Saturday, March 31, 2012

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:

Fangs! by Alan MacDonald
Katie Woo Rules the School by Fran Manushkin
That Book about Harvard by Eric Kester
I Dream of An Elephant by Ami Rubinger
Dog Number 1, Dog Number 10 by Ami Rubinger
Robert Ludlum's (TM) The Bourne Imperative by Eric Van Lustbader

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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Big Cat, Small Cat by Ami Rubinger


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Big Cat, Small Cat takes readers through a fantastical world of felines where they will encounter many different pairs of cats, from good and bad to happy and sad. The book's sing-song text leaves out the last word of each page, allowing little ones to chime in and complete the rhyme. Captivating, colorful illustrations provide clues for the words that have been left out. Introducing words like "dirty," "clean," "nice," and "mean," Big Cat, Small Cat teaches children about rhyming and opposites with a fun, fill-in-the-blank challenge that encourages participation.
MY TAKE:

I was intrigued by the idea of a children's book that was part activity book too.

Big Cat, Small Cat is a children's book wherein kids are shown drawings of cats that are opposites (big, small, short, ..., etc.). The fourth adjective is left blank for kids to fill in.

It's such a cute idea! This way, kids can actively participate while their parents read to them. It's also a great way for kids to learn new words.

Thanks to NetGalley and Abbeville Kids for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:
  1. It's imaginative.
  2. Kids will have lots of fun with this one.
  3. It's educational.
THE BAD:
  1. Some people might not be a fan of the illustration style.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
This cat is dark
This cat is fair
This cat is here
This cat is...
READ IT IF:
  1. You're looking for a children's book that you can read with your child.
  2. You like activity books.
  3. You or your child likes cats.
RATING:
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Jeremy Lin by Bill Davis


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
This true story is truly “Lin-sane!”
The world is exposed to an individual like Jeremy Lin only once in a generation. His journey has taken him from practicing lay-ups on the court at the local YMCA to hitting last minute game-winners on the grand stage at Madison Square Garden. This book charts Jeremy’s life story, from the streets of Palo Alto to the dormitories of Harvard to the major arenas throughout the country. Through exclusive interviews, play-by-plays, and colorful recollections, we get an intimate look at Jeremy’s story. It is one of unyielding determination, true faith, and unimaginable success.
MY TAKE:

Since I don't really have a lot of time to watch the NBA, I haven't reached ultimate Linsanity level yet. However, a lot of my friends here in the Philippines are a little bit "linsane".

Jeremy Lin is the story of the early years and rise of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. The book is peppered with quotes and facts that illustrate what an amazing and humble person Jeremy Lin is.

I was surprised when I saw this book in NetGalley since Jeremy's meteoric rise to fame seemed to have started only a couple of months ago. Even so, this book is very well-written and well-researched. Since this book is meant for younger children, it's less than 100 pages. It's perfect for kids and their parents, but if you're a regular adult fan, you might feel that it's too short.

Thanks to NetGalley and Right Fit Publishing for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. It has almost everything you could possibly want to know about Jeremy Lin.
  2. This book can inspire a lot of kids.
  3. It's well-researched and well-written.
THE BAD:
  1. It's a bit short.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"I've been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while... I can't take credit for it, but I'm just saying I was there early." - President Barack OBama, on learning about Lin when the Knicks point guard was still a senior at Harvard
READ IT IF:
  1. You are a Jeremy Lin fan.
  2. You like underdog stories.
  3. You want to inspire your kids to work hard and play hard.
RATING:
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Torn by Stephanie Guerra


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
Stella Chavez is your classic good girl: straight As, clean-cut boyfriends, and soccer trophies . You’d never guess that Stella’s dad was a drug addict who walked out when she was a kid. Or that inside, Stella wishes for something more.

New girl Ruby Caroline seems like Stella’s polar opposite: cursing, smoking, and teetering in sky-high heels . But with Ruby, Stella gets a taste of another world—a world in which parents act like roommates, college men are way more interesting than high school boys, and there is nothing that shouldn’t be tried once.

It’s not long before Stella finds herself torn: between the best friend she’s ever had and the friends she’s known forever, between her family and her own independence, between who she was and who she wants to be.

But Ruby has a darker side, a side she doesn’t show anyone—not even Stella. As Stella watches her friend slowly unravel, she will have to search deep inside herself for the strength to be a true friend, even if it means committing the ultimate betrayal.
MY TAKE:

When I read the blurb for Torn, the first thing that came to mind was an article I read about Nikki Reed writing the script for Thirteen.

Torn is about the story of a good girl, Stella, who becomes friends with Ruby. Ruby is wild and a bit of a troublemaker and Stella soon finds herself doing things she doesn't really like or is not like her at all.

I have read a lot of YA books so I wasn't really expecting much from this book. I mean, the plot sounds pretty cliche, right? Well, in a way it is. However, it does have its good moments. I particularly liked the ending. :D

I wasn't hooked by the book exactly, as I prefer YA books that have more introspection than this did. If Stella had more life-changing lessons or sort of took a step back and pondered a bit ala Sarah Dessen's characters, this might have been a 5-star book.

As is, the only thing I really hated about this book is Stella's love interest. The guy took away from the story. If the focus had been more on Stella and Ruby, it would have been more interesting and less forced.

Thanks to NetGalley and Children's for the e-ARC. Publication date for Torn is on April 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. It has a kick-ass revenge scene against bullies.
  2. It has some unexpected twists.
  3. Ruby is an interesting character.
THE BAD:
  1. The resolution came too easily.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
As she gave me a mock-princess wave, a word popped into my mind: unsinkable.
READ IT IF:
  1. You have been bullied.
  2. You have gossiped about someone you didn't know well.
  3. You are feeling a lot of pressure in your life.
RATING:
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The number of scales a fish has stays the same throughout its life. It doesn't develop more as it grows; its scales just get bigger.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction by Portable Press


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Quick fiction for readers on the go!

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction is a tantalizing collection of 88 short-short stories custom-picked for the Bathroom Reader aficionado. We scoured the country for talented fiction writers and asked them to send us their best quick reads. The result: mysteries, horror, sci-fi, adventure, plenty of laughs--and a few gasps--in these startling short stories. They're like little movies for your mind!
MY TAKE:

I have been an Uncle John's Bathroom Reader fan since college, so I couldn't pass up this chance to review this book.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction is a collection of short stories about all sorts of topics and of different genres. It's basically a hodgepodge of stories, so you should be able to find something you like.

I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. A lot of the stories were too creepy or absurd for me. I did enjoy a few of the stories, though, especially The Taste of Failure (a comedy) and And Then (a suspense story). I would tell you more about the stories I liked, but if I did, then I'd be spoiling the whole plot, since they're short stories and all. :P

Thanks to NetGalley and Portable Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction is on April 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. There's something for everyone.
  2. The stories are interesting and well-written.
  3. You never know what kind of story you're gonna get.
THE BAD:
  1. You might not like a lot of the stories if you're not into absurd, sci-fi or creepy stuff.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"It tastes like chicken!"
READ IT IF:
  1. You like sci-fi, creepy and bizarre/absurd stories.
  2. You need bathroom reading.
  3. You like short stories or have a short attention span.
RATING:
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
In this warmhearted middle-grade novel, Oona and her brother, Fred, love their cat Zook (short for Zucchini), but Zook is sick. As they conspire to break him out of the vet’s office, convinced he can only get better at home with them, Oona tells Fred the story of Zook’s previous lives, ranging in style from fairy tale to grand epic to slice of life. Each of Zook’s lives has echoes in Oona’s own family life, which is going through a transition she’s not yet ready to face. Her father died two years ago, and her mother has started a relationship with a man named Dylan—whom Oona secretly calls “the villain.” The truth about Dylan, and about Zook’s medical condition, drives the drama in this loving family story.
MY TAKE:

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook is a lovely, bittersweet story and you don't even have to like cats to like it.

The story revolves around Oona, her brother Fred and their cat Zook. Zook is sick, but as Oona points out to her brother, cats have nine lives and Zook is only on his fifth.

Majority of the story is about the previous lives of Zook, plus what happens to Oona and her family.

There were plenty of things I liked about this book. For one thing, I liked Oona's philosophies and theories. I particularly liked her rainbow whopper theory. It made me think of Burger King whoppers, but actually whoppers aren't burgers. Whoppers are stories, exaggerations or lies. Oona talks about different-colored whoppers, but my favorite is the green whopper, which she describes as:
That's why stories are green whoppers, because they're alive and growing and changing all the time.
The story contained lots of quotable quotes and smart observations, and I like the idea of telling original stories to kids. Most parents just read from books nowadays, which is too bad because some of them may have a little bit of J.K. Rowling in them.

Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for the e-ARC. Publication date of The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook is on April 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. Lots of quotable quotes and smart observations.
  2. Good premise.
  3. Intelligent characters.
THE BAD:
  1. It's a little bit predictable.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
She was always smiling. That's because you get a happy feeling helping someone read. You feel sort of like a wizard.
There is something wonderful and incredible about people's names. You are given a name when you are born, and some people are given one before they are born. Your parents know nothing about you, except that you are very small, know how to yell, need your diaper changed a lot, and enjoy drinking milk. [...]
The wonderful thing is this: After awhile, it becomes clear that your name is the perfect name, the only-name-for-you name.
READ IT IF:
  1. You love cats.
  2. You would like to introduce your children to the magical world of storytelling.
  3. You want to feel like a kid again.
RATING:
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:

Bright Island by Mabel L. Robinson
Cat Girl's Day Off by Kimberly Pauley

WON:


Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly
Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly
Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Undertow by Callie Kingston Giveaway Winner!

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The winner has already been contacted by Mrs. Kingston. Thanks to everyone who joined!

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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Puffling Patrol by Ted and Betsy Lewin


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Every April, the Westman Islands off the coast of Iceland become home to hundreds of thousands of puffins, small black-and-white seabirds with colorful bills. They spend the summer on the rocky cliffs of the islands, caring for their newly hatched chicks. By the middle of August, it is time for the young puffins, called pufflings, to make their way to the sea. And that is when the children of The Puffling Patrol are called to action.

Ted and Betsy Lewin have journeyed to the Westman Islands to experience The Puffling Patrol's endeavors firsthand. In the company of Erna, Dáni, and their father, they drive through town at night, carefully searching for confused little birds that have glided down onto the streets instead of out to sea. Will the children find the pufflings before the birds encounter danger? Will the pufflings ever make it to the sea to spend their lives with other puffins in the North Atlantic Ocean?

The fascinating story of this unique annual rescue, combined with Ted Lewin's dramatic paintings and Betsy Lewin's lively field sketches, is sure to make Puffling Patrol a hit with animal lovers of all ages.
MY TAKE:
I am a huge fan of books which have beautiful illustrations and a good story.

Puffling Patrol talks about the authors' experience with the Puffling Patrol in Ireland.

My favorite thing about this book are the realistic paintings that look almost like photograph sometimes. The story didn't really grab my attention and I would find my focus shifting every now and then. It has a great concept, though. It's mostly about raising awareness about what is happening to the puffins in Ireland.

The book is pretty long too, and more suited to older kids and for bedtime reading for younger kids.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lee and Low Books for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. Beautiful, realistic paintings.
  2. You learn a lot about puffins.
  3. It raises awareness about the plight of puffins.
THE BAD:
  1. Some people might find it boring.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Group of puffins, called rafts, ride the waves like toy ducks.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like puffins.
  2. You like realistic illustrations in children's books.
  3. You love the environment.
RATING:
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Baby Flo by Alan Schroeder


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Straight up:

Florence was a remarkable child,

and that's a fact.

Pint-sized dynamo "Baby Florence" Mills was singing and dancing just about as soon as she could talk and walk. She warbled a tune while her mama did laundry. Everywhere Flo went, she strutted through the streets of Washington, D.C. with a high-steppin' cakewalk. Flo's mama and daddy knew they had a budding entertainer in the family, so they entered Florence in a talent contest.

Baby Flo went on to become an international superstar during the Harlem Renaissance-but first she had to overcome a case of stage fright and discover that winning wasn't everything. Here is the spirited story of that spunky young girl learning to chase her dreams with confidence. A sensation in her time, Baby Flo is back, dancing and singing her way into hearts and history.
MY TAKE:
I like reading biographies and children's books, so I was excited to read this book.

Baby Flo is the story of Florence Mills, a famous singer and dancer from the early 1900s, and her humble beginnings.

Most of the children's books I review are really quick reads made up of a couple or so sentences per page, so I was surprised to find that the text was so long. This book is meant for the older kids or for parents to read to their younger kids.

The story is easy enough to follow. It's very entertaining and Flo is very endearing. The illustrations are also very pretty and old time-y.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lee and Low Books for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. Beautiful, whimsical coloring.
  2. Great storytelling.
  3. You can read Florence Mills story at the latter part of the book.
THE BAD:
  1. Younger kids might have a hard time reading this.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"You're pretty good," John remarked. "You must have got that from my side of the family."
"In your dreams!" said Nellie. "She got it from me, that's who. Fool!"
READ IT IF:
  1. You have a child that loves to sing and/or dance.
  2. You want to introduce your kids to longer books.
  3. You like pretty children's books.
RATING:
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
For peasant women, the ability to prepare such foods conveyed status. O-lan’s cooking skills increase her value as a slave and a wife, and are a source of pride to Wang Lung. When she first arrives at his house, O-lan prepares a meal for seven with the pork, beef, and fish that Wang Lung has provided
.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush: The Graphic Novel #1) by Becca Fitzpatrick


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She''s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life This title also contains an exclusive, original story written especially for this book by the author. This bonus story tells what happens to the characters between Book 1 and Book 2 of this series and will only be available in this book.
MY TAKE:

I've been meaning to read Hush, Hush for awhile, but haven't had the time. When Gladys of Sea Lion Books was looking for bloggers to review Hush, Hush The Graphic Novel, I jumped at the chance to review it.

I was surprised that it's in black and white. Perhaps it's a play on Nora's surname (Grey)? It doesn't really matter, though, as the illustrations are quite good.

Nora is dressed provocatively through much of the novel. I'm not sure if that's really how she is in the books, but I found it both attractive and a little bit off. Patch, on the other hand, reminds me of a cockier Edward Cullen.

As for the story, it's basically the first part of the Hush, Hush story. It's more of how Patch and Nora meet and first interact and there's not a lot of other stuff that goes on. It does build up quite nicely, though, and makes you want to read the next volume in the series. Plus, the illustration for Volume 2 is gorgeous, so this series could definitely get interesting.

Thanks to Sea Lion Books for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:
  1. Anime-style graphics lends itself well to the story.
  2. Nora is pretty.
  3. Interesting story.
THE BAD:
  1. Patch's look and personality might not appeal to everyone.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:


READ IT IF:
  1. You like manga novels.
  2. You want to read Hush, Hush but don't have time to read the novel.
  3. You like cocky male lead characters.
RATING:
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FOR REVIEW:

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
Artemis Fowl & The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Grave Mercy (Exclusive Promo Galley) by Robin LaFevers
Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fiction Feature: Michelle Muto

For this Fiction Feature, we have a guest post from Michelle Muto, the author of Don't Fear the Reaper & The Book of Lost Souls.
THE MAGIC WITHIN AND THE LITTLE BOOK THAT COULD

That's what I've been calling The Book of Lost Souls, the book that started my path to publication. I’ve always loved to write. I’ve always loved the way imagination and words blend on a page, the way they transport a reader to faraway worlds, or right next door, where witches live. From the time I was very young, books were an amazing world to me. There was no greater joy than going to the library with my mother whose love of books knew no measure. When I was very young, my mother read to me every night. As I grew older, we’d talk about the books we were reading.

Even as a young child, I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. But, writing wasn’t what paid the bills. I got a regular job and life went on, although I still dreamed of writing. My father always told me to believe in myself and to never give up on what I firmly believed in. A few years after his death, I took up writing again. My mother, who was now ill and who had moved in with my husband and me, was happy to read what I wrote, or to set the table in order to give me a few more minutes of writing time.

And so I wrote and edited and revised. Just before the book was ready to send to agents, my mother died. I set the book aside. Writing was too painful, too full of memories.

But, the stories in my head wouldn’t let up, and so after a few years I started writing again. This time, I wrote about a teen witch named Ivy and her life in a small town, and I quickly fell in love with the story and the eclectic group of characters. I think of it as Buffy meets Harry Potter. When I typed the last line, I actually felt a pang of sorrow—I didn't want to say goodbye. Ivy and her story became The Book of Lost Souls, and after polishing it up, I sent it off to agents. Plenty were interested and requested the full manuscript. Unfortunately, most of them thought the book was too light. Too cute. Too Disney. They offered to read whatever else I had, as long as it was darker. Darker sells! Or so they said.

So, after two revisions for two separate agents that eventually didn't pan out (they said the book still had a lighthearted feel to it that wouldn't appeal to publishing houses), I set The Book of Lost Souls aside and started working on an outline for a much darker book.

It was around this time that the economy began to collapse—hard—and I was given the pink slip on Friday the 13th, right after I had completed a project that saved the company $400,000 annually. Say goodbye to eighteen years of loyal service! Suddenly, writing a darker, more dystopian book about the afterlife on top of losing my job seemed too much to take. Still, I recalled my father’s wisdom of believing in myself even when no one else did. I wrote and finished the next book, Don’t Fear the Reaper, in about seven months.

Still unemployed despite literally hundreds of applications, I began to worry we would lose our home or deplete our savings before I found a job. My career in IT was gone—off shored as they call it. I also wondered if I’d ever see any of my books published. I was so close to getting an agent so many times. Agents wrote back: You’re a strong writer. Or, The Book of Lost Souls is a great story and is well-written, but it’s not for me.

Nearly every morning, my inbox was filled with rejection letters from jobs and agents, yet I tried to stay positive. I kept repeating my father’s words to believe, to never give up. For every rejection, I sent out twice as many applications, twice as many query letters. I just tried harder.

I had been querying Reaper for about three months when I got an editorial letter from one of New York’s biggest literary agencies who'd had The Book of Lost Souls for nearly a year. A year! But, the letter was so enthusiastic about the story and my writing that I sat down and made every last revision they suggested. I turned it in and waited. Months went by. In the end, they rejected the story—not because they didn't love it, but because in the year and change they’d had the manuscript, another client had submitted a proposal for a story about a teen witch. Conflict of interest, they called it.

And that was that. My novel, the book that was finished, was dumped for someone else’s book that hadn't yet been written. Somewhat angry and depressed, I set The Book of Lost Souls aside. Again. By now, I was at the end of my rope. I was still unemployed and out of unemployment benefits. The only work I could find was the occasional short-term computer job, some tech writing gigs, or dog-sitting. Nothing full-time, and certainly nothing we could count on.

If the near-miss with Super Agency wasn’t enough, I found myself running into similar situations with Don't Fear the Reaper. Now, agents were saying, Too dark! But, you're a talented writer and we'd love to see other work. Or, You’re capable of incredibly incisive scenes—the opener is still one of the best things I read all year. And, my personal favorite, In this economy...

It was then that I learned about self-published authors such as Karen McQuestion and Amanda Hocking. I decided to go indie as well, starting with The Book of Lost Souls. What did I have to lose? A lot if I didn’t figure out a way for our household to stop hemorrhaging money. The only problem? I had no idea where to start. I sent an email to Ms. McQuestion, in the hopes she could point me in the right direction. She was so incredibly kind! Not only did she reply, she sent me a wealth of information on self-publishing. Today, she shares all that information on her blog. I’m incredibly grateful to her.

I got a cover I could afford with the help of another indie, Sam Torode. Two editor friends went over my work. Finally, I formatted the book and the rest is history. I uploaded The Book of Lost Souls in early March, and it’s been getting consistently great reviews ever since. As for being too lighthearted? I receive emails all the time from people who love that the book is funny, upbeat, and clean.

Within my first five weeks of self-publishing, I hit three best seller lists on Amazon. Me. An indie author without a publicist or a big agency or publisher behind them. Just me, my computer, my loving husband, and the devotion of two dogs at my feet.

I’ve been asked if there will be a sequel to The Book of Lost Souls. The answer is yes. Two more books, maybe a third. I just haven't thought that far out yet.

And the other, darker book? After some revisions, Don't Fear the Reaper debuted in late September 2011. On its first day, the book reached lucky #13 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases, Children’s Fiction, Spine-Tingling Horror.

I’m only sorry that my parents aren’t here to see this. I took my father’s advice and my mother’s faith and reinvented myself. I still dog-sit and take on small computer jobs and tech writing gigs to help keep us afloat financially. But one day, I hope that my hard work will pay even more of the bills. Until then, I’m at peace with the way things are.

Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Great advice. And so, The Book of Lost Souls, the book that nearly wasn’t, became the little book that could. I’m a firm believer that hopes and dreams are something to hold onto and fight for. Believe in the magic that is you. Keep your dreams close, and set your imagination free.

I’d like to dedicate my section of this anthology to readers everywhere—words alone cannot express how much I appreciate you believing in me. You’re every bit as much a part of the magic as Ivy herself.

So, thank you, Dear Reader. Sincerely. Because, every author with a story to tell writes with you in mind.
ABOUT MICHELLE MUTO:

Michelle has always loved storytelling. When she was a child, her favorite stories were of monsters and things that lurked in the dark. Telling stories often frightened her classmates and got her into a lot of trouble with her teachers. They had no sense of humor.

As an adult, Michelle traded her love of writing for the corporate life where she was an IT professional. Today, she's doing what she loves best - writing and storytelling.

Michelle grew up in Chicago, but currently lives in NE Georgia with her husband and their two dogs. She loves scary books, funny movies, sports cars, chocolate, dogs, and changes of season.
COVER & STORY PREMISE:


The Book of Lost Souls
When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy has heard it all before - that her father, who left when she was seven, was involved with the darkest of magic.

Making the rumors worse, someone uses an evil spell book to bring back two of history's most nefarious killers. Ivy's got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But she'll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits that want her and her friends dead: the school's resident bad boy and hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Nick's offering Ivy more than his help with recovering the missing book: he's offering her a way to ditch her scaly reputation as a
lizard-lover. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and as Ivy soon discovers, it's going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to survive long enough to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week's end.

READ SAMPLE CHAPTERS HERE: Amazon

CONNECT WITH MICHELLE:

Blog: http://michellemuto.wordpress.com/
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