Review: Jenny Pox by JL Bryan


Jenny’s touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague. She can’t control her power, so she devotes her life to avoiding contact with other people in her small Southern town. Her senior year of high school, she meets the one boy she can touch…but if she’s going to be with him, Jenny must learn to use the horrific power inside her to survive his devious, manipulative girlfriend, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all.

First, let me just say this book is not for the faint of heart, the weak stomached, or anyone under the age of eighteen. And I loved every page of it. I was a little hesitant about Jenny Pox initially, but decided to give it a try. And while the gory descriptions of the Jenny Pox tried my gag reflex, it was well worth the $2.99 price tag.
I thought I might have difficulty connecting to Jenny in the beginning (she’s just a little more country than I was prepared to handle with her perpetual use of the word aint’t) but it didn’t take long to fall under her spell. Maybe I didn’t quite feel Jenny’s pain (how could I possibly?), but I empathized. JL Bryan painted an image of a life so lonely and isolated that Jenny was unable to even pet her own dog without killing him. When I think of all the conscious and unconscious contact I go through in a single day, it’s inconceivable to go one day, let alone a lifetime, without a hug, a hand to hold, or a shoulder to lean on. And even though Jenny’s touch was lethal, she was the underdog. Always an outcast, always a loser, it was impossible not to want to see her triumph over a small town determined to see her beat down.
When Jenny meets Seth, the only person in the world she can safely touch, you just know they’re meant to be together, two parts of the same whole. Soul mates even. Too bad Seth’s girlfriend Ashleigh has different plans. And Ashleigh’s not exactly the kind of girl who’s used to hearing the word ‘no’. As Jenny struggles to find the courage to pursue a relationship with Seth and her own happiness, it quickly becomes apparent that Ashleigh will stop at nothing to get what she wants. (This is where the manipulation, gratuitous sex, and all out evil come into play. But I’ll let you find out about that for yourself!) While I loved the paranormal aspect of the book and the uniqueness of the story, what I enjoyed most was watching Jenny grow from sheltered and insecure to a strong and confident young woman willing to fight for what she wants.
This book has it all: teen angst, young love, insurmountable odds, sex, death, revenge. All set perfectly in the heart of small town America. You name it, JL Bryan’s worked it in. And work it does. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two, Tommy Nightmare! What can I say? I’m a sucker for indie writers. And underdogs.

Review: Daimon


 For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals—pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she’d been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she’s pretty much accepted that she’s a freak by mortal standards… and that she’ll never be prepared for that duty.

According to her mother, that’s a good thing.

But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return—the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she’s being hunted by the very creatures she’d once trained to kill.

The daimons have found her.

Daimon (pronounced demon) opens with Alex struggling to be a normal teenager. Ripped from the only world she knew growing up, the years haven’t healed old wounds and Alex isn’t exactly that interested in fitting in with mortals. Besides, she has way too much attitude and a kickass fighting style that’s hard to reign in. It’s hard not to like Alex from the start (even though she uses oddly masculine phrases like ‘It’s on like Donkey Kong) because although she’s tough, she’s got a hopeful spirit and suffers from the same insecurities of any teenager – mortal or otherwise. She’s got bad taste in boys, a hopeless crush, and chores she’ll never get around to doing. Alex also possesses the inherent spirit of a survivor that you just have to admire.
Daimon is the prequel to Half-Blood which is scheduled for release in October and my first novella. I picked it up on my Kindle for $0.99 and at 86 pages it’s a quick, action packed read. I got a taste, but it definitely left me wanting more. If the cover wasn’t enough to draw me in (how lovely is it???), the early reviews of Half-Blood posted by other bloggers did the trick. It’s fair to say that this isn’t my usual read and I don’t think I’ve been exposed to gods and mythology since my seventh grade lit class, but that was part of the attraction. Daimon was different. Mythology, mystery, action, a notable lack of vampires and werewolves. Seriously though, Daimon laid the groundwork for the Hematoi world and I can’t wait to learn more about the descendants of the gods or the Covenant.
The countdown is on for Half-Blood and October 18th can’t get here soon enough!

Follow Friday

Q. If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

Given the opportunity, I’d write myself into The Secret Circle. I read the series growing up and fell in love with the story and the main character, Cassie. L.J. Smith’s tale of witchcraft was a different world for me and I have to be honest and admit that the love story between Cassie and Adam had me on the edge of my seat. I remember not being able to get through the books fast enough!

So aside from the obvious benefit of magical powers, I guess I’d like to see what choices I’d make when confronted with such terrifying power and choosing between good and evil. Not to mention choosing between friendship and true love.

I heard the CW is going to be launching a TV series soon. Maybe I’ll watch, but then again, maybe not. Hollywood has a way of diminishing great stories sometimes.

Happy Friday!

Say It Ain’t So…

I never really thought of myself as the ‘slacker’ type, but I’ve been having a little trouble finding my motivation lately. Actually, it reminds me of a Green Day song! Anyway, between work and remodeling my kitchen (Oh, yeah. DIY all the way), I haven’t managed to write much or find the time to *gasp* read! Appalling, I know.

Maybe it’s the end of summer blues? None of the available titles on my TBR list have really got me ready to curl up with my Kindle. However, I was lurking in the blogosphere today and I found two great reviews that got my attention and went straight to the top of my TBR list. (Isn’t it amazing how contagious one blogger’s enthusiasm can be? So much better than a sterile blurb on Amazon!)

I’m also about halfway through the outline for my second manuscript, but I seem to be stuck on that one little pivotal point that requires me to rethink my logic. I wouldn’t exactly call it writers block, but it’s a definitely a puzzle I haven’t solved yet. And it’s giving me even more appreciation for the perseverance of the many wonderful authors I love as they frequently comment on the fact that writing the second book is more challenging than the first. For me, I’m taking it as a sign of personal growth which I hope will be reflected in my writing!

Just a few mores hours until the weekend so I think I’ll go download Daimon and delve into Jennifer Armentrout’s world of the Covenant.

Follow Friday

Q. How have your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?

My reading habits have changed a lot over the years and I think it’s fair to say I’ve come full circle! In my early teens I read a lot of Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Pretty much anything with a murderous or paranormal twist (although I never would have used the word paranormal at the time).

By the time I graduated,  I’d moved on to thrillers and mysteries. I absolutely fell in love with Iris Johansen, Stuart Woods, and Tami Hoag. If they wrote it, I bought it. These books had it all: romance, mystery, suspense. I stuck with these authors loyally for years until my sister introduced me to the world of Stephanie Plum (my first foray into chick-lit) which had me cracking up and catching up since I was late to discover the series.

Eventually though I came full circle and found my way back to paranormal with Kay Hooper’s Bishop Special Crimes Unit series. When I ran out of my own favorite authors to read, I started raiding my younger sister’s book shelf where I came across Twilight and a myriad of other YA novels. I was hooked from the start and haven’t looked back since! In fact, I’ve got three of her books sitting in my book pile right now!

Follow Friday

Q. Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?).

I’m marginally embarrassed to admit this, but the series that most recently and most heavily impacted my life is Twilight. Not because I’m ‘Team Edward’ or ‘Team Jacob’ or even because I think they’re the most amazing books I’ve ever read. For me, being handed a copy of Twilight brought me back to the world of YA literature and to a love of writing that I’d put on a shelf. Not only had I shifted away from YA literature to read more ‘adult’ books, I was spending more time attending to practical pursuits like paying the bills.

Twilight brought me back to the genre I enjoy most and has been a refreshing change which has also given me the courage to pursue my own writing further.

Review: Supernaturally


 Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.
Oh, bleep! I don’t even know where to start. At the beginning perhaps? Kiersten White has done it again! Supernaturally was a good read—fast paced, action packed, and filled with plenty of teen angst. Supernaturally picked up right where Paranormalcy left off (although, much to my disappointment, there wasn’t nearly enough of Tasey in book two!).  
One of the things I really enjoyed about Paranormalcy was Evie’s quirky and authentic teen voice which continued to shine through in Supernaturally.  And even thought it tugged at my heartstrings a little bit, it felt right that Evie struggled with the normalcy she so badly craved growing up and with the morality of exercising her rather unique gift. Because that’s the real world and part of growing up is discovering that the things we want most rarely turn out to be what we’d imagined. Besides, it’s impossible not to relate to Evie as she struggles to balance a semi-long distance relationship, the gym teacher from hell, faerie mischief, and college applications. All while trying to find her place in the world.
While Supernaturally delivered on the promise of a light and endearing story, there were a few things that left me wanting. First, there were some points where I felt like the story (and Evie’s emotional roller coaster) were being pushed forward at a break neck pace in order to bring the story to a close. Secondly, there was suspicion thrown on the staff at David’s diner that was left unresolved. It probably wasn’t anything heinous, but closure would have been nice as those loose ends keeps tickling at my brain. What were they up to??? Maybe it’s a sign of things to come in book three, but I hate to be left hanging!
All in all, a must read for fans of Paranormalcy. Up next? Endlessly. Which, by the way is an awesome title. I’d count the days, but alas, no release date yet.