UnHappenings Cover Reveal

 

Cover Artist: Andy Garcia

Cover Artist: Andy Garcia

 

When Nigel Walden is fourteen, the UNHAPPENINGS begin. His first girlfriend disappears the day after their first kiss with no indication she ever existed. This retroactive change is the first of many only he seems to notice.

Several years later, when Nigel is visited by two people from his future, he hopes they can explain why the past keeps rewriting itself around him. But the enigmatic young guide shares very little, and the haggard, incoherent, elderly version of himself is even less reliable. His search for answers takes him fifty-two years forward in time, where he finds himself stranded and alone.

 And then he meets Helen.

 Brilliant, hilarious and beautiful, she captivates him. But Nigel’s relationships always unhappen, and if they get close it could be fatal for her. Worse, according to the young guide, just by entering Helen’s life, Nigel has already set into motion events that will have catastrophic consequences. In his efforts to reverse this, and to find a way to remain with Helen, he discovers the disturbing truth about the unhappenings, and the role he and his future self have played all along.

 Equal parts time-travel adventure and tragic love story, Unhappenings is a tale of gravely bad choices, and Nigel’s struggle not to become what he sees in the preview of his worst self.

First off, let me just say that the cover is AMAZING. I am really pulled by it. It’s minimalist enough to grab you and doesn’t have images on it that make you think you already know what the book is about.

UnHappenings by Edward Aubry is a book with many genres: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction, Science Fiction Romance. It is published thorugh Curiosity Quills Press and will be released in January 8, 2015.

From the description of the book, I have a feeling I’m going to like it if I get my hands on it. The concept is different and I like that. I have to say, science fiction isn’t usually my favorite, but joined with romance and having a twist like this, I’m pretty excited about this.

Edward Aubry

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”

He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

You can find Edward Aubry at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdwardAubry

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4385051.Edward_Aubry

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Edward-Aubry/373173783220?ref=hl

Writing…

There isn’t much that is really pressing to write about, but for some reason my brain is frizzing out. You know that white noise that used to be on the tv when you can’t get a signal for a local channel or the white noise in between radio stations? Yeah, that’s how I can describe it. I’m tired, and my brain feels like an empty room wanting to fill up, but is unable to. Really, this happens every November.

Or at least every November since I started NaNoWriMo. I would be all gung ho in the first week and am usually steady in week two. Come week three, I am frizzed out. Week four is when I give up. The most I’ve ever written is just under 37k. This year… I’m nowhere near 25k. Yeah, I’m seriously behind.

I’m hoping to get some writing done tonight, but it’s difficult when my brain doesn’t want to work. I’m not one of those free writers when I am writing fiction. At least not completely. There is some free writing involved, but mostly my heart and mind have to be in sync when I am writing fiction. I have to be and know my characters. Which is hard when you are writing, but there’s only a flatline in brain waves.

However, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished something. My plan of attack was a smart one. I finished a short story, am only five chapters away from finishing that novella, and I have the first two chapters of the Succubus story. Honestly, I’m proud of myself. I have another short story going on too. That one is close to halfway finished. So, if I finish my novella by tomorrow night (which I can feasibly do), I will have only have two more projects to work on.

The short story will take a little less than a day. And Lace, the Succubus story, has been planned for six more chapters. I also have two more prompts for short stories that are due next year. Yeah, I’m pretty positive I’ll at least be more productive this time around than before.

Shoot, from the first short stories that I’ve worked on for this, I’ve actually found characters that I would want to revisit in the future. One is from a previous NaNoWriMo. The other is completely different. I wasn’t even thinking of making it a possible future story, but hey, cool beans. It probably won’t get published for the literary journal I wrote it for, but it gave me characters and a world I want to keep around.

All in all, even though I’m not going to make the 50k (at least I’m not confident in it), I have done more than I would have if I didn’t do this. Now, I should get back to writing… I’m hoping to get chapter 8 of the novella done tonight at the least.

Book Eighty-Three of 2014: Night of Pan by Gail Strickland

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The slaughter of the Spartan Three Hundred at Thermopylae, Greece 480 BCE—when King Leonidas tried to stop the Persian army with only his elite guard—is well known. But just what did King Xerxes do after he defeated the Greeks?
Fifteen-year-old Thaleia is haunted by visions: roofs dripping blood, Athens burning. She tries to convince her best friend and all the villagers that she’s not crazy. The gods do speak to her.
And the gods have plans for this girl.
When Xerxes’ army of a million Persians marches straight to the mountain village Delphi to claim the Temple of Apollo’s treasures and sacred power, Thaleia’s gift may be her people’s last line of defense.
Her destiny may be to save Greece…
…but is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?

Night of Pan is the first book in a trilogy about the Greek Oracle of Delphi. I’m not a huge Greek myth fan, I’m more of a Norse mythos kind of girl, but I do love the history of the Classics. This book was a great blend of history and myth with a dash of young adult adventure.

The prose is both lyrical and to the point. I could feel the Gods when they appeared in the book or showed their prophecies with Thaleia. It was both haunting and magical. I like that Strickland shows the Gods’ own weaknesses and humanlike qualities that we see in their myths. It made them feel real.

Thaleia is the only human character I really felt connected to. She seemed outside the realm of both mortal and immortal. Which does make sense, given her purpose. The reader is supposed to take this miraculous journey with her, not other humans.

However, I feel that it would have been nice to be able to understand and be a part of her Mom’s life or even her friend Sophia. For instance, her friendship with Sophia doesn’t seem as strong as she says it is. I know they are supposed to be like sisters, but I didn’t feel that energy in Thaleia’s narrative. A little of it was there, just not enough to completely justify to me that they would go thick and thin for each other.

I’ve read some reviews that this book is written purely for education and though I can see what they mean, I disagree. There is a glossary with sites to go to for references and there is a study guide of sorts (you know the kind with questions that the reader answers). It does make the book seem targeted for schools or book clubs, but I like those type of things for something people don’t really know or think about outside of their educational enviornment.

I like those type of questions to think about and wonder. I wouldn’t write an essay about them, but I do like them. Now, do I think this book needs the study guide questions? No, but it is fun for the bookworm who just wants to reflect on what they’ve read. Is the glossary important? Yes. There are words I never heard of and it was nice to look at them and say “ahhh, now I get it.” The Greek alphabet section seemed a little not needed though.

However, if it is the author’s intention to educate as well as give the reader a good story, she did a good job. I love the story and the way Pan moves in the book. I felt like I was in a trance during those moments. Sure, more could be done with the emotional connection of the friends, but it makes sense that that isn’t the center of the book. There is a war going on between the priest and Thaleia as well as a war between the Greeks and Persians. Sometimes, the depth of a friendship needs to be set aside for the true bulk of the story.

Would I continue in this series? Yes. Pan’s flute music has me enthralled.

Deadgirl Blog Tour Review

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Dead is such a strong word …

 Lucy Day, 15 years old, is murdered on her very first date. Not one to take that kind of thing lying down, she awakens a day later with a seemingly human body and more than a little confusion. Lucy tries to return to her normal life, but the afterlife keeps getting in the way.

 Zack, her crush-maybe-boyfriend, isn’t exactly excited that she ditched him on their first date. Oh, and Abraham, Lucy’s personal Grim Reaper, begins hunting her, dead-set on righting the error that dropped her back into the spongy flesh of a living girl. Lucy must put her mangled life back together, escape re-death, and learn to control her burgeoning powers while staying one step ahead of Abraham.

 But when she learns the devastating price of coming back from the dead, Lucy is forced to make the hardest decision of her re-life — can she really sacrifice her loved ones to stay out of the grave?

Deadgirl by B.C. Johnson, is a young adult urban fantasy with paranormal romance elements. It is published through Curiousity Quills Press and has been out since November 6,2014.

The book is a quick read, about twenty-one chapters and an epilogue. It doesn’t have a lot of action, but I wasn’t surprised for that. Really, this book sets the scene and gives you just enough of B.C. Johnson’s world to want more.

Apparently, if you have a strong enough will to live, you won’t die like normal people. You become something else, like Lucy. Lucy is a regular high school stucdent. She isn’t too pretty or too smart. She gets by and she loves the way life has been treating her. She even uses humor in times of great stress, something I particularly loved.

B.C. Johnson introduces Lucy during the chase. She is running away from a group of guys and dies in that same chapter. We are then pulled into the past two days that lead up to this moment. From there, the reader experiences the afterlife for a girl like Lucy. The book read seamless except for the chapters that provided some background information. I understood why it needed to be done, but it felt difficult to follow at first. It does get strange near the end of those flashback chapters that hint the chapters were just Lucy’s life passing before her eyes. It was an interesting moment and did help melt the flashback chapters with the rest of the book. However, I still found it hard to grasp.

The minor characters aren’t too special. They serve their purposes, but they didn’t seem to have much going for them. There are  moments where you love certain minor characters, but really, it’s Lucy and her afterlife friend, Puck that seem to have more going for them.

The book does answer some questions, but then leaves you scratching your head for more. Throughout the book, Lucy is given hints to living from texts, but she has no idea who is doing it. We don’t learn until the ending. Though I definitely didn’t see that coming, I wasn’t pleased with the ending. It felt too neat and that one revelation could be taken in two ways: there will be a sequel or that’s the end, you have your answers.

I’m hoping that there will be a sequel. The world seemed only just beginning in this book and there is obviously more to the book because of the texter revealing a hint of something else. I think that is a great lead up for a sequel.

In all, Deadgirl isn’t a bad read. I wasn’t gushing or getting too excited, but I like the world and I would love to see more of it. This book felt more like a little taste of chocolate, not a full on dessert. I’m still waiting on the dessert.

BC Johnson picture

About B.C. Johnson:

Born in Southern California, B.C. Johnson has been writing since he realized it was one of the few socially acceptable ways to tell people a bunch of stuff you just made up off the top of your head. He attended Savanna High School in Anaheim, and an undisclosed amount of college before deciding that weird odd jobs were a far greater career path.

This lead him to such exciting professions as: aluminum recovery machinist, lighting designer, construction demo, sound mixer, receptionist, theater stage hand, wedding security, high school custodian, museum events manager, webmaster, IT guy, copywriter, and one memorable night as the bouncer at a nightclub. He is trying very hard to add “vampire hunter” and “spaceship captain” to that list.

He currently lives in Garden Grove with his supernal wife Gina, his half-corgi, half-muppet dog Luna, and his new half-grayhound, half-living-tornado-of-destruction Kaylee. He also spends time with his two brothers, his parents, and his close friends, whose primary pursuit are usually healthy debates about movie minutiea. When he’s not working or writing, he’s been to known to pursue all conceivable geeky avenues of interest including but not limited to video games, the sort of TV shows/movies Benedict Cumberbatch might star in, graphic novels, podcasts, funny gifs, the whole thing.

He’s also been known to apply his special brand of hyperbole and mania to pop-culture humor essays for various websites that can be found on his homepage, bc-johnson.com. B.C. also has a high school noir short story called “The Lancer” available on Kindle.

Deadgirl is his first novel.

Book Eighty-One of 2014: Rogue Angel: Solomon’s Jar by Alex Archer

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In the second installment of Alex Archer’s Rogue Angel saga, which features protagonist Annja Creed (spiritual descendant Joan of Arc and her fated successor as “champion of the good”), the intrepid archeologist sets off to find Solomon’s Jar, an invaluable biblical artifact that King Solomon allegedly used to entrap the numerous demons he used to build his temple in Jerusalem.

With the help of her enigmatic mentor, a centuries-old man named Roux, Creed sets off to verify if the Jar — believed to be forever lost at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea — was in fact recovered. Following leads from Peru to the Netherlands to Israel to Brazil, Creed struggles to stay one step ahead of gun-toting factions (including Russian mobsters, English cultists, and the fanatical followers of a charismatic kabbalist) bent on finding and exploiting the Jar’s supernatural powers. But once Creed locates Solomon’s Jar, will its intrinsically evil powers influence her resolve to do God’s will?

Okay, I was actually very disappointed with this one. Rogue Angel is a series of scifi/fantasy books that come bimonthly. It’s kind of like the scifi/fantasy version of a Harlequin romance only you get the same main character and a different adventure with every book. I read the first book, Destiny, and fell in love with the female archaeologist sword weilding badass. Seriously, she’s like modern day Joan of Arc meets Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones. Pretty badass.

Well, this book was a bit more bleh thant he first. The first book had a French mythological creature mystery. This one dealt with the more religious and spiritual aspect of Annja Creed’s job. Now, this isn’t something that bothers me. What bothered me was just the basic story.

Annja was great, sure a bit stereotypical or maybe too perfect, but I like that about this series. It isn’t supposed to be some kind of great fictional work. It is fiction meant to entertain and she entertains me. She may not for others, but she does for me.

What I had serious problems with was the convoluted way Annja traveled from Point A to Point B, etc. It felt choppy and not seamless. I found myself flipping back a few pages to see where the destinations were even mentioned. I’m not saying that the characters needed to announce everytime they were to fly to another exotic place, but it felt like for this story, it would have made following it easier. I felt if we had stayed in one location, not four or five, the book would be easier to follow and more enjoyable.

Aside from that, it wasn’t too bad of a story. I couldn’t get into any of the “bad guys”. They seemed to just be there for the sake of her needing to use her sword. The action was good, but felt like a Michael Bay movie at times… explosions! So, yeah, wasn’t happy about this one.

I feel that if you were to continue this series or even start it, skip this book. It wasn’t worth it for me. Now, am I going to stop the series because of this book? No, I like Annja. I want to see more of her.

Zhukov’s Dogs Blog Tour Review

Blog Tour

 

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A good dog doesn’t ask questions, especially when The Council holds their leash. Lieutenant Colonel Nik Zhukov never disappoints—never questions the orders given to him—even as each mission further reveals how corrupt his handlers are. For the sake of national security, the desensitized prodigy pretends he’s just like any other seventeen-year-old living in the year 2076. At least until it comes time to pull the trigger.

On the verge of promotion, Nik is dispatched to the underground city beneath the icy Seattle tundra. What should’ve been a simple bit of recon is complicated by the underground’s dark secrets. He soon finds himself treated as an equal and swept into battles alongside the misfit revolutionaries he was sent to spy on. Their gray-eyed leader isn’t fooled by his ruse, though, and as Nik worms his way into their lives, he unknowingly breaks the number one rule within his ranks. He allows himself to feel normal. It’s a mistake he pays for dearly when he learns The Council’s true intentions for Seattle.

Despite what my blog posts are for my book reviews, there are actually quite a few authors and books I gush about. Let me just say this, Zhukov’s Dogs by Amanda Cyr was completely gush worthy. This book is a young adult science fiction dystopia published through Curiosity Quills Press, and, let me tell you, it is worth reading!

It starts off like a prisoner of war memoir. We literally meet Nik Zhukov, our main character, in the midst of incarceration and impending execution. Through an interview and his own flashbacks, we get the full story of who he is and how he ended up there.

The Characters: Nik Zhukov is a serious badass. I love his quirks and how he changes through the book. He is strong, both mentally and physically, but emotionally he needs help. Enters the underground group he is sent to infiltrate. Each character has their own quirks and personalities. I felt like I knew these people. It is clear that Cyr had taken great care for them.

Val, is a spunky guy who you can’t help but love. Anya surprises you. Fritzi is the type of girl you definitely want on your side. And for the characters you meet in the prison, Dr. Halliburton was both deliciously evil and smack worthy. There were times I was hoping she got the picture and times I hope she would just jump off a bridge. Seriously, she’s a well written character. They ALL are well written.

The story is a strong one. The reader is thrusted into the quick paced world and Cyr doesn’t let you slow down. It’s one of the those books you will be yelling at out loud. I did that. I laughed, I squealed, and I yelled angrily. An author who can make me aubily say something and make people around me stare in confusion, is an author worth reading.

This book has it all. There is romance, action, politics, and the horrors of what a country can do to their own people if not checked correctly.

I love the dash of history placed in there too with the Seattle underground. I used to live in Bremerton and I would go to Seattle almost every weekend. I did take a tour of the underground and there are places that no one has even seen since it was closed up. I love Seattle so much, I was even inspired to do something with the underground. I didn’t write the story, but I’m glad someone incorporated it in their own work. I felt like I was in the Seattle of 2076.

In all, I love LOVE LOVE this book. Seriously, it’s that big. READ.

 

The author, Amanda Cyr.

The author, Amanda Cyr.

About Amanda Cyr:

 Amanda Cyr is a tea-loving freelance journalist, viral content curator, and debut novelist. She studied creative writing at Seattle University, where she developed all sorts of opinions before becoming a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. She is currently represented by Kimberley Cameron of the Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency.

 Growing up, Amanda moved around a lot. She began writing to make the transitions easier and make up for her lack of friends in middle school. An awesome professor in Medford, Oregon tried to convince her to pursue writing professionally, but Amanda was deadest on a law career. It wasn’t until an unpleasant professor in Seattle, Washington told her she was a terrible writer that Amanda really committed to the idea of getting published, mostly just to spite her professor.

 When Amanda’s not hunched over a laptop she enjoys sleeping, video games, Netflix binges, and wrestling with her two polar bear dogs. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she spends her days hissing at the sun and missing Seattle. Her least favorite things include the mispronunciation of her name, screaming children, and California.

Getting Ready

It’s getting to that time of year. Tomorrow is Halloween and Bug and I will be trick or treating! I’m so excited for this. It has been something I’ve looked forward to since I found I was pregnant. In case you don’t know, Halloween is probably my favorite holiday. Black Friday is a close second (it’s a day where it’s just Mom and me. Something a child out of eight doesn’t usually get). Christmas is the third… followed by, I really don’t know. Not my brithday (Valentine’s Day), that much I know.

Anyway, I was able to decorate a bit of my house. It isn’t much, but for a first time doing it, I’m proud. Next year it’s going to look much better. I’m just so excited to trick or treat with my little scooby. I’m even getting in my Red Riding Hood get up for it. I kind of have to because I have a party after the trick or treating, but still, I’m excited.

My Halloween Decor

My Halloween Decor

 

And not to mention, Saturday starts NaNoWriMo. Some NaNo peeps in my area are going to a write in at a local Panera. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that, but it’s not the end of the world. I’m going to make some uber word counts on that day anyways! But, first, I need to finish typing up this third draft. Where am I in it?

Well, I have about six more chapters left of typing. What really sucks is that I’m having thoughts of future chapters as I’m typing current ones. Naturally, I have to stop typing to finish my thoughts. The other sad part is that I’m choosing to blog update than actually typing… guess I should get on that.