Thursday, December 29, 2011

Feature and Follow Friday 12/30

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. It's a fun way to gain followers and meet other bloggers.
This week:
Question of the Week: The New Year is here -- and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog?
A. I really love this question because I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I have been very fortunate to have a steady (overflowing) stream of review requests. While I enjoy reading these books, I have had a hard time keeping up with all the requests and still finding time to focus on my main goal: writing my novel.
I know I'm not the only blogger/writer out there. There are tons of us. It's a natural progression from voracious book reader to aspiring writer. The problem occurs when my free time is factored in. I have about 3-4 hours after my kids have gone to bed to read/write/blog/social network/think about doing housework but never actually do it. And that's if I'm staying up waaaay later than I should be. When I've told someone that I will review their book I feel like that takes priority. Which means writing doesn't always happen for me.
So finally to my Resolution: Accept fewer requests (ouch...this is hurting already), have a wider variety of posts on the blog, and *stands proud, gazing into the distance* write my novel.
:-)
Any other writers out there struggling to find that perfect balance?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Giveaway and Interview: James A. West, author of The God King

About the Author:
When James was thirteen years old he read The Talisman, by Stephen King, and a seed of an idea was planted that someday he, too, wanted to create different worlds and realities. After a stint in the US Army, a year as a long-haul truck driver, and a couple as a log home builder, he enrolled at the University of Montana. There, he majored in Psychology and, by chance, took a creative writing course that allowed him to revisit that idea of writing. Words started to flow, and worlds were born. After college, he started a small woodworking business with the express purpose of using it to fund his writing journey. James lives in Montana with his wife and his bodyguard, a Mini-Schnauzer named Jonesy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My Tower of Books: I am excited to have the author of The God King, James West here on my blog today! I'm only about halfway through his book right now (review to come, of course), but I can already tell you it's amazing. He is a great writer, and I will be looking for more of his books in the future.
Moving on :-) James has been so kind as to answer a few questions. So, here we go!
First off, how many story ideas do you have bouncing around in your head right now?
James West: Let me start by saying that I am extremely grateful to you for setting up this interview, and that your questions are awesome!

Now, as for number of story ideas in my head, the short answer is too many. For as long as I can remember, “what if” ideas just pop into my head without any conscious effort. When I begin a new project, I have to force myself to disregard most ideas, which keeps my writing from jumping
all over the place. When a given project is done, I let the ideas flow again. Luckily, they always do. I guess you could say I listen to the voices inside my head!
My Tower of Books: What sort of things inspire you? Music, nature, reading, life in general?
James West: Life, historical or present, is my go-to motivation. One thing I have learned through studying history and observing present life is that humanity, given enough time, always seems to come back around to the same kind of actions. The technology might change, but our motivations really don’t seem to. Music is an interesting choice, as well, because I use it as both a tool and inspiration. It allows me to capture a given mood, which I then transfer to my writing.

MToB: Is Fantasy the genre you read most often? What are you reading right now?
James: While I predominately write fantasy, I rarely read it. When I first started writing in earnest—and I suppose it probably holds true even now—one bit of advice was to read the genre in which you wrote. In following that, I felt that my creativity was stifled, and I inevitably ended up with a variation on a theme.

As to what I am reading now, suffice it to say with the advent of the eReader, I have started reading genres I never would have considered before. While I still enjoy a lot of my favorite bestsellers, I really like indie authors, because in them I feel that the reader has a better chance of being exposed to unique perspectives.
MToB: When did you realize that writing was not just something you wanted to do, but something you were good at?
James: That is a tough one. The short answer is when I took a creative writing class in college. To me I was just a face in the crowd, but then my wife, who specializes in a completely different field, told me about a work-study student in her lab who literally freaked out when he found out she was married to me. Apparently he was extremely excited by just about everything I wrote. Now, having said that, I have never considered myself a good writer, only adequate. That is as high as I will ever consider myself, because after I finish a story, I still see all the warts and blemishes, and I know where I failed to put into words what I saw in my head and felt in my heart. Besides that, if I doubt my skill, then it forces me to strive to do better the next time. If I ever get to where I think I am a great writer, I am pretty sure that will be when my writing goes downhill.
MToB: Are you an outlining kind of author? Or do you just go with the flow?
James: I would say it is a mixed bag. I usually do a rough outline, with the bullet points serving as guideposts. This may sound clichéd, but for me the story always ends up taking over. Past experience has taught me to keep a light but steady hand on the reins. If I give the story its head, it will gallop off, and those separate bullet points have the potential of becoming stories all by themselves. If I am too firm, my writing loses vitality, color, becomes formulaic.
MToB: What can somebody expect when they read your book, The God King?
James: When I started this project, I was looking into the dark ages which, I discovered, tends to be dark in the sense that there is little known about them. Simply put, when a dark age falls, survival becomes key, trumping all else—when you need food and shelter, there is little time or effort spent chronicling day to day experiences.
In The God King, the end of the world starts unfolding from the outset, when a power never meant for mortal hands is unleashed upon the world of men. In this, you could actually consider The God King a prequel. My intention is to let the effects of this power, coupled with human motivations and the need to survive another day, flavor everything else that I write in this world.
With all that said, I don’t know about expectations, but I definitely hope readers discover a new, gripping, and fast-paced fantasy realm. Naturally there are fantasy elements in The God King, but I purposefully veered away from elves, dwarves, wizards, and unlikely/reluctant heroes that save the day at the last possible moment. Neither is my novel set in mediaeval Europe, but rather moves between vast swamps and expansive deserts, all of which are being torn apart by celestial and terrestrial forces. Without question, The God King sets up a world falling into darkness, but in that gloom there is and always will be points of light and hope.
MToB: Do you have fun writing the villains in your stories?
James: I try not to, but I really do.
MToB: What are your hobbies, besides writing?
James: I like studying history, because it gives me an idea where we are going. I know it has been said before, but there is nothing new under the sun, and history really does repeat itself. Depending on where a given society is at the moment, and of course your personal outlook, that can be scary or exciting. As for traditional hobbies, I have lived the majority of my life in a rural setting, so I enjoy all the usual outdoorsy stuff. My wife and I like to fly-fish together, and we like to take Jonesy, our Mini-Schnauzer, with us. He is so funny. He likes to dig up the spiders that hide under the rocks on the river bank. I also have a woodshop, from which I used to make my
living. I have since decided that it serves me better as a hobby, rather than a business. My wife likes it because she gets a houseful of furniture for free!
MToB: James, thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions!
To connect with James A. West check him out on his
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now for the Giveaway!

James West has been so gracious and has given me ten (TEN) eBook copies of The God King to give away to my wonderful readers! I can vouch that this is a great find and will make a lovely addition to your digital library.

The Rules:

This is an easy one! The first 10 people to comment on this post will receive a copy of The God King in the eBook format of their choice. Don't forget to leave your e-mail address in your comment. See, very simple :-)

Alright, comment away, everyone!

Giveaway Winners for When Grandma's False Teeth Fly!


Congratulations to:
Stephanie P.
aLmYbNeNr
Marybelle
Jessi E.
&
Anonymous
Thanks so much for participating!! I'll be e-mailing the winners to notify them.
I hope you enjoy your cute, little copy of this book :-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: I Love You More....Than Chocolate by Melanie Milburn

Synopsis:
This book was originally a song, and inside the back cover, you have a CD of Melanie singing the song. When Melanie would tuck her children into bed at night, she made sure they knew how much they were loved. She told them she loved them more than anything even chocolate! Her children knew she was a chocoholic, so they had no doubt, they knew they were loved! Every child wants to know they are loved, and this book conveys what parents want their children to know in a way that speaks clearly and impressively to the child's mind and heart.

Review:
This is such a sweet book! I think I've read it almost 20 times to my kids after having it for about a week. It's got great illustrations to go along with the words and phrases. The pictures help kids recognize what's coming up in the story, and they can really get into following along.

A cd of the author singing the song that goes with the book is on the back cover. The song is word for word what is written in the book. It's all the things the mother tells her daughter before bed. I love you more than...chocolate. The song is great, and we've listened to it so much! Again, it's easy for kids to sing along with and really get into :-) I believe we listened to this song the whole 45 minute drive to my parents' house. Pretty catchy tune!

A great book (and song) that kids will want to hear again and again!

Publication Date: December 6, 2010
Genre: Children's Fiction/Picture Book
Source: Thanks to the author, Melanie Milburn, for my review copy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Feature and Follow Friday 12/23

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Head over to their blogs to join in the following fun.




This week:


Q: If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?




A: I have to go with the world from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. There are some very obvious down sides to being forever within the pages of these books but . . . Bones . . .


Ahem! Hrrrm! I decided the perks outweigh the danger and whatnot.


;-)



What book do you want to jump into (and never come back)?

Review: Broken Wings by Sandra Edwards

Synopsis:
Rio Laraquette thought the legend was nothing more than an enchanted tale about star-crossed lovers who left behind a fortune. That is, until she figures out that she—in a past life—was the culprit who stole a shipment of gold and silver and buried it somewhere in the hills of northern Nevada.

While searching for the treasure, Rio's heart begins to ache for a man who's been dead more than one hundred years. They say time heals all wounds, but what if it doesn't...?

Review:
Before I even get into the story, I have to mention that cover...not too bad, huh? Moving on, this is a romance novel with class, and it was a really fun read.

Rio Laraquette is a lot of different things. She's strong, independent, and just the right amount of vulnerable. I also saw her as a risk-taker. I like reading about this type of person since I am definitely not a taker of risks. She starts off as a treasure hunter, looking for gold that was buried a long time ago. As she gets pulled deeper into the history of the Native American family, the Tajans, she realizes she is connected to the treasure in an unbelieveable way. Billy Tajan was great as her helpful, caring cousin. Plus, I have a hard time finding any flaws with a hottie type Native American. I love how Rio and Billy's stories played out in the end.

A fun and entertaining read. The end of Broken Wings makes me excited to think of where the next book will take Rio. I love me some Romance!

Publication Date: September 15, 2010
Genre: Adult, Romance
Source: Thanks to the author, Sandra Edwards, for my review copy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: Heir to the Sun by Jennifer Allis Provost

Synopsis:
The Faerie King has entered into a pact with the demon lord, trading his people's freedom for the might to conquer the nine realms. Two unlikely allies are determined to stop him: Asherah, enslaved by demons, and Caol'nir, a warrior sworn to defend the king.

When Asherah, stripped of both her memory and her dignity, learns that King Sahlgren is responsible for her captivity, she leads her fellow slaves in a daring escape and burns their prison to the ground. Then she learns that there are many more prisons across Parthalan, and embarks upon a campaign to free every last faerie.

In stark contrast to Asherah's struggles, Caol'nir lives the comfortable life of a temple guard. He is sworn to serve and defend the king, as his ancestors have done since time immemorial. Now a priestess has been murdered, and Caol'nir learns that Sahlgren's scheming is to blame. Determined to thwart the king, sacred oath or no, Caol'nir joins Asherah's rebellion. What Caol'nir doesn't know is that Sahlgren has promised the demon lord a woman of rare and singular beauty, a woman who is rumored to be the sun god's daughter. She also happens to be Caol'nir's mate

Review:
I really love reading good Fantasy novels written by women. Don't get me wrong, I mean, a lot of my favorite Fantasy authors are male . . . but it's refreshing to get a woman's perspective on things. This novel showcases two couples and their love set within a wonderfully created world with rich history and background.

The thing that stuck out to me the most was how engaged I was with the relationships. There's Caol'nir and Alluria with their forbidden yet sweet love. I loved every minute of them in the book. But what stole the show was Lormac and Asherah. I was kind of mad that Lormac wasn't real because he is absolutely perfect. A powerful king that has every excuse to be self-centered and demanding, but he is caring and gentle and LOVES Asherah more than anything. Lest I only mention the love-y parts of the story *sheepish grin*, the entire plot is fantastic and original. Plain and simple, I just thought this book was great.

For any readers that might be hesitant to read the sometimes-daunting genre of Fantasy, I think this is a good one to pick up. There's nothing too complicated as far as the world-building goes, which leaves you free to enjoy the characters and their stories.

Publication Date: August 9, 2011
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Thanks to the author, Jennifer Allis Provost, for my review copy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review and Giveaway: When Grandma's False Teeth Fly by Mary Lee

Synopsis:
Katie is not a little girl anymore—she is six years old! But some mean girls at school still tease her about her chipped baby tooth. Katie seeks advice from her grandma, who will tell her a hilarious story that encourages her to use humor instead of anger or sadness to solve her problems. Join Katie and Grandma for a touching, funny, and inspiring story about When Grandma's False Teeth Fly.

Review:
I have a special place in my heart for books I can read with my kids. When I told them the name of this book they were SO excited to read it (and I might have been excited too :-)

Let's face it. Kids can be really (REALLY) mean to each other, and a lot of times it's about something that can't be controlled. In this case, Katie has a cutie little chip in her tooth, and some girls at school make fun of her. Good ol' Grandma to the rescue. She helps her Katie understand that people can only make you feel bad if you let them. Plus, laughter is something that can cure even a chipped tooth.

I read this to my kids, and they loved it! Sometimes a children's book is touching and sweet to the adult reading it, but doesn't translate into something the child actually feels like reading. The illustrations are adorable and easy to follow. A great book to share with that special, little someone (or two . . . or three) in your life.


Ready for the 'Giveaway' part?


The author has been so generous as to provide FIVE copies of this darling book for me to give away!


How to enter:


Leave a comment about why you'd like the book, and don't forget to leave your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.


Giveaway ends: December 27th


Good luck, everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blogger Interview With . . . Me :-)


I'm a featured blogger over at Heidi Ruby Miller's blog today! She is the author of Ambasadora (see my Review) and an all around nice person. Head over to her blog, Just a Girl to see my (first) interview! :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: Dangerous Reflections by Shay Fabbro

Synopsis:
Alexis Davenport wants to go home. She hates her new school, her mother for moving her away from her friends, living in her aunt's guesthouse, and her father for walking out.

To make matters worse, Alex is haunted by the images of strange girls reflected in her mirror. It is bad enough juggling homework, a relentless bully, boys, and a deadbeat dad.

Now, she must save the world from an evil presence hell-bent on changing the past - and our futures. Who knew her A+ in history was going to be this important?

Review:
Dangerous Reflections has a storyline that is really unique. I always like when I read something that's new to me.

Alex is transitioning to a new school after her dad walks out on her and her mom. She is overwhelmed by the changes taking place as she goes to a new school and tries to fit in. As if that's not enough to deal with, she accidentally travels back in time and takes over the body of someone from the past. She meets another time traveller that is trying to change different parts of history, and it's her job to stop him.

I liked the relationship Alex has with her friends in the book. She finds out that she can face all the bullying and meanness as long as she has their support. Her friend Jennifer really stood out as the loyal bestie. I also liked the development at the end of the book with Alex's love interest changing. I really liked Drake and hope that he turns out to be what he appears . . . but then again, what fun would that be?

I'm interested to see where the story goes in the next book in this series!

Publication Date: June 5, 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Thank you to the author, Shay Fabbro, for my review copy!

Feature and Follow Friday 12/16

Feature & Follow Friday is a fun meme found at Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. Head over to one of their blogs and check out how to join in.


This week:

Question of the Week: When you've read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)


Answer: I really enjoy giving books away. It's really fun to read a great book and then be able to give it to someone else. Once they've read it and know how awesome it is, you can have amazingly nerdfully great talks about it. Everybody wins ;-)


It had never even crossed my mind to sell a book to someone. If it's a series I want to proudly display on my bookshelves (or, more realistically, display in a haphazard pile on the side of my bed) then I will lend them out and hope they come back to me one day.


Where do your books end up?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: Sacrifice by Alexandrea Weis

Synopsis:
Nicci Beauvoir fell in love with the artist, David Alexander, in To My Senses, and then uncovered his killer in Recovery. Nicci is back to finally confront David’s dark past in Sacrifice. Stunned after seeing a man she believes to be her beloved David Alexander in a crowd outside of the St. Louis Cathedral, Nicci goes on a desperate hunt for the truth about David’s demise. But to get the information she desires, Nicci must team up with David’s former boss, the ruthless Simon La Roy. Nicci decides not to tell her fiancĂ©, Dallas August, about her involvement with Simon. As Nicci becomes hopelessly entangled in Simon’s sinister plans, Dallas discovers her secret, and tries to protect her. But one night on a deserted French Quarter street, Nicci unexpectedly learns what really happened to David Alexander. Now she must engage in a deadly game of intrigue to keep what she has unearthed from Simon La Roy.

In a final confrontation, a revengeful Simon forces Nicci to choose between her life and revealing all that she has discovered. But what mystery is Nicci protecting and is it worth her future happiness? For Nicci there can be no happy ending unless she keeps what she knows about David Alexander hidden from the world. It’s a decision that will cost her everything. Is Nicci willing to pay the price? In the end, there can never be a happily ever after without a little…sacrifice.

Review:
I haven't read any mystery/romances in a while, but this one might get me started again. This is the third book in this series, but if you haven't read the other two you won't be lost. The author deftly catches new readers up without annoying the people that have read the other books :-)

From the opening scene, I was interested in the characters and the story. Nicci finds herself at her cousins wedding being harrassed by her family to marry Dallas. Nicci loves him but can't committ. Mainly because she is still in love with David . . . who has been dead for three years. This obviously complicates things. It's pretty hard to compete with someone that's dead and gone. Her character is in a battle with her emotions, heart and mind. Add in some intrigue and betrayal and the story is complete.

I read Sacrifice pretty quickly because I really wanted to find out what was going to happen. An entertaining book with a lot of great characters. I'll be interested to see where the next book takes Nicci.

Publication Date: October 1, 2011
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Romance
Source: Thanks to the author, Alexandrea Weis, for my review copy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Review: Mo Wren, Lost and Found by Tricia Springstubb

Synopsis:
Mo Wren knew that eventually she, her dad, and her sister, Wild Child Dottie, would have to move from beloved Fox Street. She just never expected it to happen so soon.

At the Wrens’ new place, things are very different. The name of the street—East 213th—has absolutely zero magic. And there’s no Mrs. Petrone to cut her hair, no Pi Baggott to teach her how to skateboard, no Green Kingdom to explore. She’s having trouble fitting in at her new school and spending a lot of time using the corner bus shelter for her Thinking Spot. Worst of all, Mo discovers that the ramshackle restaurant Mr. Wren bought is cursed. Only Dottie, with her new friends and pet lizard, Handsome, is doing the dance of joy.

For the first time in her life, Mo feels lost and out of place. It’s going to take a boy who tells whoppers, a Laundromat with a mysterious owner, a freak blizzard, and some courage to help her find her way home for good.

Review:
This was such a sweet and touching story. It's the sequel to What Happened On Fox Street, but it can easily be read as a stand alone. I guarantee after you read Mo Wren, Lost and Found that you will really want to pick up the first one!

We find Mo Wren about to leave her home on Fox Street. Her house and the surrounding neighbors have been the anchor for everything in her life, and now she has to figure out what to do with herself in a different place. She is bombarded with uncertainties and doesn't give herself the credit she deserves. She faces these things with a maturity and grace that she is completely blind to until later on in the book. Carmella sees that in her from the beginning. I loved Carmella for seeing the beautiful parts of her Soap Opera customers when they don't see it themselves.

A great book for any age. Middle graders will enjoy the story and can relate to Mo and the things she deals with. Older readers will be touched by the authentic, coming-of-age themes found throughout the book.

Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Coming-of-Age
Source: Thanks so much to the author, Tricia Springstubb, for my review copy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: The Boy Who Flew With Eagles by Ben Woodard

Synopsis:
An adventure story of a boy challenged to save a family of eagles or become their meal. With famine looming for animals and humans, the boy works to feed the eagles and learns their wisdom. As a reward for his help, he asks the eagles to teach him to fly. The book depicts his struggle, both mentally and physically, to fly and convince his people that fewer salmon each year are due to their actions. The story combines myth, environmental awareness and the concept of working together. It is a short middle grade novel.

Review:
This is a book specifically geared towards reluctant readers. Mainly middle grade boys. It's a short novel with an easily read story that won't intimidate someone that is hesitant to pick up a book. I love that the author is putting the time and effort into getting kids to enjoy reading (especially those boys).

The story is about a boy that ends up living with eagles for a time. He helps them find food for survival, but he gains a lot in return for his efforts. There is an underlying theme of being conscious of how we use our resources. It presents a positive message without feeling preachy.

A quick, adventurous read that will boost the confidence of those reluctant middle grade readers :-)

Publication Date: November 6, 2011
Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure
Source: Thanks to the author, Ben Woodard, for my review copy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Follow Friday 12/9

Feature & Follow Friday is a fun meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. Head over to their blogs to find out how you can join in the fun.



This Week:

Question: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?


Answer: Without a doubt I would want everyone to read Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I guess buying them the book would be a good way to get them to read it :-) It might be the most beautiful book I've read. I more than loved it! If you haven't read it, buy it for yourself for Christmas.


What book would you like to put under the tree for all your friends this year?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

Synopsis:
Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.

Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 - The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control - torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled.

Review:
This is a beautifully told tale of a girl's journey down the twisted path of her life. In this book you get to see the good and the bad. All the things that shape a child into an adult.

You first meet Stevie as an adult, basically running from her own life. At this point it is unclear what the reason is, but you get the idea that she places the blame on herself. She hears a song on the radio that triggers the memories of her past. The story is truly about her journey from a teenager TO the lost and broken woman in the hotel.

The first part is her remembering the summers she spent with her sister at their aunt & uncle's beach house. She experiences so many amazing things, but one year events take a horrible turn. The second part you get to see Stevie at her own home. Followed by all the events leading up to her flight from her husband. She discovers that old guilt and blame never have positive results. While reading, I got to watch Stevie grow up, and be a part of her life. I was sad to see it end.

The story slowly unfolds like honey from a jar. I really felt like I got to know Stevie, maybe better than she knew herself, during the course of reading The Secret of Lies.

Publication Date: April 21, 2010
Genre: Coming-of-Age Fiction, Adult Fiction
Source: Thanks so much to the author, Barbara Forte Abate, for my review copy!

Giveaway Winners - The Last Three



Congratulations to:


Kathy N.
Paul M.
Milton P.
Jessi E.
and
Rachel M.

The winners will each receive an e-book copy of The Last Three. They will be contacted by e-mail. Enjoy, guys!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Guest Post: Are Zombies The New Vampires?

Are Zombies The New Vampires? A Guest Post by Rusty Fischer, author of Vamplayers and Zombies Don’t Cry

I recently attended a horror convention where I was on an author panel called “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.” Now, I was on several other author panels that weekend – how to write for YA, writing supernatural for YA, etc. – and there were a dozen or two people in each one. Not bad, but the zombie apocalypse panel? HUGE. I mean, standing room only, hanging out in the halls just to catch a word huge.

Probably 100 or more people crammed into one of those little hotel conference rooms. It was a great experience, sharing the panel with some bonafide zombie experts and a real live – sorry, living dead – zombie! But I couldn’t help feeling a *little* like an imposter.

I mean, these were hardcore zombie fans; some were even wearing makeup and all were out for blood, if you know what I mean. I couldn’t help but feel that if any of them actually got their hands on a copy of Zombies Don’t Cry, well, forget the zombies – they’d be tearing me limb from limb!

It made me think how far zombies had come from the day, two years earlier, when I’d consciously chosen to sit down and write a zombie story. Back then, of course, zombies weren’t the hottest ticket in town – it was vampires.

In fact, the whole reason I decided to write about zombies in the first place was because they were the literary underdogs at the time. Back then you pretty much had Stacey Jay, Amanda Ashby and the Generation Dead series; period. E. Van Lowe’s Never Slow Dance With a Zombie was brand new when I first sat down to write Zombies Don’t Cry. And now look at us. You literally can’t turn around these days without hitting a new zombie YA release.

Don’t get me wrong; I love it because you’re seeing all these new and exciting variations on the zombie themes, like the great things Jonathan Mayberry is doing with Rot & Ruin and exciting things happening like Warm Bodies being made into a movie.

But I’m wondering how long it’s going to be before the same folks who said “no more vampires” a few years ago are going to say “no more zombies”! So I have to ask… are zombies the new vampires?

It’s funny because if you have the word “zombies” in your title, all different kinds of people are going to read it. (You know, if you’re lucky and all that!) And some of them will be open and curious to read a new take on zombies, and others will want their hardcore zombie fix of blood and guts and BBBBRRRRAAAAIIIINNNNSSSS!!!!

Maybe that’s true of all genres, though. When I read a new vampire book, I’m generally looking for some twist on the genre, something unique and original, like Fat Vampire or The Reformed Vampire Support Group. But I’m sure there are many, many more folks who are looking for straight up love triangle, suck your neck, garlic and stake vampires as well.

But lots of folks, if you don’t write “their” type of zombie; look out – bad reviews a’ comin’. But I don’t think zombies are going anywhere soon. For one, there’s a lot of mythology and world-building left to do. Vampires have been around, it seems, forever. But zombies are fairly recent phenomenon and I think folks are enjoying the world building a lot – both writers and readers. And Hollywood seems downright obsessed with zombies, so that’s a good thing if they keep making good movies like Zombieland, and I have high hopes for World War Z.

Either way, I think I’m Team Zombie on this one. I can’t hate on vampires, though. I’ve got a few more vampire books in the pipeline, and I enjoyed writing them very, very much. It’s fun to work within the old lore and still try to do something new. But there’s something about zombies that keeps me coming back for more. I guess because, no matter how popular they’ve become, there’s still a lot of catching up to do if they want to be as popular, or even “cool,” as their vampire brothers and sisters.

So I guess, even though it may not seem like it at times, zombies are still the supernatural underdogs. And I’m always on the underdog’s side! How about you?

Yours in YA,

Rusty

About the author: Rusty Fischer is the author of several YA supernatural novels, including Zombies Don’t Cry, Ushers, Inc., Vamplayers, I Heart Zombie and Panty Raid @ Zombie High. Visit his blog, www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com, for news, reviews, cover leaks, writing and publishing advice, book excerpts and more!


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Thanks from My Tower of Books to Rusty Fischer for the time and effort put into this post. Very interesting stuff :-D

Friday, December 2, 2011

Follow Friday 12/2

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. Both great blogs. Head over to one of them and find out how to join in!

This week:
Question: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

Answer: This will probably be a popular answer, but I get really annoyed when the plot is revealed in a very clumsy way. Especially when it's mainly through the dialogue. Basically it boils down to the basic writing rule of 'show, don't tell'. Show me! Don't spell it all out for me from the beginning. I ain't no dummy :-)

What gets on your nerves most??

Review: Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

Synopsis:
Phillip's sophomore year is off to a rough start. One of his best friends ditches him for a group of douchebags. His track coach singles him out for personalized, torturous training sessions. And his dad decides to clean out all of the emergency supplies from the basement, even though the world could end in disaster at any moment...and even though those supplies are all Phillip has left of his dead mom. Not that he wants to talk about that.

But then Phillip meets Rebekah. Not only is she unconventionally hot and smart, but she has seriously great boobs. And she might like him back.

As Phillip gets closer to Rebekah, he tries harder and harder to turn himself into the kind of person he thinks she wants him to be. But the question is, can he become that person? And does he really want to?


Review:
Let me just say, the title and cover of this book will mean so much more to you after reading the book. It is so heartfelt and real.

Philip Flowers tells this story, and he tells it like a dude. As a girl, there are still a lot of mysterious things about the opposite sex that I just don't get. How they interact is very alien to me and also very fascinating. That is such a strong driving force in this book, and I loved it. It was like peeking into a window to the male mind :-)

Philip Flowers is a real boy. He really was an actual person to me. This is a boy that you could meet anywhere, and he has the same issues and questions that we all have had at some point. He's not sure what he believes about life and God. He finds faith...and then doubt. Not just in regards to God and religion, but faith and doubt in people. His friends and his family.

I would say this book has a strong religious message, except I'm not sure that it does. What I took away from it was that belief isn't about what people tell you to believe, but something that you have questioned and come to truly believe for yourself. Philip has to make this decision, and I won't say what he ends up deciding since I don't want to spoil anything. But I was really engaged in his journey for truth and answers.

A lot of great things to be found in Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse. A true to life coming-of-age story.

Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Source: Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for my eARC!