November 22, 2014

Reading Outside the Box recap

In January, I set out to read a book for each square in the Reading Outside the Box challenge. Surprisingly, with a month to spare, I managed to finish it!

This was a fun challenge to undertake. I read some categories that I usually never read, like Romance, where I was pleasantly surprised by the book I chose, Star Struck by Jamie Campbell. Of the 25 books I read as part of the challenge, I rated 6 of them as 5-stars, 13 as 4-stars, and 6 as 3-stars.

My three favorites (in order of date read) were:
(Yes, two of the three are indie books!)

As promised, I also posted a review for each book that I read. Here are the links to each review. The number in parenthesis was my rating.

November 15, 2014

Book review: Ninety Percent of Everything by Rose George

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On ship-tracking websites, the waters are black with dots. Each dot is a ship; each ship is laden with boxes; each box is laden with goods. In postindustrial economies, we no longer produce but buy. We buy, so we must ship. Without shipping there would be no clothes, food, paper, or fuel. Without all those dots, the world would not work.

Freight shipping has been no less revolutionary than the printing press or the Internet, yet it is all but invisible. Away from public scrutiny, shipping revels in suspect practices, dubious operators, and a shady system of “flags of convenience.” Infesting our waters, poisoning our air, and a prime culprit of acoustic pollution, shipping is environmentally indefensible. And then there are the pirates.

Rose George, acclaimed chronicler of what we would rather ignore, sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore on ships the length of football fields and the height of Niagara Falls; she patrols the Indian Ocean with an anti-piracy task force; she joins seafaring chaplains, and investigates the harm that ships inflict on endangered whales.

Sharply informative and entertaining, Ninety Percent of Everything reveals the workings and perils of an unseen world that holds the key to our economy, our environment, and our very civilization.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

November 11, 2014

Happy birthday to George and the Galactic Games

It's hard to believe that three years ago, I published my first novel, George and the Galactic Games. At the time, I had only written short stories and didn't know if I could write a full-length novel. It turns out that I can because, after George and the Galactic Games, I wrote four more!

To celebrate the book's third book birthday, I've discounted the price to 99 cents! I don't know yet how long I'll keep it at that price, so get it while it's on sale.

Buy it from Amazon
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November 8, 2014

Book review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

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Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

November 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

For the first time ever, I've decided to take the plunge and try my hand at NaNoWriMo! If you aren't familiar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it's a month-long challenge that takes place every November. The idea is to attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words between November 1 and 30. Yes, in just one month!

I've always been afraid to try NaNoWriMo because I don't think I can complete a novel in one month. It takes me four or five months to write a first draft, so I'd have to write 4x or 5x my usual speed. This year, however, I figured I'd give it a try, not because I have more faith in my abilities, but because I was going to start a new novel anyway, and NaNoWriMo is as good an incentive as any to force me to write daily.

Last month, I did the research for my new novel, and I already have an outline of the plot. (I'm not sure how much preparation is allowed before November for NaNoWriMo, but I hope doing research and outlining is OK.) Now I'm ready to start writing it! If you want to follow my progress, the best way will be to stalk me on Twitter. :-)

October 25, 2014

(Guest Post) My Name is Ariele and I Write Books: What if John and Quin Had iPhones

Hello, H.S. Stone’s fans! My name is Ariele and I write books, specifically science fiction. I recently released my third novel, The Wounded World. The story revolves around my main character, Quin, and his relationship with his father. After returning home from his military duty, Quin discovers that his father has disappeared, leaving behind a very dangerous piece of new technology. Thus, he sets out to find out where his father has run off to, and to solve the problems that get in his way.

If it sounds interesting, check it out here! You can find out more about me or my books by visiting my website or following me on Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the publication of my newest novel, I give you three short scenes from my two main characters:

What If John and Quin Had iPhones

Episode 1: The Spider

Episode 2: The Pre-Date Advice 


Episode 3: John Tells Bad Jokes

Curious to learn more about John and Quin? Get a copy of The Wounded World, or read an excerpt of the book on Zoe’s blog.

October 18, 2014

Book review: Hunger by Michael Grant

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It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ.

Three months since all the adults disappeared. GONE.

Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers. Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous.

But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them.

The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)