The Wonder of Unknown

So, ladies and gents, I’ve bought a ticket to London for September 20th. To clear things up, I’ll remind everyone that I live in America and have never been outside the country. I have no idea what I’m going to do or where I’m going to go, only that sometime around New Years I’ll get my butt to Paris for my flight back (which has yet to be purchased).

Obviously I am excited about this trip. In 77 days I will be flying to London. (Well, technically I’ll be flying to Canada then Iceland THEN London, but close enough.) I mentioned before that I was planning to go to Europe and I have a pitiful travel blog here (where I already mention this trip), but now it’s set in stone. I don’t know how much money I’ll have or where I’ll be going or if I’ll end up homeless and begging my parents to pay for me to come home, but either way I’m ready.

So, what does this mean for this blog? Well, two things. One, I’m going to be working as much as possible between now and the 18th of September, so I’m not going to be posting that often, but I’ll aim for at least once every other week. It also means that I’ll be on a writing hiatus after I leave–I’ll still write, but it will be on a tiny tablet and that won’t have the processing power to edit anything, so nothing new will be released–but that I will probably be posting more book reviews if I ever find my Kindle.

ALSO, if any of you live in Europe and want to meet up, I’m game with that. Since I’m going during November I plan to go to a NaNoWriMo meet-up just to meet locals, so if you’re near a major city we may because to get coffee or something.

For now, bare with me as I get overwhelmed and freak out over my impending departure, and please note that I have not died, I’m just selling my soul at a fast food restaurant in order to fund my trip.

My Bookshelf: The Enterprise of Death

Title: The Enterprise of Death

Author: Jesse Bullington

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summery:
“As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.

She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.”

Jeers:

  • The start was a bit slow and like all historical fiction I had trouble with all the names.

Cheers:

  • Everything about this book was brilliant.
  • The characters were wonderful.
  • The plot didn’t drag on even though it was a long book.
  • The magic was very well done.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, to everyone! Disclaimer though, there are some weird bits people might have a problem with, like dead lesbian sex and murder and all that. However, I still loved it. It’s now one of my favorite books and I can’t wait to read the rest of the author’s novels.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Death-Jesse-Bullington/dp/0316087343

My Bookshelf: Evil Genius

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Title: Evil Genius

Author: Catherine Jinks

Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction

Amazon Summary:
“Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At seven, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now he’s fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Although Cadel may be advanced beyond his years, at heart he’s a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his studies. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?”

Jeers:

  • I didn’t really have any problems with it, but it may have dragged on too long for some people.
  • There were people who could explode and that really wasn’t expanded on enough because that seemed pretty cool.

Cheers:

  • I thought they did a very good job of writing an hero who was actually a villain (or the other way around, I dunno).
  • I really liked how diverse the people at the institute were.
  • It gave off a spy/superhero kind of vibe.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. If you like longer books. Obviously it is aimed at kids but it was serious enough that I could enjoy it fully as an adult. (Lots of people die. Like a lot.)

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Genius-Catherine-Jinks/dp/0152061851

I’ve decided to have a real adventure

So this May, I’m graduating. My boyfriend is not. The plan was for me to get a job, find an apartment, and be all ready for him come May of next year. However, I jokingly said “Well how would you feel if you were stuck here at school and I was backpacking all over Europe?” Then I thought…. what if I actually do that?

By April, I’ll decide on whether or not I’m going to commit and buy the tickets. However, I’m almost certain that I’ll do it. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, and now is the perfect time. I plan to see Ireland, Scotland, England, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy, but I almost may change that up a bit once I start looking more at an itinerary.

My parents are already freaking out over my plan to go alone, but I’m determined to keep myself safe. Plenty of women have gone to Europe alone and not been viciously killed.

Have any of you ever backpacked through a foreign country?

My Bookshelf: Torrent

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Title: Torrent

Series: Rust & Relics #1

Author: Lindsay Buroker

Genre: Urban fantasy, New adult

Amazon Summary:

“When Delia chose to major in archaeology, she imagined herself as the female Indiana Jones of the Southwest. She didn’t imagine herself crawling through abandoned mine shafts, scrounging for rusty pickaxes and gold pans to sell on auction sites, but Indiana Jones didn’t have to make student loan payments.

Scouring the mountains of Arizona with Simon, her best friend and computer geek extraordinaire, Delia dreams of turning their scavenging enterprise into a legitimate business. More, she longs to earn the respect of peers who shun her for turning into a treasure hunter. What she doesn’t dream of is stumbling across a decapitated body in an old mine near Prescott.

Something dangerous has come to the mountains, and two Harley-riding strangers are the only ones who seem to have a clue. They speak a language Delia has never heard and carry mysterious artifacts she’s never seen. Investigating these strangers might lead her to discoveries that change the face of archaeology forever… or it might lead her and her best friend into a deadly monster’s lair.”

My Summary:
Delia and Simon are just searching for artifacts to sell American Pickers-style when they hear a scream and find a dead body, which sets off a chain of events that throws them into alien (or elf) invested waters, running from a web-footed monster that tears off people’s heads, and finding dead Romans in underground lairs.

Cheers:

  • I seriously loved Simon. Like, I will happily read a book with just him looking through old warehouses looking for antiques.
  • It kept you guessing. I had no idea what was going on, and I still don’t. But in a good way? Like I understood the plot, but there’s a lot of mystery behind the motorcycle guys.
  • I enjoyed Delia’s sarcasm.
  • The story was just an enjoyable read. Everything was unique, from their jobs (like I said, American Pickers-type stuff) to the back story (raised in some Greek hippie commune) to the cave-y bit at the end (don’t want to spoil anything, but yeah, it was pretty surprising).

Jeers:

  • This is only book one, so I don’t know how well I can evaluate it, but the plot may have gotten a little out of control. Like the author may have made everything TOO unique and TOO random so that she won’t be able to explain it all in the end, but we’ll have to see.
  • I don’t really like Temi. She was just meh in my eyes, so I’m not sure how a second book about her and her warrior skills will work out.
  • The whip was a little much. Like, way too much. But I’ll let it slide.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. It was fun and I enjoyed reading it. Seriously, Simon is great. Give it a try. (It’s only $0.99, so there’s not much to lose).

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Torrent-Rust-Relics-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00FCCGS84/ref=asap_B004FSRHUE_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416088585&sr=1-4

My Bookshelf: Wild Concept

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Title: Wild Concept

Author: C. S. Boyack

Genre: Science Fiction/ Adventure

Amazon Summary:

“Lisa Burton is a new kind of robot. Built in the concept lab, she will be dismantled at the end of the experiment.

Lisa is a bit naive when she starts her new life, but soon learns to fit into modern society.

She gets assigned to the Hudson Police Department to study how she reacts to pressure, stress, and the everyday world. Hudson PD assigns her to a homicide case to catch the Escort Executioner.

When the escorts start showing up dismembered, she decides not to conclude her own experiment. She takes off on her own adventure to turn the tables on her creators.”

My Summary:

Yeah, this was about a robot who was basically human and wants to solve crimes. She also likes tattoos.

Cheers:

  • It was an interesting concept, and Lisa was pretty unique.
  • The gambling thing was pretty interesting and it seemed accurate enough.
  • Though I had to suffer through the terrible aspects of the book, the story was alright.

Jeers:

  • The editing was non-existent. This is the kind of book that gives self-published authors a bad name. There were mistakes, formatting issues, no breaks between scenes (literally, it’ll go from Lisa going to sleep to her being at the crime scene with no warning). I’m not talking a few mistakes here and there, I’m talking the whole book.
  • The police information is unrealistic. I took detailed notes to forward to the author, but the biggest thing that jumped out at me was that they found out a girl was dead and they said, “Oh, well it’ll suck when we have to inform the family in the morning.” No. Just no. (I plan on working in the criminal justice field, so it really bothered me.) He could’ve at least reached the level of accuracy that cop dramas work for, but it wasn’t even at that level.
  • Not only were there errors and typos that had missed editing, but there were some scenes that were just plain bad writing.

Would I recommend it?:

No. Maybe if it was edited by a professional, but not in it’s current state. Don’t waste your money, there are better robot stories out there.

Additional comments:

Again, I was sad to see such a terrible self-published book. It was worse because the story had promise, but the author refuses to improve his story. When I emailed him my notes explaining that he HAD to edit (even just on his own) and put in breaks to show jumps in time, his defense was that he didn’t really have time for that, so he wasn’t going to, despite releasing other titles and having plenty of time to blog. He just didn’t care.  He also said “No, all of this is completely accurate” when I pointed out the stuff he fudged about the police, citing his work in a branch of criminal justice that was NOT the homicide department that he was confused about. (Disclaimer: I read this a while ago, so he *may* have edited it since then, but I don’t think he has. I’ll be happy to reconsider my opinion if he does some major editing.)

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Concept-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B00IIWQ10A

Author’s blog:

http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/

Two Great Reads On FictionPress

I’m a really harsh critic when it comes to what I read. I want it to sound professionally written. I can get past only so much awkward phrasing, no matter how good the plot, before I’m ready to rip my hair out. After being disappointed in the last two Indie books I’ve reviewed (actually, I don’t know if The Boss is Indie or not, I say no) I decided that I would post the links to the only two novels I ever finished and favorited on FictionPress. (I used to use the site to post my own work until I had an entire novel of mine stolen and posted for sale on Amazon.)

But anyways, here are the stories. It’s always nice to have access to free novels~

Title: Glass
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Summary: “Beauty and the Beast retelling. When a selfish prince makes a bad decision, his entire staff suffers. Years later, a young woman affected by the same curse arrives at his castle to break the spell. Can she save him and break the curse on herself?”
Link: https://www.fictionpress.com/s/2428718/1/Glass
Comments: This made for a fun read. The writing isn’t quite up to publishing standards, but it’s good enough.

Title: The Silver Tower
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Summary: “This is not the tale of Rapunzel. There was no damsel in distress in the topmost room, mournfully waiting for her well built lover to gallop forth on his mighty steed. There was a damsel, aye, but she was an angry peasant girl whose name was Saran…”
Link: https://www.fictionpress.com/s/2366499/1/The-Silver-Tower
Comments: I thought that this was a brilliant plot. I loved the characters, loved the setting, loved the plot, and loved the ending. I so, so loved the ending.