Novel Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kawaga

First off, I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of Julie Kawaga’s The Iron King (see review here). It’s odd, because my daughters love the Iron Fey series. In fact, I think we have every one of Julie Kawaga’s books. Well, it was with a bit of  apprehension I decided to pick up The Immortal Rules. I figured since it’s a vampire book and not a Fey book, we might have a bit of a chance to enjoy the work. So the blurb from Goodreads:

“In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.”Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of “them.” The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked–and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend–a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what–and who–is worth dying for.

This book was supplied to me by the publisher through NetGalley.
Available at The Book Depository || Barnes & Nobles

This was NOTHING like The Iron King. I read online (maybe at Ms. Kawaga’s website) she was reluctant to write a vampire book. OMG! I am SO glad she decided to take the leap.

I loved the main character, Allie. Bad ass. Yes, that’s what she was. She was the type of girl who wasn’t playing games. If she told me to get out of face for whatever reason, you better believe I’d do it, cause I’d know without a doubt, her next move would be to make me physically comply in the most unpleasant way. And the thing was, I’d deserve whatever she dished out. I love a gal who sticks to her guns!

Quite a few side characters in this book. I’m not going to go into them all, but if you were able to get over all the expendable characters in The Hunger Games, you should be fine with this book.

PLOT!!! Wonderful plot… always moving forward. I almost wonder if Julie Kawaga wrote this one by the seat of her pants. A lot of books start with an overall goal to achieve. This book sort of just moved along from incident to incident. I never really felt like there was an end goal for Allie other than to survive… and that gal was a survivor! Even though the book didn’t seem to have an ultimate goal, pretty much all the main strings were wrapped up in the end. HOWEVER, the story didn’t really end. New goals were created in the last few pages… something to look forward to in the next book.

Overall, great book. I’d say 4.5/5 stars. I’ll definitely have my eyes out for the next in this series. In fact, I enjoyed The Immortal Rules so much, I’m going to give the next book in the Iron Fey series a try.

Nonfiction Review: How To Sell More Kindle eBooks

I found this book while searching for advice on how to increase sales. Happened upon the author’s website and was lucky enough to find she was promoting her book for free. 🙂 Yeah me!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could write a book, publish it, and watch your sales take off? Well, you can! With Kindle Direct Publishing, you can set up your ebook so that it works with you to increase sales. This ebook shares how to best utilize your book file and set up information to sell more books, and of course I cover everything you can do afterwards to grow your readership. It’s not hard, it doesn’t take hours and hours, and almost every step is free. Don’t spend time building email lists or writing newsletters when you can have fun, engage others, and build a fan base.

I’m a full time writer, and I’m sharing all the small, easy, tactical steps I’ve taken to increase my ebook sales month by month. You can enjoy the writing life and sell thousands of ebooks every month too.

How to Sell More Kindle eBooks offers tried and proven tips on cover design, formatting, Kindle set up to maximize sales, using your Amazon page and profile, social networking, gaining reviews and more. This ebook can guide you through publishing to Kindle for the best results, and it’s easy to go back through your set up information for published ebooks to best utilize the tools. This 50 page guide shares all my secrets for selling Kindle ebooks: everything I’ve tried, learned and succeeded with to increase my book royalties into an income.

Ms. Kristen James provides a quick overview of successfully publishing a book (from writing a great work to marketing that work). She doesn’t go deep into details, but she does provide useful tips along the way.

Why I gave this book 5 stars?

With research, most if not all of the information Ms. James provides in this book can be found online with a bit of effort. In fact, I see a lot of authors implementing the strategies with varying degrees of success. On the other hand, I also see quite a few authors sitting on their island of one, wondering why no one knows or cares about their book(s). How to Sell More Kindle eBooks is for folks in the latter category.

Following the techniques provided may not make an author an instance successful, but it does have the potential to make an author’s book(s) more visible to readers.

If you’re an author who’s struggling to get a handful of sales each month, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Perhaps it’ll get you headed in the right direction.

As I mentioned, this book is great for authors just starting out in self-publishing. Authors who’ve spent some time in the field may find the tips are old news, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a book of reminders.

As a side note: this book was short, to the point, and well-written. As an author who’s already pressed for time, I appreciated the brevity.

Available Amazon

Novel Review: The Zero Knot by K.Z. Snow

I’ve been really slacking on reviews. Well, today, I’m going to try and knock out some of the ones I promised but failed to deliver. First up, The Zero Knot by K.Z. Snow. I picked this book up from the NetGalley thinking it was a young adult M/M novel. 🙂 Before my reception, the blurb from Ms. Snow’s website:

The Domino Club — a teenage version of a secret society, formed by four small-town friends to explore their bisexuality. Two years into his membership, Jess Bonner has had enough. He isn’t bi, he’s gay, but he’s just been afraid to admit it. He’s also an 18-year-old bound for college and bent on making a break from pretense.

When Dylan “Mig” Finch admits he’s also gay and fed up with the club, he and Jess give in to a mutual attraction that’s been building for years. Mig isn’t college-bound, but he’s one of the finest people Jess has ever known.

As the young men struggle to define their relationship and determine their priorities, forces they can’t seem to control keep tripping them up: sexual appetite, personal insecurities, fear of discovery, and more.

They need clarity. They need courage. Just as they’re on the verge of finding both, an act of vindictive jealousy sends one of them to jail. All their hard-won victories are in danger of falling to dust. 

The only way to save what they have is to recognize and declare it for what it is . . . and fight for its integrity. 

I’ve been dying to try a young adult M/M romance. I’ve read a few m/m adult romances and have had a hard time getting into them. I’d hope adding the young adult element would pull me in where other novels had not. What I found was although this is a coming-of-age novel, it is NOT a young adult novel. Yes, the protagonists are young (18), but the sexual scenes are very adult. While the level of sex in the novel surprised me, it didn’t detract from the work at all. In fact, I loved the realism, which really helped make it into a discovery, coming-of-age novel. Well done, Ms. Snow!

When I first read the prologue, I was apprehensive about this piece. The prologue didn’t grab me at all, and after reading the entire book, I wish it’d been omitted. If nothing else, it would have been nice for me to the type of person to skip prologues. After the first chapter though, the book had me hooked.

One of the passages I loved from the Zero Knot was:

“You weren’t a Freebird who’d soon be earthbound. You were an alien, and you’d never be anything else.”

It’s such a beautiful truth. A big part of adolescence and even life in general is about finding yourself, trying to fit in. But what happens when you figure out you’ll never fit in the way society expects you to? No matter the outside image you portray, you’ll always be you inside… and that you is different from the established norm.

That sums up The Zero Knot in the nutshell — young men, despite living outside the social norm, coming to terms with who they are. Throughout it all, Ms. Snow splashed enough humor to keep me laughing when I wanted to cry about the injustice of an unfair world.

Who I’d recommend The Zero Knot to? That’s a tough one. I want to say everyone because the story line was so touching and provided such understanding. However, the graphic nature of some sex scenes makes this work suitable for adults. Parents should definitely read this one through before they consider passing it along to their teen.

Bottom line: I loved it. I’ll definitely be looking for more works by K.Z. Snow.

The Zero Knot is Available at: Barnes & NoblesThe Book Depository

Novel Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

I’ve been cracking down on reading the last couple of weeks. My Goodreads reading goal was 60 books. Tonight I plan on finishing an anthology once I get my posts out of the way. That’ll put me at 58 books. It’ll be a close one folks.

What do we have for you today? Hmmm… Tempest by Julie Cross. This one happens to be a Netgalley read. Have I mentioned how much I love Netgalley? haha So the blurb from Goodreads:

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

When I first started Tempest, I have to admit… I didn’t buy the story line. A guy who time travels with his mind but not his body? I’m think the boy’s having seizures and is delusional. I kept expecting the author to give me a “gotcha, this is all a dream” scene. In fact, I have notes up to the 13th chapter like “I still think he’s delusional.” haha But you know what? I couldn’t put the book down.

The read was so unique, I never knew what to expect. And as complicated as I expected time travel to be, Tempest was written in a way that explained everything in simple and realistic terms. Goodbye Paradoxes; Hello Tempest.

This book had more than a few heartfelt moments. At the same times, it was chalked full of humor to lighten the mood. And it certainly didn’t hurt to have such a likable character like Jackson.

Though at times, I thought he was beyond mature for his 19 years. His mentality on issues such as dating and sex made me think of men pushing thirty and over. None of the boys I dated in my early teens and twenties were anything like that. It made Jackson sweet in many ways… and very dreamy. Take notes, boys. Girls will be reading this book and expecting more from you, because Jackson really steps up the game.

My summary? Think Back to the Future, MiB, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Doctor Who, roll it all into one and you’ve got Tempest. If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself. I loved it and can’t wait for the next installment.

***Tempest by Julie Cross was an EXCELLENT read. 5/5 stars and one of my favorites for 2011. Way to make it under the 2011 deadline. This book will be part of the giveaway on my blog December 27-31 as part of “Best of 2011.” Woot!***

Find Tempest by Julie Cross:  Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository