Cover Reveal: The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater by Ty Drago

Oh man! We’re so happy to be a part of the cover reveal for Ty Drago’s THE UNDERTAKERS: SECRET OF THE CORPSE EATER. Take a look at this awesome book and cover!
Undertakers 3 Ty Drago Final CoverTitle: THE UNDERTAKERS: SECRET OF THE CORPSE EATER
Publication date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Ty Drago
TEASER:
The Corpses are up something.
U.S. Senator Lindsay Micha had been kidnapped and replaced with a “dead” ringer, the sister to Lilith Cavanaugh, the Queen of the Dead. Now Will Ritter must go undercover in our nation’s capital to ferret out the truth and try to stop this ambitious deader. But his mission becomes even more dangerous when he learns of a mysterious ten-legged monster that prowls the halls of the Capitol Building — a lethal monster with a taste for Corpse flesh.
Can such an alien “enemy of his enemy” truly become Will’s friend?
TD
ABOUT TY DRAGO:
In addition to the first two books in UNDERTAKERS series, RISE OF THE CORSPES and QUEEN OF THE DEAD, Ty Drago is the author of PHOBOS, a Science Fiction whodunit and THE FRANKLIN AFFAIR, an historical/mystery about Benjamin Franklin. His short fiction has appeared in numerous venues, including the 2009 anthology YESTERDAY, I WILL …, and he has written articles for WRITERS DIGEST. His first UNDERTAKERS novelette, NIGHT OF MONSTERS, is currently available for FREE on Smashwords.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

The King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby

roseTitle: The King’s Rose

Author: Alisa M. Libby

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Publication Date: March 2009

Pages: 297

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king?s eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life?and her heart?threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn?sacrificed at the altar of family ambition? Engaging historical fiction with a throbbing YA heartbeat, this thrilling novel will draw readers into the intrigues and dangers of the Tudor court.

Review

The King’s Rose is a novel based on Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard. I always enjoy fiction set in the Tudor court, and Catherine Howard does not usually get much time of her own in fiction. Most of the time she’s almost written off as being too young and too foolish and sort of getting what she deserved, considering her conduct and his past.

This book, however, is a pleasant change. I’m not saying she didn’t do stupid things. She was young and left to her own devices far too often. She didn’t have any clue how she was supposed to be queen, and no one seemed particularly inclined to tell her. In this version of her story, you get a little better understanding of her. The story is told from her perspective, and while she is still superficial and I wished sometimes that she could have some deeper thoughts, her character isn’t built that way.

It follows the history pretty well, and you do feel sorry for Catherine when he inevitable fate comes around. You get the impression that even though she knew what she was doing, and sort of understood what was going on around her, she didn’t truly understand until it was far too late to save herself.

If you enjoy Tudor/Henry VIII fiction, this is a great, quick read.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3544982-the-king-s-rose

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0525479708?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0525479708&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kings-rose-alisa-libby/1100309198?ean=9780525479703&itm=1&usri=9780525479703

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

toadsTitle: Toads and Diamonds

Author: Heather Tomlinson

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: March 2010

Pages: 288

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family’s scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.

It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.

Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince—and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province’s governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters’ fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?

Review

This book I found really exciting. It was on sale, and it looked to be a fairy tale set in India. It looked exotic, and the possibilities for it to be retold were exciting. And, to be fair, it was a good book. But after reading the whole thing, with visions of India in my head, the authors acknowledgement page at the end really turned me off.

First, let’s talk about the book. It is a retelling of the fairytale (whose name escapes me) about the two sisters who live with their widowed mother. One is kind a good, the other is mean and cruel. The kind sister goes to the well to get water and meets an old woman who asks for a drink. When the girl gives it to her, she tells her she’s sweet and gets a reward – roses and jewels shall fall from her lips when she speaks. When she returns home, she tells her sister and mother, and the mean sister goes, expecting something equal. She is nasty to the old woman (who’s really a fairy) and instead is cursed to have snakes and toads fall from her mouth.

This book takes that tale and puts a different spin on it. I really liked that the girls, who aren’t sisters but might as well be, both suffer the same fate, but it isn’t because they’re bad or good. Now, the sister who receives the jewels and flowers is of course the sweet and beautiful one. But the one who receives the toads and snakes eventually learns that it isn’t as much of a curse as she thinks. She does, however, spend most of the book thinking its bad and she was cursed because she is a bad person. What she said at the well wasn’t the kindest, but it wasn’t nasty or particularly cruel.

The story is told in dueling narratives. Each chapter alternates between Diribani and Tana. This works fine, except that the chapters begin slowly, and by the time you’re really invested in what’s happening to that character again, the author switches chapters. This would be fine, but she doesn’t pick up exactly where she left off, so you’re left a little disappointed at times.

The romance woven through is also scant at best, but suddenly becomes the girls’ reward at the end. I wouldn’t have minded, except that their interaction with their “loves” is little to none throughout the book, especially for Tana.

Still, the author’s descriptions and her characters are well done, although I found her main characters sometimes less interesting than her secondary characters. They had a tendency to think over their problems constantly, and it got to be a case of “beating a dead horse.”

My biggest issue, and the one which turned me off completely after I finished, was the author’s note at the end. The book is set in a world that looks like India, smells like India, but the author says that it isn’t India. Instead, she claims it’s a fantasy world based on India. To me, it just seemed like she decided that it was too hard to make it fit into historical India and Hinduism/Islam and took the easy route. I was very, very disappointed.

That being said, if you enjoy fairy tale retellings and literature set in a more exotic place, this would be a good one.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6892626-toads-and-diamonds

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805089683?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0805089683&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/toads-and-diamonds-heather-tomlinson/1100358727?ean=9780805089684&itm=1&usri=9780805089684

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

bronzeTitle: Strands of Bronze and Gold

Author: Jane Nickerson

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Publication Date: March 2013

Pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tal

Review

Fairy tale retellings are a sure way to get me to read a book. I also like it when an author tries to make the fairy tale work in real life, no magic or fairy godmothers. In Strands of Bronze and Gold, the author uses the antebellum south and a plantation as a way of retelling the tale of Bluebeard.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Bluebeard married several times and kept a room locked. He always told the wives that the room was off limits. They could do as they liked, but not go in there. The wife would steal the key, open the door, and find out the other wives had been murdered in the room. Once they found this out, he kills them. The last wife gets smart, and begs for time to say prayers until her brothers, coming to visit, get there. She locks herself in a tower, the brothers come and kill the evil husband. That’s the quick and dirty version, anyway. If you want to read the full version, click HERE. I’m sure the message was something about feminine curiosity and whatnot, but it always seemed like a strange fairy tale to me.

This book takes that theme and makes it into a mystery, which I really enjoyed. You know something is going on, but you aren’t sure what. I might have liked it better had I not known it was based on Bluebeard, just because it immediately gives some things away. (You know the basic bones of the past, etc)

The main character, however, I felt a bit confused by. Sophie starts off very young and acts like it. Her reasons for going to de Cressac, who is her godfather, make sense for the time. Even so, it’s a little ick-inducing once you get farther into the story and realize de Cressac’s love of strawberry blondes. Sophie does make a significant change and matures quite a bit before the end of the book, and does so in a plausible way that I really liked. But she felt so much older at the end that she might even have matured too much, considering her age. Its a minor complaint, but when you go back and read a few pages at the beginning, the character is drastically different. At the same time, it is an appropriate change, considering everything that happens to her.

The author’s take on de Cressac is also well done. She paints the older man well, and despite Sophie’s immature crush at the beginning, she does make the whole thing believable, especially considering the social norms of the time. I also enjoyed the ending, which I won’t give away, and de Cressac’s part in it. The housekeeper’s blind eye was a bit hard to believe, but I suppose when the villan is supposed to be so charismatic, you can almost ignore that.

My biggest complaint is the strange undercurrent of social commentary that the author placed in the novel. In the midst of the gothic, creepy feel of the novel she tries to insert bits about abolition and slavery. While the time period if correct, and Sophie may very well have had the opinions she did as someone from the North coming South, it seemed jarring. At times it worked, and at other times it took me out of the story. It isn’t necessarily badly done, its just odd for the novel, for me.

Overall, the book is a good retelling of a less popular fairy tale. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, I would recommend it.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13721341-strands-of-bronze-and-gold

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307975983?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0307975983&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strands-of-bronze-and-gold-jane-nickerson/1110181034?ean=9780307975980&itm=1&usri=9780307975980

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Blood Moon by Teri Harman

bloodmoonTitle: Blood Moon

Author: Terri Harman

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Publication Date: June 2013

Pages: 350

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

Willa dreams of true events and her best friend is a ghost. Simon can heal any wound with a touch and senses others’ emotions, intentions. All their lives they’ve felt alone in their bizarre abilities, hiding behind a facade of normalcy, wondering why and how. The night Simon walks into the Twelve Acres Diner and meets Willa face to face, in a swirl of electric heat, they are bound to one another and glimpse the magic of who they are.

Across town a witch is held prisoner in the derelict basement of an old Victorian house. One night as it rains, she dares to reach her filthy, scarred hand out the window. Willa, walking home from work, recognizes the pathetic hand from a recent, terrible dream.

After a daring rescue of the witch, Willa and Simon are catapulted into the alluring but dangerous world of witchcraft and the magic of The Six Gifts. Answers to all their questions are within reach, but they’ve stepped into the middle of a deadly fight for the Powers of the Earth. Do they stay, risk their lives on the promise of power, or walk away?

Review

Blood Moon by Terri Harman is a great read, especially considering the season! I enjoyed Simon and Willa’s story, and the take on witches that Harman has used. Her research and world building is really well done, and you are told the facts as you need them, letting you accumulate the information at the same time (or a bit before) the two main characters. The book does have some flashbacks, which were a little hard at first for me personally, but after the first couple you get into the rhythm of the book and they don’t distract from the story. Instead, they provide information by showing you rather than just info-dumping on the page.

The romance is well done too. It is insta-love, which I’m not always a fan of, but I really, really enjoyed the fact that there was no love triangle here. The characters meet, recognize that they are Soul Mates, and they spend the rest of the story together. There is no third person trying to butt in. And you know, they manage to find enough drama that you don’t need it. They have questions about themselves and each other, and they have to work through things that they didn’t even know existed before the beginning of the book.

The Six Gifts are explained well, and the dark versus light in the book makes for an interesting read. Their battle is far from over, and the ending – while stopping at a point that doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out – is a cliff hanger. You know more is coming, and you aren’t sure what kind of form it will take.

Overall, this is a great YA fantasy, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment. If you’re a fan of witches/paranormal romance, check it out!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16104353-blood-moon

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1939967007?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1939967007&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-moon-teri-harman/1114940694?ean=9781939967008&itm=1&usri=9781939967008

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

tenTitle: Ten

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: Sept 2012

Pages: 296

Genre: Young Adult Thriller

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

SHHHH!
Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Review

This is an awesome thriller. I initally wondered how she would be able to stage a murder mystery on an island in the era of cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter. But the scenario is plausible and authentic, and provides just the right atmosphere for a murder mystery. To be honest, I didn’t realize this was a retelling of Agatha Christie. Halfway through I kept stopping and thinking that there was something really familiar about the general outline of the story. Then it hit me, and I went and broke down, cheated, and looked it up online and figured it out. That being said, it does NOT detract from the book at all. The characters are likable, though I must admit I wasn’t terribly sad to see at least one character bite it. I don’t want to say who for fear of spoiling something.

The murders are well done, without being shocking and overly gory. The interaction between the different characters is pretty true to life, and the paranoia that sets in is well done. I liked the main character, and the responsibility she feels toward her friend helps to make you feel both sorry and outraged for her. The ending worked well, and while I suspected the culprit, I had long sense written them off for someone else, so it was a surprise. The reasoning was also good, though I kind of wished for more conflict when there were some facts revealed at the end. The murderer brushed them off and I wanted to see a little more reaction.

The romance part is well done, and I like that it wasn’t an insta-love situation. I like that it was something that’s been brewing awhile and the main character has some questions and some reservations. The end result is a fantastic thriller! If you like whodunnits and murder and mayhem and a little creepy, then this is definitely a book you should pick up!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11958033-ten

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062118781?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0062118781&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ten-gretchen-mcneil/1108621183?ean=9780062118783&itm=1&usri=9780062118783

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

6068551Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: August 2009

Pages: 392

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Book Summary (from back cover)

Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf – her wolf – watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.

Sam has lived two lives. as a wold, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace…until now.

For Grace and Same, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human – and Grace must fight to keep him – even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

Review

Every so often, a book surprises you, and at the same time makes the author in me want to curl up and die because I will never, NEVER, be able to write prose like this. SHIVER was one such book. I can count on one hand the number of books that have made me cry.

I love Grace and Sam and their story. I love the way Maggie Stiefvater uses words to draw you in. She sprinkles poetry throughout the book, but her prose sparkles just as much as the poetry. It sparkles, and describes, and make you see the characters inside and out. They grow, and change, and their interactions and connection are believable and connect with you.

I know most of the world has probably already read this. I’m so, so sorry I missed out on it when it first started, but I can promise I will read all her books soon. I hadn’t read this sooner because all I heard was werewolf, and had read several werewolf stories that just didn’t do it for me. So I passed. But this is a whole other category. Her take on the wolves and why they change and how is fresh and unique and heartbreaking. Sam is a tragic character, and yet you never pity him, because he never pities himself. Grace is also a broken character, in a different way, and yet together they make a whole picture.

The characters in the novel are all separate, distinct people who have their own growth patterns. I enjoyed that while Isabel is still the snotty rich kid, you see that there’s probably a reason, and that she has hidden depths as well. Grace is not perfect. She’s too ananlytical sometimes, but she knows it, and she doesn’t try to change it. The characters are self-aware because they’ve had to be, and they don’t change themselves for the sake of romance or what they think they want. The change and grow with their circumstances, but still stay true to who they are.

There are some twists, but they help to make the whole picture better, and give it even more depth than before.

And did I mention that the prose is amazing. Her descriptions are perfect, and I just want to highlight the whole book over and over while lamenting that my writing will never be up to par.

I love these books. I don’t care if you hate paranormal and magic and fantasy. Go read them. The characters will curl in your chest and then make you cry. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I got this one from the library. I’ll be ordering the whole set tonight on Amazon.

An amazing book, which (if you can’t tell) I loved.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6068551-shiver?from_search=true

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0545123267?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0545123267&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shiver-maggie-stiefvater/1100178177?ean=9780545123266&itm=1&usri=9780545123266

Book was purchased by reviewer.