Discovering Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland

Once upon a time, my reading choices were limited to my favourite authors but since the purchase of my Kindle, I’ve discovered new-to-me authors. While romantic comedy and women’s fiction are still my number one choice, my reading tastes have broadened and become more eclectic. And IMO, one of my favourite parts of the reading experience is discovering a new-to-me author and then reading their backlist. To a diehard reader, this is better than chocolate.

So I’d like to share some of the books I’ve recently read and loved. First off is Hollowland by Amanda Hocking.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Amanda Hocking, she was unable to sell her books to traditional publishers so began to self-publish in April 2010. Since then, she has sold over a million copies of her books. In March 2011, she signed a four book deal with St. Martin’s Press and has gone on to have a book optioned for film and another one made into a graphic novel.

Hollowland is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’ll definitely be reading more. While I’d always intended to try one of Amanda’s books – she is, after all, a superstar in the self-publishing world – my Kindle is already filled with books that I haven’t yet had a chance to read. But the other day, when I received the Free Kindle Books & Kindle News email, I saw Hollowland on it. I immediately downloaded the book on to my Kindle.

My reading MO starts out with admiring the cover, reading through the reviews, acknowledgments, then finally delving into the opening lines of the book. Monday night, I started reading Hollowland and wow, does the story start out with a bang. To whet your appetite, here’s the first sentence:

“This is the way the world ends; not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

I’m halfway through the book and hope to finish it tonight. It’s that good. It’s the story of a nineteen year old girl’s quest to find her eight year old brother in the wasteland of a post-apocalyptic world that is filled with an army of flesh-eating zombies. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t enjoy carnage, Amanda Hocking has kept the unpleasant descriptions of zombie gore to a minimum.

If you’ve always wanted to try a book by Amanda Hocking but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, I highly recommend starting with this one. Last time I checked – just a few minutes ago – it was still free on the Amazon site.

I’m anxious to read the rest of the Hollowland series but see that book two hasn’t been released yet. It’s due out any day now but in the meantime, there’s Amanda’s My Blood Approves series to try.

So what new-to-you authors have you tried lately? And what books are high on your list of favourites?

(Originally published at Woman Unplugged.)

 

 

My Love Affair With Book Covers

I fell in love with book covers in the 1980’s when Avon published the historical romances of Kathleen E Woodwiss, Shirley Busbee, Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Sutcliffe.  Today, cover art still fascinates me, whether it’s showcased in hardcover, paperback, or e-book form.  To see the beautiful cover art of the Women Unplugged authors, click here.

One of the most spellbinding covers I’ve recently seen is from the historical romance SECRETS OF A PROPER COUNTESS by Lecia Cornwall.  This intricate story involves a woman of breeding who stands to lose everything she holds dear, the incorrigible rogue who falls in love with her, and the masquerade ball where their secrets unfold. It’s a cover colored in hues of pinks and purples and blues and with one look, the reader knows this is going to be a romance reminiscent of the historical romances of old.

On the other side of the spectrum is FLEE by Ann Voss Peterson and J A Konrath. This is a high-octane spy thriller featuring an elite spy whose cover is blown. She has twenty-four hours to thwart a kidnapping, stop a psychopath, uncover the mystery of her past, and save the world from nuclear annihilation … all while dodging 10,000 bullets. This cover, with its heroine dancing across rooftops and a multitude of assassins within firing range, is as fast and furious as the story itself.

For inspiration, I have a tear-out advertisement featuring WHAT I DID FOR LOVE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips tacked on the wall in front of my desk. When a Hollywood actress is dumped by her movie star husband, what does she do but get caught up in a calamitous elopement with her detestable former co-star who is the dreamboat-from-hell. Before she knows it, she has a fake marriage, fake husband, and maybe (or not) a fake sex life. This cover, with its heroine (sans hero) in a beautiful white wedding dress, speaks of a woman’s journey to find happiness.

Since fun, humorous fiction is one of my favorite genres, I must include SPLITSVILLE.COM by Tonya Kappes. The heroine launches an online break up service where she works under an alias. When two of her clients end up dead, putting the future of her business venture on the line, she’s the first one on the trail of the killer. When I look at this cover, there’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to spend a lot of time smiling and laughing.

And from the young adult market is STATIC by Tawny Stokes. When a seventeen-year-old band groupie meets the lead singer of her favorite band, her dream turns into a nightmare. She’s changing, turning into something not quite human. With the help of the band’s roadie, she goes after the members of the band to destroy them. On this cover, the teenage girl in the funky clothes holding a guitar looks kickass and tough enough to take on any teenage boy who dares to threaten her.

So what book covers do you love the most? And what do the covers say to you about the story inside?

(Originally published at Women Unplugged.)

 

 

Moving In!

Hello there … I’m just moving in so while you’re waiting for me to unpack and get settled, feel free to visit one of my neighbors. You’ll find all the best ones under my Sites To Visit! section.

Be sure to stop by again in a few days.

Talk later.

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