Friday, August 31, 2012

Self-published Author Shelley Workinger's SOLID Series is a Must Read!

I could not put this book down! Shelley Workinger’s book Solid, book one in the Solid series, is addictive and fun. It has a comic book feel to it that is similar to the X-men that has scientific conspiracies that also involve government experiments and yes there is a love story too. This is all in a self-published book that was written impeccably by Shelley Workinger. I could see a massive cult following of this series. I may end up a devoted follower myself based on how many times I have visited The Solid Series sight. There are fun extras there like character avatars and music playlists for all three books in the series along with sneak peeks to the next two books in the series. Settling, book two in the series is available now but Sound which is the third book will be released in November. The cover is being held under wraps but will be revealed closer to release date.


Clio Kaid may be 17 and just beginning the last summer before her senior year, but her life is anything but typical.

She's just discovered she was genetically altered before birth and is now headed to a top-secret Army campus to explore the surprising results of the experiment.

Follow Clio and the other teens as they develop fantastic super-abilities, forge new friendships, find love, and uncover a conspiracy along the way.

Clio is quite adorable. She is an intelligent girl who doesn’t lack confidence and even though she is shy sometimes she always has a witty comeback. It’s because of these qualities it is believable when she makes friends so quickly and catches the eye of Jack as well. The book is written in her perspective and it’s great when you can read her inner thoughts when she becomes nervous in a situation yet she pushes them aside to do what is right for her and her friends. This is an awesome character for young girls to see the world through.

Jack compliments Clio in the best of ways. He is not overly confident and just plain sweet. He is still a bit of a mystery to me but I’m sure more will be revealed in the next two books concerning that. Jack is always a gentleman around Clio and her safety is at the top of his list. He also has a leadership quality about him when interacting with the circle of friends in the book. Overall Jack is a well-rounded character that readers will want more of.

Everyone will LOVE Garrett who is the comedian of the group. His dialogue is pure gold. Especially when he discusses with Clio his attraction to her friend Bliss and his performance at the dance in the book is hilarious. I feel that the characters that Shelly Workinger has managed to create are what readers will love about the Solid series. They have a strong team dynamic and a believable quality of loyalty that I as a reader could not get enough of.

Solid doesn’t have a lot of action in it, it’s more about the conspiracy but I was okay with that. I kept reading, wanting to know what was going to happen next, and if a book can have you biting your nails without having to shove the expected constant action in your face then I’d say that’s an extremely well written book that deserves attention. This book is like a whisper of what is to come later in the series. It sets the scene, creates a great character following and always has you wanting more. Oh, and please don’t let the scientific nature of the book scare you off if you are not a usual follower of this genre. I was never lost in the book and Workinger does a great job at laying out the plot for her readers.

This really is the reason why I chose to do a feature on self-published authors. Books like Solid from a talented author like Shelley Workinger are books that readers need to take a chance on. They are a lot of great books that need to be read. Remember it’s not always about the flashy cover but the guts that are inside, and the Solid series was written by an author with guts. 

You can find Shelley at:

Shelley's Solid series is also available in paperback through Barnes and Noble

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Indian Maidens Bust Lose by Vidya Samson

The main reason that I decided to read this book was simply because it wasn’t like everything else out there. The cover alone suggests that humor is to be expected in Indian Maidens Bust Lose. Vidya Samson writes her characters with no holding back that will make any reader laugh out loud. Family is defiantly takes center stage in this hilarious read. I would not put this book in the YA genre however but probably the New Adult category of books.  

Nisha Desai is a young Indian woman who pines for romance in a country where love is in the same class as malaria, and where mates are selected using a calculator.

Normally deluged with ghastly suitors of her father's choosing, she suddenly finds herself on the short list for a bride-seeing tour by a rich and handsome nephew of a neighbor. This is the stuff of which dreams are made.

A nightmare materializes when a very un-Indian ruffian moves in next door, complete with beard and obnoxious Harley motorcycle. He might play the bad boy in one of Nisha's beloved romance novels, but in real life, he terrifies her.

So she tries to ignore the thundering engine of the bike while anxiously awaiting the arrival of Prince Charming--or at least, Prince Rich.

But arriving first are a long-lost black-sheep American aunt and her trouble-magnet teenage daughters. The aunt proves to be a New Age space case, while the cousins’ appetite for disasters threatens to level the city of Ahmedabad. In short order, the demented cousins instigate an elopement, a public protest, and a riot that gets Nisha thrown in jail.

Nisha’s family comes to the conclusion that while East and West may meet, sometimes they shouldn't. The guests are seen as an invading force, equipped with weapons of mass corruption.

While Nisha wonders how she can hide her now corroded reputation from the dream suitor's family, insanity marches on. Nisha's father adopts a pet cow and convinces half the city it's the reincarnation of a Hindu deity. The two families are finally united in a common goal: to bilk thousands. The result is Madison Avenue's idea of a religious experience, which is not a controllable situation.

The main character is Nisha, a young woman who lives with her traditional family waiting for a proper suitor to marry. Immediately after the first couple of chapters you get the sense that Nisha is special and someone who wouldn’t live inside of the box her father expects her to. She longs for a more exciting life and will do what she has to, in secret of course, to get what she wants. She’s very timid at first but eventually her true colors show, especially at the end of the book, which I loved.

There are just too many characters to talk about but the stand out ones where Vinita, Nisha’s uptight sister and her American cousins Amber and Lauren who are hysterical. Amber and Lauren are constantly testing the family’s patience, especially the father who is very traditional in his ways. I think the best moment that the cousins had their hands in was Kiran, one of the neighbors who pines for the woman who has been matched with another man. He basically pulls a move right out of the movie The Graduate. There are a lot of funny moments in this book that I would love include in this review but can’t. I just don’t want to spoil the book.

I will say that even though the book is very well written it wasn’t a must read. What I mean when I say this is that you can take your time reading this, maybe on a trip or when you want to jump into something different then your usual genre. You can jump right back into this book even if you skipped reading for a couple of days. It had romance that was whispered throughout the book but nothing major until the end. Which is the point when I had to finish. This of course is my opinion and may be different for all the many different readers out there. Indian Maidens bust lose is a unique funny read that puts a magnifying glass on an Indian family that will have you laughing in tears.   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Grisly High Series from Brian Rowe

Brian Rowe is one of my author picks who has self-published his series Grisly High. I read the first two books in the series Vampire Underground, and Zombie Playground. I found them both pretty entertaining but both very different from each other. I will say that if you disliked the Twilight franchise you may be into the series based off the sarcastic dialogue within the books. Both books gave off a Sam Raimi vibe, and not because one of the characters is named Ash but because of the dark humor and horror quality author Brian Rowe has managed through out both books. The characters are all well written and believable. Is it weird that while reading I got a campy Friday the 13th theme from both books? It’s not a bad thing, it’s just I kept reflecting back to when I was a kid watching a marathon of these movies, pointing out all the funny things in a movie that was supposed to scare me.

I’ll start with Vampire Underground, which is the book I favored most. It introduces us to our main characters Brin and Ash, the best friend duo that unfortunately has Ash in the forever friend zone when it comes to his crush Brin. The characters are all film junkies and have enrolled in Grisly High’s first ever film class. If you know of Brian Rowe you expect the quick-witted dialogue that usually carries the story. It’s often funny and I believe any horror film lover will identify with the humorous, Alfred Hitchcock fanatic Ash. Brin is bit harder to like only because she often complains about not being picked as the director of the film project her group as been assigned to. I just wanted her to fight a bit more with stronger ammunition that I had expected.

One major player in the Vampire Underground is the darkness factor. When the vampires are finally discovered they have this pure evil quality to them that I haven’t read in YA books before. It was a bit uncomfortable at times only because I visualize a lot when I read and my imagination may have gotten the best of me. Overall I’d say the book was entertaining and something that I would recommend to the not faint of heart.

The second book in the series is Zombie Playground. Our characters find themselves in much hotter water then before. They are still written well but just not in the same way as the first book. In Vampire Underground these characters were established as horror film lovers that made me think of Randy from the Scream movies, he new his stuff and that kept him alive…for a while. The book is titled Zombie Playground and I just figured that the characters would have figured out they were being attacked by zombies a bit earlier on. I understand that they still believed vampires were after them but I still gave them more credit.

One thing I will say is that the book had a lot of tragedy in it. The losses that occur in the story are a bit sad because of the gore detail and the way Brian Rowe laid out his scenes to conjure up emotions. I really don’t know how he manages to make you feel sad and horrified one moment then you laugh another moment at something his characters say. I’ll just say that it was an experience that I haven’t had with a book before. Plus the ending of Zombie Playground was NOT AT ALL what I was expecting…at all. I’d like to see how this series plays out because of this massive left turn.

The Grisly High series is for a particular reader who enjoys dark humor and gore, the film fanatic who goes against the typical genres and doesn’t believe that vampires sparkle, the anti-paranormal romance lover who has a wide variety of B-Horror movies and defends them faithfully. You are the audience this book was written for.         

Friday, August 24, 2012

Some Thoughts on Self-Publishing from Ashley S. Morgan Author of Torn

I invited Ashley S. Morgan to I Blog, You Read today because she made me curious about self-published authors. When I received her request for review she included a PDF of her book. When clicked to read it I couldn’t put the book down. I stayed up until three in the morning reading because it was entertaining. I had to find out why Tristan, one of her leads was in Isadora’s life. I was so into reading I forgot to respond to Ashley to let her know that I would review her book. Torn is an entertaining read that I think any YA reader could get into. So Ashley is ever so kindly going to give one Kindle version of Torn to a lucky reader.

Lets see what Ashley’s thoughts are on Self-publishing and don’t forget to enter giveaway below.

Some Thoughts on Self-Publishing
Traditional publishing is dead. In-house acquisitions editors, art departments, and marketing teams, all those mean-spirited and short-sighted cultural gatekeepers, have been ousted. The people’s choice once again reigns supreme.
This is what a lot of self-published authors will have you believe. Well, I’m not buying it. I’m by no means against self-publishing. In fact, I just self-published an ebook, Torn, in the Kindle store this past February. I didn’t even think about querying agents or sending this work to languish in the slush piles of major publishing houses. Why? Because I didn’t consider Torn to be the right kind of product for traditional publishing. Torn was written quickly. I set aside 6 hours a day for 32 days, and used those daily 6 hour chunks to pump out 2000 words. Some days I hit the magic word count number in two hours. Other days, it took the whole six hours. For me, Torn was not about creating a masterpiece. I took a lot of shortcuts. For instance, I would at times stop the narrative dead for a chunk of character description. And my characters, though somewhat fresh, were sketched in pretty broad strokes. Still, a couple of hundred people bought my work, and many of those people found Torn entertaining. I’ve had several bloggers review my work, and a lot of the response has been enthusiastic. Basically, the pluses of self-publishing have been getting direct and immediate reader response, and learning about cover design and self-promotion. I’ve also been able to get away with a trial-and-error approach that would not be open to me with a traditional publisher, and I’ve been able to go through this process without any major cost to my reputation or wallet.
So, those are the pluses. But anyone who tells you that self-publishing does away with the cultural gatekeepers doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Self-publishing, if anything, involves an even more rigid hierarchical structure than traditional publishing, and this hierarchy is not based on merit. There are a number of authors and bloggers who established a name for themselves right at the start of the self-publishing boom, and they now consider themselves the new gatekeepers. Also, the self-publishing chat rooms are ridiculous. There are people who see themselves as authorities and gatekeepers and feel they have a right to bully newcomers simply because they have been around longer. I’m sorry, but longevity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with expertise. Also, when I set up my author Facebook page, I sent out a number of Friend requests, some to people who were just friends of friends. A few of these people, mostly authors and bloggers, were so jealous of their contacts that they actually reported me to Facebook for sending friend requests to people I didn’t know.
 As for quality, sure, there are some self-published works that are quite entertaining, but even the best of these products are comparably unpolished. I know a lot of people complain about the price of traditionally published works, but there’s a reason for that hefty price tag. Once manuscripts are acquired by a major publishing house, they go through a structural edit, a stylistic edit, a copyedit, and, sometimes, three rounds of proofreading. These works also get professionally typeset and the covers are designed by professional graphic artists. You can’t expect this kind of polish for a mere $2.99.
 So, my advice is this: if you want to put a light, entertaining piece of work out quickly, get an immediate response, and do everything yourself, self-publish your work. But if you’re going to spend three years writing a masterpiece, give it the respect it deserves, give yourself the respect you deserve, and send it to reputable agents. If it gets repeatedly rejected and you still think it’s an amazing piece of work, the self-publishing option is always there. But in that case, get ready to pay a hefty price for highly skilled editors and graphic designers, and be sure to attach a professional price to your professional product.
 That, anyway, is my two cents.

Isadora Rivers feels trapped. Her small town high school is suffocating her. Another day of wannabe gangsters, dumb jocks, and Barbie clones, and she'll just lose it. Her keen emotional sensitivity is to blame. She sees through all of the poser behavior to the pain and insecurity simmering just below the surface, and it's overwhelming. She feels like she's literally drowning in other people's emotions.

This same sensitivity, however, makes her a great actress. Suffocating or not, her high school is one of the top arts schools in the country. Acting is not only her passion, but it also looks like her way out. If she can just score the lead role in the school play, she might get herself noticed by a Hollywood agent. But she's got a strong reckless streak, and it keeps getting her in trouble and jeopardizing her chances.

Riding her bike at top speed, she swerves in front of a car and nearly gets hit. The driver, Tristan Blake, turns out to be the mysterious new boy at school. He's rebellious, broody, and wise beyond his years. He's also devastatingly gorgeous. From the moment their eyes meet, Isadora is irresistibly drawn to him. But as soon as he enters her life, things go horribly wrong. She begins having disturbing visions full of unimaginable glamour and unbearable darkness. He knows things about her he shouldn't. And he's somehow so familiar. As he at turns pulls her close, and then pushes her away, Isadora feels like her heart is being twisted and torn.

She soon discovers that her whole future is in jeopardy, and her only hope is to stay away from Tristan. But how can she turn away from the only boy she has ever loved? As a harrowing event looms closer, one that threatens to rip apart her psyche, Isadora must reach deep inside herself and find the strength to change her own destiny. But is she strong enough to do it?

There are three (3) ways to enter the Torn giveaway using the Rafflecopter form.

  • Tweet about the giveaway
  • Follow I Blog, You Read on Twitter
  • Leave a comment stating what book you are reading and if you like it so far because I'm curious. After leaving comment don't forget to click comment option in Rafflecopter form. I'll be checking.
  • 13 years or older
  • U.S. giveaway only, sorry.
  • Winner must respond within 3 days or prize is forfeited to next winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway