Notice:


As of June 9, 2012 I will no longer be accepting e-books for review. This is due to the overwhelming
demand of reviews, work and night classes taking up a lot of my spare time. It
is taking me several months to read and post reviews therefore until “my to be
reviewed list” is smaller I will no longer accept any more e-books for review.
I am extremely sorry.


August 31, 2012

Interview: Dean Murray author of Torn & Broken

Happy end of August everyone! Today I am please to have Dean Murray over answering a few questions about his series and life. You can find my review of Torn here.

Now onto the questions.


Dean  Murray1) What was your inspiration for Torn and Broken?

Hi, Cassay. Thanks for having me here to talk about Torn and Broken. I’ve talked about this a fair amount, so for anyone that’s been following my work for very long they’ve probably heard me answer a version of this question, but I think it’s a great starting point! I’d been writing on and off for years and had pretty much stopped writing when I picked up Twilight. I loved it-in fact I read both Twilight and New Moon in less than 24 hours. When I finished New Moon, I realized that I wanted to try and write something that touched other readers like Twilight had touched me. The more I learned about Stephenie’s journey to publication, the more inspired I was; but there was one piece to that story that my mind kept worrying at.

She indicated that she’d loosely modeled Twilight after Pride and Prejudice, which I’d just finished reading for the second time not too long before I’d picked up Twilight. I kept thinking about the ways in which Twilight could have been more like Pride and Prejudice, and what that would have done to the storyline.

A short time later I had an outline for what I’d end up calling Broken which I hoped would have a lot of the same feel and impact that Twilight had had on me, but which went a different direction.

2) Why did you decide to write 2 separate novels instead of switching narrators?

One of the things that really impresses me about Pride and Prejudice *spoiler alert* is the way that we start the book hating Mr. Darcy and then by the end we’ve completely revised our opinion of him. Jane Austen accomplishes that through some sleight of hand and by having Mr. Darcy grow a bit as a character during the course of the book.

The kind of sleight of hand that I’d need to do in order to mimic the bits of Pride and Prejudice that I wanted to bring into Broken would have been hard to do in anything other than first person, so I wrote Broken in first person and figured ‘that was that’. I’d had to do some acrobatics though to make sure that Adri was confused about who was the good guy and who was the bad guy, and I kept thinking it would be really neat for the reader to see some of what had happened with Alec.

I couldn’t tell those bits of plot in Broken without fundamentally changing the kind of story it was, so I ultimately went back through Broken and cut a few bits here and there and then wrote Torn to answer the questions that Broken didn’t answer.

3) Besides writing, what is a normal day in the life of Dean Murray?

A normal day for me has changed significantly in the last little while. Up until recently I’ve done all of my writing in the evenings after finishing up long days working as an accountant. My work is starting to sell quite well though, so as of a week or so ago I took the plunge and am ‘writing’ full time.

I actually haven’t done any writing to speak of since quitting; instead my time has been focused on proofing the audio book version of Broken and doing print layouts for Frozen Prospects and Thawed Fortunes.

I’m starting to get to the end of the non-writing tasks, so I’ll likely be starting the next book in the Guadel Chronicles in the next few days; at which point my day will mostly be just writing with the occasional break to respond to fan mail. I get to have lunch with my wife and kids now which is a decided plus.

4) Which character was your favorite to write? Least favorite to write?Broken

I actually don’t know that I can say I liked either one more or less than the other, but I definitely liked writing them for different reasons. With Adri, there was a real sense of adventure when I sat down to write. I knew generally where I wanted to go with the story, but there’s always parts that come together unexpectedly for me when I sit down to actually execute on the plot arc that I have planned out at the start of a project. That is scary (for me at least) but it’s also really energizing.

With Alec’s point of view, I loved the fact that I already had a master plot arc that I had to fit my story inside of. Instead of wondering how I was going to get where I wanted to go, Torn was really more about building on that structure and seeing what kinds of neat things I could do inside of the framework that had already been established.

5) Are you currently working on any new stories or more companion novels to the Torn/Broken series?

Yes. Smile I’ve actually got quite a bit in process right now. Broken and Torn are part of my ‘Reflections’ series which currently consists of Broken, Torn, Splintered and Intrusion. I’m also working on a series I call ‘Dark Reflections’, which is basically about taking Alec, Adri & the rest and sticking them in an alternate timeline and using that to highlight various relationships and aspects of my characters that I won’t be able to get to in ‘Reflections’. Currently there is just one short story (Handoff) live in ‘Dark Reflections, but there will be another one (True Believer) going live in a week or two.

Beyond that I have some miscellaneous romance and Sci-Fi short stories and an epic fantasy series called “The Guadel Chronicles”. Currently I’ve got two novels and a short story live in that series.

Sorry, that’s a lot of background there, but now I can tell you want I’ve currently got in progress.

I’ve got two more Reflections novels essentially done and now going through the editing and production process. As I mentioned above, I’ll be starting the third ‘Guadel Chronicles’ novel very soon, and then I’ll go back to writing a ‘Reflections’ novel that will progress Alec and Adri’s story as unfortunately Intrusion, and the two works in progress bring in new characters to help set the stage and don’t progress Alec and Adri’s situation much at all.

6) If Torn and Broken were to be made into a movie who would be your “Dream Cast”?

To be honest I haven’t thought much about this. The main guy and girl off of ‘The Covenant’ would do a pretty good job I think, but there are so many talented actors and actresses out there that I’m sure there are dozens of others that could do a really good job.

7) Why did you decide to self-publish over the traditional route?

I’d done the query-go-round with 3 novels before I decided to go the indie route, and it always frustrated me that I had to spend so much time and effort researching agents and then writing query letters when what I actually wanted to do was just write more books. At the same time I knew that the best way to get to write more books was to be able to quit my day job which wouldn’t happen without selling books.

Through a long chain of events I ended up on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and then went over to JA Konrath’s blog. When I realized that I could go direct to consumers via Amazon, iTunes, B&N and the rest, it was like a light turned on. The things they revealed about their experiences with traditional publishing just made me more convinced that now was the time to go it alone.

8) Since publishing your novels how has life changed?

We’ve already highlighted the biggest change, which is that for at least the next little while (depending on how well I’m ultimately able to make ends meet with my writing) I’m doing this full time. I think that the other main thing is that there is an incredible sense of validation when you have a reader reach out to you and tell you that they loved something you wrote.

9) Which of your characters is mostly like yourself?

I have little pieces of myself in many of my characters. Va’del’s self-doubt was something that I carried along personally at some points of my life, while Alec’s determination is something that I think I still have. In all cases though I try to make sure my characters take on a bit of a larger than life aspect to their personalities.

10) What is your favorite novel to movie adaption?

I’d have to say Harry Potter is my favorite movie adaption. I think they did an incredible job on that whole series, but most especially with the first movie.

Quickies:

Favorite….

Book: Right now I’d have to say Atlas Shrugged. It’s served as a catalyst for things that have been floating around in my head for ages, and at some point there is a book idea that I’d like to explore that I think can be traced back to one of the themes in Atlas Shrugged.

Author: Robert Jordan

Movie: Underworld

TV Show: Vampire Diaries

Ice Cream: Vanilla

Music: Too hard to narrow it down to just one. Right now I’m listening to Red House Painters. Yesterday I listened to Blink 182

Vampires or Zombies: Vampires all the way Smile

Star Wars or Star Trek: hmm, probably more Star Trek at this point, but haven’t had much to do with either for years now.

Morning person or Night Person: Night person trying very hard to move towards a morning person as I’ve heard over and over again that morning people are more productive Sad smile

 

Thank you Dean for stopping by! I also love Underworld and Vampire Dairies! We also had the same career choice and I now can say accountants aren’t just math and numbers we can be creative as well Smile

Cassay Sig

August 17, 2012

When Words Collide 2012

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to drive down to Calgary (Only 3 hrs better than the 14 hrs to Vancouver) to meet Kelley Armstrong and a bunch of other authors/publishers/panelists. I attended the event as a reader/blogger. When Words Collide is a reader and writer conference with panels from noon Friday till Sunday evening for only $50 (early bird registration)/ $65 (after early bird).

I attended several panels and learn a lot about writing. My brain felt like it was going to explode by the time the weekend was over. I was also very happy to have my bed back the hotel wasn’t the nicest. But next year they have a new big location!

You don’t know this but I have a book idea in my head (but just haven’t sat down to write it) and this conference helped me think through different scenarios and what I should or shouldn’t do. If you are an aspiring writer you totally need to go check out When Words Collide in 2013. I will definitely attended a future conferences.

On Friday I sat in on a panel titled “What's New and Hot in YA/MG fiction?”

It was interesting to hear where everyone thought the next big genre was going to be. Epic Fantasy, Sci Fi and more dystopian were mentioned. One of the panel speakers was Sean Cummings author of Poltergeeks. Just listening to him talk about his novel has made me excited for the release in October.

Here is the cover and synopsis for Poltergeeks taken from Chapters website:

Poltergeeks

15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn’t all it's cracked up to be.
When she and her best friend and uber-geek, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it's pretty obvious to Julie there's a supernatural connection. The house is occupied by a poltergeist and in order to reclaim it, Julie's going to have to exorcise the spirit. Of course, she'll need her mother's help and what teenager in their right mind wants that? Surely she can do this on her own - right...?
But there's a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale
paranormal assault on Julie's high school, her mother falls victim to Endless Night - a dark spell that rips her mom's
soul from her mortal body. Now it's a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won't just lose her
mother's soul, she'll lose her mother's life

Saturday, I was lucky enough to be apart of a casual discussion with Kelley Armstrong. I learned alot about her novels (which I love) and her writing process/publishing. Kelley is super nice and down to earth. I went to several panels during the day such as “Paranormal Romance vs Urban Fantasy” where I learned the difference between the genres. “Sex in Fiction” was a very interesting panel to go to. Poor 50 Shades got slammed lol (Twilight also got slammed a bunch during the weekend) One piece of advice I took from the panel was “Don’t write a sex scene if it doesn’t allow the characters personality to grow or if you are sitting there giggling while writing the sex scene – you probably shouldn’t be writing it”

Oh I almost forgot on Thursday night we got to listen to the main guests talk about a topic of their choice and Kelley did a Literary vs Genre speech and incorporated The Hunger Games into it. It was the funniest speech I have ever heard! It may have been recorded so once the podcasts are up I will post a link to them.

Sunday, I got to be apart of a casual discussion with Adrienne Kerr who is an editor with Penguin Canada. Adrienne was super nice and share a lot of information in regards to the publishing industry and how a manuscript goes through the editor process and what an editors job entails. From Adrienne talking she works her butt off but loves the work so she doesn’t mind.

I also got to sit in on a few Blogging/Social Media panels. Angela from The Bookshelf Muse had tons of helpful information in regards to Do’s and Don’ts of social media and how to use a blog effectively. I learned so much from her and I thank her so much for coming to WWC and doing these panels.

There was also a local author Kimberly Donn author of Cargon: Honour & Privilege that I learned a lot of social media tips from as well as she was one of the panelists for the “Sex in Fiction” panel that had provided helpful information in regards to adding sex into a novel.

Here is a synopsis of Cargon: Honour & Privilege taken from Kimberly’s website.

Lives are won, lost and traded on the three-tiered Cargon boards.

Honour & Privilege follows Eve the Server as she is tested and found deserving of a position among the elite. Her worst nightmare, a bullying Prince, continues to dog her after being raised.

We ate at some amazing restaurants featured on The Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here. My stepdad had a hot dog that had mac and cheese with bacon on top. It looking amazing good!

Overall, it was a fun weekend filled with learning, book buying and book signings (I now have all my Otherworld Books signed by Kelley Smile )

And if you’re a writer you should attend next year. Your $50.00 is well spent for 2.5 days of panels that will make your brain explode with information. Bring a notebook!!!

Cassay Sig

Review: Torn by Dean Murray

Torn Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school shouldn't matter, but the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes. Worse, she seems to know things she shouldn't about his shadowy world.

Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep? If she's a victim, then he's running out of time to save her. If she's bait, then his attraction to her will pull him into a fight that'll cost him everything. Excerpt and cover from
Goodreads.

Torn wasn’t my favorite werewolf story. It didn’t drag me into the story like other werewolf novels do. I felt that there were important details missing from the story that left me lost and confused – this may be due to the fact that there is a companion novel Broken that is based on Adri’s perspective that maybe fills in the holes. I like the idea of the story being told by 2 different characters but I think it would have been more beneficial for this story to have switched narrators than 2 different novels. The characters were interesting but flawed which was what made them unique. I’d also like to know a little bit more about why the 2 packs were against each other. There wasn’t much details on why just a few hints. Overall, Torn was an alright werewolf novel with room for improvement if the series continues.   Special Thank you to Dean for providing me a copy to review.   The Rating: 3 out of 5   Where to buy:

Amazon
B&N
Smashwords

Cassay Sig





August 15, 2012

Cover Reveal: Circle of Light by Jennifer Delucy

I’m very honoured to be able to share the cover and trailer for Circle of Light by Jennifer Delucy.

I loved Seers of Light and Whisper of Light. Match sure you check out my reviews. This are HOT and SEXY novels and you need to read them.

And now the cover:

Circle of Light

Empath and Pathcrosser to the dead, Lillian Hunt has finally come into her own as a Sentient being. All seems well in her brave new world...that is, until a tragic turn sends her tight-knit Sentient group on a rescue mission through lore-infested Europe. Their goal is to save the love of Lily's life—vampire Sentient, William Maddox—from both the prejudice of their own society and the dark intentions of ancient vampires. But how will they keep hope alive, even as time runs out?

Circle of Light is a brilliant finale to The Light Series. DeLucy once again delivers gripping paranormal encounters, irresistible character interactions, and beautiful testaments to the power of pure, unselfish love—but it all burns at a higher intensity in this concluding adventure. Readers will come away from Circle of Light with a satisfying sense of closure…although certain Sentients may be less than happy with their ever after.

Trailer – The Trailer’s song is by  the talented Jen. What can’t she do??

 

So who is excited??? I know I am!!!

Cassay Sig

Review: Awakened by Ednah Walters

awaken_draft
Orphaned as a child and raised by her grandfather, Lil Falcon is concerned with navigating her new high school and is unaware she's a descendant of the Nephilim, a race of beings with super powers tasked with protecting humanity from the demons who threaten it. But when she meets Bran, his psi energy unlocks her latent abilities and opens her eyes to what she is, a Guardian.
But Bran has a secret and befriending him sends Lil down a dangerous path that will either destroy her or make her stronger. Excerpt and book cover from Ednah’s
website.
I liked Ednah’s mythology on her fallen angels and the family history for each. Mythology was well thought out and I can’t wait to find out more about each family. Awakened was filled with action and twists. The characters were well thought out and intriguing. I liked how each of them had a story and role that plays into the big scheme of things, each character was there for a reason and they weren’t just filler characters. I really like that about this novel. I can’t wait to see where Ednah takes the story as I want to hear more of her mythology. It is a definite book to add to your pile for any angel lover.
The Rating:
4 out of 5
Where to buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble.com
 Book Depository
Cassay Sig

August 13, 2012

Review: The Dark Shadow of Spring by G.L. Breedon

A dragon that foretells destinies, streets suddenly cluttered with thousands of dead birds, a plague of malevolent insects, ghosts arising in the town cemetery, demons haunting the woods of the White Forest — these are only some of the dangers that thirteen year old Alex Ravenstar and his friends in The Young Sorcerer’s Guild must overcome in order save the secluded magical town of Runewood from an ancient soul-enslaving evil in The Dark Shadow of Spring.

After a nearly disastrous adventure to wake the local dragon from its hibernation in hopes that it will tell them their destinies, Alex and his friends accidentally encounter the dark force that was responsible for burning the magic out of the world beyond the Rune Valley thousands of years ago. Known as the Shadow Wraith, the evil force was cast from this world and imprisoned in another realm at the end of the war fought to stop it. Once again, the Shadow Wraith is trying to escape its prison to enslave the world and Alex and the Young Sorcerer’s Guild are the only ones who can defeat it. Excerpt and cover from G.L’s website.

I really enjoyed The Dark Shadow of Spring, it reminded me of the Percy Jackson series. I loved the action and suspense throughout the story it was used in all the right spots. I enjoyed the characters they were all relatable and interesting. G.L. Breedon’s writing kept me intrigued with the story; I couldn’t put the book down. I laughed lots throughout the novel the characters interaction with each other was great. Alex is so oblivious to certain things that as a girl you just roll your eyes for the poor kid. I am looking forward to see what adventures Summer’s Cauldron will bring for the Guild.

The Rating:

5 out of 5

Where to buy:

Amazon

B&N

Cassay Sig

August 10, 2012

Review: Spiritus by Dana Michelle Burnett

Picture

A love that refuses to die…
“As I watched him vanish into a soft mist that faded away, I knew that he was no ordinary spirit…I knew that he was a dangerous entity that could be in some corner of another realm planning his revenge, but I also knew that I was hopelessly in love with him.”
When Becca moves into her ancestral home in Corydon, Indiana, her life takes a puzzling and thrilling turn when she meets the ghost haunting the halls. As the seductive spirit lures her closer and closer, she learns about her own past and starts to understand that some mistakes are meant to last.
Becca McAllister has always been different from other girls her age. Never part of the "in crowd", Becca never really fit in anywhere. When her mother dies and her father moves them to the small town of Corydon, Indiana, Becca didn't expect things to change.
But things do change when Becca accidentally makes contact with a one hundred and sixty year old ghost, Alastor Sinclair, that haunts the halls of her new home.
To Becca, Alastor is a seductive spirit that seems to see straight into her soul. To Alastor, Becca is what he was waited a century for--A second chance.
But the closer they get, the more Becca realizes that this isn't the first time she and Alastor have known each other. Worse still, is she the one responsible for his death so long ago? And if so, did he come back for love or revenge? Excerpt and cover from Dana’s website.

Spiritus was an interesting story about ghosts. Becca seemed like a girl who is trying to find herself. I really didn’t like Alastor I don’t know if it was because of is “old-personality” that made him seem like an asshole or if he was just an asshole. I disliked how Becca left everything/everyone just to get time with Alastor. Too much love sick puppy dog in her that I didn’t care for. Spiritus didn’t leave me wanting more but it didn’t leave me disliking the story either. I’m not sure where book 2 is going to take the story but I would like to see Becca branch out and become her own person. If you like ghost tales you may enjoy this tale.

The Rating:

3 out of 5

Where to buy:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Barnes and Noble

Buy at Smashwords

Cassay Sig

August 8, 2012

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

last_sacrfice

It all comes down to now.

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.
The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same. Now, with Rose awaiting wrongful execution and Lissa in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and to question those they thought they could trust...
But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all?
Each other. Excerpt and book cover from Richelle’s website.

What an amazing conclusion to the series. I had no idea who killed the Queen and I was in complete shock when I found out who it was exactly. I would have never expected this person but it did make sense. Even though I am still pretty mad at Dimka - I guess I can forgive him a tiny bit.

Emotions ran high for me during this book (like all the others). I am sad that the series has ended but I’m glad that there is going to be a spin off series and I can’t wait to see where it takes certain characters.

The Rating:

5 out of 5

The Details:

Format: Hardcover
Dimensions: 496 Pages, 6.04 x 8.6 x 1.86 in
Published: December 7, 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
ISBN - 10:1595143068
ISBN - 13:9781595143068

Cassay Sig

August 3, 2012

Random Giveaway Time!

So I’m in a grumpy mood because feedback on one of my papers came back and to me it seems like I need to rewrite it all! (which I’m not happy about) My mom doesn’t think that’s the case and that I’m just taking one of the comments the wrong way and should deal with it tomorrow. So that is what I am doing and to cheer myself up - I’m doing a quick giveaway!!!

The first 10 people to email me at vampsweresandcassay @ yahoo . ca

with their:

- mailing address

- a number between 1 – 210

Will receive a Fifty Shames of Earl Grey postcard with a quote from the page number provided on the back

Open to Everyone!

Good Luck!!

 

Cassay

Review: Song to Wake to by J. D Field

My Photo Sixteen-year-old Maddy Bride starts at a new school in the countryside. She knows she’ll have to deal with sports obsessed rich kids, cliques, and pressure. She doesn’t expect myths from the shadowy past to be taking place around her. Not only are the legends unfinished. They’re starting all over again. Her new classmate, Eddy Moon, is awkward, and shy, and has lived a life of hardship and loneliness. As his strength and sense of purpose become more and more striking, Maddy comes to believe that he may have a place in the stories. At the same time she realizes that the place she wants is by his side. Closeness to Eddy brings Maddy another shocking realization. Not only is he a mythic hero returned to life in the countryside, but maybe she too has a place in the legends. Torn between normality and her attraction to the magnificent Eddy Moon, Maddy has to decide who she is, who she is going to be, and whether stories must end the same way twice. Excerpt and cover from J.D’s website.  

**This review may be spoilery**  

Song to Wake to is an interesting take of the King Author mythology. I enjoyed reading Song to Wake to, it kept me guessing what was going to happen next and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. The characters Maddy and Eddy felt like everyday teens just living their life. They were relatable and interesting. J.D had me guessing throughout the novel. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next or who I should be keeping a close eye on. I really enjoy the King Author stories (huge Merlin fan here) and it was nice to see a YA story that branched out into something new and J.D did a wonderful job at doing it. I can’t wait to see where book 2 takes us.  

Thank you J.D for providing me a copy for review.  

The Rating:
5 out of 5  

Where to buy:
B&N  



Cassay Sig




August 1, 2012

Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

bloodrosecvr
Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy. Excerpt and book cover from the Nightshade website.
Bloodrose had an interesting ending to the Nightshade Series. I loved all the action and the intensity of the novel but I was indifferent about the ending. I laughed and cried (lots). I enjoyed learning a bit more of the history about the Guardians, Keepers and Searchers. I also enjoyed all the scenes that included Conner. He always seemed to be the comic relief when everything is getting a little too intense for my liking and needed a good laugh. I still like Ren over Shay…I think….maybe I’m torn between the 2….But during my massage I heard wolves howling in the music and I thought of Shay? But I’m Team Ren right??? So I think I may be undecided. I don’t want to give away too much of the story but if you are a fan of the series make sure you pick up the last installment.
The Rating:
5 out of 5
The Details:

Format: Hardcover
Dimensions: 416 Pages, 6.31 x 9.29 x 1.36 in
Published: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Philomel
ISBN - 10:0399256121
ISBN - 13:9780399256127
Cassay Sig