A new author, a new tour organizer, yet I am hooked by the cover of the latest book by Daniel Pike. Check out the full image below!
The Wolf of Descarta by Daniel Pike
Release Date: November 21, 2013
Series: The Dream Box
Genre: Sci-Fi /Fantasy
Publisher: The Zharmae Publishing Press (Zharmae.com)
Cover Reveal organized by Coffee and Characters
Jaren Reese is just another red collar trapped at the bottom of Descarta’s genetic caste system. But in the Dream Box, he has forged a new digital identity for himself: Balmus, the Wolf Knight.
Balmus has long since carried a torch for the Linker Petra, but he doesn’t know her, not really. Outside of the Dream Box she is just another one of his fantasies. But Brea Morgen is the real thing– a living, breathing person who desires Jaren for who he truly is, not merely what he pretends to be.
When the Dream Box that Jaren depends on crashes due to the evolution of a hostile A.I. life form, a secret military branch commissions a team of gamers and hackers to go back into the corrupted Dream Box to eliminate the threat and Jaren is given the chance of a lifetime—though it comes at a price—and Jaren now needs to decide just how much he’s willing to lose because the war about to be waged will be one on two fronts – the corporeal and the virtual.
Finally a book cover with a male character that doesn’t have a bare torso and random tattoos. It’s so refreshing to have the lead character decked out in full battle gear. That’s exactly how I want to envision Balmus while I read the story — rather than him looking like he just rolled out of bed after a sex marathon. The Schwarzenegger-Fabio hybrid cover males from 80s sci-fi/fantasy novels were really cheesy, but at least the cover’s focus was more on creating mood and story than sex (like the covers models of many books in the last couple years).
I kind of wished that Balmus wore a helmet as the perfect hair and face seems out of place on the cover. His expression looks better suited on an aristocrat rather than a warrior.
I’m fond of the blue/black colors for the background and body suit. I wonder if that bright gold collar is story significant? The silver of the axe looks spectacular against the oversized moon. It’s the first thing I see when I look at the cover and it draws me into the rest of the forlorn scene like a noose.
Though simplistic, the font works great with the rest of the cover.
Daniel Pike is a high school English teacher, author, blogger, and father of two energetic daughters, Aurie and Kiera. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from ASU as well as his Masters in Education. His first novel, Repressed Memories, was written when he was 17 years old and high on anime. He openly admits that most of the writing took place in his Algebra class. We may forgive him for that.
His most recent offerings include The Wolf of Descarta, book one in his Dream Box TrilogyRead More
As a huge fan of Provex City from Micheal Pierce, I was ecstatic to sign up for this tour of the sequel, Susy Asylum. Check out my review of 5 star review of the prequel to Susy Asylum, Provex City! Feel free to read my review even if you have not read Provex City. It contains only minor spoilers (no more than the blurb) of the first book. Thank you to Candace’s Book Blog for organizing this tour. You can check out the full schedule HERE.
Susy Asylum (Lorne Family Vault#2) by Michael Pierce
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ParousiaSix Publishing
Published: April 25th, 2013
In SUSY Asylum, there is no release. There is no escape. No hope.
Oliver and Desiree are introduced to the writings of a mysterious blogger, Commodore Chaos, when they return to Provex City to indulge in what the sublime city has to offer. The blogger claims the Lornes are collecting people venturing between the higher planes of awareness and locking them away in a mythical asylum. But are these legitimate concerns for inter-plane travelers or just the ramblings of an anonymous conspiracy blogger?
Oliver looks to Provex City as his only connection to his father while Desiree looks to the city as an escape from the torment of losing her best friend—again. Provex City is a wonder of beautiful treasures, entrancing them to continue returning. But behind the beauty, wolves have continued hunting Oliver, a boy who is still unaware of his importance in the rebellion.
Oliver’s belief is waning. Desiree will not always be by his side. Mr. Gordon will not always come to his aid. Oliver finds himself alone, forced to confront his biggest fears, fight his inner demons, and face the very cold reality that no one is coming to save him.
Welcome to SUSY Asylum.
Like a bullet to the head, the story of Oliver Grain will bleed into your consciousness long after the last page is read. SUSY ASYLUM is an story honest to characters and plot, no matter how gritty the tale. Micheal Pierce has a talent for creating characters that the reader can’t help but invest into and then taunts you with a Russian roulette premonition. Early in the book, the reader learns that one character close to Oliver won’t make it. Even with that seed planted in the mind, there is still a feeling of disbelief when the deed happens.
As if turning back the pages would revive this character, I couldn’t help but reread the section and yearn for an alternate end for this character. My need to discover what happens with Oliver and his quest is what eventually recovered me and allowed me to finish. Although the first part of the book is focused on expanding the characters and world-building, the second half is a rampage. After developing attachments to all the characters, the reader has to witness each one makes stupid decisions that put Oliver and his friends in a suicidal situation. Oliver is not the only one to blame as the other characters often act independently of his decisions and it is clear that each one of them has their own agenda throughout the story.
It’s difficult to decide which character is my favorite, but I believe I will have to say Oliver. I can’t help but chuckle when he tries unsuccessfully to understand teenage girls. His ignorance of them compared to the author’s expert writing of the female sex makes for some much needed comic relief in an otherwise very gritty story.
Due to several culturally taboo situations, Suzy Asylum is recommended only to teens and up.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
(Oliver learns about TJ and Desiree’s relationship through journal entries and several interrogations. The reader is given glimpses into their past with mini-chapters sprinkled throughout the book. This is a piece of one such mini-chapter showing TJ’s downward spiral, eventually leading to his suicide. What TJ writes on the bathroom stall walls—and himself—gives meaning to what was written on Oliver’s wall in the first book.)
Check out book one, Provex City!
Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.
Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls?
Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: “When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.” And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.
I believe in a future where I will be able to write full-time, a picture I already hold vividly in my mind. It all starts with my debut young adult novel, Provex City. I love Harry Potter & The Marbury Lens, Tool & Elliott Smith, Dexter & Donnie Darko, bold coffee & amber ale. I also love dabbling with writing music and recording, with no illusions of ever making it a career. I am ecstatically married and the lucky father to a beautiful baby girl.Read More
Silent Echo: A Siren’s Tale by Elisa Freilich
Genre: YA Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: Diversion Books
Published: September 10th, 2013
Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice … and it is divine.
Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.
But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to become.
Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, SILENT ECHO: A Siren’s Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.
SILENT ECHO weaves a tale as hypnotizing as the siren’s voice. Be prepared to be woe by Max’s serenades to Portia, to be crushed by Felix’s dilemma as he struggles to move out of the friend zone, and to feel heartsick as Portia loses her identity when she regains her voice.
Portia has the unfortunate problem of being a very likeable character at the beginning of the book and slowly is poisoned (by the other sirens) to the point where she becomes the type of person she hates. I didn’t like who Portia was by the end of the book, but I did pity her for what she had to go through. I also didn’t approve of who she picked as a boyfriend at the end. Then again, I’m always disappointed by the heroines in that regard.
I especially enjoyed Max’s songs to Portia. I wish that my husband picked up a guitar and sung to me. I loved the lyrics and they felt as true to the heart as those in SLAMMED. I didn’t enjoy Portia’s songs as much. Though her voice might have been pretty, her message was not.
I wish that the book stuck with the POV of the teenagers. I didn’t how much information was revealed by Leucosia and would have much preferred learning about her involvement through Portia’s POV only. I think that leaving Portia’s POV for extended periods of time made her personality change harder to accept as a reader. It would have been more of a seamless transition if the reader experienced it in its entirety.
I’m kind of shocked at all the negative reviews for this book. Though I wasn’t blown away by the book, I really did enjoy the author’s spin on the siren’s tale. I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology, so it’s a little disheartening for other reviewers to be so harsh on the author’s interpretation. Here’s my thoughts on some points other reviewers mentioned:
1) Greek gods are not known to interfere with human affairs. After all, Prometheus gave humans the gift of fire and he was punished severely. He was tied to a rock and had his liver eaten out…for all eternity. Athena offers advice to Odysseus, but never actively interferes with his affairs. There were several gods that mated with humans (notably Zeus) and others that were easily jealous of humans (notably Aphrodite), but otherwise they let humans work out problems on their own. Most of the books I’ve read have this same spin on the gods, such as PERCY JACKSON, so it is no surprise to me that the gods in SILENT ECHO leave Portia to the torturous whims of the other sirens.
2) SILENT ECHO reminds me of the movie CLUELESS with the name brands. It will be something that teenagers over the next five years will connect to easily, but I don’t know how well it will translate a decade from now. I think that it makes the book more appealing to teenagers, but alienates older readers. It will depend on your age if you like or hate this part of the book.
I do think that SILENT ECHO would translate to a movie well, but until then I feel that teenagers who love mythology and fantasy will enjoy this spin on sirens. Adults…maybe not so much.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)Read More
The Companions by R. A. Salvatore
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Published: August 6th, 2013
This latest installment in New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore’s beloved fantasy saga, The Companions moves Salvatore’s signature hero Drizzt into a new era of the Forgotten Realms. As Drizzt’s fate hangs in the balance, he reflects on the lives of the trusted allies who stood by his side throughout his early life–the friends now known as the Companions of the Hall. Meanwhile, the first stirrings of the Sundering begin.
Due to the multiple nicknames for each of the POVs, THE COMPANIONS was a difficult book to read despite being well-written.
As a new reader to Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms series, I didn’t grasp the importance of the mission that Catti-brie, Bruenor, and Regis were on. THE COMPANIONS also required a large amount of suspended belief to tolerate how invisible the three companions were. I’m sure their abilities are explained further previous books, but sensing how confident the characters were made it harder to connect to them. They felt like gods instead of human beings.
I wish that the book was written in one POV, as having three main characters made the story’s formula more pronounced. Each character was introduced, birthed, acquainted with ‘family’ members, tested abilities, got in trouble, etc. Having a similar situation happen three times in a row threw me out of the story.
As much as I’m glad to have read this book, I can’t help but reminisce on how easy it was to put this book down. Good writing, good story, yet without the personal connection I felt the need to care about what happens next.
Fans of the Forgotten Realms, this is a must read book. For new readers of R. A. Salvatore, check out one of his earlier books before you read THE COMPANIONS.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)Read More
The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Strange Chemistry / Angry Robot
Published: September 3rd, 2013
The more things change…
Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke all around the world.
The more things stay the same…
This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school because of an argument with her father.
Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., dominated by the embassies of divine pantheons and watched over by the mysterious Society of the Sun that governs mankind’s relations with the gods. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way home, one offering a threat and the other a warning, it turns out her life isn’t what it seems. She escapes with the aid of Osborne “Oz” Spencer, a young Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous Egyptian relic. The Society needs the item back, and they aren’t interested in her protests that she knows nothing about it or her father’s secrets.
Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary Sumerian gods, her estranged oracle mother, and, of course, Oz–whose first allegiance is to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to recover the missing relic and save her father. And if she doesn’t? Well, that may just mean the end of the world as she knows it. From the author of Blackwood comes a fresh, thrilling urban fantasy that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan.
Although the mythology and plot in THE WOKEN GODS are completely different from Percy Jackson novels, Krya has the same reckless approach as Percy when it comes to dealing with the gods. The big difference between Kyra and Percy is that Kyra doesn’t take advantage of her friends’ help and she has no superpowers of her own.
The concept of a trickster’s council taking over Washington D.C. is intriguing, but I don’t feel like the gods themselves were utilized to their full potential. There’s a lot of talk about how powerful the gods are, but there is no mention of what exactly each god can or cannot do. There’s nothing that happens (no torture, killing, or weather control) that is remotely godlike. At least in Percy Jackson, the gods actually use their powers.
Without that fear of what a god can do, I never felt like Kyra was in any real danger when she stupidly confronted them over and over again.
Kyra is really unlikeable. She’s focused on saving her father and never deviates. She ignores her friends; purposely uses other people to her advantage and doesn’t even show guilt afterwards. She’s way more like her grandfather than she wants to admit.
There is some sort of romance, but it doesn’t feel real. Kyra’s best friends sacrifice their own well-being over and over again and she doesn’t even say thanks.
It’s not a complete waste of a book, as THE WOKEN GODS was somewhat entertaining, but I did not like Kyra at all.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)