time to help with its composition.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre –  Science Fiction 
Rating – PG
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Friday, 26 July 2013

Feature & Follow #33: Where do my books go after I read them?

  • To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
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  • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
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If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Inspiration Behind "The Point of No Return"

- Guest Post by JD Combs
There were so many factors that caused me to write this book.  The most important factor is that I’m a hopeless romantic.  I’ll go on to tell you, I’m in my mid-forties.  It’s the time of life where, I think, many of us start to get smacked in the face by the infamous mid-life crisis.  I’ve been married for almost 20 years, that’s time enough to live through the ups and the downs of married life multiple times over.  While the up times are more than fantastic, the down times can truly suck the life out of each spouse.  In all the years I’ve been married, I’ve seen couples who I thought were infallible go down in flames, and I’ve seen marriages that I thought were doomed from the start learn to grow and thrive with each other.  So I started wondering why the happily ever after was doable for some but not for others, and in wondering about happily ever after I had to let my mind travel down the path of infidelity.  Some of this was beyond hard to write about, but my mind wouldn’t shut down and stop thinking about everything that goes into a marriage from both spouses.
Do you or don’t you?  That was the question I had to ask myself over and over as I wrote The Point of No Return.  Do you cross the line and head into infidelity or do you stay true to your spouse?  Can there truly be a happily ever after or is that just a made up fallacy?  These were two other questions I had to ask myself repeatedly as I wrote my book.  Neither question was good or fun to answer, but in looking around at real life I had to accept the fact that both deserved to be answered.
Facebook and social media make the ability to cheat so much easier.  Who would know if you carried on a little something on the side?  How easy would it be to fall into a flirtation when life in your marriage is not so good?  I’d venture to guess, it would be fairly easy.  I’ve heard the stories of some of my friends who have something extra on the side.  I’ve interviewed people who have carried on affairs for years.  I’ve seen the devastation of a family due to multiple lovers on the side.  Holly The Home-wrecker came to life in many instances.  So, for me, this book was my way of showing the seedy side of life on the other side of fidelity.
My desire for a happily ever after of my own made it hard for me to write some of the scenes in the middle, but my wish for a fairy tale ending made writing the whole book a true necessity.  I hope that makes sense to you.  I so desperately want everyone to have the fairy tale ending I think most of us want.  I thought maybe if I wrote about the down side of marriage and infidelity, it would be easier to appreciate the up side when we have it.  I wish you all the happily ever after of your dreams.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre –  Romantic Suspense
Rating – R (adult language / sexual scenes)
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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Why Winning Awards Helps Author Recognition

- Guest Post by Brian Francis Heffron

Awards help convince readers that you have in fact created something of value that they will enjoy. It shows that other readers valued your work. In June, Colorado Mandala was elected Book of the Month in the first competition of its kind on This accolade has helped spread the word about my book and given readers confidence to purchase it to enjoy for themselves.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG
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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Review: My Epic Fairy Tale Fail by Anna Staniszewski

I am not sure whether you know this..but recently, I am craving for fun, light reads.  It's like seeing some middle grade novel and I feel like I see a chocolate.  I NEED to have it, no matter what, especially if it's some fun read.  This novel sounded right up my alley.

Original Title: My Epic Fairy Tale Fail
Series: My Very UnFairy Tale Life #2
Author: Anna Staniszewski
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: March 1st 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Genre: Fairy tales, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Fairy tales do come true. Unfortunately.

Jenny the Adventurer is back, and this time she's off to the Land of Tales: the crazy place that all fairy tales come from. If she can defeat an evil witch and complete three impossible tasks--all without getting eaten by blood-thirsty monsters--Jenny might finally get some answers about what happened to her parents.

This is one adventure Jenny can't afford to fail.


Jenny is an adventurer.  She has been one, since her parents disappeared seven years before.  She is going to solve a problem, again.  This time, it was in "Land of Tales", where Jenny's parents had last seen.  The Council is sending her to solve a problem: an evil witch sucking all of the magic in "Land of Tales" and if Jenny doesn't complete the three impossible tasks set by the evil witch within three days, the magic will completely be lost.  And so will be Jenny's parents. 

The characters were so relatable; Trish and Melissa's (Jenny's besties) made me laugh at a lot of places.  Those two were contantly thinking the more dangerous the events are, the more cooler it is.  I can totally understand it.  Being a fan of fantasy, that is how my brain works too. ;)  Anthony, Jenny's gnome guide, who will anything for a candy, is adorable.  And I love the "Sleeping Beauty" part in it; the author has some cool imagination.

Yeah, I didn't read the previous novel, but I have absolutely no problem in understanding this one.  Actually it was pretty cute and simple.  Have you read "Fairy-Tale Detectives" from The Sisters Grimm series?  If you loved that, you will definitely love this one.  And actually, I liked that this novel has more of a brighter approach..literally.  I felt like I was out in the sun (told you it was bright) with Jenny and seeing her adventures (this is usual to all readers, as far as I know, but I can feel the environment part only in very few novels).  This novel made me happy and satisfied and I cannot ask for more.

Perfect for kids! And adults who just love to have a fun read!

Waiting for more!


0.5.  Jenny’s First Adventure - Read for FREE at Goodreads
1.  My Very UnFairy Tale Life - Amazon | Goodreads
2.  My Epic Fairy Tale Fail - Amazon | Goodreads
3.  My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending - Amazon | Goodreads | My review

What Makes A Hero?

- Guest Post by Merry Farmer

Open the pages of any given romance novel these days and what will you find?  You’ll find a strong, devilishly handsome rake with a good heart.  He might have a past, he’ll certainly have an attitude, but above all he’ll have the best intentions at heart.  At least by the end of the story.

When I set out to write Our Little Secrets, I had a very different sort of hero in mind.  Michael West is not devilishly handsome.  He’s not particularly strong either.  He’s a shopkeeper with a past.  And he wears glasses.  But one thing he is, is smart.  Maybe even a little too smart for his own good.  He’s smart enough to pull himself out of the massive hole he digs for himself where his heroine, Charlie, is concerned.

I’ve always been attracted to the smart guys.  Muscle is okay if put to good use, but if you really want to melt my chocolate, give me a smart man any day.  Smart men might not be the first to jump into the fight, but they’re definitely going to come out of it in one piece.  Brawn might be able to turn a woman’s head and sweep her off her feet, but brain will build a home for her and figure out how to get her out of scrapes.  Best of all, a smart man knows enough to accept a woman for who she is, even if who she is makes him wince from time to time.

Michael West has his hands full when he agrees to marry Charlie almost as soon as she sets foot in Cold Springs, Montana.  Contrary to all of the fabulous stories of mail-order brides and quickie frontier marriages, it was highly unusual in Montana of the 1890s for a man to marry a woman he didn’t know.  Especially when he has secrets he wants to keep.  But what makes Michael a hero is his quick wit and his ability to recognize a good thing when it stumbles into his life.

Well, almost.  Some would argue that the things Michael does in Our Little Secrets are exactly the opposite of what a hero should do.  Does he stand up for his heroine when the chips are down?  Does he rush to the defense of his friends when they are attacked?  Does he face trouble head-on or does he have a little too much scotch and make a really bad decision.  How can a man who would slip be considered a hero?

Easily.  Heroism doesn’t come from always doing the right thing any time there’s a choice to be made.  It doesn’t come from strength or force or sheer potent masculinity.  It comes from learning to listen to your heart.  It comes from letting go of pride and admitting your mistakes.  It comes from making the right choice after a string of wrong choices.  It comes from the ability to change for the better.

So is Michael West a hero?  You better believe it!

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Western Historical Romance
Rating – R
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Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (INTERNATIONAL) Giveaway!!!

Kindle Summer This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".
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Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors

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1 winner will receive their choice of a

Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire.

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*** This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Stories within Stories: Stories Told by the Protagonist

- Guest Post by Garry Rogers 

The protagonist in a novel often imagines or recalls events that are not part of the main story.  Nesting small stories within a story is a common literary device sometimes referred to as mise en abyme.  An article in Wikipedia discusses the many types of nested stories.  Here I am referring to stories narrated by a protagonist and nested well with a main story.

Nesting self-contained stories within a larger narrative is probably as old a technique as story telling itself.  The storyteller often draws the story from a remembered experience, but sometimes tells a fictional story heard or invented.  A nested story may make up the bulk of a chapter; it can even stand alone, seemingly unrelated to the main story.  Steinbeck uses the latter in his depiction of the two boys in Chapter 26 in Cannery Row.

Some books are composed entirely of stand-alone stories framed by a unifying plot.  Canterbury Tales and One Thousand and One Nights are examples.  Collections of children’s stories such as Winnie the Pooh are similar, but repeating characters, not the plot unite them.  One of my projects is a collection of children’s stories united by a single character whose excesses of ego and poor judgment, creates circumstances that form the plot for each story.

Nested stories serve many purposes.  Steinbeck used them to give insights to his theme.  The stories can also show character motivations and they can reveal details of history and background for the main story.  Thus, they can support the reality of the main story.

Here is an example of a nested story told by the protagonist in the novel Corr Syl the Warrior.  It is contained within a chapter, and it is obvious fiction.  It serves to elaborate on the background of the protagonist’s culture and his occupation, and it foreshadows a tragic scene involving the protagonist and a childhood friend.


Corr lifted his weapons harness from its peg on the wall and began appraising his current story stream.  With friends, Corr listened for the right moment to tell a story.  One stream of thought usually worked on a new story or revised an old one.  He filed stories away and waited for a chance to try them on friends.  His considered how he would segue into his latest story the next time he saw Rhya.

The story idea came from a picture.  Once, Corr’s mother took a framed picture down from the wall and stood it before the two-year old rabbit.  The frame held a rubbing made from an etching of a long-eared rabbit with a great bushy tail.  As Corr looked, he raised his hands and felt his much smaller ears.

“This warrior rabbit lived long ago,” said Corr’s mother.  “The large ears probably helped him hear and keep cool.  No one knows for sure why he had such a large tail.”

A geologist had found the etching sandwiched between layers of sedimentary rock.  Corr’s parents gave him the picture when he completed warrior training.

In Corr’s new story, a warrior struggled to kill Ankalagon, a deadly predator whose fossils occurred in the same layers of sedimentary rocks as the etching.

Paleontologists often found a sharp gouge on the dens, a small bony projection in Ankalagon’s neck.  The dens extended from the rim of the second cervical vertebra up into the ring of the atlas, the first vertebra at the base of Ankalagon’s skull.  The dens served as an anchor for ligaments that held the skull in place and kept it from twisting too far.  A heavy bony extension of the atlas protected the dens and the precious spinal cord beneath.

The picture had given Corr the idea for the story’s theme:  Behavior could outlive shape.  Corr decided to make the main character female like Rhya; the District’s only other rabbit warrior.


By Corr Syl

A beautiful [too obvious] young battle rabbit, long ears clamped against her slender neck, gorgeous magnificent warrior’s tail tight against her body, lay hidden among the small branches and leaves of a tree limb over a trail.  The rabbit intended to drop onto the back of the predator Ankalagon and kill it with her sword.  Ankalagon had recently invaded the region and had begun preying on the rabbit’s friends and family.  More of the predators kept coming.  Powerful and smart, the beast had avoided every trap, and had beaten every attack.  Rabbits and other species began to consider emigration.  Follow this link if you want to finish the story.

The brilliant rabbit had studied Ankalagon for months.  She knew when and where the beast slept, drank, and hunted.  She knew how it ran, walked, and rested.  She knew how it killed and how it defended itself.  She had even found and studied a skeleton.  But nothing suggested a new offensive tactic.  One morning while thinking about going to help plan the emigration, the rabbit watched Ankalagon stretch its head down to drink from the river;  the beast’s posture gave her an idea.  The rabbit ran to the thicket where the skeleton lay and began arranging the bones.

The next morning the rabbit waited beside the path that one of the predators often used to go down to a spring at the edge of the dry river.  She checked her weapons and took deep breaths of the cool air filled with sweet scents of budding flowers.  At last the beast came trotting down the trail.  The rabbit stepped out, yelped, and ran.  Ankalagon snorted and pursued.  Racing ahead, the rabbit sprang into an old willow beside the river, threw herself out on a branch over the trail, and held her breath.

Lying there, the tiny warrior had a bloody vision of the huge beast biting her in half.  Her mind filled with uncertainty.  Ankalagon passed beneath.  She couldn’t move.  Almost too late, the rabbit pushed herself up and leapt onto the creature’s back.  Ankalagon stopped.  The rabbit scrambled forward, grabbed an oily fold of skin at the base of the neck, and let her free arm and her tail whip about to absorb the momentum of the beast’s violent shake.

The shaking stopped abruptly and the rabbit snapped her tail back, leapt forward, and clamped her legs around Ankalagon’s neck.  The irritated beast shook again, arched its head down, and reached up to claw the rabbit off.  As the beast’s neck reached its greatest downward arch, the rabbit drove her short sword through the narrow gap that opened between the first and second cervical vertebrae.  The plunging sword’s point snapped off the dens, and sliced downward into Ankalagon’s spinal cord.

The rabbit jumped clear as Ankalagon roared and staggered to its knees.  Gaining her feet, the rabbit lunged in and drove her long sword between two upper ribs, piercing the beast’s heart.

The warrior taught others the technique and led a campaign to eradicate Ankalagon.  She became famous, inspiring art and legend.  Her technique entered warrior lore and persisted long after ears became small and tails disappeared.


Corr smiled, thinking: Maybe Rhya likes historical fiction.  She probably knows about Ankalagon, the dens mystery, and the technique.  Corr’s teacher said no one knew who invented the technique, so why couldn’t it have been the long-eared rabbit with the great bushy tail?

 Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre –  Science Fiction 
Rating – PG
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Friday, 12 July 2013

Review & Giveaway: Dead Living by Glenn Bullion

Living Dead is one of those books I wish to be a series.  But it seems like a stand alone.. :(

Original Title: Dead Living 
Author: Glenn Bullion
Publisher: Permuted Press
Release Date: January 7th 2013
Source: From Xpresso book tours
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Buy: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

It didn’t take long for the world to die. And it didn’t take long, either, for the dead to rise.

Born on the day everything ended, a world filled with the walking dead is the only one that Aaron knows. Kept in seclusion, his family teaches  him the basics. How to read and write. How to survive.

Then Aaron makes a shocking discovery. The undead, who desire nothing but flesh, ignore him. It’s as if he’s invisible to them.

The survivors of the old suburb of Lexington call a high school their home. They live day to day, without any of the luxuries mankind used to enjoy. Samantha is a product of the new world. Alone, cold, looking out only for herself. She and the other residents of Lexington feel their hope dwindling. They need change. They need someone who can face the corpses. They need someone who can live in a city of the dead.

They need Aaron.


All of a sudden, people doesn't stay dead.  When they die, they come back.  They crave flesh of living humans.  And once they bite, the living become one of them too.  In between all these zombies, there are some survivors.  Aaron is one of them.  The exciting and scary thing is the dead leave him alone.  While he keeps this to himself and just survives, he saves Sam from the zombies and brings her to his place.  Learning that Sam lives with a small community of people, he goes there and starts his life again.  But, what is waiting to him back in Lexington High with Sam?  How is he going to get revenge for his family's death?

This novel took me by surprise.  I just loved the way the author has told the story.  It started right at the time of the crisis and before the hero was even born.  The birth of Aaron and his relationship with his family are refreshing in a tale full of horror.  Aaron is gentle, optimistic and an excellent leader.  He was brought out as one of those characters who you can't relate, because of his great characters, but would look up and feel some hope.  Sam is a survivor from the start.  So, she is the girl I can completely understand.  She is who she is - all selfish and alone, because of her world.  You can't be social in a society, where everyone dies any day and turn into something more sinister.

The revenge part, the surviving part, the hope part, the romance part (even if it is very small part) and the tragic parts are all amazing.  The writing is not the best, but the plot covers those negatives.

I loved the making of plot and characters so much that I just want to give this book full 5 stars.


I wish there were more information.  This novel is all about what happens when dead arise again.  But, world can't become something like that all of a sudden.  There must be some root cause for all this.  Why the author doesn't even touch that part makes me disappointed somewhat.  Because I would love to know those things.

Still, this is a great book, for anyone who wishes for a zombie/horror novel.  Highly recommended!

Note: I love this cover.  It is the perfect remainder of Aaron and the world he lives in.


The author is giving away 3 copies of Dead Living [winner's choice of Print (US/Can) or eBook (INTL)]

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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Review: Morning Star (Equinox #1) by Desiree Finkbeiner

"Morning Star" is another novel on my currently-reading list for a long long time.  But you know, this time I am not the only reason.  When the author was kind enough to send me the audio copy of this book, I started listening to it immediately.  But, you know, my hubby lost my precious earphones and then my mom and mother-in-law started taking matters out of control, I lost touch with books..well, almost.  Now that everything is back to normal or as normal as it can be, let me start with the review.

Original Title: Morning Star
Series: Equinox #1
Author: Desiree Finkbeiner
Publisher: Hydra Publications
Release Date: March 28th 2012
Source: Audio book from publisher and author
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young adult

When a mysterious stranger interrupts Brianna’s mundane routine, her eyes are opened to the dark underbelly of reality… immortal rogues, ancient conspiracies, prophetic revelations, savage tribes, mammoth dragonflies…

She’s thrust into a race for her life when Kalen, a warrior from Ethos, discovers that she is harboring a secret… a secret that he’d give his life to protect.

There’s just one little problem… they are tempted by a forbidden romance, which threatens to compromise a divinely appointed mission. They are faced with a choice… love eternal, or the end of the world…


Brianna is your typical teen, going to college and having fun with her friends and family.  But, all of a sudden, huge dragonflies are following her and then there was a small accident, which she gets magically healed so soon.  Then she meets Kalen.

Kalen is a warrior from another place, Ethos, who comes in search of something so important to his world.  But his searches lead him to Brianna.  Although he starts liking Brianna, due to his promises, he can't love her.  So, what is going to happen to this supernatural couple?  Did Kalen save Brianna from whatever enemies he have?  Did Kalen get what he is searching for?

First of all, this story is something different.  Huge magical dragonflies; cute hero controlling those dragonflies to track the enemies; innocent girl caught stuck in some age old war; bad people chasing our boy and girl; the fairy tale couple tries to 'not' love each other - well, everything is good.  I know when I put like this, it sounds simple, but believe me, this story is something I have not read before.  The world building is great and so is the character building.  I absolutely enjoyed the overall plot of the novel.

And the audio quality was good as well.  Jessica did an excellent job in bringing the characters' voices and emotions.  My audio rating for this novel is 4 out of 5.

So, what not to like?  The story is dragging at many places during the first half of the novel.  I lost interest at those places, but just kept going.  Of course, it became better..but those places can make some of the readers make it as DNF read.

Some suggestions: The cover could be changed; I, for one, pick up books mainly based on the cover, and I don't fully approve of this.  Actually, I have mixed feelings about this time I like it, and the next I don't.  Then the dragging parts in the novel could be cut down; because I don't want to lose the excitement of the story to be lost during those parts.

However, even with some of its faults, I enjoyed the novel, and as I usually say, that's what matters in reading.

Would love to read the next installment to know more!

3.5 STARS!


1.  Morning Star - Amazon | Goodreads | Audible
2.  Ethos - Amazon | Goodreads 

10 Tips for Researching Your Novel

- Guest Post by Lisa Regan

1.  Google your little heart out.  I’m always shocked by what I can find from an obscure Google search.  Not only can you find tons of documents, blogs and other websites teeming with information; but Google maps is invaluable for getting a street view of your setting.

2.  Read memoirs.  If your main character is a neurosurgeon, read memoirs by neurosurgeons.  If they’re a police officer, read memoirs by police officers.  I find these give you great nuggets of information you wouldn’t get otherwise.

3. Find people who know about your subject and interview them.  You’d be surprised just how many people are willing to answer tons of your inane questions.  I’ve interviewed many police officers and detectives over the years to try to get a better grasp of what their lives and work are like.
4.  Follow the local news.  If your story is set in a place other than the city or town where you live, use the internet to follow their local news for a few months.  See what kinds of stories the local news stations or newspapers are covering.  Pay attention to what the weather is during the year.

5.  Read textbooks.  If you’re writing about something that you aren’t really familiar with, get the textbooks that professionals in that field actually use.  For example, I needed to do an interrogation scene in my third book so in addition to talking to real live investigators, I bought a used textbook on interrogation techniques.  It was extremely helpful.

6.  Take a trip.  If at all possible, go to the place where your story is set and take in all the sights.  Of course this is not always feasible financially or otherwise which is where Google maps comes in handy.  But if you can go there, you should do it.

7.  Take your writer to work day.  If it’s possible to shadow someone for the day, do it.  Police departments will often offer ride alongs.  Some 911 call centers will allow lengthy tours.  Obviously this is not always possible but if you’ve got a character who does something that is mostly foreign to you, and you have an opportunity to shadow them for all or part of a work day, you should go for it.

8.  Peruse You Tube.  Seriously.  Use this for setting or any number of things you’re looking for. There are videos for just about everything you can imagine.  If you have a character with a tic disorder, you can watch videos of tics on You Tube.  You can even find parts of documentaries there.  Or people taking a ride through a particular neighborhood.

9.  Find a beta reader in the same field as your main character and/or who lives in the place where your story is set.  They’ll be able to straighten out any small inconsistencies and possibly help you add some authenticity.

10.  Take a class.  Is your main character a chef?  Do they sew or make pottery?  Are they a yoga instructor or salsa dancer? Take a class in that subject if one is available.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Psychological Thriller / Crime Fiction
Rating – R
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Lisa Regan on Facebook & Twitter

Mini-reviews of two awesome books: "Lover At Last" And "The Darkest Minds"

Due to time constraints and piling up review copies, I thought I would post some reviews short.  Because these are the books, which already has many reviews for you to choose from in Goodreads and Amazon.


Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #11
Author: J.R. Ward
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Release Date: March 26th 2013
Source: Own
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another....

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions... but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together... finally become one.


At recent times, BDB series has lost its shine to me.  I didn't even try to read BDB #9 and #10.  And then I want to see how Qhuinn and Blay ends up and had gone and bought it.  Well, I am so happy that I am not disappointed and I remembered how all this BDB craze started.  It's all the love for and between the boys that made me stick on to them so much.

This installment is just so good and it has sub-plots that I don't understand (well, I skipped two books, what do I expect..) in the beginning.  But towards the middle, I am so into the story and was so looking forward to the story of the BDB boys than the other new teams.

Another must-read from Ms.Ward!

Next one is about Wrath..and I am not going to miss it for the world.


Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 18th 2012
Source: Own
Genre: Dystopia

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.


If you search for reviews about this book, almost all the reviews will contains words like "dark" and "beautiful".  And this book is exactly those things and more!

Although this book was highly hyped about, I started this book with less expectations.  Oh my god, this book is awe-tastic.  This is how a book must be written.  It did perfect justice to its genre.  I kept moving through the pages fast and steady.  The characters and plot are just great.  I liked everything about the book.

Though I was expecting this ending, it is still heartbreaking..

MUST READ and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  But, if you want some light read or fun book, please don't pick this up.

Now to you awesome readers, I know many of you would have already read this.  If so, how do you feel about them?  And if you haven't read, do you wish to pick them up?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A new coupon site for Books: Cuponation

So, you guys will be familiar with many coupon sites, which gives offers to leading onsite shopping sites like Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, etc.  And if you are familiar with this new site, check out yourself..

It gives many coupons related to books and I thought I might share it with you.

Let me know whether this site works for you and whether this recommendation has done you any good.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Feature & Follow #32: Favorite book with a war in it!

  • To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee and Alison Can Read}
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  • Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers.
If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

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