Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
Top set of links above are external links, second set are pages local to the blog.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Why Detroit? by Lisa Gillis - Blog Tour - A Sh!t Storm

Today I welcome Lisa Gillis to my blog to talk about her new book 'A Sh!t Storm'.

blogcover1

Why Detroit? 

by Lisa Gillis


I began A Shit Storm with one agenda in mind. Tristan would run away. But where to? As I lay awake in bed at night, instead of counting sheep, I considered the possible places this barely grown kid would go. I initially decided on Black Rock City, Nevada. 

If this place is familiar to you then, fist bump. If you’re googling now, you’ll find it’s a city in the desert, built and torn down in less than two weeks every year to stage Burning Man. I’d love to go on about this fascinating festival, but when Tristan made his road trip, somehow he ended up in Detroit. You see, characters too often have a mind of their own, and Tristan was particularly strong willed.

Why Detroit? Maybe because as a Texas boy wanting to leave behind everything he knew, moving from the Mexican border to the Canadian border would be as extreme physically, as the mental anguish he was already going through. 

Sunshine to snow. Safety to uncertainty. Wealth to poverty. The suburbs of Dallas and Detroit—for the most part—can’t be more different. There is also much symbolism between a city once dubbed ‘Paris of the United States’ now having to rebuild itself, and the kid who ‘has it all,’ wanting to reestablish himself.

The nuances of Detroit subtly weave their way into the story. There is mention of the historic home the band acquires. In reality, there are many homes, schools, and other places now vacant and falling to ruin in the city, and they are often bought for mere pennies on their original worth. When Sash tells Tristan the home was rewired and drywall repaired because the copper had been stripped and stolen—this is the least of what has happened to these vacant homes. Too often, these homes are trashed by vandals or are a burned shell of a structure because of vagrants looking to keep warm.

Speaking of staying warm… Weather often works its way into the setting. Our Texas boy isn’t accustomed to blizzard conditions or the layers of clothing required to avoid frostbite. When circumstances send him home, there’s the obstacle of a road trip through states of freezing temperatures and ice on the ground. 

Detroit may be a ghost town of the glory it once was.  And it may be a snowy tundra in the winter months. But in the music world, much talent originated in this city. , and as the E-Strings Set of Six Silver Strings continues, Splynter will emerge as one of those bands. 


About the Book

Title: A Shit Storm
Series: Six Silver Strings E String Set
Author: Lisa Gillis
Editor: Pedantic Punctuator
Page Count: 328 pages
Genre: New Adult - Rock Romance
Published: March 13, 2015


Goodreads A Shit Storm

A Shit Storm Buylink A Shit Storm Buylink A Shit Storm Buylink A Shit Storm teaser 1 A Shit Storm Buylink



Synopsis
Tristan Loren is the first to admit he’s lived a privileged life.

However, the top schools, the best games and phones and cars, the finest of whatever his heart desired has come with strangers yelling for his attention and camera flashes in his face.

His classmates have visions of college life in the fall following senior year, while his fantasy is a normal existence. Whatever normalcy is, he’s sure it’s not graduating with honors--and his virginity.

Aside from having a paranoid mom who has made it her mission to see that he’s never alone with a girl, he wants his first time to be with someone who doesn’t know him as Jack Storm-of-the-multi-platinum-Jackal Junior.

Chasing the vision of a woman and a world who doesn’t know of him takes him from the sunshiny suburbs of Dallas to the snowy streets of Detroit.

When he sees Sash in person, the girl he’s texted, phoned, and Skyped for the better part of a year, he’s drawn to her secret smile, and the tattooed half sleeves decorating her arms. Her fiery, fun personality and musical skills make her seem the soul mate he’s been seeking.

But Sash has her own secrets—secrets that make him wish he’d never met her. Falling for Sash and finding his own identity may cost him more than what’s in his wallet.

A Shit Storm can stand alone but for fans of Six Silver Strings Series, this novel includes scenes with characters from G-Strings and D-Strings with several appearances of Jack and Marissa Storm.


Teasers
A Shit Storm teaser 1 A Shit Storm teaser 1


Series
sexy and spoiled

Rock Star Reads

Check out the tour schedule here



Author
Author-Lisa-Gillis
Lisa Gillis lives in Texas among family and loves it all, from the beaches deserts to the sprawling metropolises. Her loyal, loving musician husband inspires her fictional men, and her beautiful-hearted son brings the light to her world.

Writing is her passion, and she strives to blend the perfect mixture of fantasy and reality into her books. While listening to music, the little voices in her head become the fascinating characters in her novels, and each series, including Silver Strings, is infused with her love of music, bands and concerts.

When she’s not writing or making her own music on her guitar or drums, she’s catering to her spoiled, hyper and lovable chocolate lab, Bailey.

A Shit Storm teaser 1 A Shit Storm teaser 1 A Shit Storm teaser 1


GiveAway
Good luck and happy winning!

Tour hosted by...
Happy-Geek-Media
Happy Geek Media (HGM)
Graphics courtesy of Author Lisa Gillis.

Monday, 23 March 2015

AtoZChallenge2015 - Theme Reveal - Fictional Deities and Demons


So last year I did vampires and I really enjoyed it, so this year I decided to keep going with the supernatural theme. This year I am going to do posts about

Fictional Deities and Demons

Some of the deities mentioned are from historical pantheons, but I will be talking about their roles in a fictional universe. I think it is fascinating how writers incorporate religion into their work and, in some cases, provide a whole background for religious icons in their stories.

With some of the supernatural entities I have chosen I picked them because I found them interesting when I read or watched where they came from. Others I have looked up and I just enjoyed what I found.

Each post will talk about the entity in question and, in some cases, there will be a small flash fiction inspired by that entity. Some days have two entities because I thought both were too interesting to pass up.


April
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
//////01 (A)02 (B)03 (C)04 (D)
//
//
//
Aslan, ArBelar, BarbasCthulhuDahak
0506 (E)07 (F)08 (G)09 (H)10 (I)11 (J)
EwyaLord FrithGozer the GozerianHerne the Hunter/ HathorIssa, Blind IoJareth, Jasmine
1213 (K)14 (L)15 (M)16 (N)17 (O)18 (P)
KrollLokiMuad'DibNiennaOnimar SynnPaladine
21920 (Q)21 (R)22 (S)23 (T)24 (U)25 (V)
QRaidenSutekhThorUmberleeVyres/ Vinz Clortho
2627 (W)28 (X)29 (Y)30 (Z)////
WxrtHltl-jwlpklzXoanonYaksha
Zuul
//
//

Thursday, 19 March 2015

I love this Chrome plugin - OneTab


I love this plugin for Chrome. OneTab is simply brilliant. Someone recommended it on Tumblr (sorry, can't remember who) and I decided to try it because when I do things in Photoshop sometimes I have to shut down my Chrome tabs or actions and other memory heavy functions run really slowly.

I used to do this as follows:
  1. Click to bookmark all my tabs
  2. Choose where to put these bookmarks
  3. create a new directory for them - hopefully with a sensible name
  4. Promptly forget where I bookmarked them.
And of course, half the time I would forget which set was which because I couldn't be arsed to figure out a useful name ;).

OneTab does this all for me. With one click on the OneTab icon in a window, all the tabs are saved as links on the OneTab tab. You can even name the different groups if there are a selection of links you want to keep for longer in a sensible manner.

This is per window, so if you have two or three windows like I do when I am working on different research, the tabs are saved as separate groups.

Then you can restore all the tabs at once if you want to, or a tab at a time. A tab group opens in a new window and a single tab opens as a new tab in your current window.

We all know Chrome will eat memory when it can - not as badly as IE, but it chomps away and doesn't give it back. It's brilliant for those moments when you realise you have 80 tabs open and Chrome is running just a tad slowly ;). On click and you can select which tabs to reopen and save the ones you don't really need now for later.

It also lets me reduce Chrome to one tab - duh, when I leave the computer so that if Ruby (one of my kitties) decides to prance on my keyboard it's less likely to do something silly ;).

It even had import and export functionality, so you can back up your URL groups if you are paranoid ;).

I love this plugin ... did I mention that yet, because I really do? :D

Review: Knights of Badassdom

Title: Knights of Badassdom
Cast:
Peter Dinklage ... Hung
Summer Glau ... Gwen
Brett Gipson ... Gunther
Ryan Kwanten ... Joe
Steve Zahn ... Eric
Margarita Levieva ... Beth
Jimmi Simpson ... Ronnie Kwok
Danny Pudi ... Lando

Summary:
Joe's girlfriend, Beth, just broke up with him and he gets dragged to a live-action role playing event by his housemates while in a drugged out, drunken stupor. When Eric, one of said housemates, accidentally conjures up a demon from hell the role playing suddenly turns out very real.

Okay, I admit it, I thought this was going to be terrible. Rob and I only turned it on because we had nothing else to watch and Peter Dinklage is in it. HOW WRONG we were - this film is AWESOME.

It's silly and it's corny and it's downright wrong in places, but it is also brilliant.

First thing it has going for it, is the message that it doesn't matter if you're male or female, tall or small, atheist or Jewish, walking or in a wheel chair - you still get to play. This is never thrown in the audience's face, but the cast is very diverse. Frankly there are three badass warriors and one of them is Peter Dinklage and another is Summer Glau, so, yay for diversity.

The plot is ridiculous and yet so entertaining. It also hold together within it's own rules. No gaping holes in this one.

The cast have their comic timing down brilliantly, but this isn't simply a comedy, at one point it's truly heartbreaking and the actors are superb.

The only thing that is not the greatest is the monster at the end. It's not CGI, it's prosthetics and animatronics and, well, it's not what I would call totally there. It'd good, but it's not Jupiter Ascending good, but that, I assume is the difference between a budget in the hundred of millions and whatever they had for this film ;).

The fight scenes are cool, whether they are with foam weapons or real ones and the stunt guys did a great job.

I have LARPed in my time and our games master was never as much of a prick as Ronnie (Jimmi Simpson), but the fun of the whole thing is definitely in the film.

I think the thing I liked most about this movie was I didn't see how it would end at all. That and the characters, who I really became fond of, even the ones who are assholes :).

This is not a deep film. It is not a literary classic, but it is wildly entertaining. Not a movie for kids though, mostly because of adult bad behaviour and some gore. I have purchased the blu-ray because Rob and I liked it so much.

Have you seen it? Have you LARPed?

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Truth About Bad Book Reviews by Rebecca Hamilton - Blog Tour - Come, the Dark

Today I welcome fellow author Rebecca Hamilton to my blog as part of her Come the Dark tour. She is talking about a subject very close to many authors' hearts: the bad review.

Come-the-dark
Enjoy Happy Geek Media's debut tour of Come, the Dark, Book 2, in the Forever Girl series.
The Truth About Bad Book Reviews
by Rebecca Hamilton

Warning: This will be one of my longest guest blogs ever. I have a lot to say on this issue.

Someone suggested I make a guest post on this topic, and I admit, I was ambivalent about doing so. Mostly because honesty won’t get you very far when it comes to this subject. However, I’m going to put it all out on the line. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The first thing you have to understand is that there are bad reviews, and there is trolling. Both can be upsetting, for different reasons, and by the same token, both are easy to shake off, for different reasons. Only one can ever be helpful to anyone, though. So to kick things off, let me explain the difference between the two.

TROLL REVIEWS
A troll review is NOT when someone doesn’t like a book and says so. A troll review is a review that meets any of the following requirements.

  1. The “reader” never actually read the book, and is posting the review just to be an ass. How do you know if someone is doing this? Well, I suppose sometimes authors might have their suspicions, but the easiest way is when they outright say, “I didn’t read this book.” Yes. It happens. 
  2. The “reviewer” makes things up. I don’t mean the review misinterpreted something. In my opinion, that’s still fair game; it’s my job as an author to be clear, and it’s also possible no matter how well I do, someone may still not follow along as easily as I would hope. When I say making things up, I mean blatantly. For example, saying they hated  the book because in Chapter 12 Big Foot came out of nowhere and ate frog legs and hit the character upside her head with a meat stick, and then the character turned purple and floated to the moon, got pecked by a bird, popped, and then died a deflated piece of plastic. It’s entirely possible they are mixing one book up with another, but I’ve seen some reviewers adamantly defend to other readers that they definitely have the right book.
  3. Claims of plagiarism where there are none. I have seen people go as far as to make up things that happen in BOTH books (the book they are reviewing and the book they are saying has been plagiarized) in order to make this claim, while in the same breath openly admitting they have a pre-existing issue with the author on a personal level. It’s not hard for anyone to see what is going on when that happens. Now, while I personally would not press charges for accusations like these, an author actually does have every right to do so. If you suspect plagiarism, I’m sure the plagiarized author would much prefer you report it. You can do so on Amazon by scrolling to the bottom of the book’s page and finding the Feedback box. There is a link there to report copyright violations. Do so.  


BAD REVIEWS
To be honest, I think a lot of people confuse negative reviews with bad reviews. A bad review would be unhelpful to other readers and the writer, but a negative review can still be helpful to both. Also, readers have the right to write bad (unhelpful) reviews all they want. Sometimes those reviews are positive (Yay! Book! 5 Stars! Yay!) and sometimes those reviews are negative (I hate this genre.)

So let’s look at the different kind of negative reviews.

The “They have a point” Negative Review.
These are my favorite. When someone makes a complaint about my book that I can say, “Touche. Fair point,” it makes the review a bit easier to swallow (because not all authors are like “yay, bad reviews, maybe less people will buy my book now and I can afford even less food for my kids my this month” but hey, maybe some are.) But at least in these cases, you can relate more easily to the reader’s feelings.

The “Grammar Issues” Negative Review.
This can be broken into two categories. The claim of poor grammar, with no examples, and the more critical review posting samples to illustrate their point. Some authors prefer the former, because it remains ambivalent if it’s even true. Other authors prefer the latter, because it gives them the chance to fix those errors moving forward, should they really exist, or will illustrate that the reviewer is the one confused about grammar, which helps give more context to the review. (I have seen where reviewers have said certain things should have been changed, but a copy of CMOS would have cleared up their confusion.)

Which group am I in? The latter. If I have errors in my writing, I would love to fix them. Also, as I have tested in the top 5% for Grammar and Language, so I end up obsessing wondering if what they thought was an error really even was an error. And here I am with no way to look it up, because they didn’t specify. This is not to say they should—as I said, some authors would hate it if they did! Some reviewers feel it would be disrespectful to do that. It’s not possible to make everyone happy (that does for readers and writers alike) So I completely respect the reader’s choice here. My preference is nothing more than me wanting to better myself if I’m wrong or gain some peace of mind if I’m not. I do my best to create a quality product, never rush a release, and always have multiple leading editors in the field comb through my work. Yes, errors still get through. And I fix them as soon as I learn about them. So for me, these particular critical reviews do sometimes serve to help me become a better writer, which makes them valuable. That said, it’s not a reader’s job to edit my work, and I would never expect them to. I just won’t complain if they do ;) and maybe next time I’ll even earn a more positive review for them—if they decide to give me a second chance!


The “They Didn’t Get It” Review
It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault when a reader doesn't "get" a book. I mean, by all means, authors should be concerned if the majority “don’t’ get it,” but a few reviewers here and there “missing something” are to be expected. Maybe you could have slowed it down and won them over, but then you may have lost someone else for slow pacing. Maybe you could have explained it a few more times, or in better detail, but then you may have lost someone else for “beating the reader over the head” or “over explaining.” Authors need to keep in mind that sometimes what would have gotten them a better review from Mr. or Mrs. One Star, may have turned Mr. or Mrs. Five Star’s review into a one star instead.

HOW AUTHORS HANDLE BAD REVIEWS
Some authors say they don’t read reviews. Whether or not they do, the world may never know. Some authors say they don’t care. We can’t know for sure. I’ll tell you what I do though (for all the flack I may catch for it). I go to my closest friends in private for reassurance. For the troll reviews, it’s more to muse over how anyone who read the book will smell something fishy from a mile away. For the “they have a point” reviews, it’s to brainstorms way to improve for the future. For the “grammar issues” reviews, it’s vent out all your paranoia over “what if I missed something” while looking at their own review for grammar mistakes for signs they may just not know what they are talking about. And for the “they didn’t get it” reviews, it’s to rehash all the things in your story that they clearly missed.

Now, I know I put myself on the line sharing this. It’s something many authors would not admit to even if they did do it. But reality is, we’re human. We worry. We care. We work hard. We want to improve. We worry some more. A quick vent to a friend helps us move on. We aren’t saying the review isn’t valid (except for the blatant troll reviews) and we aren’t saying the reviewer is wrong for their opinion (even if they DID miss something). We don’t have a personal opinion against the reviewer just like they don’t have a personal opinion against our book. We may, however, have thoughts about their review the way they do about our stories or characters. The whole reason an author vents to a friend is because of THEIR OWN ISSUES. Most especially, their own desire to improve. So if you think an author sucks, and you think they are wrong for venting to a friend about you saying so, consider this: They think you are valuable. They think your opinion, even if they aren’t sure they agree with it, is important. They want to improve. And if you think they suck, then you probably wish they would improve to (though you probably wish they had done so before publishing…). But on one thing, you and that author can agree: Maybe there is room to become better.

I’ll end on this. Who decides whose review is "right?" After all, some of the most popular books and pieces of writing are some of the most criticized as well. The answer is, you decide. You decide for yourself which reviews were right and which were wrong. So many times I have seen people say, "The other reviewers must be idiots," or "The people giving this five stars must be pompous teenage sh!theads," or "Anyone who said they liked this book is lying." My personal favorite, "All these positive reviews must be from family." Yes. All 500 of them, I’m sure. Big family. Must be Italian. In the end, not reader or author should undermine the opinions of others. What’s important is that people are reading and people are enjoying it. Even if they love that book you loathe.

Come, the Dark, Book 2 of the Forever Girl Series
Come, the Dark by:
Rebecca Hamilton
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
361 pages
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Rose desperately wants to escape the abuse of the father who impregnated her and the dark spirits that haunt her life. Being thrust from Georgia 1961 into the era of Salem’s infamous witch trials isn’t what she had in mind, and now her daughter is left hopelessly out of reach.
The only way to return to her daughter is by facing certain death to banish the dark spirits that plague Salem. If she doesn’t eliminate these dark spirits in time, they will destroy civilization and trap her in this strange new place, ages away from her daughter.
Even if she can complete the task in time to return home to save her daughter, there’s still one problem: she’s falling in love with a man who can’t return with her. Achieving her goals will force her to choose between the only man who has never betrayed her and a daughter she can’t quite remember but will never forget.
A heart-wrenching tale of a mother’s love for her daughter, this romantic paranormal fantasy underlines the depravity of both historical and modern society while capturing the essence of sacrifice and devotion.
TRIGGER WARNING: This book deals with the sensitive subject of sexual abuse. There is a thread in the Come, the Dark forum at the bottom of this page discussing the issue and how it is handled within the book.



FOLLOW THE TOUR SCHEDULE HERE



Author Rebecca Hamilton
Rebecca Hamilton is a USA Today Bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author who also dabbles in Horror and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren’t for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA and has been published internationally, in three languages.

WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads



Ready for the Come, the Dark Giveaway? Enter via the Giveaway Tools Form just below...
Good luck and happy winning!

Tour hosted by...
Happy Geek Media (HGM)


Playlist: Come, the Dark by Rebecca Hamilton on Grooveshark

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Great Terry Pratchett

So yesterday we lost yet another great man from geekdom. He was talented, brave in the face of adversity and an example to us all, with a wonderful sense of humour.

RIP Sir Terry - May you dance with DEATH and have a cracking good time.

With his iconic hat, beard and open smile he was such a well known face and his books and spirit will live on for generations to come.

I remember the first time I ever read one of his books and it's still my favourite: Pyramids. I know not many other people feel the same way, but I couldn't put it down and it was absolutely wonderful as I read page after page. His sense of humour was hilarious and very sophisticated in so many ways. I think I shall pull the book out soon and read it again and laugh some more at wine that gives you a hangover before you drink it and an assassin who ends up a deity.

My favourite character from his books has to be DEATH (and Binky). He's just awesome.

What is your favourite Pratchett novel and which is your favourite character?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Things Our Parents Told Us

So I was listening to the radio this morning as I considered getting out of bed (it's a radio alarm) and they were doing a segment on things parents told them as children. For example there was one guy whose dad told him that chilli con carne came from monsters that were hunted in the Scottish Highlands and when they were cut open chilli con carne came out.

This got me thinking. My dad tried this kind of thing with my sister and I and it only ever worked once :D.

We only ever had Coke if my dad had been to the pub (very rare) and brought us back a bottle or at birthday parties. It wasn't something that was never in the house otherwise. I can't remember if we had been asking for it or if my dear Papa just took on himself to be evil, but Soph and I must have been 5 or 6 when he tried to get one over on us.

His gambit was Coke is made from cold tea.


I know, not the world's greatest fib, but we were young and coke was a treat and this was like saying if you buried your sweets they would grow into a sweet tree (yes I tried that too, but I came up with that all by myself, I didn't need my father to try and convince me of that one) because there was always cold tea around in the bottom of the pot (no tea bags for us at that age - always loose leaf tea in a pot).

He had us so convinced that I remember actually trying some and I have to say, to a child, cold tea is utterly disgusting.

That was the first and last time we ever believed him at face value on something like that!

So, did you parents tell you things that you completely believed and then found out were heinous fibs? :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Looking for reviewers for new male/male erotic romance superhero novel

I'm looking for advance reviewers for my new novel Dreams and Reality.

The book is superhero sci-fi with a side of male/male erotic romance - actually at one point it's male/male/male (protagonist is actually bisexual, but pairing is male only).

I'm looking for honest reviews to go live on or around the 28th March 30th March (just realised 28th is Sat) when the book goes on sale and for the reviewers to post them to Amazon (most important :)), any other eBook sites they frequent, Goodreads if possible and wherever else they may wish to (e.g. blog, Tumblr, LJ etc). It's not a huge novel at just over 50K so shouldn't bog anyone down :).

If you are interested, please drop me a comment or get back to be at beren@dtwins.co.uk and I'll send you an advanced reader copy (ARC). The only thing I would ask is that in the review you state you received a free copy to review so that everything is above board. [Edit: forgot to mention, please LMK if you want mobi, ePub or PDF - thanks :)]

This is the second book in the Dark Reflections series, but you shouldn't need to have read #1 to get #2. I test all the books out on my husband who can barely remember he read the previous book let alone what happened from one book to the next to make sure :). However, if you do want a copy of "Me, Myself and I" - the first one, it's a freebie so can be downloaded from any of the major eBook sites: Amazon | Smashwords | Google Play | Nook | iBooks | Kobo.


Dreams and Reality by Natasha Duncan-Drake 
  Dreams and reality by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Tristan Havering believes all the crazy things he experienced in an alternative dimension, real-world version of the superhero saga ‘Power Up’ were a dream brought on by concussion; he’s about to find out how terrifyingly wrong he is. 

Four months after the steamy, narcissistic liaison he shared with Devon, the supervillain he plays in the movies, dangerous things begin spilling over into his world, and Tristan has no choice but to believe the impossible: superheroes and supervillains are real. 

His only hope is Devon, mercurial and unstable, once driven completely out of his mind by his own power, but will he help Tristan a second time? Tristan has no choice but to frantically reach out and return to Devon’s crazy reality or face insanity at the whim of a power he cannot hope to control.
~50.5K words

I've recorded the first scene for those who would like to listen to it.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Review- Divine Bloodlines by Christina Surretsky

Title: Divine Bloodlines
Author: Christina Surrestsky
Buylinks: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Summary (from Amazon):

Sixteen-year-old Zoey Chase is just your average teenage girl whose social life isn’t exactly what you would call “thriving.” But she has a secret ability that even those closest to her don’t know: Zoey can heal people by touching them. She discovered this power at a young age, but before she could ask her parents about it, her father died, and she was too late to help. How can she possibly tell her mother about her ability to heal when she didn’t save her father?
This is a good book. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys teenage romance with a side of the supernatural.

It could be a cliché from beginning to end, but the characters are so engaging and well written that the tropes are enjoyable and enticing. I am not a fan of Twilight for numerous reasons I will not go into, but, whereas I believe that series has tropes done wrong, I think this book has tropes done right.

Yes there is a love triangle, but it's not all teenage angst thrown everywhere and boys pouting until the girl notices them. Zoey, the lead character, has agency of her own; she makes the decisions. Sometimes she makes the wrong ones, but she makes them for herself and even comes to realise that some of the stuff she does is stupid.

Zoey is an interesting, well rounded character that I really liked. She has her problems and her strengths and sometimes she's just a teenager. Throughout the book she grows and changes as parts of the plot are revealed and she becomes more interesting, not less. I love the fact she's a sugar addict with a health nut for a mom :). There's one part with a dessert buffet that had me grinning from ear to ear.

Then we have the two important male characters. Asher, who is Adonis made flesh and a prime jerk and Levi who is dark and broody and a little bit dangerous. If that's all they were they would be 2D and rather uninteresting, but they have other sides to them as well.

Asher sets out to use Zoey for maths homework, but, then, for the first time in his life he is confronted with someone who doesn't just say yes to him and he is fascinated. He's shallow and vain and self-centred, but there is always the chance he might turn out not to be.

Then there is Levi, apparently angry at the world, but actually he's more scared of it and he has reason. He's a hulking guy who has dimples when he smiles, which perfectly illustrates the dichotomy of this character. It's possible he's a gentle giant, but it's also possible he's a young man with serious anger management issues who is very dangerous to those around him.

I also love the gay best friend. Alex sets himself up as a walking cliché so it's impossible not to like him. Then there is Nona, the grandmother with a dirty mind, the transvestite home help and so many more brilliantly frames background characters.

This book is primarily teenage romance, but it also has a paranormal element. Zoey has the power to heal and she soon suspects she's not the only one with supernatural abilities. We see her awakening to the idea she is not alone and the perils that come with not longer being the only holder of your own secret. The plot asks more questions than it answers, but the puzzles that are revealed in full are enough to be satisfying. There is an arc that is resolved, giving the book good form, but there are enough loose ends to make any reader ask 'so what's next'.

This is a good, easy, entertaining read for fans of the genre. Definitely worth a look.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Guest Blogger: Nathaniel Danes - The Last Hero

Today I am very pleased to welcome Nathaniel Danes to my blog to talk about his exciting sci-fi novel 'The Last Hero'.

~Pick up the book FREE on the 5th and 6th of March on Amazon.~


The Last Hero, I had to Write It 
by Nathaniel Danes

I never thought I'd write a book. Heck, for most of my life, getting beyond page three of any school writing project felt like a Herculean task. I think the difference between now and then, is my writing doesn't feel forced, like the story is there, I just need to get it out. Maybe that's the difference between writing what you want as opposed to what you have too.

Thinking about it now, it almost feels as if The Last Hero grew itself organically rather than having been written. My over active imagination, love for military history, science fiction addiction, blindness, failed military career, daughter, and more were filtered through my fingers onto the page. It's a nexus where several pieces of my life came together. Believe me, that sounds far easier than it was.

I've always used my imagination as an escape hatch from life. As far back as I can remember I'd bolt from mundane situations in my mind, transporting myself to excitement and adventure. I'm sure most kids do this, but for me, I've never stopped. Today, I do this as a coping mechanism. I'm loosing my sight to a genetic disorder, reason for my failed military career, and I find it relaxing to drift off into worlds where I don't have that limitation.

These fantasies were always content to live inside my head until I read The Forever War. That classic sparked something inside me. Science fiction has always been my preferred genre for TV and movies, but as far as books go, I used to only read military history. After stumbling upon The Forever War everything changed. I couldn't read enough military science fiction and those stories in my head started to become restless.

I also can't understate the importance of my daughter's birth in helping to shape the story in my first novel. There are a select few things I truly love in his world, my wife for one, so the feeling isn't foreign to me. However, I honestly wasn't prepared for the body blow of raw emotion, of pure unconditional love, I felt the second I held my baby girl for the first time. From then on, I couldn't imagine a universe that she wasn't a part of, where that incredible connection didn't exist. Her presence in my life enriched and brought depth to my fantasy worlds. She brought meaning and purpose to them.

Literally bursting at the seems, I had to get the stories out. So, I started to write and write, then I rewrote and rewrote. Before I knew it, a few years had pasted and I'd written four books. Finally, I decided to try and get one published. Fortunately, Solstice Publishing saw fit to give me a chance and agreed to release the The Last Hero.

If you read my book, I hope you enjoy if and can feel the passion that went into its creation. It will be the first of many, I don't have a choice, the stories have to come out.


The Last Hero by Nathaniel Dane

Contact with a race of pacifists convinces mankind to lay down its weapons and keep the peace. The last Medal of Honor recipient, Trent Maxwell, trades glory for the comforts of a family after the U.S. Army disbands. All that ends when an alien menace attacks the New Earth colony, which forces a crash mobilization. Trent finds himself reactivated and traveling through space to distant worlds, in order to stop this new enemy. During the century long journey of death, love, and loss, he also deals with the law of relativity that wreaks havoc with his daughter.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookgoodies

Excerpt

Trent knelt down where Anna could throw her arms around his neck. She pulled against him tight and started crying again. Tears rolled down his face as he whispered, "I love you more than you can understand. I'm sorry."

Her cries downed out his soft words.

After a minute, Trent summoned all of his strength to break free of her hold. Standing, he shared a look with Madison. She wrapped him in a loving, warm hug.

This time she did the whispering, "Remember what I told you. Make them pay."

He pulled away, nodding as he placed his hand on Anna's sobbing head.

"I'll see you both again someday. I promise." The words bound him to a promise he wasn't sure he could keep.

About the Author

Nathaniel Danes is a self-diagnosed sci-fi junkie and, according to his wife, has an over active imagination. Mostly blind, he writes to create universes where he has no limitations. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Washington, DC area.