Book Review: Rebels Divided

????????????????????Title: Rebels Divided
Author: Lance Erlick
Publisher: Finlee Augare Books
Release Date: June 2013
Length: 294 pages
Series?: Rebel #2
Genre: YA/Science Fiction/Dystopian
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Rebels Divided was written as a standalone dystopian action story. It is also part of the Rebel series, three years later. [Read my review of Rebels #1, The Rebel Withinhere.]

The first time he sees her, they meet as enemies and she doesn’t kill him. That’s worth something. Geo (19) is a rugged frontiersman who hungers to see more of the world than the impoverished Outland glen where he and his pa hide from local Rangers. To prove himself, Geo fights Union Mechanized Warriors and Outland Rangers to protect friends, neighbors, and refugees fleeing the Federal Union. Annabelle (19) is a tough yet fragile tomboy who lost her parents at age three to the Mech Warriors. Then she’s forced to become a Mech.

After the Second American Civil War, the nation divides into two ‘utopias’. The Federal Union enforces Harmony and an all-female society with the help of EggFusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors based near Knoxville. The Appalachian Outland promotes rugged individualism, but Thane Edwards holds a monopoly of power with his Rangers, loosely modeled on the legendary Texas Rangers. The Union’s Tenn-tucky governor and the Outland warlord conclude a secret deal, pledging Annabelle to the warlord to provide him heirs, and putting a bounty on Geo and his pa.

When Annabelle refuses the arranged marriage, Thane Edwards kidnaps her and her beloved sister. She escapes, but can’t find her sister without help. That’s when she tracks down Geo, a sworn enemy she feels connected to. While trying to survive, and pursued by their own and opposing military forces, Geo and Annabelle wrestle with attraction and mutual distrust as enemies. Yet, only together can they confront Edwards to rescue her kidnapped sister and gain justice for the murder of Geo’s pa. Time is running out.

Review

Annabelle has grown up in a world where females have weeded out the men and boys from their society and their lives. Her adopted mother, a Tenn-tucky state senator, still remembers the husband and son she sent into the Outlands to protect. Annabelle has grown up believing her brother George is a monstrosity of a boy.

This novel picks up three years after the ending of The Rebel Within (read my review here). Annabelle is still paired with Dara in the Mechanized Female Warriors, and still is trying to evade and brush off the amazon’s advances. Her younger sister Janine has now joined their ranks, and they are sent on a mission into no man’s land, the strange common ground between the female Civ society and the male retreat of the Outlands.

Governor Battani is still pressing forward with her own political agenda, the mechs are amping up their border patrol and missions, and Senator Scott is still opposing Battani on many issues…until Battani gives Mama Scott an ultimatum she can’t refuse.

Annabelle and Janine are both captured in the Outland and held hostage, but Thane Edwards has underestimated Annabelle’s resourcefulness. She must impost her much-hated mech presence on the very thin hospitality of those trying to sustain a life during the hard times on the frontiers of the Outlands. She’s not leaving without her sister, even if it means taking a stand against the much feared and well-trained former mech Thane Edwards.

The novel’s chapters alternate between Annabelle’s world and a young Outland man’s world, until they eventually find each other in the Outland.

Annabelle and Geo are both betrayed by their people, fighting against both of their worlds to do the right thing, and forging something new of their quickly deteriorating civilizations before civil war can strike again and take its toll.

This is not a novel to be missed! While the first was hard for me to get through at times, this novel pretty much lays it all out on the table. The past of Annabelle is fully explained, the truth of George’s banishment is shown clearly, and shows the strength and willpower of young individuals, which is something I find quite lacking in today’s time.

Annabelle continues to grow as an individual, even deceiving Geo along the way for his help. She shows a softer side in this novel, as does her mech commander, Sam, which is totally out of place based on the hard-nosed character she was portrayed as in the first book. Geo is a character that grows throughout the novel in so many ways. He is a young man trying to be a man but is oppressed by the societal structures of the Outland and the cause his father has taken up to protect others. I loved Geo’s character; he has a heart to match Annabelle, even if he was unfocused at times.

I am intrigued to see how Annabelle and Geo will build a new Appalachia, in hand with their mother and Sam, and how their relationship will progress. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third book!

About the Author

600388_10201010092153744_210253767_nRaised by a roaming aerospace engineer, Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe, as well as traveling through Asia. He took to stories as his anchor, including the works of Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein, and has been writing since age eleven. Growing up, he was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future.

Lance received his BS in political science and his Masters in business from Indiana University, before studying creative writing at Ball State, the University of Iowa, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Numerous detours along the way included solving business problems for companies ranging from automotive, to electronics, kitchen cabinets and boats. This involved significant professional writing, supplemented after hours by writing science fiction. Now a refugee from the business world, he is focused on writing.

Lance lives with his wife in the Chicago area, where he’s working on his next novel. He writes speculative fiction, science fiction, dystopian and young adult, and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Advertisements

Book Review: The Rebel Within

This is Charlie’s take on a series Amanda reviewed earlier.  You can read her post here.

Title: The Rebel Withinperf5.500x8.500.indd

Author: Lance Erlick
Publisher: Finlee Augare Books
Release Date: March 2013
Length: 270 pages
Series?: Rebel #1
Genre: YA/Science Fiction/Dystopian
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Forced to grow up quickly, Annabelle (16) faces adult dilemmas and a fight for her life. Orphaned at age three when the elite military corps took parents, she’s a tomboy who rebels against a conformist society. The state pushes her to become a cop intern to catch escaped boys. Then she’s forced to choose between joining the elite military unit that took her parents or being torn from her beloved sister and adoptive mom.

The Rebel Within turns our male dominated world upside down. After the Second American Civil War, the Federal Union pursues a utopian society without men by rounding up the remaining males, and enforcing Harmony. Central to their plan is EggFusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors based near Knoxville.

In this world, Annabelle faces a cop intern boss who hates her, a military commander who demands too much, and an amazon bully who won’t leave her alone. She meets a handsome boy who escapes prison. As she tries to survive rigorous military training and hunt for her imprisoned birth mother, Annabelle must choose between capturing the boy and helping him escape, while she wrestles with the consequences of her actions.

Review

I don’t like people bringing up family connections, as though the sins of the mothers fall upon the daughters.

Annabelle is a strong young woman, not at all deceived by the utopia that political officials paint. She works as a cop intern, and sees the daily grind of what the reality of her all-female society is really like. Of course, it doesn’t help that her mother holds an opposing view to that of governing officials and is a state senator.

Mom says women stopped having boys because of high rates of autism, violence and social disruption, and they didn’t read. That made it hard for them to adjust to our knowledge-based economy. After the war, most of the males fled. Then the city zoned our neighborhood and school to exclude them. Harmony Director Surroc and Captain Voss say liberated women don’t need men. Governor Battani says the only way to make females safe is to eliminate the source, men. 

And that’s just what they do. Boys, even as a young child, are strictly forbidden from being outside of their “zone,” with rezoning happening constantly, and consequently catching usurpers of the law. The women of Annabelle’s society fear boys and men, and the lucky boys are regulated to all-boys boarding schools that are highly regulated by the government and surveillance industries.

Who knows what men are really like? Most fled to the Outlands before I was born. 

Annabelle’s society, the Federal Union,  was created after “21st century right-wing extremists tried to turn back the clock.” Obviously, they failed and thus seceded, causing the Second American Civil War. The result was the split between the Federal Union and the Outlands (Appalachia and TexSoCal), where men take off to hide and escape persecution.

During this process, Sam Hernandez came to have a powerful position by mechanizing female warriors – literally making them almost indestructible and amped up on illegal performance-enhancing drugs of a new generation. Given how much Annabelle’s society has regressed, it is surprising, as well as some of the technology that is mentioned throughout the book. This new all-women society has even come up with a solution to reproduction without using males: EggFusion Fertilization, where one woman’s egg fertilizes another. Sam has continued this program, Mechanized Female Warriors, in the state of Tenn-tucky. Just as in Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games, mech tournaments (which include a variety of mech vs. man and mech vs. mech fights that also include fights to the death) are televised every six months.

It’s horrible to have to wear a choker like a dog, which is how cops I work with track males. 

This all-female society is surprising in the fact that women are allowed to take multiple wives. Annabelle has two other mothers, each with three children. She has two younger sisters that are her mother’s children – but she’s adopted. Her younger sister Janine, who seems heavily dependent on Annabelle, wouldn’t understand that she’s adopted. Truly, Annabelle and Janine’s mother fights for a cause – the very reason which landed Annabelle with her, and the reason behind her losing her own husband and son. Annabelle hasn’t forgotten what the Federal Union has done to her family, and neither has her mother. They are bent on gaining more information, helping boys escape, and seeking justice.

On top of everything else, the government regulates everything, right down to the “harmony” of one’s clothing, one’s ambiance in a place of business, and the food choices and food content of restaurants. No sugar, no caffeine, no MSGs – in other words, the bland cardboard that is now being pushed in public schools today. Annabelle hopes of opening a restaurant to avoid the unpleasantness of her society, and it’s a lot of work. Governor Battani makes sure that Annabelle’s dreams of her future are shut down. The book also mentions that some things that are a normal part of our lives today are banned in this future society, like the King James Bible and The Diary of Anne Frank. I would be interested to know what else is restricted in their society.

Annabelle really gets in a scrape when she stands up for her sister at a school basketball game, and is embroiled in a fight with the other team. She has two choices: go the the Resocialization Facility in Nashville…or join the Mechanized Female Warriors. Annabelle is in a hard spot: be put far away where she won’t have access to information she needs to seek justice or her family, or join the group responsible for her family’s downfall?

I stare at the retreating boy, a scared mouse caught in a trap. You don’t treat humans like this. 

Annabelle has to make some very difficult choices, and put aside her own opinions of her world in order to further herself, gain trust of others, and hopefully get what she’s wanted all along. Despite joining an organization that discriminates against men and the weak and going through weeks of tear-down and build-up exercises, Annabelle retains all of her heart, spirit and opposition of her society. She supports her sister warriors, roots for them, and ultimately shows the compassion her society is sorely lacking.

About the Author

600388_10201010092153744_210253767_nRaised by a roaming aerospace engineer, Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe, as well as traveling through Asia. He took to stories as his anchor, including the works of Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein, and has been writing since age eleven. Growing up, he was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future.

Lance received his BS in political science and his Masters in business from Indiana University, before studying creative writing at Ball State, the University of Iowa, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Numerous detours along the way included solving business problems for companies ranging from automotive, to electronics, kitchen cabinets and boats. This involved significant professional writing, supplemented after hours by writing science fiction. Now a refugee from the business world, he is focused on writing.

Lance lives with his wife in the Chicago area, where he’s working on his next novel. He writes speculative fiction, science fiction, dystopian and young adult, and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Hearts in Exile

17788233Title: Hearts in Exile
Author: Mysti Parker
Release Date: June 2013
Length: 274 pages
Series?: Tallenmere #3
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

In Tallenmere, fate has a way of catching up with you…

Somewhere, hidden in the waters of the Southern Sea, lies an island unlike any other. Within the amber glow of its pyrogem-laden cliffs, legend says the very heart of the dragon god Drae keeps the island, and its occupants, alive.

Loralee Munroviel, daughter of Leogard’s High Priestess Arianne, had no idea what she would face when she arrived by boat ten years ago and was left alone in exile. All she knew about Draekoria’s inhabitants was written in one tattered notebook. Now, her life revolves around keeping Drae’s descendants happy. Never in her life did she imagine being a Dragon Keeper.

Captain Igrorio Everlyn, known as Sir Robert to his unit of Holy Paladins, has faced his share of hell, battling the evils of Emperor Sarvonn’s tyranny and the dark god Tyr’s abominations. But none of that compares to the ten years of hell he’s been without Loralee, presumed dead.

One freak storm changes everything. Now the two of them must fight to reestablish the delicate balance of the island before the dragons take things into their own hands. Through it all, they discover the secrets that kept them, and their hearts, exiled for a decade.

Review

This is the third book in the Tallenmere series, but the first two are not pre-requisites. The second and third books are like spin-offs, so you won’t miss out on anything you really need to know.  The novel starts in the present, and then goes back in time to the reason why Igrorio comes to the Temple. The novel follows this time until present time.

How do you thank someone who saves your life when you’re not sure if you want to live?

I adore this book. It is a wonderful story, and well written. I fell in love with Loralee and Igrorio. They are strong, creative, loving and resilient characters. The Plague has struck the land. Igrorio has lived through his own hell until meeting Loralee at the Temple. Her mother gives up on him, but Loralee refuses to follow suit. She has hope, and she nurses him back to health and is in charge of his recovery. They are young, and form a strong bond with one another. They go on a hunt for the long-extinct dragons to help pass the days.

I wasn’t sure how two young men who excelled in beating the shit out of each other showed potential. 

But Loralee is living with a very short fuse, that starts off the moment Igrorio arrives at the Temple. There is an unsettling dispute between her parents, her mother holds some imaginative power over the king to bend him to her will, and her sister is a hateful, deceitful, cruel person. This hate and deceit set in motion events that cannot be undone.

***

I found a kindred spirit in Loralee; I think she is a lot like me. She knows something will work, but is refused to be given the chance to prove it, so she does it in secrecy to have research to support her claims. She is removed from Igrorio’s day to day interactions, so she devises a way to still have a time with him. She is put on trial for saving Igrorio with her newly found Spark from Mother Inessa and must prove herself to her hard High Priestess mother. She is forced to follow in the footsteps of her mother, and punished for falling in love by betrothing her to Igrorio’s best friend. She has a sister that would just as soon stab her in the chest to get what she wants…and essentially, that happens in the novel. Ivy and Arianne Munroviel tell all that Loralee is dead – but they and King Leopold know differently.

Some mistakes go on to haunt us for the rest of our lives. 

Loralee’s ten years on the island of Drae tending to the dragons has changed her, in so many ways. She comes to the island with one more secret, and it is lost to the island. When Igrorio washes up, I am surprised at the changes in her – and the forgiveness she has granted to her sister and her mother for all she’s endured and lost. It would be a hard thing to do, but I had to remind myself that ten years have passed, and she is living to fulfill the purpose of the Keeper of the dragons. Indeed, I had my own issues with my mother, and anger and hatred that lasted a decade, and like Loralee, I got tired of being angry and hurting myself more. Being away at college helped ease our relationship, and Loralee explains this time and distance aspect to Igrorio.

What also engrossed me about this book was that it delves into the society and culture of the world in which Parker has created. There are delicate matters that could upset the balance of the kingdom, and one of those things is the betrothal of the next High Priestess. For his sake, Igrorio has done his best to be the model citizen to be chosen for Loralee. He has impressed her father to give his name for recommendation, but ultimately it is King Leopold’s and her mother’s choice. The novel also closely examines Loralee’s relationship with both of her sisters, and each of her parents, as well as Igrorio. These moments reveal so much about each character.

The novel also touches on Igrorio’s relationship with Sir Francis. In the second book, the pair are sent to work an assignment together and there is small insight into their relationship, in that it is clear that they know the intricacies of the other. Ironically, it does not start out so, and in the third book it goes through their very rough and troubled meeting.

I highly recommend this book.

No, silly, you can’t saddle a dragon.

About the Author

200025_103787076370825_4452630_nMysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Serenya’s Song

Title: Serenya’s Song
Author: Mysti Parker
Release Date: April 201220628483
Length: 288 pages
Series?: Tallenmere #2
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

No one ever said love was easy…

Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she’s no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she’s ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.

Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.

When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in the town may die.

Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they’ve always dreamed of.

Review

I had no idea where this book was coming from prior to finishing the first book, A Ranger’s Tale, because there was no one in the first book named Serenya…until reading the epilogue. The epilogue of A Ranger’s Tale is set five years later, and Serenya’s Song takes place during that passage of time, so the epilogue kind of gives away a big detail from Serenya’s Song.

Serenya’s Song is kind of like a spin-off of A Ranger’s Tale: several characters return, and it follows a character’s life from A Ranger’s Tale.

In A Ranger’s Tale, Caliphany’s second husband, leader of the secret government agency L.I.O., has the king annul their marriage. Although his L.I.O. coworker Lilly does care for him, in the second book she has moved on and is engaged herself, so some amount of time has passed.

Jayden Ravenwing is broken and done with the world. He wants to reside in peace and fulfill the musician’s dreams within him. Little does he know the woman he knocks down with his horse one dark knight is the muse for his soul, his fine arts counterpart. and he will go to the ends of the earth for her.

But Parker has definitely added a twist and some serious mystery in the mix. Serenya’s father rescued her after birth, fleeing an unknown pursuer. She is now a grown woman and experiencing some very odd and unusual things. Her titled husband is controlling and manipulative, and insanely jealous. He knows something about what is happening to her, and is exploiting it while keeping Serenya controlled.

Jayden has found a very dangerous element that could cause massive destruction to Summerwind, and is keeping an eye on things in the area. Then some very strange things start occurring. He calls in for reinforcements and sets up an investigation, and things get even stranger.

I felt that the focus in this novel was more on Serenya than Jayden. She is an extremely compassionate, loving character. She is beautiful, a musician and artist, and can interpret dreams, but she as born with a distinct deformity: claws. I was disappointed throughout the novel at each point in which Serenya would not stand up to her husband, and took and responded to his forced advances. She lives as a titled woman in a beautiful house and pretends to have the perfect marriage, but that is all far from the truth. She is powerless, and eventually finds power (although, I don’t think she realized she was again being used and in essence, powerless), but makes a better choice. Her decision strikes me oddly given all of her giving in, but it is a decision that saves Summerwind and those she loves.

About the Author

200025_103787076370825_4452630_nMysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Shelf Life (The Publicist #2)

18068418Title: Shelf Life
Author: Christina George
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: August 2013
Length: 274 pages
Series?: The Publicist #2
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Contemporary
Format: e-book
Source: author
Challenge: n/a

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis

It’s an industry of out-of-control egos, unrealistic expectations, and unfulfilled promises.

This is publishing and it’s Kate’s world, but maybe not for long.

When one of Kate Mitchell’s star authors is carted away in handcuffs, it’s only the beginning of her troubles. As her world crumbles around her, Kate desperately looks for anyone to hold onto but finds that happy endings are truly works of fiction. With the shelf life of her career and her love affair quickly expiring, Kate sets off on a new adventure…

Starting over in California is easy but Kate soon learns that leaving her old life behind isn’t. Nick Lavigne is eager to help her forget but two things still own her heart, the dream of discovering the next great American novel, and MacDermott Ellis.

As Kate tries to rebuild her life she finds a surprising gift that reboots her career in a new and unexpected direction. Suddenly her name becomes synonymous with one of the biggest bestsellers publishing has seen in ages and she’s welcomed back with open arms.

But at the height of her success the ghosts of her past come back to remind her of the world she’d been trying to forget and the man who never let go of her heart.

Behind the book, there’s always more to the story. Welcome to Publishing, the ego has landed.

Review

Kate’s life is quickly on a downward spiral. Her beloved friend, revered author Allan Lavigne, has left her a beautiful and wonderful surprise. His nephew Nick is trying to become something more in Kate’s life. Kate is evading and lying to her best friend to avoid “the talk,” and she is falling even deeper and deeper into a relationship with her married co-worker.

But she keeps getting crappy books that will only sell because of the sensationalism of the moment: like two twin sisters who gunned down their Hollywood parents and blew threw millions of their inheritance. That’s what Kate is working with, trying to publicize. She’s struggling, trying to juggle everyone, keep everything on an even keel and keep things in a realistic perspective. Her authors are demanding to see rave reviews and their books on the bestsellers lists.

The harder things become for Kate, the more and more she leans on Mac, who is also working his magic with the head boss to pull strings for Kate. Indeed, she gets assigned to a book that could elevate her career, but Kate gets the creeps from the author. Something is just not right…and when he is carted off in cuffs, everything at the publishing house is in a whirlwind of panic. This could be the end.

Some very serious things happen, Kate is betrayed by both Mac and her boss, and Kate finally learns why Grace is so adamant about ending the relationship with her married co-worker. Kate decides a change of scenery will be nice, and ends up in California with Nick. She decides to take a plunge with her life and the gift Allan left her.

George has continued Kate’s tale, and Allan’s legacy is seen, but I feel that Kate again takes some things for granted. She faces some hard things in this novel, and some hard decisions. But even more, she ends up wrecking someone’s life. It was hard to read, and I struggled to find sympathy for her. She landed herself in the position based on her mistakes and refusal to face facts in her life. In this sense, I feel that George glazes over the decision-making process for Kate, and that is the result. Kate is too much living in the moment, and does not see – or want to see – the consequences of her actions. Just as in the first book, I don’t feel that Kate has undergone a lot of personal growth. Her professional life is in tatters, but she is like a phoenix, born from the ashes thanks to Allan.

6556822About the Author

I’ve worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn’t. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, hell it’s more fun to guess, right? I continue to work in publicity and help authors because at the end of the day I do love books, I love publishing, and I love authors. I hope you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as I enjoyed creating it.  Have fun reading Kate’s posts!

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter Pinterest | Goodreads

The Publicist

16088697Title: The Publicist 
Author: Christina George
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: November 2012
Length: 226 pages
Series?: The Publicist
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Contemporary
Format: e-book
Source: author
Challenge: n/a

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t sell, and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan.

Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis: Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author–now as forgotten as last year’s bestsellers and his nephew Nick: Tall, gorgeous, sweet, single and ready to sweep Kate off her feet. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions. 

As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week,” she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal.

The story only an insider could tell.

Review

Kate Mitchell is a jewel in the world of publishing. She advocates for her author’s, calls in favors to get attention for books of her authors. Yet she works in a world that is quickly cutting ties with literature. Instead, it’s all about the latest celebrity’s memoir or someone who got their 15 minutes of fame and is trying to get it back. She goes above and beyond and gets the short end of the stick. In fact, the book opens with her talking one of her author’s down from jumping off a building.

Kate struggles at work with some of her editors, particularly Pete the office snoop. He likes to upend Kate’s world during conference meetings but is just riding on tailcoats. But Pete’s snarky workplace attitude is compensated for by Kate’s star editor, Mac. He is a shining beacon in the editing world, advocates for Kate, has her back, and tries to get quality books. Then there’s dependable Lulu, a sweetheart of a girl and always willing to do extra for Kate. And of course Kate’s best friend, artist Grace.

Kate has also become close friends by a one-hit wonder author, but Allan Lavigne made her publishing house what it is. He’s signed for two books, but has never delivered on the second book. Kate visits him regularly, and her caring nature comes through in her interactions with him. Allan pushes Kate to be a better publicist, encourages her…and wants to set her up with his nephew, Nick.

Things start to get complicated as Kate enters an inter-office relationship with a co-worker – a married co-worker. It does not bode well, and Kate evades Grace, who has a personal history with Kate’s situation. Kate digs herself deeper and deeper…and then something unexpected happens. Nick comes to New York and Kate warms up to him, but won’t give up her married co-worker. Things start to snowball a little bit out of control for Kate, and she knows she’s about to have to face some decisions.

Christina George provides wonderful insight into the mechanics of the publishing world, and creates a wonderful, heartfelt story. I couldn’t help but root for Kate, but all the while hoped she would make the right choice. Her character did not seem as in-depth as it could have been, and I think glazed over a very important component of the book, which leaves Kate’s character lacking. Don’t get me wrong – she is a great person – but I don’t recall getting anything about her history, her family. As much as I was rooting for Kate to grab the bull by the horns, I was slightly disappointed that her character did not experience a lot of growth throughout the novel.

Despite this, it was a fast read and I could not put the book down. I was engrossed in what the next crazy thing would be that would throw a wrench in the mechanics of Kate’s life, and how she would handle it.

The book does end on a cliffhanger – but I promise all of it is explained, comes to fruition, and is tied up in the second book, Shelf Life.

6556822About the Author

I’ve worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn’t. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, hell it’s more fun to guess, right? I continue to work in publicity and help authors because at the end of the day I do love books, I love publishing, and I love authors. I hope you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as I enjoyed creating it.  Have fun reading Kate’s posts!

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter Pinterest | Goodreads

The 7th Day

18810289Title: The 7th Day 
Author: Nika Lubitsch
Release Date: August 2012
Length: 147 pages
Series?: n/a
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Format: e-book
Source: author
Challenge: n/a

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis

Sybille and Michael are a happy couple, finally expecting their first baby. But then Michael disappears without a trace. Sybille finds herself in the middle of a living nightmare. When her husband is found, stabbed to death, there is one suspect only: his wife who is charged with murder. While listening to the witnesses´ testimonies in court, Sybille in her mind revisits her life with Michael. On day seven of the trial, suddenly the truth dawns on her. Now, she only has to find a way to prove it.This devious mystery is set in Berlin and at a secret place, which is so secret that some readers recognized it.

Review

Some people are born victims. 

They are a power couple, a couple of means and privilege, and this trial will not escape anyone’s eye. She is famous for her journalist work, and her husband for his work as a business attorney.

The higher you climb, the farther you fall.

It’s true, Sybille is on trial for her husband’s murder. Yes, she thought about it before hand. Yes, she went to find him after his strange disappearance. Yes, she was going to give him a reckoning…

But she doesn’t remember any of it.

Today, they will try to prove that I planned to commit the crime. Of course, I did. I just didn’t get around to it. 

That’s of little consequence, though, as soon police find her with the bloody knife on her hotel nightstand – the very knife that brutally stabbed her husband. Of course she did it!

Sybille’s dear old friend, Ulli, is her defense attorney. He is very well known, and one of the best; her husband said so many times before his sudden disappearance. But Sybille and Ulli know each other besides Ulli sharing a business space with her late husband: they used to be lovers, before Michael came into the picture. In fact, Ulli is the very one who introduced Sybille to her husband. I found this very odd, and immediately thought there were all kinds of ways this trial could go wrong for Sybille, often referred to as Bille. I could not help but keep coming back to the term “jilted lover,” regardless of how Bille describes the ending of their relationship. I also thought this would be considered a conflict of interest, and Ulli should not be allowed to represent Bille, but that’s just my opinion.

The prosecution calls up every single witness that could remotely give any opinion or testimony about Sybille’s character: her former boss, her mother’s cleaning lady, various police officers and investigators, a psychiatrist, and lastly the waiter and all of the patrons but one who dined with Sybille in her hotel’s restaurant the night her husband was murdered. They paint a disparaging, ugly portrait of her. How funny one’s actions can be misrepresented.

Throughout Bille’s seven day trial, she shares her own narration from the courtroom of the goings-on of the trial, almost in journal entry form. Strangely though, she intersperses her own flashbacks of Ulli, his wife (who is Bille’s best friend from college), and her husband throughout various points in their relationships, and Bille is in no way to be taken as a Madonna for the sexual references and descriptions she makes of her relationship with Ulli so long ago. This part was difficult for me to wade through and separate at first, as I had no idea where this was leading, but after a time I got used to the style and technique that Lubitsch was using.

Also included with Sybille’s stream of consciousness of the trial and her past memories is the summary of the day’s trial by one of the local papers in an article, and they take Sybille for all she’s worth, make her out to be the most horrendous, using quotations out of context and applying sinister connotations to her actions.

This book shocked me in several ways, and it all comes about in the ending, which I can’t tell you about. :) Suffice it to say that Sybille is indeed disgraced, but the ever-hungry journalists are dying for an inside scoop – and they get it. Sybille agrees to write her story for Cosmos magazine, in return for which they will not edit her writing, but they will also conduct their own investigation of her husband’s murder…

The novel includes Sybille’s installments of her story for Cosmos magazine, as well as a letter from her husband, and an installment from the writers of Cosmos about what they uncovered on this insane journey that Sybille sent them on to find out just what happened to her husband, and get the answers she so desperately needs. You will be shocked at what you find!

A very good read. I recommend to all who enjoy the thriller and mystery genre, as well as if you like a twist!

fd7a6b6e18960ad8956e17.L._V379018045_SX200_About the Author

Nika Lubitsch lives in Berlin, while her soul lives in Florida. Having been rejected by all German publishers, The 7th Day was at the top of the bestselling list only one week after its publication at Kindle, surpassing even „Shades of Grey“. The novel stayed number one in Germany for 100 days, making Nika Lubitsch the most successful KDP author of the year in 2012. The “Queen of E-Books”, as a major German magazine dubbed her, again landed a number one hit in the Kindle charts with her second mystery Das 5. Gebot (The Fifth Commandment). A major production company has already bought the film rights. The 7th Day is currently translated by publishers throughout the world. The manuscript also has been reviewed by Amazon crossing, but didn´t correspond with their “idea of what a best seller in English should be like.” However, a thumbs-down is the biggest motivation an author can get: Just you wait …

Find the author: Website| Facebook | Goodreads

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: