The Other Side of the Other Side
Guest Post by Starr Gardinier Reina
Green grass as far as the eye can see to the left of me, bright skies all around, calm blue waters such as one would see in Hawaii to the right of me. It all sounds so glorious. A place worthy of a long, relaxing vacation. It is, it’s beautiful here. It was the sight I was faced with five years ago when I arrived. I couldn’t have been happier.
That is, until I found out that it’s not all sunshine and smiles. The Other Side is not always what people may think. There is another side to the Other Side. It can be formidable and dark, filling a soul full of anguish and anxiety. After the first month, I learned that the Other Side is what you make of it, what you perceive. And how you lived your life on Earth. That latter being the more decisive of what your after world is going to be like.
Integrating back into the perfect, happy place is possible, but one must work hard to rid themselves of the evil they breathed on Earth. Doing penance does not consist of just promising to be good. To appease the ‘higher ups’ you must collect souls—hungry, rampant souls smacking of pure immorality—from Earth as they are about to die. Without going into detail, I will say collection is not the end of it. No, you must also stop the last act that mortals are trying to play out on Earth, safely without harm coming to the humans. You may think that’s easy, but remember, we’re talking about the most malevolent entities that exist within human forms.
I’m still trying to get myself back to the good side, to be worthy again of the thriving brightness I remember. I haven’t seen it in almost five years. I’ve only one soul to go.
I’m looking over to Earth now. I see one! That one will work just fine. And before you get upset, remember: I didn’t pick your soul. You showed the blackness the first time you acted out without even trying to force the evil side away. You are the one who allowed temptation to drive you over the edge to the other side.
The Other Side: Melinda’s Story
by Starr Gardinier Reina
Publisher: Suspense Publishing, an ITW approved publishing company
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
212 pages ebook/paperback
Released April 9, 2013.
Melinda James has a problem. She’s in Skyview Haven because her entire family and best friend are dead. Did she kill them? Does she belong in the asylum keeping her from harming herself and others?
Her father Paul James is killed in a car accident. She attends his funeral and she does see him lying in the casket. Or does she? It turns out her best friend Beth is the one who is dead and her father is there to console her. What is going on?
She thinks she’s going crazy, especially when she discovers both are actually gone from this earth and they talk to her from…‘the other side.’ Are her father and Beth actually speaking to her from beyond? Why? What do they want?
Soon, Melinda finds the answers and they aren’t what she wants to hear. Paul insists he was killed and his whole family is in danger.
This is part of Melinda’s story that she shares with Dr. Alex Leever, the psychiatrist who is assigned her case. All she wants is someone to hear her story—and believe. Melinda slowly begins to trust Dr. Leever and steadily reveals her long, complicated, intricate tale.
While at Skyview, Melinda meets Trent and they become friends, until she learns something about him that rocks her world. Is he there to hurt her? Does he want what her father was killed over?
Problems mount quickly and she discovers that there are people who want something only she can give them. Is Trent one of those people?
Her family tries to help from beyond, but Melinda is running out of time. She needs to give them what they want or die. Can the dead protect the living? Will they be enough to protect her?
I tried to tell them it was going to happen, but nobody would listen. They all said I was just having bad dreams, or that I was crazy.
It started at my father’s funeral. It’s been so long since it first began, about eight years ago. Sometimes though, it seems like yesterday. My father was there. No, I don’t mean just in the casket. He was there. He talked to me, begged me to tell Mom that we all needed to run and hide. He said we were all in danger.
I asked him why he didn’t tell Mom himself. He said he tried, but she wasn’t listening. I heard him fine. But I didn’t believe him. Why would we be in danger? We can’t just up and leave. My friends are all here in Beaumont. When I told him this, he said it was important, that it was a matter of life and death. He seemed so worried, but I was so confused, I blew him off.
I guess when it first happened I didn’t pay any heed to his warning. We went on with our lives. Mom was grief stricken, my brother Kyle was in his own world playing videos and I was trying to shut my father out of my mind. Was I going crazy? What was wrong with me? Dad was dead, but I could still see and hear him.
If I tell you the story, will you believe me?
A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut”, Reina has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich Series. The first is “In the Name of Revenge”, the second, “Deadly Decisions” and the third, “One Major Mistake” was released July 10, 2012. Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works’ distinctive voice, making every character stand out.
Reina is the artistic creator of the Ivanovich series featuring Pavel Ivanovich. Flanking Ivanovich’s side in “Deadly Decisions” is Teresa Mancini, who vies with Ivanovich for readers’ attention. According to J.M. LeDuc, who was “raised in an Italian family”, Teresa “is perfect…like all your characters”. Reina is also the author of young adult novella “Cruel Whispers” and its sequel novel “Cruel Past”.
Reina is an executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.
Reina is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged the weekend-long event to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Reina has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.
Welcome to This is YOUR song
a brand new book meme hosted by Lizzy’s Dark Fiction.
Meme name is inspired by the Elton John song. Here, I find that perfect song to fit some of the most popular books. I’ll pick 5 books from different genres or age groups and match them with the song that I think describes the book the best.
1.) In the erotic category, we have Dead Again by Lisa Andel.
Werepanthers, dragons, and demon sorcerers. What’s a normal red-blooded woman to do? Have sex with them, of course. Even though Lisa is mostly human, her life is anything but normal. Spending more time with the supernatural side of society than with humans might account for that. Then again, it might have to do with all the people who want to kill her for sport, since she doesn’t stay dead. Whatever the reason, she’s come to the painful realization that something important is missing from her life. Sex. And if she doesn’t get some soon, she might just lose her mind. Her best friend Ashur decides to help her out. He starts the ball rolling by introducing her to a werepanther who’s known to have a way with women. The shifter is so good that he leaves Lisa craving more. Wherever she can find it. With whoever she desires. Though she’s no longer in danger of going insane, her life becomes stranger yet, as she acquires and loses lovers, and lives and dies . and lives. Where will it all end? Only God knows. And he’s not talking.
Song Match: Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado
Lyrics: Promiscuous girl, you’re teasing me / You know what I want and I got what you need / Promiscuous boy, let’s get to the point / ’Cause we’re on a roll, are you ready?
Reason: Because this book is all about hooking up and getting it on. Seriously. Dead Again has less of a plot than 50 Shades of Grey.
2) In the horror category, we have Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.
Song Match: Monster by Skillet
Lyrics: I feel it deep within, it’s just beneath the skin / I must confess that I feel like a monster / I hate what I’ve become, the nightmare’s just begun / I must confess that I feel like a monster
Reason: Louis never asked to become a vampire. The thirst he has for human blood repulses him, yet he can’t deny the monster within himself for long.
3) In the paranormal category, we have Alexander Death (Jenny Pox #3) by J. L. Bryan
While Seth searches for Jenny, Dr. Heather Reynard of the CDC unravels Seth and Jenny’s secrets.
Alexander opens Jenny’s mind to her deep past, and to the full horrific extent of her powers.
Torn between her feelings for Alexander and Seth, and between her past lives and her present, Jenny must prepare to face her enemies, as well as the darkness within her…
Song Match: Freak like me by Halestorm
Lyrics: This is no disease, you don’t need a cure / It’s our time now to come out / If you’re a freak like me!
Reason: Jenny Pox meets Alexander Death, who tells her to embrace who she is. She doesn’t need to be ashamed of her power of the plague. Alexander has an ugly power of his own and thus a freak like her.
4) In the angel/demon category, we have Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso
Sixteen-year-old Rayna sees angels, and has the medication and weekly therapy sessions to prove it. Now, in remission, Rayna starts fresh at a new school, lands a new job, and desperately tries for normalcy. She ignores signs that she may be slipping into the world she has tried so hard to climb out of. But these days, it’s more than just hallucinations that keep Rayna up at night. Students are dying, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Can she keep her job, her sanity, and her friends from dying at the hands of angels she can’t admit to seeing?
Song Match: Uninvited by Alantis Morissette
Lyrics: You speak of my love like you have experienced love like mine before / But this is not allowed, you’re uninvited
Reason: This is the theme song for City of Angels (love!), where an angel falls in love with a human. In Shimmer of Angels, Rayna is able to see angels, but she has to hide this or risk a return trip to the mental institution. And then one day she meets an angel at school. She tries to ignore him and pretend like angels don’t exist. Despite their obvious attraction, it is Cam that tells Rayna that he is unable to love her. It’s forbidden to love a human. It’s also unheard of that a human can see angels.
5) In the zombie category, we have Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes. Vigilantes. Crusaders for justice, using their superhuman abilites to make Los Angeles a better place. Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Despite the best efforts of the superheroes, the police, and the military, the hungry corpses rose up and overwhelmed the country. The population was decimated, heroes fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland like so many others. Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions must overcome their differences and recover from their own scars to protect the thousands of survivors sheltered in their film studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. The heroes lead teams out to scavenge supplies, keep the peace within the walls of their home, and try to be the symbols the survivors so desperately need. For while the ex-humans walk the streets night and day, they are not the only threat left in the world, and the people of the Mount are not the only survivors left in Los Angeles. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power. And they are not heroes.
Song Match: Bodies by Drowning Pool
Lyrics: Let the bodies hit the floor / Let the bodies hit the floor / Let the bodies hit the floor / Let the bodies hit the floor!
Reason: 90% of the book is pure zombie (ex) killing…and that might be a low estimate.
What songs would you pick with these books?
Gift by Andrea J. Buchanan
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Open Road Media
Released March 27, 2012
Daisy has an electrifying secret that could save her life—or kill her
High school sophomore Daisy Jones is just trying to get by unnoticed. It doesn’t help that she’s the new girl at school, lives in a trailer park, and doesn’t even own a cell phone. But there’s a good reason for all that: Daisy has a secret, unpredictable power—one only her best friend, Danielle, knows about. Despite her “gift” (or is it a curse?), Daisy’s doing a good job of fitting in, and a gorgeous senior named Kevin even seems interested in her! But when Daisy tries to help Vivi, a mysterious classmate in a crisis, she soon discovers that her new friend has a secret of her own. Now Daisy and her friends must deal with chilling dreams and messages from the beyond. Can Daisy channel the power she’s always tried to hide, before it’s too late?
I liked the concept of the novel, but there were some things about this book that completely failed. First off, the opening chapters were confusing. It felt like a romance brewing between Daisy and Vivi (because of Daisy’s obsession with the other girl) and then it abruptly switched to a very long explanation about Daisy’s powers. There were quite a few instances where the author said what was happening rather than letting the story reveal the plot. I felt very confused for most of the book, as the reader is left purposely in the dark about very important plot details. I would have rather had some of it revealed early on into the book so I had some inclination as to why the characters acted like they did.
I understood that Daisy wasn’t able to use electronic devices, but how could she have survived high school with the high usage of computers in the classrooms. Students today can’t avoid computers or televisions or calculators. Not in a public school. I don’t buy how someone could have not figured it out. How does she type up her reports? Pass a typing class? Research in the library (most documents are electronically recorded)? Also, it did bother me that Daisy could use a house phone. It was a normal everyday phone. If the author wanted to be somewhat plausible, then she would have made Daisy use a rotary phone. It’s still electronic, but it doesn’t run by a computer chip like every other gadget that Daisy messes up.
The subplot involving Mr. Terry wasn’t handled logically. There is no way that a male teacher would ever house a female student in his home, especially without getting explicit permission from the principal. I have several family members who are teachers and if these exact circumstances happened to them, they might house such student over-night if that student was on the street. But only a single night and come morning the principal would immediately be made aware of the situation. If the student wouldn’t return home, then CPS would be called. And even if the teacher was stupid enough to house a student of the opposite sex at their home for a prolong period of time, once the principal was informed of the situation, the teacher would immediately be suspended fired for not notifying the principal. It doesn’t matter what the person who ‘told the principal’ said. The simple fact is that the teacher was not acting appropriate.
I just don’t think that there was enough research done to make sure that the events that happened in the book were plausible. And for that reason alone, I think I have to give this book a very low rating. It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, but it’s one that I surely won’t ever recommend. Still, the author does show potential to write a much better book. I might still check out another book by Andrea Buckanan. (F+)
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)
(Picture and information borrowed from Goodreads.)
Andrea J. Buchanan is a New York Times bestselling writer whose newest book is the young adult novel GIFT. Her work includes The Daring Book For Girls, Mother Shock, and six other books. Before becoming a writer, Andi was a classical pianist; she studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where she earned her bachelor of music degree, and continued her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, earning a master’s degree in piano performance. Her last recital was at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.
What do you guys think of the cover? Personally, I really love the blend of zombies and magic.
Death’s Awakening by Sarra Cannon
Releases March 28, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Cover Designer: Renu Sharma
Reveal organized by: AToMR Tours
For sixteen-year-old Parrish Sorrows, life is about to become a nightmare.
This is the night she’ll wake up to her mother’s convulsions. The night she’ll lose contact with her father and sister in New York. The night 911 will stop answering the phone.
This is the night a mysterious supernatural virus begins its deadly rampage across the globe, killing billions in a matter of days. And just when things can’t get worse, the dead begin to rise.
Parrish must embark on a perilous journey to find what’s left of her family. Along the way, she’ll team up with the gorgeous boy next door she’s always been drawn to, the snobby ex-bff she’s hated for years, a genius computer nerd, and a young boy who never says a word but is somehow a kindred spirit.
DEATH’S AWAKENING is the first book in Sarra Cannon’s new Eternal Sorrows series. Told from alternating points of view, this story is packed with action, magic, and romance that will leave you begging to find out what happens as this group of teens struggles to survive the zombie apocalypse.
They are about to find out zombies are the least of their problems.
Sarra Cannon grew up in a small town in Georgia where she learned that being popular always comes at a price. She is the author of the young adult paranormal Peachville High Demons series, which she first began self-publishing in October of 2010. Since the series began, Sarra has sold over 120,000 copies and recently signed a contract with Sea Lion Books to create a graphic novel adaptation of Beautiful Demons, the first book in the series.
Sarra lives in North Carolina with her amazing husband, her new baby boy, and her teeny tiny Pomeranian, Snickerdoodle.
Today we have an awesome giveaway and review of Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade. You might recognize this book from my blog, as I participated in the cover reveal in October. I’m happy to say that I was not fooled by this pretty cover. What’s inside is just as creative and vibrant as what’s on the outside. This tour is organized by Xpresso Book Tours. You can see the full tour schedule.
Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (A Shapers Novel #1) by Nya Jade
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Dreamwell Publishing
Released October 30th, 2012
The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .
Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.
As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.
Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.
My initial reaction and end reaction to Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I ended up loving this book, but in the very beginning I had strong doubts. You see, there are some striking similarities to the first Harry Potter book and Phoebe Pope. Our leading character is late the Great Hall, where a sorting will take place. But after that scene, the similarities ended. First, the sorting is done upon graduation and not admission. Secondly, the school for shifters is masked below an actual high school and students must attend both. And, then there’s the fact that this book has illustrations, but not nearly enough to turn this into a graphic novel.
The moment Colten was introduced I thought “Beiber”. Colten is a Justin Beiber clone with his fame, fan club, good looks, and innocence. Naturally, Colten is attracted to our heroine and I thought…okay, I’ll buy this but only if it ends up that [insert spoiler here]. And that’s exactly what happened with him! How awesome is it that the most awesome ending I could think of happening…happened? The reveals at the end of the book also shocked me. Even the minor characters in the book had a huge impact. I appreciate how all the sub plots are tied up nicely by the end, which isn’t usually the case with a series book.
The lore behind this book felt original, yet not always believable. I’m still at lost as to how humans, large felines, and large birds can play a sport game together without any one side having a huge advantage. Fortunately, the plot and unique characters always brought me straight back into the story.
I like how Phoebe has a secret that remains a secret. She doesn’t blab it to her best friend, her teacher, her love interest, or some random person. She keeps it a secret, even though she wanted to say something at so many different points in the novel. I applaud her for doing what no other protagonist seems to be able to do – shut up.
I think the only real problem with this book is that it is heavily geared towards female readers. I can’t imagine any boy wanting to read a book where half the characters are “Beiber-crazy” over the main male character. Granted, after the first couple of awkward chapters, I became a fan of the Beiber clone. And making me love someone that perfect is quite an accomplishment.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
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Nya Jade is a singer-songwriter and author based in San Francisco. Her music videos have aired on the VH1, BET, and MTV networks. USA Today hailed Nya as a “young female troubadour worth keeping your eyes and ears on,” in an entertainment feature on up-and-coming singer-
Between writing and performing new music, Nya took a musical sabbatical to focus on writing a novel—an endeavor she found quite daunting, until she began looking at each chapter as a verse in a very long song. Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four is her first novel.
In her free time, Nya enjoys hanging out with family and friends, searching for amazing gluten-free desserts, and bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes.
Nya holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Sociology, both from Stanford University.