Review “The Hunt” by Andrew Fukuda



Title: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Netgalley

From GoodReads

Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

Andrew Fukuda has the amazing ability to successfully create an alternate reality where humans are called hepers and vampires are referenced as people. Needless to say the “people” are the dominant species and “hepers” are subordinate to them. Humans are almost extinct in this world and when they are discovered the vampire cannot help but finish them off, after all, they are delicious.
When a teenage boy, whose designation (or name) changes upon which seat in class he takes, is chosen to take part in the illustrious Heper Hunt he must think fast because he is not a normal person, he is human, the very thing to be hunted.
Taken to a training facility with the other Hunters, Gene as he reveals himself to be has to be extremely careful not to be caught by them. He has spent his entire life carefully concealing his scent, wearing fake fangs, and never letting himself show any signs of being human.
One of the things that I loved about The Hunt was that Fukuda was so skillfully able to create behavior patterns for the vampires completely out the realm of how humans act. Scratching wrists instead of laughing, putting an elbow in an armpit instead of kissing, and what is even better is that Gene is completely unaware that these are not human behaviors too.
Gene is forced to team up with the Hepers and with another Hunter in order to survive. In one of the most action packed endings that I have read recently it all comes down to one thing: surviving the Heper Hunt. With a last line that will leave you stunned you will immediately want to hunt down Andrew Fukuda and demand to know what happens next. This book definitely deserves four stars!

There is also an audiobook for The Hunt and I’m excited to share with you all a sample!

TheHunt

Just click on the link to listen!

Hannah

Review “Between Shades of Gray” Ruta Sepetys


Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication Date: March, 22, 2011
Source: Purchased

From
GoodReads

It’s 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin’s extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It’s a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?


Over the summer I was introduced to the novel Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Detailing the life of a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl on Stalin’s extermination list this novel reaches into the hearts and souls of all who read it.

During WWII the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia disappeared from maps and did not reappear until the late 20th Century. What happened to citizens of these nations has been largely kept secret, both overshadowed by the horrors in Europe and the fear these citizens lived in. Even after returning to their homes and lives in the Baltics they were shunned by those not on the extermination list. These victims were held prisoners of war; some for well over a decade, in the coldest regions of Siberia. Stalin labeled the victims Thieves and Prostitutes knowing that they were not. They were the educated, they were the portion of the population Stalin believed most likely to resist and oppose him. These victims were military officials, doctors, teachers, and even librarians. Between Shades of Gray is an amazing and harrowing tale of what happened behind the Iron Curtain.

The story will keep running through your mind long after you are finished reading. There are moments in the story and memorable qoutes that will never leave your mind. “They took me in my nightgown” and “Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.

Between Shades of Gray does a wonderful job of describing the horrors and daily struggles that happened while in the work camps, Ruta Sepetys did a lot of research while writing the book including traveling to Lithuania to speak with survivors, but there is also one other element that the novel touches on. Hope.

When inscribing books Ruta writes “Love leads us to freedom” and “Hope. Love. Freedom.” and THAT is what this book is about, yes these books are about the horrors that the victims faced but it is also about the extraordinary measures it took to survive.

Ruta and I both hope that this book will raise awareness about what happened in the Baltic’s. What happened in the Baltic’s and Siberia with Stalin is just as horrific as what happened in Europe with Hitler, only somehow one of these stories is ignored. Read this book, it will open your mind, it will show you to appreciate your life, and remember those who have lost their lives.

Honor their memory.

This was an amazing book that tells and amazing story and it most definitely deserves five stars!

~Hannah

Extra Links:

You can check out more of Ruta’s message that I heard first hand in December here

You can also check out RutaFans: The Official Ruta Sepetys Fan Website be sure to keep checking back there is going to be a HUGE and very exciting announcement as soon as Marla and I get the okay from Penguin to announce!

You can keep up to date with Ruta on her Facebook

The Allure (or Lure) of Horror


The Allure (or Lure) of Horror

People are attracted to things that scare them. Some won’t admit it, and others don’t even realize it, but it’s true nevertheless. Since the dawn of time, when Neanderthals sat around fires telling tales of the giant beasts waiting to eat unwary children, we’ve revelled in being frightened. We might not all have the same taste in scary thrills – books, movies, rollercoaster rides – but deep inside us all is that little demon saying, ‘Go ahead. Scare me. I need it!’

For decades, learned individuals have pondered this oddity in our makeup. Why do we like being scared? There are psychologists who say it’s a way of learning how to cope with our own fears. It trains the body and mind. Others say it’s a way of expressing subconscious fears – fear of the economy, fear of poor health, fear of getting crushed in a car accident – sort of transferring our fear, using the horror book or movie as an outlet.

Stephen King wrote eloquently about how in times of economic or political trouble, horror movies and books become more popular. And we can certainly see that today, with the glut of major and independent horror movies hitting the theaters and shelves every week.

And then there is the idea of the adrenaline rush. Getting scared by a movie or a book affects the body in the same way as that rollercoaster ride, or betting it all in a hand of poker and winning. Adrenaline and dopamine surge through the body, heightening perception, making you feel more alive, and just making you feel damn exuberant. Even the person who covers their eyes during the gory or scary parts of the movie, or right when the rollercoaster goes over the top of hill and speeds downward, even these people feel that rush.

None of which explains why I – or anyone else – likes to write horror.

And yet, in a way, it does.

You see, writers get that same rush when they create something that is absolutely gangbusters. At least I do. It might be an emotional scene. Or a frightening one. Or even something funny. Anything that will create an emotional reaction in the reader. We know it when we write it, and that’s our fix. We’re junkies for creating things that spark a reaction.

So, you might be asking, I write in order to scare people?

No.

I write horror because that’s what I’ve always enjoyed reading and watching. Ask my parents. As a little kid I loved scary things. Scary bedtime stories. Scary movies. Even my comedies had to be scary – Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Or Dracula. Or The Wolfman. I got a kick out them running from those monsters. The first books I really got into were the Hardy Boys mysteries. From there it was sci-fi and horror, with a few James Bonds thrown in. Of course, as you grow older, your reading (and watching) tastes expand, but at the core it was always dark and scary. The Twilight Zone. The Outer Limits. Even as an adult, TV for me has either been horror/supernatural (Buffy, Angel, American Gothic, Walking Dead, American Horror Story) or goofy comedies (Married With Children, Get a Life, Rob). When I started writing fiction, the ideas that came into my head were the scary kind. Do I write to scare people? No. But because I write horror, and because I want to write well, I know I’m doing it right when I scare people. I want my scary scenes to scare, my love scenes to get the heart pumping, and my action scenes to keep you on the edge of your seat. In short, I don’t write horror because I want to scare you, I want to scare you because I write horror.

There’s a big difference.

JG Faherty has had a varied background that includes working as a laboratory manager, accident scene photographer, zoo keeper, research scientist, and resume writer. Growing up in the haunted Hudson Valley region of New York, some of his favorite playgrounds were abandoned houses and Revolutionary War cemeteries. His hobbies include urban exploring, photography, exotic animal rehabilitation, and playing the guitar. 2012 will see three new books published, CEMETERY CLUB, THE COLD SPOT, and HE WAITS. His past novels include CARNIVAL OF FEAR and GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY.

You can find out more by visiting www.jgfaherty.com, www.facebook.com/jgfaherty, or www.twitter.com/jgfaherty

Birthday Bash- Autism Awareness

One of the authors in the Birthday Bash, Rebecca Hamilton who wrote The Forever Girl, has a cause of her own that I think is a wonderful think to help out with. I know coworkers who have children with autism and its important for us to help with others. Here is some information from Rebecca Hamilton’s website

***April is Autism Awareness Month. From 4/20 through 4/22, the author will be donating ALL proceeds for THE FOREVER GIRL to Autism Advocacy.***http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Girl-ebook/dp/B00729GQ0A/

Royalties will be at 35% when the $0.99 promotional price kicks in.

Current sales are at 423 on Kindle for the month. I will show current sales at the end of the day on 4/22 and will make a donation based on those sales. I feel strongly that those who contribute to a cause should be able to verify that is where their money is going and will do my best to provide complete data.

For information on my previous autism fundraiser, please feel free to visit this blog post:

http://www.beccahamiltonbooks.com/2012/03/14/autism-donation-today-thanks-to-readers-of-the-forever-girl/

If you prefer to make a direct donation, I recommend donating to http://autisticadvocacy.org/

Thank you to anyone who decides to contribute.

If you want to read a little bit about my experience in having a child with autism, please visit the post for my last Autism Awareness Drive: http://www.beccahamiltonbooks.com/2012/03/12/books-sales-to-autism-research-on-my-birthday/

If I have time this weekend, I will consider posting more of our story and journey with autism.

Since I didn’t this up until the last day of her event I am sure she would love it if you also donated here:

Autistic Advocacy

Hannah