Thursday, 25 February 2010

ROSEMARY & RUE


October 'Toby' Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a 'normal' life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas.

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.

I've been wanting to read this book for ages. Between my own writing, reviewing, and everything else going on, it had been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months. Since the second one's coming out next month--and I have a new rule of not buying multiple series books until I've read/liked the first one--I decided to pick it up several days ago.

I decided to take my time with it. Mainly because I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want to rush the ride. Because honestly, this book's one hell of a ride. I loved every minute of it. Actually, after I finished chapter two, I logged onto TBD and ordered the second one. Yep, it's THAT good.

Seanan McGuire has created a wonderful and often scary world that exists alongside ours but is very different. It's filled with an array of races and characters that'll keep you turning the pages. And Toby's an awesome vulnerable, yet very strong character. Being a mother, I found what happened between her human husband and child totally heartbreaking. :( And when you find out just who is behind all of the chaos in this book, you'll be pretty angry. Well, I was.

I can't wait to return to this world, and look forward to receiving the next book. Soon, I hope.

Man, I love urban fantasy. ;)

Hey, it's Thursday!

Well, this week may not be about the word count or the revision pages, but it's turning out to be pretty busy anyway.

I've had a certain thing I've wanted to get done each day, and so far have been able to cross each one off as I go. It's a great feeling. And today was even better, because I finished my Recast series overview. It's something that I've wanted to do for a while now, just so I could get all of the different ideas and characters floating around inside my head into some kind of order. I love creating worlds where almost everything/everyone is somehow connected. No matter how remote that connection might be, it's still darn cool. You can blame Star Wars for that. ;)

Anyway. *taking a deep breath* I'm so excited about getting that done. I've just printed it up, and now it's a matter of assigning the time to write each story. Cool!

Not much is going on around here this week. It's going a little fast because I'm continually doing stuff, thinking about something, or working out.

Well, I think I'm going to read a little now... Bye!

Monday, 22 February 2010

One step ahead

As you can see, my TBReviewed pile is getting smaller. But don't let this picture fool you, because I received another four books last week. lol. Looks like I'll be taking a new photo this week.

You know, I was telling hubby the other day that summer was leaving us, that I could feel it in the air. I don't like winter, so the thought of getting closer to it makes me sad. Anyway. It was cooling down during the day, and even more at night. But yesterday, summer came back with a vengeance. It's 30-something degrees today as well. Looks like I spoke too soon. Yay. :)

Last week turned out to be pretty productive, so I'd like to have another busy one this week. I've already started to plan out March too, which is always a great thing. I like to plan ahead...

I've got a series plan to take care of this week, a list to make for any last-minute alterations that need to be made for my NaNoWriMo novel + Alyce#4, a few novellas to read, and I'd like to put a few promo things together for CARELESS, too. It doesn't sound like much, but when you get down to it, it is. Which is fine with me. Of course, other things might pop up too, and this small list doesn't count real life stuff either.

Okay, it's time to get on with the writing week. See ya!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

CONTAGIOUS by Scott Sigler


When the seeds landed on Chelsea Jewell, they made her seven-year-old body and mind the incubator for the worst plague ever to attack the planet. Mankind's best hope of defence is Perry Dawsey: host-turned-hunter, bloodthirsty psychotic, and - with his strange new ability - a key member of the black-ops team leading a deadly battle against the mysterious disease that is spreading across America. Now Dawsey and the rest of the black-ops team are in a desperate race to find and destroy Chelsea and her 'family' - before it's too late.

This is the sequel to Scott Sigler's Infected, which I reviewed just a few days ago. After reading one after the other, I need to sit down and take a deep breath... because I'm tired.

Perry--the guy who was driven to near madness by the seedling infection in the first book--is back. He's recovering, but far from cured. He's haunted by what happened to him, and the horrid things he did. And he can still hear the whispers of the parasites. That makes him angry and determined to kill every single one of them, but Dew and Margaret (yes, they're back too) try to keep him focused. They want to find and study whatever this alien source is.

Of course, that's not the only thing going on. The infection is spreading, more and more people are getting affected and the government realises how serious it's become. All the while, the reader's getting closer to the source of the infection and the plan, which leads to a climax that is sure to satisfy.

Contagious is as action-packed and fast-paced as the first book. If you like your horror with a splash of science and a good dose of thriller, then this book's definitely for you.

Although things come to a head at the end, is this really the end? I doubt it.

Contagious, January 2010, ISBN 978-034-096359-3, Hodder Paperbacks Paperback (A)

Friday, 19 February 2010

INFECTED by Scott Sigler


They dropped from the atmosphere like microscopic snow. Billions of seeds, smaller than specks of dust, spiralling down from the heavens. A few survived, and began to grow. Now three people face a race against time. Dew Phillips, an agent with a classified unit of the CIA, and Margaret Montoya, a government biologist, must try to stop a modern plague that drives its victims to insanity, murder and suicide. And Perry Dawsey, an ex-footballer in a dead-end job, must race to find a cure for the rash that has appeared on his arm. And his back. And his neck. And which is getting bigger. And then the voices start. Scott Sigler is the new voice in new horror - his UK debut is a terrifying, menacing thriller about millions of alien parasites infecting the general population, driving the victims to murder and suicide...and waiting to hatch...

This story's like those movies where you see bugs on the screen and all of a sudden feel itchy. You know what I'm talking about, right? You see/read it and you're scratching at your arm. lol.

Well, that's exactly what happened when I read this book. It's also what's happening to Perry Dawsey. One day he wakes up with an itch in one spot, which spreads to another spot, and before he realises what's going on, he's itching all over the place. And he's hearing voices. Voices telling him to do things he normally wouldn't do. Add paranoia and violence into the mix, and he's infected with something really nasty.

In the meantime, Dew Phillips (CIA) and Margaret Montoya (CCID) team up to try and figure out what this new disease is. Of course, that would be easier if Margaret could actually conduct the autopsies, instead of the bodies turning to mush before she gets the chance.

The story unfolds pretty quickly, shifting gears to show the developments of all the characters while also sprinkling some explanations about the seedlings that are causing this infection to spread in the first place.

Infected is a fast-paced thriller, horror story with a good dash of science fiction. It'll keep you guessing and make you uneasy as you follow Perry's descend into madness. No matter what, I bet you'll come out itching at the end of it. :)

Infected, April 2010, ISBN 978-034-096353-1, Hodder Paperbacks Paperback (A)

Thursday, 18 February 2010

OMGosh...

...I don't have any links to any guest spots today. It almost feels strange.

Anyway, today I spent most of the day listening to This Is War because, you know, I felt like it. :) I've been working on so much revision lately that I haven't had a chance to listen to anything. I'm missing my 30STM & MCR tunes. I can't revise/edit with music on, it gets too distracting. While I write a first draft it's cool. Helps me get into the story. :) Yes, I'm a strange one.


After my marathon revision during the last few days, I took today to catch up on a few other things. I worked on some interview questions, posted another review, went through my list of books left to review, added some I received today, and went through my bookshelf. It's that time again, they're filling up too fast. lol.


Um, I just remembered that I'm due to post at RomErotica, so I might go and do that. Bye for now!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

HORNS by Joe Hill


Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache...and a pair of horns growing from his temples. Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring and unlikely midsummer magic. Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge; it's time the devil had his due.

I really like this cover. It was the first thing that caught my eye about this book and made me curious. This also happened to be my first Joe Hill book.

Ig wakes up one morning with horns, and the uncanny ability to hear people's most horrible compulsions, fantasies, and confessions. It doesn't matter where he goes, people let their innermost secret desires spill. And he finds himself listening to some pretty awful things. Even his parents and grandmother have terrible stuff to say to him. See, a year ago, the love of Ig's life was raped and murdered. He happened to be the main suspect but wasn't convicted, though that didn't stop people from treating him as if he did it.

The beginning of the book was tension-filled and very interesting. I enjoyed the discomfort that I felt with every dark confession Ig was faced with wherever he went. He even manages to persuade some people to do things, which made for some interesting situations. But when the story goes back to the time when Ig first met a young Merrin and Lee, I kept wanting to return to the present. Though I have to admit that going back to meet Lee (especially) provided a very important clue in what really happens to Ig's girlfriend.

This is a story that keeps going back and forward, to get the full scope of the relationship between Ig, Merrin, and Lee. It's a story of love. A story of tragedy. A story of betrayal. It's also about friendships that appear to be one way but are actually another. I found it a very dark study of how far an unstable person will push before it's too late. Also, as the events of what happened to Merrin unfold, everything made so much more sense.

Horns is an interesting and powerful story that made me squirm a lot. Some of the subject matter was edgy and with a tinge of reality that made everything so much worse. I might not have loved it, but I enjoyed it. It left an imprint that'll have me thinking back to it every now and then.

Horns, February 2010, ISBN 978-057-507917-5, Gollancz Paperback

I think I missed a day...

Yep. I did. :/

To make up for it, I'm posting a very posh pic of my kitty, Loki. I forgot to mention that he turned 3 last month. He's still a young man. lol.

Which reminds me, yesterday I was interviewed by Meankitty. So, if you'd like to read it, you can here. There's another Loki pic there, too.

I'm still very excited about the news I shared on Monday, and today actually got my cover. I know, already. How's that for awesome? The cover's awesome too, and I'll be sharing it soon. I just posted it at my Bits & Pieces Group first. They get to see all the upcoming covers first. Unless I'm slack that week, of course. ;)

Anyway. Yesterday I started the second draft of what started out as a 14k novella, and is now past 16k. It's set in Alyce's world. Okay, who am I kidding? It's about Alyce and Ross. And that's all I'm saying about it. :) I'm moving at a nice pace too. Already hit 58/70 pages, and if I push myself tonight after I tuck my daughter in, I might be able to finish it. Maybe. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Well, that's it for today. I'm feeling very chipper this evening. See ya!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Let's hope the whole week's this exciting...

As you can see, I've updated my TBReviewed pic. That's because I'm making some good reading progress. Yesterday I finished reading NIGHTFALL by Stephen Leather, which was outstanding. I love, love, loved it. Seriously. I can't say it enough.

This afternoon I started reading HORNS by Joe Hill. This is my first JH book. I've actually got his other two books on my horror shelf (not for review, I bought them myself) but haven't gotten around to reading them yet. Looks like this one's a good place to start. Love the cover. Although, I did read and enjoyed LOCKE & KEY: Welcome To Lovecraft, last year.

Okay, enough about reading...

I've got some awesome news to share today. I'm very excited to announce that over the weekend, I signed a contract with Eternal Press. It's for a book called, SHADE OF GREY, which is the first installment in a trilogy I'm calling Omega. It's a romantic Sci-Fi story set in Australia, with some alien-type stuff involved. ;) I've filled out and returned all of my forms now, and can't wait to share more info as I get it. But for now: Yay!

Okay, my last two posts for the Novelspot's Behind the Scenes feature are now posted. So, let me give you all the links:
I had a great time taking part. And if you read my little path to publication, I hope you enjoyed it. :)

Well, this week's off to a cool start. I got a bunch of things off my to-do list already. The other main thing I'd like to tackle this week is the second draft revision for one of my shorter novellas. It's only 65 pages (double spaced) so I'm hoping that I'll be able to get through it without too many probs. :) I've been thinking a lot about some upcoming tales that I'd like to weave, and will need to adjust my goals to fit everything in. Which is cool.

And before I go... I got a fantastic review for WITHER the other day. It got a 5 Lips rating from TwoLips Reviews. Thanks Merrylee! Here's a little of what she said: "What at first seems to be an odd blend of story genres works so well, Wither is perhaps the best category-length science fiction romance I’ve ever read. It reminded me a lot of Firefly, with a little bit of High Noon and The Howling mixed in for a solid, enjoyable read."

You can read the whole thing HERE.

As you can tell, I'm pretty excited today!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

NIGHTFALL by Stephen Leather


'You're going to hell, Jack Nightingale': They are words that ended his career as a police negotiator. Now Jack's a struggling private detective - and the chilling words come back to haunt him.

Nightingale's life is turned upside down the day that he inherits a mansion with a priceless library; it comes from a man who claims to be his father, and it comes with a warning. That Nightingale's soul was sold at birth and a devil will come to claim it on his thirty-third birthday - just three weeks away. Jack doesn't believe in Hell, probably doesn't believe in Heaven either. But when people close to him start to die horribly, he is led to the inescapable conclusion that real evil may be at work. And that if he doesn't find a way out he'll be damned in hell for eternity.

Before reading Nightfall, I'd heard of Stephen Leather but hadn't read any of his books. I'm glad that this was my first one, because I really enjoyed it.

Jack Nightingale--I love that name!--is a negotiator, and when the book opens we get a taste of what his job entails. He's on his way to meet with a possible jumper. But this isn't your average potential suicide. It's a 9-year-old girl called Sophie.

The very idea of something so horrible chilled me. And what followed was one of the best and most powerful openings I've ever read. It was so vivid, shocking, and well written that I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't believe how awesome the book was already. I'm very happy to report that it only got better from there.

Fast forward two years and Jack is still being haunted by what happened after Sophie's suicide. He can recall confronting the little girl's father but can never quite remember if he pushed him or if the man jumped out the window. But Jack's no longer on the force. He's now a struggling private detective mostly handling cheating partners. He has a small office and a devoted secretary called Jenny. Who happens to come from a rich family and actually cares for Jack in a very platonic way.

He smokes too much, drinks even more, and is constantly hearing people say: "You are going to hell, Jack Nightingale." Actually, he starts to hear (and see) it a lot after he inherits a huge rundown mansion from his biological father. He didn't even know he was adopted, but as he starts to unravel the bizarre life of Ainsley Gosling, and discovers a hidden basement filled with strange books, Jack finds out that his father sold his soul to a devil.

But Jack doesn't believe in the devil or hell. Still, he finds himself consumed by the possibility. Being chased by death at every corner doesn't help. He's no stranger to losing loved ones, he lost his parents at 19, but now his aunt and uncle die in a murder-suicide, his best friend in a car accident, the birth mother he met only days before kills herself... Jack's having a very bad week. But if his soul does belong to a devil, it's only going to get worse because his 33rd birthday is just around the corner. That's when this devil will collect.

This book is brilliant--from the plot, to the characters, to the dark and spooky situations, there's nothing I didn't like about it. I loved every minute of it. The story's addictive, and I loved it when towards the end, Jack finds himself confronted by his worst fear and decides to do what he does best: negotiate. He comes full circle, but leaves the mystery of a possible sister open for future installments.

Nightfall is an amazing occult thriller, and had me hooked from the beginning. I couldn't wait to find out what other dark and horrid secret Jack would find next, or how he'd get himself into trouble.

This one's another keeper. I can't wait for more Jack.

Nightfall, February 2010, ISBN 978-144-470063-3, H&S Fiction Paperback (C)

Friday, 12 February 2010

LONELY WEREWOLF GIRL by Martin Millar


As teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands, the MacRinnalch Clan is plotting and feuding after the head of the clan suddenly dies intestate. As the court intrigue threatens to explode in all-out civil war, the competing factions determine that Kalix is the swing vote necessary to assume leadership of the clan. Unfortunately, Kalix isn't really into clan politics - laudanum's more her thing. But what's even more unfortunate is that Kalix is the reason the head of the clan ended up dead, which is why she's now on the run in London...

This is a book with an awesome cover and a great premise that in the end just didn't work for me. :( Which was a total disappointment, since I was really looking forward to reading it.

Kalix is pretty much a feral werewolf girl with no friends and a family that she just doesn't get along with. Well, it's a little more involved and serious than that, because several of her family members are in constant pursuit of her, but not because they care. As she hides in the backstreets and abandoned warehouses of London, mostly starved, we get to find out a little more about her story. And the addictions that hound her. She's so desperate for the drug laudanum that she sells a pendant able to keep her whereabouts a secret.

Anyway, the start of the story was pretty strong and interesting, but as new characters were introduced, I found myself getting lost and distracted away from the main story. When I'm thinking about other things while a book's in front of me, that's not good. So, I put it down several times, and even skipped ahead in some sections... No matter what, I just couldn't get into the swing of things. I'm not sure if it was the actual writing and head-hopping that did it, or if it was the scope of the story because this is a chunky book.

Lonely Werewolf Girl is a book with a lot of promise, but for me didn't deliver in a genre that I absolutely adore. It really saddens me to say this because I so wanted to love this book. But in the end, just couldn't.

Lonely Werewolf Girl, January 2010, ISBN 978-074-994283-0, Piatkus Fiction Paperback

The heat is on

Let me start by saying that Day 4 of my Novelspot Behind the Scenes feature is now posted. Wow. I'm only three days away from finishing up the week. But today I actually finished writing all of it. The next three days are ready to post. Well, the next two are. I need to revise the last one before I can say it's ready, but everything I wanted to say during the week has now been said. :)

I've actually enjoyed splitting up my road to publication story into seven installments. It's been nostalgic.

Oh, and my interview has been posted at Raine Delight's Blog.

I've been pretty busy this week, haven't I? lol. I didn't get too much done in the way of actual writing, but it's important to find the balance between the writing stuff and the promo stuff. It's nice to get out and about every now and then.

Gosh, I'm not sure what the temperature is but it's really hot today. I can feel the heat coming in from the open windows. Not looking forward to walking in the sun this arvo, that's for sure. But I'm not going to complain. I like summer and it's almost over, so I'm determined to enjoy every hot, sweaty, sticky moment that's left. ;)

That's it for today. I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

THE LEVELS by Sean Cregan


On the outskirts of Newport, on the US East Coast, lies an abandoned, feral housing project: the Levels. Inhabited by Newport's forgotten homeless population, the Levels are run as a personal fiefdom by the all-powerful Sorrow.

As THE LEVELS opens, ex-CIA agent Nate Turner, who is in the Levels to find out who has just tried to kill him, meets a 14-year-old girl Ghost. Ghost is a Fury, one of Sorrow's trained, drug-addicted assassins looking for a way back to her normal life.

Also in the Levels is Kate, a suspended cop, who has been told that she has only days to live after being attacked, and infected, by the Beast, a serial killer working the streets. The Beast is out for revenge on Kate's new employer, who he believes created the infection that's killing him, an infection that has also been released into the Levels.

Now Ghost is trying to escape Sorrow, Kate is looking for the Beast and Turner is looking for answers. One thing's for sure, some people aren't going to survive the fallout...

This is the debut urban thriller novel by Sean Cregan.

Turner's dead. Well, he's actually still very much alive but someone died in his place and no one rectified the error. It's not surprising in a town where the cops are as dirty as the criminals. He decides to keep to the shadows, to try and figure out what's going on. But someone's following him and he goes to hide out in the Levels.

Kate is a suspended cop. Her only real crime was being involved with a dirty cop dealing drugs on the side. When he got caught, she also suffered the consequences. The night she's attacked, a group of men save her. Except, is that what they really did? They're a secretive bunch who want her to work with them, since she apparently ruined their one chance at getting their target. Oh, and they also mention that she's got a deadly virus that'll kill her in several days. So, it's in her best interest to help them find the Beast, which will lead to the cure.

Ghost is a teenage girl. Turner finds her sleeping in the dingy apartment he's staying in. But she's no ordinary teen. She's got several secrets and addictions, and desperately wants a way out. Still, Turner teams up with her. She knows the Levels and those who reside there.

In a twist of fate, Turner and Ghost also stumble on Kate. And together, the three of them are able to delve into the darkness of the Beast who wants everyone dead because he wants revenge. And also figure out that the group Kate thought she could trust are actually keeping their own secrets. A lot is at stake, and it all leads to an explosive conclusion.

The Levels is a fast-paced, interesting story that is woven by switching from what's going on with Turner, and Kate. It keeps the story fresh and unfolding at a pretty quick pace. The events were unpredictable too. Yet, I don't know why I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. It has tension, secretive vibes, a realistic feel, yet seems alien at the same time. It's gritty and violent, a good story, but... Maybe it's because I found myself a little disconnected from the two main characters and was instantly drawn to Ghost, instead. I'm not sure.

Still, it's a good book and I'm glad I read it.

The Levels, February 2010, ISBN 978-075-535786-4, Headline Fiction Paperback

Midweek thoughts

Wednesday is here already. Yikes! I say it every week, but where's the time go?

Hubby's at work, daughter's back at school, and I've decided to squeeze in a quick blog entry before getting stuck into things.

Today my interview has been posted at the BookWenches. I had a great time answering these questions. They were awesome, detailed, and really made me get into the nitty-gritty with my answers.

I'm still over at Novelspot's Behind the Scenes. Day 2 has just been posted. I'll be posting an entry every single day, for seven days. It's all about where/when I started to write. It's also about my long and winding road to publication. The false starts, the pausing when real life hit, how writing has always been there in the shadows for me, and how it pretty much will remain. It's strange, digging deep and remembering everything.

As for what I'll be working on today... I'm going to do a few things. I want to write my next two BtS posts and work on my Sci-Fi series overview. It'll be good to jump from one to the other, and hopefully make progress on both.

Well, better get to it...

Monday, 8 February 2010

Hello, new week!

<---Last week I posted this picture. It's my Hachette review pile. Except, I hadn't marked anything on it. Now, I have. :) I thought it would be cool to post it every Monday until I've read every single one of the books on the pile. It's a way to keep tabs on it, as well as motivation to keep going.

As you can see, I've now crossed off 4 books. Two that I read last week, and two the week before. At the moment I'm reading LEVELS. I started it today. Oh, and I received HORNS last week. So maybe I should update the picture next week. lol.

Anyway. The weekend was cool. It went too fast and it rained the whole time, but we still squeezed in a trip to the shops on Saturday, and yesterday we went for a nice long walk, worked out, watched an animated movie, and just hung out. I also finished MR SHIVERS, which was awesome. I really, really enjoyed it.

This morning hubby went to work several hours later so he could watch the SuperBowl. It was great spending the day with him, especially since the team he was going for won. Go the Saints! ;) But it also means that I didn't get any work done. Which is fine because I sorta planned for it. I knew he'd be home today, and my daughter will be home tomorrow, so I'm going to tackle smaller things during the first half of the week. Then I want to sit down and plan out one of my series. That should keep me busy for the rest of the week. Then I'm heading into some more revision. A novella this time. So next week's already booked in.

That reminds me, look what's already listed over at Damnation Books. Yay. Very exciting. Alyce Kerr's second story will be available March 1. :)

And before I go, this week I'll be over at Novelspot's Behind The Scenes. I'll be posting over there all week. So if you'd like to know a little about my road to publication and when the writing bug bit me, you can check it out. I'll hopefully be posting my first entry shortly.

That's it for tonight. Catch'a tomorrow!

PS. I forgot to mention that I'm also at VampChix today. I'm chatting a little about my love of vampires. And I'm also giving away eBook copies of HEART AND SOUL + VAMPIRE ORACLE: DEATH.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

MR SHIVERS by Robert Jackson Bennett


It is the time of the Great Depression. The dustbowl has turned the western skies red and thousands leave their homes seeking a better life. Marcus Connelly seeks not a new life, but a death - a death for the mysterious scarred man who murdered his daughter. And soon he learns that he is not alone. Countless others have lost someone to the scarred man. They band together to track him, but as they get closer, Connelly begins to suspect that the man they are hunting is more than human. As the pursuit becomes increasingly desperate, Connelly must decide just how much he is willing to sacrifice to get his revenge.


I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this very interesting book. From the time I read the blurb, I knew it would be a story worth reading. I'm happy to say that I was right. Robert Jackson Bennett's debut is set in a bleak world with vivid imagery.
Marcus Connelly is just like every other vagrant moving from one side of a dying country to the other. He walks or uses the train--stowing away whenever he can. However, most are looking for a better place to live, somewhere to work and find food to sate their endless hunger. Connelly only wants one thing: revenge on the scarred man who ruined his life.
The man with a scarred face killed his young daughter, which in turn destroyed his marriage by consuming his life. Revenge burns within him so bright that until he kills the man responsible, he doesn't think his life will be peaceful again. Connelly even tries to convince himself that once the deed is done, he can return to his wife and resume their life together.
Along the way, in pursuit of the scarred man, he finds a group of men also seeking him. So they decide to travel together--Connelly, Pike, Hammond and Roosevelt. The farther they go, the weirder the encounters and the more the legend of the mysterious scarred man deepens. No matter where they go, someone's seen the man pass by, which makes it very easy to follow close behind. There are also countless stories, myths, and eventually even a conspiracy surrounding the man. He seems untouchable, one wicked dude whose only purpose is destruction. Everywhere he goes, things seem to die.
I found myself totally sucked into this book from the very beginning. So much that I didn't want to put it down. The narration--in Connelly's point of view--moved at a very steady pace, slowly peeling away layers about Marcus Connelly, what he was up against, the past that shaped him into the shadow of a man he'd become, and just how quickly his descend into darkness sweeps over him. It was an interesting study of how such a dark ambition can turn the nicest and simplest of man into a warped and demented version of himself. Even the stories he hears about the scarred man show his change. At first he only accepts real stories, denying myths of the dark power he possesses, but after everything Connelly sees, his view of the world shifts into an almost supernatural view.
Mr Shivers is a haunting, atmospheric, grim story set in a ruined and rusty, dying world. The devastation and desperation of every character is so well drawn that I felt it every step of the way. And I knew pretty early on that there was no way Connelly would ever end up in a good place. So, I enjoyed the ending. I also loved that I could almost taste the dusty backdrop of an America now washed away by red dirt.
This one's a keeper! And I'll be looking out for more books by Robert Jackson Bennett.
Mr Shivers, February 2010, ISBN 978-184-149791-4, Orbit Paperback

Friday, 5 February 2010

Thoughts about my current stay in Revision Land

As I mentioned on Monday, I've been working on the second draft of my NaNo novel. I started out pretty well, doing more than my daily goal, but then yesterday... I started to fall behind.

I think the backend of the novel needs a little more work than the first half did. It's nothing huge, but I'm finding weird sentences that stick out and don't make sense to me. Do you ever do that? Write a story, put it away for a bit and when you read it back you go: WTF? lol. At least it's nothing huge. All bits that can be rearranged or changed. Something that happens during revision for me is that everything starts to gel so much better. Things click into place and I'm able to delete/add stuff that strengthens the story, helps to make better sense of things without necessarily having to spell every nitty-gritty thing out with bright lights. ;)

I know that when I get to the second last chapter, that's going to need even more work because I've changed something that impacts it directly. But it'll be alright. I'm all for making the story better. Only problem is that I don't know if I'm going to meet my self-imposed deadline of finishing the second draft by the end of this week. As of this afternoon, I've got 37 pages left. And it's Friday. Yikes!

*taking a deep breath*

Seriously, though, if I can get half of that done tonight after I tuck my daughter into bed... I might be able to get the rest finished while hubby and daughter go swimming tomorrow morning. I've got my fingers crossed.

Enough about revision. How's everyone doing? Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually pops in anymore. I haven't gotten any comments for ages. ;)

Last night I finished reading another review book. Although I enjoyed it, there was something about it that didn't fully connect with me. Strange when that happens. The good thing is that today I started another one, and I'm SO involved with this one that I've already read the first 100 pages. It's so cool, so far. Hope it stays that way.

Okay, time to go. Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

WAKE by Robert J Sawyer


Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a mathematics genius - and blind.

Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something - some other - lurking in the background. And it's getting more and more intelligent with each passing day.

This is the first book in the WWW trilogy.

Caitlin has been blind since birth, and has recently moved to Canada with her parents. She attends a local school and is a whiz at maths. She's also got an uncanny talent for the web. Using some especially designed software, she constantly updates her LiveJournal, leaves book reviews, browses the Internet, uses search enhines, and chats with friends. Being blind hasn't been a hinderance to her life and she's quite independent too. But when she's offered the opportunity to undergo an experimental procedure to get her eyesight back--an implant to her left optic nerve--she's excited and accepts it.

In Japan, after the surgery on her left eye, she still can't see but convinces Dr. Kuroda to let her keep the implant until the end of the year. And so, she connects to what she dubs EyePod via the Internet and returns to Canada. The day she starts to see something that she suspects is colour and lines, she contacts Dr. Kuroda and starts to realise that what she's seeing is the web, which leads to seeing the real world.

However, her connection to the web helps awaken an artificial-intelligence entity, which is essentially the world wide web. At the same time there are two other stories going on--one about a very clever chimpanzee hybrid, and the other about a Chinese government coverup that blocks China from the rest of the world via the Internet. It's clear that all these stories will eventually connect because they're drawing closer, but that doesn't happen completely in this book.

Although I really enjoyed it, I found the technical side of things a little too involved and even distracting. I found myself hoping that the story would return to Caitlin's every day life with her family and friends. I really liked her, even if she did seem a little too mature for a 15 year old. :) Also, the description and experiences Caitlin goes through when she sees and describes things from a blind person's POV is amazing.

Wake is an interesting story about hope and a miracle that will surely lead Caitlin to some very interesting situations in the books to come.

Wake, January 2010, ISBN 978-057-509407-9, Gollancz Paperback

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Hello!

I'm taking a break from revision to blog.

You know what I forgot to mention the other day? That Issue Six of Ethereal Tales is now available! You can check it out HERE. And you can have a Sneeky Peek too.

I got my author copy yesterday and it's lovely. It looks fantastic and I can't wait to read all of the stories. Mine's called FALLING INTO NIGHTMARE, and it's the story of a mother who can't let go of the son everyone else believes doesn't exist. Creepy, huh?

Also, this month I'm featured at the Midnight Moon Cafe Midnight Brew. You can check it out HERE. There'll be a contest later in the month too, so look out for that. :)

This week's been all about the revision. It's going well. I'm currently sitting at page 125/233. I've got to get through another 13 pages in order to meet my daily goal for today. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it before it's time to head out to get my daughter from school, but maybe tonight. I'm enjoying it so far, let's hope it stays that way.

I've also been thinking and actually changing a few things around the Internet world. Yesterday, I deleted my Bebo page. I just wasn't popping over there anymore and hadn't updated it for ages. It's one less thing to maintain/update. Which also means that I tore up a bundle of business cards that I'd made with the Bebo link. But that's fine. Next up is probably updating my MySpace page--I'll be keeping this one. And updating my website, maybe even making a new banner for it. Maybe. My main focus still needs to be the revision.

Next week I can possibly muck around with all that, but it doesn't hurt to get started.

Anyway, break time's over. Time to get back to it...

Monday, 1 February 2010

Reading & Revising

<--- See this pile of books? This is the pile of Hachette books that I have on my to-be-reviewed pile. Of course, I've already read (and loved!) THE DIGITAL PLAGUE and THE RUNAWAY. And at the moment I'm reading WAKE. Really enjoying it so far.

There are some awesome books there. I can't wait to get my hands on them.

Must. Read. Faster. lol. :D

Well, it's Monday and this week I've got myself a real writing goal. There's actually a small to-do list but my main goal is to get the second draft of my NaNoWriMo novel revised by Friday. Can I do it? I've calculated that if I do 46 pages/day until Friday, I can. I started on Saturday, managed to squeeze in 10 pages while hubby and daughter went swimming. So, I had a bit of a headstart and just reached 49/232 pages. :)

That means that I've met my daily goal, but I'd love to squeeze in another chapter later tonight. If I can get ahead, that always helps out later on. At the moment I'm not finding too many probs, but there are a few things coming up that I want to fix, so that might slow me down and I want to be ready for it.

In case you're wondering, I do three drafts. First draft is when I write like a crazy person and get the story outta my head. I usually write it pretty fast. Anywhere between 4-6 weeks for novels. Then I put it away for a few months (sometimes more) before tackling the second draft. Here I read the story and fix up sentences, dialogue, make sure things make sense, add stuff--it's pretty much a cleanup. I put it away again and do the third/final draft (otherwise I could revise forever) which is when I start to like the story again. The last draft is usually not as detailed as the second one, but you'd be surprised how many things I do find.

And of course, if I get a contract for it, a bunch of edits follow. But that's cool with me. I love to fix up my stories and make them the best they can be.

Anyway, it feels good to get back into the swing of things. See ya!

 
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