Thank you for visiting Jagged Edge Reviews. We have a lot of exciting reviews, guest posts, cover reveals and book blitz coming up!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Interview!

Welcome to Jagged Edge!

First, Kati, thank you so much for offering to do this interview with me. I really appreciate it.


Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?

I guess as a writer I am a bit unique in that I have been writing for most of my life and outside of magazine articles, I have never published under my own name, including Falling In Love. I am using a pen name partly to help hide Sherry’s identity. Besides writing, I love—surprise, surprise—reading, as well as sports, traveling and mostly enjoying life with my wife, our daughter and our dog.

What inspired you to write?

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. When I was four, I wrote my first book before I had learned any written words. It was really a comic book about my cat and I hunting for a mouse and when we found one, I wouldn’t let her kill it. It was based on a true story.


What authors influenced you as a writer?

Strangely enough, Franklin W. Dixon probably influenced me as much as anyone because every chapter in the Hardy Boys books ended with a cliffhanger, and that was the beginning of learning to write about suspense. However, as an adult I have written so many times “for hire” on different types of projects that I’m not sure how much writers have influenced my writing but obviously they have influenced my life by making it richer. I like strong stories so I read a lot of best selling writers like John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, John Connolly and Janet Evanovich. But occasionally, I may be in a mood for someone like Richard Yates, whose work can be depressing but the writing is superb.


What is your favorite quote?

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde


If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

The Sun Also Rises. I think that living as a writer in Paris in the Twenties would have been incredible.


What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?

I think a writer has to have a strong belief in one’s ability to create something special. Writing can be so difficult and writers can be so insecure about their writing and so afraid of exposing their most intimate thoughts and feelings that the writing itself can become intimidating. You have to believe that in the end it will not only be worth it but that you will give something to the world that no one else can.


Are your books different than your personal favorite books by other authors?

Yes but again, it is because I ghostwrote several autobiographies that I might not have otherwise read. Honestly, if Sherry had chosen another writer, I’m not sure that I would have read Falling In Love. But if I did read it, I know I would have enjoyed it immensely and learned from it. I think that is about all you can ask from a book.


What led you to writing in this genre?

As I mention in the Prologue, I really only had to answer the phone.


What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I like the end of the process when I am polishing a story, because then I am like a first reader offering an opinion rather than a writer trying to make the story work.

Least favorite part of the writing process?

The writing, just kidding. Actually, I don’t really like first drafts too much because the story usually hasn’t taken shape and it still has plot holes and the characters don’t seem complex enough. But I have taught writing and during the first class I always quote Ernest Hemingway’s line, “The only thing important about a first draft is finishing it.” But that is the beauty of writing. Eventually—or at least hopefully--it turns into a great read.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment, I am working on a thriller but I don’t like talking too much about a book until I am at least done with the first draft.


Where readers can find you?

Kati, these are probably way more links that you want, so please just choose any that work for you.

Website: http://www.fallinginlovethebook.com

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008VJM1HC
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falling-in-love-stephen-bradlee/1112684128?ean=2940044791381

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/213329

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15985861-falling-in-love

Sony: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/stephen-bradlee/falling-in-love/_/R-400000000000000802970
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Falling-In-Love/book-mg67c1tZ90CNqtXeMGDkXw/page1.html?s=QTKH5kPE1EGbI0C-AclU_g&r=3

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Falling-In-Love/371856969552390
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stephenbradlee

Stephen Bradlee Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-Bradlee/272408129527354

Stephen Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/StephenBradlee


LAST QUESTION:
Was there a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?

Not that I can think of. I think you asked the right questions. Thank you.

Review: Dementional

Title: Dementional
Author: Tonya Cannariato
Publisher: Katarr Kanticles Press
Publication Date: August 25, 2012
Reviewer: Elisa

Summary: Mark Inman has two loves: particle physics and Sarah. She agrees to become his wife at the same time his experiment to find the Higgs boson goes off the rails. Journey with Mark while his existence melts and reforms in unpredictable ways as the veils between realities thin. His exploration of the minutiae of quantum physics builds a fascinating tapestry of alternate universes. His search for survival, and the search for meaning and what is real, drive Mark as he experiences lives he never dreamed possible. His only touchstones: find Sarah and find his way home.

Review: This book starts out fairly confusing, but it all becomes clear...
When all scientists are called back to the lab because their super secret experiments are failing, Mark kisses his brand new bride goodbye and lets her know he will see her soon. His dark matter experiment has gone on meltdown and he is sucked into a tour of different dimension where he is still himself, but very different.
"I'm beginning to think every timeline has a moment of crisis - a turning point when that reality's participants are forced to choose whether their space-time implodes or evolves." (4%)
If you read it, you know how The Time Traveler’s Wife was, he would jump backwards or forwards in time, and most of them were to know a certain part or time of his wife’s. Well, Mark has had a meltdown of an experiment in dark matter or dimensional travel, but each consciousness he finds himself in, he has his wife Sarah to find. On these trips through the multiverse, he more deeply understands their connection as well as how everything else in the universe is connected. “I had gained valuable insights just by being in those forms. Previously, I would have felt that was impossible without extensive experimentation following the "work to disprove it” path of the scientific method.” (60%) Whether they are lizards, humanoids, amphibians, a planet to her moon, they have a push and pull and direct relationship to one another. It is lovely. Though a bit confusing with the talk of dark matter, electromagnetic pulses and some scientific jargon spaced a bit through, you don't really have to know what a Boson Higgs particle is, or string theory, though I imagine you will get a little more out of it than I did if you do. I don’t, so I figured it for science jargon and kept reading.
This book was so imaginative and interesting and quick it sucked me in, shook me around and finally spit me out. For a guy who travels through 8 or so dimensions, the book only comes to around 250 pages. It goes fast. There really isn't any unnecessary description. It is all important.
“I was living through a strange, extended Groundhog Day experience in these parallel dimensions, and I never knew when to expect a reset.” (35%)
“I still had no guidance for how to approach the problem, or support system, as I meandered my way through the multiverse like a pinball flung by a random application of force.” (57%)
So Mark and Sarah are being pulled through dimension after dimension, but they are always together. It is beautifully written, all in first person from Mark's POV and with his scientific recap, a little tiny bit like a Twilight Zone narration or something, with dialogue only when necessary.
After a couple of dimensions I was reading and wondering how Cannariato was going to conclude the story, really, how many ways could it end? And it does, at a nice spot. But there is no full explanation for how it happens. So I found it a little too pat and easy, though felt ok with it. I really enjoyed rolling through the multiverse with Mark and Sarah. It was a love story and expands your mind, in a good way. If you like science fiction and the idea of multiverse and some creative scenarios, you should look this one up! 4 stars.


Guest Post

Nicknames in Prophecy Girl

​"So, Prophecy Girl, what are we going to do first?"
​"Oh great, I've got a name now?"

Prophecy Girl. Red. Big Hair. Wife. Samantha Winthrop has many names, but she prefers just Sam. That doesn't stop people from calling her all sorts of things, however, and throughout Prophecy Girl she acquires quite a few different names. She's not the only one, actually. The characters in Prophecy Girl have more nicknames than you can shake a stick at. (Don't ask me why that's a popular saying. Why are you shaking sticks at things? So violent.)

So, why the nicknames?

Nicknames tell you a lot about a person, their relationship to another person, and the situation they are in. That's a whole lot of things to tell you in something as simple as a nickname, but it's true!

When Sam is bullied on the bus and they call her Big Hair (kids are so uncreative with their insults) and she just lets them do that—that tells you a lot about who Sam is, the situation she is in on the bus, and who the jerk kids are.

Nicknames can mark changes in a characters life. We go by all sorts of names when we're kids that fade away, for example.

There is this moment later in the story where there is a big change in Sam. I can't tell you about it because it's full of spoilers for anyone who might want to read Prophecy Girl, but suffice to say the nickname marks that change in her and you sort of feel things shift when she gets it. Big Hair Sam is a very different person from the one who gets this new name.

Of course, as an author, I could just tell you things like' "Sam doesn't want to have dreams that happen, and doesn't accept it at all. Nick thinks that's funny and definitely believes her dreams do happen and accepts them all as ultimate truth."

But isn't the exchange at the beginning of this post a much shorter (and funnier!) way to point that out?

Which of course leads to me asking you, Jagged Edge readers, what do your nicknames say about you? :)



Author Bio:

Faith McKay writes stories about characters with real world struggles in otherworldly settings. She is the author of PROPHECY GIRL, a story where characters struggle with the idea of having a destiny. In comparison, she feels really lucky that her destiny was to struggle with comma placement and be that awkward lady who points out puns at parties.
Other things to know about Faith… She wears two different colored shoes. She is a survivor of child abuse. She has lived with chronic illness for over a decade. A lot of people don't like her because she laughs too much. It's also the reason a lot of other people do like her, so go figure. She listens to more music than people are probably supposed to. She's a nomad. The word sounds really cool, so a lot of people say it, but she actually lives in an RV with her husband and their pet bunny rabbit, Dorian Gray.

If you'd like to know more about Prophecy Girl or Faith McKay, visit her website at FaithMcKay.net

http://faithmckay.net

http://www.facebook.com/faithmckaybooks

http://twitter.com/faithmckay

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16133799-prophecy-girl

http://www.amazon.com/Prophecy-Girl-Lacuna-Valley-ebook/dp/B00A801I2Q/

Review: Say You're Sorry

Title: Say You’re Sorry
Author: Michael Robotham
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: TWO MISSING GIRLS. TWO BRUTAL MURDERS. ALL CONNECTED TO ONE FARM HOUSE. WHO IS TO BLAME?

Review: Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reading Bleed for Me, a novel by Michael Robotham, featuring crime-fighting psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin. After devouring the book, I was anxious to get my hands on more. Fortunately, this fall saw the release of the next installment in Robotham's series, and I was quick to acquire a copy of this one as well.

Three years ago, the small town of Bingham was rocked to its core when two local teenagers, Piper and Tash, disappeared. Originally thought to have run away, it is soon discovered that the girls were kidnapped. In the wake of incident, two families struggle to cope with the loss of their daughter while simultaneously being investigated for possible involvement. With little evidence to guide them, the police eventually assume the girls to be dead and the story of the girls' disappearance soon fades into the history of the town.

Clinical Psychologist and part time police advisor Joe O'Loughlin has problems of his own. On top of an increasingly severe battle with Parkinson's disease, he struggles to balance his career with his relationship with his estranged wife and daughters. As the holiday season approaches, Joe plans to spend more time with his fragile family and step away from the high profile investigations that he has previously been involved with.

All these plans come crashing down when he receives a call to investigate a murdered family at the house where one of the missing girl's, Tash, family used to live. The mentally unstable suspect in custody is convinced that he saw a girl running through the snow, being chased by a snowman. Could this girl be the missing Tash? And who is this mysterious snowman? Intrigued by the possibilities, Joe races against the clock to unlock the secrets of the man's mind and to re-open the investigation of the girls’ disappearance.

Author Michael Robotham has stuck gold again. His characters, especially Joe, are crafted with a depth that keeps the reader highly invested into the story. I'll admit, this mystery lacked a bit of the urgency that I felt while reading Bleed for Me, but after a slow start, the novel really picks up into a suspenseful thrill ride that is sure to keep you guessing. This is the perfect novel for readers who enjoy well-written thrillers that go beyond the genre clichés. After reading two novels by Robotham, I am officially a fan!
-Ethan



Cover Reveal




Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn

(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy) Now Available!




When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.





Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.








All of the Mindjack stories are available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and iTunes
(Note Free Souls is not yet available on Kobo or iTunes)





Early Praise for Free Souls


“Quinn paints a picture of a not-too-distant America where politicians inflame the hatred of one section of the populace for another—all for their own gain—and you worry that her world is not so far off from our own.”


Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and the forthcoming The Eighth Day





"Free Souls starts with a bang and doesn't let up. Like a mash-up of all your favorite science-fiction adventures from Star Wars to The Legend of Korra, it blends nonstop action, nail-biting escapes, and great romance. I absolutely loved it! A great series conclusion—a must-read."


Leigh Talbert Moore, author of Rouge and The Truth About Faking





“Susan did it again. Free Souls was WOW! I expected Kira to step up to her role as heroine but not like this. Surprises kept coming until the very end which tied up more loose ends than I knew existed. Warning: Don't start reading until you have time to finish. I didn't want to put Free Souls down for a second. It's that kind of book.”


Sher A. Hart, Goodreads Review


Interview
Susan's over at Amy Saunder's blog today (12.14.12), answering questions about how she came up with the mages' abilities, what kind of mage she would be, and all about her future works.

Digital Box Set
Since Free Souls is out, there is now a Digital Box Set of the Mindjack Trilogy for those of you who want the whole series!



Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble


Mindjack Origins Collection
Want more Julian? Wondering how Sasha's ability really works? Looking for EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls? This collection of novellas, scenes, and other goodies is for those craving a bit more of the characters and drama of the Mindjack series.


Includes:

Mindjack Novellas
Mind Games (Raf's story)
The Handler (Julian's story)
The Scribe (Sasha's story)

TWO EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls (published nowhere else!)

PLUS Mindjack flash fiction, an (imaginary) conversation between Raf and Julian, and other goodies for readers who want just a little bit more of Kira, Julian, Raf, and the Mindjack crew.

Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble





ENTER TO WIN
one of FIVE ecopies of the Mindjack Origins Collection

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: The Night Circus

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Reviewer: Annie
Summary: (From Amazon) The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Review: In an awesome setting of an ever moving and changing circus, two magicians are involved in a lifelong duel that neither of them agreed to. This book was great! And the audio version might’ve made it better. Jim Dale is phenomenal, as always, his voice is just so magical (ha ha). The story is quite interesting as well, I love both the main characters and all they have to go through to discover what is really going on with their lives. I didn’t know what to expect with this book, but I found it to be right up my alley, reality with a touch of fantasy. I would recommend this book to everyone. Even if you don’t like the whole magic thing, this book is so well written it’s worth the read. I don’t really know what else to say, I loved it and I think you will too!

~ Annie

Review: Spring Fever

Title: Spring Fever
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Reviewer: Annie

Summary: (From Amazon) Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless. They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia. But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance. Maybe everything happens for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back. But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town. On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone. Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future.

Review: Annajane is finally ready to leave the small town she grew up in, and still lives and works. Her ex-husband is getting remarried and she feels comfortable enough that she attends the wedding and that’s when things start to fall apart. I had no clue what to expect with this book since it was a random pick off the shelf. I loved it! I think I’m a fan of chick-lit as long as it doesn’t get too romance, lovely-dovey. I especially loved Annajane. Finally a strong female character who is going after what she wants and takes her life in control. I also loved that there were other things surrounding the relationships, there were some great twists within the business that they all work for and when I thought I had the story figured out suddenly there’d be another twist! This was also a great book to listen to, easy to follow and kept me wanting to come back and listen to more. If you like chick-lit (Emily Giffin is a great example) you should pick up this book. It is well written and never feels trashy which you tend to get with romance novels. I’d recommend this book for traveling or any other time you’re looking for a nice light read!

~ Annie

Review: A Tinfoil Sky

A Tinfoil Sky
Author: Cyndi Sand-eveland
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication date: 2012
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 224
Rate: 4.5 stars

Summary: Mel and her mother, Cecily, know what it’s like to live rough, whether it’s on the streets or in the apartment of an abusive man.When Cecily announces that they’ve had enough and that they are going to go home to her mother’s, Mel dreams of security, a comfortable bed, and a grandmother’s love seem to be about to come true. But some mistakes cannot be easily forgiven or erased. Her grandmother is not what Mel expects, and though the local library offers sanctuary, a real home seems beyond her grasp. Mel’s determination to rise above what fate has dealt is about to change that.

Cyndi Sand-Eveland’s work with homeless youth gives her characters an authenticity no reader will forget. Ultimately, a story of hope and acceptance, A Tinfoil Sky is a powerful, can’t-putit- down novel.

Review: This book is written from a 12 year olds perspective. But not just any 12 year old, one who is mature beyond her years. Made that way because of her mothers bad choices by the end of the book all you want is for Mel to be happy and safe. I admire Mel for many reasons. She is strong, smart, and independent. Even though she could have just let he grandmother push her around and treat her like crap she didn't. She stood up for herself and made it known that she wasn't her mother. Mel is well mannered and has a love of books. The moment you meet her you live her and just hope to see her succeed. But then you also wish to have been able to meet Tux but are happy to have been able to meet Ed. This book will capture your heart and refuse to let go.

Quality of writing: 8
Pace: 8
Plot development: 9
Characters: 10
Enjoyability: 9.5
Insightfulness: 10
Ease of reading: 9
I recommend this book!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: wheels by Lorijo Metz

Title: Wheels
Author: Lorijo Metz
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: April 12, 2012
Reviewer: Annie

Summary: (From Amazon) For McKenzie Wu, discovering she has a superpower has been anything but super. Molecules keep rearranging themselves to suit her slightest wish, but only at the most inconvenient times. If that weren't enough, she’s been dreaming about an accident; one she’s had no memory of until now and, if true, means McKenzie is responsible for her mother’s death. When McKenzie stumbles upon a portal, transporting her and her friend Hayes to the tiny planet of Circanthos, she learns the inhabitants believe she is the “One” destined to save them from H.G. Wells, a name that sounds strangely familiar, and his Tsendi warriors. But while her newfound ability might give her superhero status back on Earth, halfway across the galaxy it’s commonplace—all Circanthians can particle-weave—and if they can’t stop H.G. Wells, what can she hope to do? With the portal closed and no idea how to get home, McKenzie must learn to use a power she does not want and accept her mysterious past, or risk losing everything—her father’s love, her new alien friends and the boy. WHEELS is a sci-fi adventure filled with mystery and romance—a coming-of-age tale that proves it takes more than super powers to save a planet.

Review: After being sent to the principal’s office, McKenzie Wu is snooping where she shouldn’t be and the next thing she knows she is being sent on a whirlwind adventure involving some long lost ancestors of hers.

I thought this was a very enjoyable read. The beginning was a little tough, I had trouble figuring out what was going on and who thee characters were and a lot was happening very fast. But once I got into the meat of the story I really stared enjoying it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the interviews by the FBI agent and other letters scattered throughout the book, I didn’t think they added much to what was already a good story. Something about Metz’s writing style is very light and almost always bordering on humorous. I loved this aspect of it because it was very different from other authors I’ve read. I also loved how she wound HG Wells into the book as a main character; it was just another element of fun in this book. If you like science fiction and want an author with a light and humorous voice (something you don’t always see in sci-fi) you should read this book!

~ Annie

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Excerpt: Into the Spiral by Erin Danzer

“Great, just what I need,” she grumbled. “What a perfect ending to such a perfect birthday. You know, I did think when I saw Brian at dinner that getting struck by lightning was all I needed to complete this day.”
“It wasn’t all that bad; you did get a tattoo today and you got to have dinner with me,” Andi pointed out. Ronnie nodded.
“Too true, and it’s rained almost every night this week anyway. So what should we do now?”
Andi glanced at the window as another rumble of thunder sounded. “I guess we could go downstairs and watch a movie.”
“Sounds great.” Ronnie wound her arm around Andi’s waist and led the way out of her bedroom.
They brought out blankets and pillows before deciding on a movie to watch. Because it was her birthday, Andi let Ronnie pick one out. Ronnie finally decided on a popular romantic comedy she hadn't seen in a while. They lay on the floor between their blankets and watched. Ronnie tried to ignore the crashing thunder and sizzling lightning, but soon it got to be too much. She stood up and crossed to the only window in the room, situated over her dad’s desk. Rain lashed the window at a ninety degree angle and lightning blinded her momentarily. Heavy black rain clouds churned overhead. Terror rang through her and she screamed as a bolt of lightning suddenly struck the ground at the lake’s edge outside her house.
“Oh my god!” Ronnie squealed as she jumped back from the window. She tripped over the chair behind her dad’s desk and ended up sprawled on the floor just below the window sill.
“Get away from the window,” her mom shrieked as she ran into the room. Another lightning bolt slammed into the ground in their backyard, closer to the house this time. Ronnie scrambled to her feet, thinking Mother Nature was targeting her house as her mom grabbed her and Andi and pulled both girls out of the room.
“We have to get into the cellar before the house gets struck,” her mom instructed and Ronnie numbly nodded. Not only was the house made of wood, it was held together by a steel frame. Her dad had been told it would make a stronger structure. Now, seeing the lightning strike closer and closer to her house, Ronnie thought it was the stupidest idea she had ever heard.
She ran through the house behind her mom and Andi as yet another bolt of lightning flashed as it struck down. Ronnie and Andi screamed and her mom told them to keep moving. The front door swung wildly on its hinges in the fierce gusts. Ronnie could just barely make out her dad by the open cellar door through the rain and swinging door.
“Go! Get out of here!” Ronnie yelled as she pushed Andi to run faster and was relieved when Andi stumbled out into the rain soaked night towards her dad. Ronnie had a moment to look out at her parents and best friend as the sky lit up with the next bolt of lightning.
“Ronnie!” Her mom screamed as Ronnie’s foot pushed off from the metal door stop but it was too late. An electrical current shot through her as she stumbled out of the house. She fell to the ground, twitching as she passed out.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: The Mark

Author: Jen Nadol
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 2010
Pages: 228
Genre: fiction- supernatural
How received: Sent for review
Stars: 4 stars

Summary: Sixteen year old Cassandra Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.

The one time she mentioned it to someone else, the mark was dismissed as a trick of the light. So Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her?

Most importantly: if you know today is someone's last, should you tell them?

Review: This book is about a girl living in Kansas with her aunt that she never knew existed. She struggles with what she should do with her ability to see people marked to die. The beginning is a little confusing if only because my boyfriend was distracting me while I was reading. But as I moved on through the book I thought I could see why the grandma sent her to her aunts. I was wrong. This book is pretty difficult to put down once you start it. As I had finished this book I was very eager to start onto the next book. Let's hope it is as good as this one!

1-10 (low to high points)
Quality of writing: 8
Pace: 7
Plot development: 7
Characters: 8
Enjoyability: 7
Insightfulness: 7
Ease of reading: 7

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Love and Other Perishable Items


Title: Love and Other Perishable Items
Author: Laura Buzo 
Series: ---
Publisher: 
Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: December 11, 2012 
Received: Review
Reviewer: Kati



Summary: Love is awkward, Amelia should know. 

From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It's problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, 15, is 15.

Amelia isn't stupid. She knows it's not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia's crush doesn't seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?

Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up.




Review:  I love this story.  It makes you think, a lot. There are a lot of touchy subjects but it doesn’t focus on those it focuses on the two characters and how they react to it and each other. Amelia reminds me so much of me, always feeling unworthy. Chris reminds me of the boy I love fed up with what’s going on in his life so he changes it drastically every time. He doesn’t sit and just think of what’s best. He sits and thinks of a way out. These two characters are amazing. Amelia is very mature for her age and Chris kind of guides her into more of a teen thing. They help each other out in ways neither of them understands. This is a must read book, absolutely worth it.  I always start this review in my head before I fall asleep but never get it written down. I always have so much to say on it but when I go to write the review can’t remember a bit of what I was going to say. So I will say this, Must Read This Book! It is amazing! They talk about Classic books, Feminism, and Life itself. I will defiantly take a lot away from this book.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review: The Theory of Everything

Author: J.J. Johnson
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Pages: 334
Pub date: oct 1, 2012
Genre: Grief, Loss, Psychology

Summary: Just because everyone else thinks you should be over it doesn't mean you are.
Last year, Sarah's best friend Jamie died in a freak accident. Back then, everyone was sad; now they're just ready for Sarah to get over it and move on.
But Sarah's not ready to move on. She can't stop reliving what happened, struggling with guilt, questioning the meaning of life, and missing her best friend. Her grades are plummeting, her relationships are falling apart, and her normal voice seems to have been replaced with a snark box. Life just seems random: no pattern, no meaning, no rules - and no reason to bother.
In a last-ditch effort to pull it together, Sarah befriends Jamie's twin brother Emmett, who may be the only other person who understands what she's lost. And when she gets a job working for the local eccentric who owns a Christmas tree farm, she finally begins to understand the threads that connect us all, the benefit of giving people a chance, and the power of love.

Review: When I first started this blog one of the first books I reviewed was by J.J. Johnson. I absolutley loved this book! J.J. Johnson knows how to craft a tale. I believe I will always read any books by J.J. Johnson. They are absolutley amazing! I of course suggest this book! To like everyone. Seriously. Amazing!
 

1-10
quality of writing: 9
pace: 8
plot development: 8
Characters: 10
Enjoyable: 9
Insightfulness: 9
Ease of Reading: 10
Do you recommend this book: Heck yes!
5+ Stars

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: How lucky you are

Author: Kristy Kusej Lewis
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Pages: N/A
Pub date: Sep 2012

Genre: N/A

Summary:
In the tradition of Emily Giffin and Marisa de los Santos, HOW LUCKY YOU ARE is an engaging and moving novel about three women struggling to keep their longstanding friendship alive. Waverly, who's always been the group's anchor, runs a cozy bakery but worries each month about her mounting debt. Kate is married to a man who's on track to be the next governor of Virginia, but the larger questions brewing in their future are unsettling her. Stay-at-home mom Amy has a perfect life on paper, but as the horrific secret she's keeping from her friends threatens to reveal itself, she panics.
As life's pressures build all around them, Waverly knows she has some big decisions to make. In doing so, she will discover that the lines between loyalty and betrayal can become blurred, happy endings aren't always clear-cut, and sometimes you have to risk everything to gain the life you deserve.
Review: Good book but maybe a book for an older group. Maybe I haven't really hit that point in my life where I have had to make big life changing desisions. I of course still suggest you read it because it was written well. It's just not my taste in book.

1-10
quality of writing: 7
pace: 6
plot development: 7
Characters: 8
Enjoyable: 5
Insightfulness: 8
Ease of Reading: 8
Do you recommend this book: yes
3.5 Stars

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Fool Moon

Title: Fool Moon
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
Reviewer: Annie

Summary:  (From Amazon) Could a werewolf be loose in Chicago?  Common sense says no.  The grisly evidence says yes.  So does Harry Dresden.  And with his weird connections, he should know.
Review: This was the second book I read of his, and the second in the series.  These books are great, a typical thriller with a fantasy twist on it.  My only complaint is I wish he would give us a better background on each character, for example what had happened in the end of the previous book.  I would like to follow all the characters through this series but since most people will just pick up on or two of these somewhere in the middle of the series I guess it’s not really necessary.  I felt like there were a few more plot lines in this one than the previous book, which was good, but if he keeps adding more every book it will definitely be too much for me.  I also get really frustrated with Dresden at time, he makes stupid decisions and I feel like yelling at him, but I guess that’s probably a sign of good writing from the author.

I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of thrillers and/or sci-fi fantasy.  The nice thing about these is they are quick, not an epic, and they still have just enough of a fantasy element to keep things interesting.  I don’t know of many other series or even books that fall into this category so I like mixing in his books to my reading pile every now and then.  They are also fantastic airplane/traveling reads!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Princess Diaries

Title: The Princess Diaries
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Listening Library (audio)
Publication Date: July 26, 2005
Reviewer: Annie

Summary:  (From Amazon) Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmere, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.

Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty - no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind.

But what's a girl to do when her name is PRINCESS AMELIA MIGNONETTE GIRMALDI THERMOPOLIS RANALDO?
Show More
Review: I listened to the audio version of this book.  Mia is your average awkward high schooler, with a couple close friends who are just as quirky and a crush on a boy who probably doesn’t know her name.  Then she finds out she is the only heir to the Genovian crown, and her life is immediately changed.  This was a quick and easy fun listening experience.  Some of it is a little hard to grasp since most of it comes straight out of Mia’s journal, which might be better to read than to listen to.  But I still enjoyed it.  I knew most of the story since I’ve seen the movie, but for once I think I like some of the stuff the movie did better than the book!  I love that the movie takes place in San Francisco, not Manhattan, in my opinion a better city (I’m not biased at all).  Also, with Julie Andrews play grandmére you can’t not like her, in the book you never really like grandmére, but I love the way Julie Andrews portrayed her as more of a grandmotherly figure.  I think this is a must read for young teenage girls, it’s just a fun story that is well written.  It’s also a good read if you like girly young adult books (which apparently I do).  As an adult reading it, it’s not a bad read, very well written, but you will probably read it in a day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Bar code prophecy

 
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 208
Pub date: Nov 2012
Genre: Fiction/ Action, Sience Fiction

Summary:
The third book in the Bar Code series, in which one girl struggles to escape the conformity of a dystopian world.
Just as in the original Bar Code Tattoo, the year is 2025 and the mysterious, ubiquitous, and seemingly omnipotent multi-national corporation, Global 1, is in power through their agent President Loudon Waters. But now this ominous situation is experienced through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Grace Morrow.
When Grace finds out that she's adopted, her biological father, who's the head of the Global 1 nano-bot injection project, urges her against getting the bar code tattoo when she turns seventeen. Stunned by the revelations, she goes home to find her adoptive family vanished, and she's determined to find them, turning to the anti-bar-code group Decode. As they uncover more information about tracking, Grace must hide deep underground and under cover, trying to discover information that will allow Decode to figure out what Global 1 is up to, and trying desperately to shut the organization down for good.
Review:
 
I loved this book! But part of it seemed to be in a completley different language. Needed better formating but it was an advanced copy so im sure the finished copy wont be like that! Now onto the book I love it! Oh i already said that! Its not something I would normally read. But its good, really really really good. I just wanna tell you all about it! Buut i cant. The book is so difficult to put down! The end is seriously dissapointing but still worth reading. It seemed like it wanted to rush to the end. Book held with great meaning. side note: I didn't know this was a series and I read it perfectly fine.
1-10
quality of writing: 6
pace: 5
plot development: 7
Characters: 8
Enjoyable: 8
Insightfulness: 8
Ease of Reading: 8
Do you recommend this book: yes
4 Stars

Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest Post


Hello my name is... The Development of a Character by Lorena Bathey

In the world of fiction one of the toughest aspects can be creating your characters. Plotting can be easy, wild, and weird. But the characters you develop have to be someone that a reader would like. One who is reading the story doesn't always have to relate to the characters life, but it does help to endear the character to the person reading the pages.

What's the first step in character development for me? What they look like.

Why? Because when I create their outward appearance it helps me to then layer in the personality. There are certain stereotypes that authors can fall back on; the handsome hero, the beautiful damsel in distress, and the evil, creepy-looking villain. However, when you create a story where the characters are the plot, then you have to bring more to them.

As an author my story usually begins with a character who will be the narrator. I let them speak in either dialog or inner speak so you get their inflection and tone which creates a picture in your head. Then I describe what they look like, but I do this broadly because I want the reader to then fill in the gaps. I want the reader to bond with the narrator and to become invested in them and the story that builds around them.

Once you have the main character then it's time to populate their world. Oftentimes different characters pop up as the story progresses. But when I begin a book I try to create a few characters a head of time that I know will be involved somehow. How much or how little can be determined as the story grows, but having established characters means you can use them to bring a story to fruition. These other characters can be wacky, weird, or anything you want. They are the frosting on the cake. In fact, usually the wackier the better when it comes to supporting individuals in your story.

Characters are the backbone of the story, and can even be the whole story. But make sure that you create a wave effect for them. In most books there is a problem that needs to be solved and that the character needs to go through. Then the apex where all may seem lost. How that character responds is integral to the story. In the ending you can make it happy, tragic, or simply realistic, whichever way you choose, the character's response must make sense to how you developed them.

Creating characters is fun. You can use your imagination. They can be everything the author isn't or everything you want to be. Make them deep, interesting, and ready to take what comes at them. It's a story. It's fiction. Think outside the box and then let your character lead you through the story.


Bio:
Growing up in Northern California, Lorena Bathey attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga graduating with a degree in English.

Lorena Bathey found characters were visiting her mind and wouldn't leave. She was introduced to Marissa, Andrea, Lily, Deidre and Beatrice and her first novel, Beatrice Munson, came to life. After finishing that book she was inspired to write more novels and she knew that pursuing her passion was the best way to live her life. So a writer she became.

After meeting the love of her life, they embarked on the thrilling life to follow their dreams, bringing their families along for the ride. Today Lorena has nine novels in her writing queue.

But writing isn't the only muse that inspires Lorena. She has become a passionate photographer and likes to push the envelope taking avant guarde shots. Travel, walking, enjoying new restaurants, and Italy are other loves and things she makes sure she has time for.





Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Pledged


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Title: Pledged (Soul Wars Saga, Bk 1)
Author: Gwynneth White
Publisher: Swallow Press
Publication Date: June 3, 2012
Reviewer: Elisa
Summary: Everyone has a soul mate. But what do you do when your soul mate would rather give his soul to the demons than be with you?
Seventeen-year-old Erin has a problem. Seth has been hers forever, but now an ancient curse is tearing him away. And the demons who invoked it will stop at nothing – even murder – to claim him as their own.
How can she win against a curse so binding that it has damned countless others to this same fate – an eternity alone?
The answer lies in the past. To find it, Erin and Seth must risk all, travelling back in time to a dangerous world where love is forbidden, and life – and death – hang on a pledge.
Follow Erin and Seth as they travel to ancient Shenaya and confront the curse that has plagued their families for millennia. Caught in a war between the Angelic Guardians and the Gefallen, the disembodied dead, they must fight to keep their souls in tact and their love untainted.
Review: I have been reading White's blog Today in Shenaya for months now where her characters Seth and Erin actually "write" the blog from their POV. They write reviews and interview other YA characters, bicker and explain cool historical and informational things that can be found in Pledged. Honestly, when I began this book I was so excited to finally get to read their story because I felt I knew them personally, and then I quickly fell in love with them right from the beginning. I have seen other authors beginning to do character interviews, many on Today in Shenaya, and I absolutely enjoy this style of marketing. I already feel book characters are real and belong in my life, getting further inside their heads is just too wonderful and enjoyable to pass up.
So this is a quest book. Seth and Erin have to journey together to find something and then make a really big decision to hopefully end an eon-long war. To understand what they are up against and learn from past mistakes they are sent back in time to see other players struggle and fall to the Prophecy and Curse that has ensnared their families back in Shenaya. But, what they learn turns their worlds upside down and they learn how sticky the Curse actually is, and how dirty the players are willing to be to get their way.
Helping and hindering them on their journey are, for lack of a better word, ghosts of the people who have chosen one side or the other of this war. Seth and Erin are helped or tricked and need to choose to believe whoever they want. As they are teenagers, there is a bit of teen angst and emotions run high here and there.
This story is scary, sad and very exciting. The hardest part was that the past cannot be changed and White really made me CARE about some of those characters in the past. However, souls are eternal so I am REALLY hoping that Seth and Erin can eventually break the curse and the people meant to be together can find each other once this is over. But that is just my hope. Who knows what will happen by book three!
These characters are well flushed out and many of the peripheral characters are as well. There are some disturbing images, teen angst and serious decisions to be made. Poor Seth, he has a really hard time of things and there were times when I just wanted to have Erin sock him one! Speaking of Erin, she has the roughest scene. Because they time travel, they get to see their souls prior to being born and see themselves pledge to help break the curse AND recognize that they are soul mates. BUT Seth and Erin have only just met in real time and they BARELY know each other. Right after that is a really rough scene that I would have been mortified to experience. Anyway, she is a trooper and I hope she can knock some sense into Seth.
This is the first of a trilogy, and like Lord of the Rings, the action slows but the story is nowhere near over by the end of book one. Book two is supposed to be released in January 2013, so we don't have a long and horrifying wait - thank you powers that be! I give this book 4 stars. If you like YA, adventure, time travel, a smattering of a sweet young romance and delving into the human psyche, check this book out!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Interview: Carol Cassada


Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?

My name’s Carol and I’m a romance author, I’ve been writing for about three years and there’s parts of the industry I’m still learning about along the way. I’ve released three books so far. The first book Going Home Again was traditional, while Westmore and Westmore: The Aftermath were self-published.

What inspired you to write?

I’ve been interested in writing since I was a teenager, it helped get me through some difficult times, and it was an escape outlet for me. Writing became a passionate hobby for me; I loved it so much that I decided this is what I’d like to do for a living. After college I set out on the journey to become an author.

What authors influenced you as a writer?

One of the first romance novels I read was Keeping Faith by Janice MacDonald and it helped me get a feel for the genre and inspired me to write romance novels.

What is your favorite quote?

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”Henry David Thoreau

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Growing up I thought it’d be great to live in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.



What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?

I think every writer needs to have a notebook, where they can write their book ideas and keep track of their progress.

Are your books different than your personal favorite books by other authors?

My writing is different from romance authors, because most authors have the steamy love scenes, while I like to tease the readers with couples kissing and touching each other, and leave everything else behind the bedroom door.

What led you to writing in this genre?

To be truthful, I never cared for romance novels, but within the last couple of years I started getting hooked on them. When I decided to become a writer, I didn’t know what genre to choose, then after reading my first romance novel, I decided this is the genre that’s going to suit me.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part is thinking of the characters and plots.

Least favorite part of the writing process?

Editing can sometimes be a pain in the neck. During the process, I have to go over the manuscript a couple of times, and each time I do I catch a mistake that I missed earlier or I decide to switch scenes around. It can be a hassle, but it’s one of the things you have to do as a writer.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on volume 4 of Westmore, which I plan to release next year.

Where readers can find you?

I’m on every social media outlet there is.
Readers can visit my website www.carolcassada.net
Twitter: @dramacjc
Facebook: Author Carol Cassada

LAST QUESTION:
Was there a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?
I wish you would have asked my opinions on self-publishing.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Unwind


Title: Unwind (Unwind #1)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: November 6, 2007
Reviewer: Elisa
Summary: Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. (from goodreads.com)
Review: Holy crud this is a scary YA dystopia. Most dystopia's are scary, it is part of the genre but this one really struck a nerve. I am actually extremely disturbed right now. So, there was a second civil war and for some reason, it doesn't really matter why, the two sides decided that all people have a right to life until age 13. Between 13 and 18 a kid can be unwound, sold for parts (a sort of later in life abortion) if they are wards of the state, their parents decide they are too much work, or their guardian signs them away. There are tons of cops making sure these unwind kids don't run away. It is big business for the government. But they aren't technically killed, they are just disassembled and they live on in the people who need their body parts. Yay! I didn't have my kid killed, he lives on in hundreds of different people, he is still alive and I don't have to deal with him or feel guilty. Isn't that wonderful? Shusterman makes sure you know if the kid is still "there" and it is a little bit horrifying.
The adults in this world live with their heads up their butts or in the sand or whatever allowing this to happen. The crazy thing is, they all feel guilty when they send a kid to be unwound, but they spout the same marketing BS to try to make the kid and themselves feel better about it. YA books usually have adults as clueless or evil or stupid and the kids know better, but wow, these adults can be quite harsh, though not all, because some are amazing. But society has deemed it acceptable, so there you go.
Read this book. It is horrible, it is tough and it is so well done. Some terrible decisions are made by all sorts of people young and old. I liked it from the first few pages. It grabs you and shakes you around and clonks you on the head a few times. I like pushy reading material I guess. So, think back on your life, when you were 13 or 15, not the best of years for many of us. You go through puberty, you fight with your folks, you feel sullen and removed...how many of us would have ticked off our folks and been unwound? Or had a sibling unwound? Seriously. There is this scene, well a couple of them actually that are so intense. I think some of them will haunt me for some time to come. Much like an after image of a bright light on my retinas.
I really think I need to read something romancy or cozy or something like that to feel better about life. This book is well-written, makes you think, has full, well-rounded primary and secondary characters and has a crazy idea but shows you how it could really happen. It also has dangling storylines that get woven together seemlessly. I loved that certain things were brought back up and answered or just came full circle. There will soon be another book and I imagine any open-ended storylines or remaining questions will be answered. Also, discord has been sown...I am hoping we will eventually see the fall of this unwinding business. This book scared me, was well written, had characters I cared about and made me think, I give this book 5 stars.

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