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text 2017-10-16 21:50
Self-Pubs That Shine
The Book of Kindly Deaths - Eldritch Black
Rewinder - Brett Battles
Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper - J.L. Bryan
Paladin - Sally Slater
Haven - A.R. Ivanovich,Michelle Ivanovich
Nightfall Gardens - Allen Houston
Marking Time - April White
Slumber - Samantha Young
Timebound - Rysa Walker
Nefertiti's Heart - A.W. Exley

Most of us these days are aware of the flood of self-pubbed books and how difficult it can be to find a gem in the sea of mediocrity.  We often see reviews of the sub-par and/or reports of unethical marketing schemes or unprofessional behavior on the part of some authors.

But some of us who have stuck a toe or two into those waters have come across a few gems.  I thought it'd be good to share a few self-pubbed & small press books I really enjoyed and that I feel stand well among their trade-pubbed counterparts. 

So here are a few I've discovered that I am proud to recommend.

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review 2017-03-07 16:56
Marking Time
Marking Time - April White

Saira Elian is a 17-year-old Californian girl whose English mother disappears while Saira, a solitary parkour free-runner and tagger (hope I got that right!), is out doing her thing in “the tunnels” somewhere under LA. Faced with the Child Protection Services unless she can name a relative who will take responsibility for her, Saira reluctantly tells them about someone in England.

 

That someone was waiting for me when I stepped off the British Airways flight in London: Millicent Elian. I hadn’t seen my grandmother since I was three years old […] My mother couldn’t stand her. Not a big surprise given the way she was sizing me up, probably wondering if I was worth the effort. […] “I see you got his height.” Millicent’s tone was not flattering. “Hello, Millicent.” I knew I should be more polite and call her “Grandmother”, considering she just kept me out of foster care, but she hadn’t really earned the title. “And his manners, too, obviously.” “I wouldn’t know.” […] “I have a car waiting.” Of course she did. Millicent’s fancy gray Rolls Royce waited at the curb outside the airport, and her fancy gray driver held the door open for us. “Home, Jeeves,” she said with total authority. “Jeeves? You’re joking.” “I don’t joke.” Millicent’s expression didn’t change. Jeeves caught my eye in the rear-view mirror and very slowly, he winked. It wasn’t much, that wink, but it was something.

 

It turns out that the Elians are a family of time-travellers, and Saira’s mother, who is normally gone for only a couple of days (or that's how it seems!) is now being held against her will in Victorian London. And that, of course, is where half the story, and most of the adventure, takes place.

 

One aspect of the story that fascinated me was the love between Saira and a young man in Victorian times who had already known Saira in the future in her own time and fallen for her there – or should that be “then”? He, of course, doesn’t know about this yet, and she can’t tell him because the secret of how he came to be still a young man all those years later is just – well … I’ll leave it to you to sort all this out when you read the book, and add only, by way of encouragement, that while the ingredients may not be entirely original (there’s Hogwarts here, and Ann Rice, and Jack the Ripper, and Time Travel) the resulting dish is something different from the usual run-of-the-mill YA, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

(Here's a different cover - I much prefer it.)

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review 2016-02-03 19:30
Marking Time
Marking Time - April White

Saira Elian is a 17-year-old Californian girl whose English mother disappears while Saira, a solitary parkour free-runner and tagger (hope I got that right!), is out doing her thing in "the tunnels" somewhere under LA. Faced with the Child Protection Services unless she can name a relative who will take responsibility for her, Saira reluctantly tells them about someone in England.

 

That someone was waiting for me when I stepped off the British Airways fkight in London: Millicent Elian. I hadn't seen my grandmother since I was three years old [...] My mother couldn't stand her. Not a big surprise given the way she was sizing me up, probably wondering if I was worth the effort. [...]

"I see you got his height." Millicent's tone was not flattering.

"Hello, Millicent." I knew I should be more polite and call her "Grandmother", considering she just kept me out of foster care, but she hadn't really earned the title.

"And his manners, too, obviously."

"I wouldn't know."

[...]

"I have a car waiting." Of course she did. Millicent's fancy gray Rolls Royce waited at the curb outside the airport, and her fancy gray driver held the door open for us.

"Home, Jeeves," she said with total authority.

"Jeeves? You're joking."

"I don't joke." Millicent's expression didn't change.

Jeeves caught my eye in the rear-view mirror and very slowly, he winked. It wasn't much, that wink, but it was something.

 

It turns out that the Elians are a family of time-travellers, and Saira's mother, who is normally gone for only a couple of days (or so it seems!) is now being held against her will in Victorian London. And that, of course, is where half the story, and most of the adventure, takes place.

 

One aspect of the story that fascinated me was the love between Saira and a young man in Victorian times who had already known Saira in the future in her own time and fallen for her there – or should that be "then"? He, of course, doesn't know about this yet, and she can't tell him because the secret of how he came to be still a young man all those years later is just – well ...

 

I'll leave it to you to sort all this out when you read the book, and add only, by way of encouragement, that while the ingredients may not be entirely original (there's Hogwarts here, and Ann Rice, and Jack the Ripper, and Time Travel) the resulting dish is something different from the usual run-of-the-mill YA, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

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review 2016-01-26 19:36
#WagingWar: These are a few of my favorite things...
Waging War (The Immortal Descendants Book 4) - April White,Angela Houle

 

I can’t remember what made me pick up Marking Time, the first book of The Immortal Descendants series. Whatever the reason, it was most certainly a moment of brilliant insight on my part. Way to go me!

 

Each book in the series has been great fun to read, and Waging War didn't disappoint. Time travelers, good guys, bad guys, shape shifters, vampires, action, drama, love, happiness, sadness, highs, lows, history, WWII, code breaking, Bletchley Park...seriously, it’s like taking all the coolest things and putting them into one book!

 

Hmm…

 

…I wonder if I could talk April into working in some kind of original advanced magic system and sending everyone into space?

 

Probably not.

 

With or without magic and space travel, The Immortal Descendants series is great fun.  Start with Marking Time, and then get to Waging War as quickly as possible. I’m certain book 5, Cheating Death, isn't far away. At least, it had better not be—not with that ending!  (Can you really have a true cliff hanger when your book is about time travel? Just saying.)

 

Did I mention Marking Time is free?  Seriously people.  This isn't a hard decision.

 

Click here and then email me to say thanks:

 

http://amzn.com/B009ZC6666

 

Happy reading friends!

 

The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

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text 2015-05-11 22:05
Series I Plan on Reading/Finishing This Summer
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Across the Universe - Beth Revis
Ruby Red - Kerstin Gier
Marking Time - April White
Mistborn: The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson
Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
Doon - Lorie Langdon,Carey Corp
The Kiss of Deception - Mary E. Pearson
Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige
The 100 - Kass Morgan

The summer break is upon us and as I finish up this years course work I am already trying to discern which series' I need to consume over break. I have decided on the following...so far:

 

The Lunar Chronicles Series (Not Started)     Marissa Meyer

Across the Universe Series (Not Started)        Beth Revis

The Ruby Red Trilogy  (Not Started)               Kerstin Gier

The Marking Time Trilogy (Started)                 April White

The Mistborn Trilogy (Started)                        Brandon Sanderson

The Throne of Glass Series (Started)            Sarah J. Maas

The Doon Series (Not Started)                       Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

The Remnant Chronicles (Not Started)          Mary E. Pearson

The Dorothy Must Dies Series (Not Started)  Danielle Paige

The 100 Series (Not Started)                         Kass Morgan

The Gone Series (Not Started)                      Michael Grant

The Unwind Series (Not Started)                   Neal Shusterman

The Divergent Trilogy (Started)                     Veronica Roth

The Winner's Curse Series (Not Started)      Marie Rutkoski

The Champion Series (Started)                    Marie Lu

The Raven Cycle Series (Not Started)          Maggie Stiefvater

The Chaos Walking Series (Not Started)      Patrick Ness

The Forensic Mysteries Series (Not Started)Alane Ferguson

The Infernal Devices (Not Started)               Cassandra Clare

 

Looks like I have a lot to read this summer! This isn't even half of the books I would like to read this summer. I would also like to read the Outlander Series by: Diana Gabaldon. I don't know how much of this I will accomplish, but I am excited to find out! There are also a couple of standalone novels I want to read and a couple of non-fiction books. I will probably hold off on The Book Thief until summer starts as well. I'm finding it a little slow. I would love to participate in a Read-a-thon this summer, as well! Thanks so much for reading!

 

Have a fabulous day lovelies!

 

Yours truly, signing off!

 

Kenzie

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