Archive | December, 2010

Review and giveaway: Purpose by Kristie Cook

17 Dec

Publisher: Ang’dora Productions
Released: December 15th, 2010
Genre: Adult paranormal, romance
For review from author

Defending souls is her purpose…but can she save her own?

Lost in despair, Alexis teeters on the edge of an abyss, her lifeline of hope fraying into a thin thread. If it snaps, she’ll plunge into complete darkness. With the help of her son and her writing, she’s been able to hold on. Until now. Erratic impulses, disturbing delusions and her own demonic blood threaten her sanity. When she’s forced to choose between hanging onto hope or letting go to serve her Amadis purposes, she faces a decision with inconceivable sacrifices.

Alexis runs to the one place she thinks will provide answers, only to find herself at the center of another battle of good versus evil, not only with the Daemoni, not only within herself…but also against the worst opponent imaginable. But even if she wins, what will she lose?

From the author’s website.

*Disclaimer*
I know I said this review would be up yesterday and that had been my plan. But my crappy mattress and insomnia banded together and my brain was like mush. If I had written the review yesterday it would have sounded much like all the adults in the Peanut cartoons.

I love when a sequel blows me away. You know, when you enjoyed the first book in the series, but then you hit the next book and it’s like “Whoa, this is some great stuff!”.  Well, that’s what happened when I read Kristie Cooke’s second book in her Soul Savers series, Purpose.

I really, really liked this book. Really, really. While there is some romance in it, it wasn’t as romancey as the first book and that was just fine by me.  There was more mythos, action and bad guys and a lot more Owen (who, BTW, is my fave).

Purpose takes place a few years after Promise, and Alexis is not in a good place. I think my only issue with the book was that the first third of it was so frigging depressing. I honestly wanted to reach into the pages and shake the crap out of Alexis. She wanders around pretty depressed and teary-eyed for the first part of the book. She’s gone through something pretty traumatic and can’t seem to get over it. I just wish she hadn’t been quite as gloomy as she was. But she does eventually snap out of it, and for me that’s when the book really took off.

The writing in Purpose was better than the writing in Promise. I know that seems like a bit of an obnoxious thing to say, but it’s true. While Promise wasn’t badly written, there just seemed to be a better to flow to the writing in Purpose. Kristie was really in a cool writing grove.

I think some people that read and enjoyed Promise for the romance may be a bit surprised that Purpose isn’t as romance based. At least it didn’t seem that way to me. And for a chick who prefers her paranormal with just a dash of romance, it was the perfect balance.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!

Yay! So, I have one copy of Purpose to give away to a lucky reader. All you have to do is comment below and let me know of a sequel that  you enjoyed more than the first book or what sequel you are most looking forward to (beside Purpose) in 2011. The contest is open to Canada and the US and I’ll pick the winner on Christmas eve.*

*Yeah, so I’m going to extend this contest until the 8th of January because I took a bit of a blog break and so wasn’t promoting it.

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Guest post: Kristie Cook

15 Dec

A big welcome back and thank you to Kristie Cook for today’s guest post. I’m happy to be a part of the virtual tour for her second book, Purpose.

Writing (or Not Exactly Writing) a Sequel

When Ms. LL (Lavender Lines) and I first discussed my writing a guest post, she suggested the topic of the challenges and perks of writing a sequel. And I thought, “Good idea! I’ve done such a thing!” But here’s the truth: I didn’t really, truly write a sequel.

See, when this story first came to me, it started with this pivotal scene that is now about a third of the way through Purpose. Yes, Purpose, as in the second book. That’s where I started. But then I needed to know how the characters arrived at this major point in their lives.

I thought, at first, that I was indulging myself by writing about the love story that led up to this scene. I didn’t expect it to ever become something real. But as it flowed out of my brain, important backstory and mythology was revealed. I couldn’t find a better way to include it all in what I’d thought was the real story.

And, even better, that part of the story was pretty good stuff. I made it Part I of the original Purpose. After many rewrites, revisions, editing, etc., though, I eventually realized I had two books with a nearly perfect (though terrible cliffhanger) place to split them. Thus…Promise was born. And Purpose was…left.

Promise didn’t need much work to finalize it into a complete book. I just needed to wrap up the loose ends that I could into more of an ending. Purpose, however, was only the length of about 2/3 of an adult book. I had some more writing to do.

There were advantages and disadvantages of this approach to the “sequel.” The best part was realizing I had all this room to play with. I could suddenly explore and include ideas that I’d previously dismissed because, with the original Purpose, I’d already reached an astronomical word count. Since I needed more word count now, I could explain the mythology and magic more. I could really bring the reader into the experience. I could even add whole new plot elements, twists and turns and even new characters.

Then there was the big disadvantage – I had to build all this into an existing story with a beginning, middle and end. It wasn’t writing a real first draft, which is like hopping on an open road, flooring the accelerator and just going. Writing until it’s all said and done and then going back and improving it. No, this was like trying to parallel park a dump truck into a space barely big enough for a Mini Cooper – I kept bumping into the boundaries of what was already there.

I suppose writing any sequel will be like that, however, at least to a certain extent. Once you set the rules of your world, you have to stick to them throughout the series. So there are always boundaries you’ll bump up against. I also felt similar pressure that any author writing a sequel feels – that we’re just not going to do it good enough for the fans. That we’ll disappoint them.

Hopefully, I haven’t disappointed anyone. I do feel Purpose is the better story, if I’m allowed to say that. I love Promise for its own reasons, but this second book…the one I first started writing…is the one that grabbed my heart and soul. I hope it does yours, too.

Thanks again for stopping by Kristie!

Oh, and make sure you guys pop in again tomorrow for my review of Purpose and a giveaway. And make sure to head over to Amazon and pick up your own copy of Purpose.

Music Monday(on a Tuesday) Christmas songs that make me think

14 Dec

So, I totally forgot that yesterday was Monday. Or rather I forgot to post for Music Monday. Either way, I didn’t want to miss out on sharing some of my favorite Christmas songs with you.

I have a confession to make: I am so not in the Christmas mood. This has been a year full of ups and downs, and I think it’s just finally gotten to me. So much that I toyed with the idea of not getting a tree or decorating at all. We’re struggling a bit financially right now and it’s going to be a slim Christmas, present wise. I know as a 37 year old woman that it shouldn’t bother me, but it does, just a bit.

I also know I have to snap out of it and not get sucked into the unbelievable commercialism of Christmas. It’s hard though, isn’t it? And I think it’s the commercialism that stresses a lot of us out this time of year.

So today I’m sharing three of my favorite Christmas songs that always make me think and help me gain a bit of perspective.

I’ve always loved this song, but this is the first year that I think I really listened to the words and identified with them. It’s a sad little song about being disillusioned with Christmas, but there’s also a hint of hope in it, too.

I’m sorry, I don’t care how many times they redo this, the original is the best and kicked off the music industry’s involvement with world hunger.

The first Christmas gift I ever received from a boy was in grade 7 and came with a card that said “Happy Christmas”.  This is another song that’s been redone by everyone, but the original will always be the best.

Best cover EVER

9 Dec

You’re at the bookstore, wandering the aisles. You want to buy a book, but you aren’t sure what you’re in the mood for. Then you see it: the perfect cover. You have no idea what the book is about, really, but you know that you must have it. Because the cover is perfection.

Well, I stumbled across what is, in my opinion, the best cover EVER. I literally jumped up and down with glee right there in the store when I saw it. I didn’t buy it then (I was shopping for someone else) but last night I bought it. And it makes me happy every time I look at it.

I proudly showed it to two friends who immediately cringed and looked at me like I was a fruitcake. But I don’t care. I think it’s beautiful.

Okay, curious? Here it is:

OK, seriously, is that not the most amazing, cheesy, B movie, God-awful, wonderful cover you’ve ever seen? I can’t express just how awesome I think this cover is. And before you ask, yes I am being dead serious.

What can I say? I have some serious issues.

Secret Santa #1

8 Dec

So, this year I’ve signed on to 3 different holiday Secret Santa bookish swap thingies and my first package arrived today!

When the hubs brought the package in, I did what I always do: I checked the return address. Well, holy snapping turtles, it was a local one! Like, 30 minutes away local. So of course I was instantly confused. Late birthday gift?  Mistaken identity? Intrigue, for sure.

So I opened the card and giggled in delight because the package was, indeed from one of the swaps and it was from someone I know! (At least on here, anyway). Raidergirl from over at At Adventure in Reading sent me a fabu package including three (yes folks, THREE) awesome books and a killer skull and crossbones bookmark to add to my collections.

I love surprises and I love gifts. Seriously. I may be 37 but when it comes to presents I’m like a 6 year old.

Virtual Advent Tour

7 Dec

Today as part of The Virtual Advent Tour, I want to talk a bit about our long-standing family tradition of decorating for Christmas. Yes, I am aware that a lot of families decorate for Christmas, but we were always very specific about when we decorated the house.

My birthday is in December. In fact, my birthday is today. For as long as I can remember, we never EVER decorated the house before my birthday. It just wasn’t done. As soon as my birthday came and went, then the boxes of lights, decorations and tree parts (yes we were a fake tree family) would come out and the decorating would begin.

When I was younger and I’d see that some of friends’ houses were decorated before the 7th of December, I’d get confused.  Didn’t they know the decorating rule? How could they be okay with putting up trees and reindeer before my birthday? In my young mind it was just wrong. I tried explaining it, but no one had any idea what I was talking about. Very confusing.

Now, I wasn’t an obnoxious kid or anything. I didn’t think it was because it was MY birthday. I genuinely thought that globally December 7th was the official start of the decorating season. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that when I was a kid, the stores tended to wait until the second week of December to unleash their massive Christmas displays. Oh and the Peanuts Christmas cartoon usually came on around my birthday, too. I think I was around 11 when I first realized that there was no official start date to the Christmas decorating season. But just because I realized it didn’t mean that we started decorating before the 7th, oh no. We still always stuck with the tradition.

I’m 37 now and my husband and I have our own house. And we have our own traditions. But we still don’t decorate until my birthday. It just wouldn’t feel right. And it still seems weird to me to see houses all lit up with lights before today. Over the past two weeks friends have been posting pictures on twitter of their trees and decorations all nice and sparkly.  And it’s taken every last ounce of self-control I have not to say “Are you crazy? It’s not the 7th yet!!!!!”

So tonight we’ll drag out the Christmas totes. We’ll put on some Christmas music (something else that doesn’t make an appearance until today) and we’ll decorate our home. Once we’ve had some birthday cake, that is.

Music Monday: a dog, a drunk and a fight

6 Dec

Three of my favorite Christmas songs are, well, a bit unconventional. But the thing is, I know that at least two of them are beloved by a lot of people so I’m not totally crazy for thinking they’re the bee’s knees when it comes to Christmas tunes.

Snoopy vs The Red Baron has been a fave of mine since as long as I can remember. One of my first Christmas memories is being at my Uncle Sandy and Aunt Kay’s and dancing to this song with my cousins Carol, Gussie and Karen. I’d have to ask my Mom how old I was, but I’d have to say around 5.

I am convinced that Fairytale of New York is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful songs out there. You can play me all the songs about Holly Jolly Chirstmases, Bells and Snowmen you want, but this is the song that makes me happiest at this time of the year. And yes, I am well aware I have issues. It’s just that I think there are more people who can identify with Fairytale of New York than Frosty the Snowman.

And come on, a Christmas song with the words old slut AND cheap lousy faggot? Cool in my books.

OMG who hasn’t known this couple? Or, Hell, been this couple? It just wouldn’t be Christmas without some Ramones.