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5.19.2015

Of Lone Headstones

Of Lone Headstones, Book 1 by Jorge Bocanegra
Jan., 2015
print length, 44pgs
source: ebook from the author

About the book:
What's worse, the monsters crawling out of their graves or the ones that we can't keep buried in our minds?
Joel has long been a victim to the viscous teeth of the assumptions and misconceptions conjured in his own mind concerning his relationship with his girlfriend, Alex. After three years together, things just haven't been the same. But now, those monstrous doubts in his head will become personified in the form of risen corpses in the city of Orchard.

Will Joel and Alex be able to put aside their differences and survive together? Or will this apocalyptic event spell the perfect opportunity for the couple to go their separate ways?

My thoughts:
I thought this was a fast moving novelette, and that is both a positive and a negative. I understand the need to pack a lot of punch in a few pages because this is a novelette, but I also think that sometimes it felt too rushed. The overall pacing is a bit too fast in my opinion. I think Joel could have traveled through the pages with less insanity on each page and it would still be powerful.
The zombies creep factor was definitely high in this, and I think that the descriptions of some of the zombies scenes were spot on. They were gruesome in the best way possible. I am not squeamish, but there were a few scenes that made my skin crawl - and that is KEY to good zombie horror.
Obviously, as a novelette, the characters are less developed due to page and time constraints. However, I did feel like I had a decent grasp of Joel. There was enough to gleam a whole picture of him. I do want to know more about Alex and about the issue with Joel and his family. Hopefully there will be more exploration of them in further books.
One last thing that I struggled with was some of the relationship dramatics. I  felt some of it was just so eye-roll inducing that it was hard to look past. I mean really, who stops in the middle of a zombie crisis to sneak a look your partners phone? It was just TOO much. There is a place for that (and it IS necessary to the story) but I don't think it was placed well in this novelette.

Overall though, it was a good quickie read. It could use some polishing around the edges, but generally speaking it was enjoyable and fun. Plus, anything that makes me squirm is a good thing!



write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

5.18.2015

Bout of Books 13 update page

Welcome to my Bout of Books 13 Update Home! I will be logging my reading stats here each day and logging my BoB totals and keeping that running tab up top.

BoB13 Totals:
Time Spent Reading: 9hr 30m
Pages Read: 523
Finished Books: - The Art of Racing in the Rain, - Of Lone Headstones, - Shutter Island
Challenges Completed: 4

BoB13 Day 7:
Time Spent Reading: 4hr 40m
Pages Read: 260
Books Read: Shutter Island, Dead Mountain
Challenge Completed?: no challenge today

BoB13 Day 6:
Time Spent Reading: 37m
Pages Read: 32
Books Read: Shutter Island
Challenge Completed?: yes

BoB13 Day 5:
Time Spent Reading: 35m
Pages Read: 29
Books Read: Shutter Island
Challenge Completed?: yes

BoB13 Day 4:
Time Spent Reading: 1hr 10m
Pages Read: 66
Books Read: Shutter Island
Challenge Completed?: No

BoB13 Day 3:
Time Spent Reading: 33m
Pages Read: 27
Books Read: Shutter Island
Challenge Completed?: No

BoB13 Day 2:
Time Spent Reading: 15m
Pages Read: 15
Books Read: Of Lone Headstones and Shutter Island
Challenge Completed?: yes

BoB13 Day 1:
Time Spent Reading: 1 hr 40m
Pages Read: 94
Books Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain and Of Lone Headstones
Challenge Completed?: yes



write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

5.15.2015

Karma is a...

Tin Can Press // April 30, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0993939600
paperback, 300 pgs
source: review copy from the author

About the book:
The first book in the COSMIC BALANCE series
Megan is a typical university student trying to figure out her place in the world, except instead of hoping to pass the bar or get into med school, she’s studying to become a licensed vengeance demon.
Nineteen-year-old Megan Aequitas is the only vengeance demon and trickster hybrid ever born. In a world where vengeance demons are respectable, rule-obsessed guardians of the Cosmic Balance, and tricksters are playful, happy-go-lucky perpetrators of chaos, being half and half is, well, tricky.
Determined to prove herself worthy of her vengeance blood, Megan enrolls in University of Demonic Studies’ prestigious co-op program. Wreaking karmic revenge on wrongdoers from cheaters to crooks sounds fun and simple, if it weren’t for the unsuspecting human roommate, Megan’s flamboyant trickster half-brothers, a changeling-raised fellow outcast, and a trio of evil wannabes. Then one assignment turns deadly when Megan discovers a plot to unleash an ancient force so authoritarian, most creatures would be deemed too unworthy to exist.
After a lifetime of being embarrassed by her trickster tendencies and striving to fit in vengeance society, Megan now has to learn to embrace both of her worlds if she wants to save them.

My thoughts:
Totally out of my typical reading, this book came to me and after reading the synopsis, I decided I had to give it a try. It just felt really interesting and like it would move along quickly. Urban fantasy is not my thing, but I figured it was time for me to spread my wings...
I am so glad I decided to branch out and read this!

Let's start with the concept. Um, hello, I love it. The idea of a cosmic balance - vengeance being served up for all your sins to cleanse the victims of their burden. This idea is awesome. It is like karma amplified! I felt like the vengeance demons are the answer to "karma is a bitch"... the idea of ultimate good and evil and finding a balance is clever. It just makes sense in our world and the book almost helps readers to rationalize why there is good and evil in the world, as well as playing off the idea that even if people do bad things to you, you should just let karma (or in this case, vengeance demons) take care of it. Don't stoop to the evil-doers level, let someone else clean up that mess and you just carry on with your head held high. Makes this common sentiment ring true!
The characters. Oh, so cool. Megan is wonderfully developed - I love her mixed blood, reminding me (of course) of Hermione being a mudblood. Both are intelligent and highly skilled at their magical abilities, but both are judged because of their heritage. This theme plays well into society and the unfortunate reality that is out there. Overcoming those roadblocks that are thrown at Megan (and Serafina- can't wait to read her story) are what make her a powerful female lead for this novel. Strong, willing, able, and proud- even if others look down on her- are the pieces that make up Megan and allow her to be a wonderful role model to young women. In addition to the way she is developed as a character, I really liked the way Louisa developed the family and the two competing blood lines that merge into one stunning creature! The differences between Trickster and Vengeance is bold and well explained. I am super intrigued to find out more of both histories.
Okay, so let us talk conflict - it is BIG and it is engaging! It seems like one thing, but it really is another... a lot of smoke and mirrors, but done well and not doing all hodgepodge thrown together. I was so interested in what the whole vengeance side was doing, but also really intrigued to find out what the bigger problem was. There was a lot brewing beneath the surface, and I could feel it, it was very intense. I liked that. The intensity carried throughout the book, but didn't overpower so much that you couldn't focus on the story.
Overall, I am super happy with this book. It was interesting, well paced, fully developed, had great social impact, and incredibly intense.
I am pretty sure that Louisa Lo just sold me on urban fantasy (well, at least hers). I LOVED this book and absolutely recommend it to everyone - fans of the genre or not. Being a person who isn't an urban fantasy fan and loving it just tells me that this is a really good book. I think readers will enjoy the pace and the concept. Pick it up!

About the author:

I live with my husband and cat in Toronto. I’d wanted to be a writer for as long I could remember, but it took a long time before I learned to trust that little voice in my head. But here I am now, and I can’t “un-friend” my passion anymore than a bird could stop flying. In my other life, I’m an entertainment accountant, with experience ranging from royalty calculation for The Hunger Games to sales projection for The Lego Movie. On top of providing a nice little pay check to cover the various vet bills, my day job also ensures that in the happy-but-one-in-a-million-chance event that I do become a superstar, I know enough about contracts and numbers not to get ripped off. I hope.


write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Book cover image, synopsis, and author image & information from author Louisa Lo's website.

5.14.2015

William Shakespeare and George Lucas have tea

Quirk Books // April 7, 2015
ISBN: 9781594748066
hardcover, pgs 176
source: review copy from the publisher

About the book:
O THREEPIO, THREEPIO, WHEREFORE ART THOU, THREEPIO?
Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: episode 1 as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.
’Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance . . . all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations. Hold on to your midi-chlorians:
 The play’s the thing, wherein you’ll catch the rise of Anakin!


My thoughts:
Ian Doescher does it again! Like always, he is a master and combining Shakespeare and Star Wars. This time, we get to go back to the beginning. The Phantom of Menace is Star Wars Part The First... or, as most people know it, Episode I.
I LOVE The Phantom Menace - always have. I also always have loved the "new" trilogy of movies (Episodes I, II, and III). So, of course this book is no different. I love it. I fell HARD for it, actually.
So far, of all the books in this series, this is my favorite. I am now in the groove of getting the Shakespeare/Star Wars mash-up (which felt weird when I read the first book) and was able to really sit back and enjoy this one.
Like before, this book is best suited for Star Wars fans. You need some knowledge of the series to understand the books - that is just how it is. But then again, I also think you need some basic knowledge to get the movies too... soo... yeah. Ask a Star Wars geek to give you the run down of Phantom Menace. Or just read it. Then watch the movies. Then watch them all again. (and again, and again).
Clever and fun, the Shakespearean language, style, and formatting make this fun to read. No basic boring book here - this amps it up and makes things interesting. It is like Shakespeare and George Lucas had tea and this is the result.

Once again, the art is awesome.... as you can see from my pictures. I would love to show all the pictures, but of course, that would just give too much away! The ACT title pages are my favorites.
Trust me, you want to get this book in your hands to experience it yourself.


About the author
IAN DOESCHER has loved Shakespeare since eighth grade and was born 45 days after Star Wars Episode IV was released. He has a B.A. in Music from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. Ian lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two sons.







write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC- I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review

Cover image, book information, author information and author image from QuirkBooks.com
Interior images by Jenna Papaleo

5.11.2015

Survey time!

So, my first task for Bout of Books 13 is to complete the Bookish Survey by Writing My Own Fairytale. Woot woot - time to share opinions! I am a lover of all things opinion related... discussions are the spice of life, man!

Without further ado...

1. How do you organize your shelves?
ROYGBIV! I have been rainbow organized on my shelves for probably a good 7 years now. I love it. It was totally annoying at first but I pushed through that because it was just so aesthetically pleasing. Now, I can tell you where every book is based on spine color. (I have a really really really good memory for visual cues, so that it kind of just me- I was that way even without color-coded shelves).

2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres?
I just finished Vengeance be Mine by Louisa Lo, which is an urban fantasy novel. This is far outside my realm of reading, and I totally LOVED it. I was really surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I may be branching out more often!

3. What is the last 5 star book you read?
I read Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky during Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon a few weekends ago and LOVED it. It was a 5-star all the way.
If I was writing this tonight, I imagine the book would be different - I have about 40 pages left in my current read and I can tell it will be a 5-star as well.

4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?
No idea. I'm finishing The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein... but then, who knows. Any ideas?

5. What book do you recommend the most?
Harry Potter.




write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow