Your Open Post Promotion Thread

Yesterday I couldn’t post anything due to internet difficulties (mainly that it kept cutting off randomly) and today I’m travelling for most of the day.  Thus, you guys get a promotion thread to promote your own work and find some awesome posts by other bloggers.

Basically, this is how it works:

1.  You comment below and in that comment, give us a little blurb about one or two of your best posts and a link to it/them.  Essentially, tell us what makes that post so special to you.  Is it your favourite post because you think your writing was top quality then?  Is it one of your most viewed posts?  And so on and so forth.

For example:

The Hunger Games and Ancient Rome

 

Technically I’m a book blogger, but here on The Mad Reviewer I also love talking about the occasional pop culture feature as well as history.  So I combined the two and talked about the similarities between The Hunger Games series (both the movies and books) and ancient Roman history.  Even though I wrote it a while back, it’s still one of my favourites because it was one of the first articles I wrote, whereas before I had just done book reviews.

See, it’s pretty easy and it’s free!  So go ahead and promote your favourite blog posts.

Immortal by Gene Doucette

Immortal by Gene Doucette(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

“I don’t know how old I am.My earliest memory is something along the lines of fire good, ice bad, so I think I predate written history, but I don’t know by how much. I like to brag that I’ve been there from the beginning, and while this may very well be true, I generally just say it to pick up girls.”

–Adam the Immortal

Surviving sixty thousand years takes cunning and more than a little luck. But in the twenty-first century, Adam confronts new dangers—someone has found out what he is, a demon is after him, and he has run out of places to hide.Worst of all, he has had entirely too much to drink.

Immortal is a first person confessional penned by a man who is immortal, but not invincible. In an artful blending of sci-fi, adventure, fantasy, and humor, IMMORTAL introduces us to a world with vampires, demons and other “magical” creatures, yet a world without actual magic.

At the center of the book is Adam.

“I have been in quite a few tight situations in my long life. One of the first things I learned was if there is going to be a mob panic, don’t be standing between the mob and wherever it is they all want to go. The second thing I learned was, don’t try to run through fire.”

–Adam the Immortal

Adam is a sixty thousand year old man. (Approximately.) He doesn’t age or get sick, but is otherwise entirely capable of being killed.His survival has hinged on an innate ability to adapt, his wits, and a fairly large dollop of luck. He makes for an excellent guide through history . . . when he’s sober.

Immortal is a contemporary fantasy for non-fantasy readers and fantasy enthusiasts alike.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

What I’ve always wondered at is if there really are immortals, how will they live in today’s society where you need an ID to do almost anything?  At what point do mortals discover their existence?  Well, Gene Doucette certainly deals with that in Immortal.

Adam is probably one of my favourite characters I’ve read about in a long time.  Sure he’s a drunken lecher of the first degree, but after sixty thousand years, wouldn’t you be too?  He’s clever and street smart, which has kept him alive over the millennia and yet he still holds onto the romantic idea that he’s not the only immortal, that the redheaded beauty he keeps seeing will one day reveal herself to him.  If they all don’t get captured by scientists to be poked and prodded and exploited first.  I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I have to say that quite honestly, Immortal does have the feel of the classic as Adam tries to sober up to run away from his many would-be captors.  I don’t compare classics like Douglas Adams’ book to contemporary works very easily, so you can be certain that I really do enjoy and recommend Immortal.

Even though not all that much is revealed about the origins of Adam’s immortality, I can still say that the world-building in this book was excellent.  Why?  Because there are very good reasons for his immortality being shrouded in mystery: humans were quite primitive at the time and he himself says that he wasn’t engaging in the kind of complex thought that is present today.  “Fire good, ice bad”, indeed.  We see flashbacks of his travels across the centuries, sometimes drunken and sometimes not as he encountered everything from demons to famous gangsters.  He’s certainly had a pretty cool life, but not in the “I’m immortal so I’ve met every famous figure ever” way.  No, sometimes he lived a pretty ordinary life and sometimes not, which makes his current political savvy believable as well as his street smarts.

As for the plot, it was surprisingly fast-paced when you consider that there were occasional interludes into the past.  Normally those slow the plot down unbearably, but not so in this case because Gene Doucette is a good writer.  I wanted to know more about Adam’s fascinating background not only because it was fascinating but because it was also relevant to where he is today: being hunted so that scientists can figure out how to recreate the conditions for his immortality.  Adam’s not too keen on being poked, prodded and possibly dissected so things get very, very interesting toward the end of the novel.  Particularly when we see our red-headed friend again.

So all in all, Immortal was a very enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it to others.  Adam is a very memorable character and the world-building is so well done that even with the little knowledge you’re given, you remain fairly satisfied that you know most everything that is relevant to the story itself.  Of course I can’t wait to see that expanded in the next book, Hellenic Immortal.  I’ll definitely be watching and waiting to read the rest of Adam’s story.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

My Interview with Sherry Ficklin

Sherry FicklinSherry Ficklin is the author of eight books, the most recent of which is Queen of Someday, a novel loosely based on the life of one of history’s best well known women, Catherine the Great.  In this interview we discuss future Russian novels, Catherine’s transformation from naive teenager to powerful ruler and why history teachers hate her.

 

1.  What made you want to write about Catherine the Great?  Was there any particular moment in time when you learned about her life and thought “wow, I have to write about her” or was there some other inspiration?
Her history is just so fascinating. I mean, she started out as this fifteen year old German princess, a very poor princess at that, and managed to not just take over the Russian monarchy, but she won the heart of an entire nation. What kind of person could, would dare to, do that? I love strong women, so I knew right away I wanted to know more, and when I didn’t find what I was looking for, I decided to tell my own story.

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Aranya by Marc Secchia

Aranya by Marc Secchia(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

As with a lot of books I seem to read, I was a little skeptical about this one from the blurb.  It had the potential to be either a totally awesome book or really suck.  Good thing for me it was the former and not the latter, right?

I am just blown away by Aranya.  The plot, the world-building, Marc Secchia’s incomparable writing and the vivid characters all come together to make this book one of the best I’ve read in quite literally years.  Considering the fact that I read around 200 books per year, that’s no small feat either.  Sometimes books take the words quite literally out of my mouth and this is one of those instances (which is why I had to write this review hours after finishing the book, just to process it).

I’ll start off with the world-building, which was fabulous.  Here we have a complex geo-political situation within an epic fantasy world!  There are various alliances and rivalries and each little island on this world has its own distinct culture and history.  Its ruling families are all different, as are their customs and languages.  At the same time, for those of you worrying that this just becomes a political thriller, don’t worry.  Marc Secchia walks the fine line between political thriller and awesome world that has complicated politics (but ones that are not the main focus of the story).  So while his world is excellently built, we never get the backstory dump that sometimes happens in similar works.

And the dragons?  Wow.  I like that despite the impossibility of somehow having more matter when you shapeshift from human to dragon, the overall concept is very well thought out.  There are limitations for people like Aranya in both forms and her dragon form is far from invincible like it is in so many other stories.  She actually has to work at developing her powers, with the help of an incurable old letch, Nak.  And her limitations as a new dragon do significantly hinder her as she goes about her journey to save Immadia and her friends/family.  It’s very well done in my opinion.

As I said, Marc Secchia’s writing is incomparable.  He can not only describe action sequences with the ease of a writer with 50+ years of experience, but can also slow down and write heartbreakingly tender moments.  At the same time, the plot never really slows down.  There’s always something going on, a hint of background tension that forces you to keep reading in order to find out what happens next.  I was sucked into the world of Aranya, feeling everything from the humidity in the jungles of the Pygmy and the cool volcanic climate where Aranya gets kidnapped inadvertently.

Last but certainly not least are the characters.  Aranya and Zip are certainly some of the more memorable characters I’ve ever read about and they defy gender stereotypes left, right and centre.  How many female characters have a serious duel nearly to the death and then become the best of friends?  Not as many as male characters, I can tell you that much.  Both of them are well-rounded and three dimensional characters, but Aranya will always hold a special place in my heart.  She’s willing to leave her family and Immadia behind in order to secure the future of her country, even if it means living in obscure exile for the rest of her natural life.  And she does it with minimal whining as well, accepting her duty to her country.  Does that mean she’ll go down without a fight?  Certainly not!  But she also doesn’t spend all her time pining after every attractive guy who crosses her path and whining about how awful her lot in life is.  It’s quite a novel concept after the many, many YA novels I’ve read with similar concepts that were far less well carried out.

I just can’t recommend Aranya enough.  Even if you’re not big into epic fantasy, I think you can still enjoy this book.  Not only are the characters some of the most memorable I’ve ever encountered, the plot was amazing and Marc Secchia’s writing is always superb.  I just don’t have anything to say but this: buy the book already!

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Sempre Libera

For those of you who are new to the blog, today is my birthday.  Normally that wouldn’t be relevant except for the fact that every year on my birthday I write an off-topic essay on things that I’m passionate about.  Here’s a little sampler:

2012: Bullying: An Issue Near and Dear to my Heart

2013: I am More Than Just a Chronic Pain Statistic

So if today you don’t want to read an off-topic post, just proceed to my review of Aranya by Marc Secchia.  If you do, stayed tune because I’m going to talk about change, small town hatred and what it’s like to taste freedom.


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Discussion: Keeping Things Fresh

My three year blog anniversary is just a couple of months off and over my nearly three years of blogging I’ve noticed something: sometimes it feels like your blog is going stale.  Your writing isn’t as good as it seemed to be before, you’re doing the same features over and over again, etc.  You really do lose your motivation and doubt yourself every once in a while; I think every blogger experiences that.

What’s different is how everyone deals with that funk and how they keep their blog fresh.  When I get in a funk, sometimes I’ll just take a day off from writing altogether (usually a Sunday).  Or, I’ll start researching for an article I want to write instead of my usual four reviews in a week.  That’s actually what I’m doing right now since I was just in a funk: I’m researching for an article about how history seems to be at odds with so many dystopias.

My question for you guys is this: How do you keep your blog fresh when you feel it’s getting stale?  What’s the best way that works for you to get out of a writing rut?  And how do you personally stay motivated to keep going?

Book Blast: Guitar Face by Sasha Marshall

 

 

Will the pressures of the rich and famous be too much for her?
 
Publication Date: June 25, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance (18+)

Henley Hendrix has been a guitar prodigy since the age of 12, and has grown up in rock-n-roll her entire life. By the age of 22 she was the Queen of rock-n-roll, and lead singer/guitarist in her band Abandoned Shadow. Women wanted to be her, and men simply wanted her. Tragedy strikes and she walks away from music for four years. She spends four years attempting to pick up the pieces of her life, then she is slowly pulled back to the only things she has ever loved, music and Jagger Carlyle.Jagger is People’s Sexiest Man Alive, and rock’s biggest bad boy, and every woman wants to bed him, while every man wants to be him. Jagger presses her to tour with his and her brother’s band, Broken Access, and sparks fly. Her eyes are opened back up to music, and to the boy she fell in love with in the sixth grade.

The journey is marked by Henley’s fears of her past, and how to proceed with her music career. She is surrounded by comic relief, and most of all love, but will the pressures of the rich and famous be too much after her sabbatical? Will the cameras and the women be too much for her?

If you are looking for a story of redemption with comic relief and a heavy sexual mind, you’ve found it. If you are offended by hot, tattooed rock stars who are vulgar then this is not the book for you. Please be warned, this book is not for anyone below the age of 18. The book contains sex, death, violence, and harsh language.

 

 

 

 

I am a Georgia native, who loves bad boys, tattoos, rock-n-roll, and sexy books. I toured during the 2009 reunion tour with The Allman Brothers as their photographer. I had the time of my life, and through those experiences, I gained an insight into the world of the rich and famous.


The “Guitar Face” story has lived in my crazy mind for many years. I did nothing but eat, sleep, and write “Guitar Face” for a solid week in April, 2014. I laughed and cried with each of these characters,  and immensely enjoy reading this story the many times I have. I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I did writing it.


I love music, dogs, children, family, friends, and tattoos. I combined all of these into this story, & what better way to incorporate some of my favorite things than gorgeous, tatted rock stars.

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