September 25, 2014

Cover Reveal: "Deadgirl" by B.C. Johnson

Welcome to a very special cover reveal...

...Yes, actually, I'm teasing you a little ;)

You know, as a rule, I don't do reveals. Well, I don't do mass reveals, or reveals for books that I'm not interested in. This accounts for the one below being only my second cover reveal in almost two years of blogging :).
A year and a half ago, I contacted author B.C. Johnson on Goodreads over his first novel Deadgirl. I asked for directions about reviewing his book, since I had learnt it was out of print already (after barely a year) due to the publisher shutting up shop. Mr. Johnson told me that he was in the process of reselling Deadgirl to a new editor, plus giving the book a sequel. We have been in contact via Goodreads since - this is why I'll call him Bobby from now on ;) - and I've had the distinct pleasure to follow Deadgirl on her way to...resurrection. I've been rooting for this book to see the light of day again, for Bobby to get his well-deserved second chance at being a full-time author, and for you all to have the opportunity to love this novel as much as I did/do.
Well, the time has come now *smiles widely*.
So, here goes...

(I also signed up for the blog tour BTW. See you with more Deadgirl fangirling in November!)

Out on November 6
Deadgirl by B.C. Johnson

Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: November 6, 2014
Cover Artist: Andy Garcia
Add on Goodreads: Deadgirl page

Dead is such a strong word...
Lucy Day, 15 years old, is murdered on her very first date. Not one to take that kind of thing lying down, she awakens a day later with a seemingly human body and more than a little confusion. Lucy tries to return to her normal life, but the afterlife keeps getting in the way.
Zack, her crush-maybe-boyfriend, isn’t exactly excited that she ditched him on their first date. Oh, and Abraham, Lucy’s personal Grim Reaper, begins hunting her, dead-set on righting the error that dropped her back into the spongy flesh of a living girl. Lucy must put her mangled life back together, escape re-death, and learn to control her burgeoning powers while staying one step ahead of Abraham.
But when she learns the devastating price of coming back from the dead, Lucy is forced to make the hardest decision of her re-life — can she really sacrifice her loved ones to stay out of the grave?

My Deadgirl fangirling moments so far... 

Original ReviewBook SpotlightAnnouncing Reissue + Sequel

Deadgirl proud daddy ;)

About B.C. Johnson:

Born in Southern California, B.C. Johnson has been writing since he realized it was one of the few socially acceptable ways to tell people a bunch of stuff you just made up off the top of your head. He attended Savanna High School in Anaheim, and an undisclosed amount of college before deciding that weird odd jobs were a far greater career path.
This lead him to such exciting professions as: aluminum recovery machinist, lighting designer, construction demo, sound mixer, receptionist, theater stage hand, wedding security, high school custodian, museum events manager, webmaster, IT guy, copywriter, and one memorable night as the bouncer at a nightclub. He is trying very hard to add “vampire hunter” and “spaceship captain” to that list.
He currently lives in Garden Grove with his supernal wife Gina, his half-corgi, half-muppet dog Luna, and his new half-grayhound, half-living-tornado-of-destruction Kaylee. He also spends time with his two brothers, his parents, and his close friends, whose primary pursuit are usually healthy debates about movie minutiea. When he’s not working or writing, he’s been to known to pursue all conceivable geeky avenues of interest including but not limited to video games, the sort of TV shows/movies Benedict Cumberbatch might star in, graphic novels, podcasts, funny gifs, the whole thing.
He’s also been known to apply his special brand of hyperbole and mania to pop-culture humor essays for various websites that can be found on his homepage, bc-johnson.com. B.C. also has a high school noir short story called The Lancer available on Kindle.
Deadgirl is his first novel.

Find B.C. Johnson Online:

September 21, 2014

Screen Time #1: "Fame" (1982)


Welcome to Screen Time, my own feature where I ramble about spotlight some iconic and/or favouriteTV series from the '80s, '90s and 2000s!
I'm a child of the '60s *big shock*. This accounts for me fondly remembering some oldies I grew up with, or having some of them in my all-time favourite list. But don't worry, I'm not stuck in the '80s ;). There are plenty of series I've liked and followed in the most recent years...and some current favourites too. So tune in with me, and don't forget your popcorn...

Logo property of MGM - no copyright infringement intended

Genre: Drama, Musical
Genesis: Based on the 1980 MGM movie of the same name
Time span: 1982 to 1987
Seasons: 6 (136 episodes)
Main characters & cast: Lydia Grant (Debbie Allen) - Leroy Johnson (Gene Anthony Ray) - Danny Amatullo (Carlo Imperato) - Benjamin Shorofsky (Albert Hague) - Elizabeth Sherwood (Carol Mayo Jenkins) - Doris Schwartz (Valerie Landsburg) - Bruno Martelli (Lee Curreri) - Coco Hernandez (Erica Gimpel) - Christopher Donlon (Billy Hufsey) - Holly Laird (Cynthia Gibb) - Jesse Velasquez (Jesse Borrego) - Nicole Chapman (Nia Peeples)
Story setting: New York (though the show interiors were shot in Los Angeles...)
Theme song: Fame - same as the 1980 movie, only sung by cast member Erica Gimpel (who played Coco in the series) till S. 4, and by Loretta Chandler (Dusty) in S. 5 and 6. Movie Coco was played by Irene Cara, who sang the original version of the song
Spin-offs and remakes (to date): Fame L.A. (tv series; 1997-98; 1 s., 22 eps); Fame - The Musical (stage musical; 1988-current, in various forms); Fame (movie; 2009; very loose remake of the original movie)
In three words...: Artistic, energetic, heartwarming

September 16, 2014

Mystic Thompson: "Fighting Kudzu"

Title: Fighting Kudzu [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Fighting Kudzu [?] (1st of 2 books [?])
Author: Mystic Thompson [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary
Year: 2014 (first published 2009)
Age: 14+
Stars: 3/5
Pros: Intense coming-of-age story. Lead has a distinct voice. Pre-teen chapters make a strong impact.
Cons: High school years are just touched over, if not for a single incident (then book proceeds on to college). Some too convenient occurrences and situations.
WARNING! A drunk parent and a death. A not-overly-graphic sex scene between two girls. And, if you're over-sensitive about animal dying in books, you might approach this one with caution - though it's only an off-screen occurrence.
Will appeal to: Those who like coming-of-age tales. Those who are interested in GLBTQ+ stories.

Blurb: In 1972 on a hot, late spring day in Georgia, five-year-old Noble Thorvald plays contentedly, alone in her suburban backyard. Her only companions...an imaginary professional football team. As she plays in her world of wonder and adventure, Noble is unaware of the challenges life will hurl in her direction - challenges that will redefine her more than once. Fighting Kudzu is the lyrical saga that traces Noble's life as she emerges into adulthood and discovers herself. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this novel from Musa Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
A quick note before I get to the juicy part: as the blurb itself states, this is a contemporary novel, only not set in the present. It starts in 1972 and proceeeds on to the '80s - which doesn't mean an awful lot though, if you don't count some music references, the lack of cell phones and Internet, and the basic fact that homosexuality was more frowned upon back then. Having said so, the prejudice has not gone away in what we like to think of as our more enlightened era. This is a coming-of-age and coming-out story, and in that it is timeless enough. Also, the book follows Noble since when she's only five, and barely touches her high school experience, before it comes to a closure with her first year in college - which makes it a YA/NA hybrid at the very least (I don't use the MG label for obvious reasons).
Noble's story opens in a suburban garden in Atlanta. The prologue immediately draw me in: a 5 y.o. female who chooses a whole football team - the Dolphins - as her imaginary friends is not something you see everyday ;). Their made-up interaction is very touching, inasmuch as not only Noble envisions herself as the first female player in the NFL, but also relies on her imaginary fellows for support and advice. Despite her two older siblings Rachel and Chad being a bit rude - or at best nonchalant - about her, Noble's family sounds like a safe nest...at least she does have two parents living together (Dave and Mel)...but there's more under the apparently uncomplicated surface. The dad is nice to Noble, but doesn't really seem affected by what happens around him; the mom's behaviour is slightly unsettling from the start. She often treats Noble as if she were an adult, all while worrying about her having to grow up and lose her innocence. At a very early age, Mel introduces Noble to the two concept that will leave a mark on her for years: replacement (if you fail to do what needs to be done in the lives of the people you love, you risk to get discarded and replaced) and heartbreak. On the other hand, we get the sense of Mel's love for her own daughter, and some of their moments together will also stay with Noble for all the years to come, even when the hell has already broken loose. Because, the fact is, Mel will turn into an alcohol addict soon, ultimately breaking up the family (though, well, don't let me start on Dave - I can't spoil the whole book for you, can I?), and scarring Noble - the only one who refuses to give up on her - in more than a (crude) way. [...]

September 07, 2014

Natalie Standiford: "How to Say Goodbye in Robot"

Title: How to Say Goodbye in Robot [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Natalie Standiford [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary
Year: 2009
Age: 11+ (though Amazon says 8+, but I personally can't see this one appealing to very young readers)
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Honest, heartfelt, quirky story. Quirky characters too.
Cons: Friendship borders on unhealthy. Jonah's family issue is a bit too extreme to ring true.
Will appeal to: Those who can relate to outsiders, or sympathize with them. Those who are more drawn to M\F friendship stories than to classic boy-meets-girl stories. Those who don't mind open and/or bittersweet endings.

Blurb: New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? (Amazon excerpt)

Note: since I only received the PDF review copy I was talking about in my latest post yesterday, I decided to revert to my original plan, and review this book first. My Screen Time feature will be up on Sun. 20. The new book I received is called Fighting Kudzu, and I hope to have my review posted in a few days.

Review: The aggressively pink cover has to go. Coupled with the title, it will manage to convince you that this book is about two teens who were madly in love once, but ultimately broke up because one of them got cold feet...or worse, a cold heart. Just as, by its appearance and title, Sweethearts by Sara Zarr - a book that has a lot in common with this one - will manage to convince you that you're about to read a fluffy romance novel that, nonetheless, will end in heartbreak. Well, in a word, no.
Mind you, I love aggressive pink. It just doesn't fit this book. And yes, both novels do feature heartbreaks...of different kinds...but not of the romance variety.
Bea is new to town. Her father's job forces the family to relocate often, which has seemingly put a strain both on Bea (who copes by becoming increasingly unattached and coldish, at least on the surface) and her mother (who takes refuge in weird or childish behaviours, not to mention in cheating on her husband). In Baltimore for her senior year, Bea finds herself drawn to Jonah, the school loner, and bonds with him over their shared love for late-night talk-radio. If Bea's home environment is not the standard of perfection to say the least, Jonah's situation is tough to start with, and it gets worse through the novel. Estranged from his father since his retarded twin brother Matthew died (along with their mother), Jonah will uncover a painful truth about his family, and in his despair, he will start a moody cycle of clinging to Bea and cutting her off. Of course, the title gives away most of the ending...but (like it often happens with works of arts) it's not about the destination - it's about the trip...
I did like the concept of this book. While I usually cringe at the mention of the new-girl-or-new-boy-in-town (such a cliché...which usually cues dating-and-saving-the-world-together, or more often, she-is-suddenly-experiencing-weird-stuff-only-he-can-explain), the relationship here is offbeat, and not of the romance kind. Bea's family is not conveniently absent, though I can't say they're aware of what goes on with her. The school clique is average, but not stereotyped like in most books - you know, the classic Mean Girls Club or something along those lines. Someone for Bea's class will even manage to surprise her...The radio callers are a nice touch, though not all of their personalities sound very believable to me. Bea's voice is fresh, original and genuine. The coming-of-age aspect is nicely done. Now you get to know what prevented me to give this book 5 stars... [...]

September 01, 2014

I Swear, I'm Not Procrastinating (A.K.A. A Legitimate Introductory Post - A.K.A. The 100th Post!)

Yeah. September is here already. I promised a comeback post for the beginning of the month. So, since this isn't it, I can see my...uh...three or four readers raise an eyebrow. Very, very high.

"You ARE procrastinating, girl."

But no, I'm not making excuses and diserting my blog for another month - just because, well, it's still summer, isn't it? And I'm not writing a filler post. I HATE filler posts. I just mean to let you know that the first installment of my new feature called "Screen Time" will be up on Monday 15, and it's going to be - like my friend Kate from Midnight Book Girl would say - "the Finnegan's Wake" of posts. So, prepare to scroll and scroll, down and down, and wonder if you've stumbled on a bottomless post...Also, I decided to start my feature paying a tribute of love to the series I grew up with and I still cherish more than any other (that accounts for the post being so friggingly LONG)...Fame. Which means the '80s. Some of you probably weren't even around at the time, but I hope you'll be curious enough to read my post - or maybe you have seen Fame in reruns, so you're not so clueless. Right?

"Fame?...
I don't understand that reference."

(Image source)

Anyway, forgive me if you can ;). I assure you that the upcoming installment of my feature will take you back to the present again - actually, it will be about a current series, which is likely to end in 2015, but has two different finales planned ahead just in case...Who guessed? Feel free to toss some titles down in the comment section!
I haven't decided yet if "Screen Time" is going to be a monthly or bimonthly feature, since it involves a ton of research (yes, I've seen the shows, maybe more than once...but I can't possibly remember everything that occurred on them, and I need pics, links and all sort of references). Bimonthly, I guess. It really amounts to a ton of work.
 

To tell the truth, I meant to post my first "Screen Time" a week earlier, but I have been offered a book to review...and, since it sounds like something I might like, I accepted. All I can say for now is that it's a re-release, in a new and improved version (and with a different ending), of a book first published in 2009. Its new appearance in print is scheduled for Sep. 5, and I should be able to post my review around that day or a couple of days later...if I receive the PDF in time, that is. Because apparently it's not ready yet. Anyway, my planned review for How to Say Goodbye in Robot will have to wait, I guess. Also, I hope to be able to spotlight another new book release soon. Well, technically, this book isn't new either, since it came out in 2012 - and I loved it. (Afterlife book, it goes without saying. Or was it? Because, um...it was and it wasn't. I'm so cryptic *insert evil grin here*). But after some misfortunes in the publishing department (it sucks when you put your first book forth and the press goes out of business shortly afterwards - doesn't it?), the book in question found a new home and is ready to win more fans over...not to mention, getting a sequel. So, I'm basically preparing to fangirl about it...again. Wait, I don't fangirl? Oh, shucks.

Me? Like this? You must be nuts. Too much sweating involved.

A small piece of bookish news, too. I'm sure that many of you know this already, but I thought I'd share all the same, for those who don't. The announced sequel to one of the YA literary cases of 2013, All Our Yesterdays (my review here) has been cancelled. Apparently, Cristin Terrill decided she couldn't produce a second installment that would equal the first one. I applaud her decision - it was honest, not to mention gutsy. For those who liked A. O. Y., though, this is not the end...read the new companion short story here.

Plus, a completely unrelated question - have you noticed my new avatar?

No, don't get excited now. She's prettier than me ;).

I finally decided I needed to reveal a bit more of myself...besides, I was kind of fed up with my old profile image...Well, to be completely honest, the fact is that I found myself randomly surfing the net one day, trying all the available cartoonize-yourself/doll-yourself free sites (not so many, to tell the truth) just out of curiosity. And I was frustrated with their lack of options for things that really matter (like hair), or their habit of over-simplifying the design. One of the sites I tried was Face Your Manga, and I got something that came closer to what I look like...but still not close enough. So I imported my image into the wonderful free program Photofiltre, made A LOT of little adjustements...et voilĂ . Much, much better. Sorry for not smiling, but I couldn't find the right smile in the F.Y.M. database, or design one. So, that's me (approximately) when I don't smile. You'll have to live with that ;).

Last, but not least, this was my 100th post!

Here's to many more!
(Image source)

So, see you next week, my exquisite beauties!

[Note: all gifs by Giphy unless credited otherwise].