Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Zoe E. Whitten

Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Horror

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday I get to gush about my favorite horror authors! I’ll let you know why I love them and why I think anyone who hasn’t experienced the horror genre would too. Let’s get into it!

Attic Clowns 1. Stephen King – Really this could be almost anything he wrote, but my personal favorite is Cell. Cell is apocalyptic horror, via a method that is incredibly believable because it is so obvious. Yet there are things from other genres present that new readers could latch on to. Love, fear, desperation, hope, Cell has it all. It’s one of my favorite books regardless of genre.

 2. Attic Clowns by Jeremy C. Shipp – With a mix of horror, bizarro, and comedy, Shipp is at his finest (in my mind) when he writes his short stories, and Attic Clowns is the best of the bunch. New horror readers would enjoy the humor, the multitude of ways that Attic Clowns makes you consider reality, and the cast of wonderful characters that Jeremy C. Shipp created, especially Globcow.

 3. Lessons (and Other Morbid Drabbles) by Michael Crane – A less philosophical and more straightforward, but equally hilarious version of Shipp’s work are Crane’s short story collections of Morbid Drabbles. For new horror readers I think that this would give them a quick and concise way of finding out if they’d be interested in the dark humor that pervades this style of horror.

The Infects 4. Pressure by Jeff Strand – Pressure takes the reader on a journey of discovery. It shows how quickly the human mind can turn into a dark and haunting place, and how that can take its toll on someone’s life. The book is about friends becoming enemies, psychological horror, with a touch of physical violence thrown in for good measure. It’s a great book to start with.

 5. The Infects by Sean Beaudoin – If you couldn’t tell already, I’m big into comedic horror, dark humor is right up my twisted alley. So, for me at least, The Infects was absolutely perfect. It’s got amazing banter, creepy zombies, and a hilarious backstory. The Infects is one of my favorite books in any genre, but for someone easing into horror this is perfect. I can’t recommend it enough!

 6. Touched by Zoe E. Whitten – Touched is a short piece, 69 pages in length, and is a quick and enjoyable read for prospective horror readers. It’s got a lot of fantasy elements for those that are more inclined to read that genre, and enough humor for comedy fans to be satiated. However, for horror junkies it’s got the gore you want, the gripping action you crave, and the fear you need.

 7. Here Be Monsters – This is another short story collection, an anthology this time by a bunch of different authors, including my favorite Jeremy C. Shipp. I read this during 2012’s Fraterfest (a Halloween/horror themed readathon) and really enjoyed it. There is a mixture of philosophical, physical, and comedic horror and it blends really well together. A quick and easy horror read.

 8. Insomnia by J.R. Johansson – All about mental breakdowns, psychosis, and nightmares/dreams, Insomnia covers a lot of my favorite elements of horror. It’s creepy, not necessarily because of what the characters are going through, but because it makes you think about what it would be like if it happened to you. There is romance in this one, so that’s a draw for some new horror readers.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer 9. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake – Some might classify this as paranormal, I’d say it is a mixture of that and horror, so I’m going to include it. The book is amazing, as is the second book Girl of Nightmares, and with its sweet romance, beautiful writing, and excellent characters it is a great read for anyone. For new horror readers Anna would be a nice way of easing into darker books.

 10. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride – Another really funny book, often utilizing sarcasm to make light of the situation, as well as being like Anna, where paranormal meets horror. Necromancers aren’t written about nearly enough, and McBride does an amazing job with this book and its sequel Necromancing the Stone. Think Twilight but badass… and well written.

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There are so many great horror books out there, and I really need to read more of them myself. If you haven’t read much, or any horror before, I highly recommend you check out the ones on this list. They are excellent. Have you read any of them? What is your chosen “Never Read ___”? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

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Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday I get to gush about my favorite authors since those are the ones I own the most books from. I’ll let you know why I love them and give a mix of physical and ebook collections. Let’s get into it!

The Lightning Thief 1. Leigh Wilder – 31 – Wilder is a writer of naughty tales, a constant presence on my Frodo’s Frisky Friday feature, and one of my favorite authors. The collection I have from her is mostly in eBook form, since they are novella length and she doesn’t really do physical copies yet. I’ve read almost all of them, including ones from her alter egos, and the level of writing is always impressive.

 2. Zoe E. Whitten – 34 – Whitten writes books with mature content, though not necessarily the naughty variety, and like Wilder has an exceptionally strong level of prose. My collection for her is completely made up of eBooks, many of which I have yet to get to, but she’s awesome and I know they’ll be great when I do get around to them. I recommend checking out her more mainstream title, Nobody Special, which I wrote about here.

 3. Rick Riordan – 12 – You all know of Rick Riordan even if you haven’t read his books. I’ve only read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series so far, but I own the Kane Chronicles and the four released Heroes of Olympus books too. Oh, and all are physical copies. ^.^

 4. Jeremy C. Shipp – 15 – Another frequent author for this blog, Shipp is a horror/bizarro author that I absolutely love. His work is insightful, creepy, hilarious, and thought provoking. I own his Attic Clowns volumes in physical and eBook form (only counted each volume once though), and the rest is split between the two versions. I can’t recommend his work enough!

 5 and 6. – D.J. MacHale (10) and Eoin Colfer (8) – These two authors I put together because all of their books that I own are from one series each. I own both series in physical form, MacHale’s being the Pendragon series and Colfer being Artemis Fowl. I read both of the series when I was a kid and still love them to this day. They are great MG reads if you haven’t checked them out already!

An Abundance of Katherines 7. Kelly Apple – 10 – Another “naughty” writer, Kelly Apple is not only one of my favorite authors, but also a fantastic person, and someone I love talking to on Twitter. Nine of the ten books are from her Monstrous Tales series, which has been a bunch of fun to read, and all of them are eBooks. Take a look at her work if you would like some sexy monsters in your life!

 8. Larry Kollar – 8 – A MG and YA author, Kollar is a bit of a mixed bag. He’s written dystopian and fantasy for YA audiences, and is now four books into a MG fantasy series, but no matter what audience he’s writing for it has been enjoyable for me to read. I own all of his work in eBook format, and if you follow the blog you’ve seen me review most of them already. Give him a look!

 9. Sean Beaudoin – 5 – Beaudoin is an oddball, writing stories that make you question whether it was the content within that was crazy, or if it is really your own mind that developed the delusions. His books are hilarious, they always blow my mind, and are excellent for readers of YA or Adult. I’ll definitely be buying all of his other books as they come out!

 10. John Green – 5 – While many of the authors in this list are ones you probably haven’t heard of (unless you read this blog often) that doesn’t mean I don’t love mainstream authors too. I own every John Green book with the exception of Let It Snow, and that’s really just because I’m not big into holiday stories. The ones I do own and have read are all amazing, as you all probably know, though An Abundance of Katherines is actually my favorite, and is the one that speaks to me the most.

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There are other authors that I could have chosen, possibly even a few that might have more than 5, but those were the ones that immediately came to mind, and are my favorites. Do you have any of these authors in your list? What is your biggest number of owned books by an author? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Nobody Special by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Nobody Special

Summary From GoodreadsNobodySpecial

Scott Wagner is used to coasting through life as a nobody. His adoptive parents don’t expect anything from him, but they spend more time inebriated than they do being a family. He is invisible at school, and no one talks to him besides his pothead wingman Aaron Marshall. His only other friend Emily Barnes makes up the better half of his gaming club, and he’s not proud of the fact that a girl in junior high can beat him up digitally.

It’s a safe but dull life, a holding pattern of smoking joints and playing video games until a series of chance encounters strips Scott of his invisibility. Forming a band with Emily and some new friends, Scott gains much needed approval from his parents while at the same time coming under scrutiny from Emily’s father, a hard-nosed cop who thinks Scott is a bad influence on his daughter.

Scott’s stumbling path to adulthood is a journey of self-discovery, offering him new friendships, a closer connection to his family, and a taste of young love. But it also brings painful lessons about dealing with prejudices, making sacrifices, and dealing with tragic losses. Between the emotional highs and lows, Scott learns how even a nobody can be special to somebody.

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Nobody Special is an interesting read, especially for those that have read Whitten’s work before. Normally there is some sort of taboo involved, regardless of the book is contemporary or supernatural, and that is what sets it apart and makes it unique. However, Nobody Special is far more of what I dare to call a “mainstream” book, but that does not mean it suffers because of it.

Issues are tackled, from homophobia to racism, age gaps in relationships to control and even suicide. The difference is that Nobody Special does it in such a natural way that you can hardly tell you are dealing with some of the issues until either the characters make it obvious, or you reach the end of the book and realize, “Hey, that sure covered a lot of interesting points.” All of these concerns that are so prevalent in society today are looked at and examined, but while often there isn’t an incredible amount of detail so as not to take the focus away from the story, the book as a whole gets you thinking. I imagine that was Whitten’s goal, and if so she succeeded with flying colors.

As far as the main story goes, there are a few minor issues I had, mostly to do with some info dumps in the beginning, and a few sections that felt repetitive. Despite those small problems, the music aspects were great, the romances sweet as can be, and the entire thing had a feel of innocence and wonder about it. The main character, Scott, learns what it takes to step out of his comfort zone and anxieties and how to find self-worth and confidence. He learns that even minor achievements can be fulfilling and hard work really can get you very far, no matter what you end up pursuing as your goal.

Emily, the best friend (or at least one of them) in this story, is a fabulous character. She’s funny, a bit of a goof at times, and brilliant without being in your face about it. Emily was one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read about in some time, and incredibly easy to fall in love with. She’s a sweetheart with a backbone of steel, and what better combination is there than that?

Much of Nobody Special is introspective and serious, and certainly there are very grim moments in the story, but they are well balanced with witty dialogue and budding young friendships and romances. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good contemporary read. I think it would be categorized as YA based on the character’s ages, but adults will enjoy this title as well, I know I did. Thanks as always for reading.

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess by Zoe E. Whitten

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess

Summary From Goodreads:

It’s a simple story about a half-orc barbarian, an elvish thief, a nightmare, a quest, a kidnapping…I’ll start over. It’s a complicated and raunchy romp following the gastronomical and sexual adventures of Lana the light-fingered and Bran of Greenwood in their quest for a certain belt. A 2010 NaNoWriMo “winner,” this is cheesy porn at its finest, best read after The Hunger Games. Yes, really.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The thing you have to understand when you go to read this story is that the author says in a note to her readers that this is a “lazy doodle” so it isn’t one of her masterpieces. This makes it all the more amazing how great the story turns out to be. I laughed throughout the entire piece, from the nods to Monty Python to the joking references to The Hunger Games, from the “normal” sexual tales to the absolutely bizarre and hilarious, it all works.

The characters are fun and engaging, the story is really strong and would hold up on its own which is quite the feat, and Lana’s plight is actually quite moving. There is a sweet relationship mixed in with the silly sexual exploits that take place and they mesh very well. Simply put, it’s all of Whitten’s fantastic skill mixed in with hilarity and naughty bits. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a light naughty story. Thanks for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #142/200

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Penny for Your Debts by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Penny for Your Debts

Summary From GoodreadsPenny for Your Thoughts

When eight-year-old Penny Sterling becomes the child bride of Nicholas Rumpelstilts, she expects the worst. Instead, she’s free to go to school, to have friends, even to see the mother who gave her to Nicholas before her birth–and her new husband never lays a hand on her. But however pleasant the cage, she’s still a prisoner.

As Penny grows, she learns why Nicholas may want her: she’s a witch. She must hide her abilities or risk the world’s fear and hatred. Penny always thought Nicholas was the monster, but when a real monster leaves her scarred emotionally and physically he is the one who offers safety and comfort in a world where she’s likely to find neither.

When Nicholas disappears in dangerous circumstances, Penny faces a hard choice: take her freedom, or search for a captor she’s come to love.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Penny for Your Debts was an interesting read for me. The book is designed to be thought provoking as it examines issues like Stockholm Syndrome and child brides. In this Penny for Your Debts is a complete success. Is it better for Penny to have a choice over her fate even if the possibilities each have major downsides? If she never found out about her true identity would she have been better off? How real are the effects of Stockholm Syndrome in this case, were Penny’s feelings her own and is Nicholas a monster or not? Penny for Your Debts forces you to answer all of these questions and more and I give major credit to Whitten for being able to pack all of those discussion points into one piece.

As for the story itself it was pretty good. The magical elements were well incorporated and the variety of supernatural creatures made for a rich and intriguing world that I would love to learn more about. There were cool power displays, daring rescues and awesome battles that kept the balance between action and thought provoking story even and the pacing smooth.

My only major complaint was with Penny’s character. It is important to remember that despite seeing her character grow and mature as the story goes on that she does start off as a child of eight. The issue I had was she simply did not think or speak like you would think someone at her age would. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t exceptions to any age group, and perhaps she is just exceptionally bright, but there were many, many parts in the story where the thoughts she had seemed far too advanced. Penny was reading people and understanding the meaning of their feelings and then trying to react in a way that would best appease them and while that may seem natural on the surface it was the level that she appeared to understand them that was just odd. I don’t know how else to explain it except to say that the thought processes she had at eight or nine were often just as advanced as those in her teenage years which doesn’t add up. She is either incredibly bright, insanely perceptive or just flawed in being realistic. I’m favoring the latter as the most likely.

Overall Penny for Your Debts was a pretty solid read. The issue with Penny’s character being believable at times was irritating but the other elements in the book (pun intended) allowed me to overlook those flaws most of the time. The magical and supernatural aspects really worked well and the transition Whitten made and the world she created were wonderful. I loved the ending, I wouldn’t mind a sequel one bit though that seems to be out of the question given this was written in 2011. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a thought provoking read set in a magical world. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #120/200; Mount TBR Challenge #68/150; 2013 TBR Pile #68/50

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Touched by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Touched

Summary From GoodreadsTouched

Amber McKenzie considers herself a bland, normal student until she feels the touch of something cold and invisible. Scant hours pass before she’s attacked by her best friend. She returns home to find her family slaughtered, forcing her to rely on the dubious protection of a D&D “mage” and a woman who may, or may not be a vampire. Is the threat real, or is Amber just “touched in the head”?

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Touched, a 69 page novella, is a fast paced thrill ride involving all sorts of creatures of the paranormal variety. From a potential vampire to a changeling and even a mutant witch, Whitten offers new and rarely used beings not seen in the mainstream to keep readers on their toes. There are frightening enemies and plenty of dangerous action as well as plenty of gore (I mean that in a good way!) so horror junkies should be pleased. There is an underlying message of the fight for acceptance, particularly among people deemed outcasts by the majority and what it is like in their shoes. Whitten is never afraid to tackle real issues and does so without overwhelming the reader or taking away from the fantastic goings on in the novella.

I really enjoyed meeting Marcus and Vicky who I know reappear in other works by Whitten and I can’t wait to learn more about them and read stories from their perspectives. Marcus is funny and sweet and Vicky is a badass but with a softer personality underneath that I would love to explore. The one issue I had with touch is not quite loving the MC, Amber. She is a bit frustrating at times, callous and completely without tact. While I didn’t think she was poorly written by any means I also didn’t get any motivation to root for her in most cases which would have helped to balance out her flaws. This didn’t stop me from enjoying the plot and Whitten’s beautiful writing. Touched is a fun, freaky read with a good message at its core and I quite enjoyed it. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #122/200; Mount TBR Challenge #70/150; 2013 TBR Pile #70/50

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Haunting Sins by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Haunting Sins

Summary From GoodreadsHaunting Sins

Desperate for work after months of unemployment, David Sands agrees to become the webmaster for an “adult entertainment” hosting company. The pay is great, the boss seems like a nice guy, and the uber-hot secretary is flirting with David. But the cramped back office is dusty, and David’s sinus pills are making him see things, things that cannot possibly be real…unless David’s office is haunted.

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Haunting Sins, a middle-length story at 89 pages, was a bit…weird. I know going into reading anything by Whitten that I need to be prepared for unexpected things being thrown my way. Think of a small dose of techie jargon, mix it with some paranormal and add in a bunch of discussions on porn videos and you might, maybe…kinda have a gist of the piece.

David is a sarcastic but playful MC that I quite like. He’s not really prepared to work in an “adult entertainment” company and his reactions to some of the material he sees were priceless. David has a pretty good sense of humor and while he puts his foot in his mouth quite a bit (not in the literal sense of course) he actually is smooth with the secretary Nina Cortez, which was a bit of a surprise given he’s a techie. Nina was hilarious, playful and just a fun character to get to know. She’s not ashamed of working in the porn industry and even defends it and the people involved at points in the book. Oh, and the chemistry between the two was fantastic, loved their banter. Nina is the girl you want to be with and if you are lucky enough to get to leaves you wondering how you got so lucky each and every day. I’d read a full length novel featuring her without question, though I have no idea of Whitten has anything like that up her sleeve.

The story itself is a little all over the place. There are a bunch of different elements as I mentioned in my opening paragraph and while it was enjoyable I’m not sure if I could even label it with a genre. There are paranormal aspects but half the time we aren’t sure if they even exist or are just a part of the effects David experiences because of issues in the building. Is it a psychotic breakdown or a paranormal breakthrough into reality? Is it a ghost or a hallucination? For the most part we don’t really know and maybe that’s the intent, if so it worked. There are darker discussions within Haunting Sins, but I’ll leave those for you to discover. They add some depth to the piece which I really appreciated and, as with most of Whitten’s pieces, makes you think and examine the human mind.

Haunting Sins is a quick and fun read that also will make you stop and consider how well you know the people around you. That’s something that few pieces I’ve read can claim and Whitten pulls it off with seeming ease. The hilarity involving the porn industry keeps it light and you’ll breeze right through the book, fall in love with the characters and be left wanting more. The ending will shock you, the prose will delight you and the humor will have you in fits. What more can you ask for? Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #114/200; Mount TBR Challenge #66/150; 2013 TBR Pile #66/50

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