Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Vampire Within, By Johi Jenkins

Happy May! Is everyone ready for summer yet? It's hiding just around the corner, maybe closer than we think. Us Texans can definitely feel it already. Springs here are very short, but I can't wait to get out in the pool!

As nice as today is, I dropped by the ol' blog to poke around a bit, leave a juicy review, and remind my giveaway winners to make sure they check the email they signed up with to claim their free copy of After! Not all the coupons I sent out have been claimed yet, so here's a list of winners once again. If you're on this list and haven't already, CHECK YOUR EMAIL! You have a free book in there collecting dust!
  • Taylor Hess
  • Jones Dodson
  • Vicky Wallette
  • Shannon Modrak
  • Wanda Ritter
Now that we have that out of the way, lets jump into the review.

Once again, I'm behind on getting these posted. I actually finished The Vampire Within by Johi Jenkins what seems like months ago. It's sad that I can read a book before I can post a review. Or, in this case, three books. Yeah. You heard right. I'm three books behind and closing in on finishing the fourth.

So, anyway. Let's get to it. 

The Vampire Within is the third novel in the Thirst Within series, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Definitely a guilty pleasure for me since I don't typically read this genre, but after I finished the book (way too fast, I might add) I ended up on a book bender trying to find another story of the same calibre. I had no luck, so if anyone has any suggestions of a good supernatural romance (maybe throw in some angels) then I'm all ears. 

When I first started this book, there was a part of me that really wanted to know how the story would end, and another part of me that really wanted the story to keep going. By the time I reached the end of the book, it was evident that the story was going to continue. However, I did not expect the cliffhanger that followed. Dammit. I'm going to be dying until the next book is released.

Here's a little history on this book series. It starts out with Thirst Within and follows up with the prequel, Corben's Thirst. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it is a true series and you will need to start with book one so that you can get to know the main cast. By the time you get to book three, you'll be so enthralled with the characters, you're not going to want to let them go. I can't really go into the plot of The Vampire Within without spoiling Thirst, so I think I'll just leave you with all my glowing accolades. 

Not sure which one is my favorite of the three books, but I just can’t wait to read more from the series. Remember, I'm still on the hunt for a good angel mythology book!

And yes, I'm very excited for the Preacher debut on AMC here in a couple weeks. Read those graphic novels over a decade ago and really enjoyed them. Can't wait to see what AMC, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have in store for us.

Aside from that, work on Dreamland - Part Two is right on schedule. I'm thinking I'll be hitting about 10 chapters for this installment, and I've already got 7 of them written. It's moving right along!




Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Giveaway Reminder!

Or possibly, first notice... I apologize for that. I was not aware that Networkblog is no more. This was a service I relied on to share my blog posts to my Facebook and Twitter followers. I found a new service that I'm trying out that looks promising. If you were shown the way here from Facebook/Twitter, then it's working wonderfully.

So, here we go... A current giveaway is underway already for 5 eBook copies of After, the COMPLETE book one of The Phoenix Curse. The winners will be gifted their copy through Amazon.

Already have all three parts separate? Who cares! Sign up to get the complete book for your convenience. (It might actually have less typos in it.) Know a friend who might want to read it? Both of you sign up to increase your chances. The gift code is not specific to your email or Amazon account.

 The giveaway has been running since the 15th, and so far has a very poor turnout. Your odds of winning are pretty damn good if you sign up now. You still have until Friday, BUT it is possible to get an extra entry per day if you tweet about the contest! Since it's possible we lost a few a days due to my failed promotion of the contest, you can send an email to drjpublishing@gmail.com and I'll make sure those extra entries get thrown into the hat.

There is one small hurdle to enter. You do have to sign up for rafflecopter as they are hosting the giveway, but don't worry. It's quick, free, and they do not spam you. (I won't spam you either.)

Remember, the object of this giveaway is to get the word out about the book, and get a copy into the hands of someone who hasn't read it, so sign up and share share share! Visibility is key and if you win, the gift code can go to any one of your choosing.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 15, 2016

It's Giveaway Time!!

To celebrate the completion of FIVE WHOLE CHAPTERS in the Dreamland - Part Two first draft, we are giving away FIVE ebook copies of After - The Complete Book One. (Not really. The Giveaway was already planned. This was just a co-inky-dink.)

To enter, please choose as many options below as you like. Apparently, you do have to sign up for rafflecopter if you don't have a Facebook account, but it's free and they don't spam you. (I don't like spam.)

Already have all three parts of book one? This is a good opportunity to get your friends who haven't read the books yet to enter and win a copy.

Or maybe you just want a copy of the full book one for yourself? Oh, the possibilities!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 1, 2016

Who Censored Roger Rabbit, by Gary K. Wolf

So, did anyone else know that the beloved movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit was actually based on a book? I was not aware until late last year. When I found out, I promptly downloaded the book and began to read. I was very excited, but unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations. We always hear the saying, 'the book is better than the movie.' In this case, it was not. The movie is a cherished memory from my childhood. The book... yeah... well... not so much.

Now, I don’t normally give one or two star reviews. The reason is not because I want to always say, I love this book. or I like this book, or even this book was okay. It’s because when I start off with a book, and I think it’s going to be a one-star/two-star review, I never commit and finish it. There are far too many books out there and not enough time. It isn't fair to an author to get a critical review from someone who didn't finish their book, so that is why I don't give many low-star reviews.

Who Censored Roger Rabbit totally caught me, though. It didn’t turn into a two-star review until the very last pages.

Now, I did like the concept of this book. Apparently, a lot of other people did as well considering it was turned into a brilliant movie. There are some differences of course, as the book is filled with comic strip toons. You still get Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, the weird baby, and a multitude of other toons. Again, not cartoons, but comic strip toons, complete with word bubbles and all. This was an okay change between the mediums. The cartoon characters in the movie were wonderful, and the comic strip characters worked really well on the page.

Now, for me to really give this book a full review, and to my reasoning as to why I could only find a couple starts to throw at it, I would have to spoil the entire book. I guess I will go ahead and do that, so consider this your warning.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Like, major spoilers. The whole book kinda spoilers. Only read this post if you don't ever plan on reading this book.

Got it?

Here we go.

So, when you start reading this book, you fall into the perspective of Private Investigator Eddie Valliant. It is a true gumshoe novel and a classic case of whodunits. I don’t read a lot of these books, so I was amused with the phrasing at first. However, I started this book last year, and I actually read it instead of listening to it. (I normally have a book I’m reading, as well as an audiobook that I’m listening to at the same time.) I think this was the perfect book to let sit on the back burner as it didn’t seem to demand my attention.

That should’ve been my first clue. Yet I pressed on.

Now, the flowery gumshoe prose was really creative, and I did like it, but it got to be too much at times. Every sentence was a gumshoe phrase. That is why I’m going to give this book an extra star. It took some creativity to come up with all the phrasing used in this book, and even though it came off as a little heavy-handed, the author gets props for that.

But then... We start off with Roger Rabbit dead. What? Yeah, you heard me. Roger Rabbit is dead. That didn’t happen in the movie. If he’s really dead, how is he in the other books the author has written? That’s a very good question. One I thought the end of the book would answer and yet… No.

So, in the book, toons have doppelgängers, The doppelgänger can do chores, run errands, handle all the dangerious comicstrip stunts so the real toon doesn't get hurt. It just takes a little effort and some concentration, and BLAMO, they've got an identical replica of themselves ready to do their bidding and that will dissolve within a couple hours. Oh, the possiblities... 

Okay, that’s interesting. So, supposedly, the original Roger Rabbit is dead, and we are solving his murder with his doppelgänger that he created the day he died. The doppelgänger apparently had a little extra juice thrown his way, so he was able to stay alive and help Mr. Valiant through his case. Now Jessica Rabbit and Roger Rabbit are estranged at the beginning of the book, and somehow, I kept thinking the book was going to turn around with some plot twist that showed Jessica and Roger were truly in love. I mean, he makes her laugh, right? Apparently, only in the movies. Jessica Rabbit is actually just a shallow whore who hates Roger with all her being. Like... For real. She is BAD and it wasn't the way she was drawn.

There goes a little bit of my childhood.

So, it looks like Jessica killed Roger. Roger, who actually is very much in love with Jessica, does not believe it. He needs Valiant to not only solve the crime of who killed some other dude that I don’t even care about, as well as make sure everyone knows Jessica did not kill Roger.

Also, there’s a teakettle everybody wants. The mystery around this teakettle is actually what kept me coming back for more.

Well, turns out, this teakettle is actually a lantern. Like, I’m talking Aladdin-style, I dream of Genie in a bottle, grant me my three wishes, lantern. This was revealed very late in the book. Like, climactic scene late. All the suspects that we were interviewing and trying to solve this case on? Yeah, completely pointless. The magical dues ex machina was the true killer all along. Oh, didn’t see that coming? I don’t know why. Everyone should always see the magical genie was the one who did it. The one that wasn’t supposed to ever exist. The one that you didn’t learn about until the last three pages of the frigging book.

Oh, and do you wonder how hard it is to destroy an evil, all-powerful Genie? Only the pure of heart dumping the lantern into the ocean can kill a Genie. Everyone knows that! It's sure going to be hard since our town is landlocked. Also, where are you going to find someone who's 'pure of heart' since everyone in this book seems to be a gigantic asshole and our hero is a raging, cynical alcoholic?

Turns out, it wasn't as hard as it sounds. Good thing alcohol only destroys the liver and not the heart, but what about the ocean??

Oh, Valiant just happens to spot a conveniently placed saltwater fish tank that just so happened to be right in the room evil Genie was released in. Poof, dead evil genie. In three pages.

What?

And the worst part? No, the genie being the killer wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that Roger Rabbit was actually a huge douche. There was no pah-pah-pah-please Eddie. Roger was actually trying to frame Valiant for the murder that Roger committed, because... Roger is evil and a murderer. 

Hello. My entire childhood has been destroyed now.

I think I have a movie to watch to refresh some displaced memories. 

Okay, this book really, really annoyed me, and I know a lot of people have asked for reviews from me because my reviews are passionate when I like a book. I believe that’s true, because when I like a book I go on and on and on and on about it, but as stated before, I normally abandon a book that would be a one or two-star review.

Now, here is what happens when you get a one or two-star review for me. Equally as passionate, although probably somewhat offensive to the original author. That's something I don’t want to do, being an author myself. Those low-star reviews really hurt. So, here is what I’m going to do. I know Who Censored Roger Rabbit was the very first book that was published by this author. As you know, first books can sometimes be a really rocky road. I will give this author another chance, and pick up another one of his books. The reason why I will do that, is because this book did have promise. It’s possible that the beloved movie skewed myy perceptioin of the book. (Ya think?) So, this review might not be totally fair, but it's truthful. I think the author deserves another chance.

Man, do I hate giving one star reviews.

Oy...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mistborn: Secret History, by Brandon Sanderson

Not more than five minutes ago, I finished the Secret History and I have no words incredible enough to describe how I feel right now. I'm attempting to get my awe, my sadness, and my mind-blown emotions down on paper before they fade and realize I'm not able to do so. The words simply don't exist.

So Secret History is not a novella you can just pick up and start reading. This is a companion novella to the whole Mistborn series, specifically for the original trilogy, although it contains minor spoilers through the second trilogy up to the Bands of Mourning. The novella covers a unique perspective through the original Mistborn timeline that gave us the answers to some lingering mysteries, and brought back ALL the emotions I experienced during that one late night/early morning obsessive reading session that left me sobbing in a fetal position gasping for breath.

These books are good, people. I can't stress that enough. I absolutely love Sanderson's work, and I feel a deep connection to his characters. I didn't start reading his works until last year, so that is such a short time to become such a dedicated fangirl, but it's happened.

And now there's a void inside me I'm struggling to fill.

I need another book to devour... STAT!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bands of Mourning, By Brandon Sanderson

Happy Wednesday morning, everyone! I've got a new review for yet another Sanderson novel. I promise I'm not obsessed. I'm only looking to get through his cosmere novels so I can move on to something else. I have already finished Secret History, so that review will be next. I have two other cosmere novellas, and then I think I'm done. See? Not obsessed. Right? I don't know. If I am, I don't care. I just love these books!

Bands of Mourning is the third novel in the Wax and Wayne Mistborn series, so you wouldn't be able to just pick up this book and start reading. You need to start from the beginning, and by that, I mean the VERY beginning, with the original Mistborn series. I oo'd and aw'd over these books too, and if you need a refresher, the review is here.

This is the follow-up book to Shadows of Self that was released late last year. I did a bit of reading on Sanderson's website and found that he started writing Shadows of Self while he was mired in the depths of finishing up the Wheel of Time series. He didn't actually finish Shadows of Self then, and when he turned back to the manuscript, Sanderson said he found it difficult getting back into it. In order to get back into the Mistborn flow, he churned out Bands of Morning first, THEN turned back to Shadows of Self.

Interesting. I know that doesn't really have anything to do with the book review, but I find it fascinating that Sanderson is able to do that. After reading both books, it also makes sense considering the tone Bands of Mourning started off with. Shadows of Self ended dark, though I absolutely love SOS and it might be one of my favorite Mistborn books altogether, Bands of Mourning was a lighter, refreshing change of pace.

BOM introduced a new, lovable character, has some great character development for a couple of established characters, and of course it had Wayne. Wayne is spectacular. There is a scene in this book that had me laughing out loud. Sanderson has a way of crafting words that you could really visualize what was going on, and it was very memorable. Probably one of the best scenes I've ever read from Sanderson that wasn't an epic battle scene.

One last thing about the Bands of Mourning audiobook. Once again, the novel is narrated by Michael Kramer, who always does an excellent, excellent job. I think Sanderson and Kramer make an excellent team, just like RA Salvatore and Victor Bevine. Kramer is well aware of Sanderson's world and has a great connection with all the characters. His enthusiasm for the series makes his performance absolutely brilliant. I think, even if you don't love fantasy, listening to Michael Kramer narrate these books is an experience worth it in its own. The man does a good job.

There is one more Wax and Wayne novel to follow this up, so it was a good segue from Shadows of Self to the new book. I am not sure if it has a release date, or even if Sanderson has even started writing it yet, so I might be waiting a while. Knowing that comes with its own sort of depression. I've turned to Robin Hobb and the Farseer Trilogy to fill the void, and if I'm looking for not being depressed I may have made a mistake. Oh well. I hear those books are good.

Now that that's out of the way, I am continuing to work on The Walk manuscript. This thing is out of control, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have basically finished 50k words a month for the past four months straight.

I'm dying here, people.

But, if I want to be a writer this is what I have to do, right? I'll keep at it, and will definitely have the book finished in March. Originally, I thought I would have The Walk finished within three months, but that's not going to happen. I didn't know there was so much story to tell. My plan was to edit it and work on publication before April, but it's obviously not enough time. Once I finish the manuscript for The Walk, I'm going to jump straight into Dreamland so I can make sure to get it on the shelves by late summer or early fall. Dreamland - Part Two isn't going to be anywhere near as big as the monster I'm working on now, so I should have the first draft fully written within a couple months.

So, time to get back at it. Next review will be for Secret History. Thank you all for dropping by, and happy reading!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Android's Dream, by John Scalzi

Okay, second book read of the year, second review going up! ... (We're just not going to talk about the fact I'm three books behind since I've already started book five of the year with only one review up... And I told myself this year was going to be different.)

So, The Android's Dream, by John Scalzi, a book and author I knew absolutely nothing about when I picked it up. In fact, the reason I grabbed this book was because it was on a tremendous sale on Audible and was narrated by Will Wheaton. I think at the time I had grabbed this, I had never heard Will Wheaton narrate a book before and wanted to see how he did. That was where my interest lied instead of the book itself, but hey, I'm always up for a good sci-fi read.

Not to mention with the recent releases of the movies like Her and Ex Machina, I was totally feeling the android/robot vibe.

So when the very first line of the book starts out like this...

Dirk Moeller didn't know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident, but he was ready to find out.
I simply had no idea what I was getting myself into.

For starters, this book is NOT about androids or any philosophical argument about their dreams, either...  although there is a pretty cool AI in the book, it doesn't focus on that.

This book is about sheep.

What?

Yeah, you heard me. Sheep. Blue ones to be exact, but that's not really important right now.

I mean, when you look at the cover, it makes sense, but I was thinking more of the 'dream' part of the title which you can only get to by going to sleep, which is achieved by counting sheep. I did not read the synopsis. Silly me.

However, do not think I was in anyway disappointed. This book was actually a very fun read. The first chapter pretty much sets the tone, so if you test that out and aren't picking up what Scalzi is laying down, then you haven't lost much time. It is very creative, and no, the entire book isn't one big fart joke. That first sentence might be a bit misleading.

Now, aside from the storyline and the brilliant tie up at the end, I enjoyed the sci-fi look at things from a 2007 perspective, (the year this book was published.) It's funny, because that's right about the time smart phones broke out, and it's amazing how on the money Scalzi got that one with his 'communicators', but some other things were pretty off the mark and funny to read about.

There were some issues. I'm not a big fan of info dumps, and Scalzi actually uses that intentionally as one of his lead in techniques. It's done with skill, but I felt it was a little jarring once we jumped back into present time. That's just the way it is with all info dumps, though. Like I said. Not a fan.

Also, I really enjoyed Will Wheaton's narration for the most part. His excitement for the story really showed in his performance and it was contagious. Sometimes there was an issue being able to tell one human male apart from another human male, and one alien male apart from another alien male of the same breed, which made it confusing at times wondering who was actually talking as the voices didn't vary much, but that was the only flaw I could nitpick on. (hello run-on sentence, but who's nitpicking now? Oh... right...)

I'd give both narration and story a solid four stars and highly recommend this book. I said it before and I'll say it again. The book was a super fun read.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm already behind on my reviews, but all the books I've read this year so far have been fantastic. Up next for review is Bands of Mourning, by Brandon Sanderson.

P.S. My manuscript is killing me y'all. I'll update more on that with the next post.

Until then, happy reading!!