Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oceanheart by Pen Clements


I was contacted by Pen Clements to read book one, Oceanheart of her YA fantasy series entitled The Enchanted Pages. I find it hard to get completely taken away into YA fantasy. I know that fantasy consumes a large bulk of the YA genre, and with Oceanheart I found that it was a good book to start me off in the right direction into this genre. I’m not going to rush and buy every fantasy book possible but now I have an idea of what I like and don’t like. Oceanheart is a short read at 166 pages and would be a great book for a younger teen that is interested in this genre. There is no heavy sense of romance like other YA titles out there. Instead Pen Clement tells a sweet boy meets girl story that is innocent but is never the star of the story. The story is completely about Wynn, her sister, and her mission to return home.

CLICK ON BOOK COVER FOR MORE AUTHOR INFO
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Summary:

Wynn sits beside the bed of her dying sister and writes in her new journal. She has no idea that the journal is enchanted and is about to sweep her into a tropical island world of crystal seas, deep jungle and strange inhabitants. This is no island paradise, however. Paradise doesn't have poison masters called the Teeth and it doesn't have Sorrowmaker patrolling the reef.

If Wynn can find the 'Oceanheart' she may save the island and her sister too. But the islanders don't trust her, the Teeth are after her and she's just not sure about Soran. Is he a friend, one who reads nature like a book and can help her survive anything? Or is he something else entirely?

If she is to succeed, Wynn must travel deep inside herself and find qualities she never knew were there. And all the while, Sorrowmaker sweeps endlessly closer in a childhood nightmare made real.


Winner of an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship and an Olvar Wood Fellowship Award.


Wynn is a young girl filled with regret about her sister’s current condition. She is seen as a girl who has made mistakes and is trying to make amends. Wynn’s relationship with her sister will connect with a lot of girls. It might not be as dramatic as in Oceanheart but readers will definitely relate to what’s going on inside Wynn’s head. Wynn is very strong willed but once in the presence of the islanders she is seen as a bit vulnerable and frustrated. She wants an explanation from the mystical beings that inhabit the island of why she is there but is given something more meaningful that Wynn must decode for herself.

Soran is still a big mystery to me. Hopefully he may have more of a presence in the second book. After hearing of why Wynn needs to get back to her sister, Soran decides to help her. He is seen as a definite leader the way he pushes Wynn throughout the trails and trees of the island. He thinks she’s trouble at first but then sympathizes with her.

The most beautiful thing about Oceanheart was the description of the islanders and their tattoos. Pen Clements eloquently describes magical tattoos that move and grace the islander’s bodies like living things while illuminating light. The discussion between Wynn and the Chief about how their tattoos depict the individual history of a person was fantastic. There is even a small moment of redemption for a major character from the other islanders that captured someone lost then finding ones self again with the use of history.

Oceanheart is a book that any young boy or girl could read. It’s a good introduction into the fantasy genre that will not overwhelm a newcomer. There is a great message of unity and family that would be beneficial to a young and old audience.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Song of The Week

This song is adorable! ‘Someday’ from The Growlers is a song off the group’s new album that was just released last week entitled Hung At Heart. The lyrics of 'Someday' are fun and catchy. A song that includes the word bologna in the lyrics and can make it sound heartfelt is definitely worth a listen. The song seems to be depicting someone dreaming up possibilities with someone they hope to make their wife. I love this song because of the heartfelt message of someone who wants to make the other person feel wonderful. One person who just wants to take care of the other, no matter how dismal the situation.

Brookes Neilson's voice is very unique and ties perfectly with the 1960’s beach and sunny vibe. I would have loved to dance to this song with my husband on our wedding day for fun. The Growlers vocals, guitars and drums would push anyone to the dance floor. The band originates from Long Beach California and also has three other albums prior to Hung At Heart. Take a listen and enjoy!

Just wanted to let you all know that next month I plan to only pick cover songs for my Song of The Week feature. February is officially Cover Month, so stay tuned!




                         

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Interview with Jena Leigh, Author of Revival



I loved Revival so much that I had to interview author Jena Leigh. Thankfully she agreed and she is here today at I Blog, You Read. I’ll admit I want to know every detail from the next book in her Variant series. But I shall remain patient until then. Can I just say that I love it when I get my hands on a self-published book like this? It proves that there is so much more out there in the world of books that goes beyond the shelves in stores. It’s like finding a secret that you can actually tell everyone you know. So let’s shed some light on this awesome author and welcome Jena Leigh. 

CLICK ON COVER TO PURCHASE REVIVAL.




Author Bio:

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Jena Leigh spent ten years in the mountains of North Carolina before returning home to the lightning capital of North America. A shameless geek, she loves bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, writing rambling e-mails to friends and taking shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. She has a degree in English from Appalachian State University. REVIVAL is her first novel.




Hi, Celine! Thank you so much for having me!

My pleasure! First off, how in the world did you manage to keep your cast of characters straight? There are so many that have great solid stories with abilities that intertwine.

It was definitely a challenge, but one that I very much enjoyed. It helped that, for nearly two years, Revival had my undivided attention. Aside from the occasional short story and rambling letters to friends, I only had that piece to focus on. When you bury yourself in the world of your characters like that, it becomes easier to keep their various storylines and abilities straight in your head.

I loved Alex and Declan but you have me curious about Cassie and Aiden. In your next book which characters were you anxious to write for again?

Nathaniel and Aiden! I’ve been having a blast writing those two lately. In book two, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Alex, Nate and Aiden. (And before anyone panics—Declan will be there, too! I promise.) In fact, all of the characters will be back for round two, but those three are going to be receiving quite a lot of attention. And while I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, I can say that Nathaniel’s mysterious past and his connection to Alex will finally be explained. And it’s a mind-bender, to be sure!

The cover for Revival is beautiful. How did you come up with the clean concept of it and do you have a cover reveal planned for your next book?

Thank you! I spent months studying other YA novel covers, trying to figure out what design elements worked and what didn’t, and then tried to decide what might work for Revival. It took another full month of creating design after design before I settled on that one. I think the one I went with was actually the eighth one I created! As for book two—there are already a few drafts of the cover in progress. I hope to be doing a cover real for the next book sometime in early April.

Revival is written extremely well and professional. Can you describe your journey in self-publishing and why you chose to do so?

That’s quite the compliment! Thank you! My journey in self-publishing started out like most do—I had a book nobody wanted to publish. After the pile of rejection letters rolled in from the sea of agents politely declining my book, I was pretty heartbroken. Okay, more than that… Devastated might be a better word.

So I went back to the manuscript. Put it through yet another round of edits. Polished it to the point that I was certain that—although it still wasn’t perfect—it was as good as I could possibly make it... And during that time, I did my homework. I researched the process. I tried to absorb every pointer and every helpful recommendation that I could. I designed a cover. I planned. I created every social media account I could think of, to help promote the series and myself as an author.

And then I published.

And then the work began. Honestly, that’s one thing nobody tells you… Self-publishing is more than just a hard road. If you want to succeed, it’s a full-time job! But I’ll tell you a secret… This gig might just be the best job around. I’m living my dreams and loving every minute of it!

Let’s talk music! I set up a playlist when I want to write something, let my imagination take me where it may, then write. What are you listening to now that is currently influencing book 2 in your Variant series?

I love music.

Like… love it. To the point that, if there’s not something playing constantly in the background, I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself. Even as I write this, OneRepublic is belting out “Feel Again” through my laptop speakers.

Music helps me think. It picks me up and gets me moving—and typing. Which is crucial when I’m writing.

Here’s a short list of some of the songs I’m listening to while working on book two. And yes, more than a few of them line up perfectly with the plot of the second book... But I’m going to be mean and keep you guessing as to which ones actually fit! ;-)

Carbon Leaf – On Any Given Day
Ingrid Michaelson – In the Sea
Band of Horses – No One’s Gonna Love You
Neon Trees – Everybody Talks
Bright Eyes – Shell Games
The Black Keys – Sinister Kid
Breathe Carolina ­– Hit and Run
Hurt – Got Jealous
Shinedown – Adrenaline
Avenged Sevenfold – Welcome to the Family


My all time favorite comic book character is Superman, but my all time favorite comic book couple is Rogue and Gambit from X-men. Do you have any favorite comic book characters?

I do! And you win the prize for best interview question ever… I absolutely adore Neil Gaiman’s writing in the comic book series The Sandman. Dream is definitely my all-time favorite comic book character! And I’m with you—Rogue and Gambit win for best couple. I wanted to cry when they released the first (and the second, and the third…) X-Men movie and Gambit was nowhere to be found. He’s definitely in my top five favorite comic book characters, and being forced to wait until the Wolverine movie to see him on the big screen almost killed me. That said, Taylor Kitsch was my inspiration for Aiden (or for his physical appearance, anyway) so when he showed up as Remy Lebeau, I very nearly died of joy. Even if his Cajun accent was a little screwy at times.

What book are you crazy excited about right now?

It changes with the weather, I swear, but right now I’m completely fangirling over Libba Bray’s The Diviners. I finished it last week and I’m still thinking about it. I even said something was “jake” the other day, before I could stop myself… I’m such a dork. But the book was amazing! I highly recommend checking it out, if you haven’t already!

I just want to thank you so much for this interview and sharing Revival with me. I am now a certified fan. Do you have anything you want to share with readers about Revival or what’s next for Alex and the Variants?

And thank you so much for having me and for reading the book! As for news… Revival is currently available in paperback and as an e-book from amazon.com, but starting on Valentine’s Day (February 14th) you’ll be able to find it a host of other places, including the Nook Book Store and the iTunes store! Also, Alex’s second adventure in the Variant Series is scheduled to be out in late spring of 2013, so stay tuned! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

First Movie Review: Warm Bodies


Well there is absolutely no doubt that I am a fan of the Warm Bodies book by Isaac Marion. If you know me personally you know that I can never shut up about it. I even managed to nab a signed copy of Isaac Marion’s Hungry Mouth and will always treasure it. So I was a jittery mess when a very special someone, who I actually recommended Warm Bodies to, gave their advance screening passes to me! (Not because they didn’t want to see it, but were unable to attend.) I was able to see Warm Bodies almost a month before it came out! Then it occurred to me, I could actually post a review about the movie, so I am!

I loved the movie! It was a bit different than the book but not in a bad way. Is still depicts the classic romantic story that we all know. There was definitely more of a comedic and sarcastic approach to the movie that I feel audiences will be drawn to by word of mouth. Let’s face it; the posters that are up in your local theaters are playing to a certain type of audience. However this audience largely consists of people like me who will drag their significant others to see the movie they want to see. My husband who has yet to read the book left the theater saying, “I actually like that movie! I can’t believe how much I laughed. It had something for you and something for me.”

I think that Jonathon Levine did a pretty good job of directing and writing the script. He managed to pull out the best parts of the book and tweek them a bit for the fans and new audiences. I was disappointed in the ending though. People who have read the book will understand and fans that are awaiting Isaac Marion’s sequel to Warm Bodies. But the sequel wasn’t announced until a year after the movie was completed, so I won’t be too hard.

Nicholas Hoult did a remarkable job of playing the believable zombie named R whose heart can now feel. The book was told from his perspective, with very little dialogue. You can tell a story with little dialogue but a movie is different. Hoult had to express his character through facial expressions and by doing this I realized how talented he is and look forward to seeing more of him on screen in the future.

Rob Corddry steals the show with his comedic single word lines that have laugh out loud timing. He’s a better version of M that I didn’t expect to like so much. He doesn’t say much, because he is a zombie, but when he does it’s hysterical.  

Teresa Palmer does a pretty good job with her character Julie. She has her funny moments with R and portrayed just the amount of fear for a girl stuck in a zombie apocalypse. I liked her most when she interacts with her dad played by John Malcovich, who I wish was in the movie just a bit more. I didn’t like how many times her character asks R, “Who…are…you?” but that’s not really her fault.

The music was perfect for the movie. I don’t believe there was any new music. It was all dated and some current. Which was a realistic choice in order to portray what R’s character connects with as a zombie. There is even a funny moment that allows the song ‘Pretty Woman’ to have a moment in the movie. I have read a couple of posts regarding the music in the movie, saying that it took them out of the moment. If you are a fan of the book I don’t think you’ll feel this way, only because music is a character in the book.

I would watch this movie again. I really have to though because I have two friends that want to go see it at two different times. Lucky me! Even though the movie is about a zombie starting to fall in love, it will connect with a wide audience because of it’s humor that is similar to Shaun of The Dead, and a look into what we as human beings want to live for and why. The movie is about how we connect with people, whether it’s for love or friendship.

Warm Bodies comes out in theaters February 1st. I feel this is great movie to go see with friends or on a date night. It’s release date is perfect for the Valentine Day holiday that is approaching and will satisfy both the romantic and the zombie lover. So take my advice and give this one a chance. When the movie is over the credits will roll and the audience will clap. Seriously, they might because mine sure did which surprised the hell out me. A movie with applause is a good sign.

There you have it, my first and only movie review. I only did this because I hold the book close to my heart and wanted to share it with others. I’m just really glad I liked the film. It would have totally sucked if I hated it? LOL!

Be sure to click the poster to see trailer and the first four minutes of the film!