A New Queen
Amanda lives in Alabama, with her husband and cat. She enjoys IKEA cinnamon rolls and trying new recipes of macaroni and cheese.
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The Sound of Violet
June 21st, 2021
Desperate to find a soulmate, Shawn goes on one awkward date after another until he encounters the alluring Violet. He starts dating her, but his autism keeps him from realizing that she's actually a prostitute.
Shawn thinks he's found a potential wife while Violet thinks she's found her ticket to a brand new life. This hilarious and dramatic award-winning story has been adapted into a major motion picture.
About the Author:
Allen Wolf has won multiple awards as an author, filmmaker, and game creator. He is also the host of the Navigating Hollywood podcast where he interviews film and TV professionals about what it takes to thrive in entertainment.
He married his Persian princess, and they are raising their kids in Los Angeles. Allen loves traveling around the world and hearing people’s life stories. He is an avid fan of Disneyland where he has visited over 500 times. Allen wrote, directed, and produced the feature film adaption of The Sound of Violet which will debut in late 2021.
'Empire of the Vampire' by Jay Kristoff is Book 1 in the trilogy by the same name. A story which finds our narrator imprisoned and waiting to die for the crime of killing the Forever King.
With the last proper sunrise twenty-seven years past, vampires have spread their eternal empire far and wide. Destroying the human civilization bit by bit, they've rained death and destruction everywhere they've gone.
Silversaint, sworn brother of the holy Ordo Argent (Silver Order).. half-human and half-vampire, Gabriel de Leon has dedicated himself to defense of the realm. Not that it's necessarily stood beside him in return. Still.. he's the last line of defense between our world and theirs.
Forced to tell the tales of his legendary battles, forbidden love, loss of faith and self.. his captors press for more. Demanding everything of him.. intimate details of relationships, the Wars of the Blood, and the quest for hope.. The Holy Grail, he has little choice but to give them what they want.
If I'm being entirely honest, I'd been waiting for this book for well over a year. It's easily my most highly anticipated 2021 release and I'm happy to say, Kristoff absolutely delivers.
Not only is this story right up my proverbial alley, gritty and bloody.. with plenty of suffering to go around, Kristoff's writing skill also seems to reach a pinnacle here. While managing to maintain the rough edges his stories and characters are known for, there's a dark refinement at work within the pages.. a pristine alchemy.. a masterwork.. if you please.
I saw someone mention once that this book.. to paraphrase.. makes The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice look like an opening act. While I don't know that I agree with that, it isn't because the writing in Empire isn't superb. There's no doubt this book is a masterpiece of fiction, but rather because it's a wholly different kind of monster. Frankly, I don't think it's fair to either author's story to try to draw the comparison. I will say that for me, my love of the two are neck-and-neck, and that's high praise considering my admiration of Rice's prose.
Empire definitely put me through the wringer emotionally. It's funny really, I felt like I was doing very well.. as I'd gotten over halfway through the book dry-eyed, but it wasn't long after that point when the first gut-punch came.. leaving me a little more wary. I have to give Kristoff credit. Now matter how far ahead he sometimes chooses to let you know the gist of what's coming, he doesn't fail to crush you with the details all the same in the moment you get to experience it. In the hands of any less gifted author, that knowledge takes some of the impact out of the blow.. but with him.. it only seems to hurt all the more. I'm not sure I've ever wanted to be more mistaken during a read before.
Despite being over seven-hundred pages long, this book never becomes a slog. Whether he's character building or developing backstory, providing visual references or expanding relationships, I never wanted to put the book down and by the end.. he left me wanting more. Needing more.
The battle scenes are visceral explosions of violence and pain, scripted like a well-choreographed dance.. and in the Kristoff fashion we've all come to expect.. no one is safe. Not from death nor turns of darkness.
I'm thoroughly invested in the series and cannot wait to see where it goes.. what else will be unearthed in Gabe's tales.. and what he might yet get up to. I know there seems to be a certain end at the road, but The Last Silversaint is nothing.. if not stubborn and resourceful.. and I wouldn't bet against him taking a whole lot of coldbloods with him somehow.
If you haven't yet picked up this book, surely there's someone.. somewhere who hasn't.. even if I don't know them, do yourself a favor and remedy that. You're missing out.
'Flash Fire' by TJ Klune is book two in The Extraordinaries, a series about everyday teens with not-so-everyday abilities.
Though I missed out on the debut book, I definitely intend to go back and catch up.. because this one was delightful. I laughed so much in the opening pages and didn't want to put it down, even briefly and had to keep explaining to the people around me why I was laughing at all.
Nick Bell is the central figure, a charming boy with ADHD, enough enthusiasm for multiple people, and a hot superhero boyfriend. When he isn't busy helping out via his place on 'Team PyroStorm' or even better.. making out with the Extraordinary himself, he spends his time writing fanfics about his favorite hero and trying to deal with the fact he doesn't have any special powers of his own.
As new Extraordinaries come to light, like a pair of twins who can manipulate smoke and ice, a telekinetic enigma, and a drag queen with the best name and possibly the best catchphrases ever heard, Team PyroStorm has to figure out who's a threat to Nova City and who they can count on to help.
Old secrets start to bubble up in the midst of everything else, making Nick question who he can trust and what he really knows about those he's come to idealize.
There are spots of dialogue throughout the book that are brilliantly funny and remind me of people I know. Most of the brightest dialogue is front-loaded and while I feel the topics handled later are very important, the way they are addressed often feels a little less natural in the moment.
I can't say the reveals weren't predictable to me, but they might not be for others. Likewise, instead of feeling disappointed that I already knew where things were going, I was pleased.. even excited.. to see them come to fruition.
Nick and Seth are so lovely together, I just adore them. And Gibby and Jazz are a very close second to that. I really enjoyed how genuine and warm these relationships were in a genre where stories seem to thrive largely on conflict between couples. It's a very 'us against the world' theme at times and it made my investment in the outcome much stronger. These are people who love completely and are there for one another first and foremost.
It's also nice to see some pretty healthy parent-kid relationships, where they can interact with each other respectfully and it's not all one-sided demands for obedience. Though that's obviously not every scenario, it is present here.. and something I can relate to personally.
The story itself is really fun, lots of action scenes and excitement, plus we seem to be set-up for another book while avoiding the dreaded cliffhanger. I can happily recommend this to fans of stories about superheroes, coming of age stories, and teen camaraderie at its best.