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Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Review Divergent

Flavored Reviews from the Indie Universe
by Ginger Gelsheimer

by Veronica Roth

Click to buy Divergent or read other reviews!

Intensifier multiplier!

Brief synopsis: Tris lives in a society that has been forced into five factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor and Amity, in order to prevent the continued demise of their society from selfishness and over indulgence. She along with every other 16-year-old must perform aptitude tests which will help them choose the faction they belong to for life. Sometimes it’s the same as the faction their family belongs to...and sometimes it isn’t.

From the very beginning Beatrice (Tris) is faced with difficult situations-choosing her family and a faction where she feels like a misfit, or choosing a different faction where she is a stranger, but believes in her heart she was born to be a part of. Then wondering if she has made a terrible mistake when she begins to learn more and more about the motives of her new faction, but you can never go back. The ride is fast and doesn’t really ever stop, especially after they enter level two of their training. Roth did a fantastic job of creating scene after scene that made me hold my breath...literally, and you know where I’m referring! NO SPOILERS!

Originality: I can’t say that Divergent is a highly original concept, as there are so many YA books with strong females and kids being trained for violent times at the moment BUT I do love this genre (obviously, I write in it) and was highly entertained with the story and how it was put together. Each turn was something new and different as the story unfolded and you never knew where it was going to take you. I felt like there was also more complexity in Divergent, than some of the other YA novels in the various relationships with Tris. Her friendship with Al, Christina and Will and how those morphed throughout the story. Her frustrating interest in Four and her journey into a world unknown-love. The guilt she carried for not choosing her family and the secrets she would eventually find out. There was a lot of stuff going on!

Characters: I like the depth of the character of Tris. It becomes very obvious as you get to know her that she never could have remained as Abnegation. She is actually quite cold-hearted and very quick to wish her enemies might stop breathing. She also results to thoughts of violence quickly when things are going wrong-which can only be Dauntless. I appreciate the fact that Tris is independent and strong like Katniss, not a damsel in distress waiting to be saved...or turned into a vampire (sorry Bella).

I enjoyed the way Roth developed the relationship between Tris and Four, the Dauntless trainer, letting it grow and intensify throughout the entire story to deliver such an intense moment when Tris must confront Four back at the Dauntless headquarters. She rushes to try to save their society from crumbling under anti-government war, but Four isn’t himself and stands in her way. She is forced with another tough dilemma-kill or be killed.

Recommendation: This book goes well with Junior Mints and a large Cherry Coke because you won’t be able to pay attention to what your eating and you might make a mess! You’ll want the large because you won’t want to get up for a refill.


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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer

Flavored Reviews from the Indie Universe
by Ginger Gelsheimer

Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer 
by Demelza Carlton

Click here to buy Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer or read other reviews

Great suspense the whole way through!

4.5 stars!

Brief synopsis: Nathan Miller becomes Caitlin Lockyer’s hero after he saves her after she was left for dead on the beach. Was it kidnap and rape, or something much bigger that turned Caitlin into a victim? Nathan’s secret torments him as he falls for Caitlin while he helps her heal both physically and mentally, never leaving her side. To make things worse, their nightmare isn’t over because the bad guys are still after Caitlin.

The story unfolded quickly, sucking you right in with the terrible situation Nathan Miller has found himself in. Ms. Carlton did a great job creating a suspenseful ghost that traveled with me through the entire story, building the anticipation the entire way. I knew things were going to be bigger than what we were being told…I knew it!

Originality: I enjoyed the story being told from Nathan’s point of view, sweating that his secret was going to show its ugly self. He did creep me out at times though with his mind running rampant with sexual thoughts, especially after such a horrific event, but I learned it was just part of Nathan. When Caitlin meets his sister, it put things in better perspective.  

Characters: The characters were well developed. Nathan’s anxiety had me on edge the whole book and his desperation in wanting to keep her safe. Caitlin’s determination and strength were inspiring.  I can’t imagine suffering through an ordeal as terrible as what Caitlin experienced. I felt her frustrations as she struggled to do even the simplest tasks, just wanting to feel normal.

Recommendation: This book goes well with spicy tuna sushi and hot jasmine tea because it has a lot of kick that needs to be soothed, just like Caitlin. I enjoyed reading Nightmares of Caitlin Locker and look forward to reading the sequel. 


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Friday, February 21, 2014

Goodreads Time Travel Group Giveaway - Quest of the Hybrid

Goodreads Time Travel Group Giveaway begins today, March 1, 2014!

Welcome to the final post in the scavenger hunt for the Goodreads Time Travel Group giveaway for Quest of the Hybrid! The final password is: TIME TRAVEL.

If you missed the 1st password, go to the Aurora Conspiracy FB page at Aurora Conspiracy
Enter all three passwords in the comment section at the bottom for this blog and you will be entered in the drawing to give away 5 copies of Quest of the Hybrid (mobi or epub).

For a special surprise, the first three episodes of the Aurora Conspiracy prequel series are available to download for free at Amazon.

Crash Landing $0.99

They want to kill us...only she can save us!

The clock ticks down for 19-year-old Jesse Proctor as she embarks on a quest to discover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance into a windmill 10 years before--the very windmill conspiracy theorists believe an alien met fate with in 1897 in Aurora, Texas. Desperate to find answers, she uncovers an enigma--a dimension portal, which opens the doorway to some of the most mysterious places in the universe including: the Bermuda Triangle, the Pyramids of Giza and Atlantis. Could it also lead her to the love of her life?

After Jesse meets Aurelius, an alien from Planet Erebus, she discovers a secret that will throw her into the middle of an age-old war with the Celphians, who desire to extinguish the hybrid-infested human race. Danger and mayhem await them at every turn. To make matters worse, her mother is being held captive on Planet Celphi.

Or is she?

Quest of the Hybrid is the first book in the Aurora Conspiracy Trilogy.

Formerly titled Aurora Conspiracy: The Story Didn’t End with a Crash…The Epic Journey Began!  We listened to our readers and have refreshed the entire novel with new cover and title, more polish and all new scenes.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sometimes you need a new dress!

So, after a year on the market with Aurora Conspiracy: The Story Didn't End with a Crash... the Epic Journey Began...yikes! (It's okay-we say that too!) and a cover that looked like this...

Okay, yikes again! Who is this guy in the hoodie anyway? We decided it was time to put on a new dress. A dress that was more suitable for our target audience-Young Adult.

We spent what seemed like hundreds of hours going through hundreds of cover designs and are proud to release the new cover and new title for Quest of the Hybrid! It's hard to make drastic changes, but we knew what we had inside the cover was special, and it deserved much more thought and a firm stance with our publisher, who originally chose the cover and title.

So lessons to be learned? Don't rush to market. Don't let someone make you wear a dress that doesn't fit! Change is always an option.

The new book will be available by the end of this week, and I will add the link here once it is posted. Would love to hear from you to see what your thoughts are on the changes we made, or if you have had a similar experience you would like to share.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review Bishop Street

Flavored Reviews from the Indie Universe
by Ginger Gelsheimer

Bishop Street 
by Rene Schultz

Click here to purchase Bishop Street or to read other reviews.

You’ll need a tissue before you’re through!

Brief synopsis: Maggie is one of four former orphans who became a family when they were children at the Bishop Street Orphanage where they endured a hard childhood of abuse and neglect. Deception caused them to separate and they haven’t seen each other in twenty years. Tormented by her own guilt of abandonment, Maggie begins her journey to reunite with her childhood family.

Story: I thought the story was creative and well done, especially given the deep subject matters it crosses throughout the book. The author was sensitive and empathetic.  There were a couple times when I thought things went a little too easy, but was glad to be spared the heartache that might have come otherwise. The plot continued to make my heart beat as Maggie searched out each of her friends and learned of their own unique stories of how their lives had unfolded. The author uses a colorful prose that makes you feel like you are there with Maggie, especially when traveling to the quaint Midwestern farm town and when searching through the slums of LA.

Characters: The characters were well developed and easy to believe.  I cared about Maggie and felt her sadness and cheers throughout her emotional roller coaster. I really liked Randolph and his sincerely when it related to Maggie and Damon’s firm hand, which Maggie needs.  I appreciated how Elizabeth’s life created a contrast for the four orphan friends through her simple stability, which wasn't so simple.  

Recommendation: Bishop Street is a heartwarming story that will no doubt make you smile and cry. It would go well with a soothing cappuccino with marshmallows and a cozy blanket.  I would definitely recommend this book as a great contemporary fiction packed with deep emotion.


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Sunday, February 2, 2014

To Read or Not to Read?

So, I've heard other authors say things like "I don't read other books because it will taint my creativity" or "I am too busy writing, I don't have time to read, too."

Hmmm...well, I must admit, I was in that category because I didn't have time either, until I started the Book Review Depot and had to start reading again because after all, it is my site. Book Review Depot

Now, I have read 29 books since the end of July 2013 and posted reviews for all of them. :) My conclusion? YOU HAVE TO READ IF YOU ARE GOING TO WRITE! Unless you think you are perfected and cannot improve, not even in the slightest, you must read others. Not to steal their ideas, but to understand how things may flow better, how dialogue might be presented more naturally, to find other ways to say 'he said, she said', or to find some consistent error that you have been making and didn't even realize because someone else did it differently and you finally went to look it up (Googling of course).

You will discover things you like and don't like-over detailed sex scenes in romance novels is one for me. I had never really read romance novels much before, so when I picked one up and got into WHOA too much detail, I knew exactly how I would not write that type of scene. (Not to say some of you don't like it that way, just not my preference.)

I've read science fiction novels and discovered the right amount of detail for laser firing and sound effects for my taste and how to format them in my own writing. Was it italics, all caps, separated by its own line? I felt that some formats were distracting, others made the action flow.

I've read "Hallmark-type" dramas, which are also not my typical read, but I've discovered how to give more depth to my own characters because typically those type novels don't have edge-of-your seat action to rely on to keep the story moving, so they have to dig deep into your heart and make you feel instead. Not to say action adventures don't make you feel...

I've read books where I could care less about the main character because they were unbelievable and unrelatable. Nothing happened in the beginning to make me care about their journey. Which is another thing I've learned. How to engage the reader from the very get-go! Please don't load the front end with so much detail about the flowers and plants and dew dripping from the trees that I fall asleep before page 5. I need a desperate moment or something like that to suck me in. Remember, come in late and leave early. I don't need to have 15 introductions of "Hello, Sam, nice to see you again. How's the weather?" every time new characters meet up in the story. Oh, and I really don't care what they are eating and if their napkin is neatly folded in their lap, unless it is relevant to the character somehow.

Soooo.... next time you are racking your brain and can't figure out how to write that scene that is outside your comfort zone, or why you want to stop writing and go do something else like clean your entire house every time you get to a certain part of your book, maybe you should open a book!


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