Friday, December 16, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: Debunking Handbook

Debunking Handbook
Debunking Handbook by John Cook

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This handy little ebook weighs in at only 6* pages, and is a quick, useful read for skeptics everywhere.

To be honest, it will probably prove more helpful to those acting in a professional capacity than, say, your ordinary armchair skeptic. It is very much geared toward journalists, bloggers, and others of that sort who are active in trying to debunk the myths pervasive in our society. In this case, the focus is on climate change--that is, fighting the misinformation spewed forth from the ignorant blowholes of climate deniers--but the underlying principles laid out here could undoubtedly be applied to other subjects as well, such as pseudoscience, religion, or even politics.

At any rate, that's why I didn't give it more than two stars; because it's very narrow, and it's simply not going to do much for those of us who aren't into writing articles, or blogging, or whatever. However, it is still worth taking a few minutes of your time to read, regardless. There are several enlightening points, such as this:

"When people hear misinformation, they build a mental model, with the myth providing an explanation. When the myth is debunked, a gap is left in their mental model. To deal with this dilemma, people prefer an incorrect model over and incomplete model. In the absence of a better explanation, they opt for the wrong explanation."

If nothing else, keeping these things in mind may help you the next time you find yourself in a "debate" with someone who thinks they have all the answers because of a book of Bronze Age fairytales, or because Fox News told them so.


*There are technically 9 pages, but I don't count the cover, copyright page, or references.



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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Angel Reviews -- Castigate My Sins by Elicia Clegg

Castigate My SinsCastigate My Sins by Elicia Clegg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really liked this book. It was surprising all the way through. I can't really say much without giving it away but I can say it was dark, twisted and disturbing and the ending was unexpected.


A book like this is always so hard to review cause it has so much going on in it but to go on and on about it here really would ruin it for any potential readers! All I can say is, if you like the dark side of humanity pick it up and give it a read! It was worth the time for me!



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Monday, November 14, 2011

Angel Reviews-- Taken Away by Patty Friedmann

Taken AwayTaken Away by Patty Friedmann

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I'm having a hard time gathering my thoughts on this book. On one hand it was good, on the other it was horrible and it's so hard to explain why.

The premise of the story itself is captivating. Detailing the event leading up to Katrina and it's aftermath as seen through the eyes of an average young girl, Taken away will make you want to keep turning pages. The turn off for me, however was the character development, or lack thereof. There just wasn't enough development to make me totally connect with any of the people in the story. They seemed so superficial and well, honestly, I was really disturbed by how RACIST they all were! Is this how it is in New Orleans? If so remind me to NEVER EVER visit this city! I can't imagine living somewhere where money and/or the color of your skin dictates your worthiness. Not in today's society! I thought we were past that. But, if this book is an indication of the "truth" New Orleans is not for me. It actually offended me, and alot of you who know me know that I am not easily offended.

Ok, so here is my opinion.

I felt as if I were reading an unfinished work. There is a good story in here and good characters. I just think it needs a really good, deep rework. More emotion from the parents! A little less snobbery and racism from Sumbie. A little more realism when it comes to the kidnapper. I don't buy that that chick was smart enough to pull that off even in all the chaos of Katrina going on.

I give it 3 stars for potential.



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Friday, November 11, 2011

Interview with Author of The Zaftan Miscreants Hank Quense

Can you tell us about your latest book and why you wrote it?

A: Zaftan Miscreants is the title of my latest book. It's Book 2 of a trilogy and I wrote it because I had so much fun writing the first book. The zaftans are an alien race and I make them as politically incorrect as I possibly can. That's where the fun comes in for both the author and the readers.


Why did you write this book? Is there any “back story” that inspired you to write this book?

I had the idea for Sam, an android a few years ago. Originally, I planned to use to her in a short story. Her job was as a stew-droid on a space ship, but I could never develop a story for her. When I started to plan this trilogy, I saw a spot where Sam could have a major role and really become a star.


What's different about this book? Why should people buy it?

Zaftan Miscreants is different and offers a wealth of unusual characters. The four main characters are an android (Sam), a ship's computer (Slash 9), a beautiful alien who is a societal misfit (Klatze) and another alien who is a well-adjusted murderer (Gongeblazn). If that isn't enough, one minor character is an ancient robot (Dot 38) who is a religious fanatic paving the way for the coming of the Mechanical Messiah.I'd say that defines 'different'.

Why did you write a sex scene between two aliens?

Only another alien character would agree to do it with Klatze. I attended a convention in the spring and I was stunned by how many romance and erotica authors showed up. I think I was the only one who wrote fantasy and scifi. It became apparent to me that sex scenes sell, but perhaps using two hideous aliens is the wrong approach.

Does your book have a reading guide to help out book clubs?


Yes, it does. The guide is designed to help reading groups delve deeply into the philosophical issues addressed by my book and the characters. Here are two questions from the guide.

* Do you think Gongeblazn acts the way he does because he had a miserable squidling-hood? What should Zaftan society do to repay him for his misery.
* The author seems to have an unhealthy fixation on the repulsive aliens. Is this an indication of a mental disorder? Can it be caused by an incident in his childhood? How would Freud diagnose the problem? What would he recommend to alleviate the situation? How do you know that?



What's up next for you?


My next novel is Shakespeare's worst nightmare. I've taken two of his plays, Othello and Hamlet, and turned them from tragedies to comedies and that ain't easy to do. I think of it as updating the Bard's work for modern readers. You can look for Falstaff's Big Gamble in the spring of 2012


What do you do when you're not writing fiction?

When I'm not writing stories, I'm the CEO, Editor and reporter (under about 20 aliases) for Faux News Network. (Faux is the French word for phony or fake). I write satiric news reports about current events. You can only get the FNN reports on my blog: strangeworldsonline.blogspot.com

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheryl Reviews: Pride and Prejudice Hidden Lust by Mitzi Szereto

Pride and Prejudice: Hidden LustsPride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Pride & Prejudice
Hidden Lusts
By: Mitzi Szereto

3 stars




Well the subtitle of the book says it all!! I warn you, if what happens behind the bedroom door (well in this book everywhere but) makes you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you! Every character in this book, with the exception of the nerve wrought and uptight Mrs. Bennet, can only be described as horny!! There is a plethora of consortium going on within the pages of this book. As a matter of fact I think there may only be a dozen pages that do not have some kind of sexual act or fantasy written upon it. There is nothing left out and every kind of sex is represented - hetero, homo, s&m, oral and self gratification are all included.


It was amazing to find that even with all the "acts" taking place that there is indeed a plot. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five daughters and Mrs. Bennet wants to see them married into riches. It reminded me of a sexual soap opera set back in the day of horse and carriage! I really wish I could make this review longer but there is not much more to say. I did not find this book to be a page turner but it was a good read. Parts had me laughing, parts had me blushing and parts had me utterly perplexed. You have to read it to find out how buttons fly of breeches and...... well I just can't give away more than that, but trust me... some parts will have you giggling!



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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Angel Reviews--The Zaftan Miscreants by: Hank Quense

Zaftan MiscreantsZaftan Miscreants by Hank Quense

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For me it was HILARIOUS! There wasn't a single page where I didn't snicker, giggle or just laugh uncontrollably! If I were rating simply for myself I would have given a solid 5 stars instead of 4. The only reason I held back one star is because I KNOW there are people out there who just wouldn't get it and well, they just shouldn't bother to pick it up cause the brilliance of it would be wasted on them!



So, the characters are surprisingly relate-able for being whacked out biologically backwards aliens and droids/computers! I think I liked Sam the best and really got sucked into her trials to deal with being human-like yet not human. Though Sam touched my emotional side and became my favorite character, Klatze and her 3 bleeding uteruses was a close second. Yes three bleeding uterus's ... simultaneously bleeding.... I think I've said enough!



The story line itself was not just one cut and dried road, it had a lot of little twists and side-stories and I don't want to give away too much but a lot of the goings-ons could really be paralleled to things happening here and now. Life, love, government, deception, lies, hope, despair, it's all in there wrapped up with some of the best satirical humor I've ever read. Just like a good spaghetti sauce IT'S IN THERE.





Once you pick up this book and take a taste, you don't wanna put it down til your overly full and sated.



I would recommend this first to anyone with a sense of humor! Secondly to all fans of sci-fi who are looking for something just a little different.



Come to think of it...ya know what? Remember that last star I was gonna leave out? The hell with that. I give this book the full 5 stars!



Click HERE To head on over to Hank Quense's website Strange Worlds Online and pick up your own copy of the Zaftan Miscreants today! You WON'T be disappointed!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cheryl Reviews: Canyon of TheSoul by Charles L. Fields.

Canyons of the SoulCanyons of the Soul by Charles L. Fields

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Canyon Of The Souls
Charles L. Fields


Star Rating 2 1/2


Well I will start with the fact that it really took a lot of effort to get passed the first three chapters. I love a book to get me hooked within the first few pages and this one did not do it for me. The book revolves around a Boston lawyer who goes on a mission for a life insurance company owned by Mormons. I appreciate the authors attempt at familiarizing the reader with some of the Mormon principles and history but this part had me asking more questions to better understand what I was reading, and while I enjoyed the conversation with my husband when asking him to explain more in depth about Freemasons and the Illuminati, it distracted me from the actual book. Once I was beyond the third chapter and the mission was revealed it was easier to stay focused on the book. I didn't ever get the feeling of needing to get back to the book and find out the ending though. The author takes us on a scenic route to and from his mission. Very descriptive scenes made me want to visit and see for myself the beauty through Arizona and Utah and I get the feeling that the author loves a good meal because we read of every scrumptious lunch and dinner the main character had throughout his adventure was revealed to the reader. I only wish we were given a few more chapters and a lot more description of the actual mission. I wanted to be drawn into the scene more, there was no movie created in my mind by what I was reading.

I loved that the main character is from Boston, given that I grew up not to far from the city. Familiar places mentioned in a book as well as some new learned history about Paul Revere made me smile. The general plot was great but I wanted so much more from the core pieces. The main part of the mission started and ended and left me feeling like "that's it?". The book took us on a mission to take down a polygamist and on the way we get scenic tours, two love interests, some great meals, crystals with powers, and a history lesson or two. It was an ok read for me. I will end with saying that the last few chapters had me just as unfocused as the first. I usually beg to know what happens to the main characters at the end of the book, this one was just to drawn out. I guess the scenic tour to the mission was enough and I didn't need to see it going back home too.



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Welcome Cheryl!

Angel's Cove would like to welcome Cheryl to our review team! To learn more about Cheryl visit our About Us page! Thanks for joining the team Cheryl!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Mayhem by: Angel Food Banks and Other Stuff and Thingies.

So at 6am I'm up and at em'!

What's the day got in store for you?

For me? It's not as exciting as you might think. You see I have to go to a food bank today. Why you ask? Well, because I'm nearly out of food and I don't get paid/child support or food stamps (Yes, I receive food stamps and if you have a problem with that kindly kiss my ass and read no further... that is all)until the 14th.

I really hate food banks, they make me feel like a douche, a royal stinky douche cause really it's like total charity and I hate RECEIVING charity. Giving it? I don't mind at all when I have the extra to give! I actually LOVE the feeling I get when I am able to help someone out! but, when it comes to me having to take it... I feel so.... HORRIBLE.

It makes me think, is that how people feel when I help them out?? God, this is an awful feeling! What is wrong with me? I should be appreciative of the help shouldn't I? So why oh why do I feel so freakin' low?

Anyway, this place I'm going to really is nice. It's in a big ole catholic church and the people are really nice and there's more stuff than just food, there's clothes and toiletries and all sorts of goodies I guess but... I've only ever been there once before and I didn't even take everything they wanted to give me cause wow, I would have never used all that so, I only took what I needed. The people running it seemed surprised.

Humph! What else is on the agenda for today? High School Open House and Parent Teacher conferences...oh JOY! Between 12-4 today I have to go up to my oldest school and schmooze with the teachers and other parents whom I have absolutely NOTHING in common with so's that they can all sit back and judge me. Yeah, that's how it feels anyway. Wow, I'm just a vat of positivity today aren't I?

Anyway! I do have some reviews coming up, and guest posts by reviewed authors! Interviews! Yes I have those too! So don't worry, things on the blog-front are A-OK! just be patient! The upcoming posts will be well worth it!

So my question for you today? Have you ever had to use a food/clothing bank or other charitable organization? What was your experience like? Good? Bad? Ugly? Discuss!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: The Hero Always Wins

The Hero Always Wins
The Hero Always Wins by Robert Eaton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Sword and sorcery? Yes, please!

Sword and sorcery and lesbians? Engaging starving orphan eyes--please, sir, I want some more!

No, really. I want more. Where the hell is the sequel? I need to know if Carys and Arabella ever get it oooon. I mean, um, declare their deep and abiding love for one another. Yep, totally meant that. Heh.

Okay, let me get serious. Not that I'm not serious about the girl-lovin', of course, because...well. Have you met me?

Anyway, here's the deal: I can't pretend this book is perfect. If I'm honest--and I always am, whether you like it or not--it could use some work. You can definitely tell it's self-published, because it suffers throughout from a lot of simple typographical errors, missing words, confused syntax, that sort of thing, as well as a handful of formatting flubs that I feel confident would have been caught and corrected by any half-competent editor. And I say that in no way intending to belittle or disrespect the people mentioned in the acknowledgements section whom the author had proofread for him; I'm sure they did the job to the best of their ability, but the fact is that there is a difference, clearly, between what can be accomplished by an amateur compared to what can be accomplished by a professional.

As further evidence of this point, my biggest complaint about this book is not the basic typos, or the rest of the aforementioned, but rather that large portions of the narrative read like a summary. I will be the first to admit that Show, Don't Tell is NOT an ironclad rule of writing, as some would have us believe; it's more of a guideline, which some writers would do well to follow less strenuously. But I feel that having the guidance of professionals at a reputable publishing house would have helped Eaton to strike a happy medium, because what we have here is what should have been a 400+ page epic crammed into a mere 224 pages, the result of which is a book that feels more like an outline rather than a finished work.

And that pisses me off, quite frankly, because you know what? This book has a hell of a lot of potential. I didn't really get into it until about page 70 or so, but after that I started being pretty impressed with Robert Eaton as a writer. Despite the brevity of this book, he managed to lay the foundation for a really intriguing magical saga, with at least three concurrent storylines, and evoked some pretty badass imagery while he was at it. It would almost sneak up on me sometimes. I'd be like: reading, reading, reading--oh, hey, that's pretty cool!

And while we're on the subject of things sneaking up on me, can I just take a minute to discuss the subtle mindfuckery that goes on in this book? I don't want to give too much away and spoil the story, but let's just say that the person you think you're supposed to be rooting for ends up being, well, not. And someone you assume is only a bit player and basically disregard for at least a third of the story, if not closer to half, actually ends up being of central importance to the plot. The effect is that, by the end of the book, you're left going, "Hey, wait just a goddamn minute!" You totally don't see it coming. Or at least I didn't. I read a lot, and I'm used to seeing the same old tired tropes trotted out over and over and over again, so I thought I knew what was going to happen. I was wrong. And that, I think, is pretty fucking cool.

In the acknowledgements, Eaton states that he wrote this book as a hobby. Well, if this is what he turns out for a hobby, I would love to see what he could produce if he approached a book as a serious, concerted project. And what I would really enjoy seeing is if, at some point, he had the time and inclination to expand this book into the epic it deserves to be, with deeper explanations of the lore involved, the magic and how it works, and those bare bones sections fleshed out to tell a more comprehensive and elaborate story. But I realize, of course, that what I want to happen and what is actually going to happen have never exactly been similar, so I will content myself with a sequel. Please write a sequel? Pretty please?

Hero, as I said, is not perfect. But it is entertaining. For me, it was like reading a Baldur's Gate game. Which is awesome, of course, because I fucking love those games. (And I just found out via the magic of Wikipedia that there are actually Baldur's Gate/Forgotten Realms books as well, and now I'm peeing myself with glee, oh my god. But I won't say that reading this book is like reading those books, because clearly I have never read them and am therefore unqualified to make that assertion.) So if you're a fantasy fan, and especially if you're a fantasy fan who also likes the Baldur's Gate games--or probably any D&D-based game, really--then it might be relevant to your interests to give The Hero Always Wins a quick read. The open ending--which is not to say cliffhanger, per se--may prove a bit frustrating, but with any luck, we can look forward to seeing more (SEQUELSEQUELSEQUEL) from Eaton in the future.


Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

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Manic Mondays -- Paranormal Addict and Proud! by Donna of Booklover's Hideaway.

Angela asked me to write about why I love the Paranormal genre so much. Or the Paranormal Romance genre, to be more specific. Well, that is a good question.



To be honest, I wasn't a fan until just a few years ago, when my niece suggested I read the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. At first I was like, I dunno... At the time, I was a big-time fan of Historical Romance. Yeah, I can hear you now: "Those cheesy bodice-rippers?!" Yes, that's me. I can't help it, I love them. But I decided to give the Dark Hunter series a shot anyway; after all, there is a mixture of Greek and Roman mythology in these books, and I've always loved reading anything to do with that. So I picked up the first book, and that is all it took for me to become obsessed with this genre.



What hooked me? I'm not sure how to answer that. The stories and mythologies were unique...and I have to admit the hot, steamy stuff helped. There's just something about these dark heroes that make you want to sigh. You know, we all crave a bad boy now and again; maybe that was it. Maybe it's the danger these men represent? Or how loyal they are to those they care about? Or is it a combination?



What is my favorite Paranormal to read about? Why, it's vampires, of course. Dark and dangerous and sexy, oh yeah. Here is one example. This vampire is the reason I watch True Blood and have read the books, the Sookie Stackhouse series. Don't you just want him to taste a sample from you? Excuse me while I stare at this picture for while.








Oh yeah, sorry, I'm supposed to be finishing this post.















I have several suggestions if you are interested in whetting your appetite in the world of Paranormal Romance:



1. The Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I cannot pimp this series enough. Kenyon does wonderful job of mixing drama, sarcastic humor, hot and steamy, and Happily Ever Afters. In the Dark Hunter world, there are not just vampires, there are werewolves, and gods and goddesses.






















2. Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. This is another series that is a must buy for me. Her vampires are a tortured bunch, but they are really good.





















3. The Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter. This is another series that has a mixture of Greek mythology and vampires. These tortured souls possess a demon; for example, Pain, Wrath, Lust, and so forth.





















4. The Demonica Series by Larissa Ione. This series is filled with demons and the inner workings of a Demon Hospital. Don't laugh; honestly, this is a fantastic series, not a soap opera.

























I'd better stop now, or this post will never end.



Whether it's the danger, the hot steam that coats the pages, or just a damned good story, I love to just to be whisked away for awhile. Isn't that what we all want from a book?








TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DONNA AND PARANORMAL ROMANCE PLEASE VISIT -- BOOKLOVER'S HIDEAWAY

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Angel Rants 10/1/2011 Schools and Rules.

So I though I might just blog today about whatever was on my mind. And, right now what's on my mind is schools and the differences I've noted in the inner-city and rural districts.

It really amazes me how different they really are and you might think that this is gonna be all about violence and lack of real education, but it's not. It's about the frivolous unnecessary rules based on appearance or style.

I lived most of my life in a small town and went to a rural school that was medium sized and for the most part, from the outside looked pleasant enough. My oldest daughter, up until this year also attended school in this district.

Now, back in the day, and even these days I was and still am somewhat of a rebel when it comes to style and trends. My daughter is the same way. If it's strange or different, she will do it or wear it. Purple hair? Piercings? yes, and yes. Strange clothing, unique jewelery? yes and yes again. Needless to say, I was frequently in trouble for these things, as was she. She wore a tutu over pants to school and nearly got detention. I got told via note from the principle that her hair was a distraction to the other students and the learning process and had to be dyed to a "normal" color within 7 days or she would be kicked out of school. Her pants were too long, she needed new ones that fit properly, (mind you, I'm not talking bout the pants on the ground type thing here where the underwear shows, I'm talking, the girl is simply 4'11 and probably not gonna grow much more so the pants are simply too long.)Or, I needed to take them to the tailor and have them hemmed/altered. If not she would be sent home to change and if she didn't have the "appropriate" pants she wouldn't be allowed in school. Her piercings we not to be worn anywhere on school grounds....

Are you getting the full picture here? Talk about frustrating? I went rounds with the principal trying to understand why such superficial things were so damn important that it would lead the woman to want to keep my daughter from her right to learn! I don't understand how someones hair color or the pants they wear affect the inner workings of the brain?

Well, let me tell you. this woman, (the principal of the rural school district) basically told me I was a piss poor parent, ruining my child's life by letting her be herself and express her uniqueness though style and that I was flat out wrong. I was devastated because I like to think of myself as laid back, open minded and approachable. I feel that's how parent should be to their teens and here is this woman telling me: Nope, you're a horrible mother.

Imagine my surprise when I relocated my family to a big city, Pittsburgh to be exact. I was very apprehensive about the move and the schools seeing as they are "inner-city" Would my kids be safe? Would their education suffer due to inferior schools and teachers? Would the environment be too violent and deter my girls from learning?

I am happy to say that while the school district is a bit rougher, they employ metal detectors everywhere, even in the elementary schools and security forces on grounds all the time, as a whole, they are so much more RELAXED!

There are no stupid rules about what color or style your hair or clothes can be! If you have Piercings so what! You wanna wear a tutu and ballet slippers in the middle of winter, more power to ya! The only clothing or style restrictions they have is nothing overly provocative or sexual and nothing relating to drugs/alcohol/violence/gangs. Otherwise, let your uniqueness shine!

These inner-city schools really have it together, they focus on important issues. children's safety and the core of education, as it should be!

My daughter, has gone from a mediocre student with grades riding steady C's to all of her classes grades at A' or B's, the lowest B being an 88% and that is in math which is her worst subject. She is no longer worried that her appearance is making people judge her. She is allowed to be herself and just relax and learn and not worry whether she "fits in".

LISTEN UP RURAL AMERICA! -- THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE!

Take a pointer from the inner-cities and focus on the important detail and quit ruin our kids lives with your vanity and superficial non-sense! Don't judge a book by it's cover. I know that's cliche but really, when it boils down to it... it is the truth. Outward appearances should have no bearing on a persons worth. Hair, clothes, make-up, piercings, it's all irrelevant in the grande scheme of life so seriously, WAKE UP!

That is all. I just had to get it off my chest. Do you agree with me or not? I am interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions!

I'm out---
Angel

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Angel's Cove Wants YOU

That's right! We are looking for two people to join our staff! Do you have what it takes? What we are looking for is not a tall or impossible order at all we simply need two motivated people with some spare time to help keep things running smoothly around here and timely!

We need one person to run/post MEMES. You would be responsible for posting such MEMES as: Teaser Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday , Follow Friday, On My Wishlist , In My Mailbox I would provide you with the info needed i simply need an assistant to make sure it's done because between contacting authors, reading, reviewing and real life offline crises that come up, I can not seem to keep up with them all. If you would like to fill this position, please either leave a comment on this post with your email info or contact me directly at awallace1973@gmail.com You will be added to the "About Us" Page and become an Angels Cove Angel! (ok, cheesy I know but cut me some slack!)


I am also looking for someone who reads a lot of Romance Novels to sumbit Romance reviews. While The Kobra Kid and I are known to read ANYTHING, looking through our reviews I nticed that we tend to neglect the romantic genre and this will just not do. So We are looking for one person who absolutely loves reading and reviewing the differnt romance genres to join us! As with the above, if you are interested in this position either leave a comment with your contact info and a sample of your reviews or contact me directly at awallace1973@gmail.com


Thanks everyone and we hope to hear from you soon!

Guest Post from Pat Lawrence author of Jarred Into Being: Working Together

Visit the author website which includes an audio excerpt & a one minute video promo; and you can order the book right from there as well. I highly recommend this book! It was wonderful! :) http://www.outskirtspress.com/jarredintobeing




‘Pat Lawrence’ is part of the fiction. ‘Pat Lawrence’ is a pseudonym for our husband and wife writing team of PAT Adsit Burke and Daniel LAWRENCE Burke.




People often ask us, “How do you do that? How do you collaborate?”
• Do you each write a draft and then combine them?
• Do you write alternating chapters?
• Does one of you write the descriptions and the other write the dialogue?
• Do you sit and write every word together?
The answers to these questions are: Not really, No, No, and Definitely Not.




Collaborative writing is like riding a tandem bicycle: one author steers, but both authors provide the energy to move, watch to avoid the hazards, agree on which direction to turn, and settle on the final destination.




Our novel collaborations begin with agreement on a single idea that serves as the overarching theme of the entire work. That theme for Jarred Into Being was that each individual life is profoundly influenced by the lives which intersect and surround it. Next, we agree on the major plot elements that need to occur to craft an interesting story that will illustrate that theme. In Jarred, a young girl’s loss of her parents places her in great peril because the characters now intersecting and surrounding her life want to possess her rather than protect her. The conflict in the novel arises out of the fact that our main character, Eva, is unwavering in her determination not to be possessed, and she continually battles for independence and freedom from the powerful and corrupt forces who would dominate her.




After that, draft one begins in earnest. We create the incidents and the characters which dramatize the main character’s plight. One of us (the partner who steers the bike to continue the analogy above) writes sections—maybe a chapter, maybe several—and submits those to the other partner. That partner reads, edits, searches for flaws, plot failures, and adds suggestions for additions or deletions and returns the sections to the other partner who incorporates the suggestions into the ongoing manuscript. That process continues section by section until we reach what we agree is a satisfying conclusion to the book.




For draft two, we separately read and revise the entire work from beginning to end, and then we each submit our suggested revisions to the other for consideration. Finally, in draft three, we collaborate and discuss all the suggested revisions we have both made and ultimately agree on what emerges as our final version.




This collaboration process works well for us. We enjoy it, and we agree on the most important aspect of writing: always make it interesting. In fact, throughout the entire process we constantly challenge ourselves and each other by asking: “Is that last sentence, paragraph, chapter compelling enough to capture and hold the reader’s interest?” The answer MUST BE “yes.” If the answer is “maybe” we immediately employ our ironclad rule: rewrite.




Ultimately, we both have learned that the two most important words in a husband-wife collaborative writing team are—“Yes, dear.” Happy reading.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Angel Reviews-- Jarred Into Being by: Pat Lawrence

Jarred Into BeingJarred Into Being by Pat Lawrence

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don't give alot of 5 star reviews, most of my reviews fall in the 3-4's cause there is always something missing.

I am happy to say with "Jarred Into Being" nothing is missing! Action, intrigue, mystery, love, betrayal, evil, it's all there and in just the right amounts.

At first you may envy the main character Eva, I mean who wouldn't want to be so exquisitely beautiful? I know as a woman I wish I could be visually perfect! Or at lest I thought, until I read this book. Beauty may have it's perks but as you will soon find out while reading, for Eva, most of the time it is a curse! People want to be her, to possess her and it takes her a very long time and a lot of wrong decisions before she learns how to use what she has to her own advantage.


Without giving too much away, the story has it's typical plot points and triggers, evil doers and supportive charecters, but the thing that kept it from being cliche or mundane was Eva herself. The authors wrote her to suck you in. In this book you are Eva, you see what she sees, feel what she feels, you ache and triumph with her. I found myself screaming and shouting at her, crying with her and laughing and loving with her. Somehow despite all the craziness surrounding her, she never loses her goodness.

I was very impressed with the ending as well. A lot of times in fiction, the authors leave loose ends and unfinished business, or the ending seems contrived, hurried or just not believable. That is not the case with "Jarred Into Being" Everything wraps up tightly and concisely and that is why I give this book a solid 5 stars!

I would recommend this book to adults who enjoy a little bit of twisted evilness and intrigue mixed with love.






View all my reviews

Friday, September 23, 2011

Guest Post: Author Patty Friedmann and Taken Away.

I'd like to welcome Author Patty Friedmann to Angels Cove and welcome her for our very first Guest Post!



In the midst of the biggest natural disaster in American history--Hurricane Katrina--15-year-old Summer "Sumbie" Elmwood's two-year-old sister disappears from the hospital after open-heart surgery and Sumbie is the prime suspect. But in the chaos of New Orleans after the storm, no one is looking for just one little girl. Sumbie must find her missing sister and enlists her two would-be boyfriends to help her, hoping against hope that it's not too late.
Buy on amazon!







********************************************








From Patty....
TAKEN AWAY--But Staying in New Orleans


I never learned to touch type. So during my early neurotic years of writing I sometimes wondered what I would do if I lost my eyesight. I wouldn't be able to put words on paper. Then my grandmother had symptoms of dementia, and I let my neurotic worries shift to thoughts of not writing because I'd lose my mental faculties.
Never in all the time I was writing novels--darkly comic, highly acclaimed, literary, New Orleans-set novels--did it occur to me that I might not be able to write because something would happen outside of myself.
Then it did.

Hurricane Katrina came tearing through my hometown. I stayed for the storm because, rightly so, it wasn't a big deal. The flood that followed, though, was a very big deal. I was trapped, and my city was ruined. A lot of New Orleans is rebuilt now, but the real people here, the true characters who make up the deep-down character of the city that only born-natives understand, well, we're what what one my novels called "a little bit ruined."

As a writer after the storm, as a woman with PTSD, I've been "a little bit ruined." My landscape was gone.

I didn't think I'd write again until agent Charlotte Sheedy came to town with her client Eve Ensler ("The Vagina Monologues") and took me to breakfast and gave me a dutch uncle talk. "Write a young adult novel about a baby who disappears during Katrina," she said.

I'm sure Charlotte, like every New Yorker and out-of-towner in general, expected I'd do a novel about a black child who disappears in the Superdome. But that wasn't what I knew. I knew what it was like to wade in four feet of water in uptown, what it was like to be trapped for a week in 95 degrees in the open part of the city. What happened to white people who might have had resources at one time, but had none after the storm. I wrote about a girl whose baby sister has open-heart surgery three days before Katrina, then disappears in the hospital the night the storm hits.
Taken Away has bits of romance and lots of mystery in it. But as far as I'm concerned, it's my way of using my old voice on my old New Orleans streets to tell a family story that only a native would know to tell.






For More Info Visit: www.pattyfriedmann.com

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Personal Update and Upcoming Reviews!

Hello people! Angel here, I hope you all are doing well. First I want to apologize for my total lack of posting lately but life kinda got in the way of my reading and reviewing! Thanks to my Sis *Kobra Kid* for keepin' up in here and actually posting reviews! I have been out/offline for a bit cause I moved. FINALLY we are nearly settled in a nice house, plenty big enough for all of us and we will be staying put now for a very long time! YAY! Now that things have settled down I wanted to let you all know that I have A LOT of book on my list of up coming reviews! Some I have finished and just not written up my reviews yet and others are still waiting for me to begin reading but I am very excited about them and can't wait to share my opinions with you all! So here we go.... up coming reviews from me....


Canyons of The Soul by by: Charles L Fields

Charles Stone, Boston lawyer and sculptor is retained again by Franklin Life Insurance Company. This time it is more than another dangerous investigative assignment, but one that involves saving the insurance company from financial collapse. Stone confronts Lucas "Luke" Simon, a prominent Mormon insurance executive turned sadistic self proclaimed prophet of a Utah polygamist sect. The confrontation is further complicated by the revengeful acts of a previous antagonist, Brigadier General Jane Meyers. Occult side events, romantic encounters and Southwest adventures add greater intrigue and dimension to this travel mystery. The reader and reviewer should be aware this dual genre allows the author to use greater details, flashbacks and delayed action. Be patient and you will be rewarded.


Zaftan Miscreants Book 2 of the Zaftan Trilogy by: Hank Quense

The Zaftans and the natives from Gundarland are at it again. This time, the encounter is in deep space and two powerful fleets of warships face off. While the fleets challenge each other, two females struggle to survive. One, named Sam, is a new type of android with an organic brain. She is perplexed by her unexpected ability to experience emotions. Her primary one is loneliness since the softie officers she is supposed to work with treat her with open contempt. The only friendly voice on the battle cruiser is the ship's main computer, called Slash 9, and he has turned rogue and plans to evolve to a softie-like state. Slash 9 is also interested in romancing Sam. Meanwhile, Klatze, a beautiful Zaftan officer blessed with talent and ability, a rarity in the zaftan navy, comes to the attention of the fleet's commodore, Gongeblazn. He lusts after her and her continuous refusals to have sex angers the commodore and his lust turns to thoughts of vengeance. Gongeblazn's desire to slaughter Klatze continues after his navy career is cut short by treachery. After becoming a pirate, Gongeblazn's thirst for revenge continues. Sam and Klatze each face unique situations that test their mettle and their desire to survive in the midst of chaos. Zaftan Miscreants continues the humor and satire that set the first book apart from other sci-fi and fantasy stories.


Pride and Prejudice Hidden Lusts by: Mitzi Szereto

Imagine that Jane Austen had written the opening line of her satirical novel Pride and Prejudice this way: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a good romp and a good wife—although not necessarily from the same person or from the opposite sex.” In Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, the entire cast of characters from Austen’s classic is here, caught with their breeches unbuttoned and their skirts raised high in this rewrite that goes all the way – and then some! Mr. Darcy has never been more devilish and the seemingly chaste Elizabeth never more turned on. In this no-holds-barred account, men are not necessarily the only dominating sex. This time Mr. Bingley and his sister both have designs on Mr. Darcy’s manhood; Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte marries their family’s strange relation, discovering that her husband’s pious nature extends to worship of a different sort; and, in this telling, Lady Catherine de Bourgh takes the disciplining of those in the parish very seriously. As for the handsome Mr. Wickham, he’s wickeder than ever! And of course there’s plenty of good old-fashioned bodice ripping that shows no pride or prejudice and reveals hot hidden lusts in every scandalous page-turning chapter. This is the book Jane Austen would have written, if only she’d had the nerve!


Love Child by: A.M. Torres

Tommy Hulette never asked to be born. Everyone wants to make him regret it even so. Tommy Hulette hates his ghetto Brooklyn neighborhood. He's content living with his beautiful mother, his loyal caring father, his little sister Greta. He enjoys playing stick ball with neighborhood friends then really perks up when he meets beautiful and interesting Stephanie from Starrett City. But Tommy's world is shattered forever. His mother becomes terribly unhappy and commits suicide. Things go downhill completely when his father decides he needs time to cope with the tragedy, sending Tommy and his sister to live with a brother Tommy never heard about. He promises that it will be for a short spell until he can come back for them. He doesn't and it doesn't take long for Tommy to discover how this brother hates him and has since birth. He wants to punish Tommy for events occurred long before Tommy's birth...Then it gets worse as he wants Tommy to end his life just like his mother...and to this Tommy is pushed and pushed and pushed... Pushed to the limit, and with no one to turn to, Tommy takes solace in his sister's company and letters he receives from Stephanie. Will he be able to cling to life, and not succumb like his mother?


Jarred Into Being by: Pat Lawrence

THE WOLVES ALWAYS DEVOUR THE SHEEP After the tragic death of her parents, Eva Lange must battle for her freedom; indeed, her very life. Fleeing her aunt's abuser, she falls prey to a murderous drug lord and his wife in their luxurious lair of lust. Using her wits, beauty, and sexuality to save herself and break the bonds of captivity and degradation, Eva struggles against corruption and powerful political forces to reclaim her independence and save the life of the man she loves.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: Meditations

Meditations
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius is not your typical book on philosophy. It does not contain carefully constructed arguments establishing or supporting a particular school of thought, as you might expect, but rather the reflections of a man who was ruler of arguably the greatest empire in antiquity. These are thoughts on the qualities and virtues Marcus held in esteem, on his personal beliefs and his views on the world around him, sometimes religious, sometimes social, and his exhortations to himself to become a better person.

"Whatever anyone does or says, I must be a good man. It is as if an emerald, or gold or purple, were always saying: 'Whatever anyone does or says, I must be an emerald and keep my own colour'."

The original title of the Meditations was, in Greek*, something like: To Himself. Because, in actuality, these writings by Marcus Aurelius were never intended by him for public consumption, but were instead the ponderings and reminders and admonitions from Marcus to Marcus. A rather sophisticated diary, more or less. Therefore, there is a lot of repetition to be found here. Marcus knew his own shortcomings and was continually exhorting himself against anger, to be kind to others, to be content with the life Fate had given him to, and so on. But in between these constant reminders, and the rather tedious recitation of Marcus's** personal beliefs about life, death, and Providence, are a few gems worth digging to find.

"All things of the body stream away like a river, all things of the mind are dreams and delusion; life is warfare, and a visit in a strange land; the only lasting fame is oblivion."

Some of these reflections and philosophical tidbits resonated very strongly with me, as I'm sure they will with others, or at least spark a few deep thoughts and introspection. But I think perhaps the Meditations will be more compatible on the whole with people who share Marcus's particular brand of spirituality--not necessarily the paganism, of course, since monotheism is all the rage these days, but the general shape of his belief structure that has survived the ages. Personally, as an atheist, there was much in this book I simply could not get behind. For example, Marcus believed very strongly in Providence; the gods will provide. He believed they take an active interest in our lives, and that they have spun out the threads of our Fate and determined how they weave into the larger Whole. Those are nice thoughts, I suppose, but not ones I happen to share.

Nor do I share the belief that, because the gods have preordained the course of our lives, we should therefore be content with our lot, regardless, and not complain or wish it were otherwise. That particular philosophy is all well and good, of course, if you're at the top of the hierarchy, but I assure you that the view from below is not so good. When you're at the bottom, it's difficult to accept the men were born for each other mentality, to simply be happy with your shitty life, and not wish it were better or want to change it. Which is exactly why philosophies of this sort were invented in the first place, naturally; because if it's personally beneficial to you to perpetuate a desperately unequal class system, you don't want the lowly wretches beneath you thinking they could ever be anything besides proletarian drudges.

But perhaps I should stop there before this deteriorates into a disgruntled sociopolitical diatribe that has little to do with philosophy. My point is: I guess I'm just not much of a Stoic. I'm more of an Epicurus than an Epictetus, myself, and I think people who find their views aligned more with the latter will enjoy the Meditations more than I did.

That said, however, regardless of your personal beliefs, I feel this book is definitely worth a read for the historical context alone. I mean, how often do we really get insight into the private thoughts of a Roman emperor? (I mean, the really private thoughts, since he never meant anyone else to read these.) And not even one of the batshit Caesars, either, but one of the best loved, who earned the title of "philosopher king" in his lifetime. Surely his Meditations are worth a few hours of your time? If you're a fast reader, and if you skip or skim the notes, you can probably finish this in an afternoon, and perhaps you'll walk away with some food for thought.


*Yes, he wrote his meditations in Greek; I am not confusing my apples with my Romans.

**Marcus's. Ess-apostrophe-ess. Can we just discuss for a moment how concerned I am with the prevalence of Marcus' in the notes of my edition? I'm under the impression that Martin Hammond is from England, though I may be wrong, and maybe grammar is different in the UK, I don't know. But where I come from, since we are only discussing one Marcus, the possessive should be Marcus's. Only if there were two or more Marcuses would the possessive be Marcus'. Honestly. These academics need to learn how to use Google. Type "plural possessive" into search bar, get 1.5 million results in 0.11 seconds. NOT THAT DIFFICULT. (technologicallychallengedduck.png)

Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]


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Friday, July 8, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: The King in the Window

The King in the WindowThe King in the Window by Adam Gopnik

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really wish Goodreads allowed half-star ratings, because I just don't think four stars are adequate to indicate how much I truly enjoyed this book. The King in the Window is a wonderful, imaginative work of children's literature, and I honestly can't believe it doesn't seem to be more popular. I had never even heard of it, myself; I only discovered it by accident while going through the books my aunt had set aside for charity. The title caught my eye first, of course, so I read the first page to see if it sounded like the sort of thing I'd be interested in and I thought, hey, this seems like it could be fun, I should read it before we give it away. And I'm so glad I did, too, because it turned out to be even better than I expected.

The story is about Oliver, an American boy stuck in Paris, who has few friends: Neige, the older girl with whom he is in love, but who is currently not speaking to him; Charlie, who is separated from him by an ocean; and the mysterious Zindaine, who is mentioned but never seen. Oliver attends a rigorous French école, where he does poorly because he doesn't understand his demanding coursework. He is ridiculed by his classmates and treated badly by his strict teachers. And he even feels isolated at home. He is infantilized by his mother, who spends so much time running away from her problems at home that she can't see Oliver is growing up. His father, on the other hand, seems to be standing still; a journalist who has become obsessed with the exclusive that could be the break he needs, he has withdrawn from his family and become a shadow haunting his office and staring into the computer for hours.

This is the lonely and depressing existence Oliver leads. Until the night of Epiphany, that is, when he suddenly becomes the King of Windows and Water through a series of accidents. Or so he thinks, at first. That's one of the things I enjoyed most about this book: the quality of Gopnik's foundation-building and the subtlety of his foreshadowing. Unlike most authors of children's novels, who tend to lay everything out in front of you and give you all the information you need as quickly as possible, holding only one or two things back, Gopnik instead plays his cards close to the vest, and every time you think you're starting to figure things out, he throws something else on the table and shakes things up again. Details that were mentioned earlier in the book, but that you didn't pay much attention to at the time, turn up again later on and end up being more important than ever. It's a method that makes for an ever-evolving and unpredictable story that keeps you guessing right up to the very end, and it is awesome. I love it when I can't put a book down because I can't wait to find out what happens next.

But this book is more than just a lot of fun; it's also educational. While kids are reading about Oliver saving the world from the Master of Mirrors, they can also learn a little about French culture, a little French history, a little of the language, and even a little bit about quantum theory. Along the way on his journey, Oliver visits the Louvre, Versailles, Sainte-Chapelle, and the Eiffel Tower. He meets Molière, Racine, and the Duc de Richelieu. He learns about quanta, about multiverse theory, and also about important distinctions in language: the difference between irony and sarcasm, simile and metaphor, and rhetoric. Important stuff for a kid to learn about, considering there are so many adults who don't even understand things like irony. (Hint: it's not like rain on your wedding day.)

I think the best thing about this book, however, is the message, which I think can be summed up by these two paragraphs:

...Seeing Charlie's face, newly lit with courage, Oliver knew at last what the golden lie was that Mrs. Pearson had promised to tell him about when he was ready. The golden lie was the greatest lie of all--it was the lie you told others about your own courage, in order to make them courageous. And what made it golden, Oliver saw, was that it was shiny, reflective. Your pretending to be brave when you weren't made other people braver than they really were--and their bravery bounced back on you, as Charlie's was doing now, and made you brave. The golden lie was the lie of courage when you didn't have it, which meant that you did, which made you brave.

He found his crown on the floor and, tattered and creased as the paper was by now, he put it on. He understood that to be a king at all it is necessary to act like a king even if you do not feel like a king, and that to be a good king you must first accept your crown, and wear it proudly, come what may. Courage is measured in what you do, not how you feel. Everyone is always afraid. The brave, he knew now, just lie about it better than the rest of us.


Now, some people may object, claiming that this encourages kids to lie. But I disagree, and frankly, I think to say that is to entirely miss the point. What this teaches is not that it's okay to lie, or that some lies are good, or whatever. After all, by the time a kid is old enough to read this book, they're old enough to have already learned that there is a difference between bad lies ("No, Mom, I didn't steal $20 from your purse") and acceptable lies ("No, Mom, that dress doesn't make you look fat"). Rather, what it teaches is this:

Courage isn't something you're born with. It's not something you gain magically, or that comes to you when you learn to stop being afraid. It's not something that some people have and other people don't. Anybody can be brave. Any old kid looking out his (or her!) window can be a king; you don't have to be extraordinary to change the world. All you need is to care about something enough to want to make a difference.

An important message, I think, and one that's far better than the messages kids are picking up from the television every day.

So I suppose it stands to question, if I feel so strongly about this book, why I don't just go ahead and give it five stars. And the thing is, as much as I enjoyed it, I definitely feel there were parts of the story that could have been explained better. There were certain concepts, particularly toward the end of the book, that were not necessarily hard to comprehend so much as they were hard to visualize. Now, I understand that Gopnik was probably trying to control the word count on what is already a rather lengthy children's novel (416 pages, as opposed to the 350 or less that is more common, in my experience). However, if I, as an adult, have trouble following or picturing certain aspects of a story, then imagine how the book's intended audience must feel.

Also, frankly, the very end was pretty sloppy. First of all, by the end of the story, Oliver has been running around Paris for, what, three days without checking in with his parents? His father may have known what he was up to, but since neither of them bothered informing Oliver's mother, why didn't she say anything about it? Am I the only one whose mother would have had several litters of kittens and at least one entire cow had I gone gallivanting around a major city--or any city--at the age of twelve without showing my face at home for three days? Especially after I'd already been caught lying to her about where I'd been and skipping school. My mother would not have given the barest fraction of a shit whether I'd been in the company of some famous, award-winning author, or even the President of the United States himself; if she had found out I'd cut school without her express permission, she would have shot fire out of her nostrils! No joke. And I find it a bit too unbelievable that Oliver's mother didn't have a similar reaction.

Furthermore, speaking of mothers, at the end of the book, Neige's mother is...well, I don't want to have to put a spoiler warning on this, so let's just say she's out of ambit. (Bonus points for Young Wizards reference, y/y?) And since Neige doesn't have a father, that means she's on her own until she can get her mother back, if she can get her mother back, and who knows how long that will take. Does anyone else see the problem with a thirteen-year-old girl being on her own for an indefinite period of time? Does France not have a social services department? Tsk-tsk, Mr. Gopnik, a silly and avoidable oversight.

It's for these reasons that I cannot, in good conscience, give this book a full five stars. However, I do not think that this should at all deter people from reading it.

The King in the Window is inspired and imaginative in a way that reminds me strongly of Neil Gaiman in his ability to create worlds within worlds and to make it believable. Despite being a children's novel, and though it is unequivocally a work of fantasy, The King... is a strikingly credible story about an ordinary boy who does something extraordinary. It's fun, and it's touching, and it's exciting, and it's funny, all in a way that I think should make it enjoyable for readers of all ages.


Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Angel Reviews: Z for Zachariah

Z for ZachariahZ for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


My 15 year old daughter recommended this book for me, and to be honest i was scared to read it. You see my daughter normally reads things like Twilight..and I am very sorry but, that's just not my cup of tea AT ALL! So I opened this book with a lot or trepidation.

This book was amazing. I read it in something like 3 hours from cover to cover. I could not put it down. Very suspenseful! I can see why it was part of her school curriculum. It is well worth the read, not only for the story but also for the life lesson it teaches. I think everyone should read this book.



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Angel Reviews: The Dream Crystal (The Dream War Series, #1)

The Dream Crystal (The Dream War Series, #1)The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It took me longer than I thought it would to finish this book. this is no fault of the authors, just due to life in general. So I apologize for this review coming so late!



This was a good read. Well written and very descriptive and intriguing. One problem I did have was, from the very beginning it grabbed my attention. However, about halfway through it seemed to drag a bit, thankfully a little while later the plot picked up speed again.



Also, I realize this is a YA and I think maybe that's why I didn't relate to the characters very well, I can see my daughter (15) relating to these people though , they were very giggly and a bit materialistic at times, but then again aren't most teens?



The fantasy story itself was what saved it for me. The world the author created was full of imagery and twists and it was very very captivating. I love stories like this but based on more mature charecters.



This does not mean the book was bad cause it was NOT it was just not what I would call age appropriate for ME.



I recommend this for young teen boys and girls who like sci-fi , fantasy and magic!









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Monday, June 20, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: Duma Key

Duma KeyDuma Key by Stephen King

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Excuse me, Mr. King, but what the hell is this?

Jesus, what a mess. Duma Key is the worst Stephen King book I've read since Lisey's Story. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's even worse than Lisey's Story, because while that book was, frankly, retarded and had the absolute WORST plot resolution of any book EVER, it at least had the benefit of suspense. There was a clear and present danger throughout, there was a recognizable Bad Guy (along with a few other things that go bump in the night, as you would expect from Stephen King), and even more important than the fact that you had at least a vague notion of where all this was going was the fact that you could be almost entirely sure that it was going somewhere. In other words, it was what a thriller should be, at least in that respect. Duma Key, on the other hand, was...about a dude painting.

No, really.

This Freemantle dude gets maimed in an industrial accident, moves to Florida, and paints a bunch of pictures. Oh, and he meets this guy who speaks Spanglish even though he's a white dude from, like, Omaha or somewhere, and also an old lady with Alzheimer's. Aaand...yeah, that's about all that happens for almost four hundred pages; Freemantle paints, and everyone is just amazed by how good he is. You only faintly have a sense that some weird shit is going on, and that mostly just because it's freakin' Stephen King, come on. Nothing scary or even particularly interesting happens until about two-thirds of the way through the book, when some fucking creepy undead kids finally show up to scare the bejeezus out of this asshole. Unfortunately, that still doesn't save the reader the horror of what comes next.

Edgar's Big Damn Art Show.

Oh lord.

Maybe I just have no stomach for a bunch of over-educated, over-privileged, pontificating, pretentious fucks standing around jerking each other off over art--or anything, actually--but the whole thing was nigh on painful for me, particularly when Elizabeth showed up and everyone was lauding the Great Patron of the Arts, and then she started giving this horrible, stilted, over-the-top art critique. Ugh. I was actually, literally rolling my eyes by that point. I mean, it all struck me as the sort of thing you'd find in some horrendous dime-store novel, the author of which clearly wishes this would happen to him or her, and who has always dreamed of being the recipient of this brand of exaggerated praise and adoration. Gross. I expect better of you, Stephen.

After that, the real story finally gets underway and King starts elucidating his convoluted plot. Like he could have done TWO HUNDRED FUCKING PAGES AGO. Seriously. And I could have excused the amount of time and unnecessary word-count it took to get there, because I feel like King could have salvaged the book at that point, but instead he chose the single STUPIDEST method of exposition EVER. EVER. And that's what pisses me off more than anything else about this book, to be honest; Duma Key COULD have been good. Perhaps not great, but it could have been pretty damn interesting. A casual inspection of the copyright page reveals the band Shark Puppy as consisting of R. Tozier and W. Denbrough. As in Richie and Bill of the Losers Club. A clear nod, I should think, to the idea that Perse is of a similar nature to Pennywise, the Awful Monster of Awfulness from It. It is one of my very favorite King novels, though I feel there was room for more explanation about the origins and nature of Pennywise, so I was extremely disappointed by what I see as a missed opportunity here to get really meta and expatiate on an existing mythology.

So, in short, unless you're a hardcore Stephen King fan, I would steer clear of this one. The writing isn't up to King's usual quality, and considering that, in most of the book, nothing happens, and the rest of the book is blindingly stupid exposition, Duma Key isn't worth your time.


Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: Why Is Murder On The Menu, Anyway?

Why Is Murder On The Menu, Anyway? (Harlequin Next)Why Is Murder On The Menu, Anyway? by Stevi Mittman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I picked this up and started reading it before I realized that it was freakin' Harlequin. Oy. Definitely not my cup of tea. But the first page and a half or so seemed rather amusing, so I kept reading, because hey, I'm not such a book snob that I can't try new things sometimes. I like to keep an open mind. Unfortunately, my mind isn't so open that I could keep reading past the first chapter. The problem is this: the book reads more like an outline than a novel. I can't understand how Mittman sent this in to her editor and actually got it published. How do these things happen? I mean, it's got potential, yes, and it's funny, but it requires a lot more fleshing out before it can call itself anything more than a rough draft.


Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: Book of Dreams

Book of DreamsBook of Dreams by Jack Kerouac

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have a confession to make: I didn't enjoy On the Road quite as much as everyone else seemed to enjoy On the Road. I'm not sure whether it's because people had forever been telling me how oh-my-god-amazing it is, and thus I went into it with really high expectations--too high, in fact--or if it's because I'm just not a fan of Kerouac's style. Either way, I'm sure it makes me a terrible person, but there it is.

So it begs the question why I didn't simply pass on by when I spotted Book of Dreams on the shelf while raiding my local library. The thing is, I love the idea of other people's dreams. They fascinate me. Myself, I dream almost exclusively about people who never were and places that don't exist, or places to which I've never been (which amounts to about the same, in the end), whereas other people tend to dream about those around them, their loved ones, about the things going on in their lives. They dream about their hopes and their fears and their desires. To experience another person's dream is like having a window into their soul.

Book of Dreams does indeed offer the reader a window into the very private world inside the mind of Jack Kerouac. (Or not so private, perhaps, all things considered.) But that's about all the book can boast, unfortunately. One would expect someone's dreams to be written in stream-of-consciousness or similar style, naturally, but this goes right past SOC into a poorly punctuated, run-on, rambling mess that is extremely hard to follow. Reading it actually gave me headaches until I realized that the trick is to skim through the lines really quickly and just get the gist of the material. Focus on the shape of things, the feeling of it, not the finer details.

Because of this, however, I only really learned two things from this book:

1) Jack had a lot of dreams about failed or abortive trysts with women.

2) Jack had a lot of dreams about queers. (His word, not mine.)

Paging Dr. Freud...

So anyway. Unless you're a dedicated Kerouac fan, or really into dreams and dream interpretation--even more so than I am, that is--I would recommend leaving this one on the shelf. If you must, read On the Road instead; it's about basically the same exact stuff, except it makes more sense, is marginally less rambling, and is easier to follow.


Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Angel Reviews: A Shot of Poison by: Christopher Long

A Shot of Poison: An Insider's Tales of One of Rock's Most Outrageous BandsA Shot of Poison: An Insider's Tales of One of Rock's Most Outrageous Bands by Christopher Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book was for me, a blast from the past. Having lived my life around the "rock star scene" since the age of 15, nothing I read really surprised me...much.



I expected to find out that every guy in Poison could be an asshole on any given day but also that each one had very very endearing points. I think some people: the die hard "My favorite band is ultimate perfection in every way" crowd, may actually be offended by the God's honest truth the writer spouts.



Does he talk smack? Well yeah, he does. But. knowing the scene as well as I do from years as a wanna-be groupie, I believe every word written in this memoir.



If you're looking for sordid tales of sexual debauchery and drug abuse and just flat out mayhem, this book is not for you. If you are looking for a book that shows you the not so glamorous side of the road, the harsh truths of how chaotic and emotionally and physically draining it is for not only the band but the road crew as well, then I suggest giving this a read.



Chris Long shows the band in a very human light, imperfect, egotistical at times but yet very very HUMAN.





I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and will probably read it again and again.











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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Angel Reviews: Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught

Every Breath You TakeEvery Breath You Take by Judith McNaught

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed this book and i don't normally read books set in current times, not romance anyway I'm more of a historic romance kinda girl or fantasy. That being said, this book was really good to me. The characters were vibrant and full of emotion. The man was sexy, even if he was a bit of a cocky asshole and the woman I could really relate to. Her feelings of despair, her lack of trust, the whole emotional roller coaster really touched me on a personal level.

The authors way of writing was very easy to comprehend, very descriptive without being to colorful. Even int he sex scenes, which were just the right amount by the way, she was descriptive without being overly raunchy or cheesy.

There was raw emotion, plot twists and intrigue that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.



All in al this book is great for just about anyone who loves an angsty love story.



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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: The Camelot Caper

The Camelot CaperThe Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was cute. It wasn't cutesy, thank god, just cute. And it was much better than I honestly expected it to be. Maybe I'm a book snob--okay, no, there's no maybe about that--but in my experience, this kind of book isn't exactly the best of style and subtance, which is why I typically avoid them. There are too many books, too little time, and I don't have nearly enough patience to waste what little time I have on reading books that are essentially empty and, in the end, impart nothing to the reader.

However, I found The Camelot Caper in the backseat of my aunt's car one day and started reading it, for lack of anything better to do at the time. (The back of one's aunt's car is not, after all, a very exciting place to be.) So then, of course, I had to keep reading to find out why this broad was being chased about England. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author is actually a decent writer. Not amazing, by any means, but decent. She writes clearly and concisely; she's brief and subtle in the right places, while in others she paints very vivid images without being too verbose, too elaborate, or god forbid, purple.

I was a little disappointed with the ending. The premise just really fell apart, in my opinion, and I had a hard time believing that either side would simply let things go that easily. I feel like maybe Peters had an idea what she wanted to do with this book, but didn't put very much thought into it beforehand, then just tried to wrap up the loose ends as well as she could at the end. However, I enjoyed all the dry, sarcastic repartee so much, and the book is so full of little humorous bits and general snarkiness, that it more than made up for the plot holes. For me, at least. And while there was, in fact, an element of romance, it was very understated and did not gross me out at all. A-plus, Peters.

All in all, an enjoyable read for when you want something quick and light, maybe on a rainy day or when you're sick in bed.


Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]


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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Follow Friday #1




To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
(Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers - http://ninjagirlreads.blogspot.com/
Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Q. It's circle time. Time for us to open up and share. Can you tell us FIVE quirky habits or things about you? We all have them...

My Answer:

1. I can quote way too many lines verbatim from Stargate SG-1
2. Potty humor is highly amusing to me.
3. The stranger the book, the more I will like it. Dark, twisted or downright unthinkably evil plots and sex scenes are totally my thing.

4. I randomly break out singing " IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWNNNN DO DO DO DOOO" For no reason whatsoever.

5. I am a hard person to get to know. I am very cautious and a bit reserved at first. But, once I know someone and trust them, I will go out of my way to help them. No matter what.

So that's my 5 quirks what's yours ? I'm new at the Follow Friday so bare with me.

More Upcoming Reviews!



Angela's bookshelf: currently-reading


Soujon's JourneyAn Angel for EmilyAlwaysForever and AlwaysForeverSomeone to Love

More of Angela's books »
Angela Hupp's currently-reading book recommendations, reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Kobra Kid Reviews: The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia, #3)The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book better than its predecessor, largely because it felt like more of a proper story than, "A girl goes through a wardrobe to a magical land, and here, have some Christian allegory. And how about a bit more Christian allegory, with a side of Christian allegory, topped with Christian allegory?" Aslan is still Jesus, obviously, but he only shows up toward the end of the book, so you don't get overwhelmed by the religious message.

The rest of the book is a fun, fast-paced little adventure with interesting characters to meet and places to see. It sometimes requires a suspension of disbelief, and also suffers throughout from POV issues (I usually loathe third person omniscient, which reads like exactly what it is: a spastic writer with the neurotic compulsion to tell the story from every single character's perspective), but since this is a children's book, rather than something really intended for the more discerning adult, I'm willing to overlook that. Mostly.

Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Author's Spotlight -- Marlee Morgan --Interview

I'd like to thank Marlee Morgan for taking the time to answer our questions!I hope you all enjoy this interview and please pick up a copy of Soujon's Journey.


Tell us about you! where are you from? Family?

I was born and raised in Southern California. I have 2 children, my son in a doctor with the Air Force, my daughter - in - law is a veterinarian. My daughter is a RN working in the pediatric emergency room here in Las Vegas. I have 2 grandchildren, my grandson is 10 years old and my granddaughter is 8 years old. I am owned by very spoiled animals 3 dogs and 3 cats. The two fish behave themselves very well.



How long have you been writing?


I have always written little short stories for just myself. But when I turned 50 years old, I finally sat down and began Soujon's Journey. It took awhile, between working, and regular old life, but she finally got finished.



Who are your influences?

I love Leon Uris, James Clavell, Sue Grafton, Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Lewis Carroll and of course J. K. Rowling. I also love the way Rita Mae Brown, Harper Lee, and Margery William write.

What do you like to read?

I read all sorts of fiction when I have the time. The Oddkins by D. R. Koontz; the comics For Better for Worse by Lyn Johnston; The Pelican Brief by John Grisham; Rebecca, and My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier; and Tai Pan by James Clavell.
Plus so many more

Do you have a favorite author?


Harper Lee, J. K. Rowling and Lyn Johnston. (can't have just one). Their writing really grabs me.

What is the hardest part about writing?


Sitting myself down at the laptop. Ignoring the laundry, dishes, and regular housework.


What is the most fulfilling part about writing?


Actually seeing my story complete. It plays out like a movie in my head, and seeing complete and the story the way it should be it fantastic.


What advice would you give young kids today who aspire to becoming authors?

Keep writing whatever comes into your head. Whether it makes sense or not.


What are you working on right now?

The second story related to Soujon's Journey. Kender's Story is just about complete.


What future works do you have rolling around in your head?

Many. The Teacup Detectives, Melvin and the Toothbrush Room. Plus, something else, but not too sure what it will be


Where can we find out more about you and your works?

I have a website; www.marleemorgan.com