Guest Post by Bradley Corbett a.k.a. Green Embers

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I had a fantastic week off and was able to finish and start some wonderful books.  Despite the fact that it’s Monday and only having around four hours of sleep last night, I’m feeling surprisingly energetic.  But that’s a good thing because today I have the pleasure of welcoming Bradley Corbett a.k.a Green Embers to Books & Such!  This busy man has three blogs very worthy of your time and attention so stop by and enjoy!  Thanks so much, Bradley, for being on Books & Such!

http://greenembers.wordpress.com/
http://greenembersrecommends.com/
http://www.romeconstructioncrew.com/

The Fun of Horror in Films!

I am very humbled and honored that Teri asked me to write a guest post for her amazing blog. (Hopefully you all don’t go running and screaming away… although thinking about it I was asked for a horror theme… so feel free to run and scream at the mere sight of me.)

I am not a huge horror fan but some of my fondest memories come from watching horror movies. There was one place where my roommates and I decided to further my horror education. The ultimate goal was to watch Freddy vs. Jason. At the time I had seen very few movies that you could classify as horror.

My horror education began with watching all the Friday the 13th movies and then moving on to watching the entire Nightmare on Elm Street films. We did this over the course of about two weeks, which turned out to be an incredibly fun activity. We would start formulating the different rules of horror while watching the show. She showed her boobs, that mean she gonna die (yup almost every time). A character being a slut (guy or girl), you know he/she is gonna die. (At the time I hadn’t seen the Scream movies but that came soon after).

I also discovered something during this run of horror. These movies weren’t scary. They were gory, yes but not really scary. If anything they were more like comedies/thrillers to me. Now these Japanese horror films, I find them scary (The Ring kept me up for days and I never view static on the television the same again). After finishing this marathon, we did watch Freddy vs Jason and it was great! Makes me sad they never did get around to making Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash (this was going to be a real thing from my understanding).

After it was over we decided to go on with our horror marathon. We watched the Child’s Play movies which started out trying to be serious but by the time Bride of Chucky came around it had morphed into Dark Comedy. (I would imagine seeing these as a kid would be pretty scary). Then after that was over we watched the Scream trilogy (the fourth one had not been made at that time) which was fantastic. It was a horror movie spoofing horror movies but in a subtle way. It was the perfect way to cap off that horror marathon run.

Several years later my good friend and I decided to go catch the Friday the 13th reboot in theaters. I would have to say that was one of the most enjoyable times that I have ever spent in the theater. It was opening night and normally I get annoyed if the crowd talks during movies but something else happened. We would scream and laugh together. The sense of the group excitement was just all around fun and seemed almost magical. The movie might not have been the best but that was one of my most fun experiences in theater and all because of the crowd.

I look at what the horror genre has become though and it makes me kind of sad. The gore and torture porn has been increased significantly and the fun has vanished. We’ve also seen the rise of more intense, psychological suspense/horror films where they try to keep a lower rating (PG-13 <- a United States thing) so they decrease the gore but up the intensity. I’m fine with this as I think these movies are truly scary. The dynamic has changed and maybe it is nostalgia speaking but I miss those corny horror movies of yesteryear.

Thanks again Teri for having me as a guest blogger!

The Storm and the Darkness by Sarah M. Cradit

Ana Deschanel has made a terrible mistake. The only chance of protecting the other people involved is to flee New Orleans, the only home she has ever known, for the quiet solitude of Summer Island.

Summer Island, Maine (population 202) is not the tranquil escape Ana imagined. The locals are distant TheStormandtheDarkness_ebook(1)and cold, especially her neighbor, the reclusive veterinarian Jonathan St. Andrews. Her only lifeline is the kind but odd caretaker Alex Whitman. Showing up at all the right moments, he warns her she is completely unprepared for a Maine winter. As the first winter storm approaches to whispers of an island shutdown- Ana realizes that she may soon be cut off from the rest of the world.

After a surprising encounter with Jonathan’s brother, Finn, Ana finds herself braving the storm to return something to him. Unprepared for the Maine storm, she slips and falls onto the jagged rocks along the shore. The St. Andrews brothers find her in the nick of time, but she remains unconscious. As the storm worsens, the St. Andrews brothers learn there are other, more sinister forces at work closer than they ever imagined.

With no help from the outside world, they must find a way to protect themselves from both the storm, and the growing darkness that looms across the island.  – Goodreads.com

First, I have to comment on the cover of this book – it’s gorgeous and the imagery is an excellent portrayal of the story.  I was initially drawn in by the premise of this book  – haven’t we all, at one point or another, imagined living on a quiet island, away from the stress of everyday life?  Second, although I haven’t read the first book in this series, St. Charles at Dusk, I had no problem diving into this book and understanding what was going on.

The author does such an amazing job of letting the reader get to know the characters, they seemed almost real to me.  I particularly enjoyed the relationship between the brothers, Jon and Finn, and how they were so understanding and protective of each other despite their polar opposite personalities.  Nicolas was another favorite – everyone should have a friend who is supportive, yet will call you on your bullshit when needed.

The pacing was perfect and kept me in suspense and I thought the revolving points of view between chapters gave a broader perspective of the events in the story.  Most of the characters had secrets that were gradually revealed over the course of the book and that also kept me turning the pages.

The writing was tight and descriptive and I didn’t feel like anything could have been cut.  I enjoyed the suspense, hint of supernatural, and yes, even the romance (who wouldn’t enjoy all the good-looking guys described in this book?).   I’m anxious to see where the story goes from here.

I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his15839976 children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. – Goodreads.com

This was unlike any dystopian novel I’ve ever read – even the setting was unique – Mars.  As with most dystopians, a lot is at stake and in the case of Red Rising, it’s freedom of people in a social system categorized by colors – and I don’t mean race.  Gold is at the top of the food chain and red, the color of soil on Mars, is at the bottom.

Darrow pulled me in from page one.  He begins as a hard-working guy who loves his wife and family and just wants to provide for them, but by the end of the book, his naive view of the world has changed and he’s undergone tremendous growth.  I can’t wait to see what he does in the sequel.

I have to admit, somewhere around the early middle of the book I began to lose interest and felt like the plot strayed a little, but before long, I couldn’t put it down.  The last half was completely testosterone-filled, which isn’t a bad thing for someone who doesn’t read chick-lit, and I was totally captivated.  The cast of characters also included some strong women who could hold their own in physical challenges against men.  With the actions and level of intelligence of some characters in this book, at times I found it difficult to believe they were teenagers, but they are a product of their environment and did what they needed to survive.

I would recommend this book to any dystopian lovers and it would be a great read for age 15+ teenage boys (girls too, but we all know it’s harder to get a book in front of the guys).

This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Guest Post by Samantha Durante, author of the Stitch Trilogy

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Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Samantha Durante, author the Stitch Trilogy!  The second book,  Shudder, debuted this past weekend.  I’m a huge fan of this series and excited she could make a stop here during her blog tour.  Thanks for swinging by, Samantha!

What’s In a Name? How I Titled Shudder
by Samantha Durante, Author of the Stitch Trilogy

You’d think that writing a book is the most difficult part of the process, but for me, that’s generally not the case – coming up with a decent title once I’ve written the thing is *infinitely* harder.

After all, a good title is as important as a good cover – it’s just reality that readers are going to make snap judgments about your book based on the title. In fact, I almost missed out on what is now one of my favorite books – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – because the long, stuffy, and unwieldy title led me (incorrectly) to assume it was a long, stuffy, and unwieldy book, and not the engaging and heartwarming tale it turned out to be. So I know from being a reader myself that a solid title can make all the difference between a quick dismissal and a potential sale, regardless of the quality of the book itself.

As a result, I find the exercise of naming my books to be a generally daunting and stressful endeavor. I constantly second-guess my choices, wondering, “Is this catchy enough? Does it really reflect what’s going on in the book? Is it easy to remember and spell? Does it sound nice with the other titles in the series? Will readers understand what I meant by it?” and about a million other apprehensions.

So how do I know when I’ve got a good title? Besides satisfying a number of criteria (concise, memorable, simple, upbeat, and goes well with the other titles in the series), I also look for titles with depth – some word or combination of words that convey multiple levels of meaning. For Book 2 of the Stitch Trilogy, I knew I’d found that with “Shudder.” Here’s why:

Level 1 – The Literal
The book takes place during the middle of winter, much of which is spent by the main characters surviving in the wilderness and the remains of a shattered world. Therefore, it is cold. Cold enough to shiver, tremble, quiver, shake… or even shudder.

Level 2 – The Emotional
Taking this one step further, the characters in the book are also grappling with staggering feelings of fear as they confront various terrors throughout their journeys. From mysterious powerful bloodthirsty creatures and a ravaging deadly virus, to an insurmountable totalitarian enemy and inexplicable paranormal happenings, to captivity, confinement, self-doubt, and even the threat of mental illness, the characters in this book are scared. A lot. (And understandably so.) Scared enough that they actually physically shudder in response to the challenges they’re facing.

Level 3 – The Metaphorical
So you can shudder from cold or shudder from fear, but there’s also something else we commonly shudder from: disgust. Abhorrence, aversion, loathing – call it what you want, but everyone knows that feeling, that deep-seated physical repulsion to something that another says or does that just doesn’t sit right with the way we think about the world. And since we get to know the *bad* guys in the series a lot better in this installment, both the characters and the reader will find themselves shuddering internally at various points in the story from some of the appalling things the antagonists have done and their twisted reasons for doing so.

Level 4 – The Empathetic
The final reason for the selection of the title “Shudder” I can’t reveal to you without spoiling one of the biggest surprises in the book. But suffice it to say, if you’ve made it to the end of the story, you’ll know what I mean. Something absolutely, mind-numbingly horrible has happened to someone that the main character, Alessa, holds very dear. Readers have told me that the revelation gave them goosebumps, made them mildly nauseous, made them literally cry out in sympathy for the discovery that Alessa makes at the end of the story. As Alessa herself puts it, this thing that happens is, “unspeakable, the nightmare of a nightmare come horrifyingly true.” (See what I mean?)

Once I find that a title fits my book on so many different levels, that it encompasses the book inside and out, that it can show readers how to understand the story from a completely different perspective than perhaps they first approached it with, I know I’ve got the right one. (You can see now why this is so hard for me, right? It’s not exactly a simple task to choose just a couple words that can mean so much!)

And with Shudder, I knew right away I’d found the right fit. Give this book a read, and I’m sure you’ll see why too.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Samantha!  If you haven’t started this trilogy yet, grab Stitch and Shudder before you take off for vacation.  You can check out my review for Shudder here:  https://teripolen.com/2013/06/12/shudder-by-samantha-durante/ and Stitch here:  https://teripolen.com/2013/02/20/book-review-stitch-by-samantha-durante/.

Stitch Purchase Links

Amazon (Kindle $0.99, print $8.99) Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $0.99) Barnes & Noble (Nook $0.99) Also available in the iTunes store ($0.99 e-book) and wherever e-books are sold Note: Stitch is coming back to B&N Nook, iTunes, and Kobo by early July!

Shudder Purchase Links

Amazon (Kindle $2.99, print $9.99) Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $2.99) Barnes & Noble (Nook $2.99) Also available in the iTunes store ($2.99 e-book) and wherever e-books are sold Shudder will be available on B&N Nook, iTunes, and Kobo by early July!

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her  6453465entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.

Shudder by Samantha Durante

It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.

Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist 17617373of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.

And then there are the visions.

The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…

The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante’s shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning. – Goodreads.com

When does part three come out?!!!

Part two in this trilogy doesn’t disappoint.  Questions regarding how the characters came to Paragon and the origin of the virus are answered, filling in gaps in the backstory from the first book, Stitch.  Alessa faces new challenges, both internal and external, in Shudder and part of this book is a survival story.  After thinking I’d never hear from them again, I was happy to see some characters from the first book resurface in Shudder and learn more about their story as well.

As with Stitch, just when I thought I had the plot figured out, I was once again surprised.  Halfway through the book, I was sure I knew how it was going to turn out and was having issues with a certain character, feeling an urge to smack them which, of course, I couldn’t do.  But near the end, it all changed with intriguing plot twists.

More is learned about the Engineers, Alessa and Isaac’s relationship undergoes some new developments, there is a good amount of action/adventure involving life and death situations, and the epilogue promises major conflicts in the third book of this amazing trilogy.

Shudder is due to be released June 15th at Amazon.com.  This review is based on a digital ARC from the author.

Cover Reveal – The Storm and the Darkness by Sarah Cradit

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Title- The Storm and the Darkness
Series- The House of Crimson and Clover Book # 2
By-Sarah M. Cradit
Expected Publication Date-July 15, 2013

Blurb-

Ana Deschanel has made a terrible mistake. The only chance of protecting the other people involved is to flee New Orleans, the only home she has ever known, for the quiet solitude of Summer Island.

Summer Island, Maine (population 202) is not the tranquil escape Ana imagined. The locals are distant and cold, especially her neighbor, the reclusive veterinarian Jonathan St. Andrews.

Her only lifeline is the kind but odd caretaker Alex Whitman. Showing up at all the right moments, he warns her she is completely unprepared for a Maine winter. As the first winter storm approaches to whispers of an island shutdown- Ana realizes that she may soon be cut off from the rest of the world.

After a surprising encounter with Jonathan’s brother, Finn, Ana finds herself braving the storm to return something to him. Unprepared for the Maine storm, she slips and falls onto the jagged rocks along the shore. The St. Andrews brothers find her in the nick of time, but she remains unconscious. As the storm worsens, the St. Andrews brothers learn there are other, more sinister forces at work closer than they ever imagined.

With no help from the outside world, they must find a way to protect themselves from both the storm, and the growing darkness that looms across the island.

Links-

Goodreads-

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18046472-the-storm-and-the-darkness

About the Author-

Sarah is the author of the Southern Fiction series, The House of Crimson and Clover. The series was born of her combined loves of New Orleans, family dramas, and the mysteriousSarah Cradit nature of love and desire. Her books combine elements of mystery, suspense, intrigue, romance, and even paranormal. She is always working on the next book in the series, and absolutely loves connecting with her fans.

Sarah lives in the Pacific Northwest, but has traveled the world from Asia to Europe to Africa. When she isn’t working (either at her day career, or hard at work at writing), she is reading a book and discovering new authors. The great loves of her life (in order) are: her husband James, her writing, and traveling the world.

Links-

Blog: http://sarahcradit.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/houseofcrimsonandclover

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thewritersarah

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6914411.Sarah_M_Cradit

Amazon Author Page-

Smashwords Author Page- https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/sarahmcradit

Stitch by Samantha Durante FREE on Amazon!

Stitch by Samantha Durante is FREE on Kindle this Friday (June 7th) to Tuesday (June 11th)

A college ghost romance with a SURPRISING dystopian sci-fi twist, Part 1 of this trilogy is sure to keep you on your toes! (And better yet, Part 2 – Shudder – launches on the 15th!) You definitely don’t want to miss this innovative debut novel that will appeal to fans of the YA and New Adult genres.  Check out my review here: https://teripolen.com/2013/02/20/book-review-stitch-by-samantha-durante/

Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, Book 1) by Samantha Durante
Genre: YA/NA Dystopian/Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4.3 stars (100+ reviews)
Synopsis: Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence.  In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless.  But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

Get Your FREE Kindle Copy Today! Limited Time ONLY (June 7-11th): http://www.amazon.com/Stitch-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B008RC3NAM/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1370616430&sr=8-1&keywords=stitch+by+samantha+durante

Grab this opportunity to get your FREE copy of Stitch today – this was one of the best books I’ve read by a new author.  I’ll be posting my review of the 2nd book in the trilogy, Shudder, ASAP.