A blog to check out!

As I am currently supposed to be staying away from my computer for the moment and enjoying Tahoe, I will make this short. I got some reblog love this morning from a truly awesome blog. If you are a writer, you want to go here. Go check it out. This is one of those blogs you could dig through for hours and never get bored!

 

http://getmerewrite.me/

The Boleyn King by Laura Anderson

Laura Andersen brings us the first book in an enthralling trilogy set in the dramatic, turbulent, world-altering years of Tudor England. What if Anne did not miscarry her son in January 1536, but instead gave birth to a healthy royal boy? Perfect for fans of Philipa Gregory and Allison Weir.

Henry IX, known as William, is a 17-year-old king struggling at the restraints of the regency and anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics plotting at home, Will trusts only three people: his older sister, Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by Anne Boleyn. Against an undercurrent of secret documents, conflicting intelligence operations, and private murder, William fights a foreign war and domestic rebellion with equal resolve. But when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession menaces a new generation of Tudors. Battlefields and council chambers, trials and executions, the blindness of first love and the betrayal of true friendship…How far will William go to get what he wants? Who will pay the price for a king’s revenge? And what twists of fate will set Elizabeth on the path to her destiny as England’s queen?–Description from Goodreads

 

Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: June 4th 2013 by Ballantine Books
ISBN
0345534093 (ISBN13: 9780345534095)
edition language
English
My thoughts on this Novel:
I couldn’t decide if this would be a book I really wanted to read or if it was one I wished to steer clear of. I love historical novels with a passion, they are one of my favorite things to read. This book certainly had the historical going for it, but there was something about the idea of a happy ending for Anne Boleyn that just felt…odd. Perhaps I am a minority here, but I’m never certain about a book that intends to rewrite history.

After giving this one a chance, I am glad that I chose to read it. “The Boleyn King” does rewrite history. Rather than Anne being beheaded, accused of adultery and incest and all the other historical facts that we have come to know about this interesting woman, in this book she gives birth to a live baby boy and fulfills her duty to the king. I thought this was a very interesting premise to work with, and by the end, I was pretty pleased with the way the author chose to take her story and her characters.

Here is what I loved:

This book has an amazing setting and Laura Anderson has done a lovely job of making her characters feel like they have a pulse. They are opinionated, daring and altogether the kind of well rounded character that helps make reading such a good escape from daily life. The plot moves at a good pace and there were very few times when I felt my mind begin to wander onto other things. Although this was fiction, there was enough reality in the descriptions of life as it was then and enough research put into this novel and the historical period that it wasn’t all that much of a stretch for my mind to believe what I was reading.

I liked that the author didn’t rush this book or her characters into doing things that didn’t fit with the theme. This is the first book in a trilogy and I really think Ms. Anderson has a good grasp on how to unfold her events in a way that builds suspense and reach a satisfactory ending.

What I didn’t love so much:

There are changes in point of view as the characters switch from one to the next and at times I found those quite unexpected and jarring. This might work well for a soap opera, but while reading this book, although it was interesting enough to keep moving along, I found the changes were a bit distracting.

There were certain spots where I thought the author got away from herself a bit with the descriptions. Don’t get me wrong, there are many excellent descriptions that are both helpful and integral to the story, but there are also some places where I felt less words would have been equally as effective. Finally, I love romances, and I love history, but this book centered so much on the coming of age of four teenagers and the drama of a love triangle that I felt I lost touch with the book occasionally. I guess it just wasn’t quite what I had expected. Still good and still worth reading, just not what I expected from the description.

Overall, this was a really impressive first book. I look forward to reading the others in this series as they are released. If you are a fan of historical fiction, or have read and loved the Phillipa Gregory books, you might want to give this one a try. An author to keep a solid eye on.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.

 

An interview with Darrin Grimwood, author of “Destroy all Robots”

Today, I am proud to feature an interview with author/screenwriter Darrin

Grimwood. Thank you so much Darrin for agreeing to the interview and for

sharing your thoughts!

 

 

The ultimate robot-combat game show. One remote tropical island. Eight teams. Two hundred and fifty concealed killer robots.

Fifteen year old inventor Toby Badernoch has noble plans for the $10,000,000 prize money – finding a cure for Matt, his terminally ill brother. But his robot is targeted by arch-rival Ray De Coza with lethal consequences. The sabotaged robot rampages, slaughtering the show’s presenter and forcing the TV crew to pull out, leaving the competitors and their super-aggressive robots stranded on the booby-trapped island. Mutual mistrust leads to violence and soon Toby and his best friend, Caitlin Steel are fighting for their lives…

 

You can find this book available for purchase

HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darrin Grimwood has been a science fiction and horror film fanatic ever since he was a child, making his own movies on Super 8 film. He made the transition from fan to professional six years ago when he was commissioned by The Film Consortium to write SOUL HUNTERS, a human cloning sci-fi thriller. Since then he’s made a living as a screenwriter with commissions from Hammer Films and Maze Films amongst others. His horror screenplay, CORNERED! starring Steve Guttenberg and James Duval was released in June 2010. Destroy All Robots is his first novel.

 When did you first know that you had a writing career ahead of you?

 

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, ever since I can remember. My first experience of writing was when I used to make home-made Super 8 movies with my brother Nick when I was about twelve. I discovered an old manual typewriter in the loft and used to bash out these short film scripts. Writing these scripts gave me as much pleasure as actually filming them. I left school with no qualifications and tried to continue writing, but nothing of worth came out of it – I guess I didn’t have enough life experience to have anything to write about. I drifted into care work which I did for fifteen years, ending up doing night-shifts in a care-in-the-community hell hole in Whitechapel. The experience was so horrible and surreal I felt like I was starring in my own one-man play. So I decided to write it up as a play, a black comedy called Black Aspirins. It got picked up and was produced for the London stage in 2004. It got pretty good reviews and gave me the confidence to continue writing.

 

 How did you decide on a genre you wanted to write?

 

My favorite genres in books and films is sci-fi, horror and action/adventure. They’re rarely combined which is why I thought I’d have a crack at it.

 

 Did your book turn out as you had imagined it would when you first started writing?

 

My first draft was very busy, way too much stuff going on. I realized the story needed to be told in two, maybe three books. But when I finished outlining I realized the story naturally lead on to a second story, another trilogy. So the one book became six! I’m currently writing books 2 and 3.

 

 

 Are there any occupational hazards that you have found being a writer?

 

None that I can think of. A lot of writers talk about it being a lonely occupation but I’ve never found that. I guess I enjoy the solitary life. I was on the set when my movie Cornered! was being filmed and it did my head in! I’ve the utmost respect for directors, dealing with so many people on a daily basis.

 

 

What was the most difficult part of writing “Destroy All Robots?”

 

I’m used to scriptwriting where brevity is a virtue. Everyone loves it when you turn in a script with a lot of white paper on it. Effectively describing a scene in a couple of pithy sentences is an art form in itself. Essentially you are sketching an outline and relying on the cast and crew to fill in the details. It was quite a shock when you realize that as a novelist you have to do everything yourself! You’re the set designer, wardrobe department, art director, the works. But ultimately it is more satisfying for the same reason.

 

 If you were asked to sum your book up in twenty words or less, what would you say about it?

 

Set it up, smash it up, blow it up.

 

 How do you feel about the changes to the publishing world and reading market?

 

It’s a great time to be a writer now. The internet has leveled the playing field as the traditional gatekeepers (agents and publishers) can now be bypassed. The unfortunate flipside of that is that there’s a hell of a lot of crap stacked on the virtual shelves. There’s no slush-pile in cyberspace!

 

 If you could be a character in your own book for one day, who would you choose to be and why?

 

Probably Caitlin. That cyber-prosthetic hand with extendable blade would be pretty handy getting a seat on the tube.

 

 

 Is there anything about your publishing journey that you would have done differently?

 

No. All of the journey was stepping stones to where I am now, which is where I want to be. It’s been a long haul but I’ve been lucky enough to be rewarded with little nuggets of success along the way. There’s a good chance I would have given up otherwise.

 

 

 What is the best book you have ever read?

 

Probably Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. The amount of emotion packed into such a slender volume is phenomenal. Best short story, The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov.

 

 Any advice for other authors?

 

Recognize when writing stops being fun. The only guarantee you have is the pleasure of creating the work and not necessarily the pleasure of seeing it in print or earning an income from it.  Don’t be afraid of taking a break if writing is turning into a chore. The world’s a beautiful place, do something else creative to recharge your batteries, Enjoy yourself, you’ll go back to writing when the time is right.

 

 What people might not know about your book that you would like them to know?

 

Please check out the website to see more about the robots in the books. It’s www.destroyallrobots.co.uk. And drop by to say hello – I can be reached at admin@destroyallrobots.co.uk

 

 Anything else you would like to say to your audience?

 

Thanks for listening and I hope you have as much fun reading the books as I had writing them.

 

My thoughts on “Destroy All Robots”

 

So, this is not my usual reading material. I read books about a lot of different things, but I have always preferred to watch my sci-fi. I am the first to admit that I have a massive collection of sci-fi movies from the sixties, seventies and early eighties. Therefore, I expected to dislike this book. I was so wrong! From the very first page author/screenwriter Darrin Grimwood had my attention. The twists and action in this book don’t stop until the very end. I thought this plot was a pretty original idea. The author has combined his love of robotics, sci-fi and horror together with startling precision, making this quite the adventure.

The characters are realistic and fun to read about. I felt the entire book had a lot of dimension; which made it a fast read. Oddly, when I make a negative comment about any part of a book it is usually about the end. That was not the case with Destroy All Robots. The last couple of chapters were ultimately my favorite part of the book. Here, the action comes together and you wait, holding your breath to see how the characters will get themselves out of the predicament they are in. I don’t think the end could have been better.

The reason for the four-and-a-half star rating, rather than five, is that I think there are a couple of kinks relating to which age group I would recommend this to. Although overall it is a pretty clean novel, there is some violence and some of the action scenes may not be totally appropriate for all kids younger than 13, depending on their maturity level.

I would recommend this book for those who like to hear their own heart pounding while they are finishing a book! Excellent!

 

 

 

 

Big Egg by Molly Coxe (A review by Amanda C. Age 6)

One morning Hen wakes up and finds a gigantic egg in her nest. Whose egg can it be? Here’s a hint, Hen–it doesn’t belong to that wily Fox!

You can find this book HERE

    big egg is the frist book that i have read out loud  in school. the words are not very hard to read. it is about a hen who finds a egg and she dosnt now where the egg came from and she thinks it is a cow egg and a pig egg and a gote egg. she is happy when the egg cracks open and there are baby hens for her to love.

I liked this book becuase the hen is a mommy at the end. the person who wrote this book is funny and she thinks cows have eggs. i read it to danny and he thinks that pigs and cows have eggs to.

the pictures of hen are funny to. the end.

Bristol House by Beverly Swerling

In the tradition of Kate Mosse, a swiftly-paced mystery that stretches from modern London to Tudor England

In modern-day London, architectural historian and recovering alcoholic Annie Kendall hopes to turn her life around and restart her career by locating several long-missing pieces of ancient Judaica. Geoff Harris, an investigative reporter, is soon drawn into her quest, both by romantic interest and suspicions about the head of the Shalom Foundation, the organization sponsoring her work. He’s also a dead ringer for the ghost of a monk Annie believes she has seen at the flat she is subletting in Bristol House.

In 1535, Tudor London is a very different city, one in which monks are being executed by Henry VIII and Jews are banished. In this treacherous environment of religious persecution, Dom Justin, a Carthusian monk, and a goldsmith known as the Jew of Holborn must navigate a shadowy world of intrigue involving Thomas Cromwell, Jewish treasure, and sexual secrets. Their struggles shed light on the mysteries Annie and Geoff aim to puzzle out—at their own peril.

This riveting dual-period narrative seamlessly blends a haunting supernatural thriller with vivid historical fiction. Beverly Swerling, widely acclaimed for her City of Dreams series, delivers a bewitching and epic story of a historian and a monk, half a millennium apart, whose destinies are on a collision course.–Description from Goodreads

Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: April 4th 2013
by Viking Adult
ISBN
0670025933
(ISBN13: 9780670025930)
edition language
English
You can find this book HERE
My thoughts on this novel
Bristol House is the first of Beverly Swerling’s novels that I have read. I think I might be hooked. This book deals with both the past and the present and then ties them together in a seemingly effortless way.

Anyone who has studied religious history will clearly see how much reality is presented in this fictional tale. The author has done her research for this book and that made it a very enjoyable and ultimately unforgettable read.

I really liked the main character Annie. She was on point throughout the book and even though she found herself in a difficult to believe situation, she didn’t waste chapters self-doubting and trying to ignore what was plainly in front of her. Okay, so she is aware that there is the apparition of a dead monk in her flat, but she keeps moving. That’s my kind of heroine.

The romance in this work is evenly paced and believable and something that felt natural as the pages turned. I liked the male lead and thought the author did a good job of giving him traits and qualities that made him a good hero.

The dual time periods the author deals with make this a more interesting read than if all of the story had been told in only the present. I like the way she chose to shift between present and past and never felt lost or confused by the transitions.

In the end, this is a book that I would read a second time. I liked the overall story and didn’t have any trouble staying up late to finish this. I would recommend it to other readers who enjoy their fiction to be of mixed genres.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.

The Prince of Earth by Mike Robinson

In 1988, young American traveler Quincy Redding is trekking across the misty terrain of the Scottish Highlands. She is destined for the infamous peak Ben MacDui, the summit of which soon finds her inexplicably debilitated and at the mercy of a malevolent entity.

The book spans twenty years, alternately following Quincy in her 1988 ordeal in Scotland as well as Quincy in 2008, when, as an adult, she begins experiencing abnormalities that threaten her family and her life – phenomena that may be related to what happened all those years ago.

As both older and younger Quincy learn more of their situation, and as their worlds further entwine, she becomes increasingly uncertain of the perceived temporality or reality of each period.–Description from Goodreads

Paperback, 182 pages
Published February 9th 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press (first published February 9th 2012)
ISBN
1620071711 (ISBN13: 9781620071717)
edition language
English
original title
The Prince of Earth
You can find this book HERE
My thoughts:
Mike Robinson’s “The Prince of Earth” really surprised and in many ways delighted me. While this is not a terribly fast moving book, it is one of the most complex and deeply psychological novels I have read. The intensity of the main character pulls you in to the story and has a relentless grasp.

I was excited when I realized just within the first couple of paragraphs that this author uses incredible language in his work. The imagery he has produced in this book is some of the most vibrant and colorful in recent memory. Through his words you are able to paint a glorious picture in your mind.

The setting was interesting and I felt it added to the mysterious ambiance of this title. There is a dark, somewhat Gothic feel to this book overall and Scotland worked well with that. While I am certain that this book will not be for everyone, for those who enjoy a mystery that requires concentration and consideration this will be a fantastic journey that you will not soon forget. I found this to be one of those books where hours after you are done reading it, you suddenly sit up in bed and go “Oh! I get it.”

This story raises a lot of questions, but they are all answered in the end. I would recommend this better than average book to others who like to stay intrigued from beginning to end.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.

The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman

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A riveting and poignant novel of one woman’s journey to Bali in search of love, renewal, and a place to call home—perfect for readers of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and Alex Garland’s The Beach.

It starts as a trip to paradise. Sent on assignment to Bali, Jamie, an American adventure guide, imagines spending weeks exploring the island’s lush jungles and pristine white sand beaches. Yet three days after her arrival, she is caught in Bali’s infamous nightclub bombings, which irreparably change her life and leave her with many unanswered questions.

One year later, haunted by memories, Jamie returns to Bali seeking a sense of closure. Most of all, she hopes to find Gabe, the man who saved her from the attacks. She hasn’t been able to forget his kindness—or the spark between them as he helped her heal. Checking into a cozy guest house for her stay, Jamie meets the kindly owner, who is coping with a painful past of his own, and a young boy who improbably becomes crucial to her search. Jamie has never shied away from a challenge, but a second chance with Gabe presents her with the biggest dilemma of all: whether she’s ready to open her heart.–Description from Amazon.com

This book is set for release on the 26th of March and will be available here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Paradise-Guest-House-ebook/dp/B009JU6VJ6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358707002&sr=8-2&keywords=the+paradise+guest+house

 

My Review of “The Paradise Guest House”

Jamie returns to Bali, to the scene of a tragic event she was involved in, to make peace with her past and figure out her future. This is a story of love, loss, and the power of the human spirit.

With a complex story line and believable characters, this is a book that has a little something for everyone. There is romance, mystery, self-discovery and nostalgia to be discovered in these pages.

As a fictional story centered around a real tragic event, the author has done a fine job of giving the reader a cast of characters with strong emotional links to one another and a reason to keep turning the pages. Although the novel is fictional, it is written in such a way that there is no problem believing the events of the story. This book is at times very sad, often inspiring and overall very well written and entertaining.

My love for the main character in this book started early on. She is smart, witty and compassionate. As she struggles with her past and learns about herself through those she meets along her journey, you get a real sense that this is a character the author was passionate about.

By the time I finished reading, I felt like I too had gone on a journey to a place I had never been before. With rich descriptions, the author has made it easy to visualize the locations in her book. This made me feel closer to the main character.

For those who love a good book about life, reflection and personal growth, this is one you will want to pick up. If you are looking for a read that will make you cry, make you laugh and make you think about your life and how many blessings you have, this is it.

I would happily recommend this book. There is substance and depth to this story that not only keep you entertained, but also offer a chance to think about things we might not otherwise consider. I would imagine this being a great choice for a book club, as it offers so many possible discussion topics.

I received an ARC of this title from Netgalley.