Best of the Bunch · Uncategorized

Best of the Bunch

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Hey Readers, last month I totally forgot to do this! So I have two months of Books to give awards to!

April 2016

In April, I read 7 books. Of the 7, I reviewed 6 books! Whew. Two of those books had specific dates when they had to be out and I had to keep planning around them, haha.

Here are my Books that I read and/or reviewed. The winner will be below.
Sins of the Father by Jamie Canosa – review
After: The Shock by Scott Nicholson – read
Rebirth of the Gangster by CJ Standal – review
Hood by Evan Pickering – review
Deadgirl: Ghostlight by B.C. Johnson – arc review
Mer-Charmer by Amy Bearce – arc review
From a Killer’s Mind by Jason Helford – review

Each of these books had some great qualities and some not so great qualities however the book that held my interest and won my heart in April was:

Sins of the Father by Jamie Canosa

Best of the Bunch Award for April!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romantic story with serious twists. Check out my review above.

May 2016

In this past month, again I read 7 books. Out of those 7, I have reviewed 5. Thankfully, no rush on these books. This was actually the month of really fun story lines! Be sure to check out my reviews.

Cracked But Never Broken by K.L. Holloway – review
Out of Body by Christopher John Chater – review
Blame the Goth Girl Volume 1: In the Beginning There Was Bauhaus by Bettina Busiello – review
Secret Vampire by L.J. Smith – read
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner – read (why I keep torturing myself and reading these books, I will never know; however, this time the book was WAY better than the movie!)
Manic Monday by Dennis Liggio – review
Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley – review

This month, the book that made me laugh the most and made reading it enjoyable is:

Manic Monday by Dennis Liggio

Best of the Bunch Award for May!

Mad scientists? Crazed Maniacs with ego’s the size of an entire city? Murder bots? Oh my! Check out the review and pick up the book today. I definitely recommend this to any sci-fi fan for sure.

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50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews

Manic Monday by Dennis Liggio

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ManicMonday
Genre: 
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Self-published
Date of Release: May 4, 2015
Pages and Format: 283 pages; ePub
Links:  Author Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:

4.75 Stars4 Stars

Summary: 

“Dane Monday deals with weird stuff. Mad scientists, sorcerers, robots, time-travelling cats, cyborgs learning the concept of love, and more. Whether it’s a death ray, a doomsday ritual, or simply magic gone wrong, Dane Monday is there to stop them. He’s even got a rogue’s gallery of megalomaniacal villains who want revenge. Armed only with his wits, some reluctant allies, and a satchel full of gadgets, Dane steps forward to save the city of New Avalon.”

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Mad scientist’s hell bent on world domination? Death rays? A protagonist akin to Constantine (the show, not the movie) and the Doctor (10th and 11th)? Sharp tongued companions? The giving of a Christmas Ham? Yes! Yes! Yasss!

In the beginning of this book, I did struggle to get a feel for the novel and for the characters but as soon as Abby was introduced to Dane and she immediately didn’t take any crap from him, I knew I would be fine. She’s the common sense, for sure.

“I think you miss having someone to explain things to,” said Abby. “You’re like a demented Sherlock.”

Who wouldn’t love dashing off on an adventure and face down danger? Isn’t that what we Whovians wish for? Dane Monday is similar to the Doctor. He fights evil, defeats mad scientists and their murder bots and maniacs with spells to rouse demons! He isn’t even an alien, just coffee and a good sense for when evil is afoot!

Aside from Abby being a favourite character, I enjoyed the madness of Professor Honneheim. He had it out for Dane, something bad. Imagine Dane and Abby running/driving away from needle flinging murder bots!

“I was on a tight schedule,” said Honneheim. “There’s onlly so much time to design and construct murder bots. And you keep surviving. If you’d just die, I would have to iterate so much.” 

This book was so much fun, and so funny. I laughed until my sides hurt.

I look forward to more Dane Monday and Abby adventures.

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

About the Author: 

DennisLiggio
Dennis Liggio is the author of eleven books, including the Damned Lies series, The Lost and the Damned, the novella Cthulhu, Private Investigator, and I Kill Monsters. He is a veteran of the game industry, enjoys long walks on the beach while thumbing through tomes of unspeakable evil, and rumor has it that if you say his name three times in front of a mirror at midnight he will appear and give you Hostess Fruit Pies. He writes primarily in the genres of geeky absurdist humor, horror, and urban fantasy. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and two furry monsters.

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley

Short and Sweet

palehighway
Genre: 
Fantasy, Science Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Date of Release: October 20, 2015
Pages and Format: 400 pages; ePub
Links:  Author Website, Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, Amazon

 

 

 

 

My Rating:

4.5 Stars
4 Stars

Summary:

“Gabriel Schist is spending his remaining years at Bright New Day, a nursing home. He once won the Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine for AIDS. But now, he has Alzheimer’s, and his mind is slowly slipping away.

When one of the residents comes down with a horrific virus, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can find a cure. Encouraged by Victor, an odd stranger, he convinces the administrator to allow him to study the virus. Soon, reality begins to shift, and Gabriel’s hallucinations interfere with his work.

As the death count mounts, Gabriel is in a race against the clock and his own mind. Can he find a cure before his brain deteriorates past the point of no return?”

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was an extremely complex story. It touches deeply on the horror of Alzheimer’s and the decline into one’s self once it has set in.
Gabriel Schist is 70ish years old and has had an accomplished life. Having cured AIDS and won a Nobel Peace Prize for it, everyone who is anyone has taken his cure. Except himself, of course.

When a mysterious illness being dubbed The Black Virus starts attacking residents at the nursing home and all over America, Gabriel must race against his own deteriorating mental state and try to find a cure for this virus before it kills all that he holds dear.

This story touches on that question of “what is reality?” a lot. Especially as Schist begins seeing and talking with slugs. I had a NeverEnding Story 1 moment when Schist rode one of the slugs. I was waiting for someone to say “he’s a racing slug!” Haha.
The slugs and the Sky Amoeba added a really weird element to the story, however. I could understand him hallucinating Death; but the Sky Amoeba? Odd.
I suppose it has a religious backing, the Sky Amoeba being God and the Slugs being the angels or messengers.

The very sad and rapid deterioration of Gabriel Schist is very prominent in this novel as well. His moments with his daughter, where he’s remembering his ex-wife and his love for her as well as the moments where he wants to tell his daughter how much she means to him and is unable to. It was heart wrenching. Especially at the end.

It was a slow to begin kind of read and took time to build up, but it was well worth the read and oh, all the feels! I was a bit disappointed when it ended, but it was quite the climax.

But the question remains, what if the Sky Amoeba is truly real? Hmm.

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN | Amazon US| Kobo | Chapters/Indigo | Barnes and Noble

About the Author: 


Nicholas Conley’s passion for storytelling began at an early age, prompted by a love of science fiction novels, comic books, and horror movies. His novel Pale Highway is influenced by his experience working with Alzheimer’s patients in a nursing home, a subject that he has also written about for publications such as Vox. When not busy writing, Nicholas spends his time reading, traveling to new places, and indulging in a lifelong coffee habit.

In order to better establish himself on the planet Earth, Nicholas has currently made his home in New Hampshire.

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews

Blame the Goth Girl Vol 1: In the Beginning There Was Bauhaus by Bettina Busiello

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Genre: 
Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Date of Release: February 20, 2015
Pages and Format: 150 pages, ePub
Links:  Author WebsiteGoodReadsFacebookTwitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:
4 StarsSummary:

“Onyx can smell evil. No one; not even werewolves, wendigos, or vampires, can hide from her once they’ve committed a crime. When Onyx’s paranormal investigation of a local haunting triggers the death of a divorced mother, she is cut short by the provocative Detective Elliot Stevens. Now she must either tempt Elliot astray from his clean-cut, straight-edged path or change her apathetic ways and learn the truth about who and what she is — before what she doesn’t know can kill her.”

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such a fun book! It brought back many memories of my youth. In honour of said book, the review wouldn’t be complete without listening to Lamb of God, Coal Chamber, Deftones, Tool, My Ruin and my favourite from my youth: Jack Off Jill.

I was a Goth once upon a time. My high school days were plagued with heavy boots, fishnets and a ton of black lipstick and eye-liner. Best time of my life yet!
I completely agree with the author and the protagonist, Goth isn’t just a style, it’s a calling. It’s also totally an attitude. I retired my Goth for more of a mix of my own taste and Rockabilly. Love me some heels and swing dresses. Any who, onwards to the review!

Onyx is a great protagonist. She is a fun, quirky and self-assured woman. This woman also has a unique ability to smell supernatural creatures. If the creature has done a crime, they smell worse. Example, vampires who kill humans smell like garbage. Werewolves smell like wet dog. Ew.
This ability is a new one. It’s really unique too. I applaud the author for thinking outside the box!

The novel reminds me of some of my favourite shows like Buffy, Grimm especially (with the police officers being different wesen) and especially The Dresden Files. However, there is nothing wrong with getting ideas and inspiration from these shows. They’re great for that and stories are meant to be shared and retold as well as reshaped.

I loved the “Goth Girl has the hots for the Sexy Cop” twist in it. It added some great romantic and sexual tension to it. I even liked that she was like “yeah no thanks,” to the vampire and all into the cop. I enjoy that “outside the norm” love twist.

The crazy porn obsessed former Mafia ghost added a great touch of awkward and inappropriate humour to the story.

Despite my love for the book, it does need a little fleshing out. One thing that has never really been in the faces of others is what the Goth culture is all about, what it was and how it has changed. Not like Punk was. There are also so many subgenres of the Goth culture, as well. The music, the clothing,  and etc. It just would have been nice to read a bit more of that in the novel.

However, I really hope to continue on this journey with Onyx and Elliot, and learn more about her ability. Especially as that was one helluva cliff-hanger!

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | Chapters/Indigo

About the Author:

Bettina Busiello is a dreamer by nature with an eccentric sense of humor. She spends most of her waking hours either spinning yarns, venturing online games or cuddling her cat October. She lives in Vermont where she is surrounded by enough fresh air to make her slightly high (which explains a lot).

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Many people think that the point of life is to solve their problems and be happy. But happiness is usually a fleeting sensation, and you never get rid of problems. Your purpose in life may be to become more who you are and more engaged with the people and the life around you, to really live your life. That may sound obvious, yet many people spend their time avoiding life. They are afraid to let it flow through them, and so their vitality gets channelled into ambitions, addictions, and preoccupations that don’t give them anything worth having. A dark night, may appear, paradoxically, as a way to return to living. It pares life down to its essentials and helps you get a new start.

– Thomas Moore

Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Zagham Shebaz Karim

daze

Hi Readers!

Whew, summer is here in Ontario, Canada and it’s getting warm!
I have some great Spotlight Interviews to do in the coming weeks with some awesome authors. If you’re looking for something new to read, hopefully one of these authors will charm you enough to seek out a new book and read it!

The author that I have an interview for you today is from Zagham Shebaz Karim about his novel Town of Dudley Sixth.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Zagham Karim. I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, in a town near Birmingham called Dudley. At the moment I am studying my A-Levels, because I am       hoping to further my education as an aeronautical/ aerospace engineer. 

Writing is one of my hobbies, so I spend my free time putting my ideas on paper. 

Another hobby is mechanical technology- mostly timepieces. I am amazed by the hard work watchmakers put into a single creation. But there are also other aspects of mechanical technology- such as the giant gates used by fortresses in the past with complex mechanisms.

 2. What inspired you to write Town of Dudley Sixth?

I have a passion for reading books in the sci-fi/fantasy and post apocalyptic genres. I was inspired to write by an author called Teddy Jacobs, after reading his book Sword Bearer and contacting him and discussing an idea I had for a book. He suggested I start my own series. Another author on Google+, Theresa Jacobs helped me have it edited and published. ToD6

3. What is the genre?

The genre is scifi/fantasy with a post apocalyptic setting.

4. What draws you to this genre?

The main things that draw me to this genre is the imaginative nature of it, there are no boundaries in writing fiction. So the author has to be creative and make his own world. On the other hand, I am drawn to the scifi genre, because it is based a lot on technological advancements such as intergalactic travel. But to me, the best part is aliens. Their existence is questionable, but not too far fetched. It borders reality and fantasy.

5. How did you develop your plot and your characters?

The plot has changed over time, initially I had planned an alien city on a remote planet, attacked by four individuals with supernatural abilities. But later I decided to drop the supernatural element, in favour for a post apocalyptic setting. But the plot was heavily influenced by various short stories I had written in my childhood. Some characters were based on people I had met or how I expected aliens to behave, i.e their personalities. But they were exaggerated, to add effect. An example could be the personality of Sambol, which I based on my interests on mechanical technology, other than that he is a middle brother as I am. But he has a distant family, with friction among the characters that I based on a few families I saw in takeaways like McDonald’s.

6. What inspired your protagonist?

My protagonist is inspired by myself and a few of his traits are influenced by people in general. I sometimes put myself in his shoes and shaped his character how I expected an average person to react in such situations. Because I felt, that just like humans, aliens would also have emotions. So it was more realistic.

7. How did you get in touch with your inner villain?

Well, I do not have much of an ‘inner villain’, but there are a lot of negative aspects of life that one can relate to. Such as a distant family, or a disaster occurring and the heavy casualties as a result of a war. But towards the end, there were some aspects I had to see through the eyes of a villain. So I imagined a person mad on revenge, desperate, uncontrollable and having an ambition for annihilating the opponent.

8. What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The hardest part of writing the book was to make it different. I read a lot of books and they are written in a similar manner. Authors put in dialogue and have a faint back-story running in the background, as they tell another story through the words of the characters. They also do a lot of showing, rather than telling you what is going on. In such cases, not everyone can relate to the things occurring in the story. Also the dialogue can be a little too predictable and boring. So I chose to write a story that does not necessarily emotionally effect the reader. But is concise, with less dialogue- with a hint of mystery. It also has poems in it, written as extra description to the story. They act like a summary and add extra facts. The first poem tells the story of an apocalypse, yet people do not shy away, they live in a beautiful place in a world of death. It is meant to have a hint of irony to it. Other than that, writing my novella how I wanted to write it was also a challenge. I was trying to compress the story of 50000+ words in just under 20000. For people who do not actually enjoy reading, something different, that could perhaps interest them into reading books.

9. What was your favourite part of your book to write?

My favourite part was making Sambol and his friends meet and work together. Slowly unravelling their abilities.

10. Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I am a part time writer, in my free time I love to read other books, do some internet surfing to see any new mechanical advancements. Especially at the annual SIHH and baselworld events. ZaghamKarim

11. What are you currently reading?

Currently I am reading the ‘Zombie Botnet’ series by AL K Line and ‘Rise of The Dragons’ by Morgan Rice.

12. Who would you say are your favourite authors?

My favourite authors are Lazlo Ferran, Chrissy Peebles, AL K Line, Morgan Rice, Logan Byrne,Teddy Jacobs and Robert J Crane.

13. How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

The Commorancy (orientation), Charlotte Tweed and the school for orphaned dragons, Race for the Cure, Consumed and Too bright the Sun in the order listed.

14. What are your future projects, if any?

The way I want to write the Sambol series, is so that each book is written differently. So my future works will be the second book as an RPG game and a second edition which will have three parts that can be read in any order.

15. What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Readers can get in touch with me by Amazon on the forum Amazon UK or Amazon US

Or email me at townofdudleysixth@gmail.com

Or visit my website

My book is available on Amazon as an ebook and hard copy, but the hard copy is being revised so might go off of Amazon for a few days. 

16. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring authors would be to definitely pursue their ambition and bring forth their creative ideas. It is a good experience and well worth the time. The beginning can be a little tough, but once you start writing you get the hang of it. You will then realise it is not that difficult to do. Especially with new publishing options such as self-publishing. 

Hope you enjoy and seek out Zagham’s novel Town of Dudley Sixth!
Thank you to Zagham Karim for allowing me the chance to interview him.

 

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat.
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Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser today:

Page 75
“The song of the Oceanides recommenced at that point, and it did not matter that the distant surf together with the ocean breeze drowned out most of the words. The Oceanides would be singing about all Rory’s inadequacies. What else?”


Summary
J.G. Zymbalist’s debut is a quirky but poignant coming-of-age tale about children, Martians, freaky Martian hummingbird moths, and alluring sea nymphs.
The first thread relates the suspenseful tale of a Martian girl, Emmylou, stranded in Maine where she is relentlessly pursued by the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s Extraterrestrial-Enigma Service.  The second thread concerns her favorite Earthling comic-book artist, Giacomo Venable, and all his misadventures and failed romances.  The final thread deals with a tragic young lad, Rory Slocum, who like Emmylou, loves Giacomo’s comic books and sees them as a refuge from the sea nymphs or Oceanides incessantly taunting and tormenting him.
As much as anything, the triple narrative serves to show how art may bring together disparate pariahs and misfits–and give them a fulcrum for friendship and sense of communal belonging in a cruel world.

What’s your teaser?!