Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Dog Park Club by Cynthia Robinson

The Dog Park Club by Cynthia Robinson centers around Max Bravo, a bisexual "mid-rung" opera singer. One afternoon while walking his best friend Claudia's dog he is invited to join a group that hangs out at the dog park down the street from her house. He tells Claudia about the group, and when Max is out of town she becomes an integral part of the "Dog Park Club." While initially wary of the group's socially diverse crowd, Max cannot avoid the siren call of drama. When one member of the group, the beautiful, pregnant Amy Carter, goes missing the Dog Park Club is thrust into the national spotlight. The group quickly develop their theory and go on a Sand Lot-esque mission to prove it.

Robinson's debut is quirky, sarcastic and fun- a great book for a day at the beach. Her unique cast of characters, Max Bravo being the most entertaining, wont let you put the book down. Robinson manages to keep a mysterious tension through the whole book, while allowing her diverse cast individual moments of comic relief. Don't miss this witty debut this summer!

Jeff’s Debut Novel Awards*


*hold your cursor over the icon to get a description of the award or click on any of them to be referred to the award guide.

A twenty-two-year-old University student, Jeff is the founder and coeditor of The Debut Authors Blog. He is an aspiring author and a self-avowed bibliophile. Also, he is not above shameless self-promotion and talking in the third-person.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm Back!

Dear Readers,

I'm so sorry for the extended hiatus but life came between me and the internet. It has been a busy few months for me. I purchased a car, moved into a new apartment, took a couple summer classes (A+ in both thank you very much), and started a business. Needless to say this blog has fallen into some serious disrepair. But that is going to change! I have a few great book reviews coming up, I'm going to write some interviews and also introduce my new business. I am so happy to be back to blogging and I hope I can get my wonderful readers back soon! Please let me know how all of you have been. I will be making the rounds to all of your blogs this week to say hi so please drop by and do the same!


P.S. The summer self-publishing spotlight is still on so keep the submissions coming!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Self-Publishing Summer Spotlight

Welcome to the first annual Self-Publishing Summer Spotlight!

Self-Publishing is often mentioned, even by me, only as the butt end of jokes in the book blogging world. However, in our digital age, self-publishing has a chance to become (for some very dedicated authors) a viable alternative to a major publishing house. With the ever growing e-book market and the recent introduction of the iPad I believe that self-publishing won't always carry the stigma that it does today.

That being said, I don't think all self-published books are created equal. Since there is no authority doing quality checks there is virtually no way to gather which books are good and which ones are not so good. This is where I come in. I am going to open myself up to submissions of self-published novels and agree to read at least 10 pages of each one. If the 10 pages get my attention I will read more. As I find books that I think are outstanding and deserve more attention I will review them and do my best to publicize them as I would any debut novel. Please read the rules before you submit and leave any comments about you have about this contest!


- Submit your book here

- Submit only in PDF format

- You may send me an email to request my address if you want to send a hard copy (Note: This is strongly discouraged as it will cost you money)

- I will have a button for you to donate to this site please help! (Note: this is not required. Your entry will not be affected by whether you donate or not. I only ask because I am a poor college student and this site costs me about 70 dollars a year to run not including my time.)

- This is only for fun! I am not a publisher or agent nor do I have any connections to anyone in the publishing industry. I am only offering this contest as a chance to spread the word about your book.

- You may only submit original work

- You may only submit a book if this is the first book you have published (hence DEBUT authors)

- Leave any comments or questions in the comments section or fill out a contact form.

- Again, go here to submit!

- Thank you and have fun!!

Coming Your Way This Week...(11)

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.
In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.

As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.
Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?
The Red Umbrella is a moving story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she's been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father's too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he's not a hero in any way, or else he's stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.

To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad's "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city--despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights--thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she's his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.

The ARK by Boyd Morrison

When brilliant archaeologist Dilara Kenner is contacted by Sam Watson, an old family friend who says that he has crucial information about her missing father, Dilara abandons her Peruvian dig and rushes to Los Angeles to meet him. But at the airport, Sam speaks instead of Noah’s Ark—the artifact her father had long been searching for—and the possible death of billions. Before Sam can explain, he collapses. With his dying breath, he urges Dilara to find Tyler Locke—a man she’s never heard of.Two days later Dilara manages to track down former combat engineer Tyler Locke on an oil rig off Newfoundland. Her helicopter transport goes down well short of the oil rig’s landing pad and Dilara and those aboard nearly drown. No sooner is Dilara safely on the rig than she convinces Tyler the crash was no accident. Tyler agrees to help her uncover the secret behind Noah's Ark and, more important, her father's disappearance. As the picture begins to come into focus, they realize they have just seven days to find the Ark before its secret is used to wipe out civilization once again.With a chilling premise and a blistering pace, Boyd Morrison combines all the best elements of a blockbuster thriller with an intelligent and fascinating exploration of one of the Old Testament’s great mysteries.

The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron

Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive---his own father.

Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father, Jack, a hard-drinking womanizer who makes his living poaching illegal game. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: They are searching for the man who killed a beloved local cop the night before---and his father is their prime suspect. Jack has escaped from police custody, and only Mike believes that his tormented father might not be guilty.

Now, alienated from the woman he loves, shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past. He knows firsthand Jack’s brutality, but is the man capable of murder? Desperate and alone, Mike strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive. There they meet a beautiful woman who claims to be Jack’s mistress but who seems to be guarding a more dangerous secret. The only way for Mike to save his father now is to find the real killer---which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.
The Poacher’s Son is a sterling debut of literary suspense. Taut and engrossing, it represents the first in a series featuring Mike Bowditch.

The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature—friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, The Beautiful Between introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it.

Kid vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout

Thatcher Hill is bored stiff of his summer job dusting the fake mermaids and shrunken heads at his uncle's seaside Museum of Curiosities. But when a mysterious girl steals an artifact from the museum, Thatcher's summer becomes an adventure that takes him from the top of the ferris wheel to the depths of the sea. Following the thief, he learns that she is a princess of the lost Atlantis. Her people have been cursed by an evil witch to drift at sea all winter and wash up on shore each summer to an even more terrible fate—working the midway games and food stands on the boardwalk. Can Thatcher help save them before he, too, succumbs to the witch's curse?

With sharp, witty writing that reads like a middle-grade Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Greg van Eekhout's first book for young readers is a wild ride packed with as many laughs as it has thrills.

Faithful by Janet Fox

Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet’s life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father’s betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie’s heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.

Restoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony

The year is 2041, and sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world left after global economic collapse—one of massive oil shortages, rampant crime, and abandoned cities.

Molly is relieved to find her grandparents alive in their Portland suburb, but they’re financially ruined and practically starving. What should’ve been a quick trip turns into a full-fledged rescue mission. And when Molly witnesses something the local crime bosses wishes she hadn’t, Molly’s only way home may be to beat them at their own game. Luckily, there’s a handsome stranger who’s willing to help.

Restoring Harmony is a riveting, fast-paced dystopian tale complete with adventure and romance that readers will devour.

Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

KJ Carson lives an outdoor lover’s dream. The only daughter of a fishing and wildlife guide, KJ can hold her own on the water or in the mountains near her hometown outside Yellowstone National Park. But when she meets the shaggy-haired, intensely appealing Virgil, KJ loses all self-possession. And she’s not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that they’re assigned to work together on a school newspaper article about the famous wolves of Yellowstone. As KJ spends time with Virgil, she also spends more time getting to know a part of her world that she always took for granted . . . and she begins to see herself and her town in a whole new light.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One Man's Paradise by Douglas Corleone

One Man’s Paradise by Douglas Corleone is the second book I received from Minotaur Books; the first was Paul Dorion’s The Poachers Son, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. They must be doing something right over there because this book was even better than Dorion’s and you know how much I loved that one. Kevin Corvelli is a disgraced New York lawyer finding refuge on the island paradise of Oahu. After blowing the last big case he had in New York Corvelli has sworn off felony cases, convincing himself that misdemeanors will give him all the work he needs. Unfortunately his landlord, Jake, has other ideas and sets Corvelli up with a murder case soon after he opens up shop.

Corleone’s writing is fast and his plot enthralling. Legal thrillers are not my usual fare, but this book reached across the aisle and pulled me in. He doesn’t bog the reader down with legal jargon or technical bull-shit, One Man’s Paradise is mostly action with a good dose of wit. Readers will love the believably flawed Kevin Corvelli who never fails with his constant cynicism. Between the New York gangsters, Hawaiian gangsters, beautiful woman, and a bumbling Texas lawyer there is never a shortage of entertaining characters.

This is a quick, fun read that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you begging for more. John Grisham better watch his back because Douglas Corleone has the potential to be a great name in the legal thriller genre.

Jeff’s Debut Novel Awards*

pageturner plotweaver originality rubberchicken sealofapproval

*hold your cursor over the icon to get a description of the award or click on any of them to be referred to the award guide.

A twenty-two-year-old University student, Jeff is the founder and coeditor of The Debut Authors Blog. He is an aspiring author and a self-avowed bibliophile. Also, he is not above shameless self-promotion and talking in the third-person.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coming Your Way This Week...(10)

One Man's Paradise by Douglas Corleone
Hotshot New York criminal defense lawyer Kevin Corvelli was rolling. He had all the right connections to get way ahead. Guilty? Innocent? It didn’t matter so long as he won, got in the papers, and got paid. That’s until he loses---and loses big---when a client, who was convicted and then killed in jail, is later proven innocent. The media has a field day plastering Corvelli’s face all over Manhattan, so Corvelli, disgraced and in a professional free fall, bolts for Hawaii.

Committed to being a lawyer if only because of the knee-buckling debts he accumulated becoming one in the first place, he sets up shop in paradise and swears to handle only misdemeanors this time around---no felonies, no murders, no media attention, no high stakes, no real responsibility. But his first case turns out to be exactly that: law student Joseph Gianforte, Jr., is accused of chasing his ex-girlfriend to Hawaii and killing her. He’s innocent, same as Corvelli’s last case, only this time Corvelli knows it, and with that knowledge comes the chilling realization that the killer is still out there with plenty of incentive to make sure that any proof of Gianforte’s innocence doesn’t go any further than the three of them.

Douglas Corleone’s One Man’s Paradise­, the winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition, is a gripping story of failure and the search for redemption, and it marks the stellar debut of an exciting new crime-writing voice.

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last. Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone. Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit. As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Play Dead by Ryan Brown
Today’s #1 New York Times bestselling thriller writers agree: Ryan Brown’s compulsively readable first novel is unbeatable—a darkly humorous, rich and pungent zombie shocker that melds our national obsession with football and the newest wave of fascination with the undead.For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away from the district championship where it will face its most vicious rival, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. On the way to the game, the Jackrabbits’s bus plunges into a river, killing every player except for bad-boy quarterback Cole Logan who is certain the crash was no accident—given that Cole himself was severely injured in a brutal attack by three ski-masked men earlier that day. Bent on payback, Cole turns to a mysterious fan skilled in black magic to resurrect his teammates. But unless the undead Jackrabbits defeat their murderous rival on the field, the team is destined for hell. In a desperate race against time, with only his coach’s clever daughter, Savannah Hickman, to assist him, Cole must lead his zombie team to victory. . . in a final showdown where the stakes aren’t just life or death—but damnation or salvation. Boundlessly imaginative and thrillingly satisfying, Play Dead gives small-town Texas an electrifying jolt of the supernatural, and is unquestioningly The Zombie Novel of the Year!

Insider by Reece Hirsch

First corporate attorney Will Connelly's colleague hurtles to his death outside his office window. Within days, Will is a prime suspect in a murder, the target of an S.E.C. insider trading investigation, and a pawn in a complex criminal scheme involving the Russian mafia and a ruthless terrorist plot. Now, to top things off, he must ensure a deadly enemy doesn't gain access to the nation's most sensitive and confidential information-that has the power to do incalculable, irrevocable harm.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Julie Orringer’s astonishing first novel, eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story collection, How to Breathe Underwater (“fiercely beautiful”—The New York Times; “unbelievably good”—Monica Ali), is a grand love story set against the backdrop of Budapest and Paris, an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are ravaged by war, and the chronicle of one family’s struggle against the forces that threaten to annihilate it.

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret history that will alter the course of his own life. Meanwhile, as his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena and their younger brother leaves school for the stage, Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. At the end of Andras’s second summer in Paris, all of Europe erupts in a cataclysm of war.

From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andras’s room on the rue des Écoles to the deep and enduring connection he discovers on the rue de Sévigné, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a love tested by disaster, of brothers whose bonds cannot be broken, of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

Expertly crafted, magnificently written, emotionally haunting, and impossible to put down, The Invisible Bridge resoundingly confirms Julie Orringer’s place as one of today’s most vital and commanding young literary talents.

Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes

When twelve-year-old Izzy discovers a beat-up baseball marked with the words 'Because magic' while unpacking in yet another new apartment, she is determined to figure out what it means. What secrets does this old ball have to tell? Her mom certainly isn't sharing any especially when it comes to Izzy's father, who died before Izzy was born. But when she spends the summer in her Nana's remote New Mexico village, Izzy discovers long-buried secrets that come alive in an enchanted landscape of watermelon mountains, whispering winds, and tortilla suns. Infused with the flavor of the southwest and sprinkled with just a pinch of magic, this heartfelt middle grade debut is as rich and satisfying as Nana's homemade enchiladas.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Book Review of Josh Berk's The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

I had the pleasure of chatting with Josh Berk early last month and did a quick profile of him as one of the first posts on this blog. I spent the entire half-hour of the chat laughing my ass off, so needless to say I had high expectations for his book The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin. I am happy to say the book has lived up to and even exceeded them.

I learned a surprising amount about the deaf culture from Berk. Making his main character deaf really gives a unique perspective to the book. The main plot is a murder mystery that Will and his new friend Devon Smiley endeavor to solve. Since Will is deaf he tends to notice things that others don’t and can read conversations from a distance. This proves to be extremely useful in solving the murder and also provides for some hilarious and uncomfortable situations.

The only downside of the book are the first two chapters. It starts a little slow and Berk’s style takes a little getting used to. Once the story gets going though, you won’t be able to put it down. The deaf and overweight Will Halpin’s commentary on everyday occurrences will have you falling out of your chair. The story focuses on Will’s first year in a regular school (as opposed to a school for the deaf) and his attempt to assimilate into the mainstream culture.

Berk’s novel is a refreshing mix of the comedy of Christopher Moore with the mystery of a Hardy Boy’s book and Berk’s quirky sense of humor (see his release day video). I sincerely hope a sequel featuring Will Halpin, possibly my new favorite character in young adult, is in the works. I highly recommend this book to everyone, do yourself a favor and buy this book!

Jeff’s Debut Novel Awards*

originality pageturner plotweaver rubberchicken sealofapproval

*hold your cursor over the icon to get a description of the award or click on any of them to be referred to the award guide.

A twenty-two-year-old University student, Jeff is the founder and coeditor of The Debut Authors Blog. He is an aspiring author and a self-avowed bibliophile. Also, he is not above shameless self-promotion and talking in the third-person.