Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dualed and Divided by Elsie Chapman Reviews

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Available Now
Publisher: Random House
Hardback 292 pages
Dystopian/YA
To Buy Links- Amazon/ Kindle/ Paperback/ AudioCDAudibleBN/ Book Depository/
Indiebound/ Kobo
Goodreads- In the city of Kersh, everyone must eliminate their genetic Alternate twin, raised by another family, before their twentieth birthday. West Grayer, 15, has trained as a fighter, and has one month to hunt and kill her Alt. A tragic misstep shakes her confidence. Guilty, grieving, she feels unworthy, runs from her Alt and from love - both can destroy her.

REVIEW

West Grayer is like a Tootsie Pop, tough outer shell and soft inner layer. The question is how many licks can she take before she cracks. She has a hard life like so many in her position, but she gets a break, if she can live with herself and take it. It will give her the training she needs to beat her Alt, valuable training she can't afford any other way. Taking it means she has to turn her back on everyone, especially Chord, to keep them safe. But Chord isn't easy to shake. And with each job West completes, her soft core is shaken until she becomes Active and her Alt starts hunting her.

This was such an intense novel, very hard to put down. There wasn't a lot of world building which would have helped with understanding why no one could have babies, why there was a need for soldiers, why there was a Kersh to begin with, but in the end, it didn't detract too much from the enjoyment of the novel. I really had a hard time putting this one down. It has been a while since I have felt this excited about reading a book. I knew, as I read that there was a second book, I had it waiting to be read, but I hadn't read the synopsis, so I didn't know if West would make it or her Alt. I didn't know if the people she loved would make it through or not.

I think the most surprising thing I found in this novel was the sudden almost poetic descriptions of something beautiful in a dark gritty world of kill or be killed, child against child very unfair life. I would be reading and out of nowhere there was something beautiful that West saw or felt. I think it was a symbol of hope, something to give her a reason to go on, but it also was a relief to me, that not everything in her world was dismal and gray and hopeless.

Ms. Chapman's writing is not overly done, but we get a good idea of how West thinks and feels, her motivations and how others feel about her. While I can't see myself in her life or death situations, I understand and empathize with her need to spare her loved ones from harm. I'm not sure I could be as selfless as West, but I'd like to think so.

I think this is an above average dystopian/sci-fi and I recommend it to anyone that enjoys a fast paced novel with life and death situations, a world that isn't explained real well, but you do get a feel for it and a romance, not gushy, but very real.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Divided (Dualed #2) by Elsie Chapman
Available Now
Publisher:Random House Books for Young Readers
Hardcover 320 pages
YA Dystopian
To Buy Links- Amazon/ Kindle/Audio CD/ Audible

Goodreads- The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .
West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.
The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.
How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.

                                                                                               
REVIEW

****************SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ  DUALED *********************************              


DIVIDED picks up a few weeks or so after DUALED. Life is back to "normal" for West and Chord. They are in a routine and things are good. From there, the novel is completely different from DUALED.

We find out the origins of Kresh, who created it and why. Who created the Alt. system, why it exists.
So many things are answered about the world that you might have had when you read DUALED. Completes are expected to serve time guarding the Surround which we learn about from Chord and a friend of West's. We learn more about the Alt code and how it works in the body. It is just an entirely different book.

West is conscripted into service by someone to do some dirty work. She trusts in the system and believes that some of the Alts she killed before may have been "worthy" so she wants to even up the score. She accepts the job against better judgement, against what her body is screaming at her, and against what she knows everyone else would say, all because she feels a need to make up for those Alts she killed when she was a Striker. What if they were the stronger ones and she has left the city vulnerable?

This novel is more of a head game. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of action, but a lot of it has to do with West and her conscience and what she can and can't live with. Again, I was stunned often to be reading something gritty and then have an almost poetic scene of beauty described in the midst of it. Maybe it's to show that there is something to live for in this almost impossibly violent and unsure world West lives in, when any moment someone she loves could be killed as an Alt fights with their other half.

I loved DUALED, the first novel in this series, but I think I loved this one even more. There was more strategy, more psychology, more action even than before. And yet, though the ending is complete, there is room for another book in the series. We have no idea what's on the outside. And what we discover about Kersh makes it even more interesting to know what's on the outside. I hope Ms. Chapman decides to write a third book in the series.

I highly recommend this one. There is a lot of violence as in DUALED. Use your own judgement about whether you can handle graphic descriptions of injuries, blood and death. It is an excellent book!

Thank you to the publishers for an E-ARC for review through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

ELSIE CHAPMAN
And hey guess what?? Elsie Chapman actually answers the questions you ask her. I asked if there would be a sequel and she wrote back on her blog and said no, it was done. But she does answer. That's pretty awesome!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blog Tour- Zoe and Zak and the Tiger Temple Audiobook Review



zoe&zak



Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple by Lars Guignard
Read by Sonja Field

Genre: Middle Grade Magic, Fantasy Adventure. Ages 8-13




About the Book:
Zoe and Zak have learned some things since their first semester at Moonstock Himalayan Academy in India: #1 Don't trust the parrots. #2 Don't eat the food. #3 And most importantly . . . don't stick around if something crawls out of the lava hole beneath your school. Last semester, Zoe and Zak returned the first lost Noble Truth to its rightful home. Now, the seventh graders are back in India for their second semester at Moonstock, their boarding school high in the Himalayan mountains where impossible things seem to happen on a regular basis. School kicks off with the Activity Week Challenge in the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan where the students must deliver medical supplies. Things take a turn for the worse when Zak becomes deathly ill after an encounter with a strange floating bubble. On returning to Moonstock, Zoe and Zak discover that a creature has come through the lava hole far below their dormitory. When Zoe and Zak follow the creature, they soon learn what they must do. They have been tasked with finding the second lost Noble Truth--the Tiger Eye of Justice. Finding the Tiger Eye sounds like an impossible mission, and it's only made more confusing when Zak discovers that he has been given a powerful gift to help with the task. But Zak's new gift is a double-edged sword, and if Zoe and Zak don't find the Tiger Eye quickly, Zak's time will run out. The Tiger Temple takes Zoe and Zak deep into an exotic world of magical enchantment and heart-pounding action. It promises to be the most thrilling Zoe and Zak adventure yet.
Audio sample is under the cover on the audible page if you want to sample it.



REVIEW
If you haven't read any of my previous reviews of this series then you won't understand why I am so excited about this particular book in the series. The first book, Zoe and Zak and The Ghost Leopard introduced us to the world of India and the taste of adventure that Zoe and Zak get from their first mystery. With their first mystery solved, the next one starts on their trip to their new school in the foothills of the Himalayas, Moonstock Academy. It is the place with the worst food in the world, strict and surprisingly mean guard monkeys and magic hidden underneath the school. Zoe and Zak discover incredible magical gifts and mysteries in Zoe and Zak and The Yogi's Curse. But in this mystery, Zoe and Zak are still at Moonstock, with a truly perplexing mystery. Zak is getting tiger stripes and having Dr. Doolittle moments with animals. There is a new student that is Zak's roommate and a total braggart and showoff. And Zoe and Zak make a journey on foot to find the Tiger Temple with many distractions along the way. This journey is so full of discoveries and new powers, it's the best of the stories so far!!

I have come to really love these audio books. They aren't too long, but the narrator is great at keeping my interest. She sounds young, just like a 12 year old girl should. She changes her voice to sound like a 12 yr old boy-Zak and she sounds like different teachers and other 12 year olds but they never sound the same. I am never confused about who is talking, it's always very clear. The voice of Zoe is the narrator, it's soft and even except where it needs to be, she explains things just enough without becoming boring. And I love how she exclaims softly without raising her voice when she's surprised, "Holy India!" 

Holy India is right! This is a great Middle Grade magical fantasy series, one I really enjoy on audio. I want to thank the publisher for the copy of the audio book for review. I will continue this series to the end, whether I am on the tour or not. It is that excellent. Every thing feels so authentic when listening, the rivers, the bazaar, the mountains, the jungles. If you read below you'll understand why. I absolutely recommend this series. I have not read the books, but I think I would miss the voices and the descriptions if I didn't listen to the audiobooks. There are some books that just should be listened to as an audio book. I believe this series is one of them.

I received a free copy of this audio book for review. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.


About the Author:





Prior to writing novels, Lars Guignard wrote for film and television. As a teenager he attended boarding school in the Indian Himalayas and his experiences there provided the inspiration for the Zoe and Zak series which now include: Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopardand Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse and Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple.


He lives in the Pacific Northwest where he dodges bears and cougars while hiking & skiing the magnificent Coast Mountain Range.
For news about new releases, please join his email list here: Zoe&ZakAdventures@gmail.com
He can also be reached at the following places:


Website: www.larsguignard.com
About the narrator:
Sonja Field combines her life-long passion for reading with her skill as an actress to bring audiobooks to life! A dynamic and versatile narrator, she has logged hundreds of hours recording textbooks with an organization called Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. She loved recording the action-packed Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse because of its wealth of colorful, quirky, and memorable characters.






 




Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway












This tour was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Monday, May 26, 2014

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt Review

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Available May 27th, 2014
Contemporary YA Fiction
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Hardcover 208 pages
To Buy Links: Amazon/ Kindle/ MP3 CD/ Audible/ BN/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo

Goodreads Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

REVIEW
If you don't read the synopsis, you might think this book has something to do with competitions or winning and in a way you would be right. But not in a traditional sense. Nell and Layla are sisters, two years apart in school and Nell is in awe of her older, smarter, more beautiful sister. Everyone thinks so according to Nell, and as she is the narrator, we only hear that others agree. Except for her best friend Felix. Golden is actually their last name. And the competition is where does a sister stay quiet and where does she do what she thinks is best for her perfect, older beautiful sister?

Characters- Nell is the younger sister and she tells the story as if she's written everything down in a letter or videoed it, chronicling the rapid change in their relationship. Layla has become a stranger to her, secretive, distant, a liar, maybe even manipulative. She doesn't know or believe that this Layla is healthy. But Nell is in 9th grade and has always looked up to her older sister. Always shared everything with her, gone to her for advice. She doesn't know who to turn to for advice when she believes Layla is making a mistake, a big one.

Layla- Because of the way the story is told, as if in a letter from the first person, we only see Layla's personality and actions through the eyes of Nell. But it's enough to get the general idea of who Layla was before and who she is now and why Nell is worried. Though Layla is in 11th grade, she sounds a bit more mature and believes she is a lot more mature. She uses her sister and anyone else to get her way, but she isn't manipulative or evil. Just desperate. And blind to what she is doing to Nell.

Felix- Nell's best friend. He is her sounding board for everything else in her life, except this big secret. They have all kinds rituals they do and places they go. They are a couple in every sense of the word except they don't see it. Felix often tells Nell he loves her and she returns the sentiment but in a friendship sort of way. They are there for each other.

The Creed Brothers- These are two dead boys that died within a year of each other, Nell believes, or maybe everyone does, it wasn't that clear that after the first one died, the second took his own life because he couldn't bear to live without his brother. She sees herself and Layla as having the same type of codependent relationship. The Creed Brothers sit around in Nell's room (their ghosts) and talk to Nell encouraging her to do things like confront her sister, investigate where she was....not bad things like she has schizophrenia and is hearing voices that tell her to do something. This was a very strange element to the story that really didn't have a satisfactory conclusion.

The setting/World- Present day San Francisco. Oh would I love to see it! Nell mentions more than once how much she loves San Francisco and her city. Little shops and restaurants are described. There is a very intimate feeling to the place in the story despite the largeness of San Francisco.

The Story- Simply put, Nell and Layla have a codependent relationship as sisters who's parents got divorced when Nell was in Kindergarten and they announced it at Christmas. The two stuck together through weekends at Dad's and girlfriends and eventual marriage. Nell is much more dependent on Layla than the other way around having a bit of hero worship for her older sister. Nell starts going to the same school as Layla and has all these expectations for the two of them. Things don't pan out quite they way she wants them to mainly because of Layla's secret. As Nell tries to keep Layla's secret, she becomes more and more convinced that she shouldn't, but she feels like she can't betray her sister. And the one person she would go to in this situation is her sister. 

What I thought- I thought it was okay. I thought the story was interesting enough and the character of Nell had enough substance to her to keep me going. It is a slow moving story, not a lot of action. I think a difference in the narration would have helped the story. Hearing everything told from Nell's voice in second person narrative kind of took any emotion out of it. And there should have been emotion in several parts of it. But I felt like I was reading someone's diary. And their life wasn't all that exciting.

The secret wasn't hard to figure out as soon as the story started, but it isn't kept from the reader for long anyway. That Nell kept it a secret from Felix, her best friend was surprising to me. She tells him everything. They talk freely about liking other people and about sex. Nell does something that I would say is out of character for her, but Felix stands up for her. So why she doesn't tell him doesn't really make sense to me. 

And then there are those Creed brothers. Nell will see them sitting on the end of the bed talking to her and she talks back to them. I had to question if she had a mental illness? There were no other signs that she did. And it didn't sound like they had been friends. But she ran with them as she practiced for soccer. She would go change in the bathroom so they didn't see her naked. They seemed very real to her. When the story ended, they weren't addressed at all. The ending was just as quiet as the rest of the story.

There was underage drinking, inappropriate sexual relationships and sexual innuendo so I would say this was for the 16 and up crowd. I guess there is a bit of the paranormal in it with the Creed Brothers.

Thanks to the publisher for an e-ARC for review. This did not affect my review in any way. The opinions expressed in my review are my own.


Dana Reinhardt

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WOW Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases that we are eager to share.

Here is one that I am really anticipating. I think it is THAT book that I have been waiting for someone to write.


Chasing the Milky Way by Erin E. Moulton
Publishes June 12th from Philomel
Hardback 288 pages
In a book that pairs science with mental illness, and heart with adventure, Erin E. Moulton delivers a moving story about family, friendship and the lengths we go for the people we love.

Lucy Peevy has a dream--to get out of the trailer park she lives in and become a famous scientist. And she's already figured out how to do that: Build a robot that will win a cash prize at the BotBlock competition and save it for college. But when you've got a mama who doesn't always take her meds, it's not easy to achieve those goals. Especially when Lucy's mama takes her, her baby sister Izzy, and their neighbor Cam away in her convertible, bound for parts unknown. But Lucy, Izzy and Cam are good at sticking together, and even better at solving problems. But not all problems have the best solutions, and Lucy and Izzy must face the one thing they're scared of even more than Mama's moods: living without her at all.

Perfect for fans of Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons, Jerry Spinelli'sManiac Magee and Katherine Paterson's The Great Gilly Hopkins.

Why I am waiting- I have had a love hate relationship with most novels in the YA age group that handle mental illness. I think they do a real disservice to those of us with a mental illness by perpetuating the stigma of mental illness- we are scary people, mental institutions are scary places and haunted and the people in them are dangerous, and people with mental illness will try to kill you. This is all highly inaccurate and also if you are a teen who thinks you might have a mental illness, it would hardly encourage you to seek help. 

I have emailed back and forth with this author. I have read interviews with her. She comes from a background of working and living with people with mental illness. They are her normal. She grew up in a group home with people coming in and out as they needed. I think she gets it. She didn't Wiki bipolar disorder and write her story. She researched it. From all angles. Taking her background, her interviews with specialists, reading and watching interviews from the NAMI website, even the DSMV (the psychiatric bible of  mental illness diagnoses) and she even has resources in the back.  (At least the last time we wrote it did. It's always subject to change in edits and it had just been sent off for final edits).

I have very high hopes for this being the novel I have been wishing someone would write. Bipolar Disorder is my disorder. My two sons have it. Everyone on my birthmother's side of the family has it. And I am going to put this book in everyone's hand that tells me "just snap out of it" or "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" if it's the book I think it is. And if it's really the book I think it is, I will hop the fence and march to the house I can just barely see behind me anymore and leave a copy on my neighbor's porch, my former friend, who told me, at my lowest point in my life (well recently) that I was "a burden to my family." I don't think you should say that to anyone, mental illness or not, friend or not. I don't expect any kind of acknowledgement from her, but maybe she and anyone else that thinks those who suffer from depression have a "great life and have nothing to be depressed about" or that people that attempt suicide "do it for attention", Maybe, "they" will get some understanding from CHASING THE MILKY WAY! It's a lot to ask from one book, but at least it might open the dialogue.

What do you guys think?
Heather xxx

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Tour- Review and Giveaway- The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski





THE PARADOX OF VERTICAL FLIGHT by Emil Ostrovski
  
Release Date:
September 24, 2013

Hardcover, 260 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Contemporary / Realistic Fiction / Tough Issues / Suicide
What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma's house? 

This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack's ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn't spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma's house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. 

Even this one.

 Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth.
Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | Goodreads


My phone rings, but I don't get up.

   
In my dream, the teacher hands out frogs, living frogs, and lectures: “Frogs produce smaller air bubbles than humans, who in turn produce smaller air bubbles than llamas. We find this out by drowning the species in question, of course.  Please drown your frog and make sure to measure the diameter of its air bubbles, rounding to the nearest significant digit.  Tomorrow
we’ll measure the bubbles produced by our lab partners, and the day after that, the students that are left will move on to the llamas.”  It makes no sense at all, but so it goes with my dreams.  Some people dream of epic heroes’ quests, of saving the universe from a great evil, and I get dreams about the differentiation of air bubbles across species.

Around nine I roll myself into a sitting position, finger the gunk out of my eyes, examine it for a moment, and then launch it across the room to where I don’t have to immediately deal with it.  My roommate’s snores filter down from the top bunk.

My cell is on my desk. The blinking red light of a missed call flashes across the room. Damn. I missed Bob. I try calling her back, but she doesn’t answer. She’s always losing her phone, misplacing it; broke it a few times from chucking it, because she couldn’t get the idiotskaya electronica to work.

I call my grandma “Bob” because I’m too lazy to bother with the alternatives; namely, “Babushka,”“Baba,” and “starypur,” the Russian version of old fart. Bob has Alzheimer’s, and it’s my birthday, so her call means today’s one of those days, or maybe just one of those moments, a flash, when she remembers me.

Partly to distract myself from the guilt, but mostly out of habit, I turn on my computer and wait for Windows to load.  I don’t capitalize “god” but I always capitalize “Windows.”  I spend much of my life in front of a screen, plugged into the matrix, looking through a Window into my virtual life.  Still waiting on a black dude with a name that sounds like a drug to show up and teach me kung fu, though.


I log in to Facebook and I’m so depressed I want to laugh. Fifteen Facebook friends have wished me a happy birthday so far. I’ve never really cared about birthdays, honestly—I mean, it’s just another day—but to see all these people, most of whom I don’t know or in a few years won’t remember, wishing me a happy birthday makes me feel like I should care. Like it should be a special day, like it should mean something.

I think I hate Facebook.

I lean back in my chair and stare out the window. When I’m thirty years old, will I still get a bunch of people I don’t know wishing me a happy birthday? Will that number dwindle over the years? Will, year by year, some people who’ve forgotten me remember and some people who’ve remembered me forget? What’s the point of it all, for any of us, if that’s the way it goes—if the way it ends is with me logging into Facebook at ninety years old, bald and fat and wearing a diaper and not remembering how to get to the toilet, which is why I’m wearing a diaper in the first place, and seeing, what? Fifteen people I don’t know wishing me a happy birthday? And each of my fifteen with fifteen of their own, on and on, a miserable network of Happy Birthday Facebook wishes connecting the entire world, the entire human race, until one day we nuke ourselves and it all goes black and there are no more happy birthdays for anyone.

Sometimes I get like this, depressed I mean, but I’m not one of those crazies, you know, a danger to themselves and others, nothing like that. Never even contemplated suicide, though in a few seconds I will be contemplating jumping out a window. It’s hot—eighty, maybe more; my T-shirt’s wet on my body, and it feels more miserable than it has any right to for a May morning in our great moose- infested state of Maine. I wheel over to open the window, slide it all the way up. I have to stand so I can reach the screen, to slide it down into place. Instead I stick my hand out.

What if I jump? What if I jump, now? I don’t want to die, but getting hurt would be kind of nice, you know? Like two years ago, when I got my appendix out. Everyone from class sent Get Well cards and Tommy skipped school to spend a day with me playing video games in the hospital. Yeah, that’s selfish, but remembering your friend because he almost kicked it is just as selfish.

I turn away from the window. The attention would last a couple weeks, max. Then everyone would go back to their own lives and everything would be the same.  But unlike when I got my appendix out, I might be crippled for life.

I walk on over to my desk, pull open a drawer, shuffle through video game boxes and CDs and pencils and pens and a worn pink eraser I never use but bring to school every quarter anyway.   I grab the bottle of pills, sit back down on my chair, and stare at the bottle.  Painkillers.  From a few months back, when I got into a fight with a fence over the arbitrary authority by which it goes about the supremely arrogant task of delineating space.  The fence won the tiff, but, fractured ankle aside, I like to think I’ll win the war.  I set the painkillers on the desk, and check under my bed. That’s where I keep my water, but there isn’t any left, so I stuff the pills in my pocket.

“Hey,” comes my roommate Alan’s I’m-still-three-quarters-sleeping voice.

I spin round.  “Hey,” I say, too loud.

He frowns at me, head about three inches off the pillow, and says, “Feel like I wanted to say something to you.  But I forget. I’ll remember.”

“That’s all right.”

“Jack,” he says, suddenly concerned.  “It is a Saturday, right?”

“Yeah,” I say. “No worries.”

“Phew,” he says.  His head drops back down. Almost every Saturday Alan groggily asks me if it’s really the weekend—like he can’t quite believe it himself.  He’s a nice guy, Alan, as nice a roommate as you could hope for, but we don’t really do anything together aside from, well, sleeping together. .It’s just that kind of a relationship.

I have my hand on our doorknob when--voices in the hall.  When they’re gone I nudge the door open and head for the bathroom. A guy’s in the shower, singing something about how we’re meant to be together in a voice that he really should keep a firm leash and a choke collar on if he insists on taking it out in public.

I set the bottle of pills on the shelf below the mirror. My reflection has a zit coming up on his forehead. It hurts to touch. He squeezes anyway, and bites at the inside of his lip. It explodes; a bit of yellow-white pus hits him in the eye and slides down, down, like a tear.


How many pills will kill me and how many will almost kill me? That is the question. It’s a fine line, probably. I open the bottle, look inside, and frown. Pull the cotton ball out.

I turn on the faucet. And hold my hands under the warm water.  Close my eyes.  Breathe.  Breathe.  I’m about to down my first pill when my cell rings. Once, twice, three times. The guy in the shower stops singing.



My breath catches when I see the number.

“I'm twenty-three.

Rather than give you a witty, self-deprecating account of the trials and tribulations of my twenty-three year old, suburban, upper-middle class, went-to-a-girl's-liberal-arts-college life, I'll admit that I haven't really done anything much worth reading about.

So in lieu of providing you with my biography, I will recommend that you read Desmond Tutu's.  Here.  

Why Desmond Tutu?

Well, I've always liked his name.”
 Blog

Review
The VERTICAL PARADOX OF FLIGHT is not for the casual reader. It is filled with references to philosophers that, though I've heard of, I am unfamiliar with their ways of thinking about life and the universe. About time and infinity.  About the existence of us all. PARADOX (I will shorten it to that for review purposes) is not a light novel, nor is it one that I think you can put down and pick up again. It is short which makes that easier, but once you get going in the novel and you're in the right mindset, you don't want to lose it by leaving the story.

Jack is contemplating suicide on his birthday. He is a student of philosophy. He is way too much in his head. I can identify with that. Over thinking is a huge flaw of mine so that I am usually frozen in place. Jack on the other hand, talks to his philosophers in his mind. He personifies them, first Socrates is his brother that never was, having been miscarried at 3 weeks and then he is the baby his ex-girlfriend has that he kidnaps from the hospital. Socrates, helps Jack in understanding the complexities of life, the questions he has, the meaningless existence he believes in, all in the form of a one day old baby.

It's an impulsive act, kidnapping his own child and Jack knows it's wrong and yet, on some level, because he's been denied his rights, he feels justified in doing so. The novel is a journey of three "friends" Jack, his best friend Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend and mother of Socrates- Jess, as they travel to Bob's house (Jack's grandmother). On the way, they muse about life, the repetitive cycles of it, losing touch with each other, love, and the meaning of life. Socrates acts as the voice of wisdom along the journey, not in a "you should do this, you should do that" kind of wisdom but in a philosophical wisdom way.

It's not a light read, with a heavy emphasis on philosophy, thoughts of suicide and unwanted pregnancy. But there are bright sides to it as well. Definitely this book will appeal to a more studious crowd and should be read by a more mature audience. It could be triggering for those with suicide issues in the past or present.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog Tour- The Hero's Guide To Being An Outlaw by Christopher Healy Review and Giveaway (US and Canada)














Welcome! Today I am hosting The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw Blog Tour, the 3rd book in the Heroes Guide Series. This is a fun series for Middle Grade readers that tells the story of what happens to the Princes Charming after Happily Ever After and their respective Princesses as well as a few other unknown characters. It is a lot of fun to read and the author, Christopher Healy has proven to be a truly imaginative writer when it comes to the After Happily Ever After.

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy
Available Now
Walden Pond Press
Hardback 528 pages
Review Copy from publisher
To Buy link- Amazon/ Kindle/ Audio CD/ Audible/ BN/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo
Goodreads- The League of Princes returns in the hilariously epic conclusion to the hit series that began with Christopher Healy's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, which the Los Angeles Times called "one of the more clever, hilariously successful incarnations of the current literary rage to rip apart and rewrite fairy tales."

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don't you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they're on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar's murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.
REVIEW

The various Princes from Snow White (Duncan), Rapunzel (Gustav), Cinderella (Frederic) and Sleeping Beauty (Liam) have all gone home or adventuring. Some of the princesses have gone off on their own adventures. It seems that some of the rescues didn't pair the right princes with the right princesses. No happily ever after. But don't despair. There is life ever after. And romance. And adventure. And growth.

In this particular adventure, the League of Princes has been declared the Most Wanted for the killing of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty). But our princes would never do such a thing, no matter how snotty, rude and annoying she is. Really, they wouldn't. So they have to clear their names. And the princesses and Liam's sister Lila along with a new character named Val are trying to free the country from the evil rule of a man who has the power to control minds. He is taking over all of the kingdoms at an alarming rate.

Old characters return and new ones are added in the conclusion to the series that is just as fun as the other two books. The League of Princes travel the various kingdoms, even the high seas, and the desert all to clear their names.  The princesses begin a rebel faction bent on causing trouble for the Darians who are taking over the 13 kingdoms. Their group is called the Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters or FFFF. Oh and they have a guy with Seven League boots on their side.

There is constant action, adventure, and mishaps and mayhem. It will keep any reluctant reader interested and most adults that enjoy fairy tale related books. I love the inclusion of the princes and princesses from the four fairy tales and the mix up that happens with the couples. Some of them just weren't meant to be together. The worlds are explored a little more in this novel and are what you would expect of a fairy tale complete with scary monstrous beasts (beetles) and sea serpents. The Kings and Queens aren't exactly portrayed as someone you'd want to run your country. So it's pretty important to defeat the villain and get the Princes and Princesses back in line to take the thrones.

It was a great finish to a series that's been a lot of fun. But I am sad to see it end. All loose ends are tied up nicely, but the world and characters could definitely be revisited if Christopher Healy ever wanted to. And I hope he does.

Thanks to the ladies at Walden Pond Press for a review copy of this novel and for all their hard work :)
This in no way influenced my opinions expressed in this review. I was not compensated for my review.


Here is the trailer Christopher Healy made for the book. You need to watch it, it's funny!!




I am sure you want to follow the rest of the tour so here is the list below:
Hero's Guide to Being a Blog Tour 
5/1 - The Book Rat
5/5 – Icey Books
5/8 - The Book Rat
5/16 - KidLit Frenzy
5/19 - Mundie Kids
5/23 - Novel Novice
5/26 - Mundie Kids
5/28 - Small Review

And here is the giveaway: US and Canada only. It is for a signed hardback of THE HERO'S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's a little about Christopher Healy:
Christopher Healy is the author of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, which the New York Times selected as one of its best books of the year, calling it “charming—a qurest that recalls at moments the Musketeers and at others the Marxes”; as well as its sequel, The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle, which Publishers Weekly hailed as “uproariously funny” in a starred review. He is also a reviewer of children’s media. Chris lives with his wife and two children in New Jersey. You can find him online at www.christopherhealy.com

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