Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review: Broken Idols by John Cunningham

Broken Idols


John Cunningham





The perfect rental house. A Mecca of debauchery for John Quinn and his three friends to live out their days as misfits and social exiles, and at $600 per month, it's a steal! When their war on societal convention pits them against the deeply established neighborhood criminal element, however, as well as a gang of miscreants with short tempers and aluminum baseball bats, the foursome quickly finds itself on the radar of the ubiquitous Officer Shannon Mitchell, a bully of a policeman who just happens to be the landlord. Against this backdrop of escalating violence, John must find a way to make peace with his ever-irritable adversaries and survive the battle of wills with Officer Mitchell if he hopes to win the girl and endure his roommates to keep the dream of the perfect rental alive.



When this book became available on Amazon I picked up a copy after doing an interview with John Cunningham.

For anyone who has ever had a time in their life of self discovery or misguided decisions, this book is for you. (and who hasn't, right?) A story that at first appears to be about nothing except the miscreant shenanigans of some entertaining, yet morally questionable characters, Broken Idols' plot actually floats upon current social conflicts and a cry for change. Cunningham is able to break down the barrier of racial stereotypes and immerse the reader in a world they may have only ever driven past on the street. His story is captivating, hilarious, and definitely thought provoking.     

My favorite aspect of John Cunningham's intricate writing style is the voice. I don't think I've ever read better inner-monologue anywhere else. The way he can express thoughts and tell a story without it sounding like the directions that come with a "some assembly required" bookshelf is outstanding. His words would stay with me long after reading. This, he says of a PDA couple he passes in the street, is just one of my many favorite quotes from Broken Idols. "Who were they to splatter their darkling romance all over the street for any unfortunate passerby to trip over? They were thieves in the night, stealing each others' breath and making promises that maturity would quickly snuff out with its unbearably ruthless efficiency."

As much as I praise this debut novel, there were things about it that didn't sit right with me. Particularly the vulgarity and excessive use of foul language. I do not recommend this read if you are sensitive to such things. The main character is very candid in his expressions and opinions and the audience has a front row seat to his every musing. The author also doesn't try very hard to hide the fact that this story is, in most ways, about him, probably drawing from the adventures from his past and reflecting on decisions he could have made differently. The main character's name is John for goodness sake! There is nothing wrong with that, but as a reader I find myself focusing on trying to figure out what is fact and what is fiction, which ultimately waters down the experience.  

In any case, Cunningham's characters are deeply flawed yet you would no doubt bet on them anyway. He manages to take a sensitive and destructive time in peoples lives and illustrate the masked beauty in it. I'm looking forward to more work from John Cunningham, although nothing has been officially announced.    

4.5 stars

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Upcoming Giveaways


The latest shipment of Onyx Moon copies came with minor printing defects on the cover and in the interior. Because of this, the publisher cannot sell them. Good news for you though, because I get to give some away!

To Enter:

Watch for the post about the giveaway on my Facebook page. Post a pic either in the post's comments or private message with a pic of Onyx Moon on your Kindle carousel. I will randomly choose 5 people to win a signed copy from this shipment. Double your chances by sharing the post!


People who have finished Onyx Moon have been pestering me for the second installment in the trilogy, Bloodstones.  As a reward for backing Onyx Moon on Kickstarter at a certain level, people were sent the first chapter of Bloodstones. I would like to extend that to everyone who wants a taste of what happens next. 

To Enter:

Post a review of Onyx Moon on Amazon. It's that simple. Doesn't have to be long. Certainly doesn't have to be 5 stars. Just tell me and other readers what you think. If you have already reviewed the book, just get in touch with me and let me know you would like a sneak peak of Bloodstones. 



I've mentioned before that I'm am not what you would call a sports fan. That doesn't mean one of my characters isn't. ;) I need your help coming up with a mascot symbol thingy for a fictional sports team. The person whose mascot is chosen wins one of the first autographed copies of Bloodstones!

To Enter:

Keep an eye out for the post announcing the giveaway on Facebook. Post your suggestion for a fictional team mascot (like "Narwhals" or "Gypsies") in the comments. Have fun.


Win a Kindle copy of Onyx Moon!

To Enter: 

This is an easy one. Watch for the post on Facebook. "Like" the post. Comment and share to double your chances. 



You don't want to miss this one. In August, I will be revealing two possible covers for an upcoming book. You guys get to help me pick the cover and one person will win an autographed copy! 

To Enter: 

I will reveal the two tentative covers on Facebook and the blog. Vote by "Liking" and commenting on either website. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU PICK THE WINNING SIDE. Winner will be chosen randomly. Double your chances by sharing the post.




For this giveaway I will be enlisting the help of another author. Details of this are TBA, but the bottom line is you can win a book from an author that has or will be featured on the blog. 
To Enter:

Check back to the blog and Facebook for details of this giveaway. "Like" and Comment on either website. Double your chances by sharing the post. 


When we reach 500 Facebook likes, I will giveaway another signed copy of Onyx Moon. (I don't think it's that far off.)

To Enter:

Watch for the giveaway on Facebook. Like, Comment, and Share the giveaway. For a bonus entry, invite a friend to like the page. 

Good Luck!

Giveaways are so much fun! I'm happy to be able to do what I do, and I wouldn't be anywhere without all of you. Thank you for everything!




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: Kingdom From Ashes by Megan Linski

Kingdom From Ashes


Megan Linski



 Princess Bennua is to be married. The daughter of a sultan, her duty is to marry a powerful yet cruel warlord to be her husband, sealing an alliance that will scare the desert of Sahrahn into submission. But the wedding is halted in place when the infamous Raider Prince, king of thieves and leader of the dark city Ashana, threatens to take her city by force.

Sacrificing her freedom for her country, Bennua agrees to accompany the Raider Prince on his travels if he leaves her homeland alone. Stolen from her charmed life Bennua begins to learn the truth of what lies beyond the palace walls and the suffering that plagues Sahrahn’s people. Bennua begins to plan her escape, but the more she learns from the thieves the more she finds herself becoming one of the them...all while falling hard for their leader, the Raider Prince himself.



An ARC was provided to me by Gryfyn Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
I expect a lot from a book with a beautiful, intriguing cover. This one promises adventure in an exotic land, hidden magic, daring escapes, blossoming romance, and a dark force threatening on the the horizon. Kingdom From Ashes does not disappoint. 

Right from the first page I was enchanted with Bennua and her desert palace. A kindhearted princess, she has the makings for a just ruler in a land where women are considered second class citizens. She is not hardened by grit like most heroines trending today, but instead finds her strength along the way. She is a perfect roll model for young girls who want to impact the world, but have been held back by elements of society or just don't know where to start.     

Linski's polished writing is superb and leaves the reader feeling a sense of kinship with Bennua. The side characters are well defined and all have amazing stories of their own. The book has depth, yet manages to entertain like a fun, light read. There really isn't anything more you could ask from this action packed Arabian tale. 

The perfect amount of romance is formulated in the pages to keep anticipation and intrigue alive, without overshadowing the overall moral of the story. If I were to nit-pick, I would say that Bennua and her prince fall victim to the fault of nearly every love story: forbidden attraction. I found myself pulling Bennua aside and shaking her, "Just get over yourself already and admit that you can and you do love him! He's perfect for you!"

In truth, I can't deny that I loved every second of this book. I was sad every time I had to put it down. The rich blend of culture from Arabia, India, and a dash of Christianity, pulls you through it's pages and into another world that you won't want to leave. Be sure to pick up Kingdom From Ashes when it becomes available on May 2nd, and keep an eye out for Megan Linski's next book These Starcrossed Lives of Ours due out this summer.    

 5 Stars



Monday, April 6, 2015

Blogger Spotlight: Kariny V.

kariny's teen boox frenzy 

Kariny is the host of Teen Boox Frenzy, a blog that reviews and promotes new and upcoming YA books. A full time student, she lives on a tropical island in the Indian Ocean. (Jealous!) She recently reviewed Onyx Moon on her gorgeous blog. Click to read the review here.

Tell us about your blog, Kariny's Teen Boox Frenzy.

Kariny's Boox Frenzy is dedicated to YA book reviews along with the occasional NA. I love helping new as well as old authors promote their books as much as possible to my readers!

 How did you get started as a book reviewer?

Well i started out posting reviews on Goodreads and i guess i just really wanted to create my own blog. The more i though about it, the less reason i saw not to do it! The process of creating your own little book haven is absolutely awesome! It wasn't long before i started getting subscribers and Netgalley approvals! The YA blogging world is really great and i've made so many new friends that share my passion for reading!

Where do you get most of the books you review?

The majority comes from authors contacting me for reviews and the rest from book tours and my own shopping spree!

Tell us about your hometown.

Well i live in a tropical island in the indian ocean-Mauritius. It's a wonderful place and a beautiful paradise! And the advantage is that the island is quite small so you can go and enjoy the beach every week and so on. It get really hot in summer and quite cold in winter. We often get cyclones so no school! I think personally, the only thing lacking in Mauritius is a WAY wider selection of YA books. 

If you had to pick one specific genre (basic genre/sub genre, example: urban fantasy, paranormal romance) to read for the rest of your life, what would it be? 


 Wow this is a really tough one! I might go with paranormal YA romance!


What do you do if you feel you have to give a bad review?

If the book is from an author then i let them know that i did not enjoy the book. I will not post my review if they don't want me to because that defies the point of a promotion. But i will review it and send my review to them only and not post it on my blog, so they can get healthy criticism-if they want. My reviews are always honest but i never bash the author. I also never not recommend a book because everyone has different taste and what i don't like might be someone's else's favorite! I do feel guilty at times if i have to write a bad review on a book i purchased but i will never lie on a review! I really feel bad when a book with a gorgeous cover has a less than stellar review :(

What makes a book deserve 5 stars?

I am quite picky about books deserving five stars. So basically they have to have substance, an interesting plot and a well-developed background. I love unexpected twists! I personally think that a book deserving five stars is any book that makes you feel. Whether it's irritation at the protagonist, anger, or excitement-except for boredom of course! Because as soon as a book can bring emotions out of you, you know that you're engrossed in it. If you didn't like it then you wouldn't really care about anything. The writing style is also pretty important. I love books with a melodious flow and not short brusque sentences devoid of emotion. Oh and every five star book of mine NEEDS a drool worthy YA book boyfriend!

What 3 things would you take with you to a deserted island?

MY KINDLE!!! A laptop and a never ending stock of fried rice! I drool over chinese food!

What do you do when you're not reading Are you planning on doing any writing in the future?

I have written a novel already with witches and Greek Mythology but I'm waiting till i get to university to get it published. There aren't many opportunities in Mauritius so another two years to go and hopefully I'll be an author! I'm also working on something with demons and faeries! Other than that i love to sketch and watch The Originals, TVD and Reign. The rest of the time it's spent revising and doing homework.

Thanks Kariny!

Check out her blog Kariny's Teen Boox Frenzy and follow her on Facebook for giveaways and all the latest on upcoming YA fiction.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Most of the people who have finished Onyx Moon have pestered me for the next installment in the trilogy, Bloodstones. All I can say right now is: It is coming. The book has been in the works for years, but any book, let alone an "epic" fantasy, takes time. And unfortunately, that is something I don't have a lot to spare these days. I promise you, every fraction of a second I have that is not obligated somewhere else, I am writing. Whether it's promoting Onyx Moon, working on content for the blog, or writing actual book content, I am hard at work.

I will say the writing process for Bloodstones is going a lot smoother than I expected. Now that the world of Alethia is set up in the reader's mind and the characters are established, it's like the darn book writes itself. Every time I sit down at the computer I feel like I am hanging out with old friends. All things considered, I take that as a good sign. So the sequel is definitely coming along. Spring 2016 if not sooner. I am currently recruiting beta readers, reviewers, and have signed with a cover designer. I am so excited to add it to my shelf!


In the meantime, I have a confession to make: I am also currently writing a new book!! There's not much I can say about it at this point except that it is a "one shot adventure". A YA non-magical fantasy set in a medieval kingdom. Sometimes I get ideas that just won't leave me alone until I put it on paper. And since this is a stand alone novel, (not part of a series) I figured, why not? This new book is going out to the first set of beta readers next week and I currently have a designer working on the cover.  

I promise, Bloodstones is still happening and more details on the new book will be coming soon!