Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

October 6, 2012 § 22 Comments

Kindle Fire HD Giveaway Event!

Here’s your chance to WIN one of the NEW Kindle Fire HD Tablets!

This awesome giveaway event is sponsored by BookSnagr, a website for book lovers that connects you with free, discounted and recommended eBooks! Check out their Top Free Kindle Books page for a whole list of freebies you can find at Amazon! Follow their blog, Facebook and Twitter pages for deal alerts, updates and giveaways, and be sure to subscribe to their newsletter for exclusive info on newly released free, discounted and recommended eBooks!

One winner will receive a Kindle Fire HD 16 GB Tablet "The world’s most advanced 7" tablet!" (Prize will be delivered via an Amazon.com gift card valued at $199.00)

Giveaway ends October 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST.

This giveaway is open to USA only.

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Complete the first easy entry to unlock the rest.

Remember, the more entries you submit, the better odds you have of winning!

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Review: The First Days

September 22, 2012 § 2 Comments

The First Days
The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since reading [b:Feed|7094569|Feed (Newsflesh, #1)|Mira Grant|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1335958027s/7094569.jpg|7351419] by Mira Grant I have been strangely drawn to zombie fiction. (Thank you Wendy, Maja, and Michelle) This is especially strange considering that I’m usually pretty squeamish and blood and guts fiction has never been my thing. While I’m still not a fan of the gore, for some reason, I seem to enjoy stories about how people survive in a world gone completely insane. The First Days certainly fits in that category with a sizable helping of the gory bits included.

The First Days begins by traumatizing the reader into a state of frozen terror by describing how a woman is watching her 3 year old’s bloody fingers scrabbling under the door in an attempt to get to her and goes on to explain how the woman had earlier walked in on her husband consuming the child in his crib and she wonders how there was enough left of him to make it downstairs since her husband has always been known to have a big appetite. With such an insane beginning, I was repulsed by the story and also intrigued with where this author could possibly go from there.

While I don’t believe The First Days had the emotional impact of Feed, it definitely held my interest from start to finish. The rest of the book didn’t exactly fulfill the promise of that first chapter, but there was no shortage of zombie action either. The fast moving plot and well written female characters made up for the fact that the male characters, other than Jenni’s stepson Jason, were pretty meh. I also felt like there were a lot of unnecessary explanations about Katie’s sexuality. Jenni and Katie’s weird bond was fascinating but the stand-out character for me was Narit, who fascinated me for some reason.

The First Days is a blood soaked crazy look at how chaotic a zombie apocalypse can be. I absolutely enjoyed this from beginning to end and am looking forward to reading the second in the series.

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Review- The Forest of Hands and Teeth

September 18, 2012 § 11 Comments

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

                                                            by Carrie Ryan

                                                            Narrated by Vane Millon
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is reminiscent of the movie The Village, a group of people are living in a small isolated village surrounded by a high fence which separates them from the undead, or as the book calls them, the unconsecrated. The main character, Mary, is out doing her daily chores as the zombies claw at the fence trying desperately to get inside, when suddenly the sirens blare signalling an emergency, possibly a breach. This emergency begins a series of events which dramatically alter Mary and the rest of the villager’s day to day existence. While the villagers look to the Sister’s to answer their questions and explain god’s will, the Sister’s may be hiding some secrets that could endanger their very existence. Meanwhile, Mary’s main concern is that the brother that she is crushing on has chosen her best friend to marry and she might be stuck with the other brother instead.

I listened to the audio of this and I would not recommend it to anyone considering reading this. You should read it in either print or ebook format. The narrator was very lifeless and monotone and frequently used odd pronunciation. She also, for some unknown reason, used a spanish-like accent for some of the characters which just didn’t fit in a story where the characters had all lived in the same isolated village for generations. I felt like either ALL of the characters should have an accent, or NONE of the characters should have an accent.

I have such a mixed opinion about The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I really enjoyed the story but found Mary, the main character, to be absolutely insufferable. I would say that she is one of the most well written godawful characters I’ve ever read. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a more frustratingly selfish main character. I can’t even call her a “heroine” because all she really manages to do is put people in a lot of really bad situations. Apparently, throughout Mary’s life her mother had told her stories about life before the zombies and many stories in particular about the ocean. So now Mary’s only obsession, other than which brother she loves that day, is making her way to the ocean regardless of who she puts in danger to do it, even though she’s not completely sure if it even exists.

I actually found most of the players to be rather 2 dimensional and spiritless and I spent most of my time hoping one of them would be eaten by a zombie. Mary’s brother was the only one who showed a bit of personality sometimes, unfortunately it wasn’t exactly a winning personality. He was a bit of an asshat. The two brothers were equally insufferable as they constantly made long winded angst filled declarations of their devotion to Mary who couldn’t make up her mind which one she loved. I was hoping zombies would eat them too.

 ‎“He’s so tender, so eager to make me happy in ways that no one else has. Tears start to crowd in my eyes and my body begins to respond to this man as if it were his brother whispering into my ear. As if my body can’t tell the difference between the two, between their whispers and the feel of their breath on my flesh.”

The fact that she basically admitted that she was just a run of the mill ho almost made her character a little more interesting than she had been up to this point. I was still hoping a zombie would eat her though….

On the other hand, the writing and world building was wonderful and the flow of the plot was evenly paced and enjoyable. I honestly don’t understand how I liked a book so much when I didn’t like any of the people in it. Some of the instances when the villagers were going about their day to day existence and the author would describe the scene with zombies just feet away literally breaking their fingers off in the fence trying to get in and a constant cacophony of undead moans was the  background noise to the point that only its absence was notable. This world was so creepy and written in such a matter of fact way that I could really feel the hopelessness of this kind of existence. This book definitely left me with some haunting images of what unthinkable things could happen in such a world.

I don’t know if I’m going to continue to the next book. As much as I loved the writing and story, the ending left me hating the main character even more than I had through the story and I really don’t care what happens to her unless it includes being eaten by a zombie.

Review: The Immortal Rules

August 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

The Immortal Rules
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Immortal Rules is a dark, violent, edge of your seat, up all night kind of story. And it is hands down the very best book I’ve read all year. I read and loved Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, but The Immortal Rules is even better. I mean, the first line of the story starts with a public execution, and it just gets darker from there. I was 9 pages in when I knew this book would make it to my favorites list.

The world that Kagawa has created is terrifyingly brilliant with an almost post-apocalyptic or dystopian feel. The US has been decimated by a disease that almost destroyed the human race to the point that vampires, who had before hidden among humans were alarmed that their food source was being wiped out and so created cities where they ruled and kept the humans penned in like sheep under the guise of “protection”. Because outside these walled cities among the ruins of other towns and cities were inhabited by mindless scavenging “rabids” which are essentially vampire zombies. Yes, I said Vampire Zombies. So the vampires protected the humans from these things as well as provided food and necessities to the registered and in return for this protection, the humans were required to give a quota of blood every couple weeks. Those unregistered humans were not required to give blood, but they also were not given food and the penalty for stealing is death. The majority of the humans live in what is called the Fringe, outside the walls of the inner vampire sanctum, but inside the walls of the city itself and out of reach of the rabids.

The main character, Allison, was basically a street urchin, living in abandoned building, eating garbage, bugs, rats or anything just to stay alive. Allie’s bravery, loyalty, and wit quickly endeared her to me. She seemed to be always struggling with a balance between self-preservation and the need to protect those she cared about. Kagawa certainly wasn’t kind to her, this poor girl, throughout the story gets the crap kicked out of her both physically and emotionally as she attempts to hang on to her humanity. While Allie was a kick-ass main character, everyone in the story had a depth and background that made the entire story just come to life. I was drawn so deeply into this story that there were several times that my husband spoke to me from right in front of me that I didn’t even notice him standing there. (He so loves when I do that :P)

And yes, there is a bit of romance between all the blood and starvation. Vampire Zombies be damned, teens will insist upon falling in love, no matter how hopeless it seems. In this situation, however, the romance was absolutely fitting. It built so slowly from them beginning to trust one another based on their actions, then coming to understand one another’s differences. It added yet another poignant element to the story and it definitely worked, despite their differences and despite how impossible things may seem.

The writing was stellar, flawless. Kagawa effortlessly built this bleak and frightening world populated with terrifying creatures, a broken society, and a heroine with a strength built on years of pain and disappointment and yet a capacity to love that almost defies that world she grew up in. I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up The Immortal Rules, but I know I had no idea I would be so completely blown away by this incredible story. If you haven’t read this yet, you should do so immediately.

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Guest Post and Giveaway: A.J. Scudiere, author of God’s Eye

October 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am so thrilled to have bestselling author, A.J. Scudiere, on The Happy Booker today to talk about writing POV. A.J.’s newest book God’s Eye has recently been released and the good news is, the ebook format of God’s Eye will be available for just $2.99 from Amazon and Barnes and Noble beginning on 10/24 and lasting until 10/31!! Unbelievable price for such an incredible book! With such a wickedly scary cover, I couldn’t help but be curious about what’s inside!! God’s Eye is a thrilling novel that includes elements of horror, romance, and the paranormal. I’m so excited that A.J. Scudiere has offered one lucky Happy Booker reader a chance to win a signed copy!

The Thrill of Point of View.


Let me start with a resounding ‘Yes! Point of view can be thrilling.’ No, wait . . . it’s always thrilling.


Though I would never attribute the overall quality of a thriller to any one particular writing skill, I find that POV is often overlooked as the essential element that it is. We all know must have interesting characters, a suspenseful plot and a writing style that is hopefully great, but at the very least good! POV is something that must exist – it’s truly impossible to tell any story without it – and yet it is so often forgotten about. Maybe that’s because it’s so essential . . .


Still, POV is often what makes a thriller . . . well, thrilling. Imagine the book told from the serial killer’s point of view. From the first moment, you know who he is. Likely why he does what he does. Who he’s stalking . . . etc. Now imagine your lead detective knows all this, too. And so do the next three victims. Thrill: gone.


It’s what you don’t know that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s the fact that you are stuck there with the detective . . . with a profile, a handful of suspects and kill-pattern knowledge. You know someone is going to die – but you don’t know quite who, and you don’t know how to stop it. You only know that you have to. Yes, it’s two AM and you are still reading. And that’s because of the point of view.


The author always has to make decisions about characters and their POV. I’d wager a lot of it isn’t done consciously. The writer may just have a feel for what makes a suspenseful read, just like some people feel the beat of music and others have to count it out. Other times, POV decisions are made very conscientiously. What’s revealed and when to reveal it is exactly why you are still up at two in the morning when you have to go to work the next day. And if the POV is played right, it’s worth every minute!


In addition to deciding if the reader knows what the police officer knows, or what the victim or killer knows, the author has to decide how much to reveal of what each character knows. So, in addition to singular or changing POVs, there’s an omniscient POV (where you can see inside all the characters’ heads) and there’s also partial POV. At least, that’s what I’m deeming it here, because I haven’t heard it talked about before.


Partial POV is this: though the author has put you in the head of one of the characters, you still don’t know everything that character knows. I worked hard at this in my latest book, God’s Eye. Though the demon and the angel both clearly know which they are, the POV doesn’t ever reveal it. So, while you are in Allistair’s head, you see what he sees, and you may examine things along with him, but he isn’t thinking about what species he is. And though he thinks about what his goal is for Katharine – the pawn in this otherworldly tug-of-war – Allistair doesn’t think in terms that reveal what he is, just what he wants.


The other benefit of POV is that the reader can know more than the characters know. The reader gets the benefit of sitting in his chair and seeing what’s coming, even when the character doesn’t. With a single POV throughout the whole story, this is limited, but the more eyes we see through, the smarter we get, and the more exciting it is as we put the pieces together.


Because of this challenge of POV, the thriller becomes a thinking man’s book. The POV has to reveal the story in a way that gives you enough information, yet hopefully keeps you from putting all the pieces together until the end. In the best cases, you learn the answers along with the characters (or maybe just a moment before they do!) And you find, when you solve one piece of the puzzle, that you had all the clues to put it together already in your hands.


POV is the way the author hides those clues. It’s the biggest and most overlooked element of suspense writing. It’s what truly separates books from television and movies and the good writers from the great.


So the next time you are up at two in the morning, still turning pages, ask yourself this: whose eyes do you see through and what is the author hiding there?



Wow! Thanks so much A.J. for joining us here at The Happy Booker today!Want to know more about A.J. Scudiere? You can find out more at these websites:

Author homepage: http://www.ajscudiere.com/
Audio Movies: www.AJsAudioMovies.com
Newest title, God’s Eye, out October 2011: www.GodsEyeTheBook.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AJScudiere
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ajscudiere

Goodreads Summary:

Katharine Geryon is living the life her family name has dictated, and why not? After all, it has given her a good job in the family company and a fine life with all the things she should want. But all that changes as increasingly disturbing events begin to occur: soot stains on the carpet, glimpses of strange black animals, and cryptic messages written on her bathroom mirror. Baffled and afraid, Katharine begins to doubt her own sanity.
At the same time, two charismatic men enter her life: Allistair, her new assistant at work, and Zachary, a well-heeled neighbor who just moved into her building. Katharine soon finds each of them inextricably entangled in her affairs. As her life becomes stranger and her dreams more terrifying, she realizes neither man is what he seems and that she’s caught in something far beyond her own comprehension. For the first time, she must reach beyond her own boundaries. There Katharine forges her first true friendship with Margot, a librarian who helps her discover what these men really are, why she’s drawn to them, and what they want with her.
The answer places Katharine in the middle of a fierce battle that forces her to decide between the two men fighting for her soul.
In the end, only one can be saved, but all three will be judged.



Sounds amazing right?? It sounds like an angels & demons paranormal romantic thriller with some kick!! A.J. is generously offering one lucky reader a signed copy of God’s Eye!! For those who don’t want to wait around for a giveaway, remember, the ebook format of God’s Eye will be available for just $2.99 from Amazon and Barnes and Noble beginning on 10/24 until 10/31!!  

GIVEAWAY
To enter:

US only (sorry, I’ll be having another giveaway that will be Intl starting tomorrow)

Simply fill out the form. 
Following my blog is not required but appreciated. 
Extra entries for commenting on this post, tweeting the giveaway, or following the author on Facebook or Twitter.
Last day to enter will be October 31. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on November 1. 
Good luck!!


Author Andrew E. Kaufman Interview and $50 Amazon GC Contest

October 12, 2010 § Leave a comment



Andrew E. Kaufman gave an interesting and informative interview about his book While the Savage Sleeps at Bitten by Books. There is also a contest offering a $50 Amazon gift card. Click here to enter.

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