Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review by Shellie: Tender Morsels ~ by Margo Lanagan

 51xtO8IThCL._SL160_                                                        Tender Morsels ~ by Margo Lanagan, is the co-winner of the World Fantasy Award for 2009.

It is a dark and disturbing retelling of a fairytale for young adults which is wonderfully creative yet one which not everyone will enjoy.

Set Up:   This story is a version of the tale Rose Red and Snow White. A story with two young sister whose names are in the title live in a forest with their mother and become friends with a bear. According to the link there is no connection to the American version or any other version of Snow White.

Unlike the actual tale, and with some artistic license, Margo Lanagan gives it depth and interest with the inclusion of an actual bear event set in Europe. The author apparently viewed a festival on television prior to writing the story and therefore included it in the retelling. Also unlike the original the setting is within two parallel worlds connected by magic. Where the “real world” is a version of our past being lit only by fire. The second world is “the false world” or that “of the heart’s desire”,  and is an idealized version or our world. All created in desperation by the main character Liga (the girls’ mother), through personal trauma, her inability to deal with reality, and to keep her daughters safe.


My Thoughts:  There are many things I like about this book. The writing is evocative and disturbing; the language used is set in period with an English/Australian bent, making it feel old and rural; the book cover renditions support some of the major themes within the story (I am highly visual); and the evil characters are given a perspective which helps the reader to sympathize with them – because that's what happens in real life.

It is a wonderfully complex rendition of the original story. It is multilayered where the author brings in some important themes, two of which are Women’s issues around social oppression and strength.

Here is a quote which shows the oppressiveness of the social structure of the real world compared to the “heart’s desire” world:

Annie peered and grinned. “Heh-heh. There is nothing like upbringing up in a heaven to give a girl a false confidence.”

“False, you think?” said Liga anxiously, dropping the lace back across the windo.

“The size o’ that mob, Liga? I say false. Get yourself dressed, girl, in your very best; we will need to summon all the menfolk and all the respectability we can, if she’s not to be whipped in the street.”

To be raised in an environment with no constraints one may have a false confidence about one’s ability to counter social mores of a present society, no matter how warranted they are.

Another quote regarding one woman’s strength:

…She, Urdda, must see that place someday, where women dressed so beautifully yet so plain, rode about alone. No one would dare spit upon this woman, or call out at her. She had a different kind of boldness, a strength that did not defy that of men so much as ignore it, or take its place without question beside it – Urdda wanted some of that boldness.

A wonderful role model for young women.

Be forewarned this is not a light story, and addresses some very very dark and difficult issues. It is not a story which everyone is going to enjoy or even like. Tender Morsels won the World Fantasy Award for 2009  covering the year 2008. Personally, I can see why. I love dark fantasy which touches on important social issues and  is also well written. This is exceptional. I have given this story a rare 5 stars.

About the Author:   Margo Lanagan (links to her blog) gives a grounding interview about her book which counters the controversy around it. She includes some realistic answers about why she address such difficult and controversial issues.

Purchasing links from Amazon US/UK/Canada, The Book Depository AUD and Euro.

I found Tender Morsels on Goodreads by several friends whom reviewed it highly. Both have given it 5 stars.

Nancy: Beautifully written, rich, disturbing, compelling, yet hopeful, with vividly drawn characters whose tragic and joyful lives fully engage the emotions.

Other reviews:

This book will be a added to the Women Unbound, The New Author’s Challenge, The Basics, and The Speculative Fiction Challenge

Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review by Shellie: Soulless by Gail Carriger


Genre: Urban Fantasy; Steam Punk; Alternative Reality… and more

Set Up:

In an alternative Victorian London within a steam punk setting, this story depicts a society which is very much like it would have been 130 years ago – excluding the steam punk of course. The only difference is that it includes Vampires, Werewolves, and Ghosts as an accepted part of society.

The main character, Alexia, is special. She is a preternatural, which actually means she is soulless. This has special circumstances for all the supernatural beings in the story. Besides that, she is a spinster, curvy, feisty, and intellectual. All being characteristics which have not been looked upon as positive for a woman living during this time period.

The story includes a set of supernatural characters including a hunky Alpha werewolf, a swishy male vampire with an 18th century fashion sense, and a delicate friend with a love for bad hats. They are all mixed up within a mystery where some intense romance ensues, combined with an amazing mishmash of sub genres –  mixing urban fantasy, steam punk, and alternative reality.

 My Thoughts:

Amazingly this was my first steam punk novel, and second urban fantasy. What a great fun read. It made me laugh out loud, giggle, and blush. It has some very interesting yet tasteful romantic interludes, as well as a few evil and funny entanglements. I love feisty women with parasols.

The language is intelligent and felt just enough like the period in which it was set, but understandable for a modern reader. It is also wryly funny, and Alexia is determined to go against the societal norm for women. Which makes her a wonderful and strong female character. My favorite.

Highly recommended for an intellectual, humorous, and fun read. I give Soulless - 4 stars. I am looking forward to the next book in her series which is called Changeless, and then Blameless.

Other reviews of Soulless:


Author Bio:


Ms. Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of Armenian lovers, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. Soulless is her first book.

Contact Gail at Goodreads,Twitter, her Blog.

If you enjoy upbeat tweets and funny posts with a slight Victorian and steampunk fashion bent – she is one to follow.


This book is appropriate for several challenges linked to the badges below:

21757   unboundrosie

boybutton Speculatice Fiction Challenge 34023982391_7a3d1b0979_o 



This book was borrowed from my favorite place to find books – the local library.

Amazon purchasing information US/UK/Canada The Book Depository Euro/AUD

Links for your reviews are all welcome! Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review by Shellie and John: The Metamorphosis ~ By Franz Kafka


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There are some amazing covers for this book – I liked this one. It links to the Amazon US book purchase site for this edition.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. ~ Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis

Mini Synopsis:  A novella published in 1915, it is set in Europe in the early 1900’s. The main character, Gregor Samsa wakes one morning to find that he has transformed into a bug. Being the sole support of his aging parents and teenage sister he becomes increasingly worried about their future. They are appalled at his appearance and leave him in his bedroom alone while hoping he disappears.

Shellie’s Thoughts:  John and I listened to this audio book while driving. It was unabridged. This will be a joint review.

We both agreed that, while the narration was done with an English accent and was pleasant it was surprisingly upbeat in tone, it felt like a slightly bizarre period piece, telling of woes in that particular time. Where instead of the main character having a terminal disease he turned into a beetle. 

This horrific event espouses the horrors of loss, abandonment, loosing one’s ability to communicate, and station in life, as well as our ability to truly recognize who we are or what we have become.

I felt that although the writing/reading was intriguing, I wanted more. Perhaps it is being so accustomed to drama and hype within modern day reading The Metamorphosis went comparatively limp. We agreed and gave this book 3 Stars. We liked it but it was not what we expected.


An Austrian/Czech author born – July 3, 1883 died – June 3, 1924. He is purported to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Sadly, he was not well known until after his death.

For Wikipedia information on Franz Kafka link on his above picture.

Thinking about The Metamorphosis further - apparently there are a number of layered meanings within the story which are not apparent without discussion.

John’s Post Discussion Thoughts:  For a book that is widely regarded as a classic, I was a little surprised and was somehow expecting more. I can see how there are different layers to the story, and can well imagine that with repeat reading or with discussion, greater depth becomes apparent.

For example, I just read a view that the most radical metamorphosis in the story was not Gregor himself, but rather how his family reacted to him and to their changed circumstances. Which is a most excellent twist and now seems obvious, but I didn’t get that at the time. Maybe listening while driving was not the best way to experience this story.

This book is appropriate for several challenges linked below:

 Speculatice Fiction Challenge 3100books24023982391_7a3d1b0979_o  basics-121757



This audio book was borrowed from the local library – what a deal!

Purchasing links for the audio version of this book from The Book Depository US/Euro/AUD/Canada

All links to your reviews of this book, contrary thoughts, and miscellaneous comments are welcome.

Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review by Shellie: Nibble & Kuhn by David Schmahman

51my22fiyYL._SL160_ Genre: General Fiction

Set Up:

Derick Dover is a young attorney working as an associate lawyer for an old established Boston law firm. He is hoping for a partnership with the growing firm and has become involved with another lawyer named Maria Parma whom he works with. She is vaguely fickle and unavailable but emotionally and physically toys with him. Additionally he is handed a botched up and impossible to win environmental case involving children with cancer, which it is clear needs be won if he is to make partner.


Although the above synopsis may sound a bit dry and the title of this book is slightly awkward, don’t let that fool you. This novel is not. It is a story which is completely addictive. The writing is intelligent, and flows easily, being sadly humorous at times. I devoured it in short order.  

It’s Derick’s story as he navigates his world, examining it in terms of his choices and life’s meaning. Although he seems to be making all the wrong moves and wallowing in them, his humanness and personal insight is apparent. He is complex, revealing, and vulnerable. It’s exemplified when he mentions some thoughts about his father:

Men like my father, it seemed to me, honest, optimistic, making their decisions on something less than a solid knowledge of the rules, were just pawns of larger interests, and it was this impotence that I determined to avoid by becoming a lawyer. At the time I had no idea – though I did already begin to suspect in law school – how inadequate my analysis was.

In the end the novel appears to be about the choices we make and the ones which we believe create our lives. But in actuality, its about the “crap shoot” that often defines our future. The conclusion supports this with its improbable twist. Highly recommended at 4 stars.

For more information about David Schmahman as well as purchasing links go to Layers of Thought’s Preview of Nibble & Kuhn.

Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Three Book Set Giveaway: Matthew Reilly’s Action Sci Fi – The Jack West, Jr. Series


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A three book set giveaway, it is international, and you do not have to be a visible follower to enter and win!

Below is some information about the 3 books all in order of the most recently published to the first in the series.


The Five Greatest Warriors

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416577572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416577577


    From the deserts of Israel to the tsunami-lashed coasts of Japan, from the steppes of Mongolia to the most mysterious island on Earth -- this is what we have come to expect from Matthew Reilly: stupendous action, white-knuckle suspense, heroes to cheer for, and an adventure beyond imagination. Strap yourself in and hold on tight as he unleashes his biggest and fastest adventure yet, The 5 Greatest Warriors.

    When we last left Jack West Jr., he was plummeting into a fathomless abyss and his quest to save the world from impending Armageddon appeared doomed. But all hope is not lost.

    After an astonishing escape, Jack regroups with his trusty team. Racing to rebuild the final pieces of the fabled "Machine," they discover an ancient inscription containing a rhyme about five mysterious unnamed warriors -- great historical figures whose knowledge will be vital to unlocking the secrets of the Machine and its long-lost "pillars." But the ancients have hidden their secrets well, and with each pillar bestowing an incredible power upon its holder, their pursuit has attracted the attention of other forces from around the world -- some who want to rule it and others who want to see it destroyed.

    With enemies coming at him from every side and the countdown to doomsday rapidly approaching, Jack and his team had better move fast. Because they are about to find out what the end of the world looks like...

    The Six Sacred Stones

  • Mass Market Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416505075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416505075


    After their thrilling exploits in Matthew Reilly's rampaging New York Times bestseller, 7 Deadly Wonders, supersoldier Jack West Jr. and his loyal team of adventurers are back, and now they face an all-but-impossible challenge.

    A mysterious ceremony in an unknown location has triggered a catastrophic countdown that will climax in no less than the end of all life on Earth. But Jack and his team might be able to ward off the coming Armageddon if they can find the fabled Six Sacred Stones, which hold clues to a legendary ancient device long lost in the fog of history. As the hunt begins, Jack and his team discover that they are not the only ones seeking the Stones...and that there might just be other players out there who don't want to see the world saved at all.

    From Stonehenge in England to the deserts of Egypt to the spectacular Three Gorges region in China, The 6 Sacred Stones will take you on a nonstop rollercoaster ride through ancient history, modern military hardware, and some of the fastest and most mind-blowing action you will ever hear.

    The Seven Deadly Wonders

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416505067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416505068


    A legend of the ancient world decrees that every 4,500 years, a terrible solar event will wreak worldwide destruction . . . but whoever sets the Golden Capstone atop the Great Pyramid at Giza will avert disaster and gain the ultimate prize: a millennium of world dominance.

    Now the Sun is turning once again and nation will battle nation to retrieve the missing Capstone . . . but a group of small nations, led by super-soldier Jack West Jr., bands together to prevent any one country from attaining this frightening power. Thus the greatest treasure hunt of all time begins -- an adrenaline fueled race on a global battlefield.

    From the Colossus of Rhodes to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the Great Egyptian Pyramid itself, unlock the thrills of The Seven Deadly Wonders.

    ********************************************************************************  Reilly_MatthewMatthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of eight novels: The 6 Sacred Stones, 7 Deadly Wonders, Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, and the children's book Hover Car Racer, and one novella, Hell Island. His books are published in more than eighteen languages in twenty countries, and he has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.

  • For more information see his personal website, and Simon & Schuster’s page. There is also a trailer for his The Five Greatest Warriors at the publisher’s site and samples to read.


    Here are several other cover styles available in the UK and Canada.

    51T4FIPEmGL._SL160_ 51eDz1YcJGL._SL160_ 51nqG ymxZL._SL160_

    Amazon purchasing links for The Five Greatest WarriorsUS/UK/Canada and from The Book Depository in Euros and AUD.

    Amazon purchasing links for The 6 Sacred StonesUS/UK/Canada and from The Book Depository in Euros and AUD.

    Amazon purchasing links for The Seven Deadly WondersUS/UK/Canada and from The Book Depository in Euros and AUD.


    Now for the Giveaway:

    You do not have to be a follower for this giveaway. Anyone can enter.

    Contest Info:

    To enter you must:

    • comment
    • include in the post your email so that I can contact you

    For optional extra points you can do any, or all of the below for 1 entry point each. All entries may be included in one single comment.

    1. Be a subscriber of Layers of Thought – google or facebook. (I need to be able to see you – and to get updates in facebook feed please add me as a friend.)
    2. Blog it - side bars are great - please provide links
    3. Tweet it  – provide links please
    4. Friend on Twitter
    5. Friend on Goodreads
    6. Friend on Book Blogs
    7. Friend on Glue  - new to glue? have questions? let me know.

    This giveaway is International.

    Contest ends Sunday March 15, 2010 at 12 pm US Pacific time. Winner will be posted and notified on Friday March 19, 2010.

  • *********************************************************************************

    A big thanks to Elizabeth from Simon & Schuster for offering this to Layers of Thought’s readers!

    Review by JD coming soon for the first book in the series – The Seven Deadly Wonders. Here is a snippet of what he thought:

    I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fast-paced action stories and mysterious quests.

    Have fun and good luck!

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Preview: Spellwright ~ by Blake Charlton


    cover1Spellwright ~ by Blake Charlton

    A first book of a planned trilogy, released in March 2010.

    About:    Nicodemus is a young, gifted wizard with a problem. Magic in his world requires the caster to create spells by writing out the text . . . but he has always been dyslexic, and thus has trouble casting even the simplest of spells. And his misspells could prove dangerous, even deadly, should he make a mistake in an important incantation.

    Yet he has always felt that he is destined to be something more than a failed wizard. When a powerful, ancient evil begins a campaign of murder and disruption, Nicodemus starts to have disturbing dreams that lead him to believe that his misspelling could be the result of a curse. But before he can discover the truth about himself, he is attacked by an evil which has already claimed the lives of fellow wizards and has cast suspicion on his mentor. He must flee for his own life if he’s to find the true villain.

    But more is at stake than his abilities. For the evil that has awakened is a power so dread and vast that if unleashed it will destroy Nicodemus... and the world.

    Charlton1-150x150Bio:   Blake Charlton first overcame severe dyslexia in the sixth grade when he began sneaking fantasy and science fiction books into special ed study hall. Inspired, he went on to graduate summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University.

    After college, he worked as an English teacher, a medical writer for UCSF and Stanford, a tutor for the learning disabled, and a JV football coach. Blake is currently a third-year medical student at Stanford medical school, where he teaches creative writing for medical students and has received a fellowship to write fiction.

    SPELLWRIGHT, his first novel, is due out in the US in March 2010, in the UK August 2010 from Voyager Books. Blake’s hobbies include cycling, swimming, backpacking, and collecting jokes about dyslexia and premature baldness. Links to connect with him ~ Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Live Journal, Goodreads

    US|UK|Canada;The Book Depository AUD|Euro; 352 pages; Tor Books (March 2, 2010)

    Spellwright is the first book in the trilogy, Spellbound and Disjunction are the planned titles of the second and third in the series.

    The copy of Spellwright for review by Layers of Thought was sent by the author. Thank you Blake!

    Hilarious guest post, and author interview all coming soon!

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    The Winner for The Gathering Storm is……


    And you had thought I’d forgotten…

    We finally have a winner for the first edition signed copy of A Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson which includes two fun bumper sticker as well… Drum Roll Please…

    Christine from Book Tumbling


    Yeah Christine – Congratulations!

    I will send you an email and you have 48 hours to respond to it and comment on this post.

    Thanks to everyone who entered this contest.

    Stay tuned for our next giveaway coming next week. It is a three book set giveaway which is an action packed science fiction series, with the latest just published. The best news is that you don’t have to be a (visible) follower to enter this contest.

    Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

    Giveaway: Five Ebooks with a Christian Horror Theme – Dance on Fire by James Garcia Jr.

    Dance on Fire by James Garcia Jr copy

    Knowing that a number of readers here at Layers of Thought enjoy reading Christian genre books, here are five free Ebooks in different formats at Free Ebook Friday – Dance on Fire at  All Things Smart and Scary.

    Contest info taken directly from Nicole’s blog.


    Here's the blurb:

    Two Kingsburg police officers have been butchered in an attack as ferocious as it is mystifying. Now two detectives and their families are being drawn into a battle that threatens to destroy them and those around them. In a marriage of horror and Christian themes of good conquering evil and redemption, Dance on Fire is the fictional account of characters drawn into the fire by supernatural forces.

    If you want to read a more detailed teaser, you can go to James's Facebook page right here, and if you want to know more about James, he's now got his own awesome-looking blog.

    Contest will run until Sunday night, with winners being announced on Monday. Here's the contest question:

    *In James's short story, Max, posted earlier on this blog, what's the name and sex of the cat for whom Audrey is looking?*


    To enter the contest please leave your comments and answers at All Things Smart and Scary. Have fun and good luck!

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Review by Shellie: RELEASE by Nicole Hadaway


    • Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror
    • Format: Ebook
    • Publisher: EBooks Undead


    Set in war torn Europe during WWII where a group of otherworldly women – a vampire, a werewolf, and a demon - help the resistance move Jewish children to safety. They team up with an incognito Jewish doctor as they make their way across the countryside. The cast goes on to include a witch, fallen angels, a lesbian couple, and an interesting concept of the devil himself.  Throw in a male vampire and demon, a priest fallen to the dark side and you have a complex set of characters, where some feed on humans but are saving children too. Most of the protagonists exist in a “grey area” of morality. All this is set within a horrific time period where factions of Hitler’s legions are attempting to connect with total evil.

    Love ensues within the intense drama of the story, however, in the end an important “soul” is lost possibly leaving the setup for another novel in her series.

    My Thoughts:

    This is a first novel for Nicole Hadaway and she has created a well thought out and mostly well explained paranormal world. She has taken one of the most horrific events in our collective consciousness and recent history, and coupled it up with the occult and religious mythology with some elements based in truth, thereby creating a very scary tale.

    One interesting aspect within the story line is that the title is brought up on several different levels throughout the book. Which solidifies the concept and why it was used. It did take me some time to figure exactly why the title was  RELEASE which makes it multilayered and intriguing. (No spoilers here.)

    My only minor grumble is that I would have liked to see definitions for some of the otherworldly and biblical connections, names, and symbols, perhaps at the end of the book. The references are numerous and I believe many readers will not know what they are – I did not. This aspect does however make the book interesting, intelligent, and challenging. All good things. And thanks to Google, I now know some of their creepy definitions.

    Highly recommended if you like historical fiction – especially WWII, vampires, paranormal, otherworldly, religious, occult, and mythical connections. If so, then you will devour this book.

    I give the book 4 Stars since I enjoyed it immensely!


    Nicole is currently working on her follow up book for this series. The sequel is called  RETURN and is planned to be published in Fall of this year. She is also working on several short stories related to the main character with RELEASE. One which is set in New Orleans in 1842 and the other in Egypt in 1906. Her third novel in the series, REDEEM is planned to be published in 2011.

    If your interested in finding out more about RELEASE, reading a sample, want to find out more about Nicole Hadaway, or purchasing the book, please link above and here to Layers of Thought’s Preview of RELEASE.

    This book is offered in e format, and is published by a small press - EBooks Undead. RELEASE is, however, well edited and worthy of your time, especially if you love intelligent horror and/or vampires. It is our pleasure to support new authors with small press publishers at Layers of Thought.


    This book review will be used in a number of challenges:

    image image  image image image

    This books is appropriate for the GLBT challenge since two secondary characters within the story are women in a long term committed relationship.

    All badges will link to the challenge update posts here on Layers of Thought when the review has been posted to each challenge site.

    Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    What’s Next? Fauzia Burke from FSB Associates Suggests the Future of Social Media and its Effects on Marketing Books

    hot off the press           

    Real Time Web for Old Time Books: The Benefit of Social Media for Publisher and Authors
    By Fauzia Burke

    Real Time Web was coined to describe online activities in real time -- from status updates on Facebook, to microblogging on Twitter to uploading photos and videos on other social media sites. With the ease of mobile devices like iPhones, this type of communication has grown tremendously in 2009. Now Google (video) is offering the power of real time web searching to millions everyday. Although you may cringe when considering the personal implication of searching your updates and Twitter feeds, you can't deny the benefits to publicity and marketing.

    According to Nielsen, social media and blogs are now more popular than email. As marketers, this presents us with a great opportunity. Reader engagement is not only important in today's market, it is essential. Although your web site is important, a savvy marketer knows that a page on Facebook is even more important for interacting with fans and potential readers. With Google and Bing now offering real time search results, the ease, power and speed of sharing information is changing before our eyes. Word of mouth has never been shared faster or more easily.  It is important to remember that social media is public communication, you probably should never share personal information, comments or thoughts you don't want spread. But you can't simply ignore what investors are calling a new Web Revolution.

    By staying off of Twitter and Facebook as a marketer you are not only missing out on community building, but you are also unaware of the conversations taking place about you, your books, and your competition. Real time search results are changing the speed at which a conversation spreads online. It is more important than ever to manage brand and reputation on social media sites. Content is streaming live with or without your blessing.

    Some fantastic sites that offer good information on Twitter conversations are Topsy which shows how many people retweeted you. For example, if you do a topsy search on my name you'd see that my HuffPost blog about Facebook was retweeted 118 times, others were not as popular. Sency allows you to search topics and conversations, and Dailyrt allows you to track what is important to people right now.

    These tools can allow you to stay on top of messaging. For marketing and publicity people, it can give you fresh ideas and leads for more exposure. For editors, it may give you ideas for your next book project and for authors it can most certainly show you what's important to your readers right now. Opinions are being shared online and in real time, and now through searches we can find them and notice trends and measure excitement.

    Today if you do a search for Oprah on Google, the search results will include social media results, which means you can see what people said about Oprah a minute ago (see midway down). If that doesn't inspire awe (and a little fear) in you, I would be amazed.

    Conversations are happening online in real time and now these conversations are being tracked, measured and searched. By becoming part of the community and paying attention to the dialogue around you, I believe your marketing efforts will benefit greatly this year and in the years to come. Real Time Web is becoming the norm -- there are tons of apps and programs coming that will make it easier for us to know what people are saying, where they are gathering, and what they are reading in real time.

    © 2010 Fauzia Burke

    Author Bio:


    Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, an Internet marketing firm specializing in creating online awareness for books and authors. For more information, please visit Follow FSB Associates on Twitter:

    What are your thoughts, tips, and disagreements as readers/reviewers, authors, publicists/editors, and sellers of books around the issues shared above? How about your experiences with social networking and some of its newer developments? Are they working for you?

    Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    New Author Challenge 2010



    A bit late of a start but what a great challenge…

    Information was taken directly from the host site Literary Escapism where the link takes you to the challenge sign up and review posts page for Mr. Linky:

    The idea behind this is to find new authors that you’ve never tried before.  They can be in your genre of choice or be brave and try something new.  You never know what you’re going to like until you try it.  If you’re looking for some suggestions, you can check out the Author page here at Literary Escapism or the 2009 Challenge page.  With over 1000 reviews posted, I’m sure there will be something there for everyone.

    Here are the guidelines:

    1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.
    2. Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels.  Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies.
    3. I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors.  It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be.  For me, I’m trying another 50 new authors.  If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop.  Any new author you try can be added to Mr. Linky.  We all want to know about your new experience.
    4. After reading your new author, write your review and then come back here and add your link to Mr. Linky.  Make sure you include your name and the author, but adding the title is completely up to you.
    5. Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome

    This looks like  a fun and relevant challenge. One which will be easy to finish since almost all the books featured, read, and reviewed here on Layers of Thought are from authors we have not read before.

    So lets put the goal at 50 new author’s this year.

    All book reviews for this challenge will be listed and linked below and include John’s and my reviews:

    Review links:

    1. RELEASE by Nicole Hadaway – (horror)
    2. Soulless by Gail Carrigan – (urban fantasy)
    3. The Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka (horror)
    4. Fun Home by Allison Bechdel (memoir – graphic novel)
    5. Susan Beth Pfeffer – The Moon Books (apocalyptic, young adult)
    6. Inside Out by Maria Snyder (young adult –girls sci fi)
    7. The Quiet War by Paul McAuley (hard sci fi)
    8. Searching for Whitopia by Rich Benjamin (non fiction)
    9. Cursed by Jeremy Shipp (horror – bizarro)
    10. The Cost of Dreams by Gary Stelzer (general fiction)
    11. Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji (general fiction)
    12. The Army of the Republic by Stuart Archer Cohen (alternative reality thriller)
    13. Britten and Brulightly by Hannah Berry (graphic novel, mystery)
    14. The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave (dark general fiction)
    15. Keeper by Kathi Appelt (young adult/tween, mythic - slipstream)
    16. The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Ochsner (slip stream, literary)

    17 down 33 to go!

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    I have been “nooked” - and I think I am in lust!


    What is so much fun is that I have already added close to 50 free ebooks from a variety of downloadable sites and I’ve just started.

    Barnes and Noble allows you to read the first several chapters of most of the books they have in eformat. It only takes a few seconds to download from almost any wireless internet connection. I have gone a bit nuts and downloaded 10 samples on my nook already. I have yet to purchase an ebook from them.

    The local Phoenix Digital Library  has a large variety of downloadable ebooks. But you must have a local library card – I do know that several readers are local book bloggers.

    Here are two ebook and one ezine publishers of speculative fiction sites with inexpensive and quality reads:

    I also found a site which converts docs into pdf format. It is 30 dollars.  I have tested the free version of it and it looks good for those documents that are long which I do not want to print out or sit in front of the computer for. I believe Adobe has this function on one of its products but its cost is around 300 dollars. Please correct me on this or suggest otherwise. The link for the program is below:

    PDF-file Conversion

    On to even more interesting stuff… actual books:

    The first book on my list which will be finished on the ereader is RELEASE by Nicole Hadaway. It is so much nicer than in printed out paper format and yes the review is coming very soon.

    Other ebooks from author’s being featured here on Layers of Thought are and which I am excited to read are:

    And several others which I have yet to post previews for. To have such problems… So many books, so little time…Frank Zappa.

    The above list is exactly why I knew I “needed” an ereader. In my attempt to read ebooks in other ways I found that it just doesn’t work well. For example, reading on a computer after you’ve been sitting at one all day long or printing out the books - both are awkward. Besides you get back cramps and paper cuts, and what’s worse is that you can’t take your computer to bed. But ultimately the deciding factor for the nook purchase came when I held the demo in my hand at the local Barnes and Noble. Its aesthetically pleasing, easy to hold, and works for the variety of formats which I need it for.

    I do have a few complaints about the nook, but what do you expect from a first generation electronics device? I will however save the complaints for a future post, perhaps when the newness has worn off.

    Beyond that we won’t get into the “nook(ie) and lust” connection in this post…I’ve had enough of that with Valentines day. Cute name but did they forget the connotation for “nookie”.. here and in the UK?

    I do know a number of you have purchased ereaders recently – I’ve hounded several of you. So what are your thoughts or rants about ereaders? Links for free ereads? anything else within this line of thinking?

    Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Valentines Day Guest Post: Susi from The Geeky Bookworm Shares with Us her Favorite Romantic and Sexy Science Fiction Books


    One of my favorite blogger girls is Susi from The Geeky Book Worm. I love her site, and her tweets. She always has something fun to post and is always up and positive. Most of all, she addresses something most of us could use a little more of and which is pertinent to this special day – Valentines Day. It is sex and romance… but with one of my favorite little flairs… here she is including it with Science Fiction. What a combo!

    Welcome Susi! It is such a pleasure to have you do this guest post.


    A Geeky Love for Romance

    One of my greatest Loves is one not too many girls agree on. I have a deep addiction to anything science fiction- I love the movies, the tv series, the computer games and for sure I adore the books. Nothing is better than being sucked into an unknown world with other species or at least great technology to envy. Who wouldn't love to have all those fancy voice control or even one of those great floating cars without any emissions? I want that ASAP!

    So I thought I will talk to you about my Top 5 Romantic-Science-Fiction reads today. It's valentines day after all and Geek Girls are only just girls. So here they are:

    1. The Alien Huntress Series by Gena Showalter
    At the moment this series counts 5 full length novels and novella.

    The books are set in the future. Our world has been invaded by aliens and after a bloody war we now live in a kind of peace with them. The aliens have their rights but are also restricted and we have a special enforcement agency to get the bad aliens who don't follow our rules. This agency is AIR - Alien Investigation & Removal and our heroes are working for this institution. We meet a few very impressive aliens and learn to love or to hate them.

    This series is special to me because of Ms. Showalter's humor and her unique way of introducing and giving life to this world. I loved every book so far and recommend this to everyone who likes books with a mix of action, love and laughs!

    2. The Sirantha Jax Series by Ann Aguirre
    This series has a typical science fiction touch with space travel and a huge universe full of aliens. As in most space travel stories we have a unique technique to reach other planets- the solution for this problem here is Grimspace. It's kind of like Subspace in Star Trek but to travel in Grimspace you need a Jumper. A Jumper is a person with the J-Gene. This Gene is a rare genetic feature which gives the person the ability to navigate in Grimspace. The downside of being a jumper is a relative short life expectation. Most jumpers don't reach the age of 30. The heroine in this series is Sirantha Jax, a jumper with abnormal long life and the ability to get into trouble no matter what. We travel with her through the universe and can take a glimpse into the workings of this society. At the moment the series consists of 3 novels and a fourth will be released in October this year.

    3. The In Death Series by J.D. Robb
    This is a very opulent series with 37 installments (not all are full novel length). I haven't read them all but I so plan to do so. This series is more futuristic than scifi in the common sense but it's so good I just couldn't NOT include it in this list. The story is set in a futuristic New York with many little techy things to admire. The world already achieved space travel and also has a few colonies and space stations to call their own. The world has changed- guns are forbidden, prostitution is only allowed with a license and nearly everything is voice controlled.

    The books all focus on the life of Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her investigations for the NYPSD. She's the best cop New York has and gives all she has to solve the murders. One of the other best things about these books is Roarke- her very un-scifi husband. He's not very much into the new technology, really down to earth for a multimillionaire and one of the sexiest men I ever read about.

    4. The Federation Chronicles by Lauren Dane
    This is an erotic science fictions series and not for the faint of heart! Just so you are warned.

    This story is set in a world of different 'Verses. The world is divided into the Federation, the good side and the Imperialist, the mighty bad side. The series describes the conflict between these two opponents out from the view point of the Federation. It also highlights the very unfair caste system this world has developed. This series is more culturally orientated than the usual science fiction but that turns it into something special in my eyes. These are very erotic and sexy reads- so be sure to have something cold handy to cool you down. The stories are unique and so heartbreakingly good that I just can't wait to read the third installment.

    5. The Dead World Series by Jordan Summers
    This series is a mix between science fiction and paranormal. We've got the futuristic, nearly murder free world and a bunch of creatures, the Others which are denied and hunted by the government.
    The setting is post-apocalyptic and has a darker touch than most scifi books. Some parts are really hard to stomach but Ms. Jordan has the right voice to get us through all the bad things. I enjoyed the image she created here: we've got the utopia but it crumbles before our eyes.

    The first book, Red, is a great interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood with a bit more blood and sex in it than the original. We have the bad wolves and a murder to be solved.

    This series consists of three books, Red, Crimson, and Scarlet which are all currently available.

    So that was my list. What are your favorite romantic science fiction books?


    Thanks so much for sharing with us here at Layers of Thought - Susi. It has been a pleasure reading about your favorite romantic Science Fiction reads.

    *All comments will be addressed by Susi and myself/Shellie



    Susi’s Personal Bio:

    I am a 24 year old Geeky Bookworm in Magdeburg, Germany (yep, the Tokio Hotel city and I'm not proud of that fact). I love almost everything science-fiction and paranormal: in books, movies or TV form. I am proud to be a little geeky but try to keep my freaky side in check (sometimes it still slips out). I love to read, as might notice by looking around at my little place of the interwebz. I enjoy urban fantasy, paranormal romance, romances in general (which girl doesn't! LOL) and Science Fiction, but I'm open for everything else. Okay, except perhaps cook books. 

    Where to get in touch with me: blog twitter facebook goodreads and Book Lovers Inc. as The Geeky Book Lover.


    Amazon links for purchase of the above first book in each of the series are as follows:

    • Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter – the first book in the series (US/UK/Canada)
    • Grimspace by Anna Aguiree – the first book in the series (US/UK/Canada)
    • Naked in Death by JD Robb/ Nora Roberts – the first book in her series (US/UK/Canada)
    • Undercover by Lauren Dane – the first in the series (US/UK/Canada)
    • Red by Jordan Summers – the first in her series (US/UK/Canada)

    Have a wonderful Love-day everyone and thanks for reading Layers of Thought!

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Pre Valentine’s Day Preview: Beth’s Acceptance by Teal Ceagh


    We interrupt our normal blog posts for something a bit unusual for Layers of Thought but it is for Valentine’s Day.

    Be forewarned that this book is very adult in nature, and contains love in several of its various forms. Which makes it appropriate for the yearly celebration of love, and for the GLBT Challenge 2010. So instead of plain old romance why not go for some really racy stuff. Enjoy or skip; the choice is yours.

    • Beth’s Acceptance
    • Teal Ceagh
    • Electronic book publication October 2009
    • Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication
    • ISBN 9781419925245
    • Genre: erotic urban fantasy

    Book Info:

    For weeks, the darkly sinful Zachariah, her favorite customer at McGinty’s, has been raising NYC student Beth Siegel’s pulse, driving her crazy with need.

    Neither can she keep the tall, blue-eyed mysterious Luke, who haunts the library stacks at her day job, out of her mind or her sweaty, desperate fantasies.

    Fate hands Beth a startling destiny: to bond with both of them—a bond formed via sex. Sex with either one of them would have been fabulous. Together? Irresistible.

    But fate is a two-edged sword and the bond comes at a price.  Luke and Zack are not what they seem, and the world as Beth knows it not quite the real deal.  Can Beth accept the price the bond will ask of her?

    Tracey-11-219x300Author Mini Bio:

    Teal Ceagh is the pen name for author Tracy Cooper-Posey. She currently lives in Canada and is originally from Australia. To find out more about her and her books link here to her website/blog.


    This e-book was won at a contest from The Geeky Bookworm – who is guest posting at Layers of Thought tomorrow. Beth’s Acceptance is book one in the Destiny’s Trinity Series. So if you enjoy reading this sexy book there is more. Thanks to Tracy aka-Teal and Susi for the chance to read this book!

    Here are the title of the 2nd and 3rd in the series:

    • Mia’s Return
    • Sera’s Gift

    To purchase this e-book link here to Ellora’s Cave. Personal review coming soon.

    I hope everyone enjoys their own version of Valentine’s Day – Here's to love in all its wonderful forms!

    Please stay tuned for Layers of Thought’s Valentine’s Day guest post with Susi The Geeky Bookworm.

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