Thursday, June 28, 2012

Monsters Of Men

Monsters of Men, Book, Review, Chaos walking. Todd, Viola, Monsters of MenTitle: Monsters of Men

Author: Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Lynne Condellon and John Picacio
Genre: Science Fiction
Age: 14+
Pages: 603 (paperback)
Publisher: Candlewick Press

        Todd and Viola had finally done it. They had defeated the mayor, but when the whole community of spackle declare war, Todd must set him free to secure his own survival. With the new arrival of the scout ship, sides are chosen and a never ending war rages out. In the Chaos walking trilogy's grand finale, Todd and Viola must try to bring peace before the war kills them all!
        The Monsters of Men novel really fealt realistic. The scenes were well described and it fealt as if I was in the war. Every death fealt like I had lost someone close to me, every pain and every scream  fealt like my own! I enjoyed how Patrick Ness thought to use actuall noise sounds to bring emphasis to situations. For example: Whenever a bomb would explode, depending on the size, the author would write down BOOM!

        One of the reasons I now consider Patrick Ness as one of my favorite authors is because his writing is very consistent! This is very important especially if you are planning on writing a series. Mr. Ness is able to consistantly bring new ideas and plot twists to the table. He also worked his characters a lot, they were as engaging and realistic as they were in book one if not more. Many authors tend to forget the basics of their stories and try to bring you to a conclusion.

        The spackles are very interesting. Before book three we barely had any knowledge of their species. I liked how we, as readers, got to know their species a lot better and only in one book. The points of views from 1017 were very instructive and it was easy to learn the way they thought and who they were as a species.

        I beleive that Mr. Ness lost track a bit with the main idea of the series. The noise was raely used and mentioned nor was it a huge priority, which I found dissapointing. I also thought that it lacked the fast pace action that was incorperated in book one and with it he could of ended the series very well! Regardless of the few cons in the grand finale, I do encourage everyone to pick this series right away!

Available on Amazon



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mere Enchantment

Mere Enchantment, Review, Book, FantasyTitle: Mere Enchantment

Author: Alicia Rivoli
Illustrator: Danijel Firak
Genre: Fantasy
Age: 10+
Pages:  392 (paperback)
Publisher: Createspace

        Preston has lived his entire life secluded from the outside world. He was born and raised in a cabin on the banks of a large lake, called Mirror Lake, in the Rocky Mountains. When Preston was younger, his father would tell him stories of a fantasy world called Mere. Yet what happens if stories become reality? As a new family arrives at the cabin across from the lake, a storm blows in and the children are lured into the entrance to a secret kingdom. With no hopes of going back, they must work together in order to survive in a foreign land and help the kingdom from peril!
        Mere Enchantment had a great start. The introduction was really well done and the families had a strong, believable relationship. The scenes given by the author were well described and that was what stood out. At no point in the story was I confused of the characters surroundings or what they were wearing. Sadly, I thought that the beginning could have used a little bit more pace and have gotten onto the next part of the story rather then build minimal suspense.

        For the most part I enjoyed the characters. They seemed to be realistic but sometimes they made me feel like they were somewhat bipolar. The characters could bond together really well and then say that there little brothers were brats. That was excusable because aren't we all like that in our teenage years? So if you think about it, the author really did a good job with the moods and expressions of the characters. The amount were a bit useless. I believe that the novel contained way too many characters to begin with and even the parents names shouldn't had been necessary for this type of story. I had a hard time figuring out who was who and that was very confusing.

        What makes a fantasy world become a fantasy world? Of course the magic does! This was a huge theme in the novel, and Alicia could not have done better! The spells and the background of the whole kingdom is very ingenious and while it still is a typical fantasy story, it contains that spark that keeps the reader from putting the book down. Even the monsters and enemies were well done and there powers reflected off of their own personality.

        For my last point! I would like to point out the cover. The art work is so amazing and reflects so many scenes in the book! This is a kind of cover that attracts my attention and makes me want to read the first few pages. We give illustrators minimal credit and I would like to congratulate Danijel Firak for the beautiful art work.

Available on Amazon

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Ask and the Answer: Chaos Walking Book Two

The Ask and the Answer, Book two, Book review, Science fiction, Todd, Noise, Title: The Ask and the Answer

Author: Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Lynne Condellon and John Picacio
Genre: Science Fiction
Age: 14+
Pages:  519 (paperback)
Publisher: Candlewick Press

        Thomas and Viola did not expect what was waiting for them in Haven. The notorious murderer might have won, but Viola and Thomas will keep fighting. As the days grow old Thomas doesn't even know if Viola is alive or where she is. The hardest part of being taken away from everyone you trust is not knowing who to believe. As desperation and hopelessness rise, a group of women band together to form the Answer, a terrorist group build to fight off the president. So who do you trust, a manipulative treacherous murderer, or a terrorist and greedy criminal. In a world where thoughts, feelings, and desire are always present, there's no escape for Thomas and Viola.

        The sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go really flowed well. The story line seemed to continue and bring us farther into New World. The novel is well written taking away the fact that the style is very original and feels very real, the first person writing style is well thought out. Since we only see what the characters see, as readers, we can only hope to figure out what is really going on. Some characters can be very misleading. They all lie and most of them are down right crazy. Which ones are telling the truth? Is it all a lie? These questions popped into my head numerous amounts of times.

        The Ask and the Answer started with something different compared to book one. The points of views change between Viola and Todd. Since the characters are separated this was a very good idea and I always liked a female protagonist rather then a male. The point of views change frequently! This is great because I hate really long chapters, but in this novel you barely read 3 pages before it changes to Todd's point of View or Viola's.     

        The antagonists in this novel are quite solid. They are the typical evil masterminds but the Mayor is so complex and devious! It seems like he knows everything and plays mind games with everyone. He's very manipulative and he can seem to be a good guy, but of course it's always an act. The antagonist is just out right genius. That's one more reason to hate on him!

        The pace was disappointing. I was used to book one's fast pace nonstop action where book two seemed to go on dreadfully slow. I believe Patrick Ness wanted to reduce the pace in order to bring some loose strings together as well as create some suspense and deception. I can agree that it did work. Many questions were answered and Mr. Ness did succeed in creating a suspenseful chapter or two, but it did not substitute for the lack of fast pace action!

Rating: 4/5

Available on Amazon


Friday, June 15, 2012

Editor or no Editor… Does it affect your sales?

I’m sure you wade around the online stores to see if you can find something new to read. Nothing beats the surprise if discovering something no one told you about.

You’re probably a thrifty shopper. Who isn’t in this day and age? You check out what other buyers say. You see that a book has many 3-5 star ratings/reviews. But you also see that it has a couple of 1-2 stars. I always check them out and they seem to have a common complaint. These comments hide underneath a tsunami of praise.

“This book could benefit from editing or an editor.”

(Yes it does sound like a sales pitch)

Then there’re books with low ratings from 1-2 stars with negative comments. You will find the above quote there too. But people still chuck out .99 cents and keep the sales rating up.

So what does this tell us? Will a novel fail without an editor?

Well, based on the fact that the remainder book business is booming, I would say no. All those bargain books from B&N or are professionally edited. They just didn’t sell out within the allotted time and the publisher had to unload the copies to make space in the warehouse.

But remainders are not failures. No no. Success is all around since the writer got paid their advance and the publisher was able to make back a little money, which is good because they won’t see any money after that.

So what does the above scenario mean?

You have your theory, but here’s mine. It means that the writer knows how to tell an entertaining story and knows how to connect with their audience. They are so good at it that the reader can forgive the few flaws in the text. The same flaws that scream out to those 1-2 star raters/reviewers that

“This story needs an editor.”

Those writers, who received a majority of 1-2 star reviews, could use some education, not an editor.
Editors are people in the book business that try to help make the story stronger and presentable. They make suggestions. It’s up to the writer to sit down and see if those suggestions are valid to their vision of the story.

A properly trained writer who can study their work in an objective way and who has clocked a million words under his belt should know a thing or two about crafting a story. They have to know how to self-edit. It’s their job!

A writer can disregard the suggestions. They can stick to their guns and say that they’re right. In the end, they could be. Or they could not. If they’re not right, then with luck they will learn from their mistakes. But hey, we are in the digital age and that means experimenting is a norm. Our face should slap the floor a few times.

So the lesson: A writer has to be a good crafter which includes being a good self-editor. No one else can make the story great but him or her. It’s possible. Plenty can do it. But plenty can’t proofread.

That is another post.

(NOTE: In no way does this post endorse the extinction of editors. Having a second, third, and forth pair of eyes for your work is vital. This post does suggest that there is more than one-way to skin a cat.)

Guest posted by: Michael Purfield
Guest website:
Guest Bio: M.E Purfield was raised in the Jersey 'burbs. At 18 he moved to Jersey City to attend The School of Visual Arts film program in NYC. He has never returned to the 'burbs. Since then he's done some script work for low low low budget films and even directed a few shorts.

Before publishing novels, he has toiled around with many short stories in many genres at many venues until he decided his strengths lie with Young Adult fiction. He wrote three contemporary novels jesus freakz + buddha punx, Breaking Fellini, and Delicate Cutters (due out in 2012). Now he focuses on Noir Fantasy, a genre that brings together hardboiled prose, anti heroes, crime, and dark fantasy.

When not practicing the art of Potty Mouth, he spends his time raising his son, being married, watching horror films, and listening to punk music.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Maze Runner

Maze runner, Book, Book review, Science fiction, Dystopian, Glade, Title: The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner
Illustrator: Philip Straub
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Age: 12+
Pages: 374 (paperback)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
        Thomas wakes up inside a large elevator also known as the box. It's pitch black and he can't remember a thing! The only memory he has is his name. He's soon brought out of the box and greeted by many young boys. They call themselves gladers and they tell Thomas that two years ago they went through a similar process as he did. None of the gladers remember anything before they arrived at the glade. Thomas soon learns that the glade is sourounded by brick walls and has four gates. The gates lead off into a maze which has been mapped and searched ever since the first gladers have arrived. Once night falls the gates close and mechanical creatures called grievers roam the maze searching for prey that couldn't get back in time. After Thomas' arrival a girl is sent to the glade. The very first girl since the beginning. Doubts begin to arouse once people start remembering Thomas from the past. Why did they send the girl? Is Thomas involved in any of this? Will they ever get out?

        The maze runner has a great edge that makes it stand out. The plot is very original and easy to follow. I suspect that it will go on and develop even more, but this book would of been a great stand alone novel. Of course the intelligently thought out plot was guided by the suspense and action. Right from the beginning! I swear, there's no 100 pages waiting time before you really get into the story and the action. The story line really started off with a big burst of energy and a fast pace, which it ended with aswell!

        Okay, I'm sorry that I mention this a lot guys, but the characters are super important! James Dashner did a really great job and really encorperated the characters style with their environment. The characters all seemed to reflect the situation they were in. The story also showed us a good side, where we could see the going-ons of the Glade. For example: who did what. Who were the leaders. How they stayed a live. These questions were answered and demonstrated a few times right at the start of then novel. This meant that the "roles" were filled up and you could imagine them as a small society.

        I enjoyed the confusion that the characters brought. I could easily step into Thomas' shoes and try to find out the mystery behind the glade for him. Of course, I wasn't able too. I liked how they gave a few clues and hints as they went along but not enough so that you could discover it easily. Sadly it seemed as if they revealed the "secret" in like one chapter and I couldn't get the full suspense that the unanswered questions brought forth to the table.

        James Dashner really knows how to bring in his audience. Even to compell them to buy his second book. Atleast he did a wonderfull job with me and I have bought and started to read The Scorch Trials, which is the second book in the series. This was a very great book and had literally no negative aspects to it!

Available on Amazon

Rating: 4/5


Saturday, June 9, 2012

How to Create a Cheap Book Trailer

How to Create a Cheap Book Trailer

Nic: Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the indie fantasy author, Lita Burke. Welcome! Lita, I understand that in March 2012 you released your debut novel, Tredan’s Bane, and recently created a book trailer for it. Would you tell us how to create a high-quality book trailer on a budget?

Lita: Thanks for talking with me today, Nic. Book trailers are one of many ways indie authors can spread the word about their novels. There are many creative approaches. I decided early on that I wanted a trailer with a series of compelling images, captions, and powerful music. No live action. No narrator.

Nic: How did you get started?

Lita: For the first step, I wrote a script with phrases. I answered basic questions about my main character. Who was Lanith? What caused her life to change? What did she do after the change?

Nic: What else went into the script?

Lita: I hinted at the mystery of Tredan’s kidnapping. Lanith finds her husband’s journal filled with horrible spells. To complicate things, a rival magician will do anything to get this journal.

Nic: What did you do after writing the script?

Lita: For the second step, I scoured photo websites to tell my script with images. Many indie authors recommend using free photos for budget-friendly trailers. I took a different approach.

Nic: Why?

Lita: I support indie inventers in all creative media. Instead of free images and music, I purchased usage licenses from websites where indies post their material. These licenses are affordable. I was well under my budget of $100 for everything.

Nic: After the photos, what came next?

Lita: I used Windows Live™ Movie Maker and sequenced the photos. I added pages for a lead-in, call to action, and credits. Next came positioning script phrases as photo captions. I then ran the movie to see how long it was. I tend to be verbose in my creative stage, so I trimmed photos and adjusted the captions.

Nic: What is a “call to action” page?

Lita: It’s near the end of an advertising piece. My call to action was for the viewers to get their copies of Tredan’s Bane. They could visit my website to find out how.

Nic: What was next for the trailer?

Lita: For the third step, I scoured indie music sites for a dramatic two-minute music clip and added it to the trailer. It took me several days to polish the trailer. I fussed over the transitions until the trailer fit the music.

Nic: What’s the difference between movie and book trailers?

Lita: A movie trailer is a preview. A book trailer is a tease.

Nic: Thanks so much for talking with us today, Lita. For my last question, would you show us the trailer for Tredan’s Bane?

Lita: I thought you would never ask! Follow the link below.

Book Trailer for Tredan’s Bane:

Lita Burke’s website:

Tredan’s Bane on

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Author Interview: Reno Charlton

About me

Born and bred in the West Midlands, England, I have been a professional writer for the past eight years and an author for around the past ten years. For the past eight years I have been working as a successful freelance copywriter, creating content for a global client base and in a variety of different genres. However, writing fiction for children is something that I love to do