THE KATY’S BEST OF 2015

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday season and New Years! I took off of one of my jobs so that I could spend more time with my little family. It was awesome.

Now that I’m back to the grind, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books, posts, and other highlights from 2015!

This may get long…2015 was a great year!

Let’s get the longest category out of the way: BOOKS.

2015 Fave books

I’m not really sure if I had a completely #1 favorite book of 2015. There were so many to choose from that I could talk about for hours, so in no particular order here are my top ten! …They are pretty much all Sci-fi/dystopian lit!

  • Killshot by Aria Michaelsbookcover
    • Aria was my first author interview EVER. She wrote such an awesome book, I knew I needed to hear more about it. I’m so happy she agreed to answer a few questions!
    • Killshot is about a girl named Liv and how she goes from being a normal high school girl (with legit problems) to fighting for her life and the lives of those around her. Read more in my review.
    • Buy link
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    • I’m sure this book is on everyone’s “best of 2015” lists, but I had to add it. It’s awesome! (See review) I added it to my “read yearly” list on Goodreads, which only has two other books on it right now. I received “Ready Player One” from a LootCrate! Best month ever!
    • Buy link (At time of post, the paperback was cheaper than the kindle edition!)
  • UPDATED EBOOK COVER WITH TAGLINESThe Treemakers by Christina L Rozelle
    • This one is classified as YA, but definitely has some scarier parts. I loved it. It was definitely dark, yet remained hopeful through all of the horribleness. Read my reviews and interview with Christina here.
    • Christina is a great author, but also a kind and generous person. She agreed to an interview and I look forward to getting to know her more over the years!
    • Buy link
  • Prep for Doom anthology by Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans
    • This anthology was unique because all the stories intertwined even though multiple authors wrote them! (I was lucky enough to be asked to join the Band of Dystopian team as an assistant in 2015 too. I love BOD!)
    • See my review here.
    • Buy link
  • Tails of the Apocalypse by various authorstsils
    • One of my favorite anthologies I’ve read by far! Not sure if it’s because it followed animals or what, but I loved each story in a different way. Review here.
    • Buy link
  • Anything written by Sarah Noffke in 2015
  • Between Life and Death series by Ann Christy
  • halfwaydeadHalfway Dead by Terry Maggert
    • A story about a witch. I’m usually not “into” witch books, but this one is awesome! It gave me an “Odd Thomas” vibe, which is one of my all time favorite books!
    • Read more HERE and see Terry’s interview here.
    • Buy link
  • Dark Bishop by Casey L Bond and Rachael Brownell
    • This is a suspense-type romance released as a serial series. It is NOT YA. But I love it. Check out Casey’s other books as well. She writes in all different genres and I loved each world she’s created.
    • Interview with Casey here.
    • Buy link
  • Sand by Hugh Howey
    • This one was SO good. I think I liked it even more than Wool. Hugh has a way with words. I felt like I was buried in the sand, in a good way…if that’s possible.
    • Buy link

AGH! That’s ten already? How about some honorable mentions? I really could go on and on. Last year was a great year for books and I cannot wait to read more in 2016!

MORE GOOD BOOKS

THE KATY’s 1st Book Convention (Great Lakes Book Bash)! GIVEAWAY

I’m posting this later than I wanted to (I wanted to have a post about the GLBB last
week), but I am happy to say that I extremely enjoyed my first book conference! Luke and I arrived in Kalamazoo, MI around 5PM on October 10th after a four hour drive from our little piece of Wisconsin. We probably would’ve arrived a little sooner, but I had unknowingly checked the “avoid tollways” box on the GPS. Once we discovered WHY we were taking forever on getting out of Illinois and I perused the GPS settings…our trip went a lot faster. (Unchecking that little box save TWO HOURS of driving time…yikes)

When we arrived and checked into the hotel, I immediately  dropped Luke off in the the room and zoomed downstairs. Some fellow bloggers greeted me and signed me into the convention. These bloggers were just so welcoming and fun. I’ve never actually met other bloggers in person before!

{INSERT TACKLE HUG HERE} Then I was privileged to meet Author Casey L Bond in person. We had chatted online and I love her books, but it was quite the experience to meet her! She is such a Southern sweetie.

Rachel Brownell and Casey Bond put on quite the convention! It was awesome to see so many wonderful authors sharing the space with tables covered in books. I will admit I was a little shy and starstruck at first! After I got over my nerves a little, I introduced myself, handed out some business cards, and talked about books! Sigh. It was awesome.

The panels I attended were very informative and fun! I have pages of notes I still need to go through that will definitely help on my journey towards becoming a better blogger (and hopefully author)!

The party was great too! By this time, Luke and I were pretty tired, but it was fun to mingle and have a drink before going up to our room to watch Gotham and eat pizza KID-FREE.

I cannot wait until the next Great Lakes Book Bash in 2017! Miss you all.


GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT

Anyone want to win some awesome swag from the Great Lakes Book Bash?
Visit my Facebook page or the Rafflecopter link below to enter!
It’ll be a QUICK one. Today through Friday (10/23)! Hurry! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Get to know YOU giveaway! (NOW CLOSED)

Well, I finally got with the program and started a Facebook page for THE KATY. I promised that once I received 100 likes I’d have a giveaway and you did it in ONE DAY. I’m amazed! Since I’m still getting my stuff together on my end as I figure out the Facebook page, I decided I want to get to know you all a little bit during this giveaway. I’ll go first!

THE KATY’S FAVORITES11027519_10206317043020860_1153504254232455163_n

Book genre: That’s tough. I love reading all sorts of fiction. I love non-fiction too, but usually end up finding more and more non-fiction to read… Recently I’ve found a love for the Dystopian genre after joining the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook. If you like this genre, definitely check them out. Such a great bunch of people. I also enjoy paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, romance (it depends), and I will try anything really.

Favorite Geek Fandom: I have to say Star Wars. It’s been in my blood since 1st grade (the boys I had a crush on loved it, but I’ll say my love for Star Wars definitely outlasted my crush for that boy!) and I married a man named Luke WALKER. Destiny? Definitely.

Other fandoms I enjoy: Various Anime, Supernatural, Firefly, OITNB, How to Train Your Dragon, Bob’s Burgers, Zombies (does that count?), Jurassic Park, and again, I will try (pretty much) anything!

If you want to hear more tidbits about me, check out the posts from the A-Z Blogging Challenge in April this year. I talk about kids, geek, books, and more!

Any questions? Anything you want to see? Comment below!

Without further ado, The giveaway! I hope to see you on the Facebook page. 🙂 (This giveaway is now closed! Congrats to the winner who has been contacted via email. Look forward to more giveaways as my blog grows. This was FUN!)

Facebook and Amazon have NOTHING to do with this giveaway.

Prizes: $5 Amazon Gift card, I created one of the prizes, “Ghostly Hugs” ink print, and the author swag was gifted (or won) from various authors. 

Click the Rafflecopter link below to visit the giveaway! Thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One of the prizes is a limited edition ink print. I carved the image out of a linoleum block and used black ink to create the image on paper. Fun!

One of the prizes is a limited edition ink print. I carved the image out of a linoleum block and used black ink to create the image on paper. Fun!

Review: Between Life and Death by Ann Christy

Synopsis: Veronica waits for news while a broiling summer bakes the deaders still 11207799_1557108074553141_711101007_o (1)roaming the world. Back at the warehouse complex, the rest of the group keeps watch over their group of captive in-betweeners and tries to stay alive. At long last, Veronica finds a package left by Princeton and Violet at their drop-off point. Everything is finally going their way and a cure for the in-betweeners might finally be within their grasp.

But, nothing stays easy in the post-nanite world of deaders and in-betweeners. Not everyone wants a cure for the nanite plague. Around every shiny, white cloud is a deep, black lining. This time, the clouds are smoke and there is a storm coming.

Between Life and Death is book three in the exciting, post-apocalyptic Between Life and Death trilogy. With mild language and occasional violence, (and some very gross undead), this series is suitable for ages 16 and up.

Review: The final installment to Ann Christy’s take on a post-apocalyptic zombie tale is an action packed non-stop adventure ridden thrill ride. Not only do Veronica and her adoptive family need to discover a cure, but they also have to worry about the people who don’t want a cure to happen. I can’t believe the series is over! I feel like Veronica, Emily, and the rest of their group are my family. Another awesome part is that no one was a whiny person that didn’t want to pull their weight to help the group. Each person wanted to help find a cure, even if they had differences of opinion on other topics. Family. Team mates. Survivors together. Love it! Ann Christy has woven an amazing world where the undead In-Betweeners may not be all that they seem to be. Veronica is a fighter with heart. She feels responsible for everything around her and especially for Emily, who she has sworn to protect. Absolutely amazing ending to a series! If anyone reads it and wants to message me to talk about it in depth, feel free! I won’t spoilers here, but HOLY CRAP.

You can find Ann Christy on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and buy her books on Amazon.

THE KATY’s Facebook adventure begins

The title is right. I have started a Facebook group for this blog. I’m pretty sure it’ll be like a huge book-geek-fx makeup-writing-whatever-loving group so you should join! It’s pretty empty at the moment, but I will be accepting member requests now so we can fill it up! Feel free to post book recommendations, projects you are excitedly working on at the moment, geekery, etc… I just ask that you don’t spam or try to sell stuff on the Facebook page. Authors or other bloggers, feel free to post about new books, events, cover reveals, giveaways, etc…but keep it to one post per day.

I hope to see you there!

Click here to visit/join THE KATY’s Facebook page!

Cover reveal! “Catalyst” by Author Casey L Bond

Catalyst Cover Reveal

Catalyst

By- Casey L. Bond

Genre- YA Dystopian

Expected Publication Date- June 3rd,

2015

 

The city

of Confidence is surrounded by a thick, concrete wall. These walls are built to protect those

within and to keep dangers outside. What happens when the only danger to the citizens within is

its leadership?

 

When a young man on a suicide mission

meets a young woman with a terminal illness, both of them use one another as a means to their

own ends. They never expect to become friends. They never expect to become so much more

to each other. Their backgrounds and the secrets they uncover are more dangerous than any

plans they could make together or separately.

Revolution begins with a spark.

 

 

Continue reading

H is for Hobbit

Today is the letter ‘H’ in the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge! View more blogs here!

I decided to throw some Geek love out there and give a shout out to the littlest people in Middle Earth. Hobbits.

Mmm...Elevensies...

Mmm…Elevensies…

The Good: Hobbits are (mostly) kind hearted people whose lives celebrate the simple things. Food. Gardening. Smoking a pipe and blowing smoke rings. Parties. It seems like the perfect way to live! In fact, Hobbits eat many meals per day and still stay small! Ok, fairly round, but small. I know that if I ate that many large meals everyday than very soon I would be 300 lbs. I don’t see any Hobbits exercising either. I understand, Hobbits! However, certain families of Hobbits have a sense of adventure

Home Sweet Home after an epic journey

Home Sweet Home after an epic journey

tucked under their golden pocket watch chains that dangle from custom vest pockets. These Hobbits save the world over and over again and it’s amazing and awesome to hear about. Plus they live in adorable Hobbit holes. I want one. Maybe with a little higher ceilings so Luke doesn’t hit his head all of the time.

(Photo from FireAntTees shop on Etsy. I haven’t personally bought anything from her, but her stuff looks great!)

Gollum

What taters, precious?

The Bad: Some Hobbits get greedy and turn into this! Yuck. Golem is nasty and evil, yet you can’t help but pity him. He does have persistence to meet his goals…so that’s good, right? Gross. (Photo from Wikipedia)

The Katy: I love the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Yes, they are just walking for FOREVER. But there are epic battles, new friendships, and amazing adventures. I need to try to reread the books. Tolkein was a genius, but his books are hard for me to read. The writing style is like an entire 3 course meal that takes me forever to digest. I’ll get to it! But there are a lot of books on my TBR list that I need to check off before I return to Middle Earth. In the meantime, I can enjoy the movies. Being a LOTR/Hobbit fan is also an awesome way to bond with my mom, who also loves those things! We got to see the most recent Hobbit films in theaters together for some mom/daughter bonding. 🙂

Mmm…now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start prepping for second-breakfast and elevensies.

B is for Books

Day 2 is here of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. If you remember, my theme is “The Good, the Bad, and the Katy.”
If you have followed me for the past few months, you might have noticed that I like to read. I added a reviews page to my site and everything! I think I may eventually review other things besides books (I could write a book on how different sippy cups fare against babies/toddlers), but for now my free time is filled with venturing to other worlds and times. I love it!

bookmeme

The Good: One of my favorite things about books lately is an awesome book group I was added to on Facebook by Shannon of It Starts at Midnight called Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans (or BOD). BOD is a group that comes together to share their love of books and especially of the dystopian genre. Authors share their books, the group organizers hold contests, and the entire community (nay….family!) comes together as friends for lively discussions. I honestly do not know how I lived without BOD. It’s a wonderful group and you should join! One of my favorite games is a weekly writing prompt. I feel that since I started participating in the prompt, I have gotten much better as a writer. My entry was even featured on BOD’s blog one week! Plus, I have won quite a few “caption this” contests where I have received prizes of BOD swag and signed paperbacks of featured authors. If you want to know more, you’ll have to join! Check out some of my recent reviews, here. You can also find me on Goodreads (my recent reads are the right side of the page)! 

BOD

The Bad: The worst part of reading is when I don’t like a book. I always finish books I start. But sometimes I take a break. Once in awhile, a book just sits on my kindle at 30% done for months, but I always return to it eventually. Recently authors have asked me to write reviews for their books and sometimes I just can’t…I’m too nice. If a book was mostly good, but had some issues, I will review it, but try to bury the bad things I didn’t like under the good things I loved. Maybe this is a bad habit, but I am still learning how best to review books I think. Any tips are welcome! How do you review books? I will say that if a book was just too not for me, then I just won’t leave a review.

The Katy: I am writing a book (still). It’s coming along, but still has a long way to go. Now that we’ve moved into our house, I definitely have space to set up a writing area for myself. Time is still an issue, but I am currently moving my priorities around so I have more time to get this book written. There are a lot of complicated sections I need to simplify a little (a lot). When I get closer, I will reveal plot, world, characters, and cover here on my blog! Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans was a huge influence in my decision to try NaNoWriMo this past November and now I’m hooked on writing.

Review: Slumber by Christy Sloat

Synopsis (via Amazon): 
Not all princesses get their happily ever after… slumber

They tell me I killed my boyfriend Phillip in cold blood. I stabbed him twenty one times. I’m only seventeen years old, and I am serving life in Spindle Ridge Asylum for the Criminally Insane. I don’t remember killing him, so it’s really hard to believe I’m capable of murder. In fact I don’t remember anything before I came to Spindle Ridge, not even my boyfriend. I can only grasp onto my realistic dreams while the madness of the asylum threatens to pull me under. I dream I’m a beautiful princess and there is an evil faerie named Maleficent who is bent on my destruction. The dreams are the closest thing I have to memories of my life, except they aren’t real. 
I’m crazy. I’m not a princess. 
They’re the mad illusions of an irrational teenage girl, right? 
They’ve assigned me a new doctor, and she says I can trust her, and that she’ll help me see the truth of who I really am. 
When she arrived she brought a new patient, Sawyer, who is everything Spindle Ridge isn’t: exciting, mysterious and beautiful. He promises he’s here to rescue me. Trusting either of them frightens me. 
Could it be possible that my dreams are more than just the imaginings of a delusional girl? Could they be truth?

Review:
First off, let me say I love a good fairy tale. I haven’t read a lot of fantasy in awhile, since a lot of the authors asking for reviews in my group are dystopian/post-apoc writers. But, I still love fantasy! Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite stories, so I was genuinely excited to delve into the world I (possibly) knew so well. Christy Sloat gives you pieces of the story you remember while recreating Aurora (Rory) and the entire world of Sleeping Beauty in an entirely new and amazing way. I am a fan of including insane asylums in books/movies. I’m not sure why, but there is something exciting and terrifying about not being able to control what you think is real. Rory starts out as a supposedly crazed murderer, but as the story progresses and she learns the truth a little at a time, she becomes a stronger person. I love love love when a novel has a character grow from a weak person to a strong person. It’s human nature to find hope in dismal situations and Rory gravitates towards this small glimmer of hope, even if she is resistant at first.

Even though Slumber is a (sort of) traditional fairy tale and I loved the original Sleeping Beauty, I appreciated the massive change to Aurora’s character. In Disney’s version, Aurora is…kind of an air-head. She seems a little spunky, but in the end lets everyone guide her where they need to go. Rory is no air head. She is a leader. Once she grabs onto that hope, she takes control of her destiny. She doesn’t need a prince charming to swoop in and save her! Like I said, I love a traditional fairy tale where a prince saves a damsel in distress, but it is wonderful when a fairytale breaks the mold a little (or a lot).

The evil in the book was great too. Dripping with self-entitlement and revenge plots, just how I like it. Raven was awesome as well. I liked the shapeshifter element too.

Cover design: As I’ve said in previous reviews, I usually don’t like covers when the character’s face is on it because it takes my imagination away from what it wants to see. That being said, I love this cover. I already have sleeping beauty’s visage in my brain from reading/watching stories about Aurora in the past. But even if I had no clue about the tale of Sleeping Beauty I would still love this cover! Gorgeous and whimsical. Just the sort of cover a fairy tale needs.

Thank you, Christy for the great Book Release party you hosted! I loved your videos and games. Slumber was a treat to read and I am excited for the next installment.

Find Christy Sloat on Facebook, Goodreads, and her website.
Pick up Slumber for Kindle on Amazon here.

Dissension by K.A. Salidas Review

I was recently added to a read and review list by Cheer of Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans. While I usually review books I read on both Goodreads and Amazon, I have yet to put my book reviews on my blog.

Well, today is the day! My first book as an “official” downloadreviewer is “Dissension by K.A. Salidas. I didn’t even read the description before I dove in, only knowing that it was a Dystopian related genre. After she set the Apocalyptic scene, K.A. introduces vampires to the story. My reaction was half “Ooo, vampires!” and “I hope it isn’t like Twilight…”.

Underworld2evolution

Selene is an awesome vampire, but so is Mira!

I have not read very many vampire books (yet), so I don’t really have a lot of good titles to go off of from my own personal experience. Do not fear! From the very first page where I was introduced to the main character, Mira, I was hooked. She is snarky, short (like me), and kicks major butt from the beginning. I kept picturing Selene from the Underworld (movie) series, except wearing Roman gladiator gear. And even though she is amazing in every single way, she was by no means perfect. Another thing I like about Mira is that she grew as a character. She didn’t remain the same when her reality bubble popped, but instead stood up to meet the challenge and changed how she felt. Some books I’ve read have lacked character development, but Dissension’s characters were likable and grew as the story progressed. One more trait about Dissension I found unique, was the combination of futuristic elements with ancient Roman traditions and events. It was like steampunk, but instead of using futuristic weaponry in Victorian times (and steam powered vehicles), Dissension was both the future and the ancient past. Love it.

Thank you, Katie for let me read and review your book! I definitely will be checking out the rest of the Chronicles of the Uprising series.

You can find K.A. Salidas on Facebook, Twitter, and her website. Buy Dissension on Amazon here.