The Fame Factor - Polly Courtney

quarta-feira, 29 de setembro de 2010

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"Offstage, she had an ordinary existence, but on stage, she became extraordinary. It no longer mattered who was listening. It didn´t even matter if nobody was listening. She was surrounded by and absorbed in the music, feeling more alive than she could ever feel in the day."

The Story: They were "Dirty Money". Four young, talented and beautiful girls making music - a different kind of rock, without stereotypes, with no definitions. Besides having an enviable chemistry on stage, they were really close friends.
Zoe Kidd was their front woman. While she was dreaming on being a rock star, she was dealing with a boring job and with a family that didn´t accept her double life and didn´t comprehend her dream of having success in an uncertain carreer as music.
Everything changes when a really good musical producer comes into their lives and gives Zoe some difficult alternatives that can change her life completely.
Is fame that important? Even more important than family, friendship, love and happiness?

My Opinion: Do you wanna know one thing, guys? While I was reading the first pages of The fame factor, I was familiarizing myself with the happenings in Dirty Money´s lives. I used to have a band and I made some of these things mentioned in the book. I´ve spent hours adding friends to our myspace, I lost days at school to go to essays, I composed songs with my best friend and I´m sure that read it all gave me a sense of a good nostalgia.
But more than that, Polly´s book, besides being really amazing to read is a life lesson that tells us that we can wish for everything, to think that we have it all and when we look around and see a crowd surrounding us, in fact we are more alone than never. Deep inside we have nothing that really matters.
I confess that I would never make some choices that did Zoe. She is a great character and I felt angry with her and for her. I wanted to enter inside the book and make her realize the mess she was making, But that´s exactly when I know the book is pleasing me.
I recomend it! It´s a trip through the sordid world of showbiz, drugs, friendship and about learning what´s really worthy.
Oh, and I can´t forget to say that Polly Courtney is very lovely!

How many stars: ****

Soundtrack: In my way home from work, I found the perfect song for this It´s my life by Bon Jovi. I decided for this version, ´cause it´s more melancholic.

"I ain´t gonna be just a face in the crowd
You´re gonna hear my voice when I shout it aloud"

Interview with Angela Morrison (TAKEN BY STORM AND SING ME TO SLEEP)

terça-feira, 21 de setembro de 2010

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Hi Guys...
I´m here today to show you a delicious interview that I had the pleasure to make with an international writer - Angela Morrison that wrote TAKEN BY STORM and SING ME TO SLEEP.

I confess that I´m delighted with Angela, not only because she´s extremely caring and gentle, but because her answers made me her fan and I haven´t even started reading her book (soon I´ll review it!). It was a big pleasure to translate this interview and I confess that Im touched with the message she left!

See for yourself...

AMS: When and why did you start writing?

AM: I wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I read a biography about Louisa Mae Alcott and decided I wanted to be her. I had a big sister just like Meg--pretty and perfect. And I was the sister who wanted to run around outside and climb trees. I also loved to make up stories. In high school, I went to workshops for kids who wanted to write fiction and got to meet real life authors who encouraged me. In university, I majored in English Literature. That turned me into a really good critic. I got married and had four children, but I always felt like I needed to work more on my writing. In 2002 I enrolled in Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA (master of fine arts) in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I learned from professionals how to write professionally. And I've been trying to do that ever since. It took me almost four years after I graduated to sell my first book, TAKEN BY STORM, to Razorbill at Penguin.

AMS: Why writing books for young adults readers? And why do you think that they touch grown up´s heart and attention so much?

AM: I write for young adults because those are the voices that surrounded me when I started writing every day all day. My oldest sons were teens at the time. And I'd taught teens at church every morning for three solid years. I love the concept behind YA now. The poignant struggles of teens trying to move through the transition from child to adult and trying to figure out love as part of the process are what draw me to a story.

AMS: You have two books already released. What are the most perceptible differences between your writing in each of them?
AM: TAKEN BY STORM is a collage novel. What does that mean? The story is told through a "collage" of entries. Leesie contributes poems from her "Most Private Chapbook," Michael lets us see his journal entries that he scribbles in his dive log (he is a scuba diver!), and then I added online chat transcripts of Michael and Leesie's chats and Leesie's chats with her poet friend, Kim. This story starts with a tragedy and ends with a sense of healing.

SING ME TO SLEEP is written entirely from Beth's point of view. We don't see into anyone else's head. My editor wanted a poetic element in this book, too, so she asked me to sprinkle lyrics from the songs Beth writes throughout the book. I also had to make up lyrics for all the choral songs her choir and she and Derek perform in scenes. This story ends in tragedy with a hope of healing.

AMS: Who is your favorite character from these two books?

AM: That's a tough question. It's like asking a mother to choose a favorite child. I just finished writing the sequel to TAKEN BY STORM, UNBROKEN CONNECTION, and Michael is so amazing in that book that I have to say he is my favorite right now. I'm starting to work on the final book in Michael and Leesie's saga, CAYMAN SUMMER, and I'm so excited to see what he'll do. I've decided not to keep that journey to myself. I'm going to write CAYMAN SUMMER and post it on a dedicated blog as I write it--poem by poem, dive log by dive log, chat by chat. I hope some of you will want to join me!

AMS: What do you think that´s essential in a book, something that makes you really stuck on it?

AM: I love to read about wounded characters who learn from their difficulties and find happiness with a precious person who will love them forever.

AMS: Can you name three perfect books in your opinion?

AM: Perfect? Whoa. Is anything perfect? I think there are some books that come close. I love Jane Austen. PERSUASION is my favorite because Anne suffers so acutely and Captain Wentworth is so horrible to her, but he finally returns to the love he knows is true. Katherine Paterson's JACOB HAVE I LOVED breaks my heart every time I read it but closes with a sense of spiritual joy that is palpable. My favorite YA novel in recent years is THE BOOK THIEF. The artistry in that book is incredible. When I feel like I need to tune up my prose, I read it again.
AMS: Can you give some advice for new writers?

AM: Read hundreds and hundreds of books. Write every day. Try to find opportunities to learn from professionals--whether it is in a formal degree program, through online classes or critique groups, or studying all the amazing material that is on the internet these days. Study your craft. Search out mentors. You would never expect a professional soccer--oops, football to you--player to star in the World Cup without years of professional coaching and thousands of hours of practice. The same is true for writers. Writing is a vocation that we are driven to do--despite how difficult it is to make any money do it. I'm miserable unless I'm writing. If you feel the same, you're a writer. Keep at it. You will get better and better. Take advantage of all the new avenues that are opening up for writers. Publishing as we know it is under going a gigantic shift. The trend to ebooks and print on demand books is just the tip of the iceberg. Get involved. Enjoy the journey. And write fantastic books! (There are lots of practical writing how-to's on my liv2writ blog on my website.)

AMS: I wish you could leave a message for the blog and for my readers ^^.

AM: Thank you, Bianca, for hosting me--sending me questions in English and translating my answers. I know how hard that is. I appreciate it so much. My motto these days is from Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood / And I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference." Check out the roads less traveled. Trust your life to a higher power. He knows what's around the corner. And I know He has some amazing surprises in store for all of us!


Angela, thanks so much for using your free time (that I know that must be very rare) to answer my questions!
And for my readers, I hope you like it!

ARC - Strangers - Mary Anna Evans

domingo, 19 de setembro de 2010

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"Joe had the eyes of a raptor and the ears of a bat. When the gunshot sounded, he was not fooled by the echo. (...) When he got there, maybe he´d do what she told him to do. Maybe he´d wait. Or maybe he´d go for the shooter´s throat. But surely Faye knew that he would not leave her alone and in danger.

The Story: Every house has its secrets and its ghosts. Maybe these ghosts are not exactly hauntings, but parts of a past that should be lock and key, buried in its basements, secret passageways or gardens. Dunkirk Manor is not different. Within its walls are hidden murders, betrayals and mainly objects with historical value, including the diary of a Spanish priest that lived in 1565.
Faye and her husband Joe were hired by the house´s owners to study these old objects that belonged to Dunkirk Manor. They had just created an Archaeological Consulting Firm, and it became their first work. It sounds really amazing, even for immensely pregnant Faye, that barely can stand at her feet.

The Suspense: Everything was going very well until Glynis, one of the employees, disappears leaving inside her car some objects that she found and a letter asking for Faye´s help. And that car was left behind full of blood. Days after that, her boyfriend is found dead in a river, with his throat slashed.
So, Faye is called to help the police with her archaeological knowledge, intending to interpreting what was the connection between the artifacts that Glynis has found with her disappearance.
As she is getting involved into the history, Faye discovers that she might be in danger and also the baby she´s waiting for.

My Opinion: Merging humor, mistery and romance with intelligence, Mary Anna Evans has built a suspense realy nice to read. It was her first book that I ever read and it did not disappoint me. She knows how to create a tale that leaves you stuck from the beggining to the end, specially because it´s simple but has a very complex story as its backdrop, a tragedy.
Faye´s character is adorable. Despite being pregnant A LOT, she doesn´t feel vulnerable. Even with her enormous belly, she digs deep into the story, going through many dangers and breathtaking situations. But, she´s lucky! She has the help and protection of her devoted husband, that is another excelent character.
Speaking about Joe, I was curious with his story. Strangers is the sixth book within a serie with these characters. You can read it out of sequence because I didn´t have any problem to understand the book and I didn´t feel lost, but instigated to know more about this couple. As I could comprehend, their romance started in a very unusual way. Faye helped him, gave him a shelter and teached many of the things he know. OF COURSE I will search for the first book - Artifacts - to read.
It´s worthy to have a look at this author´s work that´s so talented and extremely kindly and that knows Brasil!!!

How Many Stars: ****

The Soundtrack: It´s not a song that has lyrics that remind me of this book, but the atmosphere and the mention of ghosts (even indirectly) made me feel that it was perfect for the book - Question by System of a Down.

Daughters of the Witching Hill - Mary Sharratt

quinta-feira, 9 de setembro de 2010

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"So there we were, two women living in a tower, without father, husband, brother or son to rein us in. Daughters of the witching hill, we turned to magic. Consorted with imps and spirits. We came into our powers, and they grew and grew till folk could not ignore the glimmer in Liza´s wayward eyes, the fire that burned inside us both. The magic that ran in our blood."

The Story: "Daughters of the witching hill" tells the story of women of a same family: Bess, Liza and Alizon. Grandmother, mother and granddaughter, that inevitably end up being introduced into the world of magic.
Everything starts when Bess receives the presence of a spirit. A young and handsome lad that starts her in her journey as a "charmer". She can heal, remove curses from things and people and even foresee the future. She can do all of this with the intervention of Tibb, that´s like a guide for her and sometimes, he´s like a supernatural lover.
As time passes by, she finds her own gift within her daughter and later in her granddaughter and even in her best friend, and that´s exactly when everything goes wrong.
Liza is a woman full of her own problems and uses the magic to gain the respect and admiration from folks, things that were never conquered with her looks. Alizon just wants to be a normal girl like her friends, but being a part of that "special" family, it would never be allowed to her. For last, Anne - Bess´ old friend, that had a bad taste for black magic.
But that´s when Alizon makes a terrible mistake, that causes a hysterical witch hunt and their lives starts to be in danger...

My Opinion: First of all, I have to talk about my reaction when I received this book in my hands. I swear... the guy from UPS surely thought I was crazy. I was sooooo happy, that I almost started jumping for joy here in my office. It was the first international book that I received to make a review here in the blog and I swear guys... I never thought I would get so far. This moment is very special, although some people might think that this is just a bullshit.
Besides this, its cover is SO amazing that I had an enormous care with it. I didn´t want to knead it not even a bit. It´s a hardcover and the paper that involves the book is a bright gold... it´s really a beautiful thing.
But, let´s talk about the story, that´s the reason why I´m here.
As I said in another entrance in this blog, I LOVE stories about witches. I love the way how woman is shown as an important human being, with her values, and owner of a sensibility that men will never have. Specially in the times of Inquisition, where men were treated like superiors and women treated just like wife and mother. But Daughters of the witching hill is in another level of this kind of book. It´s not just a entertaining story that you finish reading, close the book and keep it in a bookcase... it´s much more than that.
This story can be classified as a slow dance, that slowly seduces us with its beauty. It´s a complex book, but at the same time it´s not hard to get to the end ´cause there´s no way to stop reading.
It´s an unforgettable tale about survivor, faith, about the strenght of women that learn to live alone, dealing with poorness, dificulties and with a power that has been imposed to them, that was their salvation but also their disgrace.
If any Hollywood Studio bought the rights of this story, it would became one of those epic movies with pretty landscapes, just like The Crucible or The Last of the Mohicans. It would be a classic one, for sure! And I would have to use many Kleenex to dry my tears...

How many stars: *****

The Soundtrack: I didn´t have to think much: Intrinsic by After Forever.

"Find the missing parts of the mind
The hidden truth behing
Our dungeon of thoughts, this labyrinth"

I got maaail...

quarta-feira, 1 de setembro de 2010

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My first post at this english version of the blog... and it has a special taste!

I created a new session at Amor, Mistério e Sangue that will talk about the books I receive from mail. It won´t matter if they come specially for reviews or if I buy them - they´ll have their space here.

Today I received a special book! It came directly from Mary Sharratt, (author that already has a book released here in Brasil by Suma de Letras Publisher - Ponto de Fuga).

Mary is really sweet and sent me her newest book that will still be released in USA: "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

"Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic.

When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.

Sharratt interweaves well-researched historical details of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hill is a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation."

It must be amazing! And I reeeeeally love stories about witches!

Wait for the review!!!