Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hardy Belch and Tiny Return by William G. Bentrim

Title: Hardy Belch and Tiny Return

Author: William G. Bentrim

Published: Bearly Tolerable Publications, 2009

Pages: 148

Series: Book 2, Hardy Belch

Summary: The Adventures of Hardy Belch chronicle the exciting and unbelievable adventures of a normal 12 year old boy and his 240 pound telepathic dog. Hardy and Tiny (his best friend and dog) find themselves in many predicaments but as a team and best friends they always end up helping others. Combining mystery and humor each story is written to entertain, and highlight the value of friendship, planning and selfless actions.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Hardy Belch and Tiny are back!  This time they’re getting into some crazy adventures.

First we learn the story of Tiny’s parents and how he got to be known as Tiny.  The next one was about Tiny and Hardy finding and befriending a dinosaur.  The next two stories/chapters were about mysteries, history and treasure hunting.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book.  The adventures were really fun and the book was sprinkled with a healthy dose of humour that had me grinning from ear to ear.

I think that Hardy Belch and Tiny Return is a really great book and I always look forward to reading William G. Bentrim’s books.  Fingers crossed there’ll be another volume of Hardy Belch and Tiny’s adventures.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

IMM: November Books Edition

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi, The Story Siren.  It is a weekly feature where book enthusiasts showcase the books they got in the mail, from bookstores, from the library or anywhere else for the week.  However, I have been doing mine monthly to encourage myself to buy less books until I get my tbr pile under control.

After last month's huge book haul I'm quite relieved that I didn't get too many books in November.

Here are the books I received in November:

The Jinx by D. F. Lamont

13-year-old Stephen Grayson's run of bad luck gets so bad he worries he is endangering his family. Fearing he is cursed, he flees home to protect his family, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent on hunting him down.

Drayling by Terry J. Newman

Twenty-fifth century Drayling, and Britain as a whole, has benefited greatly from advances in technology and medical science, and life in the Graves' household, and in those of their friends and colleagues, is secure, clear and very content. The desire and need for clarity, truth and order has motivated communities to live in harmony, abandoning any potentially controversial aspects or ways of life, including all religions, in favour of a modern civilised society that upholds order, simplicity, honesty, love and honour as its ideals.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Code Blood by Kurt Kamm

CODE BLOOD takes the reader into the world of emergency medicine, the science of stem cell research, and the unsettling world of blood fetishism and body parts. The book is an edgy L.A. Noir thriller.

Colt Lewis, a young Los Angeles County fire paramedic responds to a car accident. The victim dies in his arms. Her foot has been severed but is nowhere to be found. Who is the woman and what happened to her missing foot?

Colt risks his career to find the victim’s identity and her foot. A week long search leads him to a dark side of Los Angeles—into an underworld of body part dealers, underground Goth clubs and a stalker. He uncovers a tangled maze of drugs, needles, and rituals, which can only lead to death—but who is the victim?
 (Taken from Goodreads)

These three books have been ones that I kind of put off getting until I saw these covers of them and fell in love so I got these books:

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

And that was my month in the way of books.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got!

Friday, November 25, 2011

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

I'm trying to keep on top of my 2012 challenges as one of my main goals of 2012 will be to tackle my horrendousy large tbr pile.  This challenge has come around at the right time.  This is my sign-up post for the challenge.

This challenge was created by Evie at Bookish.  You can check out the sign-up page here.

Dates: 1 January 2012 - 31 December 2012
Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
You can move up levels, but no moving down.

Challenge Levels:
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Seeing as how I'm really serious about wanting to kill my tbr pile I'm going to go with 31-40 Love at First Sight, if I think I can manage it I may change to Married With Children at a later date.

Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvieNicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette Christa from Hooked On Books http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions

I'll list the books that I read as I go for this challenge and link up my reviews when they're posted.  Wish me luck!

Books read:
1. Scar Night by Alan Campbell
2. Flidderbugs by Jonathan Gould
3. Haunted Love by Cynthia Leitich Smith
4. Cardsharp by Paul Westmoreland
5. Everblossom by Larissa Hinton
6. Immortal by Gillian Shields

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview with Kersten Hamilton

Last post was my review of In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton and now I have an interview with Kersten Hamilton.  Without further ado I give you Kersten:

Rebecca: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kersten: I knew as a young child that I wanted to be a writer. I set out to have an exciting life so that I’d have something to write about. Fortunately, I survived thus far. I was not electrocuted or drowned. Most of the bullets missed, and the incidents with bears, snakes, wolves, and angry moose were not fatal—you can read more about all that at kerstenhamilton.com --but only a little more. I like to keep my wild adventures for books!
What was the hardest part to write Tyger Tyger?
There was a death in Tyger Tyger that was very difficult to write. I had to be careful not to let it overwhelm the readers or the story. As in real life, the world goes on after you lose someone, but it is not the same. I worked at showing the subtle differences in the lives of all of the characters. There was no other way to keep the story on track.
And what was the hardest part to write about In The Forests of the Night?
Kyle. Kyle is a Really Bad Guy, and not exactly sane. Since I have to be close to my characters in order to get their motivations right, I had to step closer to him than I would have liked.

Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are many, many authors I love, but if you mean my all-time favorite in the world, it would be George MacDonald. He writes mythopoeia, my favorite obscure genre. His writing, in both his novels and short stories, deals with metaphysical questions. MacDonald is fearless in questioning his characters’ (and his reader’s!) assumptions about themselves and reality. I adore books that make me both feel and think.
When can we expect the next book in the series?
It will be out in the very early spring of 2013—so readers will actually have to wait three more months than they waited for Forests. But there is a good reason for this….
Do you plan on turning The Goblin Wars trilogy into a longer series or are you happy with keeping it as a trilogy?
….and this is the good reason. I am thinking about extending it for at least one book. But whether it is three or four, the story will be complete, and every question answered. I am almost finished with it now, and I am loving the way it all works out!
What are you planning on working on after the Goblin Wars series?
I am very eclectic in my reading and my writing. I have just sold a very fun steampunk chapter book THE MESMER MENACE, set on the eve of the Great Mesmer War of 1901, featuring a boy inventor, President Teddy Roosevelt, evil hypnotists, robots, a lightning harvester, and a dashingly brave and loyal dachshund named Noodles.
I am finishing a “Holes”–esque older MG dealing with suicide, Catholicism, immigration issues and one undead school administrator.
After that, I have a TOP SECRET YA project in the works…

Thanks so much Kersten!  If you haven't read Tyger Tyger yet or In the Forests of the Night then you should definitely check them out!

Monday, November 21, 2011

In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton

Title: In the Forests of the Night

Author: Kersten Hamilton

Published: Clarion Books, October 2011

Pages: 288

Series: Book 2, The Goblin Wars

First Line: "Tears were spilling down Teagan Wyllton's cheeks as she went up the stairs."

Summary: May Contain Spoilers!  The battle against goblinkind continues . . . but which side will Teagan be on? 

Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man’s forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends. Tea knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich. And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  Teagan and Finn are back in book two of this series.  I really enjoyed Tyger Tyger and could not wait for the next book in the series.  Needless to say In the Forests of the Night did not disappoint.  It was so amazing and just as good if not better than the first book.

I really feel like In the Forests of The Night has an addictive quality about it.  I started reading it and when in no time 100 pages had flown by.  I'm usually a slow reader so when I can just fly through a book it is generally a sign of a really good book.

I loved the whole story and it was really great getting back into the whole magical world of Fear Doirich and Mag Mell.  I really love Celtic mythology and this book is just packed with it.  I loved reading about Aiden's magical ability and getting to know some of the other characters better.

I also love Teagan and Finn, they seem like such a cool couple and I really love the way they interact with each other.

Overall, I would have to say that I absolutely loved In the Forests of the Night, it's a brilliant book and I know I'm going to be highly awaiting the release of the next book.  If you love fantasy and you haven't read this or the first book, Tyger Tyger yet, you are definitely missing out!

Source: NetGalley

Notes: If you haven't read the first book, Tyger Tyger you can purchase the ebook version for $2.99 on Amazon, Apple, B&N and Google for the next two weeks!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blog Tour: Equinox by Lara Morgan

Title: Equinox

Author: Lara Morgan

Published: Walker Books, November 2011

Pages: 384

Series: Book 2, Rosie Black Chronicles

Summary: It’s Rosie’s seventeenth year and she’s starting her first year at Orbitcorp Academy, but it’s not going to be all parties and pilot training. Helios hasn’t forgotten her – and she certainly hasn’t forgotten them. Bent on revenge Rosie is still working in secret to try to take them down. 

But a terrible miscalculation will send Rosie once more on the run, this time into the unknown lands of the north, Gondwana Nation, where word has it Helios is building something big.

There will be a new friend and a new boy – the handsome and wealthy Dalton Curtis – who will surprise Rosie with a secret she can’t begin to guess. And Pip will return, but how does he feel about Rosie, and where has he been?

Pursued again and on the run, Rosie might not have time to find out all the answers, but what she will learn is that a capacity for evil can be equalled by a capacity for good - and she will be forced to make a choice that will change her future forever.
 (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  Rosie Black is back!  In the second installment we are thrown back into all the danger and excitement.  I absolutely loved the first book and had been patiently waiting for this one to come out.  There were so many things in Genesis that happened and some things that didn't have endings so I was super excited to see some of these things happening in Equinox.

I'm going to have to make this review really mysterious in order to avoid spoilers for the first book, so just bear with me on that.

In this book we are introduced to new character Dalton and while yes he does have his charms I was kind of suspicious of him from the start.

There is one boy however, who will always have my interest and that just happens to be Pip.  Without spoiling anything, I have to say that I was so thrilled to see his return and oh wow!  Not giving anything away but can I just say that if you are a fan of Pip, you're going to like this book.

Needless to say I absolutely loved Equinox and if you haven't read Genesis or Equinox then you definitely should.  Particularly if you're into science fiction and dystopians because the Rosie Black Chronicles are brilliant!

All I can say is that I cannot wait to see if there will be a book three with more of Rosie's adventures!


Interview with Lara Morgan:
After my awesome review, I now have an interview with the lovely Lara Morgan.

Scarlett: What was the hardest part of Equinox to write? 
Lara: The beginning and the end are always the hardest.  I always have to ask myself what would the readers like to see, then, what do I want them to know? Such simple questions but finding the answers can be a challenge and take a lot of time. In fact the beginning and the final chapter and epilogue was probably where I spent the most time when I was editing. I changed the point where the book begins twice, flipping back and forth between two scenarios and confusing myself in the process. It took several conversations with my publisher to figure out which was the best way to go. As it turns out, my first idea was what we went with. Lesson 1. Always trust your first instinct.

Your first series was an adult series, is there a huge difference between writing for adults and writing for teens? 
 Not as much as you might think. In my adult novels I deal more with the politics of the world and I have a much larger cast of characters and will use more of them as viewpoint characters alongside the main protagonists. Whereas in YA I don’t delve so much into political intrigue and will try to keep viewpoint characters to two, only seeing things through another set of eyes in a very small way. Writing YA can also include more heightened emotional scenes than in adult fiction – but that’s not a hard and fast rule. Generally, the main difference is in the age of the characters and that in my YA I don’t include graphic sex or swearing.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
 I try not to read reviews of a book until it’s been out a while because I need to have that distance from the project to not be completely devastated if someone doesn’t like it. No matter what people might say, books are like your babies and you can’t help but be emotionally tied to them given the amount of work and time you’ve put in. After I’ve had some months away from the book then I can read reviews with a more objective eye, but I still don’t read very many. Reviews are very subjective things. It’s lovely if a person loves my work, but people who don’t are also entitled to their opinion. And people may have varying things to say so I don’t try to ‘fix’ things readers might not like in one books. You just can’t. I just write what I do and put it out there. After the book is out, despite the ties, it’s doesn’t belong to just me anymore and people should be free to think what they like about it.
I also don’t’ read reviews of my work when I’m writing a first draft because I don’t need any outside thoughts about my writing in my head at that stage. I need to be alone in a cave, ideally. Anyone got a cave for rent?

 What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?  

Luxury hotel reviewer. Is there such a job? I’ve been asked this before and I think swanning around on sunbeds beside swimming pools rating the taste of mai tais could be an occupation I could handle. Nothing 9 to 5 where I have to wear a jacket. I’ve done that and, barring bankruptcy, never want to go back.

 Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
 It’s not all sunglasses and autographs? No, in reality the best advice I can give is to read a lot and write a lot. There are no shortcuts. And it’s vitally important to get in the habit of finishing your stories. Regardless of how bad you think they are you have to get through to the end because writing is re-writing and it’s in the editing stage that the magic happens. That’s when you discover what your story is about and how to make it better. Don’t worry if you think your writing sucks right now. You should see my first drafts. They’re usually a mess and I never show them to anybody. Allow yourself to write badly in the beginning, safe in the knowledge on you will see it, so you can make it better the next time you go over it.

Lara Morgan
Australian author of speculative fiction

Thanks Lara!  Be sure to check out these links too:
Lara Morgan's Website
Lara on Wordpress
Rosie Black Website
Rosie on Facebook
Genesis Book Trailer
Equinox Book Trailer

Make sure to head to the next two spots on the tour which will be happening on the 21st of November at:
In the Good Books
The Phantom Paragrapher