Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Attention Self-published Teen Authors!


This coming August will be I Blog, You Read’s one year anniversary. I can honestly say that I didn’t know what to expect from this blog. I sincerely wanted to just read books and post my opinion of them. It frustrated me that a lot of great teen books weren’t getting their moment in the spotlight. The teen book world seems exclusively top ten lately and even though those books are usually great, some wonderful books get shelved in the shadows of these titles. So I make it a point to grab a book that’s shelved in the back so that I can recommend something different.

What I didn’t expect was to be asked to review so many books by authors themselves and their agents. I was most surprised by how many great self- published authors are out there trying to get the word out on their book. I have come across some books that I just couldn’t believe were denied by publishers. It’s very obvious that the publishing world is changing. So I have made a decision that during the entire month of August I will review only self-published YA authors. I’m hoping that I can fit in as many as possible but it all depends on life and how fast I can read.

I will of course have to list some requirements so that I can pack in the most authors. Unfortunately I have had to refuse on books simply because they were too long to fit in an already full schedule of reviews so I will have to be a bit more stricter on myself when it comes to my selection process. Keep in mind I’m doing this so that I can find the best self-published teen books possible, In order to do this I will have firmer guidelines for August.

So if you have a great teen book that you have published yourself and you think I may like send me a request and I’ll give an honest review.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Spear of Seth

I received Spear of Seth from author Rene Daniel for review. After reading that this book seemed to entice Indian Jones lovers I was definitely interested. Plus the characters were enrolled in college so I could see the opportunity that this book might have of reaching a broad amount of readers. Author Rene Daniel chose to write the book from two characters perspective, Alex and Heather. I really like when books are written this way because it’s like two books in one. It also takes place in Egypt so it includes a lot of the history and mythology along the timeline of the book. So I figured why not read a book that could educate and entertain.

Book Summary:
Alex is quite comfortable in his skin. He is a premed student of the Van Senmut College, so he has to be a serious young man, has he not? He now needs a summer job, and gets one. It is not what he is used to, since he will work as a translator at an archeological dig at the island of Elephantine in the Upper Egypt. Alex does not exactly care about history, but, since his mother is from Lebanon, he speaks Arabic, which gives him an edge. Little does he know what he is getting himself into. Enter Heather Van Senmut and her father, John Van Senmut, a grandson of the founder of the college and the archeologist in charge of the excavations. The dig is not just some dig; it is the ruins of the Temple of Osiris, which stands at the mythical place where Nile emerges from the Egyptian Underworld. The Temple attracts a lot of attention, some of which come from people, who would be more at home in Salem, Massachusetts, shall we say, about three hundred years ago. When John Van Senmut, falls ill and physicians give up on him, his daughter decides to search the Temple for the cause of the disease and possibly a cure. Her quest leads her, and her unwilling helper Alex, into the Netherworld, which survived the Egyptian civilization by two thousand years.

I usually discuss the lead characters at this point and any others who may have stood out for me. I am a big fan of characters that I can build an attachment to because they are the viewpoints of the story. I unfortunately didn’t build any attachments to the characters in Spear of Seth. I did look forward to reading Alex’s parts in the book only because he was sort of pushed into the adventure first. He’s definitely someone who didn’t have a clue what he was getting into when he signed up for the summer dig project. That could be why he shined a bit more then Heather to me. He was more identifiable to me as a reader.

This book is constantly compared to Indiana Jones, and I will admit that the stories that involve Egypt’s history, and the artifacts that have ties to this history are very Indy. I actually enjoyed these the best while reading because the characters in them were extremely interesting to me. The story about Hathor and Horus was incredible and that may be the moment when I really got into the book. However what I think makes characters like Indian Jones and even the characters in the Mummy series are the tensions between them. A huge chunk of the book has the two lead characters separated and creates a choppy perspective but you still see the main point of the story. But I think this is when the characters may have gotten lost for me. In the beginning of the book you get the impression that Alex is irritated by Heather, which got me amped up for their sarcastic banter that I had expected. And what I loved most about Indian Jones.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression of Rene Daniel’s work. He is talented in laying out the history involved in Spear of Seth and I think history buffs particularly will love this book and the ones to follow. But if you tend to snooze in history class you may not be able to keep up with the facts that are thrown at you. The star of this book is definitely Egypt, and if you want to know more about it in an informative adventure then I strongly suggest Spear of Seth. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What is The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight?

So I was speaking with a friend over the phone and she tells me that she needs to find the statistical probability of love at first sight. I asked, “Is it happening right now to you—love at first sight?” She laughed saying that it was a book title not actually happening. That’s when I was introduced to Jennifer E. Smith’s amazing book. It seems like a simple boy meets girl story but it really is so much more. It deals with a family issue that is unfortunately typical of today’s youth and one that you hope you never have to experience. All in twenty-four hours.

Hadley has missed her flight to London for her father’s wedding to a woman she’s never met, and now has to take a later flight. Stuck at the crowded JFK airport she meets a boy named Oliver. He’s British, and wouldn’t you know it, he winds up sitting in her row. Time stands still as these two talk about life, love, and family to pass the time and a connection is immediately formed. They are separated after the flight and Hadley worries that she will never see Oliver again.

Hadley can seem a bit selfish at times but I can understand why. She doesn’t want her family to fall apart; she wants her dad to love her mom again so that he can come back home. She feels betrayed by her dad because he chose to stay and live in England. Hadley feels he is leaving them behind and running away. She is a girl who wants her life back the way it was and not something new. Families split up all the time now but through Hadley I can see the after effect of a young girl lost. She still has a sense of humor though. So please don’t think that this is a drawn out drama. Hadley is an excellent conversationalist who gets a little nervous around Oliver at times but I enjoyed how author Smith didn’t allow that to linger much, creating a real teen girl.

Oliver is a charming young man you is also an excellent conversationalist. He deals with a subject that I actually did see coming but not in the way Smith developed his story. Not wanting to spoil the book, I think it was original and tore the layers away from Oliver making the typical, confident guy vulnerable. The details that were involved in developing Oliver enabled me to actually see him and his nervous habits, his evasive looks when Hadley would ask a simple question that tore him apart on the inside and the looks that showed he cared for Hadley. I liked that his description wasn’t over done casting him in the dreamy teen light. He seemed like someone you would pass on the street, someone real.

I will say that I was in a bit of a reading slump and this book got me out of it. I read it in two days and loved that it had a lot of depth but wasn’t excessively long. I’ll admit when I see a book that’s way over 300 pages I sigh hoping that it’s good. Because I’m someone who has to finish a book but I’m uncomfortable when I feel forced to read on. It’s great when a heavy read can keep you involved until the end. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is only 236 pages, but I think it’s great when a short read like this is capable of packing in two stories that make you see a bigger picture.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is an excellent read that is just a simple cute love story. Hadley and Oliver both find each other during trying times in their lives and are able to escape with each during a seven-hour plane ride. I can faithfully recommend this book to any teen girl because it has no parental shocking moments in it such as sexuality but does have a lot of flirtatious moments that really make the book. It’s a sweet story that examines the possibility of love at first sight. 

Book trailers from Oliver and Hadley.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Oracle - Sunken Earth, The First of Many

I was given Oracle - Sunken Earth by C.S. Trisef, for review and what interested me most about the book was that it was a seven part series. The book is around 200 pages and a quick read, considering most books go over 300 these days. Plus it’s a new series that I think teen guys could be interested in. The first book takes Ret Cooper on a voyage of self-discovery, literally. He doesn’t remember anything from his past and his unusual illuminated skin, blonde hair and gleaming blue eyes makes it hard for him to blend in.

Ret Cooper was the only survivor amongst the wreckage of a ship caught in a hurricane near the Bahamas with no memory of his past. Now adopted by the Cooper’s he can begin to start a new life, until a his family discovers that Ret is truly unique with supernatural abilities and illuminating scars that begin to reveal on his palms and hands. Who is Ret Cooper?   

Ret, Ret, Ret, so simple but so memorable. He is a simple, honest hero. It almost seems like he is stuck living in his secret identity, waiting to break out into who he really is. He sees humanity and sort of dissects what he sees to the reader. While watching a football game he tries to grasp the concept of win and lose. Ret loves all athletics for the fun of it and making friends but doesn’t understand the competiveness side of it. The funny thing is that he is really good at all types of sports but because he won all of the time, people stopped picking him. His sister Ana even has to explain flirting to him after he is being nice to a girl who doesn’t have such a good reputation. Ret is a strong character that is written the right way. He has a vulnerable side to him yet he can do extraordinary things. He is what will entice readers to keep reading.

Benjamin Coy is…well…a strange duck. He is the father of Ret’s friend Paige and in the book leads Ret to believe he may know more about his scars. I didn’t know how to take Ben Coy at first because he is so mysteriously dangerous when he is first introduced but then develops into a new character with an odd sense of humor that almost seems borderline psychotic, but somehow it works. I can’t get into why he may be this way because I’ll spoil too much, but as you read the book and all the history involved in the plot’s entirety you will get why Ben Coy is Ben Coy. I so want to use his catch phrase right now, but I can’t because that will deprive the reader from the reveal. 

Oracle has been compared to the Percy Jackson series but I think it’s the next step after. Characters like teacher Mr. Quirk, or Principle Stone may contain only a whisper of the juvenile humor in the Percy books, but there is so much detail to science, nature, and history that I feel the teen that read the Riordan books, as a child will appreciate the Oracle series. There is a lot of scientific content in this book but I was able to follow it with only a couple of questions for my husband. But this only interested him in the book and isn't that what this all about. There may have only been a slight matter of flow after Coy’s yacht trip but nothing to overshadow the entire book. I really did enjoy the story.

While I read Oracle - Sunken Earth I kept remembering a series called Kyle XY. I think because of the family aspect of this story. Mostly because of Pauline, Ret’s mother, who tells Ret the story of how they found him and the death of her husband. I thought that this scene was beautifully written. I even highlighted it so that I could share it with my husband.

Bottom line, I think people who take an interest in science, and history will enjoy this book. Because C.W. Trisef seems to touch basis on elements I think that some followers of Avatar The Last Airbender series will be entertained by it as well. Oracle - Sunken Earth has adventure, mystery and a bit of humor to take you and keep you on Ret Coopers journey to discovering why he is here. 

Buy it for your NOOK
Buy it for your KINDLE 

Torn by Ashley S. Morgan, FREE for Kindle owners!

I recently reviewed Torn and since then author Ashley S. Morgan has updated her cover of the book. So here is the new cover reveal and a link for Kindle owners to grab their free copy. This is only available today May 1, 2012. Click the cover to purchase and enjoy.

Read my Review