BookwormCastle Rising from the Dead

My blog, long ago having taken a hiatus, after years traveling the world (and returning home and finding new adventures in between, including teaching, working at a national park, volunteering abroad and ghost-writing) I am now resurrecting BookwormCastle from the dead.

castle

Though the blog is being resurrected, my passion for all things books and writing has never died. I have been and still am as passionate about this as when I first started the blog.

In honor of being faithful to my new, (Welcome to BookwormCastle-it is a beautiful place to explore with many rooms) and returning readers-welcome so glad you are back!)  I would like to announce I am starting a new writing challenge.

APTOPIX GERMANY WEATHER

This time, instead of going around the world due to my love of travel and learning new things, I am going to take on the A Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge! Come join me as I explore worlds through my words of stories!

row80logocopy

This will include me setting my own goal of writing, to be updated weekly. It is tailor made for anyone to join and set their own personal writing goal for 80 days.

My goal: working on a personal writing project everyday

Let’s see what gets created and will be shared on here!

A great way to begin anew, resurrect my blog and spark new ideas of writing in the days to come.

Here’s to the A Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge! I hope you will follow me on this journey and/or even join along with me!

Let’s explore!

where-to

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Spiral Bound Brother

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

Welcome to another exciting publishing house spotlight tour from Novel Publicity. Join us as thee new titles from Perfect Edge–we’re calling them the Perfect Edge Triumvirate–tour the blogosphere in a way that just can’t be ignored. And, hey, we’ve got prizes!

About the book: “Diabolically delightful and perversely moving, Ryan Elliot Wilson takes us on a chaotic, engaging and excruciating journey with his train-wreck team of protagonists whom we hate to love.” ~ Moira Walley-Beckett, Writer/Co-Executive Producer, BREAKING BAD

Craft, 47, has always craved the comfort of his role as the eccentric English teacher at Earhart High in the suburbs of St. Louis. But now he finds himself in the school’s library, suffering a mysterious mental paralysis that won’t allow him to stop reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

Lila, 21, has a holiday-break rendezvous planned with her old mentor, Craft. Actually, Lila has many plans—and they’re not all nice. She’s feeling more than a little betrayed and bewildered after discovering that her father is not the man her mother always said. In fact, he kills people.

Duke, 17, is a high-school dropout working in the bowels of Disney World. In his room before dawn, he stuffs essentials into a backpack, preparing to leave home for the first time. It’s news to him, but he has this (disturbed?) sister, Lila, and she wants him to come to L.A. to meet her.

The altered reality Craft and these lost-and-found siblings inhabit propels them on separate journeys across America. In a landscape of angels and mirrors, allies and adversaries, Craft, Lila, and Duke converge to expose the man whose life of violence connects them. Will they find wholeness, justice, and love? Or is it all an invitation to unleash demons best left asleep?

Pick up your copy of this Literary Fiction/Coming-of-Age/Tragicomic through Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Barnes & Noble.

My Review:

Open your diary. The one from your childhood. What do you see? What do you learn? Turn the page- What if someone with ties to your family revealed a secret about your identity that changed the course of your life?

This is what happens to Lila, who reunites with her former favorite teacher and mentor after receiving this news, but it goes downhill from there.

In a crazy chain of events, she tries to figure out her purpose and make some type of resolution to her conflicted life.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “I’d always been able to spot what I thought were beautiful approaches to prayer in others, singers, carpenters, painters, actors, waitresses, poets too, but I had, subconsciously, written it off as impossible, or perhaps deceptive, for myself.”
  • “And to be sure to change her audience of one forever, she must continue to check the mirror to see which pair of eyes has elbowed its way to the front, looking out and back at her. Wanting, as everyone does, to be recognized, fully.”
  • “Even fools love to watch the fool fall—but more so to rise up, from something, against something, so that we may leave with the tiniest inkling that we might do the same.”
  • “Because Jesus, as smart as he was, should’ve known that there isn’t a teacher alive or ever lived who can teach walking on water to everybody. Which is what you sure as shit better be able to do if you’re going to love all your brothers, every last one.”  (This is true, because what Jesus wanted Peter to do when he told him to walk on the water was to look at him- Jesus- only. Not the waves, not the wind or the storms of life. This is very hard to do and not many people can “walk on the water” amid the storms of their lives. More to come on this?)

Pros:

I thought there were some redeemable characters and there was a dynamic plot line.

Cons:

I felt the ending was weak and did not show a strong resolution. I did not like how the story was organized, a little too many threads that did not tie together.

This was not my favorite book, as the train wreck of characters was not ultimately redeeming.

Overall:

I would recommend this is for fans of chaotic story lines, Walt Disney fans, and those who like a unique take on literature and family conflicts, long lost siblings and doppelgangers.

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About the author: Like his characters in the novel, Ryan Elliot Wilson shunned the ambivalent hospitality of the Midwest and the bizarre mix of Hell on Earth meets Happiest Place on Earth of Florida for the great, continually unfolding spectacle of humanity that is Los Angeles. There he found his tribe of the maimed in the form of East Side poets and musicians, Hollywood agents gone mad, and socially inept high school teachers. Wilson has found this mix to be ideal for his pH. His writing can be found in the L.A. anthology, IN SEARCH OF A CITY: Los Angeles in 1000 Words, Thunderdome, Drift, and The Painted Bride Quarterly. He teaches Creative Writing, works in high school counseling, and lives in Los Feliz with his family. SPIRAL BOUND BROTHER is Wilson’s first novel. Connect with Ryan on his website, Facebook, or GoodReads.

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Spiral Bound Brother, or an autographed copy of one of its tour mates, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen or Gripped by Jason Donnelly. Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Perfect Edge Trifecta tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

Perfect Edge Books was founded in late 2011 to unite authors whose books weren’t “obviously” commercial. Our books tend to sit in various genres all at once: literary fiction, satire, neo-noir, sci-fi, experimental prose. We believe that literary doesn’t have to mean difficult, and that difficult doesn’t just mean pointless. We prefer to cultivate a word-of-mouth approach to marketing, and keep production as simple as we can. Learn more at www.PerfectEdgeBooks.com.

Learn more about Spiral Bound Brother’s tour mates HERE.

My Life According to Books 2012

It’s that time of the year again, when I share a little bit about my life using sentences from titles of books I read in the last year. Thanks to Pop Culture Nerd for the inspiration to write this post and a big thanks to The Picky Girl’s blog as well (who I first heard about this from! )  Check out the inspiration for the post here and also take a gander at My Life in Books from 2011!

Here is my 2012 report on my life, according to books! Enjoy reading and please comment with your choices as well, or post the link for your blog post in the comments if you post it on your blog:)

Every Monday, I look/feel like: Crewel (Crewel World) it really is a cruel world when Mondays come every week! (Gennifer Albin)

 Last time I went to a doctor/therapist was because: Marco Polo didn’t go there (Rolf Potts) We were sworn enemies. No, really- I felt like I needed to expand my horizons and thought this would be a good place to start to make sure I was headed in the right direction. I didn’t want to follow Marco Polo for that, now did I? I wanted to get to the right place and not somewhere off the map!

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Last meal I ate was: Eat that Frog! (Brian Tracy- As the man at the night market so kindly recommended, where I am currently living in Taiwan) Okay I admit it, I did not eat it. Though I did eat the stinky tofu…

My savings account is: Cloaked in Red (I read Gone by Michael Grant a few years ago, I believe, so couldn’t put that in here) Vivian Vande Velde

When a creepy guy asks for my number, I: tell him I am a Gypsy Bride and don’t have a phone (I really don’t have one though, so this is a half truth, which brings me to the next one…) (Sam Skye Lee)

Ignorant politicians make me: pull out The Liar’s Bible to cross reference what they are saying 😉 Lawrence Block

liars b ible

Some people need to spend more time: Smiling! (and laughing!) Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a simple act by Ron Gutman (Try it sometime! 🙂

  My memoir could be titled: Life Nomadic (Tynan)

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If I could have I would have told my teenage self: Love must be tough (but not tough hearted towards you- the right love is healthy and loyal- it must be kind hearted!) -James Dobson

In five years I hope I am: Writing Away (Lavinia Spalding) as a successful author!  It is my goal to write my blogs more often and put my first book out (!) so here’s to a happy 2013 filled with lots of joy and writing!

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Eating Frogs, Making Sh*t Happen & the Motivation to Reach your Concrete Goals

Challenges and Warriors

The Crazy Frog Goal Style Method- Doing Whatever it takes, even if it's crazy or scary

What is the thing that challenges you the most? What do you really care about? What is one thing you want to change?

In honor of the new year, I will post about a couple of inspirational books I have read or people I have heard about.

Many people may be fed up with any mention of New Year’s resolutions or change by  now. This might be because they didn’t follow through after the first day or because they didn’t see a need to make a resolution this year at all. Like a jaded warrior, you may run the other way or pull out your sword and start slashing wildly when you hear any talk of resolutions or goals. Why the fear? (Or violence?)

Here’s a quote that might give a possible answer.  “In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.” ~ Anon.

This quote could describe how some people may feel if they constantly face failure or not following through on their goals. This is how I sometimes feel, but I am ready to dive in and make the changes that I need to in my life. Jenny Blake, motivator and awesome life coach I just found out about, may have some answers as well. She quit Google to pursue her dreams that included writing a book and she speaks about the importance of taking little steps towards your goals and not just having an all or nothing mentality on following your goals in her web conference here about how to Make Sh*t happen.  She is also the author of Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want, a book I just discovered that may be very helpful for anyone graduating, recently graduated, or feeling like they should have done something more after this so-called graduation into real life. It is also helpful for anyone wishing to make changes in their life and turn things around.

Samurai Style Method: Facing your Fears to carry out your goals (and not stabbing blindly at them)

I have also been reading called Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy.  Don’t turn away yet, as this book is powerful and packs a punch that goes straight to the core of what you need to do to change your habits that bring you nowhere. You need to take the right steps and this cuts right to the bone of the issue. There is so much you can take away from this book, but a few helpful tips it suggests are:

  • Do something, whatever it is and however small it is, RIGHT NOW towards your goal. Taking the first step is always very difficult and just starting can really be a great motivation for you to keep going.
  • It also lets you know how important it is to develop the right habits, as they can determine how successful you are. This is important because what you spend your time doing, or what you are used to doing can determine what opportunities you open yourself up for and what you miss out on because your habits or ways of doing things get in the way.
  • The importance of Visualization and seeing yourself successful and as the person you would like to be. This is similar to Jenny Blake’s method of Act As If.
  • The super importance of writing your goals down. This allows you to see your goals in concrete form, or rather, on paper I should say. Or Concrete Paper? Check out Papercrete here- recycling paper into concrete
  • I won’t say anymore about what the book advises you, just that it is awesome advice presented in a way that allows you to apply it to your life right away to make true changes.

Other Inspirational people who really blew me away

Alicia Kozakiewicz  is someone who survived being kidnapped and exploited for human trafficking. She was rescued by a FBI team and now has goals to prevent others from experiencing the trauma that she did. She is currently going to school to reach her dreams of being on a FBI team herself.

“I’d like,” she says, “to ultimately become the person who rescues the child, and then helps to recover that child’s soul.” 

Find out more about her at the Alicia Project

Someone else who has touched my heart ever since I heard about her is Elizabeth Smart. I was glued to the TV and scoured the internet trying to find out more about her and praying that she would return home safely and soon. Elizabeth and Alicia created a video on how everyone can help to rescue children who have been kidnapped and held in horrible conditions against their wills, just like they were. Everyone can be a hero and it starts with taking a single step, a single click of your mouse. Check out their video here, called Not One More Child and determine today how many more children should have to be stuck in slavery.

Issues like this really touch my heart and set it on fire. I will make a difference for these children, many who have nobody out there fighting for them. And EVERYBODY  can make a difference for the causes they believe in. The Wikipedia Blackout has shown us this. Where there is a fire, there is a way, a solution to that fire. You have to spread the fire to get to the solution. What are the causes that you believe in, that you are wildly passionate about? Please share below, I would love to hear!

Boyfriend from Hell: When it all seems too perfect (Or fiery teenage rebellion from the not-so-good girl)

Review: Boyfriend from Hell by E. Van Lowe

This book defies the traditions of the paranormal romance realm and delves into the deep end. With shocking twists at every turn, the main character, Megan feels like she doesn’t know who is who anymore or what is going on, as her life totally changes once her mom starts dating. The man seems perfect, almost too good to be true, (in her mom’s eyes, at least) until she digs up some serious dirt on him. Not your average dirt either. But no one believes her, because it sounds too crazy. Who would believe a teenage girl saying that her mom’s new love interest is from hell?

What she doesn’t know will hurt her

So many changes are going on in Megan’s life that she responds at first in the usual teenage way. She breaks her tradition of being the good girl who is known for following the rules and starts to do what she wants. Rules be damned! Things get more serious when she is in danger and has to break some rules, this time for a reason- she has to protect her mother and cannot tell her what is really going on.

The relationships are what drive the book forward with an ever increasing momentum. Just as she doesn’t know who she truly is at times,  she now doesn’t feel she really knows everyone around her, let alone if she can trust them any longer.

As far as love interests go, as the title does say boyfriend– Megan does have a new love interest. And when her two best friends start dating, this throws a whole new dynamic to her friendships. Along with her mom’s new boyfriend situation, Megan does not know who she can really trust or love, let along if they are really there to protect her or hurt her. This definitely adds layers of tension and mystery to the already fast paced story. The complexity of the relationships alone is a great reason to check out the book to see how her relationships fare and how this affects the story, as well as her very chances of survival.

The ending pulls you so completely in that you need to know what happens next. Just enough is revealed so that it leaves you craving more to see what happens next between the characters that you come to love (or hate/fear, depending on who we are talking about). It’s all about the dynamics and this book nails them down.

Megan has to fight to protect her best friends, loved ones and her mom, who she loves more than anything. But who will fight for her? And what if the ones she fights for turn their backs on her?

For information on the author, visit here.

Now is also the perfect time to get your e-copy. The E-book sale is from now until August 31st, check it out here!

Boyfriend From Hell is the first book of the saga, which is great, as it definitely leaves you looking forward to the next one, Earth Angel!

 

Shadows, Dreams and Nightmares that come true: Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick

What happens when your society turns against you and your family?

Review: Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick

If only dreams did not come true

Not knowing quite what to expect from this new author, I was pleasantly surprised. The beginning of the book opens with what seems to be a nightmare, but we soon discover that the main character, Paivi, can sometimes see visions of the future from her dreams. About five years before she starts high school, she has a nightmare or vision of her best friend’s mom dying in a car accident. She awakes horrified and tells her parents. She has had dreams before that came true, so she wants to warn her friend’s mom so that she doesn’t die. To her horror, her parents tell her she cannot tell anyone about this.

Paivi is a very in depth character and reading this book, you really come to feel what she is feeling, as her thoughts and reactions are described very well and she is easy to connect to. She cares so much about those around her that she sometimes even cares more about them than she does about herself. This can be a good or bad thing, but it becomes dangerous when her world turns upside down and she learns that there are others like her, who have special abilities. But they must keep it a secret.

But the secret gets revealed. And now her very life is in danger. The Red Scare and The Salem Witch Trials are combined together and thrown into modern times with fears of “terrorists”, and it soon becomes like Nazi Germany. It becomes a normal thing for classmates and even friends to turn against the people who were declared “enemies of the state.” It is very scary how realistic this is and how it happens-it shows it can very well happen now. Even the principal of the school is no longer able to protect his students, or else he will also be declared an enemy of the state. Everyone lives in fear and fear breeds hate.

You are the enemy

Anyone who tries to protect them, defend them or stand up for them in any way is violently pushed back and warned about putting their own necks on the line. Other students so easily turn against her. She tries to blend in and follow the rules, not wanting to be arrested or put anyone else in danger for her.

When her parents are in danger of being arrested, the world for her and the other “enemies of the state” becomes completely unrecognizable. And when Paivi and her younger brother have to fight to survive on their own, the situation looks even worse. With few people left to trust and not wanting to put anyone in danger, what else can you do to survive in a world that has turned against you?

Could this really happen?

This book will open your eyes to the horror of how fast this can happen and how people could very well react and be led to do anything for fear of the “terrorist” or the “enemy” and for fear of the consequences of standing up for what is right. Definitely a great read, a thrilling adventure, very thought provoking and while it has some emotional road bumps, it is very much worth it and I would recommend you add it to your to-be-read-next pile.

For information on this author, click here. Book 2 of the trilogy, Darkness Rising will be coming out in 2012. She also has another book coming out, The Green. Stay tuned for reviews and for the latest updates- please follow or sign up for email updates at the top right!

Click the picture below to get the e-book free on Amazon for a limited time only!

Hollowland: A new type of thrill: no roller coasters, only zombies

Hollowland: A new type of thrill: no roller coasters,
only zombies

Review:
Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

“This the way the world ends – not with a bang or a
whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

This opening line promises an exceptional out-of- this-world story. And on that, it more than delivers. There is something that is so great about an opening line that really pulls you into the story, making you tense up for the next punch.  That is the way it should be and that is what Hocking gives us.

The pace and nonstop action of the story demands that you keep walking (and running) along to see what happens as you join Remy and her companions on this journey through what is left of the world after zombies take over. There are corpses in the streets (if the zombies didn’t eat them yet) and zombies are not the only things you have to worry about. Oh, and of course you cannot step outside without the risk of becoming a corpse yourself. And what happens when it seems that the zombies can be capable of some type of rational thought and planning? It makes for a very unpredictable new type of horror, I can tell you that.

From the outset, it is clear that Remy is fiercely independent and outrageously brave even though this newZombieland without the amusement parks scares the hell out of her. It is inspiring and makes for a thrilling, edge of your seat story to see a young woman who fights without stopping for what matters most to her.

No admittance: Ride out of order (or: Ride at your
own risk)

Remy was in quarantine when the story starts, along with a bunch of other young girls placed there for their safety once the zombie apocalypse started. They are living in what is supposed to be a safe place for them, but it soon becomes a death chamber as the zombies break in, killing off the last of the soldiers that were there to protect them and, it seems, on the verge of killing everyone else there as well.

Remy was not about to lock herself in, even though all the other girls did, as they were taught to protect themselves in this way (and only this way) from zombies. She leaves “the safe place” (which at that point was quite safe…for about 5 minutes) to venture out to find her little brother. He had been at the same place as her and he was evacuated because he was sick, which raises some questions about wh they didn’t evacuate all the healthy people as well. She vows to find him and protect him, and two other girls go with her.

After fighting zombies, acquiring an unlikely pet, and meeting a rock star, she is well on the way to finding her brother; at least this is her hope. This is her mission and she will let nothing get in her way.

Zombies with brains?

It is very interesting how the zombies are portrayed in this story, as mentioned before. They seem to be smarter than your averag zombie and can actually communicate with each other in some way- all for the purpose of eating you quicker, my dear. This is definitely not your normal fairy tale zombie story and that, along with the great characterization, tense action and the magnetic pull of what the fight is really for, is what keeps you running to catch up with Remy. Definitely makes me want to learn more about the zombies that Hocking has created.

Dark side of town

The darker side of humanity is also explored in the book. People kill other people without reason and just for the thrill of it and dangerous run ins with cults make for some very scary what if questions. It is interesting to think about how easily some people could lose their so called “humanity”. Then, of course, there are those who have already lost it that Remy must face. She also deals with questioning herself on if she is doing the right thing for everyone around her in her attempt to save her little brother and try to protect her friends.

It is important to realize that no one has all the time in the world and when Remy realizes this, this is what makes her fight her hardest for what is most important and to not waste any of her time.

Title talk: Not so Hollow after all?

Remy can be said to be seen as hollow, emotion wise, at least in how she connects to others. Not that she doesn’t care about them, but her issue is that she does, and wants to protect them. She fears she won’t be able to and so she shuts them out.

She doesn’t want anything to get in the way of her reaching her brother. Nor does she want to get too attached to anyone in this world of death, where it is very likely that you have to leave your best friend or kill them before they kill you if they are bitten or infected by a zombie.

Love in Hollowland?

Nothing to fear for the weak at heart when it comes to love stories, as Remy, as discussed before, does not allow love get in the way of what she is trying to do. There is nothing that is love at first sight, it is a believable relationship that is allowed to develop naturally (as naturally as it can in a world of zombies) and it definitely is not the focus of the story.

In regards to her love interest, she does shut him out as she doesn’t see this as an option with the world the way it is as well as her goal to find and help her brother.

At the end of the novel, she makes a very difficult choice. No one who loves her will be happy with this decision, but it is what she feel she must do. Readers may cry out in protest, as they find themselves loving Remy as well.

This decision also allows her to open her heart to love again, as she confesses how she feels to her love interest. But this may not make much of a difference, after all.

 End of the ride? (Or: those who
survived, exit to the left, those who didn’t, stay on)

The end will leave you hungering for the coming sequel, Hollowmen, (coming out this Fall) in which everything might change again for Remy, but there is no way to tell if these will be welcome changes or not. Be sure to look for my review on the sequel!