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review 2017-11-18 05:47
Sunset Bay Sanctuary (Sunset Bay) by Roxanne Snopek
Sunset Bay Sanctuary (A Sunset Bay Novel) - Roxanne Snopek

 

Ms. Snopek makes it hard not to believe in happily ever after. The trials of being human are realistic and painful, but ever the optimist, Snopek finds a way to heal as she entertains. There will be tears, but there will also be moments of hope and that is something everyone needs. Sunset Bay Sanctuary opens the eyes to life's missed opportunities, but it also unlocks the heart to endless possibilities. Informative, innovative, overflowing with that trademark Snopek humor and wisdom, Haylee and Aiden will prove faith can move mountains, if you believe.
 
 

 

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review 2017-08-01 10:33
Einen Hauch zu abenteuerlich und inszeniert
Fire & Ash - Jonathan Maberry

„Fire & Ash“ ist der letzte Band der postapokalyptischen Geschichte rund um den Teenager Benny Imura. Gerüchten zufolge ist die Reihe „Rot & Ruin“ jedoch nicht abgeschlossen. Angeblich kündigte der Verlag Simon & Schuster für 2018 und 2019 jeweils einen neuen Band an. Diese beiden zusammenhängenden Bände sollen im gleichen Setting neue Charaktere und eine komplett neue Handlung vorstellen. Ich fand keine Belege für diese Behauptung, weder beim Verlag, noch auf Jonathan Maberrys Website. Der einzige Hinweis sind Einträge für die Bücher auf Goodreads und ich habe keine Ahnung, woher diese Informationen stammen. Ich werde wohl einfach abwarten müssen, ob sich die Gerüchte bewahrheiten.

 

Louis Chong ist tot. Alle in Sanctuary wissen, dass Benny Imuras bester Freund starb, als er sich infizierte. Nur Benny weigert sich, ihn aufzugeben. Würde nur endlich jemand versuchen, Dr. McReadys Unterlagen oder am besten die Wissenschaftlerin selbst zu finden, könnte das Heilmittel entwickelt werden, das nicht nur Chong, sondern die ganze Welt retten würde. Leider wird Sanctuary von verstockten Soldaten geleitet, denen die Wünsche eines Teenagers nicht das Geringste bedeuten. Benny hält es nicht mehr aus. Begleitet von Nix, Lilah und Riot macht er sich auf eigene Faust auf die Suche nach der letzten Chance, die Chong hat. Draußen im Rot and Ruin müssen sie jedoch feststellen, dass sie nicht die einzigen sind, die sich für McReadys Forschungsergebnisse interessieren. Der psychopathische Saint John und die Mitglieder der Night Church suchen ebenfalls nach dem Heilmittel, das in den falschen Händen zu einer gefährlichen Massenvernichtungswaffe werden könnte. Der Wettlauf um das Schicksal der Menschheit hat begonnen.

 

Wisst ihr, wodurch ich merke, dass mir eine Rezension schwerfällt? Ich merke es, weil ich versuche, mich vor dem Schreiben zu drücken. Plötzlich fallen mir hundert Dinge ein, die ich stattdessen tun könnte. Ich mache mir selbst etwas vor, weil ich zu stur bin, um einfach zuzugeben, dass diese oder jene Rezension eine harte Nuss für mich ist. „Fire & Ash“ ist so ein Fall. Da, jetzt ist es raus, ich bekenne es. Ich kann nur leider überhaupt nicht erklären, wieso. Das (vorläufige) Finale der „Rot & Ruin“ – Reihe ist nicht schlecht. Während der Lektüre empfand ich das Buch als mitreißend wie eh und je und im Anschluss habe ich fleißig Notizen gemacht. Ich war beeindruckt von Jonathan Maberrys überzeugendem wissenschaftlichen Erklärungsansatz für die Natur der Zombieinfektion, der auf mich fundiert recherchiert wirkte. Ich mochte das Motiv der Hoffnung, personifiziert durch Bennys Generation, die Erbe und Schöpfer einer neuen Welt ist. Jetzt sind einige Wochen vergangen und in meinem Kopf herrscht gähnende Leere. Ich weiß nicht, woran es liegt, aber irgendwie hat dieses Finale trotz bewegter Dramatik wenig bleibenden Eindruck bei mir hinterlassen. Vielleicht war die Geschichte doch zu vorhersehbar, denn ich habe nie daran gezweifelt, dass Benny und seine Freunde die Zombie-Postapokalypse überleben werden. Die Frage war lediglich, wie. Vielleicht war es der Schuss des guten, alten, amerikanischen Patriotismus, der meiner Ansicht nach vollkommen überflüssig für die Geschichte war. Vielleicht war „Fire & Ash“ auch einfach etwas arg pathetisch, obwohl ich beim Lesen durchaus das Gefühl hatte, dass mich dieses Pathos berührte. Im Nachhinein hingegen kommt mir Entwicklung, die Benny durchlebt, übertrieben vor. Er erreicht einen Status kühler Klarheit, den ich für unglaubwürdig halte. Ich bezweifle nicht, dass Benny schnell und radikal erwachsen werden musste, doch seine Entfaltung zum idealen Samurai, der eine Kampfsituation und sich selbst gefasst analysieren kann, erscheint mir unrealistisch. Er ist trotz allem ein Teenager. Die positive Seite daran ist jedoch, dass seine Beziehung zu Nix eine für die Young Adult – Literatur recht ungewöhnliche Wendung nimmt, was mir sehr gut gefiel. Unsterbliche Liebe auf den ersten Blick unter extremen Bedingungen war noch nie sehr lebensnah; ich finde es toll, dass Maberry einen anderen Weg wählt, der möglicherweise eine direkte Folge seines vorbildlichen Umgangs mit den Geschlechterrollen ist. Er behandelt Männer und Frauen gleichberechtigt und besonders Bennys Freundinnen beweisen eine Stärke, die alle kruden Ideen der Prinzessin in Nöten im Keim ersticken. Gut, Lilah ging mir fürchterlich auf die Nerven, weil ihre Umgangsformen schlicht inakzeptabel sind, aber nichtsdestotrotz erkenne ich ihre Unabhängigkeit an.

 

Letztendlich weiß ich nicht genau, warum sich „Fire & Ash“ nicht in dem Ausmaß in meinem Gedächtnis festsetzte, das ich erwartet hatte. Es handelt sich definitiv um ein angemessenes Finale und hat viel Positives zu bieten. Der Kampf gegen die Zombies mutierte im Lauf der Reihe zu einem Kampf der Menschheit selbst, gegen religiösen Fanatismus und die drohende Gefahr, die Fehler der Vergangenheit zu wiederholen. Jonathan Maberry erfasst die Konflikte, die sich innerhalb seiner beängstigenden Zukunftsvision ergeben, hervorragend und verleiht der gesamten Thematik der Zombie-Postapokalypse überraschenden Tiefgang. Ich kann nicht erklären, wieso mich „Fire & Ash“ nicht nachhaltiger beeindruckte, obwohl es die vielen feinen Nuancen, die Maberry sorgfältig etablierte, zu einem explosiven, dramatischen Abschluss bringt. Ich vermute, dass es mir einen Hauch zu abenteuerlich und inszeniert war, möchte mich darauf aber nicht unumstößlich festlegen. Diese marginalen Schwierigkeiten qualifizieren sich jedoch als Jammern auf hohem Niveau, weshalb ich nicht zögere, euch die Reihe „Rot & Ruin“ trotzdem zu empfehlen. Die Young Adult – Literatur ist so überflutet von flachen, klischeebeladenen, bedeutungsarmen Geschichten, dass jeder Versuch, es anders zu machen, enthusiastisch unterstützt werden sollte. Jonathan Maberry macht es anders und dafür gehören ihm mein Respekt und meine Anerkennung.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/jonathan-maberry-fire-ash
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review 2017-07-25 02:44
ARC Review: What The Cat Dragged In by B.A. Tortuga
What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary Book 2) - BA Tortuga

Whoever said cats and dogs don't get along hasn't met the feline and lupine shifters of this series. 

What a fun follow-up to the first book! Also, while this could be read as a standalone, you'd miss out if you didn't read about Sam (a panther) and Gus (a wolf) getting together in the first one.

In this book, we have Connor Ragbone, a bobcat shifter, and Brock Herman, a wolf shifter like Gus. 

Connor finds things. Something inside him pulls him in a certain direction, calling to him, even though he never knows what he might find when he answers that call. He never thought he'd have a permanent home base, being a bit of a loner, but he's found a place to come back to with Sam and Gus and their awesome family. 

His current call leads him to Brock. 

Brock Herman is self-sufficient, self-reliant, and basically also a loner. He's working undercover, trying to break up a poacher ring. He has no time for the bobcat that suddenly shows up in the middle of his ops, but the cat just won't leave him alone, dammit.

I laughed out loud so many times reading this book. Connor is a unique character, and I really enjoyed how much he trusts that inner voice calling him to his next find, and how laid back he was, never questioning whether following the call might end up with him in trouble or not.

Two loners - what could possibly go wrong, amirite?

Turns out Connor and Brock are mates, feeling that inexplicable pull toward each other, even if this doesn't fit with Brock's plans at all. The author did a great job not forcing the mating call, but letting Brock ("I work alone, dammit") come to terms with Connor's presence, despite his annoyance, and the romance develops slowly. Sure, UST and sexy times come fairly quickly, but the emotional bond takes time to grow. Well done, that. 

Connor was utterly adorable - I loved him from the start. He's quirky, funny, snarky, and super laid-back, but also quick to lend a hand, smart, and definitely loyal and courageous. His easy-going personality was well contrasted with Brock's more serious and focused personality, and I thought that the two men complemented each other rather well. They worked well as a team, which comes in handy when... nope, not gonna spoil this for you.

The story has action galore, what with the poacher ring, and bears in cages, which culminates in an edge-of-your-seat sequence of events that leaves Connor seriously injured, help from an unexpected source, and the villain... nah, you read this for yourself. 

The author did a fantabulous job with world building in this book and its predecessor, and the specific shifter mythology employed here worked really well for me. There's no magical healing, no mating bond compulsion, and no instant ILYs, but the book sure delivers what it promises - a feel good shifter romance. 

I can hardly wait for the next book in this series. 


** I received a free copy of this book form its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **
 

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text 2017-06-06 03:46
Experiments in Self-Publishing with The Rocker and the Bird Girl

The Rocker and the Bird Girl (RBG) is a novella I wrote on Inkitt, more as an experiment than a serious piece of writing. I wanted to see if I wrote something YA oriented if it would generate for me any of the response this site boasts about. I'd have been happy with comments and criticism, but wouldn't have turned down a publishing deal.

 

Here's the blurb for the story.

 

If someone called Mattie a bird brain she'd take it as a compliment. She loves birds, has spent her entire twenty years surrounded by them and believes they are more intelligent, loving and loyal than, well, most anything else in this world.

 

Mattie's grandfather spent all his retirement, time and funds, establishing a sanctuary for homeless, imported, exotic birds. Now granddad was gone and so was the money to support the sanctuary. In her desperate search for funding to keep the refuge open

 

Mattie had read that lead guitarist and lyricist Bodine, of the notorious rock band, Seditious, owned a Macaw as a pet. The guy was obviously fabulously wealthy. Maybe he'd like to spend some of that money saving these beautiful, precious creatures instead of on drugs and expensive toys?

 

He wasn't answering her emails so she guessed she'd have to try to get his attention at the Seditious concert that was coming to town. She'd never been to a rock concert and wasn't looking forward to it, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

 

***

Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll have taken their toll on Bodine, lead guitarist and songwriter for Seditious, the chart topping, outrageous rock band. He's just playing the part until something better comes along. The problem is what's better than being a rich and famous rock idol? Certainly not helping some over zealous young woman save exotic birds, even if his best friend is a Blue and Gold Macaw.

 

I'd knock off a chapter about once every three days and upload it to the site then promote it on Twitter and Facebook. I kind of got caught up with the characters and the plot and before I knew it they were having their way with me.

 

Once completed, it's a novella, only 20,000 words, I left it up for awhile but had become too attached to it to let it languish among all the dreck. Besides after four months it had received no comments or criticisms and accumulated only about two hundred and fifty reads and eleven downloads. I'm not sure what that means in terms of success on Inkitt, but it was obvious to me nothing was happening.

 

And so, more or less to keep my hand in, and as an offering to my ART members (Advance Reading Team) I've self-published it and even have some ideas about developing it into a series. It was fun, easy to write and I got to addressed some issues. You can become an ART member and receive a free copy of The Rocker and the Bird Girl by clicking this link http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

I'm seriously considering turning RBG into a series. Apparently, novellas are very popular (easily read on your cell phone during a commute), and the characters and story ideas are still resonating with me.

 

All the while I'm still waiting for a traditional publisher to pickup East Van Saturday Night - four short stories and a novella. So far not a peep, one way or another.

 

When it came to self-publishing the e-book edition of RBG I went with Smashwords and Kindle Direct (Amazon) and this time added Draft2Digital (D2D), more so I could pass along the experience to you and the participants of my workshops and creative writing circles since D2D has limited distribution which is more than duplicated by the coverage Smashwords offers.

 

If you think making it even easier to self-publish is a good thing (I'm not sure it is) than you'll love Draft2Digital (D2D). I found uploading my manuscript along with the pertinent details extremely user friendly. They'll even provide front and back matter for your e-book from the information you provide.

 

However, after uploading RBG I received an error message via email from D2D. My book was blocked from being distributed because I inadvertently hit the public domain button when uploading my file. I followed the instructions, went back and made the correction - nothing changed. My book was still blocked.

 

I sent an email message explaining my dilemma on June 1. Two days later after receiving no response I tried to de-list my book. It wouldn't go away. I then decided to reload my book making sure to not hit the public domain button and bingo it went through and got distributed.

 

Now two listings for The Rocker and the Bird Girl appear on my D2D dashboard - one blocked and one published. Compare this to Amazon's Create Space and Kindle Direct who always resolve my issues within twenty-four hours.

 

Three things I didn't bother with in this launch were Kindle Select, Kindle Scout, and Smashwords Pre-order. These highly touted services have generated nothing whatsoever in response for me.

 

My email list continues generate response and I'm getting quite creative with MailChimp about using free copies to increase the membership, like using Instafreebie's one month free introductory offer. Make sure you click the option to have Instafreebie members "opt in" by giving up their email address for a free book.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

 

Links to websites referenced in this blog.

Link to become an ART member http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

Draft2Digital http://draft2digital.com/

Inkitt http://inkitt.com/

Instafreebie https://www.instafreebie.com/

Mail Chimp https://mailchimp.com/

Smashwords http://smashwords.com/

Kindle Direct https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/

Create Space http://createspace.com/

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

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text 2017-04-30 17:38
Readathon Recap
Who Buries the Dead - C.S. Harris
Natchez Burning - Greg Iles
Within the Sanctuary of Wings - Marie Brennan

I ended up with about 12 hours of reading - I got in some good solid reading in the morning, and finished Who Buries the Dead by C.S. Harris - I was at about 60% at the beginning of RAT.

 

After that, I rolled my extra-rolls and figured out my reading strategy. I ended up starting Natchez Burning by Greg Iles, which is a very long book (816 pages) and made it to 61% (540 pages), which burned up (pun intended, lol) most of the day. I also took a break and read about 10% of Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan.

 

I got sidetracked in the middle of the day by yard work, however. It's been an incredibly wet and rainy spring here in the PNW, so we haven't been able to get outside and start the spring clean up of our property. My house sits on an acre, and about 1/3 of the acre is wooded with huge old pine trees, so we get a lot of downed limbs and other forest debris every winter. It's a big project! We also don't have any yard debris service, so everything needs to be burned before the end of the burn season.

 

Yesterday was dry, and the sun even came out for a while, so we decided to burn while the burning was good (burning seems to have emerged as thematically relevant). I dragged an adirondack chair up to our fire ring and sat out and read and tended the fire. 

 

We also just bought a new tool! We bought a battery operated chain saw that works a treat for lopping off limbs and cutting things up. I am here to tell you, fellow readers and individuals of the allegedly more delicate sex, that there is nothing more empowering than wielding a chainsaw. I went mad with power, trimming trees and dragging limbs down to the fire pit to be cut up and burned. It was awesome, and made me feel like a fucking goddess wreaking vengeance on winter.

 

So, yeah, that got in the way of reading. A bit.

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