Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Quest for Nothing in Particular by Jonathan-David Jackson

The Quest for Nothing in Particular (Paranoia #3)The Quest for Nothing in Particular by Jonathan-David Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ron is still out there, causing mayhem, lurking and watching, stealing orange juice. Oscar knows it. Has always known it, even before the Red Fist tightened its grip on his small town. Even before all the madness that ensued after that fateful day when the mysterious man behind the cooler stole that bottle of Sunshine Juice right out from Oscar’s grasp. The day everything changed. The Quest for Nothing in Particular is the third and final volume of the Paranoia trilogy, and it’s just as eccentric, quirky and humorous as the first two.

The characters are memorable and unique, faulty and broken to an almost superhuman degree. In particular, I love how we really get into Oscar’s head. He’s exceedingly paranoid and knows it, but not everything is in his head. Even as Oscar struggles to separate reality from paranoid delusion, very real things continue to happen around him. Some so odd they are humorous, some quite disturbing. The mix is something I’ve enjoyed from the first book and has remained true through the end of this one.

The animal characters get their own spotlight in this one, and it’s quite fun. No, they aren’t talking animals, but they are just as charismatic and flawed as their human masters/friends are. Mr. Hodge will always be my favorite, but William the rat also steals the show in a surprising way.
And of course the mysterious villain, Ron, is he real? And, if so, what’s his beef with Oscar? These are questions this book finally answers and in a satisfyingly epic conclusion to one of the oddest quests I’ve ever read about.

Besides the characters, one more feature of this book must be mentioned: the footnotes. Yes, there are footnotes. But they aren’t the kind you write for college papers or the kind you see in non-fiction. They are a delightful distraction, tossed in wherever they happened to land in the story. A slow part, an epic battle, a romantic scene, no matter, there’s likely a footnote to lure you away to some odd, factual or even nonsensical tidbit. I make it a point to read them exactly when I come across them for best effect.

Overall, I loved this book as much as I did the first two. I’d definitely recommend it to people who like a humorous, quirky story with a bit of danger and a lot of fun. There’s some adult content, and while it pokes fun at some serious things, the underlying theme is one of accepting people, even when they are flawed.

I received the review copy of this book from the author in return for an honest, non-reciprocal review.



View all my reviews

Catch all three books here!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: Endless by Amanda Gray and Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman with Giveaway #T4T


T4T-Banner
Hello and welcome to the first Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we'll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
Endless by Amanda Gray and Boneseeker Brynn Chapman
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Endless-Cover
IN A RACE AGAINST TIME, HOW DO YOU KEEP THOSE YOU LOVE SAFE?
Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumbles on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought.

Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. 
When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has traveled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock -- and the Order -- the trio discovers a link that joins them in life -- and beyond death.
add to goodreads
Available for Purchase:
amazon  B&N
What Readers are Saying:
“I thought this book was pretty amazing – the characters, the setting and the adventure all came together to create this romantic yet ultimately dangerous story with a perfect time travel twist!”Hannah – Lemonade Library
“I started reading this not knowing completely what the story was about but there's an amazing love story as well as a bit of history thrown into the mix along with some time travel and a soul mate and reincarnation!” – Anna – Bound in Ink Books

“This book is a very interesting twist on time travel, history and romance, something I would love to see adapted on the big screen in the future.”
Lyn - Reading Tsinoy

Amanda Gray believes in magic and fantasy and possibilities. She is a team of two bestselling authors who live only miles apart but have never met in person. They talk on the phone and are the best of friends and between them have written more than a dozen novels and novellas and have had their work appear on television.


Boneseeker
Arabella Holmes was born different and raised different. After it became apparent she wouldn’t fit the role of a proper 1900′s lady, her father, Sherlock, called in some lingering favors, and landed her a position at the Mutter Museum. The museum was Arabella’s dream; she was to become a purveyor of abnormal science. What her father called a BoneSeeker. 
Henry Watson arrives at the Mutter Museum with a double assignment–to become a finder of abnormal antiquities and to watch over and keep Arabella Holmes. An easy task, if he could only get her to speak to him instead of throwing knives in his general direction. 
But this is no time for child’s play. The two teens are assigned to a most secret exploration, when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in upstate New York. Soon, Arabella and Henry are caught in a fight for their lives as scientific debate swirls around them. Are the bones from a Neanderthal … or are they living proof of fallen angels, who supposedly mated with humans according to ancient scrolls? 
Sent to recover the skeleton, they discover they are the second team to have been deployed and the entire first team is dead. And now they must trust their instincts and rely on one another in order to survive and uncover the truth.
add to goodreads
Available for Purchase:
amazon  B&N
What Readers are Saying:
“It was such a fab idea to take Holmes and Watson to the next generation and to have them on a kind of steampunk/ science adventure…”Nicky Peacock - Author
“This was a fantastic historical romance, with a huge mystery to solve (and in true Holmes/Watson style!)… with some amazing twists and turns along the way. – Desiree - Reviewer
“The settings are intriguing and the way they are described make you feel as if you are immersed in the story. I could feel the gloom and damp. That is rare in so many books! Boneseeker is a book I highly recommend, and I give it 5 stars!” Christy - Christy's Cozy Corners
Brynn Chapman
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.
Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

YA Review: True Calling by Siobhan Davis

True Calling (True Calling #1)True Calling by Siobhan Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A disaster has struck Earth and a small offshoot of the most fit and desirable people have been moved to an adjacent planet to start over. Young Ariana is one of the lucky few, happy and embracing her new life. But she's plagued by visions of a boy she doesn't know and the unwanted attentions of a boy she does, and now the leaders of Nova have imposed a new rule disguised under a reality TV show pageant.

First off, I love Ariana. She's interesting, without being whiny, and while she is skittish and mistrustful of the main love interest, I love how the relationship progresses. It was one of my favorite things about this book and was really well done. I got caught up in it. I also think the introduction of a potential love triangle was solid. Sometimes you wonder how someone can go from liking one person to liking another. That's answered in this story. What isn't answered is whom she will end up with. There's another installment, so I'm looking forward to that.

The author's writing style and the overall plot remind me of other YA stories I like, such as Hunger Games, but without the in-your-face violence. There is tragedy and danger, but it's a few degrees of separation away from the perspectives of the two main characters. Like David Estes' books, this one provides the name of the person from whose perspective the chapter (or section) is told. It doesn't bounce between the two often, but I love how glimmers of the other's goings on are sprinkled in. It's an interesting way to link the two and to move the story along and maintain the drive to turn that page one more time before bed.

That being said, the science part of this science fiction tale has some serious omissions and flaws. For a significant portion of the book, no, let's face it, for the entire book, I was caught up on the physics of having a large planet stationed 1200 miles away from Earth. This isn't a spoiler. It's in the description of the book. I had hoped that that was a typo, missing a zero or two, but it's very specifically and consistently stated throughout the book. Here's my beef with it. The moon is 238,000 miles from Earth. It affects our tides, and some folks even think it affects our moods. Assuming Nova is as big as the moon, one would also experience significant and noticeably less gravity on its surface. But, if the planet is as big in relation to Earth as it is on the book's cover, I would imagine that gravity on the surface would be the least of everyone's worries.

Now, add to that the fact that every single person, including the best and the brightest, has no problem with the idea of an actual planet being only 1200 miles away. I hoped that the location and the fact of the planet itself would be proven a lie, but the persistence of everyone believing it made me doubt that such a thing was in the works.

I didn't worry too much about the ESP and such, as I figure that's pretty much in the realm of fiction (or at least argued enough for some creative license). Plus, I dig a good book with some super, mind powers at work.

I also found a few parts confusing, or not quite thought out. There is technology monitoring the location of Nova's population. They are recorded and tracked. So, how can a secret rendezvous ever remain so, even if it happens to be in an undeveloped location. Wouldn't those watching notice someone traveling the same way and disappearing over and over? It doesn't say much for the characters in the book who don't think of this. I think teens are much smarter than that. I had hoped they would learn their lesson after a significant reminder or three of just how closely they are watched, but no.

So, overall, I love this book, despite the nearly constant pressing of my 'I believe' button. The romance, the suspense and the us vs. them of the story make it interesting and hard to put down, but those who like their science fiction to seem at least plausible, might find this one hard to swallow. Those who don't care about such things and are looking to lose themselves in a good YA story for a while will most definitely like this one.

I received the review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and feedback.

View all my reviews Find the book here on Amazon! And for good measure, here's Siobhan Davis' page on Amazon. Book 2 is already there.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Author Interview: Augustine Sam, Author of: "Take Back the Memory" & "Flashes of Emotion"

Today, I am excited to host an interview with Augustine Sam, author of Take Back the Memory & Flashes of Emotion.

Augustine Sam


PH: Hello and welcome to my blog. I'm interested in learning more about you and your work.
Augustine's first published book
AS:  Well, thank you for having me. My name is Augustine Sam; I am an Italian citizen of African descent. I’m a journalist by profession, a novelist by choice, and as I love to say, a poet by chance. I am a member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, formerly special desk editor at ThisDay newspapers, an authoritative third world daily, first published in collaboration with the Financial Times of London. I am the author of Take Back the Memory, a contemporary women’s fiction, recently awarded a 5-star seal by Readers’ Favorite. My poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence and Measures of the Heart. One of those poems, Anguish & Passion, was adjudged winner of the Editors’ Choice Award in the 1998 North America Open Poetry contest, sponsored by the National Library of Poetry, USA. And on Valentine’s Day this year, my complete collection of poems, Flashes of Emotion, was released.

PH: What do you like most about writing?
AS:  What I like most about writing is the opportunity to communicate with people everywhere (which is a big deal for someone who is as introverted as I am), and of course, the freedom to express my thoughts by way of prose or poetry. The truth is, the only time in my life that I really feel alive is when I am writing. 

PH: What sorts of things do you like reading? 
AS:  Actually I like reading all kinds of things, sometimes including even things that put me off. 

PH: What's your favorite book?
AS:  I have more than one favorite book. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, for example, is one. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, is another, and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, to mention just three. 

Augustine Sam in Italy
PH: When did you begin writing, or what inspired you to write your first book, first story, first poem, etc.?
AS:  I had a passion for writing when I was a kid. I remember that while some of my friends kept toys I kept piles of notebooks where I wrote short stories that I invented mainly for the pleasure of my two sisters who, by the way, were my first real fans and readers. Back then, we used to sit by the radio every Thursday evening and listen to the radio theater, which was very entertaining. One day, I told my sisters that I wanted to write a play for the radio. Mercifully, they didn’t dismiss it as an untenable dream. So, I converted one of my short stories into a play and took it to the radio station. The producer of the radio theater, who was used to receiving scripts from Theater Arts students and lecturers from the local university, tried her best to be polite, took the script from me and sent me home.
A week later, I went back to see her, half-expecting to be politely dismissed. I was pleasantly surprised when she told me that she had actually read and enjoyed the script and then scolded me for giving her a script with no phone number or a forwarding address attached. The next Thursday evening, when we sat by the radio and heard the words: “The Breaking Point, a play for radio, written by Augustine Sam,” my sisters and I just looked at one another and started screaming.
I think what inspired me to write was my first literature textbook in school, which coincidentally, was a novel set in the port city where I grew up. It was the story of a one-eyed, shabby, old man, who spent his days at the harbor contriving different kinds of mischief that enthralled the local population. I had seen him at the harbor a few times when I was a kid. So, reading about him in the literature textbook, triggered my fascination with storytelling and gave me a whole new insight into how the written word can actually capture reality.

PH: What was the scariest thing about publishing your first book?
AS:  I suppose the scariest thing was being told that “I had no name,” which in some ways, also explained the constant rejection, to the extent that what eventually became my ‘first published book’ was actually the last one I wrote. 

PH: If you could say one thing to a fledgling writer, what would you say?
AS:  Invent your style. Listen to everything but take only what is useful to you. Aim at the sky so you might hit the tallest tree. 

PH: Do you like to do anything unique to get in the mood to write?
AS:  Not really. I just light my pipe and listen to news bulletin on the radio and I’m good to go. 

PH: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work? (social media, buying links, etc.) 


Augustine's newest release
Social media:

Twitter handle: @austin_sam001
Facebook Page:   http://goo.gl/W7W1Ta
AuthorsDen: http://goo.gl/gsVNdG
Google+: http://goo.gl/yruj3D
Book trailer: http://goo.gl/2kt6td
Goodreads: http://goo.gl/AOY68S

Buying links:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/osU1VZ
Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/N6WXJ4
Google Play: http://goo.gl/qZaJsR
CreateSpace: http://goo.gl/XB59ea
Smashwords: http://goo.gl/7hwm6t
Lulu: http://goo.gl/KBLLRu

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Of Shadow & Stone by Michelle Muto


Today I'm sharing the link to the ARC review I wrote for Of Shadow & Stone by Michelle Muto on Pure Textuality. Here's a little bit about the book.

Release day: February, 24, 2015

Description
Gargoyles were created centuries ago to protect mankind, but something went horribly wrong. Now only the sentinel—a mortal chosen to control the stone beasts—stands between them and their human prey.

When the latest sentinel is killed, Kate Mercer is destined to take his place. But Kate has enough going on in her life—like a skyrocketing film career, a delusional ex-boyfriend, and a crazed stalker who will stop at nothing to get to her. But the powers that be have decided, and Kate is transported to Shadow Wood, a mysterious castle that serves as a sanctuary for the supernatural. Although beautiful, Shadow Wood is no safe place for a mere mortal. Yet Kate is drawn not only to the gargoyles but also to Ian McGuire, a charming novelist who might be in the greatest danger of all.

As Kate decides whether to accept the most perilous role of her life, she discovers there are more secrets than answers within the castle’s walls. Her survival and Ian’s depend on her ability to master the gargoyles before time runs out. Is fate really cast in stone?


Read my review here on the Pure Textuality blog, and while you're there, check out the other bookish news and reviews.