Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

I have been a Kelley Armstrong fan since I discovered Bitten(in 2003) and had to wait two anxious months for Stolen. While I am a huge and longtime fan I willing admit that I enjoy some of her books more then others.
For instance; Bitten, Stolen and No Humans Involved are my favourites from The Women of the Otherworld series. I read the first Nadia book (Exit Strategy) and have the next two but I did not enjoy it as much as the Otherworld series so I have not read two or three. I LOVE The Darkest Powers books and own Loki’s Wolves which I have not yet gotten around to reading.

Sea-of-Shadows-web
I started reading an ARC of the first book in her Age of Legends trilogy entitled Sea of Shadows due to be released in April. One of the privileges of being a book seller.
I have to say that this story enthralled me. The Grammys were on and I was watching them but I couldn’t put this book down for any length of time. I finished it early the next day and am now feeling bereft. Kelley has a tendency to do this phenomenally horrible thing to us where she draws us deeply into the story and then leaves us dangling from the cliff. That’s right all you Kelley fans, Sea of Shadows will leave you wanting more!

Sea of Shadows tells the story of twin sisters Ashyn and Moria who are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood. Born to perform the rites of the spirits and protect their village they converse with the Spirits. But on the annual trip into the Forest of the Dead something goes terribly wrong and the girls lives are irrevocably changed forever.

Separated during a disaster in their village and tricked into going in different directions they are forced to leave their village for the first time in their lives. The girls each set out with only their bonded Immortal pets, one with a taciturn imperial guard and the other with a condemned thief that survived the Exile. Their journey takes them across a once deserted wasteland that is now filled with monsters from old legends. They must cross the Wastelands to warn the Emperor.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book are that the legendary creatures they must fight. The journey they must travel sort of reminds me of one of my all-time favourite movies…. The Princess Bride. I am not saying the two are exactly alike just that this story has the same epic romantic quest feel and the humour as the movie does. I dare you to tell me that the rodent they meet doesn’t make you think of R.O.U.S’s.

My one issue was the vast amount of characters you are introduced to almost immediately. I got so confused that I thought the guy with the eye tattoo (Orbec) was the guard (Gavril) who ends up travelling with Moria. I might suggest that this is one of those books that needs a Table of Characters.

I give this story 5 out of 5 Reads.

If you are looking for a great Fantasy read I highly recommend this one!

They Came. We Saw. They Conquered!!!

Today was the BIG EVENT!!!

I’ve been waiting 9 months and it finally came, The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour rocked Chapters Dartmouth!

Though the turn out wasn’t quite the numbers I had hoped for the authors were incredible and enthusiastic. They had the crowd laughing, cheering and  quivering with anticipation. Participants came from near and far to see their favourite authors and ask the questions they were dying to have answered.

Though all of the authors were incredible I have to say that Sarah Rees Brennan stole the show. She made many new fans today. I’m told it was her first Canadian signing and I am glad I was there to see it. She was promoting her newest book, Unspoken, which is a favourite of mine but her wonderfully cheery disposition has enticed me to now read her Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy.

Here she is crawling across a table to play host:

 

She caught me off guard which is why it’s a little blurry.

 

The panel included Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, the incredible brains behind the Smart Chicks Kick it Tour! I am so grateful they put this together. I can’t wait to read their collaborative book called Loki’s Wolves:The Blackwell Pages Book 1. And I swear one of these days I WILL get to the RT Book Lovers Convention where they do an amazing job with the YA events. At least from what I’ve seen in the magazine.

 

 

I got to meet Jeri Smith-Ready who writes a fabulous YA trilogy about ghosts (and their rights) and her awesome series for adults the first of which is called Wicked Game and is centered around a radio station owned and operated by Vampires but run by their former con-artist turned marketing manager Ciara.  All of the authors are very interactive online with their fans but Jeri takes it a step further with her WVMP website and playlists or Twitter accounts for some of her characters

www.wvmpradio.com

I went into this event as a huge fan of Kelley and Jeri, a recent (yet passionate fan) of Melissa Marr and Sarah Rees Brennan. Both Carnival of Souls and Unspoken -respectively-  Enthralled me.

I just started reading Charles de Lint’s novel Under My Skin which I am really enjoying and will recommend to fans of Kelley’s YA Trilogies but I have to say honestly I have only read book one of Melissa De La Cruz’s teen series and have just purchased, like yesterday, her first adult novel Witches of East End. I love that events like this can lead people (myself included) to try new authors.

 

So now the event is over, facebook has exploded with posts and pictures, and we are home (or on our way home) happy with our autographed books.

I can not thank the authors enough for including us in this tour. I hope it will help us to entice more authors to the East Coast. A round of applause to all the fans who came out bringing a wealth of questions and enthsiasm but most importantly for making all the authors feel welcomed.

And the staff.  My wonderfully supportive co-workers and managers who support these crazy ideas of mine and work hard to make them so successful. Julianne and Nicole, part of the book club and a couple of fans who missed the event to run the best ever bake sell to raise money for The Love of Reading Fund! The managers and Mathieu for organizing everything. The on duty staff who help fans and customers alike. You are inspirational and make work fun! Thank you.

To the former staff members who came out to make the event a success especially Becky,  photographer extraordinaire and soon to be internet critic supreme.

Check her out at IronGrayPhotography or on YouTube at 

Last but not least to the members of book club and honorary member Samantha who came in early to set up, help with the bake sale, keep the lines moving and so on. We did it!!!!! Thank you all for your hard work. I say we aim for the RT Convention in 2014.

www.kelleyarmstrong.com

www.melissa-marr.com

sarahreesbrennan.com

www.jerismithready.com

charlesdelint

www.melissa-delacruz.com

 

 

13….. The End Of an Era

Just about 11 years ago I went from being a Nanny to working at  a bookstore and the box office of  a 1,000 seat theatre.  I enjoyed both jobs and met many interesting people. One of the girls I worked with at the box office introduced me to a book called Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. While we all exchanged favourtie book or authors and I made many new favourites because of it, the Kelley Armstrong series was a game changer for me.

It became the book I recommended to ANYONE looking for a great paranormal read. If you were a fan of Laurell K Hamilton I was suggesting you read Kelley Armstrong.  All before Twilight hit the world. Then I found out she was doing a teen trilogy. Imagine my joy at being given the opportunity to read the manuscript! Did I mention that Kelley writes so well that the crawl space scene in The Summoning gave me goosebumps in broad daylight? I was thrilled when they released it before Breaking Dawn came out and it had the chance to snag some fans. Then Kelley came to our store to promote No Humans Involved. It was a great year!! Can you  see why I call it a game changer for me?

Bitten is the story of Elena Michaels, the world’s only knowing female werewolf. She has left the pack to make a life for herself and she’s tired of it. By returning to the pack she starts to find her place in the world, and what a world it is. Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series is an incredible journey of magic, mystery and romance. Her characters are such that you feel like you’ve made a new friend or friends.  You cheer for them, jeer at them and hope all goes well for them. Through the years  the series has brought me many new friends as we started discussing the Otherworld.

You might think that reading 13, the final book of the series would be a sad or bittersweet moment and it certainly could have been. I tell you in all honesty that when I received a copy of 13 a couple of weeks ago I was feeling very trepidatious  about reading it. These books had been part of my life for 10 years and though there were a couple that weren’t my favourite and a moment or two where I thought they might have jumped the shark, they never did. What if it happened here, now in the finale? What would I say to the Random House Rep when she came to the store? To my fellow fans and friends at the store? To the author when she came in September?

I started reading and set the book down. Started again and set it aside. Finally I picked it up and began reading, really reading. From that point on I had to make myself stop and savour the story so I wouldn’t just plow right through. And I kicked myself for ever having doubted.

I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it yet so I will just say that it picks up where Spellbound left off. Savannah and the gang are still looking for the missing kid and those who are behind the movement to expose Paranormal beings to the rest of the world. All your favourite characters are here to play the roles they were born to play.  It’s a great ride full of just the right amount of ups, downs, steep hills, dramatic curves and gut wrenching loop the loops before you arrive safely into the station.

As a long time reader of the series, as well as Kelley’s other works, I was very satisfied with 13. It wraps the  series up nicely with lots of leeway for the characters to pop up as needed in other stories or even down the road in another story line.

I am most excited to have others read it so I will finally have someone to share it with!

Smart Chicks Kick It Tour 2012

I am lucky enough to be working at a store that will be hosting The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour in September. For many people it’s a thrill to meet a favourite author but if you live in a large metropolis it’s something you might take for granted.

For those of us here in Dartmouth/Halifax Novas Scotia, it doesn’t happen too often. While it’s getting somewhat better, those who promote big name authors (or even concerts) seem to forget that there are fans who live East of Montreal. I get it. Really I do. You go where you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck!

It means something special to have an event like this in Dartmouth because it is such a rarity.

In a little over 2 months we will be hosting these wonderful authors and it is incredible to see the complete awe on some of the teens faces when we tell them who is going to be here. And let’s not forget the adult fans of many of these authors, they are as excited as the teens.

So if you are in the Dartmouth area on September 16th, 2012 at 2pm come on over to Chapters Dartmouth at Mic Mac Mall and meet one of these fantastic authors. Enjoy a Q&A period with the authors and maybe win a fabulous prize!