Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest Post: Spencer Blohm on The Maze Runner; The Novel and the Movie


The Maze Runner

For those who don’t know, The Maze Runner is a wildly popular New York Times best-selling young adult series by James Dashner, recently converted into a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox. The fascinating and innovative series consists of four novels, The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure and The Kill Order. The first book of the series, the aforementioned The Maze Runner, focuses upon a protagonist named Thomas who enters an elevator, and when the doors close behind him after his exit, he finds himself in a mysterious place called the Glade, with no memory of how he ended up there. Fellow children greet him, who similarly have had their memories erased, and every morning stone doors open to reveal that they are surrounded by an immense maze. Every thirty days, a new member joins the Glade, and a young girl comes bearing a shocking message. Gladers have attempted to solve the maze for over three years with no success, but Thomas discovers that he plays a pivotal role in this new dystopian society.

The author, James Dashner, was closely involved with the writing of the screenplay, as well as casting choices to ensure the best adaptation of his vision. The film's mysterious and groundbreaking science-fiction theme and dark visuals were met with critical praise, and The Maze Runner made $32.5 million at the box office opening weekend and as of the time this article was written had pulled in nearly $200 million worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes awarded the film with a 63% “fresh” rating based on 75 out of 118 review of the film were positive. The Washington Post gave it a 3/4, stating "The Maze Runner unravels a few mysteries, but it spins even more."  The film follows the now stories tradition of bestselling YA series getting turned into films. It’s on the heels of other hits like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Divergent (on the off chance you haven’t seen these films they’re highly recommended for those who have and haven’t read the books, and you can watch on demand through providers like Direct TV or with streaming services like Amazon Prime.)

The film adaptation remained fairly close to the original novel, but is not without a few plot changes by screenwriter T.S. Nowlin. Spoilers may follow, you have been warned!

Thomas (played by newcomer Dylan O’Brien) immediately begins remembering his life before the Glades, which is the most notable difference in the film adaptation in comparison to the book. Alliances were revamped, instead of being at odds with one another, Alby (Aml Ameen) and Thomas are quite friendly. In the suspenseful scene where Alby is close to being stung by a griever, a serum instantly appears, while the serum is ingrained in daily life in the novel. A device within the griever opens a hidden path in the maze, which assists in the escape of Thomas and Minho (Ki Hong Lee), while the book has the pair finding the device, but not understanding its capabilities initially. Due to the nature and limitations of film, the telepathy of Thomas and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) was not included. During the climax of the film, when finally leaving the maze, the boys are not as discreet as they were in the novel and are ready to attack.

Understandably, these decisions were made to create a film with a stunning visual impact and strong plot, while remaining as close to the original source as possible. Fans of both the novel and film alike eagerly await the sequel, The Scorch Trials, which will hit the big screen on September 18th, 2015. The main characters may have escaped from the maze, but they face even greater obstacles in the thrilling sequel. Filming began earlier this month in New Mexico, with reports of acclaimed Irish actor Aidan Gillen playing the main antagonist, Rat Man.


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Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.



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Monday, October 20, 2014

On Tour: The Castle Blues Quake by Linda Covella, an Excerpt and a Giveaway!

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The Ghost Whisperer Series 1

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The Castle Blues Quake

The Castle Blues Quake by Linda Covella
Children's, Young Adult - Sci Fi / Fantasy
Tour Dates: October 14 - October 24, 2014
Blog Tour with Giveaway

12-year-old Pepper Connelly leaves her best friend, Chrissie, behind when her family moves from New York City to Santa Cruz, CA. Pepper discovers a boy, Corey, hiding in her backyard shed. Unknown to Pepper, Corey is a ghost trying to contact his grandfather, Boppie, before he crosses over. He tells Pepper he must locate Boppie before Social Services finds him. Pepper agrees to help.

While Pepper’s communication with Chrissie dwindles, her friendship with Corey grows. She tells Corey about her passion for writing songs, and throughout the story, she composes a song about Corey. Corey teaches Pepper to play the harmonica. Soon, she’s torn between finding Boppie and knowing when she does, Corey will certainly go back on the road with his traveling-musician grandfather.

Other characters help her on her quest: new classmate Ally Cressman, who dresses in an odd-ball, non-mall style; Sawtooth Sam, the mysterious saw-playing street musician; and Madame Mchumba, who performs her psychic readings at the Boardwalk amusement park.

Earthquakes, haunted house rides, poltergeists, and crystal ball readings propel Pepper toward the shocking conclusion of her search.


Excerpt

As I started to close the door, I looked down and gagged. On the doorstep lay a stiff dead rat, so big I pictured it running around the house slamming doors with its pointy nose or long tail. Its tiny black eyes stared at nothing, and its legs, stretched straight out, ended in open claws as if it had fought whoever or whatever had taken its life. The insides of my stomach were about to erupt when Dad looked over my shoulder and made me jump.

“Someone has a sick sense of humor,” he said. “The police are on their way. Now please, let’s go tell your mother and Sage everything’s okay.” He headed out of the kitchen.

Before shutting the door, I peered into the back yard. The fog had thinned a little. I could just make out the thick trunk of the tree and the swing hanging next to it. Then I froze. A face. A white face with black holes for eyes. Staring at me from behind the tree. I tried to call Dad, but my mouth and throat were dry. My voice wouldn’t work. I gripped the doorknob. Don’t run, I told myself. Don’t be afraid. Afraid, bade, fade...fade, fade, please go away whoever you are. Whatever you are. It hadn’t budged an inch. Maybe I was seeing things. Maybe it wasn’t a face. I squinted then blinked. And it was gone. Just the fog and the tree and the swing.

Then the hairs on the back of my neck prickled when I noticed the ropes and the seat swaying as if from a breeze.

The only thing was, the air was as still as could be. There was no breeze.

About the author

Profile Picture_Charlie Cut

Linda Covella’s varied job experience and education (associate degrees in art, business and mechanical drafting & design, a BS degree in Manufacturing Management) have led her down many paths and enriched her life experiences. But one thing she never strayed from is her love of writing.

A writer for over 30 years, her first official publication was a restaurant review column in a local newspaper, and as a freelance writer, she continued to publish numerous articles in a variety of publications. But when she published articles for children’s magazines (“Games and Toys in Ancient Rome” and “Traveling the Tokaido in 17th Century Japan,” in Learning Through History magazine, and “Barry’s Very Grown Up Day” in Zootles magazine), she realized she’d found her niche: writing for children. She wants to share with kids and teens her love of books: the worlds they open, the things they teach, the feelings they express.

Yakimali’s Gift, a historical novel for young adults published by Astraea Press, and middle grade paranormal The Castle Blues Quake published by Beau Coup Publishing are her first novels.

She’s a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

No matter what new paths she may travel down, she sees her writing as a lifelong joy and commitment.

Connect with Linda



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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wraith, The Debt Collector #10 by Susan Kaye Quinn

 

Wraith
Debt Collector #10

Wraith
Series: Debt Collector #10
ebook
Expected publication: October 20th 2014

This is season two of Debt Collector
Recommended: start with Season One.

What's your life worth on the open market?
A debt collector can tell you precisely. 

Wraith is a shadow in the night, haunting the bedrooms of the rich "high potentials" who have stolen life energy from the desperate and dying. The justice and the sweet mercy hit that follow keep her from falling into her own personal abyss.

Her secret nighttime work also keeps her on level for her real mission: carrying on her father's legacy of attempting to bring an end to debt collection as a whole. But when a mysterious debt collector interrupts her in the act and discovers her secret, everything Wraith loves may be destroyed by the one thing she can never fix-- the original sin of being a debt collector herself.

Contains mature content and themes.

My thoughts about Wraith ~~

I absolutely loved The Debt Collector Season One. I am so excited that Season Two is being written as we speak! Wraith is episode 10, the first episode of Season Two. And it appears that this series of stories is going to be just as exciting as the first one!

Wraith is a different kind of debt collecter from Lirium, who we met in season one. She has her own agenda and is out to avenge her father's death. Episode 10 is as intriging and action packed as the episodes of the first season and left me wanting more. I love that I can now go back to this exciting world of the debt collectors.

Wraith is approximately 17,000 words or 68 pages, and is the first of nine episodes in the second season of The Debt Collector serial. This dark and gritty future-noir is about a world where your life-worth is tabulated on the open market and going into debt risks a lot more than your credit rating. 
It is recommended that you start with the first season, but each season is a complete story for that debt collector and can serve as an entry point to the series. There are five planned seasons in the Debt Collector series, the first four each from the perspective of a different debt collector with the fifth season bringing all four together.

Reading Order

Season One - Lirium


Episodes 1-9: Delirium, Agony, Ecstasy, Broken, Driven, Fallen, Promise, Ruthless, Passion

Season Two - Wraith


10 - Wraith (10.20)
11 - Specter (10.27)
12 - Untitled (11.3)
13 - Untitled (11.10)
14 - Untitled (11.17)
15 - Untitled (11.24)
16 - Untitled (12.1)
17 - Untitled (12.8)
18 - Untitled (12.15)
BOX SET (Vol 10-18) - (12.15) 

About the Author


Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times.

Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way.

She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.

Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle.

Connect with Susan


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Christmas in Snow Valley - Pre-Order It Now!


Christmas in Snow Valley 
Available for pre-order

Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo


Christmas in Snow Valley
e-book
Expected publication: November 3rd 2014

Snow Valley, Montana, is a small community with the tradition of doing Christmas big. Festivities begin with tree lighting in the town square the day after Thanksgiving and continue until the culminating romantic Christmas Ball. From the Polar Express to a Winter Carnival, there’s something for every wonder-filled child—and every couple who’s in love—or about to be.

Christmas in Snow Valley is packed with six wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring romance into your holiday season.

An Unexpected Kiss 
by Cindy Roland Anderson

Lucy Phillips doesn’t want to spend her Christmas vacation dodging her ex-boyfriend, so when he turns up at the airport to give her a ride home, Lucy panics and asks a complete stranger to kiss her. Although the kiss is incredible, Lucy never expects to see the guy again. Is it bad luck or destiny when Lucy comes down with a sore throat and the new doctor in Snow Valley is none other than the guy she kissed at the airport?

Feels Like Love 
by Jeanette Lewis

Christmas in Snow Valley is the perfect way for April Winston to introduce her city slicker fiancĂ©, Scott Mecham, to life on a farm. If only Wade Hadley, hometown boy and high school sweetheart, will cooperate! But Wade has no intention of letting April go without a fight. This Christmas, Wade is determined to overcome their painful past and show April that she already has what she’s been seeking all along.

Full Court Devotion 
by Cami Checketts

Kazlyn is too busy with her schooling and future plans to enjoy life, let alone fall in love with a man who has heartbreak written all over him. Tyrese Hamilton, a college basketball star and major heartthrob, is intrigued when Kazlyn doesn't pursue him or even seem interested. Ty's career is in jeopardy, and he needs a miracle and Kazlyn to save him.

The Christmas Eve Kiss 
by Taylor Hart

When Molly O’Hare gets a prediction that she will kiss her true love on Christmas Eve, she thinks it’s utterly ridiculous. But when she gets teamed up with Kevin Snow, aka her ex-boyfriend, to decorate a Christmas tree, things start to change. Too bad getting over the past is hard and seeing him kiss another girl is even harder. Now Molly is left with a choice—run away from home and heartbreak or let Christmas work out a miracle all of its own.

Risking it all for Love 
by Award-Winning author, Kimberley Montpetit

Succumbing to family pressure, Jessica Mason reluctantly comes home for Christmas. Ever since her high school boyfriend's death from a car accident three years earlier, Jessica and religion have not been compatible. So, when she visits Michael’s grave, she's surprised to meet the handsome James Douglas, Pastor John’s nephew, who’s studying for the ministry. James can not only dish back Jessica’s finely-tuned sarcasm but understands grief all too well, turning Jessica’s world upside down. Is she ready to take another risk on love?

Blue Christmas 
by Lucy McConnell

As head of Snow Valley hospital's fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn't have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She's been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.

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Cover Reveal: Hurricane Butterfly by MeChelle Vermeulen

Beautiful, don't you think?


Hurricane Butterfly

Hurricane Butterfly by MeChelle Vermeulen
Publication date: December 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Twenty-year-old Sophie Blake, is trying her best to get her life back after a horrific dog attack ten months ago. However, this proves to be more difficult than she anticipated. With the help of her best friend Ben Slone, it seems as if she’s making progress, but the truth is that she can feel herself sinking deeper into a black hole…until a tall dark stranger comes knocking, looking for Ben.

Joshua Roxwell has been drowning his demons with Whiskey and woman in an attempt to deal with his guilt after the tragic death of his sister. When he finds an envelope addressed to Ben Slone, written by his sister before her death, he decides to track him down. Instead of resolving their differences, he meets the one girl who silences his demons…but redemption comes at a price.

This is a story of heartache, friendship and love, with a wicked twist…


Connect with MeChelle



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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WWW Wednesdays October 15, 2014


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Clicking on the book covers will take you to Goodreads for more information about the books listed below.

What are you currently reading?

Wraith (Debt Collector 10) by Susan Kaye Quinn
I loved Season 1 (episodes 1-9) and am so excited that Season 2 is coming! 


Duma Key by Stephen King (audio-book)

What did you recently finish reading?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Wow! And now I need to see the movie. 

What do you think you will read next?

The Fool (Virtual Arcana 0) by Karen Amanda Hooper
I can't wait to get started on this serial novel. I love Karen's stories!


Cape Ann by Faith Sullivan
This is for my book club. I had the pleasure of meeting Faith at our book festival a few years ago. It's about time I get this read!

What's on your WWW this week?

Leave me a comment and
I'll stop by to check out your reads.

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