Tuesday, October 29, 2013

George R. R. Martin: A Storm of Swords

I believe that most people know that they NEED to read the first two novels within the series, A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings before they read this novel, even if you are just watching the TV series, I have heard that there are quite a few differences between the books and the show that this would not adequately prepare you to understand what is happening in the third book. And really who would want to read these novels out of order?

This is the book where the shit hits the fan. You don't know what is going to happen next and who is going to survive this book. Not since the first book have I been this shocked, I did not see any of what happened coming, as I do not watch the TV series I did not know what to expect, or what people meant about the red wedding. Well now that I have read this book I can understand what all of the talk about. I do not know how truthful the red wedding in the book and the one on the TV are the same but it think either way you get that Holy CRAP moment. You also get your reaffirmation that no one is truly safe in Martin's books. However, I think that is what I love the most in his novels. If you think the red wedding was insane to happen, just wait to see what happens next, in the third book there is so much more than just the red wedding.

After the second book being more of a political one, I was glad to see that Martin followup with a book that had more action within int. I believe that this book has the most action within it when compared to the first two novels. It was nice to see some death happen on the other side of the coin this time around, as it seemed to be in the first two novels a little bit one sided almost to the point where Martin was favoring the less popular characters or the antagonists within the novel. I think one of my favorite battles is the one to prove Thieran's innocence of the murder. That was one full of suspense and you didn't know which side was going to win.

I liked the point of view of Jamie in this book and the changes that he makes as a man, and realizes what has been happening around him. I think Jamie is going to be a major player in the next few books. Dani also had some interesting points, but she is still (for the most part) the most disjointed in the novel, with very few links back to the other story/characters other than the fact that she wants to rule the seven kingdom's again (there is one major player that does come into her life later in this novel, which was a shock and interesting, but I still think that there is not much connecting her back, even to the point that none of the people in power or vying for power of the seven kingdoms is even still aware that she is till alive and poses a threat to all of them). I question why Martin has had Dani within the novels thus far. He could have introduced her and her story later and possible would have made more sense then, than just having tidbits of information now.

The ending of this book was pretty crazy too and I cannot wait to get my hands on the fourth book. I understand why this series has so many followers and has became a sensation before the TV series was created. Even for those of us who do not read too many fantasy books, Martin so far has kept the fantasy to the light side of things (not sure how well that sits with avid fantasy readers, but I personally love it). So if you are looking for the book with the Red Wedding this is the one for you, but this book has so much more than the Red Wedding, and was another great read by Martin.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nick Lake: Hostage Three

Nick Lake takes on the challenging situation of being a hostage aboard a yacht where the pirates are only interested in your monitory worth:

Amy has spent the past year trying to get her father to notice her, whether it be her clothing or the piercing that she has gotten, she is trying anything to make him notice something, anything about her. Well she got his attention when she was kicked out of school in the very last day of her very last exam, meaning that she would not graduate. But the last thing she though would happen would be to find herself, her step mother and her father aboard a yacht setting sail. Amy was looking forward to ignoring her step mother and father and loosing herself in her music but their vessel is taken by pirates. Amy become known as hostage number 3 and as she spends what are possible her last few moment alive she tries to understand what drives someone to become a pirate and with this information Amy hopefully will be able to get out alive

The prologue grabs your attention right away and you feel the need to know what has lead up to that point, what has happened before. Will she die, will she survive. It was an interesting place for Lake to begin the novel, but I believe it was the right one. If he had chosen to start off the novel with Amy being in school and the antics that she pulled I am unsure if I would have continued reading this novel.

I was not a fan of how the book was written as it was strictly from Amy's point of view. As this is a YA book I found her thought process was a little hard to follow and at times immature even for a 17-18 year old. This immaturity could have been due to circumstances from her past, however, part of me thought that due to her past circumstances she would be more mature. Not being able to relate to Amy and her thoughts did put a hindrance me completely liking the novel, but I think that Lake succeeded in other areas that I was able to proceed in reading and finishing this the book. Additionally, due to the fact that the book is told in past tense from the prologue there is a bit of jumping around as Amy remembers things from her past with her mother. Amy's mother was a very interesting, frustrating and well ready for the loony bin type of character, which I think explains many reasons in regards to Amy's personality. Therefore, I think that some individual may have additional challenges in not only reading this book but at times following the story as there are times where it seems a bit disjointed.

While I was unable to connect to Amy as a character for the most part, I found her story very interesting and did not want to put it down especially the last 100 pages, I powered through them. I needed to know how the story would end This book probably wont end the way you think it will, not quite the happily ever after that you think is coming. I really like that Lake did not take the "easy" way out with this novel as he very well could have. The ending actually made me like the book more. The story that Lake has created with its sense of realism, that this could happen to anyone traveling that route, was really well done and engrossing

It was also interesting to read the attempt of the pirates (or coast guards as they like to be called) to distance themselves from the hostages, but yet still allowing them quite a bit of freedom. Lake does a good job in exploring the capturer/captive mentality that Amy, her family and the pirates go through. I think I would also have liked to have some parts from the point of view of the pirate Farouz, which we kind of get when he tells Amy about his past, but I think it would have been interesting to be inside his head to see his point of view. It was also interesting to see how the pirates (coast guards) had turned it into a business and seemed to know all the ins and outs associated with that business, even having fines if one of the pirates hurt a hostage without permission. It was also interesting to witness the pirates "playing" with the captives minds with their riddles and mind games, you can feel the uncertainty in Amy each time this happens and you feel her thinking is this going to be the end. This definitely added to the suspense aspect of the novel.

This is the first book that I have read in the YA genre that was not paranormal in nature so it is a little bit different in that it is a contemporary novel but I still enjoyed it. I think the storyline will hold this story together for adults, and I think that Amy's though process is that to what is similar to a teenager (though I do not think that of a 17/18 year old but that is just my opinion) so I think that young adults would enjoy it as well.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Author Interview & Giveaway: A.J. Myrfield

A late addition to my blogoversary feature, but I do understand that life can get in the way of writing and reviewing, especially for indie authors. So please welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

A.J. Myrfield

Is there a book, author, story or person that inspired you to become a writer?
JK Rowling – Rumors state that the day Harry Potter was finally accepted to be published she was actually going to claim bankruptcy. If this is true or not I don’t know but the fact is this author never gave up. She believed in her work until the end and it didn’t matter how many people told her “No” she kept trying.

With her new books that have come out she decided to write them under a different pen name. I’m just speculating but I assume she did that to see if people really enjoyed her new stories. She wanted to see if she could sell them without her famous name on them. Again this is just speculating but like I said she inspires me.

What have learned about yourself since you started writing?
That I can do anything I put my mind too. I am dyslectic and I was lucky to pass English in High school. I do not have a degree in English or anything that has to do with writing, yet I have written and published 2 books. Anyone can do anything if you put your mind to it.

What has been your biggest challenge as an indie author?
Learning the publishing process. As you know we had an editing issue with the first print of book one. I was truly embarrassed with all of the “typos” and spelling mistakes in it. I’ve learned that I need more then one editor to look over my work and I personally read over it word for word to hold myself accountable too. Never assume something is perfect or will be done properly. It is my name on the book everyone holds me accountable.

You work in law enforcement, was writing this book a release for you as it covers some very intense, dark and disturbing topics?
Yes. Some of the stuff I deal with in Law enforcement makes me very angry. Five years ago I started writing for a release. I was angry with our court system and how victims were treated. You will see how I feel throughout my series.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Any Non-Fiction book – Due to the amount of research that you would have to put into it. You would want everything to be backed up by the proper facts.

The Dagger of Souls is a very dark themed novel what appeals to you about the dark and disturbing aspects of human nature?
I write about what happens in real life with a mix of fantasy. When I go to work I see the dark and disturbing aspects of human nature. I deal with it every day. I write for a release but I also write for
the victims I deal with.

Everyone in the world focus’s on the Criminal. When you read the news paper they follow the criminals trail and talk about what crime he/she committed. But no one talks about the victim. No one knows that many victims have to go through years of therapy or take medication just to fall asleep at night. They don’t know about the nightmares that haunt them in their sleep or the flashbacks that harass them when they are awake.

People don’t know what kind of strength it takes to survive the dark and disturbing aspects of humanity. With my books I want to show them what kind of strength victims need to have to survive.

Did you want to use your novel to bring some of the hard topics (those not always discussed like bullying, racism, at home family violence and suicide) to the forefront, that yes these still do occur?
Yes – As mentioned above I plan to use these books to show the world what people go through everyday. Its time to remember the victims, support them, and help them. It’s time for Criminals to accept responsibility for their actions and no longer be the highlight of the news. (Don’t know if that’s possible but its worth a try)

Since is it a main theme within your novel, and really precedes many of the main events within The Dagger of Souls, “When you look in the mirror, what do you see?” Do you think this type of self reflection is important as both a teenager and an adult?
Yes – Before you can love who you are you need to know who you are. If you don’t like what you see (and I don’t mean your reflection) then you need to change it. We all need to love ourselves inside before we can even work on the outside. We are all meant for something important in this world we just need to believe in ourselves so we can achieve what we thought was impossible.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
The Dagger of Souls – The Rise of Inferno, which is book two in the series of 6, is in the printing process. We will have the books in Alberta in NOV. I will be doing numerous signings throughout NOV and all will be posted on my web page lovelightcreations.com. They will also be posted on The Dagger of Souls facebook page.

I am in the process of writing book three. This book is called The Dagger of Souls - A Krac of Static. This book will focus on Hate Crimes, Sexual Assault, and as always Self Esteem.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
I would really like to read the series The City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. I enjoy the supernatural and any book that brings me out of the real world.

I want to thank A.J. for stopping by with her interview and giving some insight to her experiences as a writer and an indie author. Make sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway below (Open INT)

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Angie Fox: The Accidental Demon Slayer

In the first in a paranormal romance series Angie Fox takes the readers on a ride that literally consists of going to hell and back:

Lizzie has her life mapped out, well not just her life, her day to day is mapped out each day that she lives a fairly structured (and some would argue) dull life. The most exciting that happens to Lizzie on a daily basis is the children she teaches in preschool, but Lizzie's life is about to get all the more excited, unpredictable and dangerous. It begins with her biological grandma showing up, out of the blue. Lizzie didn't even know she had a grandma, let alone a Harley riding, butt kicking one. Lizzie is about to learn about her destiny and it nothing like she planned, its full the unknown excitement, danger and a very good looking shape shifting Griffin. Lizzie is going to have to choose whether she prefers her old or new life in order to save the world.

I wasn't 100% sure what I thought I was going to get out of this book. I knew it was going to be a paranormal romance novel, but I thought there would be more to it than that and this was true and not true at the same time. There were times when there was really interesting aspect within the book but then it would do an abrupt face and it was all about the sex feelings (even though there is only one sex scene) I'm not sure if Fox herself knew which direction to take the novel and I think it shows within her writing.

I had a hard time connecting to Lizzie as a character. I found for the most part she was really scatterbrained and her thought process at times was hard to follow. It was weird to me that she had just come into all of these powers and she knew (for the most part) what to do, how to do things in a matter of hours, maybe 2 days tops. This seems counter to Lizzie's character through out the novel and I cannot see

I think that anyone who reads this book and owns a dog will find Pirate really funny. Fox totally knew how to give that dog the right personality within this book. I think Pirate was my favorite part and made me think of what my pup would say to me at all those moments. I guess starting my review off with a secondary and maybe even tertiary character really show what I thought about this book, and there were times where I struggled to get through. I found for the most part, just a lack of interesting plot and I was not a fan of the main character, which I think can hinder any read.

Dimitri was an interesting character and I liked that he was a griffon, you don't see too many griffon's in the novels you read, especially shape-shifting ones, so that was a nice addition. Was not a fan of the romance (especially the instant attraction that seems occur in these novels) or the sex scene in the book, but that is just an overall personal preference of mine, so I am sure that others have enjoyed it. Additionally, Biker Grandma witches, say what? Who are obsessed with road kill, need I say more. The witches within the coven are brass, and bad-ass biker chicks who can hold their own in any battle and are slightly obsessed with roadkill and possums, but who can blame them if that is where they get their powers from.

The story overall was interesting and it basically wraps up enough in the end that I do not feel the need to read the other books in the series, now a series about Pirate, I would be all over that one, lol. I think Fox excels at writing her secondary characters as those were the ones that I found interesting. Overall, Fox needs to work on making Lizzie the character everyone wants to follow and know more about as she is the Main Character. This book was just okay for me, maybe those who want something of a lighter read will enjoy this and maybe those who like paranormal romance, but it was not for me. I cannot see myself continuing this series.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blogoversary Winners!!!!

Hi Everyone,
First, I would like to thank all the authors that participated in my Blogoversary event this year who took the time to answer interview questions as well as provide giveaway for the readers of Blood rose Books. Secondly I would like to thank all those who stopped by read the interviews, enetered the giveaways and left comments on the post. Blood Rose Books is nothing without the readers and I hope that you were able to find some new authors to explore. Thirdly, all winners were chosen using the random app associated with rafflecopter, so make sure to check your emails to see if you have won. Just a reminder that the winners ave 48hrs to respond or a new winner will be selected.

Thank you everyone once again for taking part of my Blogoversary, I personally think it was a great success. Reviews will start again on Tuesday as I work towards my four year Blogoversary.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Author Interview & Giveaway: Rhiannon Frater

Well another year, another Blogoversary, so Happy 3 year blogoversary to Me. I never thought I would make it this far with just a review blog, but I am so happy that I have. Now I could not think of a better author to share my Blogoversary birthday with. She is one of those writes that likes to push the boundaries in all her writing and happens to have a love for the ZOMBIES. Please welcome to Blood Rose Books today:

 Rhiannon Frater
What is it about Zombies that appeal to you?
I don’t know if I’d use the word “appeal” to describe my feelings toward them. I’m incredibly afraid of zombies, and I write about what I fear, so it’s a natural fit. 

What do you think that the hardest creature to write a novel about?
I’ve only written a short story about werewolves, but I suspect they would be the most challenging. They’ve undergone such a metamorphosis in pop culture into hot young men. I’d be inclined to go back to the cursed, tragic version. But how to make that fresh? New? Exciting? I don’t have an answer to that. 

The Urban Fantasy / Paranormal genres appear to be the genre that everyone is writing in these days (even authors that are well established in other genres) what do you think the draw to these genre is? How do you believe your novels stand out from the rest of the crowd?
Honestly, I think books with supernatural elements have been very popular due to the fact they have no resemblance to our real lives. The characters have abilities we don’t have, they don’t stress over the mundane daily things we do, and they’re usually incredibly attractive and live very dynamic lives. A reader can completely lose themselves in the fantastical elements. 

That being said, I think the reason why my books appeal to readers is because my characters still come across as real people even though they’re dealing with extreme circumstances and are possibly not even human (if they ever were). A lot of my fans tell me that they feel they know my characters like friends by the time they finish a book. That’s a huge compliment. 
Zombies have become the new Vampire or werewolf (everywhere you look there is a new Zombie novel/TV show/movie out) in the horror, paranormal and urban fantasy genres, why do you think that zombies have become so popular?
No other monster actually resets society and the world like zombies do. They are the ultimate game changer. They alter everything about the human existence. That’s highly appealing to people dealing with a lot of real life stress. Also, most people want to believe that somehow they would be a survivor, though the reality is that most would end up dead very quickly. 

Within your Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunter novels, you decided to write for a YA audience. Did you have any additional challenges changing from writing for an adult audience to a youth one?
The big challenge was, of course, how far I could go with the violence. It’s a mid-grade book with children characters from the age of six to fourteen. Though I wrote it for kids, I knew adults would be reading it, too. So it was a bit of a struggle at times. Happily, parents told me I hit the sweet spot with the gore/violence, so that’s a huge relief. 

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Personally, I only write in the genres I enjoy. I won’t write a book in a genre just because I think it will sell well, or it’s the big hot thing. Every book has a different set of challenges to be dealt with and every book has that one spot that just kills you on all levels. I fall in and out of love with every book I write. Some days I think it’s the best thing I’ve written, other days I’m convinced its dreck. I guess the hardest genre to write would be one you didn’t enjoy. But I’m not one to try to do that.
Within your As the World Dies series, why did you decide to have bisexual female protagonist?
Katie’s bisexuality was just a part of who she was. My characters pretty much pop into my head fully formed. It’s always fun discovering who they are and presenting them in a dynamic way to the audience. When I started writing the story, I knew Katie was married to a woman, but her revelation about her bisexuality left me in the odd position of having to figure out what that meant exactly. I had lesbian and gay friends, but at the time I didn’t know someone who was out as bisexual. I had to do a lot of research to make sure I depicted her accurately. 

Do you find that most people respond positively to having a bisexual lead protagonist?
Honestly, I don’t think most people even care. They just love her for who she is and are invested in her as a character. The very rare negative feedback I receive, I ignore. Those people often assume I’m bisexual or a lesbian pushing some sort of an agenda. Sometimes I do hear from bisexual fans, and it’s usually to thank me for an accurate portrayal.

Overall, people just don’t say much about her bisexuality (if at all) when they tell me how much they adore her. 

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
Pretty When She Destroys, the third book in the Pretty When She Dies trilogy, comes out at the end of August. I’m currently writing a modern Gothic horror serial called In Darkness We Must Abide. I have a slew of other things lined up, but I have to see how my contractual obligations pan out first before I know exactly what I’m writing next. As for events, I’m attending the South Dakota Book Festival in Deadwood in September. 

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
Nomad by J.L. Bryan. It’s sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to find the time to read it. I can’t wait! He’s a brilliant writer. Jenny Pox is probably my favorite novel of all-time. 

I just want to say thank you once again to Rhiannon for being part of my blogoversary. I would recommend her books to anyone who is a fan of Zombies. Rhiannon has very nicely supplied two giveaway (INT & US), which you can enter with rafflecopter below. Good Luck :)

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Author Interview & Giveaway: Trevor Shane

Today's author has been part of all three years of my Blogoversary and I am very happy that I discovered his first book Children of Paranoia and his second book Children of the Underground is just as good as the first. Please welcome to Blood Rose Books today:

Trevor Shane

You now have three books, your Children of the Underground trilogy, under your belt. How has your writing process changed from book one to book three?
My writing process really hasn’t changed other than that I’ve gotten more efficient and, hopefully, better.  My process is, and always has been, to start with a complete chapter outline and then to start writing at page 1 and see where the writing takes the story. By the time I’m finished with a book, the only parts of the story that usually stay true to the original outline are the beginning and the end. That’s part of the fun of writing books--you rarely know exactly where they are going to take you.

What have you learned about yourself from book one to book three? 
That my imagination can go in some very dark directions. 

As a reader I became very attached to your characters, I cannot think of how attached you would have become to all your characters. Was it hard to end your series?
Ending the series was both incredibly gratifying and, as you’ve noted, incredibly hard. All told, I’ve spent over six years with these characters. Writing a series like this probably makes it a little bit easier since major characters come and go throughout the series. This year, I loved watching the video reactions of people watching the Game of Thrones Red Wedding episode where they unexpectedly killed off a bunch of major characters (I don’t even watch the show but I loved watching the reaction shots). As a writer, you often get as attached to characters as the reader, you’re only emotional advantage is that you usually know each character’s destiny. Still, I’ve read interview with J.K. Rowling where she talks about crying as she kills off characters. After finishing the series, however, I almost feel like it is emotionally easier to kill off characters then to leave them. It almost feels like I’m simply abandoning the survivors. I don’t want to ruin anything but I will say that there was one character that I had the hardest time leaving.At the same time, it’s been seven years and I’m really excited to see people’s reaction to the completed series (and excited to start writing something new).
What do you think are the main components of writing a successful trilogy?
Surprise people. Keep them on their toes. Make each entry in the trilogy a complete story with a something unique to say but always give your readers a reason to pick up the next entry.

There are quite a few well known authors out there that have long running series and characters, was it hard for you to have the children of the underground only be a trilogy and not a long running series? Why do you think that some authors do not want their series or characters do come to an end?
Money? But seriously, I simply think it’s a different style of storytelling--one that I could see embracing in the future. I think writers probably like writing series for the same reason that certain readers--or readers in certain moods--like reading series. It’s comforting to come back to the same characters and it can be very interesting to see how these characters that you feel you know very well react to different scenarios. But I think that, somewhat counter-intuitively, books in an ongoing series (one without a definitive end) are more about plot than character because you already know the main character and what you’re focused on is not character development but jumping quickly into the plot, which can be great. The character needs to be likeable but they primarily serve as conduits for the plot. That’s why a lot of the great detective books or spy novels are written in a series. Standalone books or set trilogies are, on the other hand, usually primarily about character arc. So it depends on what you as a reader or a writer want to focus on. That and money--if you have a successful series, it’s always easier to sell the next installment than a new idea. 

What is next for you? Do you have another novel or series in development?
Well, CBS Films recently optioned the movie rights to the Children of Paranoia series so I’m very excited about that. On the writing side, I’m about a third of the way into the first draft of a new novel.  It’s a stand alone novel (though it includes a character that I may want to serialize). It’s kind of a mystery novel but one where the clues to the mystery have all been implanted in the main character’s head when he inherited his father’s memories (oh, I should probably mention that in the world in which the book takes place, people can transfer their memories to other people when they die). It’s very different than Children of Paranoia, which is fun, but is still largely ground in themes about family.

Have there been any books that you have read in the last year that are must reads?
I’m currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo for the first time and it’s awesome to see how much fun some of the classics can be. The book that I’ve recommended the most in the past year is a non-fiction book: Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon. It’s a fascinating look into the relationships of parents and their children who have vastly different identities than them, such is hearing parents with deaf children. He covers so much ground--dwarfism, autism, children conceived in rape, down syndrome--and the characters (they’re really people but they are so fleshed out that I’m comfortable calling them characters) are so sympathetic. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to write about family and a should read for anyone simply interested in the topic. 

I just want to thank Trevor once again for sticking with me for three years of Blogoversary and I highly recommend his Children of Paranoia series to everyone out there. I cannot wait to get my hands on the newest book Children of the Uprising which just came out today. Make sure to enter the giveaway (INT) below where you get to choose which book in the series you would like :)


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