Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Giveaway: Leap into Books Hop ~ February 29th to March 5th


Welcome to the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop ~  February 29th to March 5th. Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer  and Jinky is Reading. (Badge to the left links to our host’s site.)

Some of you may ask: What is a blog hop? This blog hop is a way for a bunch of blogs to come together to offer “book-ish” giveaways all in one place where readers can win stuff and bloggers can get new readers.  Come and join the fun!


We have one copy for a US address of:  Revealing Eden ~ by Victoria Foyt 

It’s a young adult dystopian novel and here is a bit more about it:  

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with blond hair, blue-eyes and a tragically low mate-rate of 15 percent?

In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to the overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden’s coloring brands her as a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. But when she unwittingly compromises her father’s secret experiment, she is thrust into the last patch of rainforest, and into the arms of the powerful, beastly man who she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must fight to survive, but only if she can redefine beauty and true love.

For more information link to the website: http://www.savethepearls.com/

Requirements are:

  1. Be a reader/follower to enter this contest.
  2. Fill out the Google form.

You have several options to follow or become a reader:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.) or
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Other optional ways of “following/friending” or keeping up to date:

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Please enter via the Google document:

This hop is now closed. We will have another coming up very soon!

Reviews: The Wicked Good Stepmother~ by William G. Bentrim

wicked good stepmother

Review by Shellie for: The Wicked Good Stepmother ~ by William G. Bentrim (illustrated by Flavia Comley)

A self published children’s book that gives some insight into issues kids may be facing with their parents today, especially when it concerns a step parent - an often difficult relationship for children. It has sweet and fun color illustrations.

About:  Billy and Susan have been living with grandma and grandpa for the past year while dad has been away fighting for their country. They miss him a lot and their mom too, who has recently passed away. Their newest concern is that Daddy has remarried. They now have a new mom – a stepmother. They have heard all the bad things about stepmothers from stories and both are scared. As they imagine all the horrible things this new evil stepmother will do to them, they become even more uncomfortable at the prospect of meeting their new mom.

But when they meet Daddy’s new wife they find that she is pretty, and it turns out she is also very nice. When she meets both children she promises to try and be a terrific stepmother and get to know them better so that maybe some day they will love her as much as their dad does.

Thoughts:  An important short story for boys and girls to help them transition into a new family arrangement in a positive way. It has a thoughtful introduction for the adults at the beginning to assist parents to in turn help their children understand the stereotypes and scary thoughts that may be concerning them about a new and different parent - a relationship which often holds much angst and tension.

The book has 30 colorful pages, sweet illustrations, and meaningful and important text for small children to read. Not all stepmothers are evil or wicked, even though there are many stories which tell them that they are. Like most of William’s books it has a creative and cute twist at the end which is fun and intriguing, and a listing of Bill’s other wonderful children’s books is also at the end of the book. Highly recommended, it’s a 4 star read that is helpful for growing and changing families in understanding a complex and often difficult relationship.

CreateSpace (November 2011)

William G. Benetrim is an indie author, a child advocate, and a counselor. If your interested in finding out more he has several blogs where he does short and interesting reviews in a variety of genres – mostly mystery, science fiction and fantasy. To contact him you can link to ~ Pick of the Literate, The Azure Dwarf, Money Saving Tech Tips, his professional website, or his author’s page on Goodreads.

Looking for more children’s books – please see our listing for Children’s Book Week for this year with a variety of reviews from us for a variety of genres sure to suit a child or teen.

For an insightful, intelligent, and multi-discipline nonfiction book on being a stepmother which is written by a journalist, see my review and a guest post from the author for - Stepmonster.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: The Forever War ~ by Joe Haldeman

forever war 1

Review by John for: The Forever War ~ by Joe Haldeman (1974)

A groundbreaking and multiple award-winning science fiction war novel – it’s written by a Vietnam veteran and has clear parallels with the war in Vietnam; described by some as one of the best war novels ever written.

About:   Humans have discovered how to travel many light years in a split second, by travelling through wormhole-like phenomena called collapsars. However, some space ships travelling through the collapsars are never heard from again, and some people in power assume that the ships are being attacked by an alien race, known as Taurans. The United Nations Exploratory Force (UNEF), which is sending out colonizing ships, becomes increasingly militarized, and eventually it decides that foot soldiers should be sent out to man portal planets near the exits from the collapsars – their mission is essentially reconnaissance and revenge. The conscripted soldiers chosen for the initial task force are elite – they must have IQs above 150 and be extremely fit. One of the conscripts is William Mandella. 200px-TheForeverWar(1stEd)

The training process itself is grueling and deadly, especially when it shifts to a frigid planet far beyond Pluto. Many of the elite recruits do not live to see their first mission – victims of the harsh climate and the fact that even the tiniest of mistakes are often deadly. Mandella and his colleagues then find out that the campaigns are a combination of total boredom and vicious action. As they know so little about the Taurans and are having to try and live and fight in the most inhospitable locations imaginable, the survival rates are outrageously low.

Unfortunately, when the survivors do get to return to Earth, they find themselves alienated in a place that is barely recognizable to them. The problem is that ships have to enter and exit the collapsars at near light speed, and this has massive relativistic effects on them. While subjectively their missions may take a few months, due to time dilation, decades have passed back on Earth. Earth and its people have gone through enormous social, political and economic upheavals, and the returned soldiers do not fit in. Most of them gravitate back to recruiting stations and rejoin the UNEF.

Mandella finds some comfort in lover, companion and co-soldier Marygay, but the war separates them and Mandella has to struggle on in a thousand-year conflict.

John’s Thoughts:   This is a very clever and thought-provoking book, and it’s also an enjoyable read. Haldeman made no secret of the fact that it was .based on his experiences in the Vietnam war and his views as a war veteran. The novel pulls few punches in pointing out the stupidity behind how some wars are started, the crass way in which they are sometimes fought, and the almost total lack of consideration for the lowly soldier. Above all, the story is about the experiences of soldiers as they do their best to follow orders, to make sense of things and to simply survive through to the next day.

As you follow Mandella through training, journeys to strange places, boredom, battles, missions with little obvious purpose, injuries, loss of colleagues, attempted rehabilitation into “normal” life, and even gradual alienation from raw recruits, you feel an authenticity borne of personal experience. It’s also notable that this is not a crash-bang-wallop all-action story with an indestructible hero – Mandella is all too human with all the frailties and weaknesses that entails. While there certainly are action sequences in the book they don’t consume a huge number of pages.

There is humor in the book too, though often dark in nature. Haldeman does a good job of lampooning military thinking – whereby apparently logical thoughts and processes can end in totally illogical actions. Indeed some of it is almost “Catch 22-like” – which to my mind is high praise indeed.

I just realized that I’m three paragraphs into the “my thoughts” section and haven’t once mentioned “science fiction”. That says a lot about the book – it really is a war story that just happens to take place in a science fiction setting. Having said that, Haldeman writes a very fine science fiction novel. He has a great imagination and his visionary views on space, space travel, technology and the impact of technology on humans are first rate. It really is tough to believe that this was written almost 40 years ago.

Overall I’d rate this 4 stars. It would have been 4.5 but I found the ending a bit too abrupt and there is also something about the ending which I didn’t like – though I won’t say what for fear of giving away too much. But I’d unreservedly recommend this to anyone who likes novels about war (and particularly about the experiences of the common soldier) and to any science fiction buffs.

St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition originally published in 1974. Covers above are the version read by John, at the top, and the original hard cover image below.

The Forever War won the Nebula Award in 1975, and the Hugo and Locus awards in 1976.

John has a review and giveaway going live on Thursday for a new science fiction book. Stay tuned for his thoughts around this book and if you live in the US a chance to win a copy of Arctic Rising by Tobias S. Buckell.

We are hitting you all hard with science fiction related posts right now. But never fear we will have some other genres included in our posts coming up very soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Completed: 42 Challenge 2011 ~ anything Sci Fi


42 Challenge 2011 

It’s our very late post to mark the end of this 2011 challenge, where we attempted to read, watch, attend  “42 anythings” which are science fiction related.

The challenge’s title is based upon The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe’s answer to the “Ultimate Question” and its answer “42 “ which is the universal theory and reason for everything. 

Amazingly we almost finished this crazy challenge and as you can see below we watched and read a lot of sci-fi”ish” things in 2011 and we had a blast. (In case your interested the badge above links to our host’s blog for the challenge, which sadly she isn't doing again this year.)

We Viewed | Read:

  • 10 movies
  • 9 short stories and poems
  • 22 books

Collectively we almost completed the challenge at 41. Wow!

Movies with Mini Reviews:


Survivors  (TV Series 1975–1977)

This is a BBC production and a series about a post apocalyptic UK which is is based upon a virus that kills 95% of the world’s population.

A bit outdated and low tech, it still allows the watcher to experience what it would be like if almost everyone on the planet dies. It’s a 3 star in our opinion; we watched only the first in the series.


Paul (2011)  

Two geeky comic-book readers travel across the U.S. and encounter an alien named Paul outside the notorious Area 51, with hilarious results.

John watched this funny movie on a trans-Atlantic flight and laughed the whole time and designated it a 4 star rating.


F 451

Fahrenheit 451  (1966)  

This classic book by Ray Bradbury, turned into a movie, is set in a future where books are illegal. They are burned at the temperature which burns paper – 451 degrees.

This old 60’s dystopian movie has some great fashions which are slightly in style right now and was very entertaining. The movie too feels a bit dated, but is still great to watch. At 4 stars, it is a must see for all science fiction/dystopian aficionados.



Videodrome (1983

A horror sci-fi flick, where a cable-TV programmer begins to see his life disintegrate in a surreal fashion when he watches a video that causes horrific and creepy consequences.

This is a violent and disturbing movie with some interesting special effects considering the age of the film. A must view for any horror/sci-fi lover at 3.5 stars.



Pandorum  (2009)  

The crew from a spectacularly created spaceship wakes up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities, to find that they are not the only hungry beings on the ship.

A very scary sci-fi/horror flick; there are several ridiculous scenes but the special effects, makeup and scene setting are fabulous – this flick contains a spectacular monster in our opinion. We enjoyed it at 3.5 stars.


9 (2009)   

When a cute rag doll which has been granted a soul awakens in a post-apocalyptic future, he sets out on a quest to rid his world of evil.

This is a sweet story, contains amazing graphics and special effects with a sweet yet spiritual theme. 4 stars for this cute family oriented film. 



Brazil (1985)  

A bureaucrat in a dystopian future world tries to correct an administrative error and becomes a wanted man.

This is an incredible film – for its plot, visuals and creativity. Wonderful to watch, it really is a must see for any sci-fi aficionado; and anyone for that matter. Highly recommended at 4.5 stars!  


Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain (1971)  

In this classic book turned movie, scientists must stop a deadly alien virus before it can spread.

Low tech and very intriguing, this is an extremely well done movie considering when it was made, and is another must see. 3.5 stars is our rating for this classic movie.  


the man who fell to earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth  (1976)  

A heart-breaking movie about an alien who travels to Earth to send back water for his dying planet.

With a surreal feel and well done makeup, David Bowie stars in this great movie. It is one of the movies which Shellie holds responsible for her love of science fiction. An excellent, low tech classic, it is a must view for everyone at 4.5 stars.

the children

The Children (2008)

Set in the UK, a vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn against their parents.

Although more horror than science fiction – there is an element which puts this into the genre, since it appears that this is a disease that is spread from body fluids. John liked this film, Shellie thought it was okay so we will designate it a balance between the two ratings at 3.5 stars.

Books with Linked Reviews:


  1. Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 ~ edited by Kevin J. Anderson (This book contained 9 sci fi shorts and poems.) 
  2. Electric Ant ~ by Philip K. Dick (adapted by David Mack; illustrated by Pascal Aline) (GN, SF, C)
  3. Trouble and Her Friends ~ by Melissa Scott (SF)
  4. Wither (Chemical Garden Trilogy # 1) ~ by Lauren DeStefano (YA,SF)
  5. Delirium ~ by Lauren Oliver (SF,YA)
  6. In Other Worlds (audio) ~ by Margaret Attwood
  7. Feed (audio) ~ by M. T. Anderson
  8. Lament for Lost Atlanta” ~ by Arlan Andrews

(16 books, novelettes, novellas, short stories, and poems.)


  1. The Revisionists ~ by Thomas Mullen
  2. The Immortality Virus ~ by Christine Amsden
  3. Fleet of Worlds ~ by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
  4. The Windup Girl ~ by Paolo Bacigalupi
  5. Matter (book #8 in the Culture series) ~ by Iain M. Banks
  6. The Time Machine ~ by H. G. Wells
  7. Robopocalypse ~ by Daniel H. Wilson
  8. WWW:Wonder (#3) ~ by Robert J. Sawyer
  9. All the Lives He Led ~ by Frederik Pohl
  10. WWW:Watch (#2) ~ by Robert J. Sawyer
  11. Variable Star ~ by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson
  12. The Healers (The Aesculapians, Book One) ~ by Thomas Heric
  13. Home Fires ~ by Gene Wolfe
  14. WWW:Wake (#1) ~ by Robert J. Sawyer
  15. The Metalmark Contract ~ by David Batchelor (not reviewed)

(15 books)

Here’s to another year and a bunch more intriguing and thought-provoking reads, movie views, and more all within one of our favorite genres – Science Fiction!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: In Other Worlds (Audio) ~ by Margaret Atwood

in other worlds

Review by Shellie for: In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (Audio) ~ by Margaret Atwood (read by the author and Susan Denaker)

An intriguing literary critique and more, by Margaret Atwood, based around science fiction. It’s for book lovers as well as fans of the author and the genre.

About:  This audio version of In Other Worlds is a catalog of Margaret Atwood’s relationship with science fiction and contains a number of her unpublished lectures including those titled “Flying Rabbits”, “Dire Cartographies”, and “Burning Bushes”. In the lectures she gives examples of the books which are important to her and her perspective around science fiction and more – how each book she describes affected her development, its place in history, and how it helped to create the genre as we see it today. Also included are her personal, respectable, and well thought out definitions for the sub and overlapping genres within the broad scope of speculative literature and science fiction. At the end of the book are two short stories written by the author and read by Susan Deneaker.

Thoughts:  I devoured this short read/listen, since I adore anything sci-fi and books about books. It was a complete pleasure for me. Atwood has some intriguing ideas about what the genre of science fiction is all about, especially for me considering my obsession with defining genres. That Atwood goes into depth was helpful since I learned many things from this book, which for me is what it’s all about. I now have other ways of referencing and categorizing a book.

I am certain that this is not a book for everyone, however, I would recommend it as a must read for any serious science fiction geek. It’s also good for the reference shelf since it contains loads of information on classics, and of course those interesting “speculative” genre definitions that she has provided. In my opinion it’s a great listen. I will be purchasing a paper copy for my personal library. I give this terrific nonfiction book - a big 4 stars.

In Other Worlds - SF and the Human Imagination; Edition: Unabridged; read by Margaret Atwood and Susan Denaker; 8 hours, 28 minutes; Oct  2011; Signal.

Bio: Born in Ottawa in 1939, she grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She got an undergraduate degree from University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College. Atwood writes poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction. Some of her novels include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), The Blind Assassin (Booker Prize 2000), Oryx and Crake (2003), and  The Year of the Flood (2009). For more info go to her website - http://www.margaretatwood.ca/ and/or follow her on twitter where she has over 100,000 readers https://twitter.com/#!/MargaretAtwood

This is my last catch up book review for those books completed in 2011. Yee ha! It will be included in a number of challenges for that year.

Have a great Saturday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giveaway: Young Adult Paranormal Activity Hop ~ Feb. 24th to 28th


Welcome to the Young Adult Paranormal Activity Giveaway Hop ~ February 24th to 28th.

Hosted by vvb32 reads and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer; this hop features giveaways of Paranormal Young Adult Books (ghosts, werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc.)

We have one book on offer for an international address. To enter you must follow the blog and complete the Google form included below.

(To access our host’s site click on the badge to the left.)

Now for a bit about the book:  The Darkening Dream ~ by Andy Gavin (December 2011)

As the Nineteenth Century gives way to the Twentieth, modern scienceFront_Cover_TDD_3.32_web and steel girders leave little room for the supernatural. But in dark corners the old forces still gather. God, demon, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs in Andy Gavin’s chilling debut, The Darkening Dream.

1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.

With the help of Alex, a Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to Salem’s brutal factory workrooms, on a clandestine maritime mission, and down into their foe’s nightmarish crypt. But they aren’t prepared for the terrifying backlash that brings the fight back to their own homes and families. Can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father help protect them? And what do Sarah’s darkening visions reveal?

No less than the Archangel Gabriel’s Horn, destined to announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling conflict is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be herself.

Requirements are:

  1. Be a reader/follower to enter this contest.
  2. Fill out the Google form.

You have several options to become a follower/reader:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.) or
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed - add me as a friend. or
  3. Your Email Box.

Other optional ways of “following/friending” or keeping up to date:

  1. Twitter (I will follow back, if your account is not protected.)
  2. Feed Reader.

Please enter via the Google document:

This hop and the giveaway is now closed. More are coming very soon!

Review: Feed ~ by M. T. Anderson

feed mp3

Review by Shellie: Feed (audio) ~ by M. T. Anderson (read by David Aaron Baker)

A young adult dystopian that sounds so realistic in the audio version that it’s frightening. Funny and heartbreaking, it will help readers think about what our world could become if capitalistic advertising is allowed to run wild in combination with technology.

About:   It appears that Titus is a regular teenager, the only difference is that in his world everyone has a “feed” implanted in their brain. It transmits constant personalized ads into their vision and auditory senses, including a way to keep in constant contact with anyone at anytime. It’s responsible for the fact that actual reading has become a thing of the past, since all communications are voice and thought activated via the “feed”. Sadly, also in this world the oceans are toxic, sterile, and no fish exist all in response to their rampant consumerism.

It's all too normal for Titus and his friends. As they party, take trips to the moon, and ingest the occasional mind altering substance, they lead their “normal lives” with a “party on attitude”. However, this world view is about to change when Titus meets a girl named Violet who is very different from anyone he knows. He begins to realize that, along with all the teen fun and games, there is an underlying angst and horror which they are all trying desperately to ignore and marginalize.

Thoughts:  I enjoyed listening to this book in audio, with its well done and interesting sound effects. Told in first person by Titus, it’s coupled with their future version of “teen speak”. I dare you not to go around calling friends and family members “Unit” instead of “Dude” or other current young adult colloquialism. There was a romantic element to the story which is told from the guy’s perspective which I enjoyed. With a realistic ending that is not your “drive into the sunset” cliché. There are a good number of interesting science based elements in addition to the implant – including cloning and hover cars, however the best bit is how the actual feed sounds in this audio version that I think is particularly brilliant.

I enjoyed this novel in audio and would recommend it for any teen (adult too) who enjoys a good dystopian. I could even imagine using the written version within the classroom as a modern day trade out for 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, or perhaps in tandem with required high school readings; giving a fresher perspective to the classics. I give this audio version a 4 stars, since in addition to the author’s creative technological ideas which are a key to the book, the reader and audio producer have also contributed to create a darkly funny and all to realistic “listen”.

Publication Data: Audio Edition: Unabridged; Listening Library - May 27, 2006 5 hours, 1 minute; Awards for the audio version: Best Audiobooks – Audiophile.

The print version was first published in 2002 and won various awards. For example it was the finalist for the 2002 National Book Award, Young People's Literature, Honor book for the 2003 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award (in the fiction category).

This audio book was read in 2011 and its original review was lost in the “Gremlin Attack”- where I lost my hard drive. It’s also included in several 2011 challenges. The Basic Challenge, Dystopian Challenge, The 42 – Science Fiction Challenge.

I have enjoyed a number of young-adult dystopian novel last year in 2011, and am thinking to move on into the adult section. Got any recommendations for favorite adult dystopias anyone?


Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: The Whisperer ~ by Donato Carrisi


Review by Shellie for: The Whisperer ~ by Donato Carrisi

A translated Italian crime fiction novel, that’s another thrilling read for the fans of this popular and immerging genre. A very dark psychological read, with a paranormal element, which is not for the faint of heart, or stomach.

About:  Six children’s arms are found in a desolate wooded area and the police are distraught, wondering where are the rest of the girls’ bodies? Half assuming they are all dead, it turns out that one may still be alive. The local police team is in a panic to find the living girl (or her body) and to capture the perpetrator who has done this horrific crime, before another child goes missing.

Mila Vasquez, the main protagonist and profiler, has a gift. She has the ability to locate and save live abductees. Naturally, she is brought in to help find this missing girl. And this is only the beginning of a convoluted chase, which includes insights into the darker elements of human nature and inside the lives of the damaged professionals, who are dealing with a child-preying, twisted, yet intelligent killer.

Thoughts:  This is dark, very dark. If you do not like reading about pedophiles then don’t read this book. Conversely, If you love translated crime novels and can stomach some gore then this is a book for you. You will get loads of entertainment here in this intelligent page-turning book while at the edge of your seat.

I have not read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I imagine fans of that novel will also enjoy The Whisperers. The book is definitely literary with writing that is involved, and it’s also a fabulous translation. The psychological insight is enlightening and the story line is convoluted enough to keep one guessing, which is so very important in a book like this. I also liked that the story line contains a slight paranormal element giving it even more of an eerie feel.

The characters are complex and will surprise. Mila’s past and future are linked inextricably with the story line and she is deeply emotionally scarred. So is her impromptu partner, and readers will not realize how lost some of the characters are until close to the very end.

An amazing début, it’s an intriguing, involved, intelligent crime novel that I enjoyed quite a lot, so I think it deserves 4 stars. I was particularly pleased with the ending since it was surprising and gut wrenching - and the reader will finally find out who and what a “whisperer” is. Scary stuff!

January 2012; Mulholland Books (first published January 2009.)

To see more about the book, take a look at our ~ Incoming Books post that includes it.

Bio:  Donato Carrisi was born in 1973 and studied law and criminology. Since 1999 he has been working as a TV screenwriter. The Whisperer, Carrisi’s first novel, won him five international literary prizes, has been sold in nearly twenty territories and has been translated into languages as varied as French, Danish, Hebrew and Vietnamese. Carrisi lives in Rome.

Publishing Perspectives asks: which country is the next “big thing” in crime fiction? Join the conversation.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Guest Post by Adam Baker: author of Juggernaut

adam baker

Guest post: Adam Baker - author of Juggernaut.

Released on February 16th, Juggernaut is an action packed horror zombie novel that is a standalone pre-quel to his first book, Outpost. (See more about the books at the bottom of this post.)

Interestingly in this post, Adam writes for us about why he thinks zombie/apocalyptic books are so popular, especially today - which I have wondered myself. What is it that brings us to want to read about mass destruction?

He has some intriguing thoughts in this short post. Welcome Adam!

Desolation Row

People sometimes ask me why zombie stories are so popular. The Walking Dead graphic novels have been turned into a hit TV show. Brad Pitt is currently filming World War Z. So what gives? Why does apocalyptic fiction seem to dominate popular consciousness?juggernaut

Well, let’s not overlook the obvious. Doomsday carnage lends itself to CGI. Big budget Hollywood movies are sold, round the world, on spectacle. Collapsing skyscrapers are equally popular in Johannesburg, Osaka, Santiago. Call it the Esperanto of Armageddon.

But there is more going on beneath the surface. Something about the imagery of cities gone to ruin seems to capture the spirit of the times.

Let me pick an example.

Desolate suburbs. Lawns, mailboxes and drive-ways reduced to tumbleweed desolation.

The exploration of deserted homes has become a reoccurring motif of Walking Dead, spooky sequences which emphasises the Marie Celeste quality of middle-class houses suddenly evacuated by cataclysm.

These zombie-stricken suburbs echo the real-life landscape of mass foreclosure.

Following the collapse of the US mortgage bubble, entire communities were wiped out. Streets were depopulated by bankruptcies, left padlocked and boarded. US news channels have chronicled the aftermath of mass displacement; Ballardian tales of urban foragers: impoverished families harvesting food from the over-grown gardens of their evicted neighbours.

There is wide-spread unease through-out the western world. A sense that the consumer-driven, debt-fuelled faux-prosperity of the past couple of decades has been replaced by long-term austerity. Apocalyptic imagery of empty streets and deserted homes reflects the anxieties of a large section of the audience. Fear of poverty. Fear of downward mobility. Fear that change is coming and our old lives could soon be swept away.

Wow that was dark! Thank you Adam.

Juggernaut ~ by Adam Baker; Hodder & Stoughton; February 16th 2012. 

Blurb for Juggernaut:     Iraq 2005. Seven mercenaries journey deep into the desert in search of Saddam's gold. They form an unlikely crew of battle-scarred privateers, killers and thieves, veterans of a dozen war zones, each of them anxious to make one last score before their luck runs out. They will soon find themselves marooned among ancient ruins, caught in a desperate battle for their lives, confronted by greed, betrayal, and an army that won't stay dead...

outpost cover - Copy

Blurb for Outpost:    They took the job to escape the world. They didn't expect the world to end. Kasker Rampart: a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean. A skeleton crew of fifteen fight boredom and despair as they wait for a relief ship to take them home. But the world beyond their frozen wasteland has gone to hell. Cities lie ravaged by a global pandemic. One by one TV channels die, replaced by silent wavebands. The Rampart crew are marooned. They must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone. They battle starvation and hypothermia, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way..

See John’s review of Outpost from September 2011.

Bio:   Adam was born in 1969. He is the son of a Gloucestershire priest. He studied Theology and Philosophy in London. He has worked as a gravedigger, a mortuary attendant, a short order cook in a New York diner, and fixed slot machines in an Atlantic City casino. He is currently employed as a cinema projectionist. He was also a close neighbour of serial killer Fred West. His post-apocalyptic thriller Outpost is published in the United Kingdom by Hodder. http://darkoutpost.blogspot.com/

Hodder has just launched an online Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror community:


Oliver Johnson, Associate Publisher there says:    ‘From the days of Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert and early Stephen King, Hodder has long been associated with the very best science fiction and horror. Hodderscape represents our commitment to engaging with readers of genre fiction and hearing their voices and sharing with them our enjoyment of all the marvellous new books that Hodder are publishing in the coming months.’ 

Follow via: http://www.facebook.com/hodderscape; @Hodderscape

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: The Pale Horseman ~ by Bernard Cornwell

Pale Horseman

Review by John for: The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories #2) ~ by Bernard Cornwell

A typical Cornwell historical action thriller – this one is set in medieval England during the struggles between the Saxons and the Vikings, with Alfred the Great playing a central role.

About:  Danish Vikings have taken over much of the land which will eventually come to be known as England. The last major hold-out is in Wessex in the southwest, where Saxons under Alfred have managed to keep the Danes at bay. But Alfred is not a natural warrior; he is more of an educated scholar who is devoutly Christian and believes that God will help him to defeat the pagan Danes. To the dismay of his fighting Lords, after gaining the upper hand militarily he seeks to negotiate with the Danes rather than drive home the military advantage. An uneasy peace ensues.

Uhtred is a fierce Saxon noblemen who has played a key role in the latest victory over the Danes, but he remains an outsider in Alfred’s court – for he is from Northumbria and not Wessex, and has no time for the church, preferring instead the old Norse gods. It does not help that after being dispossessed of his heritage, he was brought up for a time by the Danes and feels an affinity for them. Now Uhtred is outraged that his exploits are not recognized, but in making his case he creates some powerful enemies among the Saxons and the church, and manages to further distance himself from Alfred. Uhtred longs for the friendships he made among the Danes and dreams of taking back his land in Northumbria.

In time the Danes break the truce and after a surprise attack manage to take over most of Wessex, driving Alfred to take refuge in a remote swampy region. Uhtred unwittingly finds himself as Alfred’s guardian and has to question where his loyalties truly lie. Alfred’s situation seems totally hopeless – why should Uhtred help him and how could they possibly defeat the Danish hordes?

John’s Thoughts:  Just over two years ago I read my first Cornwell novel. It was set during the Hundred Years War and I thoroughly enjoyed it (link to review for Agincourt), so much so that I quickly followed up with another of his novels set during the same period (link to review for The Archer’s Tale). I do try to spread my reading around for a bit so decided to have a break from Cornwell for a while. Then, recently, I found a second-hand copy of The Pale Horseman for a few cents in a “charity shop” so decided it was time to renew my Cornwell reading.

What was it like? It is full of all of those things I’d come to expect from him – a solid foundation of real historical events and people, a sense of realism which seems to come from thorough historical research, an exciting storyline and lots of “blood and thunder” gory action. What’s not to like?

I’d have to say that on balance I did prefer my two previous Cornwell reads; nonetheless this was still fun and enjoyable. I think the thing is that the hero in this book seemed just a little bit too much of a superhero for my liking – he had his ups and downs for sure, but in the fights and battle scenes (which Cornwell does so well) you just knew that Uhtred is going to win out whatever the odds. But maybe I’m carping too much; in books like this you kind of know what to expect. After all you know the hero is going to win somehow, and as there is a solid foundation of real history you mostly know the outcome of the background story arc.

Apart from it being a fun read, one thing I did particularly like about this book was that I learned quite a bit about a period in English history that was something of a mystery to me. The dark ages after the fall of the Roman Empire were pretty chaotic, and this novel sheds light on some of the comings and goings of the Britons, the Saxons and the Vikings. It’s a period which seems to be underrepresented in good fiction novels. Anyhow, I’m now a bit more up-to-date on my heritage!

I’d rate this book 3.5 stars, and I’d strongly recommend it to anyone interested in historic fiction, life during the dark ages, or anyone who enjoys a good action read.

The Pale Horseman (#2); New York : Harper, 2007, c2006death of kings

The Saxon stories:

  1. The Last Kingdom
  2. The Pale Horseman
  3. The Lords of the North
  4. Sword Song
  5. The Burning Land
  6. Death of Kings

The latest in the series is Death of Kings; Originally published: London; HarperCollins, 2011.

Bio:  Bernard Cornwell was born in London, England, in February 1944. He was a producer for the BBC, became head of current affairs for BBC-TV in Northern Ireland, and was an editor of TV news for Thames Television in London. He came to the United States in 1980, where he has been a freelance writer living with his wife on Cape Cod. http://www.bernardcornwell.net/

Interested in recent yet ancient historical finding based around Saxons?  Check out the largest hoard ever found of Anglo-Saxon gold. John and I had the pleasure of visiting one of the locations of display for this very old gold, close to where the treasure was found.

Linking to the website will give you a feel for some of the amazing artwork these people created, more than a thousand years ago. Even though it looks big in the pictures these ancient gold pieces are actually quite small and very intricate. For loads of pictures and more historical information visit the Staffordshire Hoard website: http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: A Long Long Sleep ~ by Anna Sheehan

a long long sleep

Review by Shellie for: A Long Long Sleep (ARC and Audio) ~ by Anna Sheehan

A young adult science fiction novel that examines some of the moral issues around the ability to put humans to sleep for extended periods of time.

About:  Rosalinda (Rose) has been in “stas” (chemically induced sleep inside a tube) for 62 years. She was “forgotten” in a basement and awakes to a world very different from the one she left. Of course she doesn’t quite fit in. Understandably Rosalinda is weak, thin, and has difficulties relating to other teens because her mannerisms and language are old-fashioned.

Even more complicated is that there appears to be an unknown force that is stalking her and wants her dead. Rosalinda does not quite understand why and also doubts her perceptions that it could actually be happening. As she discovers who she really is and attempts to capture the heart of her “not so available prince charming” (there is a thin thread linking it to the fairy-tale sleeping beauty), the reasons become clear as to why she has remained asleep for so many years. Worse yet, perhaps it was not a mistake.

Thoughts:  First I want to mention that I particularly liked this little snippet from the book. It is where the main character Rose is conversing via a tablet of sorts to a friend, which allows a form of texting. She is asking this genetically altered male Otto (who has blue skin) about his girl friend Nabiki:

Is Nabiki interesting?

Very. She has many layers of thought. Which is why she can feel hostility and sympathy for you at the same time. ~ page 105

It was really fun to read a novel that has the blog name in it!

Interestingly, I read the first half of this book from Net Galley in its ARC ebook format. I finished it in audio which is the cover you see above. I also took a look at a paper copy and read several chapters that way too. I liked seeing the differences in the versions and will have to say that I enjoyed the first half of the novel in the ARC format the most. The published version had been changed a bit from the ARC and the audio version had a reader which presented Rosalinda as depressed, and whiney. I understand why this characteristic was used to depict her, however, it is one that I did not like listening to in audio.

All in all this book is one of the meatier young adult dystopian books that I read during the 2011 year. I liked that it had real science as a basis for the world’s technological advancements and that the author addresses some interesting issues, moral and legal, around the ability to be able to put someone to “sleep” for long periods of time. Most importantly and unusually she addresses what may happen when the sleeping beauty does not get the so called prince.

I give this young adult book 3.5 stars. I liked it a lot and wonder how it would have felt if I had completed the ARC version in the time allotted with the expire-able version. Conversely, reading these several versions made me curious about the differences between them and why publishers and editors make the changes they do.

Bio:  Anna Sheehan’s A Long Long Sleep is her first novel. She lives in rural Oregon. For more information link to her website.  http://annasheehan.com/

Audio Edition Stats: Unabridged; read by Angela Dawe; Publisher: Brilliance Audio; 9 hours, 8 minutes; Release date: Aug 2011

This book was read mostly in 2011 and completed in 2012. It will be included in the Basics Challenge where I explore speculative fiction, and where I really need to update with a post for both blogs… sheesh!

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, love, love, love: “Bracelets of Fingers” ~ by The Pretty Things

S.F. Sorrow is the title of the fourth LP by the British rock group The Pretty Things. Released in 1968, it was absolutely panned by the media. This is the second song on the album, called “Bracelets of Fingers”, which celebrates love. For more information click on the live Wikipedia link above or go to: http://www.theprettythings.net/

Here are the first lines of the song:


These are a few of the things I find joy, bracelets of fingers since I was a boy.

Fly to the moon and I’ll get there quite soon, if I wait a while.

Cradled in branches that stretch out their arms, I must wait awhile.

This is one of our favorite LPs and the fact that it’s obscure and nobody liked it back then, makes it even more intriguing. The entire album tells the life story of one man, and has some speculative elements to the story line.

If you are a Beatles fan you will probably love this album. It’s of the same era and has a similar tone to later Beatles records. In places it also has an early “Yes-ish” quality with that psychedelic feel that was so popular during the late 60’s. Give this song a listen; we hope you enjoy it. If you do, seek out the S.F. Sorrow album. It really is quite wonderful.

All the best wishes for a fabulous Valentine’s day!

**Please note: The song box many not appear in everyone’s email or browser. If not please stop by the blog and have a listen and let us know what you think.**

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: The First Days ~ by Rhiannon Frater

the first days

Review by Shellie for: The First Days (As the World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy #1) ~ by Rhiannon Frater

A zombie story, with just enough gore to keep you at the edge of your seat. It has an amazing opening which will suck readers in…. zombie baby fingers grasping hungrily under a door!

About:   Set in Texas, where characters have easy access to firearms, there is plenty of shooting- especially with survivors attempting to remain alive and zombies searching for their preferred food. Jenni and Katie the main protagonists, are thrown together because their world has collapsed. As they run from the growing hordes that are starving for their flesh, they become friends fast, sharing a similar loss of loved ones. On a mission to find Jenni’s teenage step son they stumble upon a refuge - a group of individuals who have created a walled community. In their attempt to make the area safe against the hungry hordes, there is ample room for all sorts of conflict (internal and external) as the compound’s residents try to create a relatively safe environment.

Thoughts:   Rhiannon Frater has a very down to earth writing style which is easy to get lost in, making The First Days a page turning novel. It is the first in a trilogy which was serialized by the author online, later self published, then recently picked up by Tor for traditional publishing - understandably a dream come true for Frater. With psychological insight into the feelings of her characters and a diverse character range (one main character is lgbt), this story has some interesting twists. I liked the two relatable main characters with their strength and feistiness; a favorite kind of female protagonist for me.

A word of warning though. Like much horror that is effective, it has some rough language. Not much but some. There is a lighter side too, with some romance (light sexual references) and plenty of brain exploding gore for a zombie-loving fan base. This is an apocalyptic story with a monster that is a bit faster than your standard moan, groan and limp kind. They run at 30 miles per hour giving the survivors a bit more to worry about. And apparently they are learning too, all of which leaves loads of room for some heart pounding action scenes.

This was my third zombie book ever, I enjoyed it. It’s a 3.5 stars in my opinion and I am looking forward to reading what happens to theses poor souls stuck in this compound trying to get by in a world that has turned to hell; and where they are on the menu. I am suspecting that it will not end well.

fighting to survive

The First Days (As the World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy #1) ~ July 2011; Tor Books; (first published August 2008)

Fighting to Survive (#2)  ~ November 2011; (first published February 2009)

The First Days and Fighting to Survive, have won the Dead Letter Award for Best Novel from Mail Order Zombie. The First Days was named one of the Best Zombie Books of the Decade by the Harrisburg Book Examiner.


Seige (#3) ~ has an expected publication of April 2012.

Bio:  Rhiannon Frater is a Texan. Working as a governmental consultant and traveling for her job, she started writing this trilogy as an online serial, later she self published, then the trilogy was picked up by Tor. The Last in the series is to be published in late Spring 2012. She is also the author of more zombie stories and several vampire tales. She is now a full time writer. http://www.rhiannonfrater.com


Aren’t these covers terrific?  Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Incoming Books ~ February 10th, 2012

Stack of thick encyclopedias against red background

Incoming Books ~ February 10th, 2012

Love, Love, Love. It’s that season again, and don’t you just love books?  Yep, we do too!  So here to share is our latest and greatest incoming books all set up and ready to go. Included are the covers, shortened publisher’s book blurbs, and basic stats for the books so that you can choose; and I ask the question of the day:

Which of these “lovely” book(s) would you read first?


Macmillan | Tor Booksamong others

 Among Others ~ by Jo Walton; paperback edition; Tor Books; January 2012.   In Wales, Morwenna played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Sent to boarding school in England, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off….

Published in 2011 now in paperback this book has fairies.

broken land


The Broken Land  (Vol 3 of People of the Longhouse and Vol 19 of North America’s Forgotten Past) ~ by Kathleen O’Neal Great and W. Michael Gear; Tor Books; January 2012.  Twelve summers after the events of The People of the Longhouse and The Dawn Country, the Iroquois nations remain locked in bitter warfare. Atotarho, the cannibal-sorcerer who leads the People of the Hills, schemes to set into motion a cataclysmic battle that threatens to destroy the Iroquoian world.



Tribulations ~ by Ken Shufeldt; Tor Books; January 2012.  The world has ended…. The war is only beginning.  An asteroid storm has obliterated the Earth. Billy and Linda West have built enough space-going arks to save a small number of people who now roam the void in search of a new home. Desperate to find a safe haven, Billy makes a dangerous attempt to exceed the speed of light. When his plans go terribly wrong, the Wests’ severely-damaged ship is separated from the fleet and left drifting near a mysterious planet.


Misc. Publishers



Switched (A Trylle Novel – volume 1) ~ by Amanda Hocking (ARC); St. Martin's Griffin; January 2012; Age: 12 and up.  When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening.  And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…

last storyteller


The Last Storyteller: A Novel of Ireland ~ by Frank Delaney; Random House; February 2012.  The national mood is downtrodden; poverty, corruption, and an armed rebellion rattle the countryside, and although Ben wants no part of the upstart insurrection along the northern border, he unknowingly falls in with an IRA sympathizer and is compromised into running guns. Yet despite his perilous circumstances, all he can think about is finding his former wife and true love.

A standalone that is also the third in a trilogy - the first two in the series are Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, and The Matchmaker of Kenmare.

white horse


White Horse ~ by Alex Adams; (ARC); Atria/Emily Bestler Books; April 2012.    The first book in a trilogy, it’s a post-apocalyptic thriller.

Thirty-year-old Zoe wants to go back to college. That’s why she cleans cages and floors at GeneTech. If she can keep her head down, do her job, and avoid naming the mice she’ll be fine. Her life is calm, maybe even boring, until the end of the world when the President of the United States announces that humans are no longer a viable species. AfterTheFall_Bookpge


After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall ~ Nancy Kress; (ARC); Tachyon Publications; March 2012.   In the year 2035, all that is left of humanity lives in the Shell. After ecological disasters have nearly destroyed the Earth, twenty-six survivors are imprisoned in a sterile enclosure built by an alien race. Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the six children who were born in the Shell. Though he possesses birth defects common to the Six, including sterility, Pete is resolved to lead humanity to a new beginning.




The Infernal Republic ~ by Marshall Moore; Signal 8 Press; February 2012.   A lonely demon in a remote corner of Hell oversees a divine but rigged typing contest. A sentient house in San Francisco decides to become vacant once again -by any means necessary. A supernatural first date in Hong Kong goes hysterically, horribly awry.  This is a collection of short fiction from Marshall Moore, comprising stories published between 2003 and 2009.




Revealing Eden (Save The Pearls – part 1) ~ by Victoria Foyt; Sand Dollar Press Inc; January 2012.    Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with blond hair, blue-eyes? In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to the overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden’s coloring brands her as a weak and ugly.




The Darkening Dream ~ by Andy Gavin; Mascherato; January 2012.    1913, Salem, Massachusetts; Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a corpse, she fears that her vision was a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.

 all there is

All There Is ~ by Dave Isay; The Penguin Press; February 2012.  A celebration of love from StoryCorps. Founder Dave Isay shares stories of love and marriage from the revolutionary oral history project, revealing the many and remarkable paths that relationships can take. From the excitement and anticipation of courtship to the deep connection of lifelong commitment, we discover that love is found in the most unexpected of places. See my review for All There Is.


the way


The Way ~ by Kristen Wolf; Crown Publishing Group; July 2011.   Anna is a tomboy living in ancient Palestine whose androgynous appearance provokes the people around her and doubt within her heart. When tragedy strikes her family, and Anna's father sells her to a band of shepherds, she is captured by a mystical and secret society of women. At first Anna is tempted to escape, but she soon finds that the sisterhood's teachings and healing abilities, wrapped in an ancient philosophy they call "The Way," have unleashed power within her.

I can’t believe this is our first incoming books for the year of 2012. Goodness…

You know we “love” to hear which of these new books you would pick up and read. Please do tell:  Which would you read first?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Guest Post: Spencer Seidel ~ author of Lovesick

Spencer Seidel

Guest post from Spencer Seidel ~ the author of Lovesick.

We have a short snippet which will give you a bit of the flavor of Spencer Seidel’s writing style and thinking processes. Just in case your interested in reading his  book Lovesick

He writes for us about what it is that terrifies him the most - including some of the books which have had the most influence on him when writing horror. Which is interesting since this latest book is a tad on the scary side, and good fun for “the love season”.

Let’s welcome Spencer!

  The Boogey Man

Do you remember the first book that deeply scared the living crap out of you? I sure do.

I started reading scary fiction when I was about thirteen years old. I think the first was Christine by Stephen King. You'd think that would have done the trick. It was a clovesickreepy book, one of his creepiest. But his stuff never scares me. It fascinates me and delights me, but does it scare me? Not so much. Same goes for Dean Koontz, Bentley Little, and on and on. Fiction just doesn't creep me out. Except in one case. I'll get to that in a minute.

No, what scares me are real people and real events. Bad people doing bad things. Like Charlie Manson and his gang of creeps. When I first started thinking about this post, I was tempted to pick the book Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. That book terrified me when I was in high school. There was something truly horrifying about the Tate and LaBianca murders and the disgusting amalgam of sex and violence that poisoned the minds of all who followed Manson.

High up on the list for the same reason was a book about Ted Bundy I'd read once. It might have been The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. One theme that (mostly unintentionally) appears frequently in my writing is secrets. Everyone keeps their secrets--perhaps you have an odd fetish or pick your nose or can't resist smelling your own BO like that character on Saturday Night Live. Usually, these little quirks are harmless. But sometimes they're not. What if your boyfriend's little secret is that he has a growing fascination with the idea of raping and killing women of a certain type? That's a truly terrifying concept to me. Worse is that it actually happened!

The scariest book I ever mostly read--I didn't finish it--was called Hunting Humans. I don't know who wrote it, and I'd bet that it's no longer in print. I found it in a bookstore I used to frequent in Washington, DC when I was in college. From what I remember, it was basically a graphic accounting of the deeds of various serial killers, complete with crime-scene photos. I remember reading the first few chapters and realizing that I'd scared myself silly, perhaps irreversibly. Reading it made me feel ugly and dirty. On a one-off basis and certainly in fiction, I can handle reading about a serial killer. But this book just hit me over the head with it again and again and again and jostled some previously suppressed nugget of terror loose in my mind. A few minutes after putting it down and trying desperately to distract myself with something else, I realized that I didn't even want it in my room. It had that much power over me. I threw it away. There was one crime-scene photo in particular that haunts me to this day--suffice it to say, it was a picture of a man shot in the head. Like Forrest Gump says, "That's all I have to say about that."

I guess I should give honorable mention here to one piece of what must be about 99% fiction: The Amityville Horror. A controversial book, it is nonetheless responsible for my enduring phobia of old houses. Those glowing red window/eyes… Ack!

Thank your Spencer. I just “love” this “anti-Valentine’s day” theme.

Bio:   Spencer Seidel’s love of reading and writing began as a child after he discovered Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His first novel, Dead of Wynter, was published in 2011 and was well-received by critics and readers alike. When he’s not writing novels, Spencer enjoys playing loud rock guitar, something he’s been doing for over twenty-five years. http://www.spencerseidel.com/

To find out more about Lovesick, please take a look at our giveaway for Spencer Seidel’s novel. 

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giveaway and Guest Post: Nelle Davy ~ author of The Legacy of Eden


Guest post and giveaway from Nelle Davy, author of The Legacy of Eden.

We have a giveaway and guest post here, since so many readers are interested in getting an insider’s perspective on publishing. Here Nelle Davy shares a bit about her publication process.

Let’s welcome Nelle!

An Insider’s Look at the Publication Process

The only thing that surprised me during the publishing process was how hard I found it. Of course I knew what would happen, the pitfalls and the difficulties but going through it yourself is something else entirely. It is hard and horrible and personally cutting, especially as I was surrounded by a litany of authors either watching their own dreams come true or fall away.

legacy of eden

I also was determined that I would be published on my own merit and not because of who I knew or where I worked. Because of that I did not say where I worked in any of my submission letters and it was also partly why I wrote under my married name to separate me from my work life and that way if my manuscript was called in by an agent it was really because they wanted to read it and not because they were intrigued by who I worked for or what I did. Because of that however I had to experience what it was like coming up through the slush pile (the term publishers and agents give to unsolicited manuscripts) of which they get tons every single day. It was incredibly harsh.

It took me just under a year to get an agent and then 4 months to get a publisher so in total the process was 18 months. This is actually by no means the average. And it was also doubly awkward when publishers I was working with started rejecting my book. But I think things happen for a reason, because what I learned going through all that has made me kinder and more understanding to my own authors. It still does. I can really empathise with their worries and concerns but I have been incredibly lucky with my own publishers who have been nothing but enthusiastic and supportive throughout.

Thank you Nelle!

A bit about the author:  Nelle Davy was born in Grenada in 1984 and was raised in London within an Anglo-Caribbean family. She studied English with creative writing at the University of Warwick and then undertook a master of philosophy degree in creative writing at Trinity College Dublin. She currently lives in London with her husband, where she works in publishing. THE LEGACY OF EDEN is her first novel and she is currently working on her second. http://www.nelledavy.com/

Now for the giveaway:

We have one book up for offer for US and Canadian addresses.

The Legacy of Eden; MIRABooks; February 2012.

About the Book:  For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name—no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways—and the once-prosperous farm.

Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died—alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land or the memories.

Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name.

Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family…and her own part in their mottled history.

Requirements are:

  1. Be a reader/follower to enter this contest.
  2. Fill out the Google form.

You have several options:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.) or
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed - add me as a friend.

Other optional ways of “following/friending” or keeping up to date:

  1. Twitter (I will follow back, if your account is not protected.)
  2. Feed Reader.
  3. Your Email Box.

Please enter via the Google document:

Link via this text to a scavenger hunt which you can join in, and perhaps win a copy of The Legacy of Eden.

Have fun and good luck!

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