Wolf Moon: A Kelly Grazi Novel

  “Hi. My name is Grazi Kelly. There are things I know are true and things that I never would have guessed. First, demons and witches exist and they are evil. Second, the world is up for grabs and the witches are getting their minions ready. Third, I’m a werewolf and it’s my job to stop them.”
High school sophomore Grazi Kelly leads an ordinary life in the suburbs of New Jersey helping her grandmother with chores and attending Catholic school. Things are pretty good except for her bullying cousin and the rest of the obnoxious cheer team. Then things take a frightening turn when the night of the full moon arrives and the bodies start piling up. Grazi learns that she is different in ways she never expected. She finds herself torn between Sebastian, the school soccer star and Ronan, a foreign exchange student who shares her secret. She must uncover the identity behind the mysterious attacker, but is she ready for the entire truth?

This book was perfect until Ronan showed up. I liked the pace and the plot. Grazi was funny and relatable and I liked Angela a lot as well. It’s also a pretty cool idea that these werewolves are protecting the church instead of being hunted by them, and as far as I know that’s also very original However, I had some problems with Ronan. He’s usually not a bad character. In fact, I’m glad they introduced another teenage werewolf and not just because it creates a love triangle. He’s also someone that Grazi can fully relate to and turn to.

But Ronan’s weird.

His character can be inconsistent. A lot of the time he acts and talks like a normal teenage boy. But there are times when he’s completely formal, as if he belongs to another century, and that’s never really addressed. It annoyed me. Grazi can also be annoying when she’s around him, like when she blamed herself for things that happened before she was born and had to apologize to Ronan because she made Ronan tell her. She deserved to know since it was her past and she shouldn’t feel sorry that she asked him about it, nor should she have a huge inner monologue about how she’s a terrible person. This is one of the few instances where Ronan has more common sense than Grazi and he’s as perplexed as I was about why she had to apologize. So I’m definitely rooting for Sebby in this book.

Any fans of Twilight and teenage supernatural romance in general will love this great story.

You can get the story for just a dollar at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/413432?ref=KaraSkinner (If you use this link, some of your money will get donated to charity. Learn more here.)

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Sun and Moon (Netgalley Review)

“In order to stop Predilion, I’ve chosen you, Emily and Ashe, as my champions. I’ve had to use the energy of the stone to trap him here. The power then had to be shifted to a new energy source. The two of you were born to become that energy source.”

Emily and Ashe knew only two things: neither of them had been born with a natural magic in a world where magic ratings counted for everything, and now, after an explosion in the city, they were the only two people with magic and they have to stop an evil Creator named Predilion who has escaped his bonds and intends to destroy everything in the his path. Of course, that’s before they discovered that they are Creators themselves, and need to stop whatever is slowly killing their worlds and many other worlds.

I was actually disappointed in this story. I mean, I know it’s a Netgalley book, so it’s not the final, but this story was definitely a lot less polished that a lot of other ARCs I’ve read. Aside from the formatting issues, the dialogue between Ashe and Emily felt flat and canned and there didn’t seem to be nearly as much character development as there should have been, especially for Blaze and Raelyn, who I felt were kind of dismissed as being unimportant halfway through the story even though they both had seemed very important before then. For instance, why was Raelyn nice to Ashe but not to Emily? We already knew what life was like for those with low rankings, but what about higher ones? After all, Raelyn didn’t have a happy life either even though she was a level six and came from a wealthy family. I really hope this isn’t the last we see of either of them, but who knows? I felt like this story was one big free write wehre the author kept pushing the characters into new conflicts because the word quota hasn’t been met yet.

This story is also Insta-love, between Ashe and Emily, so I’m not prone to like it anyway. After all, it feels like a cheat. Again, I wasn’t reading the official book, but unless it got seriously polished up, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

An Interview with Jennifer Aqualaney

Jennifer Aqualaney, the author of JJ, was nice enough to let me interview her about her book. You can buy a copy of her book off of lulu for only $7.99, which, in my opinion is a great deal. It’s a well-written book that can be both dark and funny, and it’s perfect for YA fantasy fans.

An Interview with Jennier Aqualaney

Thanks for coming onto my blog, Jennifer! To start us off, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I grew up in rural Massachusetts, the only girl with 3 brothers. So, I was a tomboy, unashamedly. I started doing theater because my grandmother asked me to audition for a play with her- she dropped out, I kept on. From there I was hooked on the arts, joining the drama club at my high school and eventually majoring in Lighting Design and Stage Management. 

I’d always enjoyed writing, but it never really occurred to me that I enjoyed it. Which seems silly now, because honesty- who enjoys writing essays at school? 

I’ve always written though, in some form or another- music, poetry, short stories, etc. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet a group of wildly talented people from all over the world thanks to the miracle of the interwebs and through JK Rowling’s site, Pottermore. It was really there and with that group that I started honing my writing and realizing how much it meant to me and that I wanted to write a book. And here we are.

What was the hardest part about writing JJ?

For me, the hardest part was avoiding distraction. It’s easy for me to get sucked into playing on the internet and I felt bad for constantly telling my friends “no” when they asked me to hang out. But I had set a deadline for when I wanted to publish and I was able to stick to it! 

What was the easiest?

The easiest thing was the character of JJ himself. I came up with the idea for the character spontaneously one morning while I was getting ready for work and it was an instantaneous familiarity. I thought of him and I automatically knew his whole story. Everything that happens to him came to me at once. 

His voice is very easy for me to write in and I can tell you all his little nuances that never present themselves in the book. He’s a full person to me, with likes and dislikes that I know down to the most common things like… favorite colors, food, drinks, music, etc. 

Do you have any favorite characters in JJ? Favorite scenes or lines of dialogue?

I am very protective of the title character, JJ. He and Eve are probably my favorites, and it’s their scene when they’re sharing their personal stories with each other that is my favorite.

I actually do have a favorite line in the entire book, and it’s from that scene. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it yet. But it’s the line that starts off: “Her story was written in parallel lines…”

If you were an Enchanter, what power would like to have the most?

That’s a great question! My first instinct is to say Moving. Because, as Daegan says, “You get to lift shit up and huck it at people.” Shifting would also be really cool, though. 

 

What does your typical writing day look like?

It really depends. When I was writing JJ, I didn’t do what some writers might and sit down at a desk and tune out the outside world and just write. A lot of the story was written out long-hand in a notebook on the subway, or when I was at work. Several LARGE chunks were written while I was doing follow-spot for a theater show and I had down-time between cues. My “desk” was my lap, often times. I also did some writing on my laptop, on the couch, with a very cuddly dog trying to vie for attention. 

Are there any writers that inspired you?

I already mentioned JK Rowling, and I would say she is the most inspirational. She creates a whole world with its own rules and then keeps the story within those parameters to help you believe the fantastic. That was what I wanted to do. I wanted to envision not just characters or a story, but an entire world. Something that could be real if you believed. 

 

Any parting comments?

I just want to thank you for having me on your blog for an interview! I love the opportunity to talk about my book and my writing and my characters and I just hope to share their story with as many people as I can. 🙂 

,

(Netgally Review Copy) Bobby Ether and the Academy

Bobby Ether didn’t know there was anything special about him until right before his life went to Hell, when he made an impossible shot in the last few minutes of his middle school basketball game. Then he was taken by a woman named Cassandra who was supposedly there to protect him. When he escaped, he found himself in the safety of a place in China  for gifted individuals called the Academy, where the Headmistress told him his parents had died in a car accident arranged by Cassandra. Bobby enrolls into the Academy, determined to avenge his parents. But soon it is evident that the Academy isn’t all that it seems, and he begins to wonder how safe he is there.

I chose this book from Netgalley because the description sounded really cool, and I was hoping the interesting adventure-promising blurb had more validity than the rather boring cover. However, it took a little persevering for me to really enjoy this book. I mean, I’m all for action-filled beginnings, but there was so much action in the first part of the story, that I couldn’t really get any sympathy for Bobby, not even after his parents died. Then after the action is gone, the story drags a little and it was still hard for me to like Bobby. It wasn’t until he befriended Jinx that I got any real interest for the storyline. However, after that, it’s all awesome adolescent-fantasy-adventure. Jinx is cool in his own nerdy way, and Bobby liking him finally lets me see him as a likable character. The storyline after that gets better as we see that something shady is going on behind the scenes of the Academy and has been for years, and after the great cliffhanger ending, I would definitely read a sequel. So, if this genre is your cup of tea, and you have the ability to power through the beginning, then I definitely recommend it.

You can buy Bobby Ether and the Academy here:

http://www.indiebound.org/book/

(Netgalley Book) Defy by Sarah Larson

If you’ve read my post about The Sanctum Book One: The Girl, then you know that I love badass heroines. And that’s one of the reasons I love Defy by Sarah Larson. That, and it was impossible for me to put down. (“I have to wash the dishes. I have to write. The dog is barking because someone is at the door. For the love of god put down the book already…. one more page.”)

In the kingdom of Antion, there are two places orphans will go: into the army, or into the Breeding Houses, depending on if you are a boy or girl. For Alexa, due to her ability to fight and her brother’s quick thinking, she was able to join the army by cutting off her hair and then later binding her breasts. Three years later, “Alex” is the best fight on Prince Damian’s personal guard. He would be captain, except he was too young to take on the role when he beat the current captain in a sparring match. Only his twin brother, Marcel, knows Alex is really a she, and they like to keep it that way. But when there is an attempt on the prince’s life and Alex is ordered to sleep in a room adjoining the prince’s for his safety, things start spiraling out of control. The prince shows her glimpses of his real self beneath his spoiled, shallow facade, and Alex finds herself falling for him. Not only that, but she’s attracted her her fellow guard, Rylan, and it isn’t long before it’s revealed that both of them know she’s a girl.

This book is really good. It was funny in some parts, and very suspenseful. I thought the love triangle was well-written, and the romance didn’t have much angst to it, but was still sweet, which I liked. I’d recommend this book to any fantasy lover, as well as someone who likes romance.

You can find Defy here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/

The Waters of Iwingee by Griffin Keener

One of the most important parts of a book is a good story, and Griffin Keener’s debut novel, The Waters of Iwingee, has a good story, and a lot of potential. When Kail and Mani’s grandmother and only close relative goes into a coma, they get transported into the world of Milele, where they find out that they are the heirs of Iwingee. They have to go through many trials to get the waters of Iwingee to get back home and to save their grandmother, with the help of warriors, fairies, bushmen, and a magic bracelet, as well as their own smarts and sarcastic wits.

The title of the book intrigued me, and the basic story was very good and fairly original. However, I don’t consider this a must-read book. The humor often fell flat, and the dialogue seemed forced at times, not to mention it was a little narration-heavy. It wasn’t until halfway through the book that I started to actually care about Kail and Mani. The story does get better, but the beginning had a hard time of keeping my attention, and at times it was hard to follow with what exactly was happening. The story was actually like a dream. There are moments of clarity and everything makes sense as long as you don’t question or look too closely at what is happening. Keener has the potential to be a strong storyteller, once he takes the time to hone his skill. But for his first book, I wouldn’t go out of my way to read. But if you have some extra time and a love of fantasy, then you could do worse than The Waters of Iwingee.

The Vampirates by Justin Somper

Most people have read books about vampires. And most people have read books about pirates. But there’s only one series about vampires who are pirates. Vampirates by Justin Somper is a series about two twins, Grace and Connor Tempest who sail away from the town they grew up in when their father died. But only a few miles off shore they get caught in a storm that tears apart their ship and separates them.

Connor Tempest finds himself on pirate ship where he becomes part of the crew, sailing under the pirate rebel, Captain Molucco Wrathe. He’s admired for his athletic ability and quickly becomes accepted by the crew.

But Grace finds herself on a ship where she is kept in the dark and secrets swarm around her. She finds herself sleeping an unusually large amount of time and is only visited by one person: Lorcan Furey, the boy who rescued her. But from her room she hears snatches of conversations about things that make no sense at all. But as her brother was gifted with athletic ability, Grace was gifted with intelligence and it doesn’t take long for her to piece together the truth: she’s on a ship full of civilized vampires, run by a mysterious captain who hides his face beneath a mask.

Somper makes a truly original story where pirates are friendly, and have a government of their own, and vampires live on a ship and feed on volunteers. The Tempest twins must battle a rebel uprising, secrets, petty rivals, and reunite with each other as they figure out the mystery of the vampirates and their father’s mysterious connection with them.

This story is perfect for anyone looking for an intriguing fantasy adventure, whether they like pirates, vampires, or both.

You can find the first book in the series here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/