Thursday, August 28, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: FROM THE MAGICAL MIND OF MINDY MUNSON

FROM THE MAGICAL MIND OF MINDY MUNSON
Nikki Bennett
Firedrake Books
Ages 5 - 13

Every house has a history. This House has a mystery.

When the orphaned Munson kids move with their aunt to The House, Mindy Munson discovers strange creatures living there already. Ghosts. Dragons. Leprechauns. And a scary Thing lurking in the basement.

Mindy’s older sister Susie is determined to find out where these creatures came from and why they’re living in the Munson’s house. With the help of the next-door neighbors and an old lady named Mrs. Wemberley, Susie, Mindy and their brothers unravel The House’s amazing secrets. And along the way, they discover some incredible secrets about themselves.

MY REVIEW:

What initially drew me to this book was the cover. I thought it was kind of cute. And the title was intriguing. Now having read The Magical Mind of Mindy Munson, I was not disappointed. Mindy is a little girl who doesn't talk, except to whisper to her twin brother, Jesse, who is sort of her spokesman for their two older siblings, Tucker and Susie. After the Munson kids lose their parents in an accident, they move to a new (old) house with their aunt. But according to Mindy, this house is already occupied by a host of invisible magical creatures.

The story's narrative is childlike and sweet. And I really started to believe in those creatures, too. But at its heart, this is about loss and healing. And more importantly it's a story about family. I enjoyed this little book immensely and kids of all ages will enjoy it, too.


Friday, August 22, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS
M.R. Carey
Orbit Books
Adult

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.


MY REVIEW:

I picked up this book at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, CA after asking for a good zombie book. As I've mentioned before, I'm reading nothing but zombie books this summer, and this was by far one of the best books I've read all year.

Melanie is a young girl who spends her days strapped in a wheel chair with a muzzle over her mouth. Other than the fact that she and the other young students are "hungries" she seems like any other normal child. That's the problem. Most hungries are your typical brainless, rotting flesh zombies. But these kids are smart, strong, and healthy. Which is why they are part of a very important research project on a protected military base, one of the last spots in England untouched by the plague.

But when the walls are breeched by a horde of zombies, Melanie escapes along with her favorite teacher, two military personal, and the doctor intent on dissecting Melanie's brain for research. What follows is a harrowing journey through zombie-infested cities as they try to make it back to civilization alive.

This story is remarkable, fast-paced, shocking, and sickeningly entertaining. I couldn't stop turning the pages. And the ending is not at all what I expected. A book anyone, even non-zombie lovers, can enjoy. Melanie is one of those characters that will stay with you long after you close the book's cover.



CONTENT RATING:

Profanity:  High
Sexuality:  Mild
Violence:  High

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CLEAR YOUR SHELF GIVEAWAY HOP

*  Help launch SKYROCKET PRESS' debut book. New publisher alert!
*  Review:  WOOL by Hugh Howey
*  Watch trailer for MARTIAN GOODS & OTHER STORIES



 

Welcome to the CLEAR YOUR SHELF GIVEAWAY HOP hosted by Bookhounds and I Am A Reader!

I have 8 - COUNT THEM - EIGHT! Brand new ARCs I picked up at ALA this summer, which unfortunately I won't have time to read. So I want to share them with you! To be eligible to win, just Like me on Facebook. Also, fill out the rafflecopter form below for more chances to win. When you're done, be sure sure to stop by all the other participating blogs!

Ends on August 27th - U.S. Residents 18 years and older please. Thanks!

Hider, Seeker, Secret KeeperKing Dork ApproximatelyHero Complex 

Pink & Green Is the New Black: Pink & Green Book ThreeJane and the Twelve Days of Christmas: Being a Jane Austen MysteryBlack Dance
Keep Your Friends CloseCobra


Saturday, August 16, 2014

HELP LAUNCH SKYROCKET PRESS

We are well underway in our Kickstarter campaign to launch Skyrocket Press and its debut title, MARTIAN GOODS & OTHER STORIES by Noelle Campbell.

We still need to raise another $1200 in the next 20 days. We can do it with your help. Every dollar counts!  Please consider stopping by. Every donation gets a cool reward.

Thanks! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: WOOL by Hugh Howey

WOOL
Hugh Howey
Simon & Schuster
Adult/Sci-fi

For suspense-filled, post-apocalyptic thrillers, Wool is more than a self-published eBook phenomenon―it’s the new standard in classic science fiction.

In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.

MY REVIEW:

For a decade now, my #1 favorite science fiction novel has been Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Well, I just found a new winner. Wool is unbelievably brilliant! Howey creates such a realistic world inside this massive underground silo. And the characters, the plot, the twists! I can completely understand how this book took the world by storm. All I can say is READ THIS BOOK!



CONTENT REVIEW:

Profanity: Mild
Violence:  Moderate
Sexuality: Mild

Thursday, August 7, 2014

SKYROCKET PRESS TAKES OFF!!! ZOOOOOMMMM!!!





What is Skyrocket Press?

Skyrocket Press began as a suggestion from my friend, picture book author Wade Bradford, to create a publishing house unlike any other. I took Wade's initial ideas and essentially ran with them, and even better, expanded them into something I think is truly unique.


You see, as a published author, I know how hard it is to break into traditional publishing. I also know of the challenges facing self-published authors. The publishing model offered by Skyrocket Press is a hybrid of these two, combining the freedom and control of self-publishing with the resources and guidance of the traditional model.

In essence, each book will be given the same care and attention that any traditionally published book would get - professionally designed covers, editorial and proofreading, distribution to all online markets, as well as blog tours and promotional materials.

But this process won't cost a fortune. There are many successful self-published authors out there who really understand the business, but there are many others who may feel intimidated or overwhelmed. That's where Skyrocket Press comes in.


Instead of offering these resources at prices some authors simply can't afford, we raise the funds to launch each book via crowdsourcing (ie. Kickstarter or Indiegogo). We provide the resources, guidance and skills for the author to produce his/her book, and the money to pay for it comes from the author's future fans. That's right. Through crowdsourcing, prospective readers will be able to "donate" towards a books' production, and in return receive the book and other rewards.

After the initial publication process is paid for, all profits from future online sales go directly to the author. Skyrocket Press does not earn a percentage of the sales. All our fees come out of the initial crowdsourcing campaign. Whether or not a campaign is successful, whether or not a book is produced, is highly dependent on how well we and the author can solicit support for it.



So there you have it! What I believe is an innovative publishing model. As of now, submissions to Skyrocket Press are by INVITATION ONLY. So please do not send us anything. But I am thrilled to announced that our very first Kickstarter Campaign just launched today!!!

Our debut title will be a collection of sci-fi short stories called MARTIAN GOODS and OTHER STORIES by Noelle Campbell.  We have 30 days to raise $1500, which will fully fund Noelle's book and get Skyrocket Press on its feet. Our campaign was chosen as a Kickstarter Staff Pick, which is great!!!

So, please help us spread the word, and stop by the campaign and make a donation. In the meantime, I hope you'll LIKE our Facebook page, too!

Thanks so much!!!


Friday, August 1, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: CROAK by Gina Damico

CROAK
Gina Damico
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ages 12 -17


Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

MY REVIEW:

Croak has one of the most unique premises of any book I've read in the past couple of years - a community full of grim reapers - teens whose job it is to collect souls from dead bodies and release them into the afterlife.

Damico's writing is witty and sharp, a definite page-turner. While the teen characters' snarkiness does get a bit old after a while, the fast-clip of the plot kept me engaged. There are a few details, such as the role of jellyfish in being able to track the nearly-dead, that felt a tad silly, but over all I really enjoyed this book and might even consider reading the sequel, Scorch.

A fun summer read, perfect for a trip to the beach or the pool. And a really nice change from vampires, werewolves and demons.



CONTENT RATING:

Profanity:  High
Violence:  High
Sexualty:  Mild