Thursday, August 27, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week [78]


This is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows.The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Click the links to the blogs to see how to join up &  upcoming topics.

Would you rather be locked in a room with Voldemort or Bellatrix?



Bellatrix is to Voldemort what McGonagall is to Dumbledore. I'm absolutely more terrified of Bellatrix.

It goes back to what Dumbledore preaches to Voldemort all through the story, "There are far worse things than death." Voldemort is ultimately most afraid of dying so his main threat to everyone is killing them.

However, Dumbledore knows what he's talking about. Tell me, when you hear the stories of Harry's parents vs. Neville's parents, which one do you think is worse? Neville's parents are alive but now insane due to the torture that Bellatrix and others put them through. Neville can see them and talk to them, but they are not fully aware of the life around them or able to show that parental bond with Neville.

I think Neville has it worse. Harry's parents are dead, yes, but they had a quick death without pain. Bellatrix is fine with torturing and quite frankly is more insane.

I choose being in a room with Voldemort and a quick death as opposed to the insane randomness of Bellatrix and her need for torture and pain.


Which would you choose?





Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Excerpt: Nation of Enemies by H.A. Raynes

Summary

It’s all about the genetics. DNA. Black & white.

A decade ago the U.S. government mandated that all citizens be issued biochips containing all of their medical information and an ID number indicating a person’s health. Then they made the information public—the implications of which are wide-spread and devastating.

Now on the eve of the 2032 presidential election, the country is deeply divided and on the brink of civil war. But as the two major political parties face off, innocent Americans are dying at the hands of masked terrorists. When the Liberty Party’s presidential nominee is assassinated in a highly-coordinated, masterful attack, it sets off a chain of events that will change the course of history and leave America’s inalienable rights—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—dangling on the precipice of extinction.



Excerpt:


It’s hard for Lily Fitzgerald to believe that only a month ago they were on a ship to London, only to be denied entry. Now thirty-four weeks pregnant, she rests her hand atop her belly and sets her feet on an unpacked box of pots and pans. Early morning sun fills the room as she sits at the kitchen table checking email on her tablet. She shifts uncomfortably in the maternity jeans she’s come to loathe. The baby moves and a bit of Lily’s belly juts out. An elbow? A foot?

Their failed attempt to immigrate brought her to a dark place. Since the moment they scanned her belly, she’s questioned everything. If it weren’t for the baby, they might be living in England. And though she wants this baby with every thread of her being, she knows it’s selfish. After Ian was born, they debated having another child. It seemed wrong, knowingly bringing a child into war. But it didn’t stop her yearning. Finally, they decided to leave it up to Fate. Fate waited ten long years. Despite everything, she can’t wait to meet her daughter.

She’s promised herself not to cry anymore, and she needs to be strong for Ian. Cole says he’ll find a way around the MedID system, but she can’t imagine how. He also swore to keep them safe. When they’d disembarked in South Boston, he surprised her with a self-driving, bulletproof Land Rover waiting for them in the harbor parking lot. And instead of going to their wilting Victorian in Brookline, he’d taken them to a Safe District just west of the city. They’d been fighting this move for years, clinging to an old way of life in a beautiful, but decaying, neighborhood. Now they live in an unimaginative, mind-numbing, prefab house. Still, she has to admit that driving through heavily guarded gates into a community surrounded by twenty-foot walls is comforting. She actually lets Ian ride his bike down the street now. And Cole has abandoned his treadmill, his runs finally infused with fresh air. He must’ve spent most of their savings for their new life-in-a-bubble. The exclusivity of it all bothers her—most people can’t afford to live this way. But her children are safe here. So to hell with her guilty conscience.

The next email fills the screen with video of an animated woman. Her voice is eerily friendly. “Lily Fitzgerald, your daughter has a forty-eight percent higher chance of securing a clean MedID number if you address issues in utero. New life equals new opportunity. With embryonic intervention, your daughter won’t need to worry about major medical issues. Though you’ve entered your third trimester, there are still options available. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now to give your baby a healthier future.”


Author H.A. Raynes


 H.A. Raynes was inspired to write NATION OF ENEMIES by a family member who was a Titanic survivor and another who escaped Poland in World War II. Combining lessons from the past with a healthy fear of the modern landscape, this novel was born. A longtime member of Boston’s writing community, H.A. Raynes has a history of trying anything once (acting, diving out of a plane, white water rafting, and parenting). Writing and raising children seem to have stuck.


Find the Author:
Goodreads |  Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Cover Scramble [132]



Let's have some fun! I am going to post covers on here every Sunday that are scrambled up graphically, making it hard to tell what cover it is. I would like your guesses on what cover you think I've posted. I won't answer you until I'm posting the next one to let you know if you are right, allowing others to guess as well. Some will be hard, and others may be easy. Let me know in the comments if you'd like some more hints and I'll offer some more if no one guesses it correctly.


I am pulling covers off the Most Popular Page on Goodreads.







Thursday, August 20, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week [77]


This is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows.The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Click the links to the blogs to see how to join up &  upcoming topics.

If you could change one thing in the first film, what would it be?



The first movie is one of the closest to the book out of the series. There are differences from the book, but not so much that it takes away from the story. I wish they would've shown the fight between Ron, Neville, and Malfoy during the Quidditch game, but that was left out. Also, it didn't show Hermione and Harry sneaking up to the Astronomy Tower to give Norbert to Charlie.

But the one moment I choose most is Hermione with the Devil's Snare when they sneak down to rescue the Sorcerer's Stone.

"Stop moving!" Hermione ordered them. "I know what this is — it's Devil's Snare!"
"Oh, I'm so glad we know what it's called, that's a great help," snarled Ron, leaning back, trying to stop the plant from curling around his neck.
"Shut up, I'm trying to remember how to kill it!" said Hermione.
"Well, hurry up, I can't breathe!" Harry gasped, wrestling with it as it curled around his chest.
"Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare… what did Professor Sprout say? — it likes the dark and the damp."
"So light a fire!" Harry choked.
"Yes — of course — but there's no wood!" Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
"HAVE YOU GONE MAD?" Ron bellowed. "ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?"
"Oh, right!" said Hermione, and she whipped out her wand, waved it, muttered something, and sent a jet of the same bluebell flames she had used on Snape at the plant. In a matter of seconds, the two boys felt it loosening its grip as it cringed away from the light and warmth. Wriggling and flailing, it unraveled itself from their bodies, and they were able to pull free.
"Lucky you pay attention in Herbology, Hermione," said Harry as he joined her by the wall, wiping sweat off his face.
"Yeah," said Ron, "and lucky Harry doesn't lose his head in a crisis — 'there's no wood,' honestly."

I love this scene in the book for two main reasons. 1) It shows that Hermione is not perfect and makes her more relateable. Hermione is known to produce awesome blue flames magically and had already done so during the Quidditch game to Snape's robes, but she reacts poorly under a lot of stress during the early books. 2) This is a good moment for Ron. It showcases Ron's humor, calm head during stress, and common sense. Unfortunately a lot of his best moments were changed in the movies to make Hermione look better.

Here's what the movie changed it to:

[Hermione tells them to relax, Harry does, but Ron continues to panic and shout for help]
HERMIONE: [to Harry] I remember reading something in Herbology.
RON: [still trapped] Help!
HERMIONE: Umm...
RON: Help!
HERMIONE: ‘Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare, it’s deadly fun; but will sulk in the sun.’ That’s it! Devil’s Snare hates sunlight! Lumus solem!
RON: Aaahh! [Ron falls through]
HARRY: Ron, are you okay?
RON: Yeah.
HARRY: OK.
RON: Whew! Lucky we didn’t panic!
HARRY: [sternly] Lucky Hermione pays attention in Herbology.


If you could change one thing from the first film, what would it be?





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Excerpt: Echoes by Laura Tisdall - Releasing September 8, 2015


Summary

“There is truth to be shared. Let us begin…”

Volatile mathematical genius Mallory Park is living two lives. In one, she is balancing senior year with looking after her little brother and troubled ex-Marine father; in the other, she spends her nights glued to her laptop, breaking into some of the world’s most secure systems as the hacker Echo Six.

As part of a corruption-exposing cyber network called the Forum, Mallory is far more at ease among the codes and hidden identities of her online world than she has ever been in the real one, but when other hackers start to go missing, she finds herself caught up in a web of secrets that could have repercussions far beyond both.

When anyone can be a name on a screen, how do you know who to trust?


Excerpt:

Chapter 1
Loopholes


Mallory Park hunches forward over the desk, icy blue eyes glued to the screen of the laptop, a single glow in the otherwise darkened room. Numbers and letters filter through her mind, faster than most people could read, let alone make sense of. The digits on the screen appear jumbled, random, but there is always a pattern, always a solution – and she always finds it in the end. She watches as the code expands, letting herself sink into it, becoming immersed in it, sorting and searching…

Searching for…
Loophole.

She spots it. Her pulse lifts a notch as everything clicks into place; a beautiful, crystalline stillness inside her mind. She checks it again, breaths coming a little faster.

Yes, she thinks. There it is, hidden within the programming; a way in, a weakness everyone had claimed didn’t exist. Adrenaline ripples through her, elation coupled with the underlying urgency she always feels this close to the end of a hack. Her thin, black-gloved fingers stir to life and race across the keys, the tips just poking out of the cut-off ends and clicking softly against the plastic. With each stroke, she starts to edit the code, starts to mold it, to persuade it… and she begins to ease her way through. Her pulse is racing now; she is alive and surging and powerful

The minutes tick by.

A strand of dark hair falls down across her face. She flicks it back with a jerk of her shoulder, barely lifting her hands from the keys. Everything is slotting into place, fitting deliciously into a pattern with design and logic and cohesion…

It’s going to work.

Finding the password had only been the first step. Now, after layers and layers of security, after bypassing hidden traps and authentication checks, she is almost there. She can almost feel it…

Almost

She types the last few strokes, blood pumping in her ears…

And she slips through.

The screen changes, the code disappearing to reveal the flying bird logo of Harrison Copeland Pharmaceuticals – the final layer of security bypassed with no alarms triggered. That’s the key; soft and silent, not loud and damaging.

A needle, not a knife.

Something inside of Mallory releases – both a rush and a kind of relief – and it’s as if in that moment everything around her feels clear, where usually there is so much noise. Her lips quirk upwards at the corners. Even Warden had warned her off this hack when she’d told him she’d accepted it. Too many layers, he had said, too many things that could go wrong. He’d kind of sounded worried for her. Her smile widens a touch.

There is always a loophole. You just have to look at things the right way.

She stretches out her fingers, flexing each joint with a sharp, controlled energy, then uploads the program she built to locate the content The Asker had requested. She watches as it starts sifting through the network, searching for the relevant files. He had given this hack specifically to her, specifically to Echo Six. He had said it was important, and Mallory doesn’t screw things up.

Echo Six doesn’t make mistakes.

She taps the middle finger of her left hand on the desk while she waits – four taps, three taps, four taps, two – watching as the status bar slowly fills, empty black to shimmering green. She rechecks for any signs that she might be being traced…

Careful, careful, careful

But there is nothing untoward. No one even knows she’s there.

The minutes tick by, then finally; SEARCH COMPLETE. Two hundred and forty-six files have been identified as mentioning the initial round of testing for the newly approved cancer drug Estalan, eighty-seven of which are marked with the highest security clearance; files that someone tried to bury. She copies them all. The transfer window counts down from one minute, fifty-four seconds as the status bar refills.

Mallory starts tapping again.

She checks for traces.

When all the files have copied, she opens one, a high security one. A quick skim confirms it is what The Asker was after; results Harrison Copeland didn’t want anyone to see, evidence of mistakes, fixes and side effects. Results they had tried very hard – and, from the looks of it, paid a lot of money – to hide.

It was a waste, she thinks, feeling the slightest rush again. They couldn’t hide them from her.

She closes the file and wipes her search algorithm from the HC network. Then she rewrites the system logs to remove all memory of her actions, before hacking her way back out, closing all the loopholes behind her. In a few days, when the files turn up leaked on the net, the techs at HC won’t have any idea how they got out. There will be no recorded log off or log on, and no recorded search; no evidence she was ever there at all.

Just silence.


Author Laura Tisdall


Laura grew up in Woking, England, and studied music at the University of Surrey.

She has written two musicals. The most recent is fantasy story The In-Between, the concept album for which featured performances by nine leading West End stars. Since it’s release, it has been played on BBC Radio 2, performed at West End Live and received hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook.

Laura’s first musical, Faerytale, was showcased by the Guildford School of Acting at the Electric Theatre. She has also written the scores for two nationally touring plays, The Haunting and The Perfect Murder, and been Music Advisor for a third, Dead Simple.

As an arranger and orchestrator, Laura has been Musical Associate for The Night of 1000 Voices (2010, 2012), Kerry Ellis and Brian May’s Anthems: The Concert and The Wonderful World of Captain Beaky with Vanessa Redgrave, Joanna Lumley and Hugh Bonneville – all at the Royal Albert Hall. She was also an arranger for the Cantabile Christmas Cracker at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Laura has written two novels, Tainted Earth and Echoes, the latter of which is due to be published 8th September 2015.


Find the Author:
Goodreads |  Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Cover Scramble [131]



Let's have some fun! I am going to post covers on here every Sunday that are scrambled up graphically, making it hard to tell what cover it is. I would like your guesses on what cover you think I've posted. I won't answer you until I'm posting the next one to let you know if you are right, allowing others to guess as well. Some will be hard, and others may be easy. Let me know in the comments if you'd like some more hints and I'll offer some more if no one guesses it correctly.


I am pulling covers off the Most Popular Page on Goodreads.






Saturday, August 15, 2015

ARC Review: Burdin's End (Beasts of Burdin #3) by Alexander Nader


Published: July 31st 2015 by Hair Brained Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Demons
Format: ebook
Source: provided for honest review

Goodreads Summary

Ty Burdin, the retired demon hunter who just can’t stay retired. 

In the final installment of the Beasts of Burdin trilogy Ty has found himself roped into working for the Agency, a top secret organization with the sole purpose of eliminating all demon activity, yet again. Demon hunting is a full time job, but luckily 

Ty has managed to work his way down to a ‘consulting’ position in the Agency after a few disagreements and a couple dead superiors. 
Ty’s part-time position becomes far more hands on as the demon activity in his region cranks up to eleven. Demons are crawling out of peoples’ minds and into the real world at an alarming rate and it’s up to Ty, once again, to step in and save the day. First step: get over last night’s hangover.

Burdin's End (Beasts of Burdin Book 3) by Alexander Nader today at Amazon

On one side of the kid are two Tengus. They are kind of like the lizard-man, but dogs instead of reptiles. They are mean and protective as a mother lion surrounded by flaming hyenas. On his other side is an imp— the   demon equivalent of a sea monkey— and an ultra-rare Karasu-Tengu, also known as a crow-tengu. Also known as damn I wish I had some backup.


The Good


This is 3rd book in the Beasts of Burdin series. Even though this is the 3rd story, I was able to follow along fine without having read the first 2. Even as a stand-alone read, this was a terrific detective style book with the added element of demons. In this world, demons are manifested when a person focuses on a thought to the point the demon actually appears in the real world. Our hero Ty Burdin comes from a long line of demon hunters. But not just any line, he's a Burdin. They tend to live twice as long as other demon hunters. He still works for the agency, but only to keep Nora his rockabilly secretary safe. You see, she's an oracle and that means she's no better than a demon to the agency, but if he plays ball, they tend to ignore her.

The Bad


I would have liked a little more build up in his brother's relationship with Eugenie the palm reader. You don't even know they've met until they are already together. At that point it's like ok and this went down how? Not that it's a huge stretch for them to be together, but being the major secondary 
character Hartnet is, seeing it happen could have been nice.

The Romance


The romance is fun in this one. Not only does Ty's brother end up dating Eugenie who neither Ty or Nora like, but Ty and Nora have sexual tension galore between them. The 4 of them going on a double date makes for an interesting night.

Conclusion


Well if you like detective style reads like Tomorrow Wendell or the Hellequin Chronicles, then you'll enjoy Ty Burdin. When I finished Burdin's End, I went right to Amazon and bought books 1 and 2 so I could see what I had missed out on. The demon concept is fantastic as is most of the character development.



Excerpts

I put the pedal to the floor, leaving a cloud of dirt and a couple damn confused lake-goers in my rearview. If there is a god, of any form, 
Hartnet has already taken care of whatever the hell he was going after and this is all over. Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Spaghetti Monster, amen.

I pull out the office bottle and take a drink. It’s going to be one of those days. I’ll be lucky if I make it out alive. “So you were hoping
 to catch the couple shitting in your yard?” 
“What?” The smile is gone now and his hands have floated up to the armrests. He grips the chair with the quiet fury of someone who can’t get 
a soda bottle open. “Their dogs, I planned on photographing their dogs.” 
“So you’re the kind of guy that likes to take pictures of dogs in incriminating positions. That sounds like a thrilling hobby. 
I hope that works out for you.” I grab a cigarette and light it.

This fire demon shit is getting super old. Why can’t anyone dream up a nice ice fairy, just once? Or maybe a cotton candy demon? That would 
be a welcome change from all this doom and gloom bullshit demonry. Urobach opens up for another dragon loogie. With a quick dive and roll, 
I clear the flames. Good for me this thing’s got crap for distance. I’ve seen people spit watermelon seeds farther than that; not that I’m complaining.

This is the kind of person to manifest an Urobach. The technical term is pyromaniac. Most men have used the term to describe themselves, or a friend,
 at some point in their adolescence. Honestly, what thirteen year old boy isn’t down for a bonfire or a bottle rocket war? I can’t think of a single 
one. Those aren’t true pyromaniac’s, though. That’s just dudes blowing shit up. True pyros get a special kind of satisfaction from the flames. 
Not only do they like burning things— fields, buildings, animals, people, whatever— they also get off on burning themselves. True pyros are a rare 
breed of fucked up, and I’m staring at one.

“Hey, bossman, if this is a service call, can Diaz handle it?” The kid is cocky enough, I’m surprised he doesn’t jump on everything out there. 
It’s like he’s trying to make a name for himself or something. 
Helstrom sighs the sigh of a housewife asking her husband to get his off the couch and take the trash out. “Diaz is busy. He’s taking care of a 
succubus out in West Hills right now.” 
“Another succubus? That’s like the third one in a month. Are you sure Diaz isn’t manifesting them himself so he can catch a date?”

Burdin's End (Beasts of Burdin Book 3) by Alexander Nader today at Amazon