Caleo: Leech Book 1, by James Crawford

A review by Terri Kinckner

Book description from Amazon:

Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.

Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon!

Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the LEAST of his worries..

My thoughts on the book:

This was a wonderful story!  This book proved that family is more than blood.  Jack and Jillian we as close to siblings as could be, and the very best friends Caleo could have.  His grandma loved all three with everything she had.  His grandma, Jack and Jillian defended and loved Caleo so much!

The whole leech idea was very cool.  I loved imagining what Nolan looked like when he used his water powers, and when Caleo used his ice powers in the lake, it gave me a chuckle.  It wasn’t hard for me to imagine a world full of people with the special talents the leeches had, because James Crawford effortlessly detailed them into my imagination.  The discovery of Caleo’s gift, and him learning to use them was done beautifully, with him neither embracing nor rejecting his abilities.  It was nice to see him grow in a realistic way.

The inner battle Caleo fought with himself  about his homosexuality was a familiar one for me.  I too had those issues at that age in a society that was not accepting of anything other than heterosexuality.  The love and acceptance his “family” offered him warmed my heart.  It took a long time for me to achieve that!  His insecurities and curiosities were so true to life!  I can’t say enough how impressed I am with Mr. Crawford for portraying it realistically!

The book ended with the real conflict just getting started.  I can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens!

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars 🙂

SHEOL, By Jason Brant

A review by Terri Kinckner

This is the third and  final installment of the West Of Hell series.  When I read the first two books, Gehenna and Tartarus, I loved them.  This final book made me love them more.  So much more that I have to go and read the entire series over again!  This is not just your typical zombie series…

When I sat down to do this review, I had a hard time trying to figure out how to describe this book without giving away the surprise.  It took until I finished this incredible story to realize exactly what the story was about.  There is so much more to the story than what you immediately see!

The second book ended with Karen arriving in  Sheol, and McCall facing death outside a house by the desert.  Karen finds that an evil outlaw from the train that she had assumed to be dead, was actually the sheriff of Sheol, who locked her up in jail, intending to hang her.  In the third book, McCall, who has an uncanny ability to cheat certain death, came to her rescue. With the zombies advancing on the town, Karen and McCall try to rally the citizens to fight back until all they could do was escape.

The action in this book is nonstop, the dialogue was wonderful and the imagery that Jason Brant portrays is amazing.  While reading, I felt that I could see, hear, and even smell what was going on.  There was a time or two that I swore I could taste the gunpowder residue in my mouth… it is that vivid!  Karen and McCall made an excellent team, and the evolution of these characters was wonderful.  Karen started out a independent-minded prostitute and ended up needing to care for an orphaned child.  I love what a strong character she is, and was happy to see her take a leadership role in this book.  McCall was at first, a self-centered unemotional man, but by the end of the series, sacrificed so much for those he grew to care about… and even those he didn’t.

The ending of this book made me stop and give pause.  Was everything I read really everything there was?  Absolutely not!  What on the surface was an excellently-written, action packed zombie book actually turned out to be something much deeper!  I was literally blown away by this “revelation”!  This is a must-read book in a must-read series!

I give this book a divine 5 stars out of 5!

Apocalypsis Book 3: Exodus, By Elle Casey

A review by Terri Kinckner

Book description from Amazon

APOCALYPSIS is a 4-book, YA Post-Apocalyptic series: Book 1, KAHAYATLE; Book 2, WARPAINT; Book 3, EXODUS; Book 4, HAVEN (coming 2013)

EXODUS
My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and my world has been turned upside down and inside out. I’m racing towards a future I cannot control.

I thought I had everything worked out, but then things changed. I thought we were all cut off from one another, but it turns out, we’re not.

They say people are talking, and word about me and what I’ve done is spreading like the virus that wiped out millions of people, leaving us teens alone to fend for ourselves. And depending on who you are, and what you eat for dinner, I’m either your salvation or your target.

**Contains violence, some foul language, some drugs, and non-explicit sex scenes. This series is in the DARK SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR/POST-APOCALYPTIC genres, featuring teen characters only. May not be suitable for younger/middle-grade teens.**

What I thought:

Brilliant!  I hurried right from book two to book three, and finished the book in a matter of hours.  I couldn’t pull myself away, no matter that it is Thanksgiving and I have tons to do.  Thanksgiving could wait!

At the end of book two, I was worried about Bodo.  He has become one of my favorite characters in this series.  I was happy to see that issue resolved… I was a little worried that Elle would make me wait until the end of the series to find out what happened to him, and I probably couldn’t wait until 2013 to know!

I love the friendship that Bryn and Winky have, their personalities are so similar, yet they keep each other grounded.  The new characters kept the story fresh, and I always love the way Elle creates her characters.  I have no idea how she can make each character’s dialogue, mannerisms, and personalities so unique and different from the others!

I knew it!!! That’s all I’m going to say about Peter and his personal life.  This development made me happy!  His character is so different from any character in Elle’s books.  It’s a wonderful step outside of the norm, and I absolutely ADORE Peter!

The people this group encounter while on their exodus were really interesting.  It gave me a feel for the emotional state of all of the survivors of this virus.  It was also heartwarming to see other groups out there that were trying to create a world worth living in, too.

Finally, the “waystation” with Sissy and Jimmy is really starting to be a great thing.  I hope these two characters are seen in book four!  From the Cracker Barrel, to the Everglades, to a prison;  who needs telephones and internet when you have a messaging network like they do!

I honestly couldn’t put this latest book down.  When my kindle battery died, I switched to reading it on my computer, then back again when it was charged.  I even read while I showered (don’t ask!). It’s really hard to write a review for this book without giving away crucial elements of the story, and I want everyone to enjoy the book as much as I did without any spoilers.

I give this book five stars out of five!

Apocalypsis Book 2: Warpaint, by Elle Casey

A review by Terri Kinckner

This is the book description from the Amazon website:

APOCALYPSIS is a 4-book, YA Post-Apocalyptic series, beginning with Book 1, Kahayatle. This book, Warpaint, is the 2nd in the series. Exodus is the 3rd book in the series, and Haven is the 4th.

WARPAINT
My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in Kahayatle, otherwise known as The Everglades. I live with my three best friends and a tribe of Native American teens, because my dad died almost a year ago, along with all the other adults in the world.

We’re creating a whole new world for ourselves, but this world has problems. The biggest threat to our survival is not starvation anymore … it’s the gang of kids who lives nearby that has become more vicious than anyone could have imagined possible. The soulless demons have gone too far, and it’s time for us to rise up and do what needs to be done to set things right.

Alone, it might have been impossible; but now I’ve got friends.  I’m worried though, that I won’t be able to get them ready to fight in time, and that we’re taking on more of a challenge than we can handle right now.

And I have no idea what might be waiting for us when we arrive on their front doorstep.

**No drugs. Yes, contains violence, some foul language, and non-explicit sex scenes. This series is in the DARK SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR/POST-APOCALYPTIC genres, featuring teen characters only.  May not be suitable for younger/middle-grade teens.**

What I thought:

I absolutely loved Bryn, Peter, and Bodo in the first book.  When they reached the “safety” of Kahayatle (the Everglades), I was so happy that they had survived their journey.  Of course, the cliff hanger ending in book one made me need to read book two right away!  Elle Casey is a pro at ending books with cliffhangers, or as I like to call it in the case of my kindle, a digital sucker punch!

I love how the relationship between Bryn and Bodo grows.  The secret that he’s been holding out on is finally known and is one that I would never have guessed in a million years.  His accent and confusion with colloquialisms is hysterical in this book.  Just one of Bodo’s lines in the book that had me laughing is, “I didn’t say fucktart.  Dat was you.  You are the lady saying all the fucktart words today.  Or moron.  She likes dat one, too.  I think it means boy I luff.”  I couldn’t help but read his parts with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice in my head!

Bryn shows just how awesome she is, bringing peace to the native american kids and preparing their tribe to save others.  She is becoming as “bad ass” as Jayne is in the War Of The Fae and Clash Of The Otherworlds series that Elle writes.  She is very mature and centered for her age, excellent at krav maga fighting, and feels a great responsibility to help those around her.  She is every bit the hero in this book.

The character Peter is great.  I’m beginning to think of him as a Rain Man of sorts.  His ability to organize and remember things is “uncanny”  (I really had to throw that in, read the book and I swear, it’s funny!)  He seems to be getting braver in this book, and it’s nice to see a character evolve so much for the better.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him in book three and four!

In this book, we finally get to know the kids of Kahayatle better.  It’s amazing how Elle can make each and every one of the kids in the tribe real to me.  I really felt as though I lived right there with them.  They also became my friends (except that one girl I wanted to hurt! LOL).  I really look forward to getting to know these characters and also the newest characters that came at the end of the second book.

This book ended in a gut wrenching cliff hanger.  In fact, I already had book three in my kindle and less than 10 seconds after finishing book two, I was on to book three.  I seriously recommend buying this entire series!  Book four isn’t out yet, but I suggest buying one, two and three at the same time.  There is no way you can NOT read the next installment with Elle Casey right away.  She is THAT good!

I give this book five out of five stars!

Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers

A review by Terri Kinckner

Before I begin this review, I will explain how this anthology even came to be.  It started out as a Facebook contest created by Cynthia Shepp for her page.  She had a few requirements and left the rest to the readers and authors that enjoy her page every day.  I read them as they were posted, some were too long to post on Facebook, but Cynthia loved them and wanted to share them with everyone.  Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers, was born.

Here were the rules:

I want you to imagine that the world as we know it has ended. Total Apocalypse. You only have yourself and one other person you can rely on. There is no power, no water, and you are armed with only a backpack of supplies. In your backpack there are matches, four bottles of water, enough food to make it three days, and one weapon. Spin a web of survival, danger, and conflict. Tell us why the world as you knew it ended, tell us your fears, make up a world in which nothing is the same and survival is hard, and the world is against you. Tell us what you would do, where you would go, how you would get food and water, how you would protect yourself, and how you would make your life over again. You could even throw in some romance and meet some new people to help you on your journey.

The results were STUNNING!  From seasoned author to writing novice, each tale was spun beautifully.

Fade to black,  by Jase Brantson, had witty dialogue, humor, horror and a surprise ending I never saw coming.  I loved how fast and fluid the story was, since it was mostly dialogue.

Artificial Life: The End Of Humanity, by Kate Charles, was amazing.  The main character was the cause of the apocalypse, although she didn’t really have a conscience about it.  The concept of causing the world to stop spinning for an instant, thereby causing it’s destruction, was a great idea.

I loved Shelf life, by S.L. Dearing, which also had a bit of a surprise ending.  The characters were realistic, and I thought her choice of weaponry was quite  brilliant! This was a love story at the end of the world… loved it!

Welcome to the End of the World (Population: Unknown), by R.M. Gilmore, is psychological horror at its finest!  I was trapped inside that basement, losing my mind right alongside the main character.  I rooted for her until the very end as her story unfolded.

Lotion, by Grayce Jantson (Jason Brant), was hilarious.  The dialogue had me laughing out loud, The second character, Greg, is probably the worst person to survive an apocalypse with, but added a whole level of humor and frustration to the story.  I didn’t expect it to end the way that it did, but it’s nice when things aren’t always “happily ever after”

Until the End, by Brittany Heister, was written by a young lady my son’s age.  I was very impressed with her vision of the end of the world, and she had very amusing characters in her story.  An egg roll selling zombie is quite unique and made it interesting.  I really enjoyed this story!

I know my first name is Clossiana, by K.T. Hennessy, is brilliant.  It was such a wonderfully different take on the apocalypse.  I don’t want to really reveal why it’s different, because I don’t post spoilers.  This story made me rethink how humankind would react to a failing world.

Save Me, by Heather Kirchoff, was written by a high school student.  Her story was vividly described, emotionally heart-wrenching, yet a feeling of hope was still kept throughout.  Hers is a story of family betrayal, surviving under extraordinary circumstances, and new love.  It was a wonderful story!

Canyon Bound, by Jon Messenger, was one of my favorite stories in this anthology.  He made everything so real that I felt I could see, smell, hear, the end of the world, his struggle to find others that were alive, his survival in the face of illness, and the inspiring “best friend” that helped him on his journey.

What If, by Jocelyn Sanchez, was short but action-packed.  It also had an ending that I didn’t see coming!  The paranormal cause of her apocalypse was different than the other stories and quite an interesting idea!

Cheyenne Mountain, by Nicki Scalise,  was an amazing story.  The ultimate betrayal a person can face.  I really liked the idea of Anathema.  This story had my rapt attention through to the end.

The editor, Cynthia Shepp came up with this idea and brought it to life.  I watched this collection of stories go from an idea, a Facebook contest, to a wonderful anthology.  This was a labor of love by Cynthia, and she deserves her own little blurb.  She put her heart and soul into this project and without it, some of these fine young authors wouldn’t be in print right now.  Incredible job, Cynthia! ❤

I give this anthology 5 out of 5 stars!

Apocalypsis by Elle Casey

A review by Terri Kinckner

Apocalypsis: Book 1 (Kahayatle) will be FREE for 3 days, Jan 17-19.  Just click on the picture to link to Amazon 🙂

Book description from Amazon:

APOCALYPSIS is a 4-book, YA Post-Apocalyptic series, beginning with Book 1, Kahayatle.

KAHAYATLE
My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in a neighborhood outside of Orlando, Florida. I live alone because my dad died almost a year ago, along with all the other adults in the world. I’m almost out of food and the gangs of kids that roam around my town are getting more vicious by the day.

It’s time for me to leave and find another place to live … a place where I can find food and shelter … a place where they won’t be able to find me.

Alone, it might have been possible; but now I’ve got company. I’m worried that I don’t have what it takes to get from here to my final destination.

And I have no idea what might be waiting for me when I get there.

**No drugs, or sex in this installment of the series. Yes, there is some violence and some foul language. This is in the DARK SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR/POST-APOCALYPTIC genres, featuring teen characters only. May not be suitable for younger, middle grade readers.**

My take:

I am already a huge fan of Elle Casey’s work, but I’m not typically a fan of apocalyptic books. I decided to read it anyway and was not disappointed! The characters are completely relatable, the action described vividly, and the details are revealed little by little and don’t overwhelm the reader. The idea of a world without adults intrigued me and left me wondering how my own teenage children would fare in this situation. Elle truly has a gift when it comes to making fantasy seem real. I read this book in one sitting (who needs to do housework anyway) and LOVED it! I am anxiously awaiting the next two books in this series!

I give this book 5 enthusiastic stars out of 5!

CONTINGENCY PRE-RELEASE EVENT: OPERATION: PINKY PROMISE

I am reposting P.S. Martinez’s blog about her pre-release event.  I’m always willing to help authors get the word out about their books!  This event also has a rafflecopter, so I will link her blog to the picture.

 Here is the BLURB for CONTINGENCY (Book #1 in the Sage Hannigan Time Warper Series)

 Eighteen-year-old Sage Hannigan wants to get back to her own time, preferably one that hasn’t been destroyed by an underworld plot brewing in Edwardian-era South Carolina. How hard can it be?

All she has to do is:

1. Learn to use newly acquired warping skills to bend time to her will.
2. Take out a few rogue vampires.
3. Join an ancient secret society.
4. Figure out who is putting the time stream in jeopardy.
5. Find and maim whoever invented the corset.

Sage never asked to be chosen by the Druid Priestess, Amerach, to become a Warper and she never asked to have the future hanging on her shoulders or to warp a hundred years into the past. She certainly never asked to meet Dr. Aldwin Blake, who would make her question her desire to get back to her own time. But if she fails her mission, people will die, history will change, and the present she wishes to return to will be no more.

Operation Pinky Promise is simply this:Image

   Contingency will be ready to be released mid December! I am on a MISSION to get 500 PINKY PROMISES to purchase a copy (ebook OR paperback) of Contingency within 72 hours of LAUNCH DAY! Why are you raising your brow so disapprovingly at me??? (lol) It can be done!! What is the difference between my book launch and the book launch of well-known Authors…except the amount of Word-of-Mouth advertising??? I feel confident that if we can get some amazing readers to spread the word to other book lovers, this goal is NOT as impossible as it may seem!

Now, Operation Pinky Promise isn’t without its PERKS!

If I can gather 250 Unique Promises, I will be giving away your choice of the following-
1.) Your choice of 3 Books from Amazon.com (up to a $40 value)
2.) A $40 Amazon gift card!
3.) $50 donated to the charity of your choice or to go to someone in need!

IF I can gather 500 Unique Promises, I will be giving away your choice of the following-
1.) Your choice of 5 Books from Amazon.com! (up to $65 value)
2.) $65 Amazon gift card!
3.) $75 Given to the Charity of your choice or to go to someone in need!

Awesome prizes, right? And all for an easy entry (your promise) to purchase Contingency within 72 hours of it’s release in December! That’s it! Of course, the more promises I get will depend on how many people YOU tell about CONTINGENCY and about OPERATION PINKY PROMISE!! I can only do so much, the success of this book launch is completely in the hands of you AWESOME readers! Tweet, Post on Facebook, write blog posts, whatever you can do will increase YOUR chances to win the prizes stated above and it will also increase MY chances to have an AMAZING launch day!

BTW…if you think THESE prizes are AWESOME, just wait for PHASE #2 (the 72 hour period after the Launch/Release Day!) I have some prizes that you will definitely WANT in your stocking on Christmas Day!! 🙂

Simply click on the pinky promise picture to be linked to her blog and her amazing rafflecopter  🙂