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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Duchess of the Shallows by Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto Interview and Review

(( I would like to apologize for the lack of pictures. My internet was not being friendly and refused uploading/saving of any picture. When the problem is solved I will return and update this post. Thank you.))

A game is played in the fog-shrouded city of Rodaas, and every citizen, from the nameless of the Shallows to the noblest of the Garden, is a player or a pawn. And no one is as he appears.

Not Minette, brothel-keeper and obsessive collector of secrets. Not Uncle Cornelius, fearsome chief of the gang of brutes and murderers known as the Red. Not the cults of Death, Wisdom, and Illumination, eternally scheming and plotting along the Godswalk.

And certainly not the orphaned bread girl known as Duchess.

Yet armed with nothing more than her wits, her good friend Lysander and a brass mark of dubious origin Duchess will dare to play that game for the most coveted of prizes: initiation into a secret society of
thieves, spies and rumormongers who stand supreme in a city where corruption and lies are common coin.

The Grey.

What I liked about this book was that it is like a how to guide in manipulation. So many people played one another that I often found myself wondering how long they would be able to keep that little game up. But then again when you are a thief that is what happens.

I loved the kick butt action that kept me glued to the story as I became so involved in the story it was hard to put down. I was actually a day late getting this book read due to NaNoWriMo and other sorts of things that are going on in my life, so to become so involved and to loose my self in this great story, well it was a relief.

I liked the history behind the character's that made them seem life like. They had a background and could have been people you passed along the street in your day to day life none the wiser.
 The plot seemed very well thought out and dimensional, even the setting's were very descriptive. I expected to open my eyes, look out my window and find myself transported into the world the author's created.

The only problem I had with the book was the ending, always a sucker for cliff hanger's I love and hate them alike.

4.5 out of 5 Raven's.

About the Authors:
  • Neil McGarry
Neil is a former technical writer, former stand-up comedian and current indie author living in Philadelphia. While not working with Daniel Ravipinto on the sequel to THE DUCHESS OF THE SHALLOWS, Neil reads about World War II, plays both Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball, follows politics and tries to perfect the peanut butter cookie.

  • Daniel Ravipinto
  • (No information Found)

Interview with the Author:
 1. What got you started writing?

Neil: I was always writing as a kid, usually stories in which unlikely people became heroes, which is in some ways the story of The Duchess of the Shallows. Then I'd "self-publish", usually by stapling the mass of paper together in an unholy mockery of a book. We've done a better job with Duchess, I promise!

Dan: I've always been connected with stories as well, though I approached them from a different angle. From a very young age I was playing text-adventure and role-playing games – games that told stories. I did some atrocious fan-writing as well, and ended up writing a few games of my own.

2. If you could no longer write, what would your next dream be?

Neil: Well, I've already tried stand-up comedy, so I guess my next unlikely endeavor would be rodeo clown. Either that or singing in a rock band, which puts me just one convertible away from a mid-life crisis.

Dan: Gosh, the idea of not being able to write any longer is… a little paralyzing. I can't imagine storytelling not being part of my life in some way. I guess I'd probably end up still working on creative projects – composing music or creating games – but I can't imagine a life completely devoid of artistic endeavors.

3. How do you find time to balance writing and living life?

Neil: Not very easily! I play Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball, and there's always a book I want to read or friends I want to catch up with, so it can be challenging to balance it all.

Dan: Neil and I can't remember what we talked to each other about before we had these books! Right now we're devoting more time to writing than other things, but after the next book is published (mid-2013) we'll probably break for a while and try other things.

4. Which of your characters do you relate to the most and why?

Neil: For me, Duchess. She is crazy motivated but also somewhat ambivalent about the tough choices she has to make to achieve her ambitions. I'm about half as motivated but twice as ambivalent, always questioning the value of my decisions and goals. I think it's healthy to question yourself, but there's a point at which you're just mentally running in circles. I try to stay on the right side of that line.

Dan: Lysander. He wears his heart on his sleeve very much as I do. Though I think he's probably emotionally and physically tougher than I am, his toughness hasn't cost him his empathy. Like Neil with Duchess, I also admire his grit. Lysander knows where he is in life and knows precisely how he got there and I don't think I can ever really say the same for myself.

5. Which of your characters were the easiest to write for and who was the hardest? Why?

Neil: Minette's the easiest, hands down. She's so clever and cagey that when I sit down to work on a chapter that features her I have a smile on my face. Brenn was the most difficult, because he's much like Lysander but, obviously, his own person, and he doesn't get a great deal of page time to show it.

Dan: I often find Duchess and Lysander's dialogue together to come very easily. I can hear their voices in my head – the banter and ease they have with each other. I had some trouble with the Lady Anassa simply because of the word games she's constantly playing. Every word has at least two meanings.

6. What was your biggest fear about being a writer?

Neil: That we're pretenders, hacks who couldn't get a book deal from a traditional publisher so now we're going the indie route to cover up our inadequacy. When we submitted The Duchess of the Shallows to Kirkus for review, we were petrified that they'd call us out for the charlatans we feared we were. The day the review was due I was a nervous wreck, and Dan finally had to ban me from the computer where I was logged in to email, clicking "refresh" every two minutes. When the review turned out to be not only positive but glowing…well, it was the first outward sign that we were for real, and that as authors we could play with the big boys (and girls).

Dan: Much the same for me, though it often takes the form of delusion rather than deceit. I always have a little voice in the back of my mind that calls into question my own taste whenever I finish something and particularly like it. What if I'm fooling myself? What if I'm wrong?

Of course, the answer is that you just make sure you don't write in a vacuum. You get your writing out in front of other eyes (which makes having a writing partner particularly great) and see what they say. Everybody makes mistakes or overlooks things, but having readers who can give you real, critical feedback is invaluable.

7. How do you deal with negative feedback or reviews?

Dan: Indie authors often don't have an editor, so we have to be twice as attentive to criticism to ensure we're not sealing ourselves off in a little bubble in which we can do nothing wrong.

For us, every piece of feedback is taken seriously. We never dismiss anything out of hand. But some feedback is more germane than others, and if it feels like the advice or critique we're being given doesn't really fit the direction we were going then we feel comfortable disagreeing.

Neil: And of course our book's not for everyone. No book is. It's kind of like food; if you don't like fish, you won't want to eat it no matter how well it's been well prepared. So if we get a bad review we try to separate the objective criticism that deserves evaluation from the subjective this just isn't for me response we can't do anything about. So far we've had very little negative feedback, I'm pleased to say.

8. What do you do when you find yourself struggling with writer's block?
Neil: One of the nice things about having a co-author is that two people rarely have writer's block at the same time! So when I get stuck I hand off the manuscript to Dan, and he does the same. So far it has worked.

Dan: Also, sometimes you have to just force yourself past that kind of thing, and grind out a few pages until you get back to your creative spot. Writing, like any other craft, isn't always easy and isn't always fun.

9. What advice would you give your 10-20 years in the past self?
Neil: Take risks! Failure won't destroy you, and a little embarrassment is good for the soul.

Dan: Honestly, I have the same answer. Looking back, there's almost nothing I've done that I regret, but I definitely regret some chances I didn't take.

10. Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to sit down and talk with us here at Wonderland Reviews. I really appreciate the time and effort. Before you leave, are there any last words that you would like to leave with the reader's/followers

We'd like to thank everyone who spent their money and time taking a chance on a couple of indie authors. Indie publishing is hard – don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise – but when we get a message of praise from someone who's enjoyed the work it all seems worth it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Loving Summer by Kailin Gow Review Tour Stop

Summer has always looked forward to spending her summers at her Aunt's beach house with the Donovans. To her, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house was magical, especially getting to spend time with the Donovans - her best friend Rachel and Rachel's brothers Nathaniel, and Drew. Here at Aunt Sookie's beach house, they can be anyone and anything they dreamed. For Summer, she had always wished to become as pretty as Rachel and for her brothers to think of her as more than Rachel's friend. For Nat and Drew, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house meant fun and escape, a place where they go to with their mom and sister for the summer, away from city life. They never thought this summer would be different. They never thought things would change as much as they did...and it all began with them falling for and loving Summer

I am not sure what to say about this book. It was not a book I intend to re-read, nor is it a book I absolutely hated. It is just a book that was a simple easy read for me.

One thing I liked about the book was that it was a quick read, I am a sucker for romance and though some of the scenarios were dramatic and cheesy, I still thought they were cute if unrealistic.

I didn't like that it was three "gorgeous" guys after one girl. And it seemed like their declarations of love came out of nowhere, as if they just suddenly found out what they liked. They couldn't even seem to lay it down straight what they liked about the girl.

I did like Rachel and although termed a 'Goth' a stereotype  I absolutely abhor when reading, she was still a sweet girl and my favorite of the quad

I didn't like Summer at all, she was actually that girl that I could see myself getting annoyed with really quickly. If she had been a real person she wouldn't be the type of person I hung out with or even associated with.

The ending also just happened, and while I enjoy a good cliff hanger because it pushes me to complete a series, I hated how this one just stopped as if pages had been ripped from the book. Nothing was resolved and nothing left me wanting more.

This would be the perfect summer read when just lazing about for the day and wanting something quick to take your mind off of things, the story was very sweet just not executed to my expectations.

3 Out of 5 Rating's.

Spotlight post! Tour- Infinity Children by Trevor E. Donaldson

A small clan of dying aliens struggles to create the perfect symbiotic host body, but when their primary candidate escapes, a battle ensues between Heaven and Earth

About the Author:
Trevor E. Donaldson lives in Wisconsin surrounded by his lovingly tended library of vintage literary fiction.
When his head isn't buried in his books, he journeys the halls of unhallowed ages to imbue his writing with primal terrors.
His influences include: Emile Zola, HP Lovecraft, Andre Gide, Guy de Maupassant, and James Tiptree Jr.
Trevor’s work has been featured in several publications including: SNM Horror Magazine, Necrotic Shorts, Cover of Darkness Magazine, The Aviator E-zine, and Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine.

Eternal Press/Damnation Books published his novel Infinity Children in August 2012.

Current projects include:

A screenplay of mystery and horror entitled Iron Soul.
A novel of sword and sorcery with a working title of Never Trust a Goblin.
A game concept of horror and adventure entitled The Nameless.

Author's Website:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

When we Collide by A.L. Jackson Review Tour Stop

From the bestselling author of Pulled and Take This Regret comes a gripping new tale of loss and love.

William has spent six years running from his past and the last eight months trying to rid his mind of the dreams that increasingly haunt his nights. Trapped in a world of false ambitions and feigned affections, William knows he’s reached a breaking point and something’s going to give.

Maggie had lived her entire life without hope until one man showed her what it meant to be loved. He’d been her light in a lifetime of darkness. Six years ago, that darkness stole him away. Without him, she’s surrendered herself to an existence she doesn’t know how to escape.

When the family William left behind is struck by tragedy, he is called back to the one place he’s sworn to never return to again.

In a moment that will change his life forever, William comes face to face with the girl who, with one look, captured his heart. He is unable to ignore the buried desires and the hope for the future they’d once believed they’d have.

Now William is ready to fight to take back what had been stolen from him six years before.
But he never imagined what that fight might cost him.

A.L. Jackson gives you an intimate look into the lives of a family bound by an unseen connection in this new contemporary romance

I knew from the beginning that this book was going to be an emotionally charged read and so I found myself preparing for it. The opening dedication says it all. "Because it shouldn't hurt to be touched."

This book talks about a sensitive topic with me, having suffered from abuse myself, so I always find it harder to enjoy these books because the author can get it wrong on so many levels.

A.L. Jackson is not such an author, with the skill to write so beautifully and drag such emotion out of the depths of your soul, you can't help but fall in love with the character's she creates.

It definitely is not the sweet rose colored glass romance that most think of when it comes to a love story, instead it is intense, dark and real. Maggie's struggles with abuse through her entire life leaves her damage and it is amazing to think about the guys that are willing to fight past all that baggage to save the girl they find themselves loosing their heart to.

I love the villain of the this book. His background and character was so developed that it had me tip toeing around my house for fear of finding him in my living room and invoking his wrath.

This tear jerking novel will quickly become a re-read that you pass along from generation to generation in hopes of preparing women to be strong and avoid such a cycle of abuse.

If you are not already a fan of this author, then this book will make you one.

I love the cover art, it is gorgeous and it gives nothing about the book away.

5 out of 5 Raven's!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Salamander Stone Interview + Review by C.J. Fenge (Tour Stop)

Amber discovers a conspiracy so earth-shattering it threatens the whole of the human race. Forced to go on the run, it seems that she has enemies in every corner - some for her power, others see her as their savior - others still Seek her out of twisted love or simple lust. At the center of everything, the Salamander Stone Attracts more than earthly evil. A demon is after Amber as well, and his desires are unthinkable
This book was not my favorite. The basis of the story was an interesting thing to think about, but the over all way it was developed I was not a fan.

As I first started out I found myself lost, it almost felt as if this was a sequel to the book and it kept me in a constant state of worry that I was missing something. It really took away from the book.

I was also not a fan of the protagonist always being in danger... that is a huge pet peeve of mine in actuality, if someone is always falling for the same thing, always needing rescued, I really just start to wish that they would do the world a favor and just end it all since they can't seem to learn from their mistakes.

I did like the romance-ish aspect, so many books are focusing so heavily on that love angle, it was refreshing to see an emotional level that wasn't so heavy, so intense as everyone Else's.

I did enjoy the mystery that seemed to lurk within the book and despite it starting out slow it actually got better the more into the book I got. I also loved the cover, it is truly beautiful.

3 out of 5 Raven's.
(Kinda Eh about it.)

Interview with The Author:
. How did you come up with the title for your book?
This title wasn’t my first choice; I went through quite a few before I realised The Salamander
Stone sounded exactly right, though at home the book is still referred to as ‘The Amber
Book’ – not very thrilling! There are no actual salamanders in the story, but the Salamander
Stone itself is a beautiful crystal which plays a vital part in the action.

2. What would you do in the place of Amber in a world you created?
In the world I created for Amber? I’d probably act pretty much as she does, as she’s really
just an ordinary girl trying to survive an extraordinary situation. But maybe I wouldn’t be as
brave, or sensible, as she turns out to be!

3. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
As well as the usual advice: ‘read around your genre... write what you know... edit
ruthlessly... join a creative writing class’ etc etc, what an aspiring author really needs is self-
belief, as it can be a long, disheartening process to get work out in the world. If you don’t
have sufficient self-belief, you need someone close to you who keeps your spirits up when
you get the inevitable knocks, and, more importantly, who keeps you writing.

4. Who are your favorite authors?
They change with time and mood. I’ve always had a fondness for classic authors such as
Dickens, George Eliot, Conan Doyle, Tolkien etc. But more recent favourites are Yann
Martel, Margaret Attwood, Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo and, of course, J.K. Rowling.

5. If your book was made into a movie who would you want to be cast for your characters.
Amber would have to be someone slim, tall, charismatic. There are plenty of actresses around
who fit that description but sometimes you see the ideal person just walking along the street.
Meshak I envisaged as a very young Arnold Schwarzenegger, or a young Meatloaf. And
Khiza is a beautiful African boy, a younger version of Denzel Washington.

6. What do you do for writers block?
I drink lots of coffee, play a few rounds of spider solitaire, go for a walk/bike ride and eat
far too much chocolate. Then I outline my problems to my husband and we have a good row
about it – which usually clears the mind.

7. What is the hardest part of being a writer for you?
The non-writing part, especially the self-promotion. It doesn’t come easily or naturally to me,
but I’m learning.

8. What do you do in your free time not including writing?
I read. I ride bikes/horses. I avoid doing housework (I’m very good at this). I spend a lot of
time just ‘footling’.

9. What is your biggest fear and why?
To do with writing? My biggest fear is I’ll sit in front of a blank page with an equally blank
mind – and nothing I say or do will fill that page. But if you’re talking about real, terrible,
ultimate fears then they are: spiders, death, spiders, annihilation, spiders, catastrophes and

spiders – in that order.

10. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and talk to us today at
Wonderland Reviews, are there any last words you would like to leave with our readers?
If you’re a reader, you can be a writer. I spent most of my life not believing I could write –
until I was forced into it and the words just came. If I can do it, anyone can. Go on, have a go.
What have you got to lose?

Grimoire Books 1+2 Reviews by S.M. Boyce Tour Stop!

The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it...and Kara Magari is its next target.

Kara has no idea what she's getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking along a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she's thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying beings that all want the Grimoire's secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, and most of them want to control the new-found power the Grimoire bestows upon her.

Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known in life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book—-one question that can fix everything in his broken life—-and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.

There's no escaping Ourea

There was so much that I absolutely adored about this book, I was a little iffy when I read the synopsis of it, figuring I could help out with the tour I decided to give it a shot and boy am I ever glad that I did.

This book had allot of trace elements from other fantasy hits, from Narnia to Lord of the Ring's I could definitely see the influence and inspiration that came with it, but more then that I saw how the author created their own diverse world that was beautiful and creative.

I love the well rounded character's, nothing is worse then finding a character and not being able to connect with them, or growling in frustration because you can't understand them. This author made the character's so realistic that It was as if they were friends in real life and I was reading a documentary on their life.

It truly is amazing the creativity that comes with Fantasy and the ability to create a realistic world hidden within our own but this author did it and then some.

5 out of 5!

Ourea has always been a deadly place. The lichgates tying the hidden world to Earth keep its creatures at bay—for now.

Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.

Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what—he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood.

To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.


I had high hopes for this book when it came to the series, I was so in love with the first book I didn't think that it could get any better, boy was I wrong.

Treason went far beyond my expectations. It was vivid and full of action, with suspense around every corner that kept my eyes glued to the pages as I tried to figure out what was going to happen next.
This roller coaster ride constantly had me sitting back with a stunned look on my face as I tried to figure out the way my mind had been played.

I loved the darker feel of the book, you really get into the mechanisms of the world that S.M. Boyce has created.

In this book we get to witness the way Kara and Braedon's relationship is developing.

I think my favorite aspect of this book was that one major twist that is so sneaky in development that it is like a soccer punch to the face, you find yourself breathless and stunned as it reveals it's true self.

I am so excited for the next installment of the series that it is the worst kind of torture! >.<

5 out of 5 Raven's!

Matt ARcher Monster Hunter by KEndra C. Highley Interview +Review Tour Stop

Fourteen-year-old Matt Archer spends his days studying Algebra, hanging out with his best friend and crushing on the Goddess of Greenhill High, Ella Mitchell. To be honest, he thinks his life is pretty lame until he discovers something terrifying on a weekend camping trip at the local state park.

Monsters are real. And living in his backyard.

But that's not the half of it. After Matt is forced to kill a strange creature to save his uncle, he finds out that the weird knife he took from his uncle's bag has a secret, one that will change Matt's life. The knife was designed with one purpose: to hunt monsters. And it's chosen Matt as its wielder.

Now Matt's part of a world he didn't know existed, working with a covert military unit dedicated to eliminating walking nightmares. Faced with a prophecy about a looming dark war, Matt soon realizes his upcoming Algebra test is the least of his worries.

His new double life leaves Matt wondering which is tougher: hunting monsters or asking Ella Mitchell for a date?

From the get go I was hooked on this book. You are immediately drawn into the story as Matt's life is easily understandable.

I know I found myself waiting with bated breath to see   what new troubles would find our main character and what he would do about it.

I loved the language used in the book, it was the perfect amount of slang that lead you to believe that it was written by an actual teen age boy, the only problem I could see with it would be some of the older generation not being able to understand what they meant. Taking a step back however I learned that you could piece it together and understand.

One of my only problems about the book was the religious aspect the monster's origin's seemed to take. Religion is such a tricky thing these days that it can be either a hit or miss with the audience and I have read more then one book where it was pushed to much and ended up ruining the story for me.

Otherwise this was a great story idea that I loved completely and found myself finishing in one sitting.

4.5 out of 5 Raven's

Author Interview:
What monster scares you the most and why
Oh, wow. I think I write monster hunter books because a lot of monsters scare me. It’s a morbid fascination, really. But, probably evil, very intelligent aliens. Oh, my gosh—that scares me more than anything J Anything that concerns Stephen Hawking seems worthy of my own distress.

what had been your favorite Halloween memory
I remember trick-or-treating on my street by myself. I was probably about ten, so my parents let me go on my own that year. My neighbors had a son who was in high-school at the time. He was a pretty big guy, who went on to play football at Tennessee. So, every year they set up a little scare for everyone. I knew it, but even seeing the cut-up trash bags creating a curtain around the porch, I approached the house anyway. When I stepped inside the “cave,” there was a figure sitting in a chair at the back, dressed in overalls and a hockey mask. I tremulously approached the door, keeping the hockey-masked dude in my peripheral vision, telling myself over and over, “that’s just Eric. Just Eric.” Just before I rang the doorbell, the figure leapt to his feet and roared. Needless to say, I ran screaming down the driveway and headed across the lawns toward home. A moment later, I heard someone laughing and calling my name. Eric had taken off his mask, and was following me with a fistful of candy.
what would you do if the real world turned into a world you created
Seriously hope someone like Matt and the rest of the knife wielders existed. Honestly, if monsters started running amok in Texas, I think I’d find a bunker. Not the most noble path, but I have a huge admiration for military units and all they do to keep us safe. I’d hope they could find a way to rid us of the threat.

What's the harder part of writing.
For me it’s the rough draft phase. I love that phase, when everything is new and exciting and shiny. But I’m also a pantser, so I don’t work from more than a very basic outline. Rather, I write organically, letting the story find itself. On the days my characters aren’t in the mood to chat with me, it’s hard to get words onto the page. I keep telling myself I should outline more, but when I do, I find the prose isn’t as natural. So it can be a struggle.

If you could be a monster what would you be and why.
I’d like to be one with glorious fur! Like Sully from Monsters, Inc, or Gossamer from Warner Bros. A monster who’s loveable, even if a bit scary.

Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us here at Wonderland reviews. Any parting words before you leave us? Thanks so much for letting stop by! If anyone’s interested, I’ve written a companion short story to Monster Hunter. Matt Archer: Monster Summer is currently free on Smashwords (and hopefully free on Barnes & Noble and Amazon once the price matching goes through). It includes the first chapter of Monster Hunter, so you can try a sample. Oh, and don’t forget to check for monsters in your closet…


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of numerous Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by the Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*