Manifest: A Mystyx Novel by Artist Arthur

Posted in Review at 11:20 pm by Amber

Title: Manifest: A Mystyx Novel
Author: Artist Arthur
Publisher: Kimani Press TRU
Source: Columbus Metropolitan Library

Manifest by Artist Arthur Book Cover

Artist Arthur captures the essence of a teenage girl unhappy with her lot in life.  Her parents have divorced and her mother’s remarried.  Krystal Bentley no longer lives in New York City and has moved with her mother to Lincoln, Connecticut.  Krystal thinks her parents should still be together.  Krystal’s dad won’t answer or return her phone calls. 

Things begin to look up when this cute boy named Ricky Watson starts talking to her until she realizes he died a year ago and wants her to prove his friends had nothing to do with his murder. With her attitude it’s no surprise she hasn’t made any friends at all.  Even Ricky has been waiting to introduce himself to Krystal until he thought she might be ready to listen to him. 

Some of the things I didn’t like: Finding Ricky’s killer takes a backseat to finding out more about the Mystyx; and the diary entries about the Mystyx doesn’t really tell the kids anything.

Some of the things I liked: Krystal matures and becomes less self-centered by the end; her circle of friends come from a variety of economic and ethnic backgrounds; and Krystal’s relationship with her mother and stepfather improves once she’s realizes her parents are never getting back together.


Community Interview with Artist Arthur – Part 2

Posted in Event at 10:35 pm by Amber

Welcome back!

Lisa Roe, Online Publicist, arranged for Artist Arthur to do a community interview for the release of her book, Manifest: A Mystyx Novel. I’ve separated the interview into two parts for easier reading.  Here is Part 1.  Tomorrow I’ll have a review of Manifest available for you.

13. The Book Owl said…What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Artist: I’m such a geek…books and chocolate.

14. Liz B said…As a writer are you a “plotter” (with detailed outlines) or are you a “plunger” (plunge into the story and see where it takes you)?

Artist: I’m a plotter definitely. As I begin to write the characters take on their own life but with my outline I know where I need them to end up. Most of the time they work with me.

15. Anne said…Are any of your characters based on real people?

Artist: Each of my YA characters is based on a variety of people. My daughter, myself as a teenager, teenagers from my church, some I hadn’t ever met. I’m an observer so I take tidbits from people that I see and think would be interesting in a character.

16. ladystorm said…If Manifest became a movie who would you like to see play the main characters?

Artist: I’ve actually been asked this a lot in the past month so I’ve been thinking about it. I like Selina Gomez for Sasha. Zac Efron would be great for Jake but I think he might be too old. Kiki Palmer for Krystal.

17. LuAnn said…What sort of research did you need to do for your novel?

Artist: I had to find books on the weather that would back up what I’d seen on the weather channel. Books on Greek mythology that I already had because I love the subject in general. Then, I just wanted to spend time with teenagers to get a real feel for their lives, loves, issues, dreams.

18. The Brain Lair (KB) said…Is Artist your real name? Also, how did you guys find the model for the cover?

Artist: Yes, Artist is my real, legal name. 🙂

I have nothing to do with the design of the cover beyond giving a character and sometimes a scene description. The publisher takes care of all of that. I just happen to agree wholeheartedly with their choice.

19. Amber Stults said…Did you have much input into the cover? It’s extremely eye-catching.

Artist: No, unfortunately, I cannot take credit for the cover art, that was solely the publisher.

20. Diva’s Bookcase said…Is the character of Krystal based on yourself or someone that you know? I’d like to know where you got the inspiration for such a headstrong, but young character.

Artist: Krystal is a combination of myself and my daughter. We are extremely moody and stubborn, but once you get to know us you can’t help but love us. Ok, that might be exaggerating, but yeah, I drew a lot of my own experiences and feelings as a teenager and then on some moods I’ve seen my daughter in to create Krystal.

21. Jan von Harz said…My question is if you pick the brain of any dead author whose brain would you pick and why?

Artist: Wow, my very honest answer is, I have no idea. I like reading Mark Twain, I’d maybe like to have a conversation with him just to get a firsthand look at his creativity.

22. Jami said…Who are some YA authors that inspire you? Can you name any YA novels that you read and loved recently?

Artist: I’m so in love with Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers. I really enjoy Laura Halse Anderson and Alyson Noel as well. Just recently I read Fallen by Lauren Kate and enjoyed her voice.

23. MissAttitude said…My question: Why did you decide to not only make Krystal African American, but also one fourth Native American?

Artist: I wanted all the characters to be unique in their backgrounds and upbringing. My family has some Native American (Cherokee) so it was a natural mixture for me.

24. iluvhersheysandbooks said…Hello Artist Arthur, my question is: Of all the paranormal creatures currently “sweeping the YA nation” why choose ghost over vampires, werewolves and faeries, oh my?

Artist: Because everybody seems to be choosing vampires, werewolves and faeries and I wanted to tell a different story, give readers another entity to consider when they think of the paranormal.

25. A Musing Mother said…My question is really for Krystal Bentley rather than Artist: Of all the spirits that have come to you, who evoked in you the most emotion? What emotion? Why?

Krystal: Carolyn Jamison, she was the lady in room 319, right beside my grandfather who was in 320. Carolyn said I reminded her of her granddaughter that she hadn’t seen in years because she couldn’t find her. I didn’t know where her granddaughter was either, but Carolyn said it was okay, visiting with me was like being given another granddaughter. That’s the sweetest thing anybody has ever said to me.

26. Amy J – Book Addict said…What one place would you love to do an author signing at? Town? The one place you have always dreamed you would sign at and mean ultimate success for you!

Artist: Salem, Massachusetts. I would love to feel the energy left over in the air from the long ago witch trials.

27. Faye said…The paranormal genre is big in teen/YA literature right now. Most bestsellers feature vampires, werewolves, faeries, angels, or the like as a main character. In your opinion, why are teens currently fascinated with all things paranormal?

Artist: I think, like everyone else, they want a break for what’s currently going on. They want to be taken away to another time, or another place, or the same place with a different cast.

Community Interview with Artist Arthur – Part 1

Posted in Event at 10:30 pm by Amber

Lisa Roe, Online Publicist, arranged for Artist Arthur to do a community interview for the release of her book, Manifest: A Mystyx Novel.  I’ve separated the interview into two parts for easier reading.  Tomorrow I’ll have a review of Manifest available for you.

1. Cleverly Inked said…Do you feel being able to Manifest is blessing or a curse?

Artist: I think that any type of growth can only improve who and what you are, thus a blessing.

2. The Library Lurker said…Was it difficult to go from Romance to YA?

Artist: No, actually it wasn’t. I like to read different genres so I generally like to write the same types of stories as I read. It just takes concentration on the current project at hand.

3. Ari said…Artist, what is your position on global warming? Your answer does not have to be serious 🙂

Artist: Good, I’m glad it doesn’t have to be serious. LOL My position is that there are a lot of scenarios for world destruction that we need to take seriously. There was a reason the Earth wasn’t originally occupied with automobiles and other machinery. 

4. Kate said…Other than an author, what profession would you love to have, and why?

Artist: I think I’d like to be a teacher if I didn’t have a fear of getting up in front of people. I’d like to know that I’ve taught someone something, that I’ve given knowledge they didn’t have before. To me, that’s a lasting impact.

5. Diana Dang said…How do you write out your stories? Plan them? Let the characters decide? Or only when you have an “aha!” moment then you put it down?

Artist: I’m a planner. I get the idea then I run with it. My outlines are usually about five pages long and that’s just on the characters, not actually the story. I know, overkill right? LOL

6. Danielle said…How do you come up with names for your characters?

Artist: I have the book of a thousand baby names. And I watch the credits after movies to see what jumps out at me.

 7. Jo said…Why did you decide to write a YA novel, and why in the fantasy genre?

Artist: I was encouraged by a lot of people in my life to write something interesting for our youth. I’m a believer in signs so I figured with so many people saying the same thing, I owed it to myself to give it a try. I love paranormal and so far my romance has been contemporary so this was my opportunity to do something totally different.

8. Star Shadow said…How did you come up with the amazing idea for the base for this book and the Mystyx group/powers?

Artist: I love watching the weather channel. I kept thinking that something has to be left behind after all these storms and natural disasters. My daughter came up with the names of the Mystyx characters and I gave them powers. I wanted different powers, ones that would fit each character specifically.

9. Dwayne said…Since Manifest is infused with paranormal mystery, do you have a personal paranormal experience that you can share with us?

Artist: Sometimes I’ll be in a room by myself and think I see shadow or feel like someone or something has moved past me. It’s weird and doesn’t happen all the time, but each time it does, I wonder…

10. BookMac said…If you had 1 day to spend a million dollars, what would you buy?

Artist: Books probably. LOL And a black FordF150 for my daughter.

11. Bookworm said…Why were you drawn to the paranormal genre of YA?

Artist: I’ve always been a fan of the paranormal genre adult and YA. I like that there are no boundaries to the world that can be created.

12. Sherry @ Flipping Pages for All Ages said…What, if any, are your writing rituals (certain lighting, room, food, etc)?

Artist: I can write just about anywhere at anytime, but I really like to write to music.

It Officially Feels Like Autumn

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:26 pm by Amber

The past two years I’ve spent part of my autumn at Top Sail Beach, North Carolina with extended family.  Each time upon my return it seemed fall was really here.

Two days ago it was 90 degrees.  Today is the day when it really feels like autumn for me.  I woke up to rain which made me fall back asleep.  Even the Resident Corgi wasn’t stirring much.  When we finally made it out, the Resident Corgi was missing the spring in his step… the spring that makes him splash into the puddles.

It’s about 58 degrees out right now.  I’m blogging in my fleece pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate beside me.  The garage gutters are full of leaves and branches from the corkscrew willow tree.  I can’t seem to get warm enough and it’s not even close to winter yet. 

Let’s hope this is a mild winter.

Giveaway and Recipe Exchange from Two Writing Friends

Posted in Event, Giveaway at 11:40 am by Amber

Oh!  I nearly forgot to tell you about a current giveaway and an upcoming recipe exchange.

Rhonda Parrish is giving away a copy of Shades of Greenon Goodreads.  The contest ends on September 30th.  I reviewed Shades of Green in February and followed that up with an interview.

Starting October 5th, Beth Cato is holding a recipe exchange to celebrate the publication of her story, “A Recipe for Rain and Rainbows” in Mountain Magic: Spellbinding Tales of Appalachia.  It’s an anthology of 13 stories and poems with a foreward by Lucy A. Snyder.  The recipe exchange should give you a head start on holiday goodies.


My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent

Posted in Review at 6:42 am by Amber

Title: My Soul to Lose
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: My personal library

My Soul To Lose Book Cover

My Soul to Lose is a prequel novella intended to get the reader hooked on the Soul Screamers series of books by Rachel Vincent.  It works.  As soon as I was done reading it, I reserved the first book at the library.  My Soul to Lose introduces the reader to Kaylee Cavanaugh.  She’s a teenager who sometimes sees weird things that make her scream.  This lands her in a mental institution.

Kaylee sounds real.  She’s one of the those kids in the middle of the social status and her home life is a little messed up.  After her mother’s death, her father moves to Ireland and leaves her with her aunt, uncle and cousin.  She knows her dad loves her, but she just looks too much like her mother to be around her.

What hooked me into reading the first book is the novella doesn’t explain why she screams.  My review of My Soul to Take is on the way!


Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison

Posted in Review at 6:34 am by Amber

Title: Early to Death, Early to Rise
Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: Harper
Source: Columbus Metropolitan Library

Early to Death, Early to Rise Book Cover

When we last met Madison Avery she was left in charge of the dark reapers.  Not believing in fate, she decides there are going to be new rules put into place.  Her reapers are going to give people a choice before they are scythed.  That’s right, she’s going to change how her reapers do their jobs.  Meanwhile, the light reapers are still using their old rules to run things their way.  It’s inevitable the light reapers will get in her way.

This book is about the first possible scythe under Madison’s new rules.  So don’t expect her to spend a lot of time in school, don’t expect her to see much of her boyfriend, and certainly don’t expect her father to be present in this adventure.  The plot is fast paced and I finished this in two days.  The ending is tidy for this story but still has loose threads that can be wrapped up in several more books. 

For instance, there are a lot of possibilities in Madison’s future.  She could end up being a Timekeeper that bridges the gap between light and dark; she could find her body and give up the job; or find her body, give up the job, realize she made a big mistake and have herself scythed.  And I’m sure there are other possibilities I haven’t foreseen.


Mailbox Monday – September 20th

Posted in Event at 12:34 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

This is my first Mailbox Monday this month. A big thank you to Bermudaonion at Bermudaonion’s Weblog for hosting Mailbox Monday this month.

My husband made his annual trip to Toronto for work and brought me back two books this year.  He either picks out a book I’ll like with an interesting Canadian cover or something written by a Canadian.  This year both books fall into the second category.

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald.  It’s about four sisters in Canada before, during and after World War I.

A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor is the other book.  A femme fatale lures a lawyer into helping her friend, an army captain convicted of espionage.  This one takes place in France.

Anna from Hachette Book Group sent me a copy of Oogy by Larry Levine for review.  Larry and his twin boys went to the animal hospital to euthanize their ailing cat.  While in the lobby an odd looking white dog launches himself at them to claim this family as his own. 

The last book is an urban fantasy e-book written by H.P. Mallory sent me for review.  It’s the first book in the Dulcie O’Neil series.  Dulcie is a fairy working as a law enforcer to keep the Netherworld from wreaking havoc in the human world.  Dulcie is the last person to see a warlock alive and must prove her innocence in To Kill A Warlock.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


BBAW Day 4: Forgotten Treasures

Posted in Event at 11:39 pm by Amber


BBAW 2010 Treasure Chest 

Today’s Topic:  Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book! 

I had to think about this topic for a while.  And there are two books that I can never remember the names of… I read them many years ago around the same time and often get the plots confused with each other so combine them in my mind.  I’ve always thought of them as one book.  Here’s how I described the plot to my husband: “There’s a brother that dies and his ex-girlfriend sees the living brother and tells him that she may be pregnant with his dead brother’s child.  And it’s very gothic.  And has ghost in the title.”  Maybe that’s a book I should write. 🙂 

I still haven’t figured out which novel involved the brothers but the gothic book with ghost in the title is The Ghost Writerby John Harwood.

 Ghost Writer Book Cover

This is a gothic tale with several layers to it.  Gerard Freeman finds a hidden drawer of his mother’s where he sees a picture of a mysterious woman he knows nothing about.  His mother is not happy at all when she finds out he knows about the photograph.  They are close and she often tells him stories of her idyliic childhood on the family estate.  A few years later Gerard strikes up a pen pal relationship with a girl about the same age who is disabled.  Eventually he goes to his mother’s childhood house to learn “the truth” about his mother.

I remember this one being a little bit creepy and it is a book where the details matter to the plot(s).  Looking at some of the Amazon reviews quite a few people were disappointed in the ending.  I think I’m going to re-read this one to see if it holds up or not.


Interview with Suey of It’s All About Books

Posted in Event at 12:12 am by Amber


Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010

It’s that time of year again… Book Blogger Appreciation Week!  Today is interview day and I’ve been paired up with Suey of It’s All About Books.  I hope you enjoy getting to know Suey like I did.

Amber: How did you decide to name your blog “It’s All About Books… and life’s other adventures too!”?

Suey: When I created and named my blog, I didn’t know it would become, shall we say, such a big part of my life! I was just thinking, hmmmm, I want to do a blog all about books, hey I know! I’ll call it “It’s All About Books”! So uncreative. But it’s now grown on me I suppose. I added the “…. and life’s other adventures too!” awhile after when I realized I felt the need to do personal posts about family, music, TV and whatever else was going on now and then.

Amber: What is your favorite part about book blogging?

Suey: I really enjoy being able to have a place to be openly and maybe even overly enthusiastic about my book fanaticism. People in my real life think I’m weird, but now I’ve found people in my blogging life who totally get it. They may still think I’m weird, but at least they get it! That’s the best part.

Amber: Is there one book (old or new) you recommend to others without hesitation?

Suey: Ah, hard question because it just depends on the person I’m recommending to. I guess The Book Thief always seems to come up when I’m suggesting something for people to read. The Hunger Games for reluctant teen readers. Ender’s Game for teenage boys. And the list goes on!

Amber: I noticed you live in Utah which has an active book blogging community – you even meet socially once a year.  What is the best part about having
an active book blogging community where you live?

Suey: It’s kind of the same as the best part of book blogging itself, only in person. Meeting people with the same excitement about books and reading… and blogging… is so fun! You have an instant connection and an instant bond. It’s a very cool thing to experience. Several of the Utah book bloggers I see enough now to consider “real life” friends and some of them even come to my book club now! I love it. I feel very lucky to be part of this fun book community that we’ve got going.

Amber: Do you set reading or reviewing goals each year?

Suey: I sort of have an unwritten goal to try to get to 100 books a year. That’s nice round number! The reading challenges I join, which I try to make only 3 or 4,  helps me create some goals. This year I have a personal quest to read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, but I’m only to book four at this point. One year, I wanted to read War and Peace, but I only got half way through. So, yeah, I guess I do make reading goals. But as for reviewing goals, I just plan to review everything I read. Simple, easy, short, chatty reviews.

Amber: With the increasing popularity of ereaders and social networks (such as Good Reads and the book blogger group on Ning) has technology changed the
way you read or review books?

Suey: The specific things you list haven’t really changed the way I read or review books. Goodreads maybe a little, if I see someone list a book that looks good, I’ll add it to the virtual pile. Blogging itself is what has changed my habits the most. The TBR pile is huge because of the rave reviews I read and because of the buzz that happens now and then over certain books. I’ve read a ton of stuff since blogging that I would have never known about otherwise. As far as e-readers go, I’m still wary about that whole thing. I’m sure some day I’ll try it out, but for now, I’m just a normal paper books kind of reader!

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