Booking Through Thursday: Cover Story Part 2

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Booking Through Thursday asks a random question to bloggers each week.  This week’s question:

Are there any good books that you read IN SPITE OF the cover and ended up wondering what on earth the artist and publisher were thinking to pair up a cover that so badly represented a perfectly good book?

And … if you didn’t like the cover, what made you pick up the book? The author? Assigned reading from school? A recommendation from a friend?


I’m going to get blasted for this one, but I did NOT like the Harry Potter book covers.  I thought that they were cartoony and childish.  Despite all of my friends saying how awesome the books were, I waited until book 5 was released before I finally picked up the book.  I loved it.  I’ve read it probably 10 times since then.  I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction.  I played Harry Potter RPGs.  I took hundreds of sorting quizzes online – I’m a Slytherin by the way.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Seriously, I was so wrong on this one.

Tour Giveaway/Review: Bad Juju by Dina Rae

Bad Juju by Dina Rae

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Self-published

Bad Juju is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews available on Goodreads.  You can read my reviews of other books by Dina Rae:  Halo of the Damned and Be Paranoid Be Prepared.

Giveaway:  Ends November 4th.  International.  Click to enter using the rafflecopter.

  • 10 eBook copies of Bad Juju in MOBI/PDF
  • 2 $15 Amazon Gift-Cards + an eBook copy of Bad Juju.

Excerpt:

Jake rolled out of bed and army crawled to the doorway.  Looking through the opening that separated the door from the carpeting, he saw Leah’s head bloodied.  She lay limp on the floor.  Pete stopped hitting her.  His whole demeanor changed.  With a wolfish expression, he began to unbuckle his belt.  Rhianna’s screams got closer.  She must have darted to the other side of the living room, putting her smack-dab in front of Jake’s bedroom door.  He could now see her foot.  It partially blocked his view.  Shit!  Can’t get involved!  If I open the door…

“Pete, what the hell is a matter with you?  Stop it!  She’s passed out.  You beat her into a coma, man!  And now you’re gonna…Sober up and think of what you’re doing!  Right in front of your daughter!” T.J. yelled.

Is he suicidal?  Jake knew his uncle would make T.J. regret his words.  Like Leah, T.J. was small.  He was filled with faults, but violence was not one of them.  On perfect cue, Jake could hear his uncle’s bare fists hooking T.J. in the jawbone.  Rhianna’s screams turned into full-blown hysteria.  The poor girl was hyperventilating while desperately grasping Jake’s locked doorknob for refuge.  I don’t want to be involved!  Go back to your closet and lay still!

“Jakey, Jakey, pwwweeeze!” Rhianna sobbed.

Jake couldn’t take her suffering any longer.  Quickly unlocking the door, he grabbed the little girl and pulled her inside his room and then relocked the door.  The living room had grown eerily quiet.  Jake had a difficult time hearing while Rhianna wailed.  “It’s okay now.  Try to be quiet,” he whispered, straining to hear.  Nothing but silence was on the other side of his door.  His heart rate doubled.  Always quiet before the storm.  Was it over?  Or was I next?  He slid on his gym shoes, took a can of Comet cleaner from his bathroom, and crept up to the only window in the room.  It was small, but Jake knew he could fit through.

Then came the sound he was waiting for.  Click, click, click.  Pete was delicately trying to open the door.  He now knew it was locked.

Book Description:

Lucien Nazaire flees his Haitian homeland and meanders around the United States for decades.  He settles in a Wisconsin trailer park filled with elderly tenants.  He meets Jake, his teenage neighbor, and hires him for odd household jobs.  As their relationship progresses, Lucien invites the boy into the world of Voodoo.

Jake LaRue lives in foster care with his abusive uncle.  The Voodoo lessons give him a sense of power within an otherwise helpless situation.  Although the boy is a loner, he feels an instant connection with his classmate, Henry, and introduces him to Lucien.

Henry Novak has Asperger’s Syndrome.  He fixates on historical events, most recently the 2010 Haitian earthquake.  Like Jake, he becomes passionate about the dark side of Voodoo.  They learn how to cast spells on those they hate and lust, leading up to dire consequences.

Several months after the Haitian earthquake, Henry convinces his family to volunteer with their church in the island’s reconstruction.  Their mission turns into a nightmare when he mysteriously walks off of the campsite.

Bad Juju is a balance of horror, romance, and literary fiction intended for ages fifteen and up.   Research about the Voodoo religion, shapeshifting, zombies, and possession and themes of redemption and loneliness emerge throughout the plot.

Review:

Overview:  Dina Rae has a very unique writing style.  The book feels more like a screenplay than a novel in parts.  The dialogue is over-the-top dramatic at parts, but with the dark nature of stories such as Bad Juju, there’s a lot of reasons for the characters to be upset enough to validate the ample use of exclamation points.  The way the author switched from over-the-top psychological horror to back story and new character point of view was frustrating for the hardcore horror lover in me.  I wanted the gore and horror to never stop.  However, for readers who don’t read primarily horror novels, you will appreciate a change of scenery after reading some of the most disturbing parts of this novel.

The descriptions and scene setups are so well done that I forgot I was reading a book.  It felt like I was watching reality TV, although I doubt anyone would want to star in this novel.  Don’t get too attached to the characters as not all of them make it to the end.  Overall, I think Bad Juju will appeal to readers who like both psychological horror novels and dark stories without the gore (although I would still rate this book R for sex, nasty dead people, and violence).

Characters:  I liked how complex and colorful Jake’s family was.  There’s a couple of white trash stereotypes in the beginning but as the story progresses each character is really fleshed out and the stereotypes forgotten.  Although Henry’s family got nearly as much screen time, they weren’t as interesting and some of them fell flat.  I was surprised how much attention Britney and Rio had in the story – and even though they were minor characters, they felt unique and as far from the head cheerleader/jock personalities and stereotypes as you can get.

Plot:  The story hops around quite a bit, which didn’t bug me when I read Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae.  Since this book was more of a hardcore horror book, I felt like the scenes ended prematurely sometimes.  I wanted the creepiness and the gore to keep going and for the scare/creepy factor to be more consistent.  The twists in this book kept me guessing until the last few chapters.  Despite my disappointment in the horror, the story was so compelling and addictive to read.  Dina Rae definitely comes up with some creative dark tales.  I can say with certainty that I’ve never read a novel like this one.

Ending:  I have some mixed feelings about the ending.  I liked what Jake and Lucien were doing with the Voodoo, but I was really tired of Henry and his mother Jess.  I wished for many bad things to happen to the latter pair and not all those bad things came to pass.  I did like how Rio’s story ended.  That was a nice twist.

Grade:  C+

This is a very gritty horror novel.

I received a copy of this novel as part of the book blog tour in exchange for my honest review.

Excerpt:

“He’s done this before, hasn’t he?”

“Yes.  Lots of times.  But this is the worst time,” Jake cried.  Emotions suddenly overcame him.

“This is unforgivable.  The next time might be worse.  He needs to be stopped.  Police?”  Jake shook his head.  “Let me make you an ointment for your back.”

Lucien opened a drawer with endless containers of odd spices labeled in French.  He began to boil water.

“Lucien, why don’t you make a Voodoo doll?  Isn’t that what you do in Haiti when someone is making you mad?  We can make one of Jake’s uncle,” Henry suggested.

“Can you do that, Lucien?” Jake asked.

“I haven’t done that kind of thing since, oh, since I left Haiti.  And sometimes it doesn’t even work.  It’s such a small part of the Voodoo religion.  Some would call it Hoodoo.  These things take time, but we could try.  Although I’d feel more comfortable showing you how to make a healing ointment for scarred skin.  Revenge is one of the trickiest of the hexes.  It has a power of its own, making it easy to backfire.  Any more harm than what your uncle deserves might invite evil loas into your life.  And Henry, your parents might not approve of this.  Maybe it’s a bad idea.”

“Like I said earlier, I’m good at keeping secrets.”

“But from your parents?  I don’t know if that’s right.”

“He’s cool.  And like you said, this probably won’t even work.  It’s worth a try.  You’re cheering me up just talking about it,” Jake said.

“Then I’ll need a few personal items from your uncle.  Hair, Q-tips, trinkets, clothes, anything he personally uses,” Lucien instructed.  “I also need dirt.  Large Ziploc bags of dirt from the graveyard next door.  I think I can provide the rest.”

About the Author:

Dina Rae is a new author here to stay.  As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work.  Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots.  Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character.  Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago.  She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories.  She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs.  When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned The Last Degree | Halo of the Damned |

Promo: Dead Heat by Lisa Nowak

October 24th is a one-day PROMO bonanza for Dead Heat, the latest novel by YA author Lisa Nowak.  The characters might be familiar to fans of her previous books, but Dead Heat is described as a “gritty” and a “modern day ghost story” according to reviewers on Amazon…and way more edgy than her previous books.  The excerpt from here and on Amazon definitely seems interesting.  Dark enough for my liking.  😉  Check it out!  This one day tour was organized by Reading Addiction Blog Tours.

Dead Heat by Lisa Nowak

Genre:  YA Paranormal

Publisher:  Webfoot Publishing

You can purchase Dead Heat on ebook from Amazon, Smashwords, or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.

Book Description:

Alex is a machine whisperer. He can tell what’s wrong with a broken-down car with a touch. But his gift can’t save him from the brutality of his meth-addict father. For two years, Alex experienced kindness through Cole, his mentor. Now Cole’s dead, and the violence in Alex’s life is escalating.

When Cole reappears as a ghost, Alex clings to the tenuous link. Then he learns Cole might’ve sacrificed his chance to cross over. Jade, the first girl to look beyond Alex’s past, assures him Cole can reach the Other Side—if Alex escapes from his dad. But a previous terrifying attempt has convinced Alex it’s impossible. Unless he can find the courage to try, his friend may be earthbound forever.

Excerpt:

After Alex’s mentor Cole dies in a wreck at the speedway, Alex takes his truck and trailer to his wife, then goes back to the track, where his grief overcomes him and he collapses.

Chapter 2

For a long time, I lay on that wet asphalt, wishing I was dead. It’s like I’m not even here, like the hurt’s so big I disappear in it. Something soft brushes my shoulder, near the base of my neck. Pain knifes through me, and I choke on a sob. Then I feel that touch again. I lurch up off the track to look around. Nothing.

I’m soaked, numb clear through, but the chill don’t do a thing to dull the fire of losing Cole. That wells up so big and powerful, I can’t hold it back. I scream as loud as I can, till I’m still yelling, but no sound comes out.

I can’t do this. No way can I go back to how things were. Didn’t I do all I could to make sure nothing like this would happen? All them lies I told, why couldn’t they keep him safe?

I shove the wet hair from my eyes and go get my bike. I rip out of the parking lot hard and fast, daring the cops to come after me, hoping I skid under the wheels of some car.

I got no idea where I’m going, but I wind up at Ivan’s Automotive, the shop where I work. Soon as I pull into the lot, the answer comes. My bike might not’ve done me in, but I know something that will.

I find a piston in the scrap bin outside and use it to bust the glass in the back door. When I get in, I turn on the office light, but leave the rest of the place dark. Don’t want nobody calling the cops before I finish this.

I pick the ’89 Taurus ’cause emission standards aren’t so strict for a car that old. Once I got the keys, I grab one of the hoses we use to vent exhaust from the shop. I stick one end on the tail pipe and put the key in the ignition so I can roll the window down a little. I snake the other end through till it’s resting on the passenger side floorboards. There’s a big gap, so I find some towels and cram ’em in to stop it up.

When I crank the engine, I have one thought of Momma, but the pain’s so big and deep it chases even that away. I close my eyes. For a second, I wonder if I’ll see Cole, or if it’ll just be over, but either way it don’t matter.

There’s this whir, and all four windows start going down. What the hell? I jab the master control to raise ’em. The second I take my finger off, they head south again. Are you kidding me? Real quick, I roll ’em up, kill the engine, and get out of the car to pull the fuse. Whatever’s going on, them windows can’t work if they don’t have no juice.

I get back in and crank the starter. The engine revs for just a second before it dies. I try again. The car sputters and stalls. One more shot, and this time it won’t run for nothing. Pissed, I twist the key and don’t let go until the starter sucks every bit of life out of the battery.

“Son of a bitch!” I slam my fist against the wheel, beating it again and again. Finally, I got nothing left. A sob grabs my throat and I slump forward, pain crashing down in waves that want to drown me.

Then something touches my shoulder. I jump and swing around. This time I see him, right beside me.

Cole. Only not Cole—he’s sorta sunk down into the seat a little, and the fabric shows right through him.

The shock stops my breath. I stare at him and he stares back, sadder than I ever seen him. That look is so damn Cole it rips a hole in me. I got no doubt that if he could, he’d take every bit of my pain and carry it himself.

When he puts his hand out, I feel that feather touch again.

“I’m sorry, Ace,” he says, “but I can’t let you do this.”

About the Author:

In addition to being a YA author, Lisa Nowak is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are. She enjoys dark chocolate and stout beer and constantly works toward employing wei wu wei in her life, all the while realizing that the struggle itself is an oxymoron. Lisa has no spare time, but if she did she’d use it to tend to her expansive perennial garden, watch medical dramas, take long walks after dark, and teach her cats to play poker. For those of you who might be wondering, she is not, and has never been, a diaper-wearing astronaut. She lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband, four feline companions, and two giant sequoias.

Blog  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Subscribe to Lisa Nowak’s newsletter for updates about coming attractions:http://bit.ly/LisaNowakNewsletter

Book Review/Giveaway: Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Publisher:  Eternal Press

Genre:  Dark Paranormal

You can purchase Halo of the Damned on ebook or paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.  There is a separate giveaway for a paperback version of this book on Goodreads that you can enter from Oct 1-31st.  You can read my reviews of other books by Dina Rae:  Be Paranoid Be Prepared and Bad Juju.

Giveaway:

Click HERE to enter the giveaway for an ebook version of Halo of the Damned as well as a $10 gift card to Amazon.com.  Giveaway is opened internationally.  There will be one winner.

Review:

Overview:  Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing.  It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last.  The dialogue and writing feel over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye.  I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller.  I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes.  It’s dirty, but not gory.  A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare.

Characters:  Like in her other novels, there is a huge cast of characters with distinct personalities.  With such a large amount, there isn’t much character development for many of the characters, but they will leave you guessing from scene to scene.  Joanne is the star of the novel and she is both a recovering drug addict and an ex-con.  I like how her view of the world was more jaded than the typical heroine and how she didn’t fall madly in love instantly with the first male who showed interest in her.  There is a little bit of a love triangle, but honestly, one of the men was way out of his league in trying to get her.  The romance is very underplayed and the plot definitely hog most of the spotlight.  One person I couldn’t stand was Marie – as she in no way resembled a 6-year-old in her mannerisms  behaviors, or vocals.  I think her character would have been more convincing if she was at least 12 or 13.

Plot:  It could be viewed as a good or bad thing, but many of the scenes are revisited by different characters.  Scene A might be told in Joanne’s POV and end in a cliffhanger.  A chapter or two later, Marcus will pick up the same scene either explaining the events leading up to Scene A or the events that happened because of Scene A.  Halo of the Damned is definitely a non-linear story, but surprisingly the pacing of the novel is strong even when the information in the book is familiar to the reader.

Ending:  Thankfully this was not a cliffhanger.  I could see the potential for a series involving many of the characters, but even as a stand alone this book has a satisfying ending.  There’s a few twists that happen during the path of the book and I had a general idea of what would happen at the end – but there was no predictability to the actions of most of the characters.  Overall though, it was a good read.  A “light” read for those who like “dark” books.

Grade:  B+

This is great book for those who wants something different in the paranormal genre.

Book Description:

A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

About the Author:

Dina Rae is a new author here to stay.  As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work.  Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots.  Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character.  Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago.  She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories.  She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs.  When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned Halo of the Damned |

Spooktacular Giveaway: Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Check out this guest Post by author Dina Rae and then enter the giveaway to win a copy of Halo of the Damned and a $10 giftcard to Amazon.com.  The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm.  You can check out a full list of the participating blogs (OVER 400!!!)  by clicking HERE.  Giveaway is open internationally and winner has 48 hours to respond by email or a new one will be chosen.  You can read my full review of Halo of the Damned, which I rated a B+, or scroll down to the bottom of this post to read a mini review.

Click to enter the giveaway

ebook + giftcard = ONE LUCKY PERSON!


Halo of the Damned

Guest Post by Dina Rae

In my recent novel, Halo of the Damned, I used research about the ancient Yezidi religion (spellings vary).  The Yezidis originated from northern Iraq.  The religion spread throughout the Kurdish community, eventually making its way into Europe.

Yezidis worship angels, especially Malak Tawas (spellings vary).  The peacock symbolizes this angel who many believe to be Satan.  Malak’s story in the Koran matches the same stories in the Bible and Old Testament about a rebellious angel who wages war with a third of all of God’s angels against God and the remainder of angels in Heaven.  Once defeated, God sends all of them to Hell.  Yezidis believe God created Malak first, before all other angels, in His image, therefore he is also God.  They also believe the world was first created as a pearl.  Their holy books are Black Book and Book of Revelation.  Their afterlife ideas are vague, but lean towards reincarnation.  I found the religion fascinating and used it as part of the plot.

Book Description:  A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

Quick Review:  Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing.  It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last.  The dialogue and writing feels over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye.  I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller.  I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes.  It’s dirty, but not gory.  A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare.  (B+ rating)

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned Halo of the Damned |

Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Publisher:  HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray

Genre: Paranormal Romance

You can buy it on ebook or paperback Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.

Review:

Overview:  I’m a huge junkie on anything dealing with mythology – both fiction and non-fiction, so I had high expectations when I picked up Everneath from my local library.  And then when I started reading Everneath, I almost put it down.  After reading others’ rave reviews about this title, I was disappointed by the slow slow pace of the first part of the book.  There were so many unanswered questions.  There was a significant lack of descriptions or anything besides Nikki’s constant whining.  The non-linear storyline got on my nerves, as I just wanted to know WTF was going on.  And then when things were explained and the time ran out, I finally fell in love with Nikki.

Characters:  The best scenes were those that involved either Cole or Jack.  The scenes between Nikki and her family or best friend, Jules, were awkward and I wish that she’d stop complaining so much in her narrative.  At least when one of the guys were involved, you could feel the emotion building inside of her towards one or the other and you could completely understand why she made the decisions she did.  I don’t know if I would consider Jack/Cole/Nikki a love triangle, since Nikki really doesn’t like Cole.  Although…she does spend half the novel trying to escape from Cole (and into Jack’s arms) and the other half of the novel trying to escape from Jack (and into Cole’s arms).  My favorite character has to be Cole.  I like how he felt so un-human.  He doesn’t have emotions of his own and is forced to “feed” on others to survive.  He’s a monster but surprisingly an easy character to empathise with.

Plot:   The story is told from two point of time in Nikki’s life.  The current time, which counts down six months until she has to return to the Tunnels and a year ago, which counts down until the first time she went to Everneath.  There’s quite a bit of information that is purposely left out until the end of the story and the unanswered questions built up my frustration for the first half of the novel.  When Nikki discovers that there might be a loophole and it might be worth fighting to remain, the story really picked up (and the answers to my questions finally showed up).

Ending:  Until the last part of the novel and the entire story clicked into place, I was totally planning on this being a 2 or 3 star book.  The ending completely consumed me and I was so locked into the story that I immediately added the rest of the series to my wishlist after finishing Everneath.  Although this is a paranormal romance, the ending is very bittersweet and dark.  The “dark” part of this story reminds me of A Need So Beautiful in that the protagonist is battling against destiny to stay with her love one, even when hope is futile.  Thank you so much to the author for the chosen ending.  It was perfect.

Book Description:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned–to her old life, her family, her boyfriend–before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance–and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

“Everneath” is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

Rating:  B

A very dark retelling of the Persephone/Hades Greek myth.

I received a copy of this book from my local public library.

Neverfall (#1.,5) is set to release December 2012 and Everbound (#2) is set to release January 2013.

About the Author


(Picture and image borrowed from author’s website.)

Because of two parents who were Greek myth geeks, I grew up thinking the latest fashion trends were inspired by Aphrodite, and a good conversational opener was, “So, which mythological character do you most resemble?” Despite these social shortcomings, I found a great husband who’s always my first reader. We live in Utah with our two young boys, who still have no idea why I’m at the computer all the time.

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.


By Lizzy's Dark Fiction Posted in Default

5 Star Review: Pacing

So what is 5 star review?  Well, this is where, as a reviewer, I let you know what makes me rate your book 5 stars – or not.  This week’s topic: pacing

Please note that some things that turn me off to your book as a reader/reviewer turn others on and vice versa.


Pacing

Since we’re talking about good pacing this week, I promise that I won’t ramble on like I have with these topics before.  I’ve read quite a few books that suffer from a lack of good pacing.  I think one of the biggest amateur author mistakes is including too much non-relevant information.  There has to be a point to every scene.  Worse is when the pacing slows on the “boring” parts of the characters’ stories and speeds up when the “exciting” stuff happens.  It’s frustrating to read four or five pages about Mindy drinking her morning coffee and then two sentences about how she ran over a guy last summer.  Why couldn’t there be five pages about the hit and run instead?  Even as a flashback, it is much more entertaining than reading about someone eating or driving a car or sleeping.

So, what is the pace of a story?  It is how fast the plot advances in the story.  The plot advances much faster in action scenes than in narratives and the writing on the page should reflect this change.  Let’s start by focusing on this post.  The top section of the post is wordy and the text takes up the entire page from left to right.  It will take you, as the reader, double the amount of time to read these two paragraphs than to read the next two “sections”.

How to speed up the pace:

  1. – Shorter sentences
  2. – Less descriptions
  3. – More action
  4. – Back and forth dialogue.

How to slow down the pace:

  1. – Long, complex sentences
  2. – More descriptions
  3. – Minimal action
  4. – Monologues/narrative

Of course, there needs to be a balance.  Too much white on a page is just as tiring as too little.  I like a very fast pace “thriller” feel to the books I read.  In my mind, if the characters aren’t talking or the characters aren’t moving, then it’s not important.  Long narratives lose my interest quickly and so do long monologues, which tend to happen when the author is trying to “info-dump” through dialogue.  Other readers might enjoy the slower sections of the novel to relax their mind and “take a breather” so to speak.

Books that I thought had awesome pacing:

Books that I thought had problems with pacing

Reader:  Do you like fast paced books, leisurely paced books, or something in between?  Or does it depend on the genre?

Short Story Saturday #11

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!
Sorry about the late posting.  It’s been a crazy weekend. 

After the Darkness (Episode One) by SunHi Mistwalker

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre:  Dsytopian

This 27 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

Even in a world of never-ending winters and permanent darkness, fourteen-year-old Nadia Comani has everything she could ever want: power, privilege, a loving family and most importantly warmth. But her family’s refusal to compromise their values changes everything. Nadia is cast down from her pedestal of power onto the trash heap of the lower classes. No longer guaranteed a life of ease, Nadia faces a future of servitude. Branded as powerless and deviant, will Nadia muster the strength to save herself and what remains of her family?

This dystopian short short is descriptive to the point where the metaphors and imagery does slow the pacing of the story.  I would recommend that you read this story without distractions and truly let yourself be absorbed by the world the author paints with her images.  Not much is known about Nadia’s “normal” life in the beginning of the story, as she is abducted along with her sister within the first couple of pages.  The situation is bleak for Nadia and the people treat her more like a slave than a princess.  For someone who enjoys “darker” stories, I enjoyed the beginning chapters of Nadia’s tale.  I did notice one missing word from a sentence (72%)- but besides that both the formatting and grammar are good.  And as a warning, Episode One does end on a cliffhanger.

Note:  The cover was recently redesigned.  I think the new one looks awesome.

About the author:

Author of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. Mistwalker enjoys writing books about how societal collapse can change individuals and families. She specifically explores class, economics, environmentalism and state sponsored oppression within post-apocalyptic and dystopian futures.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Delay

I didn’t find out until yesterday that we’re showing the house all weekend.  So, today and possibly tomorrow there will be a post void.  Don’t be alarmed if Monday has an overload of posts.  I probably won’t have time to answer comments until Monday, but I will get back to each and every lovely person that leaves a comment.  🙂

Delayed:

Weekend meme posts for Short Story Saturday and 5 Star Reviews.

Upcoming:

I have two reviews planned Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady and Everneath by Brodi Ashton this week.

Tuesday – Halo Be Damned review and giveaway for the Spooktacular Hop.

Wednesday – Bad Juju tour stop with a review/giveaway.

Friday – Broken Aro guest post and giveaway.

Cover Reveal: Phoebe Pope and the Year of the Four by Nya Jade

Cover by PhatPuppy Art

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade

Publisher:  Dreamwell Publishing

Genre:  YA Fantasy

This book is expected to be released in Nov 2012.  You can find out more information on Goodreads.

Overall Thoughts:

I love how vibrant the colors on this cover are.  It truly is a piece of art and I would buy on the cover alone…that’s how much I love it.   Of course, I also have a soft spot for books with schools for “special” children, so that also makes this book worth tagging “to-be-read”.

Book Description:

The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . . 

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above. 

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth. 

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself–and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive. 

Giveaway:

Singer-songwriter Nya Jade is celebrating the upcoming release of her debut YA novel, Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four, with a Tiffany & Co. gift card giveaway!!

  • (2) $100 Gift Cards.
  • US only

Tiffany & Co. gift cards are redeemable at all Tiffany & Co. locations, as well as at tiffany.com.

 Click HERE to enter the giveaway.

About the Author

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