Click the banner to visit the site!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Have You Heard of @KarenDuvall?

Today I'd like for you all to help me give a warm welcome to Ms. Karen Duvall!!!! Karen is here today to for an interview, so enjoy getting to know her!!

About Karen Duvall:

Where to start… Bios are always difficult for me. I don't want to say too much and bore people, or not enough, which is almost as boring.

I was born in Hollywood, California. Sound glamorous? Maybe it might have turned out that way if my mother hadn't given me up for adoption. Or that's what I used to fantasize about when I was a child. Nevertheless, I was very fortunate to have had the best adoptive parents in the world. If you're curious to read more about this part of my life story, I wrote about it for my blog. and

I've always been a writer, even before I knew how to make my letters. At the age of three, I used to tell stories to my mom so she could write them down and I could draw the pictures. I still draw pictures, however I've replaced the crayons in favor of computer graphics. I've been a professional graphic artist for over thirty years after graduating from the Art Institute of Colorado in 1978.

I started out writing short stories because the thought of writing a book was too intimidating. Then I read an amazing series by Armistead Maupin and was so intrigued by his excellent characters that I knew I had to give it a try. After that, I was hooked. Writing books became my thing.

I joined Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers about 20 years ago, and that's how I learned how to write. I owe this amazing organization so much! Such a fabulous group of warm, helpful and supportive writers. I feel blessed to have discovered them and highly recommend their annual conference to any writer serious about becoming a published author. It's an amazing event attended by some of the best agents and editors in the industry. Even though I don't live in Colorado anymore, I return for the conference every year.

Now I live in Bend, Oregon, with my husband Jim, an over-zealous border-bully dog named Kinsey, and three spoiled cats that run our household. When I'm not writing, I freelance as a graphic designer. If you'd like to see some of my work, please visit my design website.

Check out some of the books she's written!

Knight's Curse -- Barnes & Noble, Amazon
Darkest Knight -- Barnes & Noble, Amazon
'Til the World Ends -- Barnes & Noble, Amazon

Here's a few ways to keep up with Ms. Duvall and her books: Website; Blog; Facebook; Twitter.

Review: Double Feature by Brent Hartinger

Double Feature (Russel Middlebrook, #3) by Brent Hartinger
276 pages, Kindle Edition
Finished on 8/4/2013
Genres: Young Adult, GLBT, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Goodreads page

Motivation to Read It: I've really liked the first two books in the series, so I continued!

Review: Let me say that once I read the "Second Feature," the names of the two different stories actually made sense haha. While having to read through some of the same exact conversations again wass a little annoying, everuthing that was said and done was clarified through the change of perspective. I will most definitely be reading the fourth book, The Elephant of Surprise.

In this Middlebrook installment, the gang signs up to play as zombie extras in a horror movie. You would think that everything would be simply wonderful and problem-free, but these three will always be going through something.

The plot was great! Along with the interesting-ness of being a zombie extra, we get to see Otto again, and Kevin is back to make us want to punch him. Compared to Geography Club and Poison Oak, I think this novel of the series would come last (so far) for favorite plots. It wasn't terrible, and it pulled me in still -- but just not as much as the others. At the same time, it might be because the second feature was similar to the first. Not completely sure.

The characters were fantastic all over again! My favorite from this one was definitely Leah. She added new flavor to the story, and I liked that she was dark and mysterious. Those charries are always the most interesting for me. Also with Double Feature, I fee like Min and I finally have a connection with each other. Before she was just "Russel's best friend," but now more things fall into place I guess you could say.

All in all, Brent Hartinger continued the series well! I'm excited to read The Elephant of Surprise (and to find out why it's entitled as such). Check back within the next week or so my review of it!

Colorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and PhotosSatisfying eBookColorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring into Horror Readathon: Goals!

Hello lovelies!! Another readathon to post about for you all. You won't believe how excited I am that it's started! :)

The Spring Into Horror Readathon is being hosted by The True Book Addict via her RAT blog, Seasons of Reading. It will last from today until April 28, 2013. Make sure you keep up with everyone who's reading through the #SpringHorrorRAT hastag on Twitter! And now, here are my goals for the following week:

~Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike
~Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
~The Elephant of Surprise by Brent Hartinger

Hope to see you all partiipating as well!!! :D

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Upcoming Readathons: LGBT Readathon & Spring into Horror

Hey everyone!!! Wanted to let you all know about some upcoming readathons:

Remember the High Summer Readathon? Well this one's being hosted by the same person!!!! It will be here in just a few days, so get those books ready! Be sure to use the #SpringHorrorRAT hashtag to connect with all the readers on Twitter!

More info:

I've just recently started reading LGBT books, and they haven't let me down yet! I only have two more on hand that I can read for this readathon, but that shall be my goal! I'm excited for this one to get here :) For all you hastaggers, use the #LGBTR-A-T hashtag to see what everyone else is reading!

More info:

What's Your Status? #79 & In My Mailbox #62

What's Your Status?


Finished This Week:

Currently Reading:

Top of the TBR Pile:

In My Mailbox
Hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger

The Order of the Poison Oak (Russel Middlebrook, #2) by Brent Hartinger
169 pages, Kindle Edition
Finished on 4/4/2013
Genres: Young Adult, GLBT, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Goodreads page

Motivation to Read It: Loved the first book of the series, and was excited to get to the second.

Review: It took me a while to get through the second Russel Middlebrook novel because of my busy-ness. It was even funnier than the first, and the new setting fit wonderfully into the plot of the story.

Russel, Gunnar, and Min are finally out of school and go to volunteer as counselors at a summer camp. Almost all of the story takes place during the first session of kids, which is where all the "fun" happens. The first group is special: they're burn survivors, and have come to camp to get away from all their "misfit problems" at home. And, of course, the group of kids affects the main guy the most.

The plot was great, just as I expected (or was hoping for, because anything can happen I suppose). Russel was really having the worse time of his life. There was constantly something going on with him that was giving him trouble. The plot seemed as if it was fast-paced and the days were flying by, but that surprisingly wasn't the reality. As I said earlier almost the entire novel takes place during the first (two-week?) session. However, I think this is a great thing because that means the book had lots of action, I guess you could say.

The characters in Poison Oak, especially the burn survivors and the role they played, were fabulous (or magnificent since the ones with Russel were guys; "fabulous" might be too girly for them). But anyhow, I really liked how Russel tried to get on and stay on his kids' good side. Because he knew how it felt to be a social outcast, he didn't want them to feel like one or to even feel uncomfortable while they were at the camp. Ian was one of my favorite characters, I think. He was the leader of all the ruckus Russel had to deal with, but like the other burn survivors he had a scary past and he wanted to fit in. And he was very stubborn at some points, particularly when it came to acknowledging that Russel was running the show and not him.

Overall, I really liked this book. I'm excited to get to the third novel already! Look out for my review of Double Feature within the next week or so!

Colorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and PhotosSatisfying eBookColorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1) by Scott Westerfeld
500 minutes, audiobook
Finished on 30/3/2013
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Some Adventure, Some Action
Goodreads page

Motivation to Read It: After falling in love with the Uglies series, I've been wanting to read this series simply because I had previously loved Westerfeld's work.

Review: Three months. That's how long it took me to listen to this book. (Actually it only took about a week, but you know -- time span.) Anyway, I really enjoyed this novel! Overall it probably has to do with the fact that the time setting was World War I (love me some history), but besides that it was a great read listen.
Shout-out to Alan Cumming for the awesome narration!
Let's start with plot. Intriguing is the first word that comes to mind. There's never really a moment of calm with Deryn or Alek. As soon as one problem has been solved, another presents itself at their feet. Of course, this is not entirely true because I'm sure there were times during the novel that I got distracted and wasn't paying attention; so don't rely on my word completely :). Anyhow, it kept me very entertained. I enjoyed the battle scenes themost. Lots of action; plus, the defense systems of both the Leviathan and the Stormwalkers were quite interesting because, obviously, it's not something I'm familiar with.

Alek and Deryn themselves were awesome charries. Alek was just trying to keep himself safe after his parent's death. He couldn't just go around be friendly to people and telling them who he was, even when doing so might have actually helped him. He was very amiable, I think, because to me it seemed that he took an automatic liking t oDeryn and the other "Darwinists," seeing as he'd never been around them before. Deryn herself was quite the character. She simply wanted to serve her country (really, I think she just wanted to fly), and she had no remorse for lying her way through the system if that's what it would call for. I thought she was abubbly charrie, in a way, when it got time for battle, she wasn't necessarily elated, but she loved being in the air with the Huxleys and other fabricated creatures. Oh, and y my favorite swear of hers? "Barking spiders!"

I really loved Leviathan. I hate that it took me so long to listen to the whole thing, but luckily I have the next two books in the series! :D

Colorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and PhotosSatisfying eBookColorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Earth-Sim Book Tour: Excerpt & Guest Post from Jade Kerrion!

For those of you that read my review of Earth-Sim last week, here's a little more info that might interest you!! If you haven't read the review yet, you can head there now via this link.

And excerpt from Earth-Sim (it's actually my favorite part of the book :D! )
Author’s note: The world’s a crazy place, isn’t it? Massive floods, deadly plagues, world wars…it makes you wonder, who’s in charge of this place anyway? Let me introduce you to Jem Moran, Kir Davos, and SimOne—the two students and android assigned to manage Earth.

Earth-Sim seamlessly blends popular culture with history, science, and religion. This whimsical and irreverent romp through the history of Earth will charm and entertain as you attempt to decipher just how much is fact and what else is fiction. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.

This particular scene, which includes Kir’s younger brother, Kav, showcases the source of the kamikaze, the “divine wind” that saved Japan from two Mongol invasions, and the origin of the Black Death.

“Did we ever hear back from the Shixar or the Atlante teams?” Jem asked as they walked into the simulation laboratory together.

“No, it’s been quiet. It helps to be a little backwater planet. The Shixar and Atlante are so busy fighting each other on the other side of the universe that we’ve been able to escape their notice. It also helps that we’re technologically primitive. No one wants the hassle of raising toddlers if they can help it. All right, Kav. Remember, hands behind your back. Don’t touch anything.”

“Got it.” Kav laced his fingers behind his back. His eyes were wide, and his head swiveled from side to side as he tried to take in everything.

“It looks like lots of teams are back,” Jem murmured, nodding to another student who passed by them on his way to his own planet.
“I think many teams didn’t even take the week off,” Kir said.

Jem snorted. “Now I feel like a slacker.”

“On the other hand, I feel like I’m giving up two weeks of my vacation, and I’m moderately resentful about it.” Their planet came into view. “Good morning, SimOne.”

“Good morning, Kir. Good morning, Jem. Good morning, Kav.”

“How are things going?” Kir asked.

“Well,” was the android’s succinct reply.

“Let me see. Let me see.” Kav stood over the planet, his fingers interlocked behind his back, and stared down at the blue-white world spinning serenely in space. “Is that the moon?” he asked, as something brushed by his head.

Kir nodded. “Yes, and step back. You’re in its orbital path.”

“What’s that stuff down there?” Kav asked.

Jem leaned in over his shoulder. Her eyes narrowed. “It looks like a fleet of ships.”

Kir leaned in too. “That you can see from up here? That’s got to be a lot of ships.” He whistled low. “I’ve never seen these many ships. It will probably go down in history as the largest naval assault to date.”

“It isn’t going to bode well for that island,” Jem said.

“You’re not intervening?” Kir asked, sounding surprised.

“No. Both countries are somewhat peripheral to my plans. Contrary to what you may think about me, I don’t make every single decision for them. I step in only where it matters.”

Kav suddenly sneezed.

The fleet of ships vanished beneath the violent exhalation of air that tore up the waves. “Oh, no…” Jem choked back a giggle.

“Kav!” Kir shouted.


“Cover your nose!”

Fascinated, Jem watched in silence as more ships sailed forth from the mainland; the armada reformed. They were going at it again.

Kav wailed. “I can’t cover my nose. See! My hands are behind my back. I can’t cover my nose with my hands behind my back.”
“Use your hands, damn it,” Kir said.

“You told me not to use my hands in here. I’m gonna sneeze again…I’m gonna…AH CHOO!”

The fleet dissipated. It never reformed.

Jem covered her mouth, the muffled sound trapped between a chortle and a sob. “Oh, God, I can’t watch.”

“Stand all the way back here.” Kir physically picked up his brother and moved him out beyond the asteroid field. “Jem, are you okay?”

She swallowed the chuckle. “It’s so bad. I thought that we’d figured out the art of planetary management, but no, we’re still careening from crisis to crisis.”

“You don’t sound or look mad,” Kir said carefully.

“I’m not. I’m resigned.” She giggled again. “Just imagine how the events must have seemed to that country. A massive armada shows up on your shores, and suddenly, bad weather takes it down. A few years later, another armada shows up, but once again, it’s consumed by bad weather. If that’s not a divine wind, nothing else is.”

“You’re taking this better than I thought you would.”

“Practice,” Jem said with a straight face.

SimOne cut into their easy banter. “Alert. An alien vector was inserted at 35°N, 103°E”

“What?” Jem turned sharply back to SimOne.

“Where did it come from? Who inserted it?” Kir asked.

SimOne stood very straight; she stared at something apparently only she could see. “It came from Kav Davos.”

“Get it out,” Kir ordered.

“Negative. The alien vector cannot be removed.”

“Track it, then. I want to know where it goes. What is it? A humanoid?” Kir asked.

“Negative. It is an enterobacteriaceae.”

“Damn it.” Jem paled. “Give me a population map, SimOne.”

The world map unfurled across the astral screen. The disease spread, flowing out of the heart of Jem’s empire, toward the west and south. Dark patches faded, thinning out, sometimes disappearing completely.

“Oh, my God…” Jem whispered. “They’re dying. They’re dying all over.”

Quite lovely, I think. Of course, I think the whole book is pretty fascinating since, as Jade stated above, we finally have someone to blame.

Without further ado, help me welcome Jade Kerrion to the blog!!!!

Earth-Sim: Spoof or Serious?

Readers frequently ask me, “Is Earth-Sim a spoof or is it serious?”

My answer is, “Yes.”

Okay, I realize the answer isn’t immediately helpful. Perhaps I should explain.

On the one hand, Earth-Sim deals with serious life topics. Jem Moran is a college student with a reputation to prove and a secret to protect. The prestigious world simulation program seems the answer to both her problems, but only if she can succeed in spite of her teammate, Kir Davos. The “serious” themes in this Young Adult / New Adult science fiction novel include coming to terms with our true identify in spite of the facades we display to the world. The novel highlights the value of strong cross-gender platonic friendships, and wrestles with the difficulty of maintaining them. It emphasizes the fact that we all bring something of value to the table, and celebrates the diversity of approaches in dealing with problems.

On the other hand, Earth-Sim showcases Earth’s history in a seamless blend of popular culture, science, and religion. Fact and fiction fit together into a jigsaw puzzle that explains the extinction of the dinosaurs, the ten plagues of Egypt, and the Black Death. Did you want to know the truth about the Loch Ness Monster, the city of Atlantis, and that flying boy with the red cape? That’s in Earth-Sim too.

Although presented as a whimsical and often irreverent romp through the history of Earth and its connection with the universe, Earth-Sim is a treasure trove of real information. You may recognize most of the references, but if there’s something you don’t recognize that you think might actually be a historical event or a pop culture reference, you can check Google or Wikipedia, or just send me a note.

Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.

Thank you so much, Ms. Kerrion, for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Tour Review: Forbidden Angel by Megan D. Martin

Forbidden Angel by Megan D. Martin
79 pages, PDF file
Finished on 31/3/2013
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Goodreads page

Motivation to Read It: I'm not even going to lie. I saw "Nazi" and "concentration camp" in the synopsis and automatically signed up for the tour. I love me some WWII.

Review: Forbidden Angel was a great short story. It was appealing to see what happened at the concentration camp when Sarah and her family arrived. Even though I've read Holocaust books before, this one really caught me with the suspect personality the person added, along with the romance factor.

The characters, and especially their personalities, were really engaging. For starters, Sarah always had the priority of protecting her mother and sister before even her own health. Although he was the antagonist, Ivo's personality was interesting, too. He was quite the determined fellow, wanting to get his hands on Sarah so badly that he goes to the extreme of hurting her family. The determination was impressive, I think.

The plot started off great (not that it got worse or anything). The women were all scared to death in the railcar. They were desperate for fresh air but terrified of what they would fine when they got it. Ivo's character added a nice little scary factor to the plot, especially because he kept popping up unwanted. One thing I liked about the plot is that it kept me guessing. Every time I though one event was going to take place -- poof. Sarah went and did the total opposite. It's not everyday that I get books like this so I'm glad that Forbidden Angel had that aspect.

On the whole, I really liked this narrative! It was to the point and yet detailed. Another that I shall have to add to my list of "Wonderful World War II's."

Colorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and PhotosSatisfying eBookColorful Animated Butterfly Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Wrap-Up

This month I really thought I would be back in the game completely, but it just kind of slipped away again. Oh well; at least the school year's almost over.



Other Things

March's Reading Status
7 books, 911 pages

Reading Challenge Status
Let Me Count the Ways
Book Verison - 5476/10001 pages
Audio Version - 500/9000 minutes
13x7 in 2013 - 20/91 books
A to Z Series - 8/26 books