Confessions of a Book Addict

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Today I had the awesome opportunity of heading down to one of Burlington’s oldest used bookstores, The Book Nook, with a friend. After one or two wrong turns (because it is very small on the outside and hidden beside a Starbucks), I finally found myself surrounded by used books. 

It was pretty amazing. 

After asking the gentleman working behind the counter if I could take pictures for a blog post, I set out on my own to explore the stacks while waiting for my friend.

As you can probably see, the selection was extensive. The shelves were overflowing with books, making the shopping experience truly unique and exciting, since one could never know what s/he might stumble upon. 

Established approximately 25 or so years ago, The Book Nook is a small oasis for old books and gently used texts. The man running the store was polite and made for a unique experience, especially with the lilting tunes of oldies over a radio. 

Earlier in the morning, I’d decided not to purchase any books—but to hell with that. I ended up buying three old books (think 1940s-1970s) that are in great condition, and one newer book that I’ve been eyeing for some time at work. The Jane Austen title featured above was one of the beautiful finds that I didn’t purchase, but it was still a gorgeous discovery.

The prices were reasonable for such old texts, since it’s not like Value Village and Goodwill, where books are just something for a customer to glance over. Keeping that in mind though, they were cheaper than used books in Toronto bookstores.

The beauty of so many books, the many selections, and a great environment makes The Book Nook a must visit for anyone in the area!

Happy reading!

Review: My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling (5/5 Stars)

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Release Date: October 31, 2013

Author Info: Website

Series: The Blooming Goddess Trilogy

Publisher: Te Da Media

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 288

Format: E-GALLEY

Source: Author

ISBN: 098805406X 

Goodreads: My Date From Hell

Review of First Book: My Ex From Hell

Buy: Amazon | Chapters 

Rating: image

Sophie Bloom’s junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world’s greatest kiss re-awakened Sophie’s true identity as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Savior of Humanity), she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated mean girl Bethany’s bitchy troublemaking, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex, Kai (sexy Prince of Darkness). You’d think a girl could catch a break.

Yeah, right.

With Zeus stepping things up, it’s vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone’s memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie’s pre-mortal past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept?

The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together … and treat this suicide mission as a date. Which could work out for Sophie’s plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her–if she doesn’t kill him first.

Add to that the fact that BFF Theo’s love life and other BFF Hannah’s actual life are in Sophie’s hands, and suddenly being a teenager—even a godlike one—seems a bit like … well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?

The YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology fireworks continue to fly in My Date From Hell. Love meets comedy with a whole lot of sass in book two of this teen fantasy romance series. Breaking up is easy; dating is deadly.”

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Tellulah Darling is back with another awesome installment in her young adult series, The Blooming Goddess Trilogy. In My Date from Hell, the sequel to My Ex From Hell, Sophie, the protagonist, is back for more butt kicking adventures full of quirky characters, witty and quick dialogue, and of course, the inevitable romance that we have been anticipating since the first book made its debut. With great pacing and unforgettable characters, Darling’s sequel continues to be an original take on a classic tale.

Read more

Book Addict 24-7 Welcomes: T. Michael Martin!

Welcome to Interview Fridays

This week I have the honor of hosting T. Michael Martin, author of The End Games, for this week’s interview feature!

Michael’s debut is a psychologically creepy and chilling tale that offers a unique perspective of a zombie apocalypse, while showcasing the power of family and love.

Michael explains the process for his book and how his characters’ decisions affected him as he wrote in this week’s fantastic interview. 

Remember to check out Michael’s links throughout the interview! 

Enjoy!

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Author Bio 

T. Michael Martin is a novelist and YouTuber with a B.F.A. in Filmmaking from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.  He was inspired to write The End Games by his little brother, Patrick, and their mutual love of zombie movies.  He and his wife live in West Virginia.”

Find Michael on the web: 

Twitter | Tumblr | YouTube | Goodreads | Website

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Most Recent Work 

The End Games

Release Date: May 7, 2013

Genres: Young adult, horror, family, zombies, post-apocalyptic, romance

It happened on Halloween.


The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.


Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.”

Find The End Games on the web: 

Goodreads | My Review

Buy The End Games on the web: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | Books-A-Million | IndieBound 

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1. Your debut, The End Games, was a very exciting 2013 read! What was your writing process for your zombie novel?

"Well, I’d been wanting to write a story with zombies for years (seriously: I have an unfinished screenplay called Planet DEAD on my hard drive, which I wrote in eighth grade). But it wasn’t until 2008 that I found a door into the story emotionally.

My real-life little brother, Patrick, and I were visiting Pennsylvania’s Monroeville Mall (the shooting location for the original Dawn of the Dead), and a random thought occurred to me: Why not write a post-apocalyptic book about two brothers, separated by ten years or so in age, trying to survive Armageddon in my home state of West Virginia?

It took me about a year to plot out the novel.  The way I tend to work is, once I’ve decided on the genre of a project, I seek out the best films/books/etc. that are already in that genre—and then I study them, broadly and deeply. As I do, I start to notice common patterns, and figure out what works and what doesn’t work as well, and I try to apply that to the structure of my own story. 

Once I had the story nailed down, I spent two years writing the draft that sold to HarperCollins. It took another seven months of editing and revising to get it to a final draft.”

2. The End Games also garnered a lot of attention from the literary world—did you ever expect your debut to get that much attention?

“I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect! 

The End Games isn’t really a “zombie novel”; I’ve always thought of it as a psychological thriller that happens to take place in a living dead world.  But everyone involved with The End Games knew that its biggest challenge would be figuring out a way to have it stand out from the abundance of other zombie-themed books out there. So the fact that the book has received the support it has (particularly from Booklist, authors like John Green, and the YouTube community) has meant so much to me.”

3. What was the most overwhelming (and humbling) experience after publishing The End Games

“Well, I think the first time John Green tweeted about the book (https://twitter.com/realjohngreen/status/329948759536582656) was one of the few moments in my life that I can legitimately describe as “surreal.” 

John’s support since then—including mentioning the book in vlogs, interviews, and tumblr posts—has undoubtedly been the most exciting part of the book’s publication. (Along with Sara Zarr, John is the whole reason I write YA at all.)

As for the most humbling, most authors will tell you that receiving their first bad review is a particularly tough rite of passage.  And I agree.  But even though I wish (of course!) that every sentient creature on Earth would love my work, I’m genuinely grateful for ALL reviews, as long as they’re civil and thoughtful.”

4. You also do Vlogs on YouTube! Can you tell us a bit about what you like to talk about with your viewers? 

“Sure! 

I make weekly vlogs about life and pop culture that are, according to my viewers, funny and thoughtful and poignant. Creating videos for YouTube these past few months has been a wonderful experience for me.  For one thing, it’s enabled me to become friends with many of my heroes. 

It’s also given me the opportunity to 1. get a creative idea, 2. create that idea, and 3. let other people see what I created  just a few hours later (as opposed to a few YEARS later, which is how it works with publishing).”

5. How important do you think it is to plan ahead before sending in your manuscript? (i.e. create a “fan base” via social media following)

“That’s such a great question!  We could probably spend an hour going through it thoroughly.  But I will, of course, not inflict that upon you.  :]

But basically, if you’re an aspiring writer who hasn’t yet signed with a publisher, I think the most important thing to remember is:

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS STUFF.  

IT WILL MAKE YOU CRAZY.  

JUST WRITE A REALLY WONDERFUL BOOK.

As for published writers (or writers who have signed a contract and have a book coming out in the near future)…I will preface my thoughts by saying that I am not in any form an expert on this sorta thing…

But I do personally think it’s advisable to do as much as you can to reach your audience (in a civil and non-spammy way), without letting your Actual Book Writing suffer.  After all, as the saying goes, “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.””

6. Your protagonist, Michael, is a complex character who is basically a kid just like his brother Patrick, but is forced to grow up. What did you find to be the most difficult aspect of creating a character who had no choice but to put himself last in order to keep his brother alive? 

“Thank you so much for saying so!  

I think the most difficult part was figuring out how to keep the reader “on Michael’s side,” even though he does some fairly ill-advised (and destructive) things.  

The key was to make sure that the reader knew WHY Michael was doing what he was doing, and why he believed that his choices represented the least of all possible evils.”

7. The idea of the zombie apocalypse as a game is brilliant. What inspired you to approach the zombie genre with this original premise?

“Thanks!  

I can’t quite remember why I decided to go that way, but it was probably because I was so drawn to the idea of a kid trying to protect his little brother’s innocence in the worst environment imaginable.”

8. How do you think a writer can approach an already popular genre and make it his/her own?

"That’s a good question. 

 It actually goes back to my previous answer about the writing process of The End Games:  Once you’ve chosen your genre, I think it’s smart to seek out the best films/books/etc. that are already in that genre—and then study them, broadly and deeply. As you do, you’ll begin to notice common patterns, “beats” that the stories consistently touch. 

I have a theory that the only way to surprise (and really delight) the genre’s audience is to give them what they want, in a way they could never predict.  And in order to do that, you need to know the genre as well as anyone in the audience.

I can imagine a lot of people cringing at that answer, because it sounds like I’m saying, 

EVERYBODY PLEASE GO RIP OFF AWESOME WORK.  

But in fact, I think that a deep knowledge and appreciation of your genre is the single most creative and fulfilling way to approach a story.  Because once you know the intimate pulse of your genre, you’ll be so much more free to experiment in a way that will still be satisfying to the audience.

SPOILER ALERT:

For instance, when I was writing The End Games, I realized that zombie stories almost always have a moment I called “The Perimeter is Breached,” which is when the heroes’ final barriers/fences/etc. fall, and escaping the undead now seems impossible.  So I included the frightening spirit of that “beat” in my story, but instead of making a literal fence fall in The End Games, I “trapped” the hero in another way that will [hopefully!] shock the reader.

END SPOILER ALERT”

9. Your debut is also very surprisingly philosophical for the age group and content—do you think you grew alongside your characters? If so, do you think it was their choices that changed you?

“Yeah, I absolutely think I did!  

The biggest change I’ve seen in myself since writing the book is that I’m not so hard on myself about things not going according to my plan.  In other words, I don’t have this kinda-neurotic and overstated sense of my own responsibility in Making Everything Go Right For Everyone.  

The protagonist’s journey is ultimately one of finding peace with the pain and miracle of ambiguity, and I don’t know that I would have made that journey myself had it not been for Michael, Patrick, and the Bellows.”

10. The conclusion to your novel gives the reader a sense of hope and safety, despite the bleak circumstances. Do you think you’ll be writing a sequel, or is this it for Michael and Patrick’s story? 

"Thank you!  I don’t think it’s wise to say "never," but at least for now, I can’t imagine writing a sequel to The End Games.

SPOILER ALERT

There are a couple reasons for this, but here is the main one:  At its heart, the book is about finding peace with the fact that we can never truly know what our own lives’ “endgames” will be.  And I kinda feel like I’d be betraying that idea if I wrote a sequel and showed what happened to Michael, Patrick, and Holly after that final broadcast in the sky.

END SPOILER ALERT

That said, I am very grateful and flattered that you’d WANT to read one, so thank you for the question. :]”

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Thank you so much for stopping by, Michael! 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview! Make sure to stop by next week for another awesome interview!

Happy reading!

Review: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf (2/5 Stars)

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Author Info: Website

Series: The Twixt

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 384

Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

ISBN: 0373210736 

Goodreads: Indelible

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 

Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…”

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Indelible is Dawn Metcalf’s second young adult novel and while the ideas behind her novels are incredibly original, I fail to connect with her story telling. I won’t lie, I was super enthusiastic to read this one—I mean, look at that cover and that description! Who wouldn’t want to read something that both looks and sounds so appealing? And while Indelible will definitely be loved by many readers, I unfortunately found Metcalf’s novel to be disappointing and weakly written. 

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I had the amazing opportunity of reading Ryan Hunter’s inDIVISIBLE last winter, and it was one of my favourites of 2012! 
She recently contacted me regarding the sequel, The Divided, and I’m so excited to read it this month, that I’m participating in her release day blast!
The Divided by Ryan Hunter
Release Date: August 1, 2013
Genres: Young adult, dystopian, adventure, romance
"Brynn Aberdie has found a home among the Freemen, but it’s not enough. She wants to wake the nation, educate them about their bondage. 
As her father’s plans are revealed on the hard drive she recovered from his office, she realizes she can’t do it alone.  

Brynn must gain allies and infiltrate the society that wants her dead. And she must do it all without bringing the wrath of One United down on the innocent people she’s come to love.”
Order it on the web: 
Amazon 
Find The Divided & Ryan on the web: 
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog
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Happy reading!
 

I had the amazing opportunity of reading Ryan Hunter’s inDIVISIBLE last winter, and it was one of my favourites of 2012!

She recently contacted me regarding the sequel, The Divided, and I’m so excited to read it this month, that I’m participating in her release day blast!

The Divided by Ryan Hunter

Release Date: August 1, 2013

Genres: Young adult, dystopian, adventure, romance

"Brynn Aberdie has found a home among the Freemen, but it’s not enough. She wants to wake the nation, educate them about their bondage. 

As her father’s plans are revealed on the hard drive she recovered from his office, she realizes she can’t do it alone.  

Brynn must gain allies and infiltrate the society that wants her dead. And she must do it all without bringing the wrath of One United down on the innocent people she’s come to love.”

Order it on the web: 

Amazon 

Find The Divided & Ryan on the web: 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog

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Happy reading!

 

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