Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WWW Wednesday (26)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

01. Currently Reading:
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Currently on page 284/1006. Slow but steady! =)

Become by Ali Cross. A story revolving around Lucifer's daughter. So far, it seems she doesn't want anything to do with the family legacy. Very interesting!

02. Recently Finished:
The Mistaken by Nancy S. Thompson. This thriller had me on edge the entire time! Absolutely loved the mafia aspect, love story, and emotional roller coaster that makes up this novel. Look for the review tomorrow!

03. Reading Next:
Purgatory by Tim Dodge. "What would you do if you could go back to Earth after you die?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (33)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• 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!

Become (Desolation #1) (p.8)
     - Ali Cross

He inflicted an endless torment of mental and physical conditioning designed to make me burn as bright as my father.
But my father was the last thing I wanted to become.

Should Be Reading @ Wordpress

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bohemia: Review/Interview

In her debut novel, Veronika Carnaby picks up where the Beat Generation left off.

Set in 1960, Bohemia chronicles a group of twenty-somethings who defy the "ideals" of a mid-twentieth century society to seek creative fulfillment.

In the process, they spotlight the creative path that artists of all mediums tread, all the while depicting the challenges faced by youth in the decade that changed the world.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Veronika Carnaby whisks readers away into a year where artists traversed the world in a passion to create their own path of existence in her novel, Bohemia. As four wayward twenty-somethings band together to travel across England, their journeys are transcribed by Valerie, the main character. 

Valerie is the only constant in the novel that documents how quickly lives can change when one is living with the wind. I liked Val with her deep sense of freedom propelling her forward, into unknown cities, countries, and the need to know what it meant to live. 

Readers will connect with her drive to explore, even though it is a mere, vagrant existence. Valerie is the character that refuses to settle. When she realizes that writing is her art, her immortality, she stops at nothing to spread her work. 

The supporting characters of Bohemia will connect with all readers differently. Each member of the cast offers a different view of the world. I suspect readers will easily bond with those closest to their own nature. Photographers and those that love details will connect with Muffy, as guitar-playing dreamers will align with Lyle. While some readers will have disdain for certain characters, as I did. 

The plot of the novel was one of progression. It is a time-lined story that follows Valerie through her year long marathon of finding life. The prose was beautifully written, though a bit long winded at times, much like the points of Valerie's quest. A wonderful alignment of craft with situation. 

Bohemia is a well-crafted novel immortalizing the journey to discover life as a living thing through 1960 and personal art. 
Rating: 3.5/5

1.Can you describe your book, Bohemia, and tell us what inspired you to write it?  
I answered this question in a previous interview in a way that, I think, summarizes it best: Bohemia is an unconventional account of rebellion, artistic freedom, and youth in the 1960s…something of a Beat Generation-influenced work, if you will. Combine some of my personal experiences along with some of my greatest influences and the end product in a nutshell is the story of Bohemia.

2. How did you create the main character Valerie, and what kind of bond do you think characters are able to make with her throughout the novel? 
I’d like to think that Valerie is somewhat a reflection of myself. That’s not to say that she’s entirely based on me or that I’ve gone through the circumstances of her life per se, but I’ve pinched a lot her struggles, outlooks, and persona from my own life and tailored it in a way that would fit her and the fictional world that she inhabits. Because of that, I think that her experience are quite realistic. She forms enduring personal bonds with some characters, she clashes with others, and she feels lost, confused, fulfilled, determined along the way, just like anyone else would.

3.What was your favorite part of writing Bohemia
The entire writing process is a pleasure, which it should be, anyway. Everything from crafting an idea nugget to writing until I feel like my arm will snap off is time well-spent and enjoyed for me.

4.What do you like to do in your freetime,when you aren't writing?
Listen to music, attend concerts, watch films, read, shop…although I must say that I don’t spend too much time apart from writing. It’s a rarity for me to go but a few hours without it. I don’t consider it work, but rather a passion which I’d never take for granted.

5.How do you take your coffee?
Lots of cream and even more sugar.

Message to Readers: 
I thank those who have taken the time to read Bohemia. For those who have yet to do so, you can get your copy at Amazon and see what everyone else has been chattering about! 

Author Bio:
American author and poet, Veronika Carnaby, possesses a vintage charm that transcends well into her written works. Recognized for her Beat-style prose, her pieces have garnered international recognition after appearing in such publications and functions as The Ed Sullivan Show blog, SESAC Magazine, SXSW, Dan’s Papers Literary Journal, and the SESAC New York Music Awards, among others. Whether penning poems, short stories, or novels, Carnaby infuses her writing with a poignancy and passion for 20th century culture.

A huge thanks goes out to Veronika from The Coffee Pot for allowing me to provide an interview along with the review of her astounding novel, Bohemia

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WWW Wednesday (25)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

01. Currently Reading:
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke. I'm on pg 207/1006. Still have a long way to go.

Bohemia by Veronika Carnaby. A novel focused on four young adults who are growing up in the 60's in a world swirled with art and discovery. So far I'm enjoying the story line.

02. Recently Finished:
HeartsBlood by Carolyn McCray. Loved the story line, just not the end. The paranormal plot definitely had me hooked due to its biological background.

03. Reading Next:
Besides Become by Ali Cross I want to read The Mistaken by Nancy S. Thompson next. Look for the review next Thursday (Nov. 1st). Mafia, murder, mayhem. Won't be able to put it down.

What's revolving around your TBR right now?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (32)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• 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!

Bohemia (p.22)
   - Veronika Carnaby

A strange magic about the thumps and clacks and booms and scats leapt straight off the souls of the crooners into mine. Deep inside, I felt like some void had been filled, like the answer to the world's problems lifted away with the promise of forever.

Should Be Reading @ Wordpress

Monday, October 22, 2012


A woman of science. A man of magic. Hunted for their HeartsBlood.

Dr. Salista Calon knew that she worked in a bad part of San Francisco, but nothing could prepare her for the horror that awaited her at the hospital.

After her best friend is slaughtered, Salista’s only clue is a mysterious man dressed in leather. A man who claims to know not only the secret behind her best friend’s death, but the key to controlling a force that could rend both their worlds...

Blood Magic.

Drawn into a world beyond her comprehension and control, Salista must choose between science and magic. Her mind and her heart.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Carolyn McCray restored my faith in the paranormal romance genre with her novel, HeartsBlood. I loved it! To say the least. 

Salista is a great leading lady as she defies her fear while helping Tyr (the man in leather) track a beast who threatens to destroy the world. She has a strong heart, an intelligent mind, and a uncompromising will. McCray's writing style pulled me in from the first chapter (which was actually last week's teaser) and I was reading at lightening speed to find out what was going to happen. 

The science behind the fiction was astounding! McCray really did her homework and it was incredibly impressive. The plot was so fast paced and intricate that I had trouble keeping up with it at certain times. It was as if I was Salista, thinking everything through, coming to the conclusion at the same time as the main character. 

The idea of essence and intent was creative genius. And when McCray applied it to atoms and inanimate objects, I was even more impressed. 

The only thing not impressive: the love story. Come on, can a girl get a happy ending once in a while? And can feelings ever be reciprocated without an ulterior motive? I must admit, I was surprised by the betraying end. 

But then again, I wouldn't have cared so much if the connection with the main character wasn't so strong. And McCray definitely bonds readers to Salista. Well played, McCray, very well played.  

Rating: 4/5 cups

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Lion In America

Deep in the African jungle where even the bravest are afraid to venture, lies a truth that will propel James through his improbable American journey, if he can come out alive. James a village boy in Africa receives a scholarship to go and study in America and he becomes the envy of the whole village.

His girlfriend Janny is however skeptical of what a long distance relationship can do to love. But when Janny vanishes from the village, James plunges into the belligerent forest at the risk of his life and his American dream. Love transcends all.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Robert Mwangi shares the history and culture of African people in his novel, A Lion in America (1). The story focuses on James, a young man from an African village who loves playing soccer. 

James was a wonderful character and very easy to like. As he travels from his small village to the large cities in Africa to play soccer, readers will see him grow from a boy into a man. His strongest quality is the love he has for others, as that love forces him on a journey to discover who he really is. 

Readers will connect with James based on his dreams, his loyalty, his caring nature, and his unbelievable strength of both body and mind. Mwangi does a fantastic job at bringing readers into a culture that is ever-changing. 

The plot of this novel was more intricate than I first imagined. Not only does it follow James' dream of being a world famous soccer player, but also his journey to manhood through the traditional African way. Mwangi's writing style and descriptive methods show the readers exactly what it's like to be a young man in Africa. It's a beautiful book full of hope and love.

I can only imagine how enjoyable the second installment will be when James continues his journey to be a world soccer star. 

Rating: 4/5 cups

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Becoming Mona Lisa - Book Tour

We are not invisible because the world does not see us. We become invisible when we can no longer see ourselves." In a moment of epiphany, Mona Lisa Siggs, scratches a poignant quote on a lavender envelope. Faced with the daunting choice of saving her marriage, or killing her husband - which modern forensics has made nearly impossible to get away with - Mona decides to make one final effort to rekindle a relationship seriously on the skids.

Cue the birds. Hours into their reconciliation, Mona and her husband Tom, find themselves surrounded by hundreds of crows who have made their home in Aunt Ida's trees. With the help of brother-in-law Robbie, the duo find themselves engaged in radical crow relocation methods. Effort leads to mayhem for the Siggs, as they dodge bird goo, a crazy neighbor armed with a potato gun, and local law enforcement. From the chaos, lessons emerge, those that save a relationship, and shape a life. Becoming Mona Lisa is a delightful story of love and self-discovery, delivered with side-splitting laughter.

About The Author

Holden Robinson, born Catherine Ann Holden resides in upstate New York, in the land of trees, road construction, snow belts, and four seasons. Robinson is a passionate animal activist, and shares her life with six four-legged children. Robinson aspires to merge her love for writing with her love of activism, and is at work on a poignant animal rescue story titled, And Her Name Shall Be Beloved.

Connect with Holden:

Chapter 1 Excerpt:
One - Sunday

My mother once told me if I looked at my reflection long enough, my features would 
become obscure, and I would gradually become a Picasso.  I never asked how long it would 
take, this transition from me to something I didn't recognize.  It may be minutes for some.  In 
my case, it took a few years.  Thirty-four to be exact.
I guess it wasn't that I'd become a Picasso.  I guess I'd become more of a pooka.  A 
pooka is an invisible creature, like the rabbit in the old movie, Harvey, starring the 
incomparable Jimmy Stewart.   
The distinct difference between me, and the pooka known as Harvey, was Harvey had 
always been invisible.  I hadn't.  I'd simply disappeared.  Over time.  
I watched Harvey repeatedly, long before I understood the similarities I'd one day 
share with the big, white rabbit.  
I loved the rabbit, but I loved Jimmy Stewart even more.  Every year, at Christmas, I'd 
hunker down with my mother, father, and my beloved Aunt Ida, and we'd watch It's a 
Wonderful Life, and string popcorn for the tree.  Aunt Ida would watch through cataracts, I 
through tears, and by time the credits rolled, I'd be emotionally spent, and Aunt Ida would 
have half a bowl of Orville Redenbacher's sewn to her skirt.
My mother, ever the teacher, would turn the movie's message into a lesson, one of 
many she'd pass along, and it was her voice I'd most often heard in my head as I battled my 
darkest days.
“Wear good shoes, Mona.”
“Wear good underwear, in case you crash your car, Mona.”
“Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them, Mona.”
I guess two out of three ain't bad.  I wear good shoes, and good underwear.  It's the 
third one I screwed up.
Big time.
I was thinking of this as I pulled into my driveway on a Sunday evening, after an 
uneventful shift at WalMart.  My old Jeep emitted a familiar groan as we pulled into the 
driveway that was once smooth, and now felt like driving a Radio Flyer down a washboard.  
I shut off the ignition and we both sighed.  The old truck and the unhappy wife.
I labored up the sidewalk onto the porch.  My feet crossed the fifty-year-old timbers, 
and the wood moaned beneath my treading.  A stranger's reflection stared back at me from 
the single-pane window, as my hand sought the rusty knob.  I opened the door and crossed 
the threshold, into the abyss that had become my life.
I stood in the foyer and kicked off my shoes.  The linoleum was cool beneath my 
feet, and the loneliness seeped in almost instantly, as if it had been there waiting. It was 
familiar, this sense of emptiness.  
“Comfort in the evil you know,” I once read on the jacket of a book about bad 
marriages.  I had come to a formidable crossroads, left with the choice of saving my 
marriage, or killing my husband, but advancements in forensics had made it impossible to 
kill anyone and get away with it, so I got myself a library card, and checked out every book 
ever written on how to mend what seemed unmendable.  I returned them all, three weeks 
later.  Unread.  
“I'm home,” I called to a silent house.  “Tom?  You here?”
“I'm in the kitchen, Mona,” came the response from the roommate who was my 
“What are you doing?” I asked, finding Tom Siggs at the kitchen table, his nose in a 
crossword puzzle.
“Same old, same old.  How was work?” he asked, as our eyes met, as a recognition 
almost occurred between two idiots in a relationship dying of boredom.
“It was like work,” I said.
“Work usually is,” Tom replied, his gaze back on the paper.
“Dinner?” I asked.
“Dinner?” Tom repeated.
“The meal you eat at night, Tom.”
“I know what dinner is, Mona.”
“Did you want some?”
“I'll light the grill.”
“Awesome,” I said, with no enthusiasm.
Tom left his paper in the waning sunlight, and I took his chair.  It was still warm, and 
I felt sadness and heat creep into my body, joining the loneliness that had settled there.  It 
was almost like being touched by him, but not, yet it was the closest thing I'd had to a 
connection with my husband in as long as I could remember.   
I looked at the man who stood outside my back door.  A man who was once a 
stranger, then my friend, my lover, my husband, a stranger.  A perfect circle, one Dante 
would appreciate.  
What happened?
It was a question without an answer, a complex equation with an elusive solution, one 
that could be found over time, if either of us were willing to make the investment.  We 
“I'm troubled about something, Mona.”
The voice was unexpected.  I hadn't heard my husband come into the kitchen.  I 
looked at him, ready to bare my soul to him, willing to make one last effort to reach him.  
“About what, Tom?” I asked, as I held my breath and mentally prepared for the  
conversation I'd wanted to have with this man for years.
“I had to press the automatic starter on the grill four times.  Shouldn't it light the first 
time?”  His brow furrowed in thought, and I stared at him and frowned.  “Bothers you too, 
doesn't it?”
“Yeah, Tom.  I'm losing sleep over it.”
“Jeez, Mona.  It was just a question.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
Tom disappeared through the back door, and I followed him, but only as far as the 
stove.  I filled the tea kettle, and returned to the chair.  
The room was quiet, save the gentle hiss of an old gas stove, readying a pot of Earl 
Grey.  I looked through the window to my left to see Tom performing his simple task.  He 
had become an old man in a younger man's body, a man whose dreams had faded away, 
whose mind was worn from the mundane, a man who lived in a home obese from the weight 
of despair.    
We'd become the perfect husband and wife.  Miserable.  Silent.  Lost in a murky sea 
of hopelessness.  
The kettle shrieked, and I jumped and fought the urge to wail along with it, to finally 
give voice to my misery.  It stopped before I could rise.
“Didn't you hear that, Mona?” my husband asked, once he'd shut off the burner and 
quieted the screaming.
“Lost in thought,” I said defensively.
“You all right?” he asked.
“Not really, Tom.”
“What's wrong?” he asked.
Did I dare?  Did I dare open the floodgates and let it all out?
“I guess I'm just hungry,” I lied.
“Grill's hot.  Burgers should be ready in a little bit.”
“Great.  Thanks, Tom.”
“No problem.  Are you sure there's nothing else wrong?” he asked, looking hard at 
The floodgates closed, and the misery splashed against them.  “No, Tom.  
Everything's fine.”
Tom stood in the corner of the kitchen, looking at the despicable human being who 
shared his life.  
“Was there something you wanted to say?” I asked.
“Not really,” he muttered, before turning away.
He spoke the truth, this kind man I could no longer reach.  There wasn't anything to 
say.  Nothing.  It was the end.  It was only a matter of time.  
I stared out the window, as the water in the kettle grew cold.    
I sat.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WWW Wednesday (24)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

01. Currently Reading:
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Still making progress through this. It's such a long novel that I'm sure it'll take me a couple of weeks. But I love the writing style and the story line of Mr Norrell trying to rid London and surrounding cities of all magicians so he can be the only one.

A Lion in America by Robert Mwangi. Recently started this novel about a young African boy who travels to the U.S. for soccer. A very gripping novel thus far.

HeartsBlood by Carolyn McCray. A paranormal romance that focuses on a "woman of science" and a "man of magic."

02. Recently Finished:
Sleeping Handsome by Jean Haus. A wonderful novella that takes the classic Sleeping Beauty and brings it to the modern day with a young man in a coma.

03. Reading Next: 
I'll probably start Become (Desolation #1) by Ali Cross next. The daughter of Lucifer is sent to Earth and who knows what kind of crazy things will happen?

Feel free to share your own WWW posts below! I would love to find more books to add to my TBR.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (31)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• 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!

HeartsBlood (Kindle Loc. 5527-31)
    - Carolyn McCray

"In the near-blinding flash of lightning, a figure lurked, wrapped in shadows that shouldn't exist. The only clear feature she could make out was a pair of sapphire-blue eyes. Sal tried to focus, to see the face beyond the eyes, but her mind refused to obey.
Then, something glinted.
A knife. Raised above her best friend's head."

Should Be Reading @ Wordpress

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sleeping Handsome

Paige should have never agreed to do her best friend’s semester English project. Community service sucks. Especially when you have a major social life. But it’s that or possible expulsion from school. Reading to a boy in a coma is just plain creepy, but her English teacher somehow thinks her acting skills make it the perfect community service match.

But when she finds the boy’s journal hidden among his books, things turn from creepy to interesting. Very interesting. The boy who looked like death slowly comes alive as she reads his own words to him. And each day Paige is wishing more and more he would wake up. 

*May Contain Spoilers*

Jean Haus brings a twist to the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, with her modern day version, Sleeping Handsome. As a lover of fairy tales, I've had this novella on my TBR list for quite sometime and finally found a couple of hours to read it. 

The novella focuses on Paige, a teenager, queen bee, wanna-be actress who only acts full of herself so she can remain in the popular crowd. When she is required to do community service, she meets Zack. Zack is a fellow teenager who had an "accident" and is now in a coma. 

At the beginning of the story, I highly disliked Paige. But as the novella continues, readers learn why she acts like a snotty b****, for lack of a more appropriate term. She wants to become an actress, so she decides that she can claim stake in the popular crowd as she works on her acting skills. But after meeting Zack, she starts to realize that you can't live your life for other people. 

I loved the plot of this novel because it focused on Zack's journal, which Paige finds on his book shelf disguised as Frankenstein. The journal and how Paige reacts to it brings the reader into the lives of both teenagers. 

The only dislike I have about the novella is that it is a novella. The scenes of the story are mainly set in Zack's bedroom. When Paige tells Zack about what's going on in her life, I wanted to read that too! Not just hear her tell Zack her side of what happened. Plus, the scenes that Zack's journal describes, I mean come on! Can we please do flashbacks? 

This short book is an enchanting, mysterious read with great character development. But I wanted more! I'll have to look into the various novel length pieces that Jean Haus has written. I'm convinced that I'd love them. 

Rating: 3/5 cups

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October Night

One early October evening, a young woman comes across an enigmatic man, Marius Millet. Her name is Jolene Munroe, twenty-years-old, and a college student who has traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to study for a year. The two develop a relationship that soon intensifies, despite a secret that Marius keeps from her, which he desperately tries to conceal from her in an effort to cling to their relationship.

He is married with two teenage daughters, and it’s a choice Jolene must make as she struggles with her own desires and the incessant pull from her own conscience.

Then there’s Anna, Jolene’s eccentric roommate, who finds another troubling way to cope with her own sense of inadequacy and vulnerability. And it’s the three voices present in this novel that evoke the raw emotions of not only themselves, but the ones who are caught up in their lives.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Theresa Oles presents her novel, October Night, thriving with emotional turmoil. As three characters watch their lives crumble, Oles captures the emotional entanglement that coincides disaster. Readers follow the journeys of Jolene, Anna, and Marius as they try to create better lives for themselves. 

Jolene, the main character of the novel, is a young girl who travels to Geneva for a year abroad. She's a very quiet girl, having grown up with an unloving mother and a deceased father. She struggles to know her place in the world, subconsciously assuming that money will bring her happiness. (Jolene's studying business because of the monetary gain she thinks will come from it.) When she meets Marius, a fifty-year-old business man, she starts dating him, unaware that he is married, with children not much younger than herself. 

I liked Jolene as a character but, due to her upbringing, she was a weak character. I wanted her to show more backbone though readers will connect with her based on her naivete and troubled childhood. 

The journey that Jolene travels through the novel is a perfect arc of personal evolution. I was proud of who Jolene had become, her mistakes becoming the foundation of the reader/character bond. 

Marius and Anna were hated characters for me. But (most of) their actions had (some) logic behind them, I must admit. Marius is a husband who doesn't recognize his wife as the woman he fell in love with. Not that his wife wasn't a bit on the demanding side, but marriage is work and it seemed that Marius didn't have it in him to keep up. Or try. 

And Anna. I tried to like Anna. I wanted to like her, but I couldn't get past the isolation she put herself through when she wasn't around drugs. The only people she associated with were other drug addicts and it pulled her into a downward spiral that she couldn't escape from. 

Oles did an amazing job at crafting a story so emotionally raw that it constantly brought different feelings to the surface. October Night is a novel full of character study. Oles wrote impossible obstacles in the paths of these three characters, not once giving them an easy way out. The only issues I had with the novel were the time lapses and point of view change. I found them a bit confusing at times with no real indication that time or narrator had shifted.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves to see characters grow and evolve throughout a gripping story. 

Rating: 3/5 cups