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2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015

Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2015 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on August 24, 2015.


Vote for your favorite August 2015 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015



Interview with Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster


Please welcome Scott Wilbanks to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster was published on August 4th by Sourcebooks Landmark.



Interview with Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Scott:  Thank you, but we’re so not digging into these questions until someone tells me how you came up with the name for the blogspot. I… love… it.

Assuming a response will find its way into my inbox shortly, I’ll admit that my writing career didn’t have conscious beginnings. It was all a bit of an accident, really. I’d just returned to my hotel room after the closing arguments in a trial that was three years in the making, one in which I’d had to bring a suit against a very large company.

I’d barely closed the door to my hotel room when I experienced an anxiety attack that was so severe I basically collapsed. When able, I crawled into the shower, and the strangest thing happened while the water poured over my head. An odd sentence popped into my head that had to do with an imaginary character I’d been toying with. It was still bouncing around in my head when I was heading to bed, so I simply wrote it down on a piece of loose-leaf paper.

Two days later, I stumbled over it while I was cleaning out my brief case back in San Francisco. It intrigued me. I wrote another sentence on a whim. Then another. A little over two months later, I’d written close to four-hundred-fifty pages.

Now, let me be clear. They were the worst words ever written. Full Stop. But they provided the seed from which I taught myself the basics in the craft of writing, and eventually—after several detours—evolved into The Lemoncholy Life Of Annie Aster in its final iteration.



TQAre you a plotter, pantser or hybrid?

Scott:  Well, I haven’t established much of a track record yet, but if Lemoncholy is any example, I’m not just a pantser, I’m a bona fide stream-of-consciousness(er).

That being said, I recently had to flip the script for my sophomore effort, because my agent was pressing not only for opening chapters, but also a plot synopsis. That meant I couldn’t simply follow my nose. I had to build the story line from start to finish before I dug into my chapters. And while I can say that it is a more efficient approach, I can also confidently say that I’m more of a free-for-all, throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks kind of guy at heart.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Scott:  Finding the courage to put the first word down on the page, I kid you not. I suspect it’s an OCD thing. By the time I’d whipped Lemoncholy into publishable shape, I had a basic grasp of how high to set the literary bar, and that’s a good thing. The problem lies in the fact that I don’t simply want to attain it, I want to leave it in the dust—from the word go. I set impossible standards for myself. So, starting is a wrench, sort of like getting a train moving. The wheels move slowly at first, but eventually gain a head of steam.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Scott:  Don’t laugh, but I’m falling in love with Jane Austen these days. Of the contemporary authors whose work I’ve been reading, Deborah Harkness, Erin Morgenstern, and David Mitchell’s works have lingered in my head long after I’ve closed the back cover. It’s JRR Tolkien, however, who turned me into a book-a-day nerd by the age of fourteen and who fuelled my outside-the-lines imagination. I would never have written a word if it weren’t for his trilogy.



TQDescribe The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster in 140 characters or less.

Scott:  OMG, this is going to suck really bad! Tweeting is my Achilles heel. LOL

In LEMONCHOLY, love and fate conspire to save two, awaken three, and unite a family of five misfits separated in the stream of time.

Or (for those who prefer less abstraction in their loglines)

LEMONCHOLY tells a story of two pen pals, separated in time, who must solve a homicide that is yet to happen, and yet somehow already did.



TQTell us something about The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster that is not found in the book description.

Scott:  All the hype has been on Annabelle Aster and Elsbeth Grundy’s time-twisting adventure, but there is a secondary story line woven throughout Lemoncholy that I’m quite fond of. It involves Annie’s best friend, Christian, a man burdened by a secret buried so deep within his subconscious that it leaves him with a debilitating stutter, and Edmond, a man whose struggle to master his own demon—drug addiction—brings the thing that is haunting Christian into the light of day.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster? What appealed to you about writing an historical fantasy?

Scott:  A botched first date, I kid you not.

We were having coffee, and I thought everything was going swimmingly, that is, until he said, “I think we’re destined to be great friends.” The conversation took a cataclysmic decline at that point, and I drove home with my tail tucked between my legs. It was during that drive that I decided outcomes are only inevitable if you accept them as such, and immediately drummed up Annie and Elsbeth in my head. When I got home, I had Annie write a letter to El, asking for advice regarding her lovestruck friend—me—and fired it off to my failed date’s email address.

The next day, I received a call… from him… at work. Apparently, my email had done the rounds at his office and was a bit of a hit.

“Annie needs to write more,” he said.

“Sadly, she can’t,” I responded.

“Why not?”

“El has to write back,” I answered, as if nothing could be more obvious.

That snippy little retort got me an email in return (from Elsbeth), and a second date. It also got me a third, and led to a regular correspondence in which I acted as the director, and which, ultimately, cemented the personalities of my two leading ladies for LEMONCHOLY.

The historical fiction component, itself, was just a happy accident. I saw Annie as a contemporary San Franciscan with an old world (Victorian) sensibility. So, when I created Elsbeth to be her foil, I simply flipped the script and made her an old world Kansan with a contemporary sensibility, simply for the sake of irony.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster?

Scott:  It’s going to kill me to admit this, but I took a sort of ridiculous pride in doing no research whatsoever. When I was picked up by my agent, things changed. She said the manuscript needed more historical detail, and I quickly learned just how frighteningly comprehensive Google can be. In the end, I went for quirk. I wanted to fold in historical detail that wasn’t expected. For instance, I learned that certain women-of-standing used arsenic as a beauty product, to provide the “wan” look. How weird is that?



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Scott:  I’d have to say that Elsbeth was the easiest for me to write, because she’s so unfiltered with her take-no-prisoners attitude. I could let it rip, splattering her cantankerousness all over the page. The only really tricky part censoring that potty mouth of hers while also making the end result blend believably with her expansive schoolmarm vocabulary.

The hardest? Christian—mainly because I used myself as his template. I raised some long-buried demons and rubbed myself raw to get that young man onto the page.



TQWhich question about The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Scott:  What did you wish to accomplish by writing The Lemoncholy Life Of Annie Aster?

I want readers to be as charmed by the words as they are by the story line. I want them to savor the sentences. If I can evoke the wonder of A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Woods in any way, or the magic of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, gifting someone with a smile as they read, then I feel I’ve accomplished something meaningful.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster.

Scott

Elsbeth Grundy was a loner, and an odd one at that, but company was headed her way whether she liked it or not.

It very nearly broke Annie’s heart to look at the photograph she’d found on microfiche at the library—Christian being lifted onto a gurney in the foreground, limp as a forgotten saint, his arm dangling over its side, and in the distance behind him, a spray of water arcing from a fireman’s hose onto the blaze that charred the light post about which his car was pulled like taffy.



TQWhat's next?

Scott:  When the book tour is over, and I’m back home in New Zealand, I’m looking forward to digging in on my sophomore effort, a manuscript about the misadventures of a young Southern man who is burdened with the world’s only documented case of chronic, incurable naiveté—the result of a curious subtype of ADD and a lightning strike at the age of four.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Scott:  I’m whooped! That was hard! LOL Seriously, though, it was fun, and I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to interview me.





The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Sourcebooks Landmark, August 4, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Annabelle Aster doesn't bow to convention-not even that of space and time-which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.

Annie and Elsbeth's search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery-and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen...and yet somehow already did.





About Scott

Interview with Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Scott Wilbanks graduated summa cum laude from The University of Oklahoma and went on to garner several national titles in the sport of gymnastics. Scott's husband, Mike, is a New Zealander by birth, and the two split their time between the two countries while Scott is at work on his next standalone novel.









Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @scottbwilbanks  ~  Google+

Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks


The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Author:  Scott Wilbanks
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark, August 4, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781492612469 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks
Annabelle Aster doesn't bow to convention-not even that of space and time-which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.

Annie and Elsbeth's search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery-and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen...and yet somehow already did.



Melanie's Thoughts

Annie Aster leads a rather solitary life in modern day San Francisco until the purchase of an antique door opens up a whole new world. Her new back door doesn't open up into her garden but rather, into a Kansas wheat field. Of course, it isn't just any Kansas wheat field. At the other end of the field, 200 years in the past, lives the cantankerous schoolmarm Elsbeth. The pair start to exchange letters and develop a friendship that transcends both time and space. When Annie sends Elsbeth to investigate the murder of a popular magician she doesn't realise the how this will change her life and give her the opportunity to discover who she is and where she comes from.

Annie shares her story with her best friend Christian. He has a profound stutter resulting from a terrible car accident. Both his injuries and his stutter has caused him to retreat from life around him and into his books. Fate enters his life in the form of the hunky gardener who befriends him. Little do this trio of characters realise what awaits them on the other side of the wheat field but it will irrevocably change all their lives forever.

I hate to sound so vague when writing a review but the plot does centre around a murder mystery and how this impacts Annie in her current timeline. The plot of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster reminds me of a loosely knitted scarf. One tug of one thread will find it unravelling on the floor. If I give too much away here in this review then then you would be able to guess the all the 'surprises' as they are so interwoven into the plot. What I can share with you is my view of Wilbanks' writing style, world building and skills at characterization.

I started out really enjoying this book and I liked how the story flipped between modern day and the late 1800's rather seamlessly. Nothing beats a bit of time travel and how convenient for Annie that she doesn't have to put much effort into travelling back 200 years than to waltz out her back door. Whenever I read any books with time travel elements I always think to Star Trek. How many paradoxes did Annie create by writing to Elsbeth? By the end of the book I am sure the space time continuum would have been in tatters. Saying that however, I feel there were one too many coincidences and as the plot developed I was able to guess every one, especially those involving Annie's friend Christian.

Annie was terribly twee with her love of dressing in Victoriana, her perfectly preserved tea set and her quaint old fashioned ways. Wilbanks' pushes my imagination on how much I could believe about how much Annie was impacted by the past or should I say a past she didn't actually experience. Overall, I found the characters were a bit too clichéd.  Annie was beautiful and looked perfect in her late 1800's garb, Elsbeth the schoolmarm was plain and plain talking while Christian repressed his sexuality hence the stutter. I was really hoping that at least one of the characters would do the unexpected or be less stereotypical. I feel that the plot wouldn't have been so easy to guess had the characters not been written in such a traditional way.

Wilbanks does an admirable job of describing the environment in which all his characters live and I could easily picture Annie's lovely house and Elsbeth's wheat field. He also did well in tying all the different aspects of the plot together with a satisfactory conclusion to Annie's tale. While maybe the characterisation could have been improved this book was still overall quite readable and it must be remembered that this is Wilbanks' debut. I am sure that there will be great work to come from this author and I will look forward to reading it.

The View From Monday - August 3, 2015


Happy first Monday in August. It's a very full release week with 4 debuts:

The Daughters by Adrienne Celt;

The Norma Gene by M.E. Roufa;

The Casualties by Nick Holdstock;

and

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks.

You can read more about these debuts here: 2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - August 2015 Debuts.


From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl (The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. 2) by Ishbelle Bee;

Dark Ascension (Generation V #4) by M.L. Brennan;

Devil's Pocket (Phoenix Island 2) by John Dixon;

Supervillains Anonymous (Superheroes Anonymous 2) by Lexie Dunne;

Veiled (Alex Verus 6) by Benedict Jacka;

Waterborne Exile (Waterborne Blade 2) by Susan Murray;

and

Dawnbreaker (Legends of the Duskwalker 3) by Jay Posey.



The View From Monday - August 3, 2015



August 3, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Daughters (D) Adrienne Celt LF
A Better Way to Die: The Collected Short Stories (Ke) Paul Cornell SF - Collection
The Returned, Part II (e) Peter David SF - Star Trek: New Frontier
The Law of Chaos: The Multiverse of Michael Moorcock Jeff Gardiner SF/H&C
The Norma Gene (D) M.E. Roufa SF/AH/Hu
Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany Nisi Shawl (ed)
Bill Campbell (ed)
SF - Anthology
Legends 2: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell (Ke) Ian Whates (ed) F/DF - Anthology



August 4, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Necropolis Dan Abnett SF - Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts 3
Murder in the Paperback Parlor Ellery Adams PM - A Book Retreat Mystery 2
The Barter (h2tp) Siobhan Adcock Psy/Th
Finches of Mars Brian W. Aldiss SF
Frozen in Amber Phyllis Ames UF/PNR
Magic Shifts Ilona Andrews UF - Kate Daniels 8
Primal Heat: A Paranormal Shapeshifter Werejaguar Romance A. C. Arthur PNR - The Shadow Shifters 6
Primal Heat Part 4: A Paranormal Shapeshifter Werejaguar Romance (e) A. C. Arthur PNR - The SHadow Shifters
Angel of Doom James Axler SF - Outlanders 74
Dark Screams: Volume Four (e) Brian James Freeman (ed)
Richard Chizmar (ed)
H
Ultima Stephen Baxter SF - Proxima 2
Proxima (h2mm) Stephen Baxter SF - Proxima 1
Crossways Jacey Bedford SF/SO - Psi-Tech 2
The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl Ishbelle Bee HistF - The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. 2
Energized Mary Behre PRS - Tidewater 3
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey Paula Brackston HistF
Dark Ascension M.L. Brennan UF - Generation V #4
Skin of the Wolf Sam Cabot AA -A Novel of Secrets 2
Fantastic Tales: Visionary and Everyday Italo Calvino (ed) F - Anthology
Sweetness #9 (h2tp) Stephan Eirik Clark Dys
His Father's Eyes David B. Coe CF - Case Files of Justis Fearsson 2
Love, Lattes and Danger (e) Sarah Cox UF - Mutants 2
Devil's Pocket John Dixon AA/Th/SF - Phoenix Island 2
The Song of Synth Seb Doubinsky Dys
Supervillains Anonymous Lexie Dunne CF - Superheroes Anonymous 2
Fire in the Blood (h2mm) Erin M. Evans F - Forgotten Realms: Neverwinter: Brimstone Angels 3
The Eternal World Christopher Farnsworth Th/P
Edge of Darkness Christine Feehan
Maggie Shayne
Lori Herter
PNR - Anthology
The Mountain David L. Golemon AA - Event Group Thrillers 10
Exo (h2mm) Steven Gould SF - Jumper 4
Smoke on the Water Lori Handeland FR - Sisters of the Craft 3
Alice Christina Henry DF
Fable: Blood of Heroes Jim C. Hines F - Fable Tie-In
The Casualties (D) Nick Holdstock LF/PA
Sing the Four Quarters (e) (ri) Tanya Huff F - Quarters 1
The Storm Lord (e) M. K. Hume F - Twilight of the Celts 2
Veiled Benedict Jacka UF - Alex Verus 6
Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings Shirley Jackson
Laurence Hyman (ed)
Sarah Hyman DeWitt (ed)
Collection
Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King’s Court Marci Jefferson HistF
The Fifth Season N. K. Jemisin F - The Broken Earth 1
Dragonbane Sherrilyn Kenyon CF - Dark-Hunter Novels 19
The Complete Arrows Trilogy Mercedes Lackey F - The Arrows Trilogy
After the Saucers Landed Douglas Lain SF - Short Stories
Liaden Universe Constellation Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
SF - Liaden Universe Constellation 3
The Dragon Factory (ri) Jonathan Maberry Th/H - Joe Ledger 2
Starry Knight Nina Mason PNR - Knights of Avalon 1
The Twice and Future Caesar R. M. Meluch SF - Tour of the Merrimack 6
Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories China Miéville LF/F/CF - Collection
The Aftermath Michela Montgomery SF/AP/PA - Wind Cave 2
The Bull and the Spear Michael Moorcock F - Corum / The Eternal Champion 4
Creatures of the Storm (e) Brad Munson PA/SF - Rain Triptych 1
Wind/Pinball: Two novels Haruki Murakami MR
Waterborne Exile Susan Murray F - Waterborne Blade 2
The Veil Chloe Neill UF - Devil's Isle 2
A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd (ri) Patrick Ness F/FairyT/FolkT/L&M
Dawnbreaker Jay Posey SF/AP/PA - Legends of the Duskwalker 3
Revenant (h2mm) Kat Richardson UF - Greywalker 9
Your Face in Mine (h2tp) Jess Row LF/Dys
Blood Call Lilith Saintcrow Th/Sup
Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf (h2mm) R. A. Salvatore F - Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Companions Codex III
The Madagaskar Plan Guy Saville Th/AH
Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future (h2mm) John Scalzi SF
Twilight Vendetta (e)(ri) Maggie Shayne PNR - Wings in the Night: Reborn 2
If Onions Could Spring Leeks Paige Shelton PM - Country Cooking School Mystery 5
Rage Ken Shufeldt Th
Mother of Demons Maynard Sims H - Department 18 #5
The Raven's Child Thomas E. Sniegoski GN/SF
The Edge of Dawn Melinda Snodgrass CF - Edge 3
The Doorway Alan Spencer H
The Way of Sorrows Jon Steele Sus/ Oc/Sup/Th - The Angelus Trilogy 3
The Moreau Quartet: Volume One S. Andrew Swann SF/CyP/R - The Moreau Quartet 1
Robin Hood - Mark of the Black Arrow Debbie Viguie
James R. Tuck
HistF/DF - Robin Hood: Demon Bane 1
Chase the Darkness J.D. Tyler PNR - Alpha Pack 7
Wolf Trouble Paige Tyler PRS - SWAT 2
Kitty Saves the World Carrie Vaughn CF - Kitty Norville 14
The Sword of the South David Weber F - Sword of the South 1
Undying Hope Emma Weylin PNR - Undying Chronicles 1
Soldiers Out of Time Steve White SF/TT - Temporal Regulatory Authority 5
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster (D) Scott Wilbanks HistF




August 5, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Night of the Salamander: A Tor.com Original (e) Michael Swanwick F




August 6, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015 Paula Guran (ed) SF/F - Anthology
A City Called Smoke Justin Woolley Dys - The Territory 2


D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


AA - Action Adventure
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CyP - Cyber Punk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT -Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
GN - Graphic Novel
H - Horror
H&C - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
Hu - Humor
L&M - Legends and Myth
LF - Literary Fiction
MR - Magical Realism
Oc - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PRS - Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Psy - Psychological
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Scott Wilbanks

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Sourcebooks Landmark, August 4, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks
Annabelle Aster doesn't bow to convention-not even that of space and time-which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.

Annie and Elsbeth's search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery-and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen...and yet somehow already did.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 29, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015


I'm back! Did you miss me? Apologies for missing last week. I am very ashamed to say that I didn't get through enough books to tell you about. I was slightly better but not much. So what did I read over the last two weeks?

Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015
I finally got around to reading Symbiont by Mira Grant (Orbit, November 25, 2014). This is the second in the Grant's Parasitology series. The story continues with the world in chaos as the tapeworms that people used to prolong their health and lives are now turning them into zombies. Well not everyone. Sal is one of the few exceptions as a sentient tapeworm living in the body of a girl who died in a car accident. Book 2 focuses on Sal's struggle with coming to terms with who and what she is. She also has to come to terms with her 'cousins' being the cause of the ruination of mankind. This lesson comes at a cost and mostly to herself as Sal finds herself kidnapped not once but twice. How unlucky can 1 sentient tapeworm be? She isn't the only one who is kidnapped, tortured and experimented on. Tansy, who had sacrificed herself to save Sal at the end of book one - Parasite finds herself the subject of Dr Banks to quite a chilling end. Humanity is on the brink of destruction and Sal may be the key to its survival.

I have rather mixed views of Symbiont. It was pretty action packed but at the same time rather dull. I thought the middle part of the book really dragged and I was almost wishing a tapeworm zombie would munch one of the main characters - particularly Sal. The Hubinator did not like this book at all but I thought it was 'ok'. My problem with this book in particular was Sal herself. I realise that she trying to come to terms with what she was but boy, she was dull and an uber wimp. Even though I didn't really like Sal, I thought the parts where Sal ponders her humanity were compelling.


Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015I was shamelessly looking through my Amazon recommendations and came across Forbidden Forest which was book 1 of the Legends of Regia by Tenaya Jayne (Cold Fire Publishing, December 5, 2013).  I had high hopes for this book as I was very sensible and read the sample first I thought the story of Forbidden Forest is the story of the crossbreed elf/shifter Forest who has been bonded against her will to an evil vampire could be interesting. Forest, who had been living on Earth is summoned back to her home of Regia to escort the blind vampire prince across a forest. Needless to say they are destined to be soulmates but Forest isn't sure she can trust another vampire with her life let alone her heart.

When I was reading this book I thought it had been written for the younger urban fantasy fan as despite the events that led to Forest to be slaved bonded  for a more mature reader the characters weren't written as such. Both Forest and Prince Syrus were so busy eating fruit loops and mooning over each other that the convoluted plot was hard to follow or even be interested in. This book was quite a disappointment but it was free so I can't complain too much.


Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015
The final book I want to tell you about is The Prophecy Con by Patrick Weekes ( 47North, September 23, 2014). This is the second book of the Rogues of the Republic series which finds one of my favourite gangs back together. This instalment follows closely on the heels of The Palace Job where Loch and her gang save the Heaven's Spire and all its inhabitants. In the process she unmasks a madman, finds her long lost sister and hooks up with the dutiful justicar Pyric. In book 2 she has been asked to steal an ancient book from the elves in order to stop a war. There is so many twists and turns, mysteries and intrigues that if I tell you anymore I risk spoiling the whole thing. What I can tell you is that Weekes has created a whole set of characters that you are invested in from page 1. It is very rare for me to like each character equally but Weekes has done it. This series and especially this book are an excellent example of story telling, action and characterisation. If you are a gamer and played either Mass Effect or Dragon Age then you will recognise Weekes' writing style. If not, hurry up and get playing!


Finally, I read and enjoyed The Lemoncholy  Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks (Sourcebooks Landmark, August 4, 2015). This is a debut novel and Wilbanks has written a cracking book. I will be writing a full review so keep your eye out.

That is enough for me this week and I hope I have made it up to you with this instalment of my WIR. Until next week happy reading.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2015Interview with Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie AsterReview: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott WilbanksThe View From Monday - August 3, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott WilbanksMelanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015

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