2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Michael has read 1 book toward his goal of 50 books.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stacking The Shelves (4)

Hey Chroniclers! How's it going on this fine Sunday afternoon? I'm doing great and enjoying the end of the year! I also just finished my last book of the year and will have today and tomorrow to rest my mind before I tackle some big books starting the 1st! Anyway, last week I wasn't home and when I was it was already late, so I wasn't able to put up a post so I'll just do it today.

I got a couple of things from different places and here they are!

From author Andy Gavin, I received an ARC of Untimed (which is the book I finished at like 4AM) and some swag that is bookmarks. They're so amazing as well as this book!

I'm also quoted in the book from my review for his first novel!

From Random House Publishers I received an ARC of The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens. An ARC of The City of Ember Graphic Novel by Jeanne DuPrau, adapted by Dallas Middaugh and art by Niklas Asker. I also received a The Paladin Prophecy pin and a Every Day by David Levithan bookmark where on the back it has a check list for all of his books.

From Barnes & Noble, using a gift card I got for Christmas I ordered some books but only one has arrived thus far. Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl! I am so FREAKING excited to read this book that I might cry. But I'll only be able to read it later on this year because I'm planning on reading the bigger adult books I have on my shelf. But I'll get to it soon!

And that's basically what I got in the past two weeks! What did you guys get? Leave your links down in the comments below or just let me know! =D

Check me out on other places on the internet;

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

And don't forget to check out the books! 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays To All

Hey Chroniclers! Mike here and I just wanted to say I hope you all had an amazing Christmas! I was going to say this earlier but I wasn't exactly home or around a laptop for the Holidays. But, I hope you all had an amazing Christmas filled with joy and family. And here's to a Happy and healthy New Year! May we prosper in good things and awesomeness!

Also my heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones during the Sandy Hook Shooting. I said it before but this time I mean during the Holidays. It must be so hard for them but I just want them to know that they have millions of people behind them ready to support them with love.

If I don't post for a while, you have my Happy Holidays here but I might put up one or two more posts soon!

What did you guys get for Christmas though?!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review: The Great Unexpected

Title: The Great Unexpected
Author: Sharon Creech
Pages: 226
Publication: 04 September, 2012
Rating: E for Exceeds Expectations
Copy: Received by HarperCollins Publisher

Review: The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech is one of those books that gets right into things, much like this review, and doesn’t diddle daddle. The novel features two girls, Naomi and Lizzie who meet a young man named Finn who fell from a tree and seems to act very peculiar. To be honest, I felt like there wasn’t a specific plot and that the novel just went on its way, much like life. Whether it is a good thing or a bad I’m not exactly sure. I’ve read a couple of novels where a plot was not exactly set out in plain sight. When I say much like life, I mean that the novel doesn’t have a grand purpose and seems to gear towards great unexpected situations, pun intended.

Finn seems to be unknowingly accompanied by an older man who is asking too many questions in the small town. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean in Ireland, two women seem to talk a bunch of crazy talk that only makes sense towards the end. Aside from the odd vague plot, the book was actually pretty amazing. It kept me guessing what the purpose of the story was and there would be times where characters would say something that would connect to another character saying something previously. I actually spent two hours or so in bed putting little things together and figuring out the big picture.

The characters for a start were superb. Lizzie, the main characters best friend, has a very theatrical aura in her written character. From the way she speaks and by her actions it’s as if she’s an actress overacting her part and its fantastic! Others, such as Witch Wiggins and Crazy Cora, were also interesting and even though half of the time it was false, the rumors we hear about hem are entertaining. Most of the other characters also have interesting dialogue that felt absolutely refreshing and set me in the world of the book.

The writing was actually, like I said before, very refreshing. There would be times where characters would mock a certain type of speaking dialogue as if they were in the English Country during the 17th Century. I found it pretty hilarious because I, at times, do the same thing. As I was reading the book, I kept picturing everything in vivid, pastel colors of green, pink, yellow and blue. It is an odd thing to say but this book made me see colors. I also enjoyed the fact that Ireland played a good part of the novel because I love Ireland and Irish people so I felt this interesting connection.

All in all, the novel was a good one even though it is for children. I loved that it was a fast, light read that’s great for any ages with an amazing ending that makes you feel good. Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I had never heard of Sharon Creech before, but now, because of The Great Unexpected I am tempted to check out her other books and see how good they make me feel.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Author Interview - Alexander Gordon Smith

This is the most horrible thing I could ever do. During May I had the whole blog birthday with several authors attending with giveaways, guest posts and interviews. One of those authors was Alexander Gordon Smith. But because he was finishing a book before the deadline he replied to me in the beginning of June. Which is no problem at all. I'd rather him miss out on the interview than not finish his book that I can read. But! Because I was busy and for some other reason I forgot to reply back and forgot that I had the interview up. Until October but then I got busy again and Hurricane Sandy happened and I forgot again! Until today! So I present to you my interview with author Alexander Gordon Smith!

Alexander Gordon Smith: Hi Mike, thanks so much for interviewing me on your blog, it's great to be here! :-)

The Subtle Chronicler: No problem, thank you for agreeing to do this!

Who exactly is Alexander Gordon Smith?
I'm not always sure... I've just finished writing a book, The Fury 2, and I'm in that weird post-writing phase that feels a little like post-traumatic shock. I've been immersed in this book for weeks, much longer than usual, and it's taking me a while to find my way out now that it's finished. That's the weirdest thing about being a writer - you live so many different lives. You have to get inside the head of your characters, right in there, and you become so absorbed in their world that you forget about your own for a while. I often can't remember a single thing about my own life after I've been writing, but I can remember every detail of the lives of my characters. It's like you lose a little piece of yourself to every character and every book.

But other than that, Alexander Gordon Smith is a 33-year-old writer, filmmaker and horror fanatic!! :=) Oh, and I go by the name Gordon - my parents rearranged my first and middle names so that my initials wouldn't spell GAS! 

Did you ever worry if your novels were too dark to be categorized under the Young Adult section?
No. They're dark and they're violent, and terrible things do happen, but I think it's important for teenagers to read books where bad things happen. Horror is a good thing, because I don't think you ever see heroism, humanity and hope like you do in a horror story. When things are at their worst, you really do see people at their best. When things turn bad, people fight tooth an nail for everything they believe in. They fight for their family, for their friends, for their loved ones; they fight for what is right, and what is just. They fight because they know they must. People sometimes accuse horror books of "corrupting" young minds, but I believe the opposite. I believe that horror makes teenage readers aware of their own powers, their own strengths and abilities, their own priorities too. It teaches them, without explicitly teaching them, that they have what it takes to survive. It teaches them about friendship, too; the kind of friendship that keeps you standing shoulder to shoulder with someone even when the world is falling apart around you. I honestly believe that horror makes better people of us, it makes heroes of us, even if that heroism is just facing up to our everyday lives. It gives us hope when things seem lost. It makes us human, and all the better for it.

I think the key to this argument is in the heart of the book. The heart of the Furnace books is friendship, pure and simple. If a book has a good heart, then no matter how dark the story gets there will always be a positive message there somewhere.

You've stated that you don't exactly plan and just go with the flow while writing. Did you ever reach a block in the road that made you turn back a couple of chapters or even the whole book?
I do prefer to go with the flow, it feels more natural that way. Planning everything in advance feels a little too much like playing god. One of the best things about writing is being there alongside the characters, experiencing things at the same time they do. For me it's about writing at the speed of life - you write in real-time (or as close to it as possible), so that when something happens your reactions, and your characters' reactions, are more natural and more honest. There's no right or wrong way to write a book - whatever way works for you is the best way for you to write. But for me, if I plan something in advance then I feel like I'm cheating because I've had too much time to think about it. I like to be there in the dirt and the blood, fighting for my life alongside the characters. The choices they make are gut decisions, and sometimes they are stupid because they're made i nthe heat of the moment. Sometimes those decisions get people killed, but the trick is never to go back on them, because it's those mistakes that make your characters real people, it's what makes readers empathize with them. The character who always does the right thing is just that, a character.

I sometimes feel more like a nature documentary filmmaker than a writer - you know, those people who film lions eating their prey. It must be really tempting to step in and save the life of a poor baby gazelle, but by doing that you're interfering in the story. If you go back and change something that your character did just to make the story easier to write, then your story will feel less genuine. Well, that's how I feel when I'm writing anyway (and to be honest, if I was one of those filmmakers I'd probably try to save the baby gazelle)! I love writing at the speed of life because it's so exciting. You literally have no idea what might happen next, so you have to write the story as fast as you can to find out.

Would you ever go back and change anything about your books and do something differently than what you already did?
There were definitely times when I was writing the Furnace books that I worried I'd written myself into a corner. But I did my best to stick to my principles! It was made easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it) by the fact that the first three Furnace books were published before I started writing the fourth and fifth books. It meant that even if I wanted to go back and change something, I couldn't! It was great, because it forced me to work with the world I'd created, rather than go back and hack it up and rearrange it. Yes, some of the characters who died might have stayed alive if I'd gone back and changed some things at the beginning of the series, but I don't think the story would have worked anywhere near as well. We can't go back in time in real life, so why should my characters have that luxury! :-)

The only time I have ever changed something big in a book was in my first novel, The Inventors. One of the characters died halfway through the story, a little robot called Clint. My editor thought it was a bit too dark for middle grade and asked me to bring him back. It was a good call, because it was a pretty sad moment, so I'm glad I did it. YA is a very different ball game, though!

I do quite often read back through the books and think 'Did I really write that? That's awful!' The more you write, the better you write, so of course you look back at the early stuff and cringe a bit. But I guess that's just like everything in life!

Do you plan to write more creepy, terrorizing and haunting novels for us fans?
Yes! I'll be writing books for as long as I am able (and for as long as they'll let me)! It's the most amazing thing in the world, being able to sit down and build a world and fill it with characters and watch what happens. I'd be doing it even if I wasn't being published - being published is really just a bonus. And horror will always be my genre of choice, because no other genre gives you so much creative freedom. Literally anything can happen. There's barely a week goes by that another idea doesn't pop into my head, most of them creepy, terrorizing and haunting. The trouble is finding time to write about them all!

A question aside from your work, what are your thoughts on this brand new world where fans have such a huge impact on authors with social networks and blogging/reviewing, compared to what was back then?
Well, I never really knew what the old world was like, because my first novel came out five years ago when the social media scene was really getting some momentum. I didn't use social media much back in 2007, but as soon as Furnace was out in 2009 I started Facebooking and Tweeting and blogging. I love it. I can't imagine living i na world where I didn't have contact with fans. I have the best fans in the world, they are seriously awesome , and they are what makes this the best job in the world. I get emails and Facebook messages every day, and they are a constant inspiration to keep writing - you know your audience, not quite face to face but close. You are friends with them. Without that interaction I'd feel like I was talking to a brick wall when I wrote.

Thanks so much for interviewing me on your blog!! :-)

And thank you so much for allowing me to interview you! Your answers seriously got me thinking about the way I write which is always a grand help!

You can check out more information about Alexander Gordon Smith over at his;

Website: http://www.alexandergordonsmith.com/
Twitter: @AGSmith_Author

You can also check out the first four books in the Escape From Furnace series (Paperback) down below:


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday's Novel Spotlight (47)

Hello everyone! It is Tuesday and yet another book has been released into our world! On another note, I have gotten worse with being sick. Woke up and I couldn't even swallow anything because my throat was in so much pain. Why won't it just go away?! But back to our books, today a book has been released. One of the many books that are being released into our reading world and I am here to bring you the news! Which book is it you ask? Well it's none other than....

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken!

I've been loving the cover for the longest and I really want to know what it looks like in person because I'm sure it has an awesome feel to it or something special. But what exactly is this book about?

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Now let's break it down.

The Story: The story sounds amazing. I'm a bit afraid of the romance part of it but other than that I'm very intrigued with the types of powers and the camps and everything about it. As I read the synopsis I kept picturing it as a movie trailer in my head which is always a good sign. 

The Cover: I absolutely love the cover. I think it's amazing to not have a face on it and have it something that pertains to the book. I love books with designs and not people on the covers. Must be the non-existent artistic side of me. I hope the cover in person has a special feel to it like some covers do. 

The Verdict: I'll definitely be checking out this book and totally want to buy it. I might have to check out some reviews to see how the romance plays out and if it's too much or just right but other than that, count me in! 

What are your thoughts on the author, cover, and story? Leave your comments down below.

I also take up more spots on the internet;

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday's Novel Talk (53)

Hey everyone! I am here and sick still and don't know if I'm getting better or worse. But anyway, I'm still reading and hopefully I'll be finishing this book soon.

That book is in fact The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech. I went into this book not knowing anything about it and I still don't exactly know what the point of the book is, but I'm loving it. Little things are being revealed and I'm starting to put two and two together and connecting certain characters with different story-lines which feels awesome. I actually went to bed thinking about the book which hasn't happened in a while. I was up for a while trying to figure out what was going on.

It's a fun and light book that makes you feel good.

What are you reading though? Leave your comments down below and don't forget to check me out at these other places;

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Book Lovers Holiday Gift Guide [Part 2]

The second to last category is for Kids. Kids need to read books too so let's show you some epic books. 


Now these kids books are all freaking amazing! The Forest of Silence is book one in the Deltora Quest and it's a great way to get kids to read more. Instead of just reading a book and then going on with whatever, they have 12+ books that they can keep reading and get into the motion of being a reader. Each book is close to 200 pages with big text so it's easy. Even as an adult I still enjoy remembering the story and thinking about their quest. Percy Jackson is another kids book that is able to be enjoyed by any age and it has a movie coming out! The Spiderwick Chronicles is another short series with illustrations that kids can dive into and enjoy.

The last category, so that I don't spam you guys with books, has to be for teens, also called YA.


Hush, Hush is the first book in a paranormal romance series about fallen angels. The Awakening is the first book in a trilogy about teens who have some sort of powers. It's also part of the first trilogy in a series of other trilogies. Crank is a deep novel written in poetry form, free-verse, about a girl who struggles with the drug. Looking For Alaska is one of the best contemporary novels out there about a guy who finds something a girl he's never seen before. 

So if these books aren't good enough then I have no idea what is. Or maybe they're very picky, but I'm sure they'll enjoy at least one of these books! Leave your comments down below with what books you also recommend to readers out there.

I take up more places on the internet! =O

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

A Book Lovers Holiday Gift Guide [Part 1]

Have you ever wondered what to get your friends who are in love with books? I don't know how many times I've gotten asked which books are good and which books are in right now. So I decided to create a small gift guide to what you can buy your friends this Christmas. And let us begin.

First let's start off with books that have been turned into movies that will be coming out soon.


Those four above are 4 of the many anticipated movies that will be released in cinema's in the year 2013. If I were to include all of the movies we'd be here for days because inspirations comes from books in bunches! Now depending what you're into you might be able to find these books interesting.

If you love demon fighters and an interesting story-line, City of Bones is just for you. Into magic and forbidden love, Beautiful Creatures is exactly what you want. If you want to read a different kind of love story with a bit of humor between a human and a zombie, Warm Bodies has it all. Or if you're looking for alien invasion, The Host will seep into your mind and take over.

So now the next category will be Dystopian books that I extremely enjoyed. 


These three books are some of the best Dystopian books I have ever read and I can say has graced us with their presence. Everyone knows what The Hunger Games is so I don't even have to explain. But, Gone features a world where everyone over the age of 15 in this small town in California disappears and the kids are left to defend themselves in a bubble where animals have mutated along with the kids who are gaining powers. The Maze Runner is like a cross between the other two where kids have to find their way out of a maze they were put in with no memory of their past.

The next category has to be Adult Fantasy. Three different book series that every adult should read for sure.


There's not much that I can say about these three series except that they are high fantasy, action packed, full of adventure and all of that good stuff. Sword of Truth and Wheel of Time series are like close to 1,000 pages each book with over 10 books in the series and they are gooooood. Where A Game of Thrones is seven books of greatness and epicness! The Night Angel Trilogy is a great story about an assassin that deserves to become a show on HBO. If you're into cunning assassins and murder everywhere, this trilogy is for you.

I take up more places on the internet! =O

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Stacking The Shelves (3)

Whoa! I haven't done one of these in the longest because I haven't gotten any books! =D Except yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble for a friends birthday present and had some coupons so I got a book. That book is....

Reached by Ally Condie! 

This book is a MONSTER compared to the other two. It feels like it's the first two put together and kind of bothers me that it doesn't even out with the others. But! Because it is such a big book I'm hoping for some action-packed madness that the second one promises and not something tame. After all this is book three in the trilogy!

Have you guys read this yet? If so, leave your comments down below with your spoiler-free opinions on it. If not, you have to buy it!

Haven't read the first two? No problem, check them out here!


But before you leave, make sure you check out some links such as...

Review for Matched by Ally Condie
Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cover Reveal: Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn + Giveaway

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy) Now Available!
When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.
Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.

All Mindjack stories available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and iTunes
(Note Free Souls is not yet available on iTunes)

Early Praise for Free Souls

“Quinn paints a picture of a not-too-distant America where politicians inflame the hatred of one section of the populace for another—all for their own gain—and you worry that her world is not so far off from our own.”
Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and the forthcoming The Eighth Day

"Free Souls starts with a bang and doesn't let up. Like a mash-up of all your favorite science-fiction adventures from Star Wars to The Legend of Korra, it blends nonstop action, nail-biting escapes, and great romance. I absolutely loved it! A great series conclusion—a must-read."
Leigh Talbert Moore, author of Rouge and The Truth About Faking

“Susan did it again. Free Souls was WOW! I expected Kira to step up to her role as heroine but not like this. Surprises kept coming until the very end which tied up more loose ends than I knew existed. Warning: Don't start reading until you have time to finish. I didn't want to put Free Souls down for a second. It's that kind of book.”
Sher A. Hart, Goodreads Review

Susan's over at Amy Saunder's blog today (12.14.12), answering questions about how she came up with the mages' abilities, what kind of mage she would be, and all about her future works.

Digital Box Set
Since Free Souls is out, there is now a Digital Box Set of the Mindjack Trilogy for those of you who want the whole series!
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble

Mindjack Origins Collection
Want more Julian? Wondering how Sasha's ability really works? Looking for EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls? This collection of novellas, scenes, and other goodies is for those craving a bit more of the characters and drama of the Mindjack series.

Mindjack Novellas
Mind Games (Raf's story)
The Handler (Julian's story)
The Scribe (Sasha's story)

TWO EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls (published nowhere else!)

PLUS Mindjack flash fiction, an (imaginary) conversation between Raf and Julian, and other goodies for readers who want just a little bit more of Kira, Julian, Raf, and the Mindjack crew.
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble

one of FIVE ecopies of the Mindjack Origins Collection

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

X Factor US

First I want to say sorry I didn't post yesterday, I was filming a movie for my friend and yesterday was the last day of shooting and it was just so much work and I'm dead. =D

But I am back and I want to stray from books today to talk to you about X Factor! In particular a certain  act!

You see those five girls up there? That's Fifth Harmony, one of the best things to happen on the show. And they are in danger! These five beautiful girls were put together in a group and have been climbing higher and higher ever since. Now what is it that I'm really asking for you guys to do? Vote for them.

Take yourself to TheXFactorUSA.com and vote for them after watching their performance tonight at 8PM on Fox5 Eastern Time. You can vote 50 times online on the site and then unlimited times by your phone and trust me, they need all the votes they can get! They were placed in Fourth Place last week out of six acts and need to be at least third tomorrow night to advance on to the finals. And I'd rather have them in the finals over Emblem3 who come off as very douchey at times. I mean you're in a competition show performing, don't go off to the audience members to get their numbers. Multiple times. It's happened and is on camera. 

So please vote for these girls and I swear if they make it through to the next round I will love you all and maybe even find the money to give you guys a book =O Am I buying your votes with the promise of a book? NO! I am simply loving you guys enough if they make it through. =D 

And that is all really. Vote for them! And posts will be back to normal soon! =D Love you all! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday's Novel Talk (52)

Hello everybody! It is Monday and I feel like crap. Beautiful!

Anywho I'm reading Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick and it is taking forever! I'm on page 350 of 438 and I seriously hope I can finish it today. But we'll see how that goes. So far it's alright but Nora is really bothering me with her dumb choices and stupid dialogue but hey, if it gets me to finish quicker I'll keep reading.

Have you guys read Silence? What did you think about it? Leave your comments down below! =D

Sunday, December 2, 2012

To Be Read Pile (December 2012)

Hello beautiful people? How are you all enjoying the last month of the year?! It's crazy thinking about it, we're going to be in 2013 soon! D= I seriously remember January 1st opening up my first book of the year and reading. This is all too crazy. But I'm here to show you my To Be Read Pile for December!

To Be Read Pile (December)
I see a bit of a difference which is good! In the month of November I have bought and received a total of 0 books! This is the first month where I haven't gotten a book and my pile didn't go up at all! Yay progress! I also re-read a book because I couldn't help myself.

To Be Read Pile (November)
This month I plan to read the books on the top shelf that are stacked in the middle. That's my Holiday-Themed pile. I don't know if I'll get to them all but we'll see!

Last month I had 43 books. I finished 1 that I started in October, finished 3 and started my 5th. I also re-read another book. I am now at 40 books which is lower but I wish it were lower. Hopefully next month I'll be lower!

Do you have a picture of your TBR Pile? Leave the link to it down below.
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