August 29, 2012

Review: Sovereign Hope

Sovereign Hope
Frankie Rose
Hope Series #1
Genre: YA, Paranormal 
Rating: 4

Farley Hope is still dealing with the fallout of her mother's disappearance when Daniel, a mysteriously sexy guy, and the Reavers turn her world upside down. There is an entirely different world of super humans living beneath the city? Farley is a part of some ancient prophecy? What's a girl to do when all she wants is to find out what happened to her mother and get back to her normal life? 

Sovereign Hope is definitely one of the best indies I've read this year and truthfully one of the best in the genre I've read in awhile. Mainstream YA has really let me down the past few years and it is a relief to read something where the characters and their reactions feel realistic and where the heroine doesn't play the damsel in distress. Farley may not be a sneaky ninja, an irresistible vamp, or an all-powerful slayer, but  she still manages to contribute to the group. She doesn't just suddenly find out she has supernatural roots and become insta-cool.  Her character arc shows that she has worked at and earned her badassery. And the best part is she remains relatable. 

I'm not gonna lie, Daniel was what got me to start reading this and although I enjoyed the book for its many other assets, he really made the book for me. He's snarky, and sexy, and tries to keep his distance from Farley and not because, "he is no good for her," but because he can't let himself get to close without risking blowing things for himself. I guess what I'm trying to say here is it's not all about Farley. Too often the heroine dominates the book as far as importance. No other character could possibly be as important as her, she's a super special snowflake, blah blah blah. In Sovereign Hope Farley knows her worth and the worth of her comrades and doesn't take that for granted. 

This was a nice start to a new series that has a lot of potential. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Eternal Hope to see what happens to Farley, Daniel, and their companions!  

FTC Disclosure

I was provided a review copy by the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for the views stated above. All opinions are my own. 

August 27, 2012

Hollowed Blog Tour: Wigs & Wicked Interview Kelley York


 Welcome to Wickedly Bookish's spot on the Hollowed Blog Tour! We have today for all you Wicked Darlings an interview with the author, Kelley York and a giveaway! Wigs and I teamed up for this interview and had a ton of fun. Enjoy!

Wigs and Wicked Interview Kelley York

Wicked: Welcome Kelley! Wigs and I are excited to talk to you about your new book Hollowed! As you know, Wigs reviewed Hushed here on Wickedly Bookish a few months ago and we have been eagerly awaiting your next book ever since! Let's get our readers acquainted with you shall we?

Hi! About me: I'm a California author, and was born and raised here. I write a lot of dark stuff and always have to tell acquaintances and coworkers that, no, they probably shouldn't let their 12-year-old read my books. I play a lot of video games, and I'm married to a gorgeous and wonderful wife.

Wicked: With the release of your M/M YA thriller Hushed, you've really set yourself apart from conventional YA authors, providing more intense plot lines and thrillingly dark themes. Can readers expect more of the same from Hollowed? 

Thank you!! I hope so. It's scary to put out a second book and have readers holding it up to the standards of your first. Because they want it to be as good, or better. Hushed lines up more with my next Entangled book, Made of Stars, in the sense that they're both contemporary thrillers with a M/M pairing. Hollowed is paranormal, but does have an intense plot line with some mystery and thrill.
 
Wigs: You told me that this story is very personal to you, how long have these characters been in your head?

Ages! It all started with the protagonist of the second book, Noel. She's been in my head for about five years. Briar came a little later. I'm so attached to all the characters in this series, and it makes me equal parts nervous and excited to share all their stories.

Wigs: Who was your favorite character to write in Hollowed?

Hard to say, but probably Briar since she's the narrator and I really got into her head. She develops a lot in Hollowed, but she still has a lot of growing left to do. A close second might be Fred. I grew attached to him so he just might show up again down the line!

Wicked: You've gained loyal fans by writing exciting and unique stories that take risks and go where most YA books only dare skirt around.  How have you done this with something so commonly written as the vampire? 

A lot of stories out there—the paranormal romance variety, in particular—focus a lot around the vampires: being a vampire, dating a vampire, what have you. Hollowed wasn't so much about the existence of vampires as it is about Briar, her journey, having to abandon her family/job/home, wanting to avenge her best friend, finding out secrets about her sister and boyfriend, and so on. This isn't a plot that centers around a romance, or a "we can't possibly be together for supernatural reasons."

It's not a vampire book. It's a book that contains vampires. And witches. And sassy gay French shapeshifters. A little bit of everything. I certainly don't think that makes it one of a kind, but I do think it makes it stand apart from a lot of other paranormal YA stories.

Wigs: What would /you/ do if you got bitten and turned into a vampire?

Probably have myself committed because I'd be sure I was going nuts. Otherwise...if I were turning into the Hollowed variety of vampires...I think I could cope. The immortality thing has always looked pretty neat to me.

Wicked: The majority of YA fiction is directed toward straight teenage girls and usually stars an archetypical M/F relationship. I'm just going to come right out and say Wigs and I are big fans of your diversity in this area. 

Wigs: How do you go about determining what kind of romantic pairing you'd like to write about in each of your stories? Does it come naturally or do you think about what the story calls for?

I really, really hate in media—books, television, movies—how it's automatically assumed every character is straight until proven otherwise. I prefer to take the stance of "all my characters are open-minded until proven otherwise." This means, if I feel the chemistry happen between two characters who happen to be of the same sex, I run with it. I let the characters gravitate toward whoever they want.

Hollowed contains a primary M/F romance with Briar and Noah, but there is a developing M/M couple in the background, if you're paying attention.

I've seen comments online about how authors are trying to jump on the "gay bandwagon" because including a gay character in their story is somehow cool and edgy. That's not how it is for me. I'm a lesbian, so I feel comfortable and at-home writing gay couples—whether they're guys or girls.

Sorry...that was longwinded!

Wicked: The cover of Hollowed is absolutely gorgeous!

Wigs: You designed your book cover. Who's the model playing Briar?

Thank you!! I couldn't honestly tell you who the model is. Like most self-pub authors, I purchased a stock image to edit and turn into my cover. I do think she's gorgeous, though. I'm a sucker for redheads.
  
Wicked: I noticed the cover of Hollowed mentions it is "A Half-Light Novel." 

Wigs: Are there going to be more Half Light novels in the near future?

Absolutely! I can't say how many books, because it's hard to tell until I'm writing. The path it follows is a little weird. Book one follows Briar's story, but book two will deviate from her completely to begin someone else's story.

Down the line, their stories will merge into one. I'm still hesitant about doing it this way because inevitably, people will read book two with the expectation of more mention of the characters from book one.

However, I wanted things to happen in chronological order. Briar won't be doing anything exciting until the events of the next book kick a few things into motion. I'm hoping to release the next book around October or November, but that's really subject to change.

Thank you so much Kelley from both of us for stopping by to chat and including Wickedly Bookish on your tour! We would love to have you back for your next novel release!

Thanks so much for having me, and for the awesome questions! 

Hollowed
Kelley York
A Half-Light Novel
Genre: Dark Fantasy

All 18-year-old Briar Greyson wanted was to figure out this whole living-away-from-your-parents thing. Apartment, steady job, cool roommate? Check. Noah, her adorable (albeit elusive) boyfriend? Check. Everything in the life of Briar was pretty good.

Then she and her roommate are attacked on their way home one night. Briar wasn't supposed to survive.


Instead, according to the two guys who saved her, she's turning into the things that attacked her: a vampire. Totally crazy and
Not Okay. Now Noah's secrets are coming to light, and he wants Briar dead. Then there are the vampires who attacked Briar to lure out her sister.

Her sister...who died years ago.


(Didn't she?)


The city's body count is rising, and Briar wants to help put a stop to it. But first, she has to figure out who the real enemy is: the vampires, the boy she loves, or the sister she thought she'd lost. 

About the Author

Kelley writes anything from dark to light, contemporary to paranormal. She was born and raised in central California where she still resides with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets. (Although she does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.) She adores all things furry, be them squeaky, barky or meow-y, is a lover of video games, and likes to pretend she's a decent photographer and artist. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or to at least write about them.



Giveaway Details

This Giveaway is run completely by Kelley and I was graciously provided the rafflecopter code to share with you all. I believe it is international. There are loads of blogs you can follow for entries, including mine at the bottom! If you are already a follower of my blog then that is an easy entry for you! If you are not yet a follower of Wickedly Bookish, of course you don't have to follow, but it would be much appreciated and get you an extra entry in this awesome giveaway! Now go ahead and fill out the rafflecopter! You know you want to.
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August 25, 2012

Taking on the Dead Release Celebration: Guest Post & Giveaway with Annie Walls


Thank you Annie for making Wickedly Bookish a part of your release celebration for Taking on the Dead! I'm dying to read this intense zombie thriller novel so I can review it for you all, but until then, I'm excited to bring you a special guest post with Annie Walls. I asked her to give us a look into the ups and downs of writing zombie fiction and here is her response! Don't forget to enter the giveaway and check out the book blurb at the end of this post!

Writing the Apocalypse: The Good, The Bad, and The Undead

         I’m ecstatic to be a guest on Jessica’s blog! Her blog, well, her blog is wicked! If you don’t already know me, I’ll just tell you... I love all things wicked, scary, gory, sexy, witty, exciting, and more sexy. Anything with one of those, or even better, a combo of those, I’m so there!

            Let’s get down to it. The good, the bad, and the undead on writing zombies. I’m the author of The Famished Trilogy. What?!?! You ask. Another zombie series?

            Um, yes. Another zombie series. What can I say? I love zombies. Writing about them has been no piece of cake, either. Steering clear of any preconceived notion about zombies is hard. Real hard. I mean, come on, the subject is so mainstream, there are books to movies to charity walks to conventions to down right believing a zombie apocalypse will actually happen. Trust me, those people are out there...lurking in the shadows just waiting to have a bloody massacre with the people they despise the most just because they will get away with it. I plead the fifth about being one of those people. I’m not even going to mention the looting part of the deal.

            The good. I can definitely say, I have a unique imagination. If I would have published this story a few years ago, I don’t think I could have gotten anyone to read it. It’s disgusting and grotesque. I even made myself sick a few times while writing it. It’s a VERY good thing zombies are becoming popular, and that people are looking for a different view of things because they get that with the Famished Trilogy.

            The bad. The bad is the same as the good. The popularity of it seems to turning people off. I go to book review sites and immediately see: I DO NOT REVIEW BOOKS CONTAINING ZOMBIES, VAMPIRES, OR WEREWOLVES. Every time I see that, it’s a bummer. I can understand though, I read stuff and it reminds me of something else, and I lose focus of the story. Then it doesn’t have anything special to make it stick out. I forget the names of the characters, the heroine is a whiny damsel in distress, yadda, yadda, yadda. I get it, but that’s bad. For me.
                
            The Undead. What would make my zombie trilogy different? I wouldn’t know. Yeah, I watch zombie flicks. Who doesn’t? When it comes to reading them, I’ve steered clear the past few years. There are very few zombie novels I’ve actually read and liked A WHOLE LOT. Usually you get cheesy/comical, WAY out there without the writing to make it interesting, or it’s just plain depressing.

            The Famished Trilogy consists of action, gore, horror, suspense, gore, romance, gore, conspiracy. It’s an unpredictable vivid world. My characters have depth and mystery. The only thing I can say is read it and find out why it’s different. I hope you love it as much as I do.

 
 
Official Book Blurb
 
Taking on the Dead
Annie Walls
Famished Trilogy #1
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies

Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed.

She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever.

Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.

In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping.

Connect with Annie





Giveaway Details

This giveaway is open to all readers of Wickedly Bookish (INT). One lucky reader will win an ebook copy of Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls provided by the author herself! The Giveaway will run from August 25th - 31st.
 
Entries can be gained in a variety of ways as stated in the Rafflecopter. In order to be fair to everyone, all entries will be checked so please be honest! If I find an invalid entry, it will be removed from the giveaway. As following Wickedly Bookish is a mandatory entry, if I do not find your name in my list of followers, all your entries will be removed from the giveaway. I would much rather skip over this stuff and just get to the fun, but it has happened before, so I need to state it all before the entries are collected.
 
 Winners will be chosen within 24 hours of giveaway's end and will be notified by email. If you are a winner, you will be expected to claim your prize within 48 hours of receipt of email or another winner will be chosen.

To Enter:

 1. Be a follower of Wickedly Bookish
2. Provide a valid email address
3. Be 18 years old or older 
4. Fill out the Rafflecopter below
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August 22, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa
Blood of Eden #1
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Paranormal
Rating: 3

Allison Sekemoto has spent her life surviving day to day in the Fringe of New Covington, a sprawling vampire city.  When she is ravaged by rabids, Kagawa's version of zombies, she is given a choice between death and becoming what she hates most. 

This first book in the Blood of Eden series was a likeable read that fell a bit short of my expectations. The idea of mixing dsytopia with vampires caught my interest right away, but while The Immortal Rules is set in the future, it's dystopian aspects mirror another popular series a bit too closely. The beginning of this book is very similar to The Morgainville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. Vampires have contracted with humans to provide them with protection, food, and work in their cities in exchange for keeping the vamps supplied with blood. The exact same statement can be made for Caine's YA vampire series, except the vampires' power extends to the boundaries of the city of  Morganville. There is also another key element to Kagawa's vampire lore that is also exactly the same in Caine's series, but it is a spoiler for both so I won't discuss it here. The likenesses between The Immortal Rules and The Morganville Vampires series will be painfully obvious to fans of the latter.  This could have ruined the book for me, but thankfully the core structure of the dystopian element isn't the focus of the novel. The story Kagawa tells once Allison leaves the city is one worth reading. 

Once Allison gets past New Covington, the story becomes more unique and enjoyable.  She spends some time surviving in the outside world alone for a time, but it isn't long before Allison meets up with a wayward group looking for the legendary Eden, a sanctuary for humans devoid of vampires and the threats they bring. This was by far my favorite part of the book. Allison is constantly covering up her vampire nature as she tries to maintain her tenuous alliance with the people and their formidable "man of God" leader. I definitely bonded with these characters and experienced some heart-wrenching moments throughout their journey.  

Allison is a breath of fresh air in the YA heroine category. She isn't your average sweet, but misunderstood, pretty princess. Allison begins her journey by becoming what she most hates and proceeds on a progressive and satisfying character arc. This girl is tough and often times stoic in her need to disguise her nature. The best part about her is there is not once an instance of whiny, pathetic damsel in distress syndrome! She is hardly perfect, but she soldiers on and doesn't rely on others to save the day. I'm looking forward to future books staring this badass, lone wolf heroine.

My only complaint about Allison? There is a scene at the beginning of the book that was so cliche I cringed. Allison's vampire sire asks her to pick a weapon from an abandoned museum and what does she pick without fail? Of course! the Asian girl picks a katana as her weapon of choice even though she has no identification with or knowledge of her Japanese heritage. Given, a katana is a generally perfect weapon of choice for any situation, I thought this was just way too obvious and was left shaking my head.

Finally, the book's version of zombies suffer from an unfortunate title. Rabids and rabidism remind me too much of Raving Rabbids. 

 
 
I couldn't help but imagine a bunch of these crazy cute little guys every time the "rabids" appeared in the book, regardless of their vicious and frightening natures. This is obviously hardly the author's fault, it was just something that messed with my overall enjoyment. 

The Final Verdict
The Immortal Rules is a decent start to a new and exciting dystopian series. While the painful similarities to The Morgainville Vampires series are unfortunate and a bit off-putting, the characters, running plot, and lethal heroine will keep readers coming back for more. This could be the start of something beautiful if Kagawa keeps up the excellent character writing and puts a more unique spin on her dystopian world.

FTC Disclosure
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for stating any of the above views. All opinions are my own. 

August 21, 2012

Winner of the Waiting For Daybreak Giveaway!

And The Winner Is...

Margaret Kerr!

Congratulations Margaret! You have won yourself an ebook copy of Waiting for Daybreak by Amanda McNeil courtesy of the author herself! I'm sending your info over to Amanda and you should hear from her shortly!

Thank you to all who entered and thank you to Amanda McNeil for making us part of her book tour. 

 

August 15, 2012

Daniel Revealed!: Interview with Cover Model Collin Atkinson

Interview with Collin Atkinson- model, actor and the new hottie who will be gracing the cover of Eternal Hope, the second book in Frankie Rose’s Hope Series!! 

Frankie Rose asked her readers to help her find the perfect guy to become swoon worthy Daniel Montisauri, and now Operation: Find Daniel is officially over! She would like to thank all of the awesome girls who took part in the operation, please accept this ten minute chat with Collin is your reward!

From Ali of Ginger Reads reviews

What appealed to you about being the cover model for Daniel?

I thought it was a great opportunity and I have a love for fiction, well anything that can get you out of your mind and into someone else’s perspective.

What career would you be pursuing if not for modeling?

Other than modeling I really enjoy medicine and helping people, I’m still in school working toward my biology degree at the moment actually but if I was to still work in the arts I would love to be an actor.

Girls in the States want to know... Boxers or briefs?

Briefs definitely, better support ;)

If you could have dinner with anyone (dead, alive or fictional), who would it be and what would be the first thing you ask them?

I would have to say Zeus, I’m a sucker for Greek mythology and would love to ask him about all the stories that went untold.

From Mel of Girls Hearts Books. 

What sort of modeling do you normally do? Is this your first book cover?    
         
Yes this will be my first book cover, I usually do commercial and editorial modeling along with some events which is why I was so excited for this opportunity!

What hobbies do you enjoy?      

I’m a little nerdy actually, I really enjoy videogames, horror movies, and building computers but I’m from Florida so I also like wakeboarding, boating, camping and all that stuff as well.

Do you see yourself modeling 5 years from now? If not, what are your plans?

I hope so if the market still calls for it, I would really like to be acting at that point, hopefully on a television series!

From Carmen of Book Me!

Hi Collin, Thanks for agreeing to this interview! We in the Book Blogging world love to get to know the guys gracing the covers of our favourite books! Is it weird that your purrrdy face is going to be out there as the physical embodiment of uber hot guy, Daniel Montisauri? And are you prepared for a whole heap of fangirls?

I think I’m ready. I hope so anyway, is there a way to prepare for that? Haha, I think it will be a little weird because many of the people that have seen my photos are local and this will be on an entirely different scale, I think it’s awesome this series already has a fan base.  I’m excited though, I think the book is great and I’m really happy to be working with Frankie!

Do you enjoy reading? Have you read the Hope series? If No, then do you intend to read the book your face will be plastered all over the front of?

I love reading, it’s something I think everyone should do more of, helps you escape from reality and yes, I really enjoyed it and I feel I can relate to Daniel very easily.

What was your reaction when Frankie Rose asked you to be her Daniel for the Eternal Hope cover?

My first thought was holy crap! Then it was…wait is this real! Once she responded I couldn’t wait to get involved further!

Have you always wanted to be a model? And are there any big modeling campaigns that we would recognize you from?

Actually up until about a year ago I never even considered it but a friend of the family told me I should try it and had a photographer reach me on facebook. I don’t have any major campaigns at the moment but I will be doing a shoot for the marketing of Abercrombie this September!

Daniel has been described as brooding and mysterious, while also being vulnerable and completely lovable at the same! Think you share any of his personality traits?  

I would say I’m very similar to him, especially when you first meet me I’m pretty quiet but as I open up I’m very easy to talk to and have a very strong love for all my friends and I think that goes both ways.

One of my favourite aspects of Daniel's character is his obsession with his engines. What about you, ever feel the need to get greasy-with-it under the hood of your car? Or are you strictly a lets-take-it-to-the-mechanic kind of man?  

I actually drive a pickup truck, a black ford f-150 my uncle gave me when I was 16, that truck is my baby haha. I don’t work on my engine per se but I do like to change my own oil, fuel filters, the basics, not on Daniel’s level but definitely not taking it to mechanic right away.

And finally, Collin, the question that thousands of girls, women, and maybe even a few men, will want to know now that you're gracing the cover of Eternal hope: ARE YOU SINGLE? 

Sadly no, I am taken at the moment hahaha!

Sovereign Hope is out now! Eternal Hope is set to be released late October, make sure you catch it. Not only will Collin be appearing on the cover of the next book, but he will also be featuring in the book trailer too! You can like his page and drop by to say hello at 

https://www.facebook.com/bookcollin

August 14, 2012

Winner of the #SWUR Wicked Summer Cover Challenge!

And The Winner Is...

Zara Alexis!

Congratulations Zara! You have won your choice of an Amazon $10 giftcard or a book of your choice from The Book Depository less than or equal to $10. I will be sending you an email shortly!

Thank you to everyone who participated!
 

Teaser Tuesday #27

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading where we book bloggers give you lovely readers a tantalizing taste of whatever it is we are reading right now. To play along:
  
•  Grab your current read
•  Open to a random page
•  Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•  BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser is:
The Watchers
Jon Steele
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
"The sound of striking a match crackled over the line, then a wheezing draw. Harper listened to Gabriel's labored breathing."
pg. 308

 I'm really enjoying this one! Not quite as creepy or thrilling as I was expecting, but the characters and their lives are just wonderful. My favorite has to be Rochat, a kind of Quasimodo belfry keeper at the local cathedral. The characterizations are really well done and you get the distinct tone and personality of each very clearly through Steele's narrative. I think this one is going to end up on my favorites list. :-)

What's your teaser this week?   

August 13, 2012

Wigs Reviews Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

Wrapped
Jennifer Bradbury
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 3

Description from Goodreads: 

"Agnes Wilkins has attracted the attention of one of 19th-century England's most eligible men. When Agnes unwittingly pockets an Egyptian artifact during a mummy unwrapping party, her action sets off a chain of events that bring out dangerous characters--and true love."

2.5 stars, really. I wavered between 2 and 3 stars and I thought, if I were a teacher I'd probably give this a low C, and if 5 stars is A, 4 is B, etc, then 3 is fine. The main issue, for me, was the deceptive description. It was so vague, that what I thought was going to be a book about Egyptology and mummies and such turned out to be a book on Napoleon and espionage and British patriotism. And it wasn't what I wanted. 

The first half of the book felt bland. I didn't care about anything. The lackluster opening scene didn't help at all, she certainly could have chosen anything more gripping than trying on a dress with your mom. And the following chapter which describes the mummy unwrapping party, I felt like I didn't get to hear about the mummy at all and it was mostly about English party etiquette. There was no description where I wanted it to be. And then we launch into our espionage story and I was like oh. But wait, Egypt? 

When we do get back to Egyptology, which is like halfway through the book, it's only on an elementary level, and any kid who had an Egyptology fetish when they were 8 will have already heard this stuff. "This hook takes the brain through the nose." "The scarab is a dung beetle." Blah blah blah. I dunno I was just like what is happening and why is it so basic?

The strangest thing to me was just the oddball habit that the author chose for her character. It's really awkward when the author thinks the character is being cute and you're like "what?" So the character is obsessed with languages, which is fine I guess since it has a bit to do with the story and its ending. However, the character is also obsessed with Jane Austen (which is done to death, but okay.) And she has a weird habit of quoting barely relevant quotes of Jane Austen in different languages at people when she's upset. Oh okay what now? That's uh...pretty strange there. It would have been much 'cuter' if, say, she slipped accidentally into a different language when getting upset, instead of like Jane Austen quotes layered on top of that? It just felt weird and forced and completely inhuman. Like a broken robot or something. Stop with the weirdo quirks.

I tell you what, I am close to swearing off of YA. I just...can't anymore.

But were there any good things? I guess. By the second half things started to get better, there were some nice moments I suppose, like when the character goes out in male drag at night to be in disguise. The love interest is cute enough and appropriate for the protagonist. There was a twist at the end I didn't see coming, I think maybe other people could have guessed by I didn't til close to the end, maybe just because I didn't care to guess either way, haha. The author did a good job at keeping most of the scenes relevant to the overall plot and didn't wander too much, and I would say there wasn't anything wrong with the prose style, although it lacked any sort of flourish as well. 

Basically, it's not too good and it's not too bad. It's just there. If the first half hadn't been so boring, and I had cared more for the characters, and if I had been more aware of what the plot was even going to be about before I read it, instead of expecting a book more about Egyptology, I would have liked it better. But since it was more about an English debutante and being British and French spies and Jane Austen I was just like...meh. If that sounds like something you care about than go for it, but otherwise, don't bother.

August 11, 2012

Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour: Interview and Giveaway with Amanda McNeil


Interview with Amanda McNeil

Thank you Amanda for joining us today and giving our readers a chance to win a copy of your book, Waiting for Daybreak.

Waiting for Daybreak is a book about a zombie outbreak. With zombie fiction being so popular lately, can you tell us a bit about what aspects of your book will make it stand out from all the rest?

There are three things that I think make it stand out.  First, the virus itself.  The virus mysteriously only affects the mentally healthy.  Those suffering from a mental illness are immune.  Second, it is set in the north in Boston, whereas a lot of the zombie tales we see right now are in the south or in the countryside.  Third, the main character is a 20-something city dwelling woman with Borderline Personality Disorder.  She does not have access to guns. She lives in a studio apartment.  How she survives then is perhaps a bit more relatable to other city dwellers.  

Your main character Frieda suffers from depression or a similar emotional disorder. You don't see many heroines with this type of character flaw and I love the concept of her reevaluating her normalcy now that the zombie apocalypse has hit. Can you give us some more insight on Frieda, her depression, and how it plays into this zombie scenario?

Well, when I created Frieda, I decided to give her Borderline Personality Disorder, although I never explicitly say the name of the disorder in the book.  I’ve been fascinated at how readers are trying to figure out exactly what she has.  I didn’t realize it’d matter so much to them!  Perhaps future editions will include an author’s note explaining what Frieda has. 

In any case, people with BPD have a different sized amygdala than the rest of the population.  The amygdala regulates emotions, so a key aspect of the illness is that they feel things more strongly.  The DSM IV (the manual psychiatrists use to help them diagnose mental illnesses) lists nine aspects of the illness.  A person must exhibit five in order to be diagnosed.  If you or your readers are interested, you can see the full listing here, but the primary ones that you see in Frieda are unstable emotions (particularly anxiety and depression), self-injury, disassociation, and unstable interpersonal relationships.

Obviously since the virus only doesn’t affect those with a mental illness, my main character had to have one.  I chose BPD because it is more complex than some others, and I wanted readers to realize that mental illness *is* a complex thing.  I also chose it for those who have it to see a positive reflection of themselves in literature.  Most movies and literature demonize people with BPD, and that is just a reaction to the discomfort of not understanding someone.

Beyond just the fact that Frieda had to have a mental illness in order to be a survivor, her illness plays into every single decision she makes.  Her illness is what made her be at home the day of the outbreak and thus safe from being eaten by zombies.  Her illness gave her anxiety to such a level before the outbreak that she was actually moderately well-prepared for an apocalypse due to her “irrational” fears.  Her intense love for her cat is also what sends her on her dangerous mission across the city that is the catalyst for a lot of the action in the book.

I'm a zombie fanatic so I'd like to take this time in the interview to ask you some fun flesh flavored questions.

If you found yourself in the middle of a zombie outbreak and the only weapon you had to defend yourself with was the item directly to your right... how screwed would you be? (I would be pretty screwed as mine would be a water bottle lol)

Hehe, mine is my reusable coffee mug...so I wouldn’t be any better off than you!

No but seriously, what would be your weapon of choice in a zombie outbreak?

A hatchet.  It takes away the noise factor of guns but you don’t have to get as close as Frieda does with her kitchen knife!

Favorite zombie flick?

Sugar Hill.  It’s a 1974 blaxploitation film in which the main character takes revenge for her boyfriend’s death by calling up a voodoo god and getting a gang of zombies together to attack the gang responsible. It is amazing.

What was your favorite thing about writing a zombie book?

Going for walks and imagining what my city would look like overrun by zombies!

Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring authors looking to self-publish?

Be persistent and believe in yourself and your writing. The hardest thing about self-publishing is the people out there who believe every single self-published book is bad.  This is not true! But you will have to stand up for yourself and your work.  Not in an aggressive way, but in a brave I’m going to put myself out there and let the haters hate way.  You’ll have to grow a thick skin and just hope that with your work will somehow find the right readers for it.  Writing the book is easy. Putting it together for the various distribution requirements (Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace) and tossing it out there is really hard.  Harder than I expected. Prepare yourself for that. Also, never ever ever respond to reviews, whether positive or negative. It will always make you look bad.  Unfortunately, self-published authors actually do have to look at some of the reviews to at least gather up quotes to use in marketing. It’s unavoidable.  But don’t respond. Be ready to close your computer and go drink some wine with some friends. :-)

Thank you, Amanda for indulging me!

Thank you for having me!


Synopsis


What is normal?

Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?


About the Author

Amanda McNeil lives in Boston in a funky attic apartment that used to be a servant's quarters. She, alas, must write by night and work by day. She writes scifi, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and horror and has been strongly influenced by Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Chuck Palahniuk.Her first book, Ecstatic Evil, was released on July 7, 2011. Its sequel is set during American Thanksgiving and the release date is not set yet.Her second book, Waiting for Daybreak, about a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder attempting to survive a zombie-like virus outbreak in Boston, was released on June 4, 2012.You may contact Amanda at opinionsofawolf@gmail.com and find her online at  her blog where she also maintains an up-to-date listing of her published short stories

Connect with Amanda!

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Giveaway Details

This giveaway is open to all readers of Wickedly Bookish (INT). One lucky reader will win an ebook copy of Waiting for Daybreak by Amanda McNeil provided by the author herself! The Giveaway will run from August 11th - 20th.
 
Entries can be gained in a variety of ways as stated in the Rafflecopter. In order to be fair to everyone, all entries will be checked so please be honest! If I find an invalid entry, it will be removed from the giveaway. As following Wickedly Bookish is a mandatory entry, if I do not find your name in my list of followers, all your entries will be removed from the giveaway. I would much rather skip over this stuff and just get to the fun, but it has happened before, so I need to state it all before the entries are collected.
 
 Winners will be chosen within 24 hours of giveaway's end and will be notified by email. If you are a winner, you will be expected to claim your prize within 48 hours of receipt of email or another winner will be chosen.

To Enter:

 1. Be a follower of Wickedly Bookish
2. Provide a valid email address
3. Be 16 years old or older 
4. Fill out the Rafflecopter below
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August 8, 2012

#SWUR Day 4: Progress Update

 
 Day 4 Progress Update

It's day 4 of the SWUR and I'm having tons of fun following everyone's progress and checking out your challenge posts! Here is a quick update on how I've been doing so far.

Finished

Currently Reading

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind - 57%
The Watchers by Jon Stelle: Just started!!

August 4, 2012

#SWUR Show Us Your TBR Pile!

Read-a-thon Signups

Show Us Your TBR

I've had a ton of fun already this morning checking out everyone's Wicked Summer Cover Challenge posts! Keep it up guys! I got to kick off the morning with a challenge to you all, now it is my turn to participate and show you all what I hope to read for the RAT.

In Progress


 Hope To Read


Alright! Hopefully I will get to all of these! I'm also participating in the Netgalley Knockout challenge for the month of August so finishing these would be a great start to that challenge as well. Happy reading RATers! 


P.S. If you are here for the cover challenge, scroll down to the next post! There is still lots and lots of time to play along. :-)