Monday, September 17, 2012

Opening the Ball (Academy, #1)Opening the Ball by Nathaniel Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read the the first few chapters I was hooked. I loved the concept and thoroughly enjoyed the US Civil War time period as the setting for the time travel sequences. It's not a historical period I'm familiar with so I looked forward to the detailing the author spent when the story took the characters there. The writing was solid and particularly well done at the beginning of the novel.

The story follows Jonathan Chambers, a large for his age teenager placed in a foster home that is anything but a comforting family environment. Jonathan is doing his best to cope in his situation but when his alcoholic foster father passes away, Jonathan's foster mother makes it clear that Jonathan is no longer welcome in the home. The boy is suddenly faced with having nowhere to go. Lucky for Jonathan, he is handpicked by a mysterious organization for enrollment in a special military school. Without any other real options, Jonathan looks forward to being taken in by the school and subjected to years of rigorous training for a premium, but almost fantastical opportunity.

The adventure that Jonathan and his two companions face is a thrilling one and I think well worth a read. It would probably appeal more to boy readers than to girls because of the time the author spends on the military school training. Although that is really a matter of person reading preferences. For me, the military school training section was a little too long and I drifted, but the adventure picks up again toward the end. Still, it's a great story and I think many YA readers who enjoy stories with survival adventures and a fair bit of military background would love it. Nathaniel Simpson is definitely and author to watch.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

News and Upcoming Books

Spectacular is the only word I can find to describe this past summer. Consequently, the posts here have been few and far between. But all that fantastical weather and vacationisma has to come to an end sometime. So today it's time to get back to the blog and sharing some news for upcoming things.

First up - I've just finished a indie title that will definitely be worth a look. It's called Opening the Ball by Nathaniel Simpson. I recently received a copy from the author and once the book is fully published with all its links available, I'll be posting the review here. It's a solid YA read that I think will appeal to readers interested in American Civil War historical fiction, military skills ad training. I would suggest it for a few teen guys I know who are known to read every now and then.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

Jonathan Chambers isn’t a vampire. He isn’t a wizard. He doesn’t have a girlfriend. His teenage life was relatively normal until a mysterious stranger recruited him to an even more mysterious paramilitary academy for gifted boys.

After years of rigorous training, he and two others are selected for an elite program that will test their mettle and their friendship by sending them back in time to alter the present. On one of the bloodiest days of battle of the Civil War, they will learn a life-altering lesson – that not everything is always as it seems.

Next post will be my review - probably the end of this week.

The second piece of news is that I'll be adding another page to this blog. It's a page to showcase an indie experiment that is just about ready for launch. So what is it you ask? It's a Facebook book. Yes, it's a YA thriller that will be composed online. Starting next week, a small group a indie newbies and teen authors are getting together to start their own chaotic thriller novel. It will unfold over ten weeks, created in one hour spur of the moment sessions. It will be entirely written on a Facebook page and re-posted here - flipped around and made easy to read. We're excited to see how it will all turn out. Look for a post here in the next week to find out when our first session will take place. The Facebook link is here:

Once the book is finished, we'll publish in various formats. It will be free (as an e-book) for a while but once it picks up a following, we'll add a price and ensure all proceeds go to a designated charity (Cancer research is most likely). All authors, editors and illustrators will get credit, and there will be room to add a few newbies to the mix as we get going. So watch for updates here and on the Facebook page. If you think you might be interested in dropping in as a visiting character, let us know. We'll be posting the Prologue next week so you can get an idea about how it works.