Wednesday, September 17, 2014

AudioBook Review: Marcus and the Red Granny

Marco and the Red Granny

By:  Mur Lafferty

Publish Date:  November 4, 2010

Format:  PodioBook

Genre:  Fantasy/Science Fiction

Series:  Stand-alone novella

Recommendation:  Go ahead. Read this one! It's fun to see art and words associated with clothing and other senses. And there is more to the story than you realize. You'll see in the end.

Synopsis:
By bringing back the patronage system, a new alien species has transformed the moon into the new artistic center of the universe, and Sally Ride Lunar Base soon gains the nickname “Mollywood.” These aliens can do amazing things with art and the senses, allowing a painting, for example, to stimulate other senses than simply sight. When someone asks a starlet, “Who are you wearing?” she could as easily say “J.K. Rowling” as she could “Gucci.”

Every creative person in the world wishes for a patronage. It’s quite competitive.

Marco wanted one, once. But then his girlfriend got one and shuttled off to Mollywood for fame and fortune, and Marco stayed home, waiting for his own patron. After several years, he gave up entirely. His career faltered. His agent dumped him. And then, one morning, he gets a call. At last he has a patron, at last the aliens want him. But he’s about to find out that an artistic patronage isn’t what it was in the good old days, and that the only friend he’s made, a tiny old woman who’s the star of a blood sports reality series called The Most Dangerous Game, has secrets of her own.

Narrated by Devo Spice. Theme song by Beatnik Turtle.

First Sentence:
"Who are you wearing?"

The scream to the posing starlet draped in deep red silk, even on the tinny cellvid, cut through Marco's hangover like an angry rhino slipping on oil.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

Listen for Free:
iTunes  /  PodioBooks

*I listened to this story for my enjoyment.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Marco was dropped by his literary agent yesterday, the reason he's hungover. Now taking a call from her telling him he's got an appointment with the Li-Jun today on the moon. They want to be his patrons for his work. An amazing deal and a way to get his books out to everyone. But does Marco really want it? The aliens assume he does. On his trip to the moon, Marco meets the influential and friendly The Red Granny. She's a little old woman named Heather, who has gained patronage for the Blue House Marco is called too for being the best at The Most Dangerous Game real tv series.

With being a novella there is lots of building quick. The first chapter hits you with lots of the world and about Marco. Both are intertwined as the world with aliens strongly affects, and influences, Marco and his writing profession.

The Li-Jun is an alien race that combine different senses to bring a new line of clothing and accessories to the human race. One the human race is loving. And a great way to get books out to those who haven't ever read them. A book can be worn along with smell blended with it to bring the feelings and share the story with you.

The Li-Jun assume that Marco will take their patronage as no one turns them down. But they don't share much of the procedure or what they want with him. This is where the Red Granny, Heather, comes in. She helps share some information before it happens as Marco has not read up on what happens in this meetings. Heather is an interesting catalyst here. We see where she came from and her benefit from her patronage. In the end, the pieces slip together and you will realize why Marco had to go through what he did.

I listened to this one on my ipod. I'm not sold on the reading voice for this one. He talked a bit fast for me and I felt there were sentences read as if they were extras and didn't need to be there. But, I loved the aspect of the story and think it would be an amazing read!

This is a novella story with an interesting little twist to it. A whole new aspect and I love this idea! Wearing or eating a story. Who would have thought!?!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thoughts On: The Horde (Ch 1-6)

The Horde

By:  Patrick Scaffido

Genre:  Urban Fantasy Horror

Format:  Podcast, Ep 1 ~ 49:28 mins

Chapters:  1, 2, and 3

Book Synopsis:
www.thehordewilleat.us

The Horde, a mysterious force that brings nightmares to life, devours everything in its path.

Bridan, a lone traveler, seeks the key to the Horde's destruction at the expense of all else- bystanders, worlds, and broken lives be damned.

Cyrack, the Horde's inhuman master, follows Bridan across the Worldcycle seeking Bridan's heart- literally.

Terry is caught between them, dreaming their battles across the blasted wastes of Farrakan from the safety of his dull nine to five life and the arms of his loving girlfriend.

None of this is true.

Terry glimpsed the hideous intelligence hiding behind the struggle and it has driven him mad.

Something watches, hungers, and manipulates events keeping the Horde moving ever closer to the center of creation, leaving only empty husks in its wake.

Planet by planet, town by town, life by life, friend by friend, Bridan makes his way forward.

And as the Horde follows without rest, Terry knows that their next destination is Earth.

The Horde is a genre bending novel incorporating elements of Science Fiction, Epics, Dark Urban Fantasy, Horror, and Surrealism performed in the style of acoustic deathfolk and released weekly as short albums. You've never heard anything quite like it.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Terry is drawn to a world that reminds him of a Renaissance fair. A world where Bridan travels the road, and Terry sees his travels. Bridan is warned that he's not left it behind, it's coming. The next dream shows a storm of a different kind is coming and Birdan will take advantage of its stopping to destroy the village, so Bridan can move on to finish his mission.

This first episode has raised loads of questions for me, in the first 15 minutes. The dream realm Terry is drawn into in his sleep is a fantasy feel but there is something not right. There is troubles here. And Birdan is a man with a past I'm curious to find out about.

We meet Terry and Tanya (in the "real" world) then Bridan, Oren, and another creature affiliated with Bridan's past. There is mention of Cyrack and the Horde that's on it's way.

Patrick is very talented at telling of doings, things, and emotions with more than simply saying so. He tells by using other words giving a descriptive detail and strong feelings.

We really get into the fantasy realm of Terry's dream world. But I get the feeling there is more going on with Terry. Maybe someone manipulating him? But for what and how? The voice makes me wonder these things.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Format:  Podcast, Ep 2 ~ 44:32 mins

Chapters:  4, 5, and 6

My Thoughts and Summary:
Terry is drawn to the dream realm of Faircon. He rather be there than here in the real work, and he doesn't know why as he loves Tanya. Tanya... how Terry finds her at home is sad. Something has come to this world as well. Some history of Terry's long lost being has been awakened.

We learned a bit more of The Devourer, the devouring Horde, from Oren and Bridan. Even a tad more of Bridan as well. There was a prophesy mentioned by Oren... "Nothing can stop the devouring Horde." Yet there was mention of two people that come together in their travels, and it sounds like a description of Oren and Bridan. We learn of Bridan's connection to the woman that attacked them, and that the Horde is after him, for a reason.

Terry has a new form when in Faircon. He flies above, watching Bridan, as a dragon. Terry comes to speak to the Grim Reaper, but not in good circumstances. And what Grim Reaper has to tell Terry will be more than he understands, at this time.

It feels like things are moving fast so far. I'm not sure of time that's passed, but I don't think Terry is either - with the dreaming and the draw to that world. I'm curious as to what the Grim Reaper spoke of with Terry's awakening and the ancestory. And what happened to Tanya! Terry is looking for the secret and magic that could help him with Tanya.

I wonder if Terry and Bridan are the same soul, or connected in some way. There is a dark tool used by the Horde seem like zombies.




You can learn more about Patrick Scaffido's works at her site:

You can listen to The Horde by Patrick Scaffido for free at:
(the whole book is available for listen now)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mythical Monday (60)


It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.


This week we have:
Author Patrick Scaffido
Talking of mythical African Zombies.


Let's talk about zombies. Not your modern movie zombie that shambles in packs, infects with bite wounds, and eats a few brains on the side; but the mythical African zombie, the creature forced back into life against its will as a slave for a twisted and insane master.

In Haitian and African myth, sorcerers control plantations and mines where the enslaved dead work to make the dark sorcerer rich. In secret, the sorcerer uses magic and poison to attack potential zombies and then claims their bodies to reanimate. These zombie masters might be witches or sorcerers, male or female, neighbors or strangers. The terror of the zombie is not just the monster itself, but the malignant being that forces that fate of zombie on someone else.

To be a zombie, you must be stolen. The sorcerer digs up your body then mutilates you to prevent rebellion and speech. Unlike the mindless flesh eaters of Hollywood film , there exists a soul in traction to the master. The victim is still there: tortured and controlled. The idea of a loved one stolen and lost features heavily in the mythology and many stories have family members searching for loved ones only to find them mute and mutilated, one of many slaves. We don't fear the zombie itself. We fear becoming the zombie or finding our loved ones transformed into the zombie. We fear what we might be forced to do when our will is no longer our own.

The zombie represents a loss of control, an enslavement more powerful than imprisonment or shackles or ownership. The zombie shambles through its life, completing tasks it cares nothing for, all to benefit a cruel master. The parallels with an unwanted 'day job' seem forms easily. The barely conscious suburban worker going through the motions of life is played for laughs in Shaun of the Dead but in the tradition of the mythological zombie, we could take the comparison so much further.

This mythical zombie inspires the antagonist Myra in the Horde, a zombie ex-girlfriend of the dark swordsman protagonist who has been turned to a zombie in order to torment the hero. To make her a more viable character, I played with some of the specifics of how zombies were created. Instead of removing her speech, I had the villain leave her the ability to form words she speaks with a harsh rasp, the result of torture at her master's hands. I loosened the control of the sorcerer a bit as well, letting her retain her memories and feelings for the hero leading to scenes where instead of merely following the sorcerer's every whim, she fights the hero due to her own mixed emotions towards him. Intended to be a mix of terrifying and sympathetic, I intend to explore more of what can be done with the master-slave relationship that makes this particular myth so emotionally resonant and frightening for me.

For the Hounds of Tartarus, my story in the Dirty Magick anthology, it began with the idea of what if a man became his own slave and was forced in every moment to follow their ambition instead of being free to make their own choices. I have a human who returns from the grave intent on revenge who repeatedly finds difficulty veering from that course that he was raised for, even as the events change around him and he starts to question his original motivations. A man without self control and reflection can make a poor master of himself, especially when his goals are ill considered. The protagonist of that story is in many ways mindless and without self control, but simply acts out his dying impulses as he walks through his second life.

There's so much as yet unused potential for inspiration with the African myth of the zombie- the relationships between zombie slaves and their masters, the attempts by loved ones to retrieve their family members from this state, what happens to a zombie freed from sorcery. As zombies continue to spread across film and television, I would love to see more stories make use of this much more resonant, emotional, threatening and tragic creature instead of the motivationless plague victim that has become the zombie du juor.

For more on the available tales of the African zombie, I suggest starting with the wikipiedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie), where you can find out about the idea of cultural pressure turning people into zombies and the idea of the witch train staffed by zombies roaming the African railroads.


About Patrick:
I’m Patrick Scaffido. I write, play guitar, sing, and do readings.

I taught for 8 years. Then I got sick. Till I get better, I work on the artsy stuff to keep myself going. I miss helping students.

I’m wrote the novel the Horde, currently being released as a musical through podiobooks and a spoken word story through the Headcast.

I run a Youtube vlog called Morning Coffee.

I’m into philosophy, music history, semiotics, video games, literature, empowerment, nonsense, and exploration. I’m kind of a private person and always felt the easiest way to know me is through my work. If you’re curious about something, ask.

Find Patrick:
Blog:  Thousand Heads
Twitter:  @thousandheads
Facebook:  The Thousand Heads

Books By Patrick:
The Horde  - Links to listen at: http://thousandheads.wordpress.com/the-horde-and-related-works/

Dark Magick anthology

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Post #65

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~

So much for thinking I'd be back this week. *sigh* Kiddo was sick the first half of the week so evenings were spent trying to find something for him to take, eat (if he would), and going to the doctors along with the pharmacy. It's insane how busy the pharmacy is! Then he had a chiropractic appointment and his big sports games. The week was shot before I even knew it.

So, lets start anew this week. Hoping things should flow better as kiddo is on antibiotics and things should (I say should) go along properly this week.

I'm also trying to find that cool story to work on for NaNoWriMo. But I'm not thinking any of my ideas are cool. I think they sound lame.


What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Dirty Magick: Los Angeles edited by Charlie Brown


Current Podcast Book Listen:
The Horde by Patrick Scaffido


Finished Last Week:
Master of Myth by Starla Huchton


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
None finished yet.

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Week on the Blog:



Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)





Posts:

Eternal Wanderings - A kickstarter to continue in this world.

Audio? Podcast? What? Take 4
Audio? Podcast? What? Take 3
Audio? Podcast? What? Take 2
Audio? Podcast? What? Take 1
(These are done but I will pull the information and create a post in the next few weeks.)



Around the Internet...



Reviews:
GIVEAWAYS:




Weekly Posts:

Mythical Monday
Throwback Thursday


~~~~~~~~~~

This Week to Come on the Blog:


Mythical Monday Kerry Schafer sharing about Bigfoot. (Mon)

Book Review The Horde (1st 6 chpaters) by Patrick Scaffido (Tue)
Book Review Marco and the Red Granny by Mur Lafferty (Wed)

~~~~~~~~~~

Received Last Weeks:


Review:


For Review Consideration:
The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Goodreads Synopsis:
Lucy Trenton's ability to sense majick is one of her most dangerous secrets. But only one.

A blackmailer knows the other.

Suddenly, Lucy is caught in a treasonous plot to destroy the crown, and she's trapped in the tentacles of a desperate, destructive majick. Her only hope is ship captain Marten Thorpe, who--by every account--cannot be trusted. With time running out, Lucy must find a way to win a dangerous game or lose everything she holds dear.


Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:



Free Ebooks:
(Kindle)
Carrots by Colleen Helme
Goodreads Synopsis:
Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children. All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber's mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover. Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer. The next thing she knows, she's lying on the floor with a bullet wound to her head. Luckily, the bullet only grazes her scalp, and she doesn't suspect any lasting affects until later, when she suddenly 'hears' what people are thinking. With this uncanny ability, her life takes on a whole new dimension. Her kids think she's bossy and too old to understand them, but that's nothing compared to her husband. He says he loves her, but what is it about the redhead at work that he doesn't want her to know? As if that isn't enough, the gunman knows she can identify him, and he's out to silence her forever. In her fight to stay alive, she is saved from certain death by a handsome hit-man with ties to organized crime. This pulls Shelby even deeper into danger, where knowing someone's thoughts can not only hurt her feelings, but get her killed.



Free Audio Books/Stories:


~~~~~~~~~~

Reviews to Come:

Ravenwood by Nathan Lowell - a podcast reading of the book
The Secret World Chronicle: The Hunt by Mercedes Lackey & Steve Libbey (in audiobook while at work)
Rusted Veins by Jaye Wells
Haunted by Amanda Bonilla
The Secret World Chronicle: World Well Lost by Mercees Lackey,Steve Libby, Cody Martin, & Dennis Lee
Tales from the Archives, Vol 3: #2 by Tee Morris, Pip Ballantine, & others.
Tales from the Archives, Vol 3: #3 by Tee Morris, Pip Ballantine, & others.
Harlan's Wake by John Mierau
The List by John Mierau
Tales from the Archive: 4 - Wooden Go to Waste by Sandra Wickham
Tales from the Archive: 5 (part 1 & 2) - Those Dark Satanic Mills by Suna Dasi
Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review: Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream

By:  S.A. Archer & S. Ravynheart

Publish Date:  July 13, 2014

Publisher:  Ravynheart Publishing

Format:  ebook, 116 pgs

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  2nd of season 3 Bastion of Magic series; 1st book ~ Sound and Fury
continuation of Rise of the UnseelieChampion of the Sidhe, and Touch series, along with Into Magic trilogy.

Synopsis:
The third and final butt-kicking season of The Sidhe continues with Requiem for a Dream.

The battle for the realm is coming.
With Donovan missing and the Unseelie scattered, the Seelie prepare for the ultimate battle of magic that may shattered the fragile new fey realm.

First Sentence:
"War? With the Unseelie?" London, his druidess, questioned him with the high pitch hock coloring her voice.

Purchase At:
Amazon

***I beta read this story for the author.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Lugh has declared war against the Unseelie and has plans for who he thinks should be at the heart f the New Realm, and it's not Donovan. Others are learning of the New Realm and trouble is finding it's way here. A Changeling is here, killing and marking territory.

We start eleven minutes after New Realm's creation with London and Lugh, and follow through with others as well in this story. We get POV's from Lugh, Trip, Kieran, London, Malcolm, Deacon, and Donovan. Yes, if you are following the story you'll be surprised to see Donovan in that list. But you'll be thrilled. It's a small part, but he's here - still. It may seem like a lot of head jumping, but it's not. We've read all these characters before in separate stories, now they are all in one with the troubles that are stirring in paradise.

Lugh is making promises to Manannan and to Rhiannon. Lugh seems to have a plan all of his own. Trip is learning the language of the sluagh from an experienced dark elf. Cormac is also trying to talk her into giving in to her dark side and become the darkness, yet she's worried she'll become lost to it. Manannan has set Lugh with a new mission - to close all the portals from other magic worlds. I still do NOT trust Manannan and I struggle with Lugh trusting his king after all he's learned. But Manannan had done something to Lugh some time ago, yet there is a small hope in me that Lugh knows and has his own plans up his sleeves - especially after the end of this story. Oh Malcolm... He's got issues. Serious issues. Malcolm's actions are drawing attention from the fey and sidhe more exactly.

This story is longer than the others before it. In part it's that we get several views of the world as all are in different places and learning important things that, unknowingly, fit together for us to figure out what is happening. The thing I like seeing is their paths crossing by minutes of each other.

We learn something new in this book, the portals. They might have been mentioned in previous books but not as detailed as they are now.

Oh how the past creeps up on us all. And it does here too. But the past is referred to in a way that you are refreshed to what happened.

I'm curious to see what comes of Manannan's plans and Lugh's too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Review: Red Blooded

Red Blooded

By:  Amanda Carlson

Publish Date:  September 2, 2014

Publisher:  Orbit Books

Format:  eARC

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  4th of Jessica McClain series; 0.5 Novella ~ Blooded, 1st Book ~ Full Blooded, 2nd Book ~ Hot Blooded, 3rd Book ~ Cold Blooded

Recommendation:  And on we go, learning so much more of Jessica's world. And Jessica grows more in her powers and knowledge.

Synopsis:
After Jessica's brother is kidnapped and taken to the Underworld, she will stop at nothing to get him back. But before her grueling training is finished, Jessica's power mixes unexpectedly with the circle and she's dropped into the Underworld without protection or her escorts.

First Sentence:
...

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

My Thoughts and Summary:
Jessica is preparing with Tally for her trip to the Underworld to save her brother, Tyler. While trying to learn to harness and eject demon magic from in the protective circle the witches have, Jessica inadvertently activates the doorway to the Underworld. Jessica finds herself in the hollows of the Underworld, all alone. The Demon essence becomes a part of her and she has to learn how to use it. And stay alive in the Underworld that's looking for her. Jessica finds a few unlikely allies while here. Jessica and her wolf are on their toes with where they are, but is it enough to keep her and her brother alive?

Holy Underworld! The plane Amanda has created here is outstanding! There is always something different and new to this land of the Underworld. It's what you expect and soooo much more! The creatures here, the setting and how they live. Wow. I am amazed at Amanda with creating something new in each book. The world is growing to a huge, endless circle here. There are creatures we've seen before and new ones we've not heard of. Boy, do we get a front view of the Underworld.

We meet new characters, and those we have known for some time. Those that we are friend with are here. I will say that half of the book is Jessica alone, then the last half is with our friends. But with Jessica being alone we meet new associates who could make a difference in the world.

If you've read the series thus far, you are probably asking about Selene. Yes, Selene is here. She did go to the Underworld in that book as we saw. And what you see here will baffle you. You will be shocked with what happens. I know I was, and my feelings even...dare I say...softened? You will understand as you read.

I love that Jessica and her wolf are so strong. That Jessica can be a character of her own and stand on her own. Her strength and ability to adapt and learn where ever she is, is amazing and what the story is all about. You learn more of her purpose in the world, the Lycan is here for a reason.

This story has romantic elements, but it's Jessica's story. She has been and continues to be determined and independent. She loves Rourke, but he doesn't define who she is. She will do anything for him and tries to compromise but she is strong willed as well. This is what I love with Jessica, she doesn't rate herself based on the man she's with. She stands on her own two feet (or four if needed). Though, she loves having him with her through everything and thinks of him when not.

Once again, Amanda leaves us at the end knowing there is another phase to Jessica's ongoing adventures. I can't wait to learn more! And at the ending, I wanted to flip more pages to learn about 'her'!

If you are a Jessica fan, you will love this book. On to the adventures Jessica will lead us barreling into.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Eternal Wanderings

...The Continuing Journey if Kara O'Keefe

I'm late at posting this one, but it's a kickstarter (that is fully funded and will happen) that is happening right now. There are some rather cool stretch goals for those that back the project at $5 and higher.

This kickstarter is for an ebook novella, that if interest and love for the series continues, it will be the first of a series to come our way.

"Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has started her first Kickstarter for a project entitled Eternal Wanderings: The Continuing Journey of Kara O'Keefe. A spin-off series to her popular Eternal Cycle trilogy of Irish-themed urban fantasy novels, Eternal Wanderings follows Kara's adventures after she saves humanity from ultimate evil, discovering in the process that she bears the soul of a goddess. The goal of the kickstarter is to write and produce an ebook publication, with a print edition as a stretch goal."


Eternal Wanderings
Description:
The Continuing Tales of Kara O’Keefe

Goddess…human…savior…wanderer.

In just a few short weeks, Kara has become more than she ever imagined and nothing she ever expected. Her life has been touched by both evil and divinity until her very view of herself and the universe is transformed. She bears the scars, but none so deep as Tony DeLocosta’s, evil’s ultimate victim. The woman who is both Sidhe and human and the man who is but a shell, fractured by possession, take to wandering.

Join them on their journey of self-discovery.

Join them on their journey of healing.

Join them as their journey becomes a race as once again evil catches their scent and gives chase.



Be a backer at:  Eternal Wanderings