Friday, June 28, 2013

Wings – Book Review

Every once in a while I read a book and am blown away by the creativity of the concept. So blown away, in fact, that I wish I had written it myself. One of these books is “Wings” by Aprilynne Pike. It's a YA Urban Fantasy wherein a teenage girl named Laurel discovers what looks like giant pedals growing from her back! While trying to hide her body’s strange reaction to adolescence, she seeks out the answers to her true identity. Because it turns out her parents aren't her parents, she was found on their door step when she was three. So who is she really? It just so happens she's a Fairy, and those pedals on her back are her wings. In this story the author creates her own folklore wherein Fairies are really highly-evolved intelligent plants. That’s right, plants. They are grown, not born. Once they hit maturity the females grow giant flowers out of their backs that humans have always mistook for wings. The Flowers can be pollinated by the males who have spores on their palms.

Sorry if I'm giving too much away here but the concept is so original, it's too cool not to talk about it. But never fear there’s a lot of story going on with our heroine, Laurel, as she comes to terms with who she really is and how to balance her life between the human and the Fairy world. Filled with adventure, action, love triangles, and teenage angst, it's a great read for anyone who enjoys a fun twist on the classic Fairy lore.

“Wings” is book one in a four-part series by Aprilynne Pike. I've read the first two: “Wings” and “Spells.” They are both excellent. I just bought book three “Illusions” and I can't wait to see what happens next in Laurel’s crazy, mixed-up human/Fairy world.

I give “Wings” a five star rating. A good-clean-fun and wildly imaginative read. Now go forth and check it out for yourself. Aprilynne Pike, whose work is worth getting to know.

R.J. Craddock

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Second Edition of "The Forsaken" now available!

I'm not sure how many of you read my blog post about the interesting errors we found in the original first edition of my debut novel "The Forsaken" but either way I'm glad to announce that the second edition edits are done and the new improved version of "The Forsaken" is now available on my website

Along with fixing the typos we also tweaked the cover a little. Nothing too major but enough of a difference that if you compare the first edition and the second edition you'll be able to tell them apart.
Also, the eBook version of "The Forsaken" is under way. I'll keep you posted on its release. I'd like to announce that the book will be available as an Audio book in the near future. I'm really excited about the audio book because we're going to do it a little differently. Instead of having one narrator and one voice doing all the characters in the story, we'll be doing a different voice actor for each part. My husband, Jonny Craddock, who is a very talented actor, will be the narrator. I will be doing the voice of my lead character Gwenevere. The other members of the cast are still being, well... cast. I've always enjoyed audio books myself, so this is a really fun project for me. I'm looking forward to lending my voice to my own story, and hearing the whole story when it's finished. Keep checking back on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and my website for more info about the eBook and Audio book releases.

Now go forth and get your copy of the near-perfect second edition of "The Forsaken". You know you want to!

R.J. Craddock

Saturday, June 8, 2013

City of Ash (Mortal Instruments book two) - Book Review

I don't know about you, but I love to read series. However, sequels rarely tend to live up to the first. This is as true in books as it is in film. If you've read my review of book one “City of Bones” then you already know how much I loved it. There were a few things that made me mad though. At first I was so angry with how all the relationships got resolved yet completely torn apart by the end of the book that I seriously considered not reading the next one. However, the author cleverly included a sneak peak of book two at the end of book one. After I read it I knew I had to go out and buy the next book a.s.a.p. So, with some trepidation I started “City of Ash.”

Now, I'm assuming that you've read the first book already because otherwise the rest of this review is going to spoil it for you. So you've been warned. Picking up where we let off, we dive back into Clary's strange new world. Nothing is what she thought it was. Her artist mother (who’s still in a coma) is really a trained demon hunter. Her father is a derange psycho bent on doing whatever it takes to remake the Clave even if it means aligning with demons and possibly destroying the world. Did I mention that her first love, the gorgeous Jace, turns out is really her... BROTHER! Yeah, that’s the part the made me so mad! Of course this makes things awkward between her and Jace. In case you forgot they made out once before they knew they were related. However, this is good news for Simon, Clary's best friend, who’s always been in love with her. At the beginning of book two he finally makes a move on her, and Clary is willing to give it a shot since she can't be with the man she loves. You'll have to read the book to see how that turns out. On top of that Valentine (her crazy dad) is still on the loose, and he has the mortal cup. Now that everyone knows that Jace is really Valentine’s son, no one trusts him. Especially when another Mortal Instrument goes missing and Jace is the only one who knows who has it. If this wasn't stressful enough for Clay, there’s something strange going on with Simon, he's not quite feeling his usual self. You'll see what I mean. Also, Clary and Jace discover that they both have interesting talents they never knew of.

The farther you get into the book the more the tension builds. It's discovered that Valentine is up to no good again. Jace is forced to stand up to his father and decide which side he’s really on. There’s even a Luke and Darth Vader moment between them. I'm happy to say that “City of Ash” is one of those rare sequels that lives up to the first. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again a few things that didn't quite work for me but all together it’s a great read. I was so tantalized by the ending of the book I was going out of my mind till I bought the third one. Let me tell you that it's a series that’s worth reading all the way through.
I give “City of Ash” a four and a half star rating.

Now go forth and read it yourself. I will be back soon with a review of book three “City of Glass”.

R.J. Craddock

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Has every story been already told?

My book "The Forsaken" (The Children of Cain) (volume one) has been out for a month now! I've had my launch party which was a blast and I'm just reviving my advertising campaign. Recently my husband and I were brainstorming for ideas and thought maybe it wouldn't hurt to rent one of those kiosks in the mall and sell the book there. Ironically, tonight as we strolled through the mall with our kids, we came across a man doing just that. A local man named C. David Belt who asked if he could tell us about his book as we were passing by. I said sure and listened to his whole pitch. When he asked my name, I told him I was an author as well and had just published my first book May 1st. We chatted a little about publishing and such. I gave him one of my bookmarks/business cards and I took one of his.

I went to find my husband, who, of course, had wandered off like he always does into one of his favorite stores. When I found him I had to tell him the crazy shocking coincidence I had just experienced. On the cover of this fellow author’s book the title reads: "The Unwilling" (The Children of Lilith) (volume 1). I thought, "You've got to be kidding me! What are the chances I would bump into this guy one month after my book came out, an author with a series that has a startling similar title to mine?" My husband had to go back and talk to him. First, to pick his brain about the whole kiosk thing and how profitable it is, and second, to get a better idea of what this author's book was really about and if there were any other similarities to my book. As we talked to him it became clear that our books are nothing alike. We just both happened to pick similar titles for our series. He explained that Lilith, in his mythology, is the daughter of Cain not one of Adam's supposed wives. She is the mother of all Vampires. "Wait, where have I heard that one before... Oh, yeah, they're doing that on HBO's "True Blood", too!"  His book is also an LDS Fiction, believe it or not; an interesting idea for a Vampire novel if you ask me.

This encounter, along with other recent observations, has made me wonder, "Has every story already been told? Are there any truly original ideas left?" The answer is yes and no. After all this time with mankind thinking, exploring, imagining, creating, and storytelling, of course you'll see similarities, duplicated themes, titles, ideas, and names. However, every one of us sees the world differently. We can all look at the same picture and get a different emotion from it. We can all hear the same song and extract a different denotation. We can hear the same story and get inspired to write one of our own, however, they won't be alike other than the fact that they came from the same concept.
Did J.K Rowling invent witchcraft, wizardry, mermaids, dragons, werewolves, prophecies of a chosen one, or an indomitable villain? No, she didn't. Did J. R. R. Tolkien invent Dwarves, Elves, a dark lord, dragons, Wizards, Trolls, and Goblins? No, he did not. However, what these authors--and others like them--did do was take the basic elements of mythology, folklore, and legend and twist them. They re-imagined them into their very own unique tale, building their own worlds on the bones of ancient stories passed down through the generations of culture and literature. Along the way they contributed a few new ideas of their own to the mix, creating Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and new races of creatures like Hobbits and Oarcs. And because they dared to let their imaginations runaway with them they created something very special and earned a place in the history of literature.

Recently, while playing with my three young sons, my oldest son said something that sparked an idea for a new book. I started writing it and told my mother a little about it. She said, "Oh, someone already wrote a book like that. Your sister would know the one I'm talking about." So, I asked said sister and she explained the concept of this other novel and really it wasn't that much like my own at all. Should I let this stop me from writing my own book? So someone else had a similar idea to mine; I had not heard of the book when I started writing mine. Also, because that author and I are two very different and unique individuals even if our books have a similar concept they will be completely different in every other way.

So what's my point here? My point is that, in literature, it's almost impossible to copy another person's idea. You cannot write exactly all the same words in the same order develop the same exact characters and plots as someone else because you are you. Each writer, each human being has their own way of seeing and interpreting the world, thus no two writers will ever write the same book. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you all and encourage other authors to keep writing. Don't let someone else's similar idea stop you from writing your own story. Dream up your own world and take it to the limits of your imagination. No two people are the same. No two books are the same either. So, in case you were wondering, I am going to write that other story. Maybe I'll tell you about it someday. For now I'm still working on "The Children of Cain" and promoting my first book "The Forsaken" If you're interested in looking up the fellow I met tonight his website is his Publisher's site is His book is called "The Unwilling" and his name C. David Belt. If you want you can always read mine and his back to back and let me know how we match up. To get my book go to I plan on getting his book and reading it myself. Once I have it and have read it, I'll be sure to post a review of it here.

Now go forth, be fruitful and multiply the many great ideas upon the face of the earth... and go get your copy of my book while you’re at it. Until next time...

R.J. Craddock