July 23, 2017

Edward Aubry: "Static Mayhem" (ARC Review)

Title: Static Mayhem [on Amazon: the link will be up on July 25 (right now there's only the original version of Static Mayhem on there) | on Goodreads]
Series: Mayhem Wave (2nd of 5 books)
Author: Edward Aubry [Facebook | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Year: 2017
Age: 14+ (note: Book 1 was marketed as a YA/NA crossover. This one sounds more adult to me - especially because it lacks Dorothy's POV - but like the first installment, I would say that it covers all the spectrum from teen to adult).
Stars: 4/5
Pros: As in Book 1, quirky and audacious blend of post-apocalypse, technology and magic. Characters who are easy to empathise with.
Cons: The blend I mentioned might not work for everyone - and it's even more audacious here than in the first installment. Some of the many twists may sound confusing. A relationship from Book 1 threatens to take a strange and unsettling turn.
WARNING! There's talk of sex and a few F-bombs.
Will appeal to: Those who are looking for a fresh approach to post-apocalypse.

Blurb: A year after the world was thrown into magical chaos, Harrison Cody takes part in an expedition to learn the cause. What his team finds is an unfathomable enemy, who intends to finish what was started and wipe out every remaining survivor. Harrison is the key to stopping it, but doing so will come with an unbelievable sacrifice, one he might not be willing to make. (Goodreads)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I have been talking to the author on a few occasions since reviewing his previous titles, Unhappenings and Prelude to Mayhem - which I also rated 4 stars. Moreover, I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased.
Note: an earlier version of Static Mayhem was released back in 2010. If you are curious about the whole story (which is also inspiring for every struggling writer out there who despairs of ever being published), you can read my interview with the author.

RAISING THE STAKES

The first installment in this series, Prelude to Mayhem, was a quirky post-apocalyptic novel full of unknown, often ghastly dangers lurking around, but I can see now that the title was indeed appropriate - that was only the start of a nightmare. In your typical post-catastrophe scenario, the main focus (often the only one) is survival and the rebuilding of a new world, while trying to make sense of the shift and adjusting (or not) to its rules (or lack thereof). In Static Mayhem, our characters not only explore a broken and upside-down world, but try to find a way to save what's left of it AND even to bring back what they can (if the can) of the old reality. All in an environment where magic and technology are mutually exclusive, except for a single instance. It's imaginative, though it probably requires more suspension of disbelief than your average fantasy or sci-fi novel, precisely because the two worlds are coexistent - if opposite - here. I'm usually not a great fan of fantasy creatures, but for some reason, Glimmer - the last pixie - and even a couple of famous mythical creatures whose names I won't spoil seem at home in this series. I think it's seeing them through Harrison's eyes that makes all the difference - he's sympathetic, warm-hearted and open-minded...among other good things 😉. [...]

June 18, 2017

How to Be an Absolutely Unreliable Blogger: Lesson No.1

Oh, dear me, where did MY time go. I SO need a TARDIS.


My latest adventure in blogging is dated May 26th. Let me do the math...um...ah...it's been MORE THAN 3 FRIGGIN' WEEKS *cowers*.

May 26, 2017

B.C. Johnson: "Deadgirl: Goneward" (ARC Review)

Title: Deadgirl: Goneward [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Deadgirl (3rd of 4 books)
Author: B.C. Johnson [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary
Year: 2017
Age: 14+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Imaginative plot. Strong mix of adventure and paranormal occurrences with focus on friendship. Characters manage to feel realistic in the middle of mayhem, and will warm your heart.
Cons: Very dark in places (though temperated with funny dialogue/inner monologue). Some chapters (especially the first ones) might sound confusing due to time and perspective shift.
WARNING! Horror and heartbreak around the corner. Some language.
Will appeal to: Those who enjoy a mix of laughters and tears, action and strong feelings. Those who like brave teens who don't pose as heroes.

Blurb: Lucy Day and her friends (mostly) survived last year's encounter with serial killers, a teenage sorcerer, new romance, and drama class. But - as usual for Team Deadgirl - the horror never ends, there's more monsters to slay, and magic is the worst. A roadtrip for answers leads to new questions, strange allies, and the wrath of an ancient undead girl named Imogen Dane. What strange locales will they discover? Will they all make it back home? (Amazon excerpt)

Review:  First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. And the author being B.C. Johnson, you all know I've been campaigning for his first Deadgirl book with all my might since 2012, when the original version came out. Also, B.C. Johnson and me have stayed in touch, if sporadically, for the whole time. I'm not what you would call a friend of his though, only a fan of his work. And an unbiased one. As usual, this review is the love child of my penchant for quirky, uniquely worded books and B.C. Johnson's ability to deliver them. Also, please note: my reviews are usually rather straightforward, though I always do my best to refrain from spoilers. But this one will probably be my vaguest review ever, because there's so much I can't discuss without uncovering relevant plot points. Here goes...

SURPRISE FEAST

This series always manages to surprise me. Building strongly on the mythology established since Book 1, every installment will bring you to a different place nevertheless, where the only common denominator are strong emotions and an ever tighter ensemble cast. Lucy may be the star of this story, but her friends are given more and more screentime, not to mention weight. Deadgirl: Goneward is the first book in the series to feature a double POV (which I found thoroughly enjoyable, though sometimes a little confusing), and the first one where the relationship between Lucy and her closest friend is explored to its fullest. B.C. Johnson has proven himself more than once, when it comes to capturing the shades of his female characters and creating a solid palette. This book is no exception, and still makes you see Lucy and Morgan in a new, enhanced light. In the meantime, tension never lets up, and unexpected events (of the dangerous kind) heap on one another, while Team Deadgirl's quest for answers about Lucy's nature leads the readers in places they didn't anticipate. And with a few unexpected allies... [...]

May 20, 2017

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #5 B.C. Johnson, A.S. King, Dawn Kurtagich


Intro


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I had never though I'd done minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted with some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps :). Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long review - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, or in case I want to draw attention to some old ones I've already reviewed, I might as well give you the short version ;). Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random! So, here goes...

April 23, 2017

I Wish I Were More Productive, but Beta-Reading Is Hard Work

Hi, you by-default wonderful people!
("By default" because anyone who stops by my blog and takes the time to read has to be nothing short of wonderful, of course 😉).
Life is busy as usual at the mo, but I've just added a couple of lovely chores to my list...I've been asked to beta read-again for Erin Callahan (her first solo work The Art of Escaping, which I'm proud to have perused in one of its early stages, is hitting the shelves next year!) and her buddy author Troy H. Gardner (the two of them penned the Mad World series, which hopefully will return with the last 3 installments soon!).

This is not Erin. Or Troy. They are actually very patient. But above all, I'm not a bearded guy

April 16, 2017

Michelle E. Reed: "Life After Dez" / "Missing in Atman" (Joint Review)

Title: Life After Dez [on Amazon | on Goodreads] / Missing in Atman [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Atman City (1st & 2nd of 3 books)
Author: Michelle E. Reed [Twitter | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife
Year: 2013-2014
Age: 12+
Stars: 2.5/5
Pros: Fresh spin on the afterlife trope. Teen POC adopted by white parents and in an interracial relationship. A side character gets an imaginative, interesting story.
Cons: The lead has a pattern of repeating the same mistakes and is cut a lot of slack regardless. Also, in Book 2, love triangle rears its head...
Will appeal to: Those who love stubborn heroines, romance and adventures in an afterlife context.

Blurb for Life After Dez: Bleeding to death on the side of a rural highway turns out to be the easiest part of Dez Donnelly’s unexpected Saturday. Swept away to Atman Station, the crossroads of the afterlife, Dez discovers her unprepared soul is trapped between worlds in a limbo existence where she’s given two choices: join the program or face the consequences. Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff orchestrating a complex program designed to help transitional souls accept death and move on. To make matters worse, the beautiful and enticing Atman City - a stunning but dangerous metropolis that borders the outer boundaries of the station - is strictly off-limits to underage souls. Dez has to choose: go along to get along, or fight for the future she believed in. (Amazon excerpt)

Blurb for Missing in Atman: Dez is finally hitting her afterlife stride. She hasn’t missed a meeting or session in forty-two days, and she’s put the adventures and danger of her first days at Atman behind her. Life after death is becoming tolerable, yet nothing is quite what she’d hoped. In a missed encounter with Crosby, her prying gaze lands upon a single entry in the datebook on his unoccupied desk. These few, hastily scribbled words reveal an enormous secret he’s keeping from her. Possessed by a painful sense of betrayal, she once again sneaks off to Atman City, determined to find answers to an unresolved piece of her life. It begins as all their adventures do, but a stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood sets forth a chaotic series of events. Dez will have to fight for her very existence, and will face painful, irreparable loss in an afterlife teeming with demons wielding ancient powers. (Amazon excerpt) 

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I received these books from the author after approaching her on Twitter with a couple of questions about Book 3 and the series re-release (Reed put forth the new edition of Book 1 & 2 by herself, and is working on the final installment in the trilogy). She volunteered to send me Life After Dez and Missing in Atman in exchange for an honest review. That didn't affect my opinion and rating in any way. Please note: as a rule, I review all books in a series separately - except in particular instances. Since I got these two together, and most of what I had to say applied to both, I made an exception here. I hope it doesn't inconvenience you in any way.

April 12, 2017

Cover Reveal (+ Blurb): "Deadgirl: Goneward" by B.C. Johnson

Welcome to a very special cover + blurb reveal...

Big tease, I know ;)

You know, as a rule, I don't do reveals. Well, I don't do mass reveals, or reveals for books that I'm not interested in. But this is one of my favourite series ever, so it gets the spotlight, and for free too. Heck, I would even pay for doing it myself. Or maybe not really...but you get the idea 😉.
I believe you heard me raving about Deadgirl and Deadgirl: Ghostlight once or twice. (Oh, but in case you are from another planet or simply new to my blog, don't worry...I'll recap 😀). The one below is the third installment in the Deadgirl four-book series, titled Deadgirl: Goneward. It involves four friends, a road trip and a lot of paranormal mischief. Because you know, main character = dead girl. PHANTOM girl - which is different from ghost girl, in case you're wondering. Lucy Day is something you have never seen in YA. You'd better take my word - I'm the expert in dead-undead characters, as this page testifies 😂.
So, here goes...

March 23, 2017

Tell Me Again How a Hyped Book Is Born

My precious dears,
please allow this seasoned (and middle-aged) blogger to be naive for a while. It won't be a difficult task for me, because after blogging for 4 years and a half, I still have basic questions I can't find the answers to.

Yes, I managed to stumble on a Who-Tennant gif for this, too 😂
In these 53 months, I've reviewed an almost equal share of traditionally published and indie/small press books. Not all the books in the first category were good (you can argue that it's a matter of taste, but that aside, what about books that predate on old, stale ideas/tropes? or reinforce equally old stereotypes? or simply are not that well-written? and so on), while I found a few hidden gems in the second. So I tried to tell the world that said hidden gems needed to be dug and polished and admired and LOVED. And more often than not, I found myself shouting into a void.