Saturday, June 24, 2017

Spotlight: Loading: Life

About the Book:
Everyone in Devi Omega has a special ability. Everyone except Hero Leander, the official troublemaker of Class 1B. But his life gets even worse when he is partnered with Annie Mei Fields on a history project. Not only is she a straight-A student and the top Charisma-user of the school, but she is determined to make him do his part of the work.

As they hit the books, though, they soon discover that an evil corporation is kidnapping teens in order to cure a deadly disease. Hero thinks the two shouldn’t get involved. That is until his only friend is also taken.

Hero and Annie Mei put their lives on the line in order to save their world. But with gang attacks, drug deals, twisted corporate goons, and a teacher that won’t get off their case, these two unlikely fighters have little time to think about their next step. Can they save the world and still get a passing grade?


About the Author:
E.N. Chaffin is an American author, born and raised on country cooking and Japanese anime. Aside from drowning herself in reading manga and sewing cosplay, she also enjoys making memories with her family, friends, and dogs. Chaffin spends her time writing short stories for her blog and researching for current and upcoming projects at conventions and on YouTube. She currently lives in Northwest Arkansas with her family and three dogs, Kahn, Scooter, and Annie LeonhardVisit her at enchaffin.com or follow ENChaffin on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more!






Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: The Year of Four

Title: The Year of Four (Phoebe Pope #1)
Author: Nya Jade
Page Count: 338
My Rating: 4.5 TURTLES: A really great read, I highly recommend!
Amazon
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review

Description:
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.



Review:
This is one of the most memorable Young Adult books I've read in a while! It's definitely my favorite book I've taken on for review all year! There was so much good going on in this book that I almost want to stay up even later than it is as I write this review (2am) to see what happens next! I love Phoebe and her ability to be both kick butt and vulnerable. The author also does a really great job introducing the reader to the world of the story: I felt like I had a clear picture of this world, but I also wasn't inundated with too much information at any one time with info-dumps.

And even though this book does make use of some YA tropes (fancy boarding school, super hunky love interest) "The Year of Four" manages to make them feel fresh - and, who am I kidding, I love those tropes so who cares! If they're used well, I don't think they should have to have a bad name. Part of what makes them feel so fresh is that even though some plot points I was able to predict, other developments kept me completely on my toes!

The long and short of it is: I highly recommend this book! Especially for YA fans, read this book! I think you might find it is the next binge-able series you have been looking for. I know it had a lot of things that I look for in YA that keeps me coming back to the genre even though I'm not in the targeted age range anymore. I'm so glad I already have book two queued up on my Kindle, I would have hated to have to wait.



Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Blog Tour: The Phoebe Pope Series!






The Year of Four

by Nya Jade
(Phoebe Pope, #1)
Publication date: October 28th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult


Synopsis:
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.
--

The Blood of Kings
by Nya Jade
(Phoebe Pope, #2)
Publication date: April 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis:
According to the press, Phoebe Pope and teen movie star Colten Chase are no longer an item—which is just how the happy new couple like it. And yet there’s trouble in paradise . . .
Phoebe is haunted by dreams that show her things she can’t possibly know about—including a pact between Colten and a wanted assassin. In the daylight, she struggles to keep a newly emerging power hidden, even as her hands itch to wield it.
Meanwhile, in the wake of their escape from a Vigo crèche, Phoebe and her fellow Hyphas study under lock and key at the Campus Below. As the foursome wait to see who among them will fulfill the prophecy, someone dear to Phoebe is kidnapped by a powerful Vigo determined to use her to spy on the Shaper royalty. When the Hyphas are called to the Royal Court, Phoebe refuses to heed warnings of imminent danger for she will do whatever it takes to rescue her loved one.
But once at court, nothing is as it first appears. A sinister force controls some royals, while others whisper behind closed doors about forbidden alliances. And as Phoebe draws on her courage to complete the task set by her enemy, she makes a startling discovery—one that upends her father’s memory.
With dangerous conspiracies surfacing, Phoebe must uncover what the Royal Shapers really want from her, and decide whether there’s room for Colten in her unraveling life


Book trailer for The Year of Four

Purchase:


AUTHOR BIO:
Nya Jade has enjoyed a fun career as a singer-songwriter. Her music videos have aired on the Vh1, BET and MTV networks and she’s opened for some of the biggest names in music. Nya’s music has also received recognition in major publications, including USA Today and the LA Times. She took a break from writing and performing music to write The Year of Four, her first YA novel. When she isn’t writing, Nya can be found hanging out with family and friends, reading or bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes. Nya lives with her family in California.

Author links:

You can follow the tour HERE

My Review of The Year of Four:

4.5 TURTLES: A really great read, I highly recommend!

This is one of the most memorable Young Adult books I've read in a while! It's definitely my favorite book I've taken on for review all year! There was so much good going on in this book that I almost want to stay up even later than it is as I write this review (2am) to see what happens next! I love Phoebe and her ability to be both kick butt and vulnerable. The author also does a really great job introducing the reader to the world of the story: I felt like I had a clear picture of this world, but I also wasn't inundated with too much information at any one time with info-dumps.

And even though this book does make use of some YA tropes (fancy boarding school, super hunky love interest) "The Year of Four" manages to make them feel fresh - and, who am I kidding, I love those tropes so who cares! If they're used well, I don't think they should have to have a bad name. Part of what makes them feel so fresh is that even though some plot points I was able to predict, other developments kept me completely on my toes!

The long and short of it is: I highly recommend this book! Especially for YA fans, read this book! I think you might find it is the next binge-able series you have been looking for. I know it had a lot of things that I look for in YA that keeps me coming back to the genre even though I'm not in the targeted age range anymore. I'm so glad I already have book two queued up on my Kindle, I would have hated to have to wait.



Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: The Second Day

Title: The Second Day (Aurea #1)
Author: Lara Swanson
Page Count: 214
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
Amazon
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Description:
On the island of Ladria, 15-year-old Mithia lives in fragile peace, hemmed in by the constant presence of ominous guards and the cruel silence of unanswered questions—like why her mother is just one of many adults on the island succumbing to a mysterious illness.

When her homeland is attacked by the evil Nyx, Mithia is thrust into a dangerous world of vengeful queens, mythical beings and mysterious enchantment. After befriending a young spy named Tristan, Mithia begins to uncover her true identity. Unearthing the past forces her to confront perilous consequences as she unravels secrets that plunge her into the center of a world on the brink of war.

The Second Day is a young adult fantasy; it is the first book in the Aurea series.


Review:
First of all, I’d like to thank the author, Lara Swanson, for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. I met her at a fair that was taking place at my college a little over a year ago. I forget what it was for now, but several alums who are now published authors were there and she was one of them! I’m so glad I was able to connect with a fellow writing Ole and am sorry it took me so long to get to this review!

I really enjoyed this book. It is a fast read, and between the silkies, magic stones and harp songs, and prophecies, it felt like a modern fairy tale! I also love Mithia’s friendships that she cultivates throughout the story. The loyalty and trust she has for the people she cares about makes her a great character to root for. I was really intrigued about the magic in this story world and all the mythical creatures, so I really hope to see more of that in future installments of this series.

One things that seemed a little incongruous to me was that even though it is a young adult novel, and the characters are the right age for it to be YA, it still felt like I was reading middle grade for a lot of the time. Part of this could be because it is a very “clean” book. There isn’t a romance, which would make characters seem more mature, and the violence, while present, is not drawn out in a lot of detail. I couldn’t really put a finger on it though. Maybe it was the dialogue that made them seem younger? Either way, at times it was a little confusing for me because I would be picturing the characters as a certain age and then read something that reminded me of their real age and I’d have to reorient.

Also, because The Second Day is such a quick read, I felt at time that I wanted more world building than there was. The tricky thing about high fantasy is that the reader has no frame of reference for the land until the author gives it to them. A character can’t simply say they are in Paris and all of the sudden the reader has an immediate image of their surroundings, no matter how much or little the character says after that. There was a lot of world building, don’t get me wrong, but there is only so much anyone can cram into 200 pages, no matter how concise they are. That’s part of why The Song of Ice and Fire and The Lord of the Rings are so long. I wished that there was more time to “live” in this story world so it felt more natural and less relying on the occasional character who knew about the history of the land to give me more exposition. Hopefully I will get more in subsequent books!


The Second Day is an exciting fantasy adventure and appropriate, I’d say for older elementary aged students on up. If you have a young reader in your life, I highly recommend you pick up a copy for them (and then for yourself when they’re done)! 




Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spotlight: The Monster of Selkirk



About the Book:
Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.

As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn't like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends.

But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis's name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.



About the Author:
C. E. Clayton was born and raised in Southern California where she worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts that ranged from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). This was before she packed up her life, husband, two displeased cats, and one very confused dog and moved to New Orleans. Now, she is a full time writer (mainly in the fantasy genre), her cats are no longer as displeased, and her dog no longer confused. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, and poetry, can be found on her website: http://www.ceclayton.com

Amazon
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Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Spotlight: Misaligned: The Celtic Connection

About the Book:
How does a tossed bowl of tapioca close a trans-dimensional portal? And how is it connected to a centuries-old druid artifact? 

Penny Preston, a gifted 8th grader existing in more than three dimensions, plans to find out. Together with her mysterious cat, she struggles to protect our universe from invaders, save her relationship with her best friend, and uncover her connection to Celtic legend.









About the Author:
Unlike many authors, Armen can honestly say that he didn't voluntarily read a book until he finished The Hobbit in sixth grade. After that reading became a vice, as he ravenously devoured science fiction and fantasy stories. Taking a more practical approach to college, he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was an Honorable-Mention All-American swimmer his senior year.

After serving as an officer in the USAF, working on top secret 'Area 51' projects, where he never saw a single alien (dead or alive), he left the service and earned an MBA from the University of North Carolina. He spent a decade riding the high-tech wave, moving more frequently than an informant in the Witness protection program.

His stories mix elements of science and history with a healthy dose of fantasy. When not writing he can be found swimming, reading a book, or enjoying the outdoors with his family. He lives outside of Rochester, NY with his wife and three children.


Amazon






Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Author Interview: Christopher Slayton

Today I would like to welcome Christopher Slayton, author of Chaos Company, to the Howling Turtle! I'd like to thank him for taking the time to answer a few of my questions!

Tell us a bit about what you do when you are not writing.
When I am not writing I’m usually working, reading, playing videogames, or exercising. I currently work full-time for Uber and Lyft and take up odd jobs on the site Taskrabbit. All three jobs allow for me to have more free time to write and to talk to people one on one about my book "Chaos Company," which is out now.
As for reading, I can’t put down the Walking Dead tie-in novels! I’m currently reading the second one and am fortunate to know there are still eight more books to go!
When it comes to exercising, I find it easier to get and stay in shape when I have something physically challenge to look forward to. Right now I’m training for the 2017 Spartan race in August which will be held in Philly!

One phrase a lot of reviews use to describe "Chaos Company" is "action packed." What's the key to writing an "action packed novel?
I strongly believe putting yourself in physical and critical thinking activities is the key to writing an action-packed novel. I myself have been practicing martial arts on and off since I was six years old and started competing in martial arts fight when I was in college. I’m a huge fan of lazertag, paintball, and action/adventure shows, films and video games. Now I’m not saying you have to live and breathe all these things to write an action novel, but going out and finding something that gets your heart pumping is the key to bringing action to life in a novel.

What sort of research went into writing this book?
My research was split into three parts. The first is obviously from reading thrillers I love and admire such as Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider novels, the Halo novel series and Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead tie-in novels. The second source for writing Chaos Company was researching DC and Marvel entertainment, from their comics to their films and shows. The final source was from tactical and strategic video games such as Rainbow Six and XCOM. Now I know that just sounds like having fun lol, but I always made sure I was taking note of the appeal of the stories of each product, either by having a notepad close at hand or quickly make a memo on my cell phone. That way when it was time to write I could refer back to my notes and implement them into my writing while still keeping my story original.

If "Chaos Company" were going to be made into a movie, who would you want to be the director, the artist/composer in charge of the score and/or soundtrack, and an actor to play one of your main characters and why?
Haha! Isn’t that the dream for all writers? If it were to happen (fingers crossed) I would love for Maurissa and Kevin Tancharoen to co-direct “Chaos Company”. I’ve been following them both for years now and love the work to do. Any viewer who has experience d their projects can tell that the two of them put a lot of energy in their work, and that is exactly what I would want in a director.
As for a musical composer, I would want Steve Aoki to be in charge of the score and soundtrack of “Chaos Company.” I know film scores are not his specialty, but I believe his style would make a perfect fit for “Chaos Company.”

Are you working on any new writing projects right now?
Oh, absolutely! Right now I’m working on a vigilante novel I’m hoping to have released by this fall. And there is definitely a sequel to "Chaos Company" that I hope to have out by February 2018. I have a few other projects but as of right now they are only outlines.

If you could travel to the story world of any books which would it be and why?

Oh, it would definitely be the Harry Potter Universe! The dangers aside, who wouldn’t want to go to a school of magic and learn how to cast spells and befriend mythical creatures?

About "Chaos Company"
The highly effective team of super-powered soldiers code-named Chaos Company has returned to the United States to be commended for their bravery. While on leave the team finds themselves at odds with the highly dangerous mercenary Liam King, who has been contracted to assassinate President Jennifer Grey. Chaos Company thwarts Liam’s attack, but at the cost of team leader Tyler Young’s life.

With their leader killed the team looks to Desmond Striker to guide them in a hunt for Liam. During their hunt the team will find themselves in the cross-hairs of a private military company and have their abilities pushed to their limits. Before Chaos Company finally comes to blows with Liam they will discover that their greatest threat is a leader within their own country.


Check it out on Amazon!




Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.