Sunday, 30 June 2013

Book Spotlight- Under the Orange Moon by Adrienne Frances

Under the Orange Moon

Description
He hasn't been home in five years, but his feelings for her have remained unchanged. She has always loved him, but hoped that he would never return. Ben McKenna and Dylan Mathews will soon discover how empty life can be when one of them loses everything.  


Genre: YA Romance

Buy Link: Amazon



About the Author
I, Adrienne Frances, am the mother of two extraordinary boys who do things that I do not understand but thoroughly enjoy. To put it simply, my supportive husband is amazing. I work at Oakland University as a writing consultant and I am truly one of "those people" that loves their job. I have a dog named Treeny who cuddles me for endless hours at a time. Finally, I do have a very curious need for gardening despite the fact that I kill most of my plants; someday I'll get the hang of it.

Follow:
Twitter: @francesadrienne , 
Website



 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Book Spotlight - Wizards, Woods and Gods: Tales of Integration by F. T McKinstry

Wizards, Woods and Gods: Tales of Integration
Description
In worlds where the veils are thin, the forces of darkness and light blur to twilight gray. Eight tales of magical gardens, lost temples, cosmic alignments, immortal predators, shapeshifters, wizards and gods will transport you to realms where the rules are different, nothing is as it seems and the heart keeps the balance of ages. Told on a rich tapestry of tree and animal lore, romance, dreams, visions and verse.

"The Trouble with Tansy": An orphaned girl on the threshold of womanhood inherits a splendid, mysterious garden from three generations of wisewomen. When a roguish wizard attempts to impress her by disrupting the seasons, she must turn to the old powers for help.

"The War God Sleeps": When a lush, fertile land is seized by drought, a lonely hermit's son ventures deep into the hills in search of water and there awakes a beautiful, yet terrible god whom the world has learned to live without.

"The Bridge": A visionary who spent her life preparing for a planetary alignment that will materialize a beautiful nature spirit only she can perceive, descends into her blackest fears when she is abandoned to a war for which she is indirectly responsible.

"The Fifth Verse": An ancient immortal entity defies the rules of her kind by falling in love with a mortal warrior, an indiscretion that leaves her grieving, pregnant and dependent on the help of a wizard whose army was responsible for the death of her beloved.

"Deathseer": Under the influence of a mysterious observatory, the commander of a fearsome army is trapped in a conflict that eventually costs him his honor and the life of his brother, and drives him to accept an inborn magical ability that changes his destiny.

"Eating Crow": A masterful, wayward shapeshiftress angers a wizard who curses her by summoning a diabolical immortal hunter that puts her near death and forces her to seek the wizard's cat, a gentle, mystical creature that alone can heal her wounds.

"Marked": The mother of a fey child learns the pitfalls of mingling with immortals when her boy is taken by a ferocious winged monster at the request of the god who fathered him.

"The Origin": A woodsman discovers that he is a god who created everything around him to know the love of a woman whose mortality drives him to the brink of annihilation.

Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tales




F.T. McKinstryAbout the Author
I write dark fantasy, swords and sorcery, and fairy tales. I love books, forests, winter, cats, fishes, and computers. I live in the northwoods of New England, don’t get out much and have one foot in the otherworld. For years, in the closets of high tech jobs, I created fantasy worlds. Now I spend most of my time there.

I love Northern European legend and mythology. Also woven into my stories are threads of plant and animal lore, mythical creatures, medieval warfare, verse and shadows. In addition to Wizards, Woods and Gods, I’ve published an epic fantasy series called The Chronicles of Ealiron and many short stories in various fantasy/sci fi magazines.I also love to paint and draw. I have six galleries on Imagekind inspired by the natural, mysterious and imaginary, including illustrations for my stories.


Follow: Website , Goodreads , Facebook , Twitter , Art Galleries

Friday, 28 June 2013

Review ~ Oath Bound (Unbound #3) - Rachel Vincent

Oath Bound (Unbound, #3)Paperback purchased by myself

Release Date: 30th April 2013

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Description:
The Tower Syndicate will fall... 

The secret daughter of the head of an infamous Skilled crime family, Sera Brandt has hidden her past, her potential and especially her powers. But when a tragedy strikes her other family, Sera needs justice. And the only way to get it is to reveal her heritage–including a rare Skill–and take the reins of the Tower Syndicate from her cunning and malicious aunt.

If he can figure out how... 


Kristopher Daniels might have the answer. He's fought the syndicate to protect his sisters, but he'd never realized just how close to the new heir he needed to get....

And if they can survive 


Neither is used to trusting. But there's something between them that can't be ignored. And so Sera is on the run with a man she can't figure out, a target on her back and the new knowledge of just how powerful she really is....

My Opinion

I had this book on pre-order and I was so excited when it arrived - I was literally jumping around the room. However because of exams season as much I was dying to read it I had to put it on my pile and wait as I wanted to spend a whole day getting lost in Rachel's world rather than stop and start reading it in between the millions of other things that had to be done. Anyway I have finally made time to read this book, thanks to a beautiful sunny day and it was definitely worth waiting for!

I love this series as it is so much darker than Vincent's other work. There is loads of action and the setting is original, brilliant and really intriguing. I loved Sera's witty and take-no-nonsense attitude that was established right from the beginning and it developed well throughout the entire book. She also had a vulnerable side that appears at times which was a nice change as you could really feel for her loss. Other times though there were moments when I was laughing out loud to myself with some of the comments made which was a nice change from the darker undertone. Gran was definitely a nice addition too and her comments like "I like her" when choosing Sera over Kris really put a smile to my face. I could relate and picture it easily.

This book engaged me and kept me hooked right from page one. The storyline is unpredictable and well structured so that you find things out at the right time and aren't left with any questions. I especially like how the author has used different characters for each installment in the series. Although Liv (from book one) is still my favourite - and thankfully still in the others slightly - I also like the other characters as they bring a fresh set of personalities, history and stories to the series which I enjoy discovering around the action.

This book was fast-paced and I really hope for another book in the series. I'm slightly annoyed the publisher has changed the size of the book because now they don't fit right on my shelf but that's a moot point when the book is this good. As well as this I really enjoyed the conflict in Kris and Sera's relationship. They were both stubborn, strong and determined to be right and what starts as a serious point of kidnapping turns into a funny ritual when questioned about it.

The only thing I wanted more of was the action at the end to big bigger and longer. Personally it felt a bit abrupt and too little people but that is my only complaint and it didn't stop me enjoying the book in the slightest - I think it's more a case of me wanting it to last longer.

Overall Rachel Vincent is one of my favourite authors and this series is definitely my favourite out of all her work (I've read it all)! Her writing style is brilliant and she crafts imaginative, believable and original worlds that keep you hooked and sat on the edge of your seat as you turn the pages to find out what happens next. I would highly recommend not only this book but every book by this author! If you haven't read anything by her you are seriously missing out. Go buy it!




Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review ~ One Hundred Names - Cecilia Ahern

One Hundred NamesARC paperback received from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 4th July 2013

Publisher: Harper Collins

Description:
Everyone has a story to tell...Journalist Kitty Logan's career has been destroyed by scandal, and she now faces losing the woman who guided her and taught her everything she knew. At her mentor's bedside, Kitty asks her - what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a file buried in Constance's office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, nothing to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery. But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late. With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life - to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty has to not only track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people's stories, she uncovers Constance's - and starts to understand her own...

My Opinion
When this came in the mail I did groan slightly, I really didn't want to read it after previous books by Cecilia Ahern are still left on my shelf unfinished. Her writing is really not for me - or so I thought - so I was hesitant to start reading this. The premise did catch my attention though so I took a gamble on it and even though it took a while for it to win me over by the end I think it just about did it and I was glad I stuck with it.

One Hundred Names did have some interesting and thought provoking sections about life stories and how you view yourself which were developed throughout the novel with increasing intensity as the plot moved on. Like I said, I went in with a preconceived idea about this book and didn't expect to like it so it was a nice surprise to find that I found it an interesting concept with some beautifully written sections. 

I could feel for Kitty and although I didn't agree with her situation and sometimes she was slightly irritating I liked how her character developed. She transformed nicely and by the end I could engage with her. As well as this the people she talked to were my favourite part. They were created brilliantly and I could really engage and connect with them as I found out about their life with drip-fed information - which was also something I liked, there wasn't much info-dumping. We were given the information in small chunks which kept you reading as you wanted to know more.

The main thing that kept me reading this book was the mystery about what linked all the people and what the story was about. From past experience I could guess the main theme and as much as I wanted some secret society, scandal or big cover up I knew there wouldn't be due to Cecilia's writing style. Ahern did a good job of concealing the real story until the end though and the last few chapters were definitely my favourite; the relationships in those sections really worked for me.

Although I liked the build up when the big reveal happened I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed. I knew it wasn't going to be something big, but rather something subtle with a meaning but I couldn't help but wish for the link we are lead to believe is there. As well as this I couldn't help but feel some stories are left incomplete and didn't give me full closure or a proper resolution - especially Kitty's. Some character's stories ended brilliantly, like Birdies but others I wanted to know more.

The only other thing I didn't like was I did find some bit were incredibly slow and did drag on with excessive description. I found myself skimming some paragraphs or even chapters as I felt the information was too much, slightly predictable or not necessary. 

Overall though I'm glad I gave this book a chance. I'm not sure I will be rushing out to buy or try Cecilia's other books but it's definitely taught me not to go into reading a book with preconceived ideas. This was a simple read with some great moments and likeable characters that was an easy read to relax with on a sunny day.

3.5
                               

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Book Spotlight - The Scent of a Soul by Jennifer Thompson

The Scent of a SoulThe Scent of a Soul

Description
Fleeing her recent past, Lilliah Woods finds refuge in the anonymity of the present day inner-city slums. As she settles into the seedy apartment she must now call home, she meets mysterious Marek Jamison when he materializes in her doorway demanding to know who she is. From that moment, he becomes a guardian and guide as she gradually discovers his hidden world.

As their relationship develops, Lilliah learns of Marek's dark past and of a brothers' quarrel he has been embroiled in for years. The quarrel turns into a larger battle of good and evil, liberty versus tyranny, and the separation of love and lust.

With Lilliah as the ultimate prize, the deadly conflict reaches out to threaten her family, and the outcome of the final battle will determine her fate. Lilliah must embark on an unexpected path that teaches her to trust in the man she has come to love, and give of herself as she never thought she could....


Genre: Paranormal Romance

Buy Link: Amazon

Trailer:


About the Author
Jennifer Thompson is a native Arizonan whose newfound love for writing stemmed from her great love of books. She enjoys immersing herself in an engaging story and can always be found with a good book close by. A graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in History Teaching, Jennifer and her husband reside in southern Arizona with their five children. The Scent of a Soul is her debut novel, and with the creative flood gates now opened, she is working on bringing to life other stories waiting to be told.

Follow Here:

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Book Blitz - Wind Warrior - Jon Messenger

We are extremely excited to see Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger hit best seller status! We hope to see Wind Warrior hit #1 in all of Amazon! 
Help Jon Messenger achieve that goal by getting his book today on Amazon

(New Adult Paranormal)
(*Also Young Adult Appropriate) 
Release Date: June 11, 2013
$2.99
Published by Clean Teen Publishing
Wind Warrior (World Aflame, #1)
THE EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA,
THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND,
THE WIND FEEDS THE FLAME,
THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.

The sleepy town of White Halls harbors a dangerous secret. On a picturesque street, two houses down from a lovely little park, in a quaint little home with a wraparound porch, lives a family that seems rather normal. Sure, their twenty-year-old son, Xander, still lives at home, but he's going to college and dating the leader of the schools top sorority. It's all very... normal.  However, when a man is miraculously saved from being hit by a bus, Xander's life turns in to the living embodiment of the tornadoes he can suddenly create with a flick of his wrist. Whether he wants this gift or not, Xander must learn to use his new 'super power' quickly if he wants to survive.  For his kind is a dying race, and when this sleepy town has a sudden influx of new, blonde, fire wielders, no one is safe, especially Xander. It doesn't help that one of these blondes happens to be the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Xander can't deny the instant connection he feels to her so, when she tries to kill him, it certainly makes things complicated.





Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Captain in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq, a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti, and an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Wind Warrior is Jon Messenger's break through novel published through Clean Teen Publishing. Jon Messenger has won a readers choice award as well as the Clean Teen Publishing writing contest for his Novella of Wind Warrior, which is also featured in Wonderstruck.




Want to see more about Clean Teen Publishing? 


Twitter@CleanTeenPub and follow the Clean Teen Publishing Blog

Amazon: Concealed in the Shadows by Gabrielle ArrowsmithDouble Star by Cindy Saunders, Wonderstruck (A Clean Teen Publishing Anthology), Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger Project ELE and Night Marchers by Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels

Coming SOON: Heartkeeper and Heartbound by B.T. Lyons. (Middle Grade- Young Adult Series)

Monday, 24 June 2013

Tour Stop - Little White Lies and Butterflies by Suzie Tullet - Guest Post & Excerpt

Little White Lies and ButterfliesDescription: 
When you're digging yourself into a hole, stop digging.

A child of the nineties, Lydia Livingston is different. The last thing she's ever wanted is to be superwoman; she knows first-hand that 'having it all' isn't everything it's cracked up to be. As far as she's concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it's a definite case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she's made a career out of bagging her perfect man. At almost thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she'd made the right choice all those years ago. And realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family's wishes and banishes herself off to a distant land—all in the hope of finding a new direction.

At least that's the plan.

But Lydia Livingston isn't just different, she's misunderstood. A fact she knows all too well. So when the totally unsuitable Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, re-inventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity to come up with for a woman who can't even cook. Of course, the last thing she expects is for him to find out the truth and start blackmailing her. Let alone find herself roped into catering for a local wedding. But with things going from bad to worse, her madder than mad family also turn up in something of a surprise visit, intent on celebrating a birthday she's no intentions of celebrating!


Release Date: August 1st 2013

ISBN13: 9781908208194

Guest Post
As a scriptwriter turned novelist, I suppose ‘Lost to Books’ is quite what I am. And as such, I often get asked about my transition from one to the other -  two very different animals in 
many ways, but at the same time quite complimentary.  

Of course, as writers in whichever field we choose, we all have our own voices, styles and experiences of the writing industry and its expectations.  But what follows is an outline of what I, as an individual, have found the key issues between scriptwriting and novel writing to be.

For a start, a script works to a strict time line and there's usually a lot to pack into those 60 or 120 minutes.  So as a scriptwriter it's important to keep the writing punchy - action taking priority over description and dialogue saying a lot without saying much at all.  However, there are exceptions. I mean, an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot just wouldn't be the same without the long exposition at the end of each episode.  But on the whole I suppose the rule for me was 'less is more' - although I did have the added luxury of having the rest of the TV screen to play with.

After all, in a script, an actor can be doing one thing, whilst something else takes place behind his back; an action that we as an audience can see, but the protagonist can't.  Unlike in novel writing where everything has to be seen from the protagonist's point of view - so if he  or she can't see it, then neither can we.  

Also, when it comes to scriptwriting there's never any mention of the word 'feel'.  After all, what is taking place in someone's head cannot physically be conveyed on our screens.  What can be conveyed, however, is how a character reacts to these feelings, so instead of writing something along the lines of 'Johnny feels sad', in a script it would read 'a tear springs into Johnny's eye'.  Although, once again, there are exceptions to the rule - the use of a narrating voice, for example.  Although in my experience, it's always better to find a cleverer way of imparting any necessary information - having had the question drummed into me: 'If it can't be shown on screen, should it really be there at all?’

Then there are other considerations to take on board in a script, such as allowing both the director and actors their interpretation of what you write.  As well as the cost implications should you choose to include something along the lines of a helicopter crash or two...

I appreciate all this might imply that scriptwriting can be quite limiting.  Indeed, this is something I found it to be sometimes.  But as I said earlier, this field is also complimentary 
when it comes to the penning of a novel.

Thanks to all of the above, it teaches you to write visually without being excessive on the word count, or  too obvious in what it is you want to say; it gives you a grounding in putting together real characters with believable dialogue; and when these are added to creative freedom offered through novel writing, an author can, thus, create a depth not just to his or her characters, but to the story as a whole.

Naturally, I hope I've managed to achieve this aim in my own books and I await your views as to whether I've been successful x

Excerpt
Following the incident at the beach, I had been hoping to avoid any future contact with Sam the Climber, yet here he was, larger than life. Not that I was sure which had bothered me the most-the football in the face, or the slightly unnerving eye contact. Neither of which I wanted to experience ever again and I wondered if I should just get up and leave while the going was good. But my drink still hadn't arrived and the last thing I wanted to do was look rude in of front Efthimeos. I had to think of something else and quick.

Grabbing my book from my bag, I opened it up and used it to shield my face. This should do it! However, just to make sure I began sinking lower and lower into my seat, until I was horizontal to the point I was almost on the floor. Now he'll never notice me.

I wondered if I should take a peek just to check on his whereabouts. But before I got the chance, a drink landing on the table in front of me caught my eye instead. It wasn't the simple glass of coke I'd originally ordered, I further noticed, but some fancy, fandangle cocktail.

I stared at the umbrellas, the tinsel and the cherries on sticks, not even daring to look up.

Please let it be Efthimeos . Please let it be Efthimeos . I thought, finally plucking up the courage. Lifting my gaze I realised that unless my host had undergone some sort of superfast extreme makeover in the last few minutes, the game was up.

'There you go,' said Sam, indicating to the heavily adorned concoction. 'Not just my apology, but as requested, the most expensive drink on the menu.'

I put my book down and began the difficult task of hauling myself up into a more vertical alignment. 'I didn't request it,' I replied ungratefully. 'In fact, if I remember rightly, I said such a purchase wasn't necessary.'

My unwanted guest just carried on standing there, for some reason refusing to see this as his cue to leave-choosing instead to raise an eyebrow. He nodded to the drink. 'Well,' he asked. 'Aren't you going to at least try it?'

I considered his request for a moment, deciding it was a small price to pay if it meant getting rid of the man. And, duly picking up the glass and locating the straw from among all the flora and fauna, I took a long hard draw. 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph!' I spluttered, all at once choking and coughing. 'What the hell's in it? Meths?'

Sam laughed. 'A bit of everything,' he said. He plonked his beer down on the table and took a seat, uninvited. 

'Well excuse me if I don't share your amusement,' I replied, realising that was the second time that day he'd tried to kill me. 'And I don't remember asking you to join me either.'

There was something of a twinkle in his eye and thanks to his air of confidence I could see that he was one of those men used to getting his own way when it came to members of the opposite sex. However, I'd met his type before and knew there was no way he'd ever come across the likes of me. Such a sparkle might've been enough to make any other girl go weak at the knees, but unlike theirs, my kneecaps were made of sterner stuff.

Links

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Book Spotlight - Alice Rose by Caitriona Leslie

Alice-Rose BookAlice Rose

Description
Following personal tragedy, Libby Finn has returned to her hometown of Ballyedmond and the bosom of her loving family. While many, including her best friend Jules Mahon, might think that they know what’s best for the gorgeous and talented Libby, the girl herself has other plans, and they don’t include another husband, or even a man!Having survived the demise of the Celtic Tiger better than most, Libby is searching for fulfi lment in a future that she believes is destined to be without a great love. Enter Alice-Rose, trailing “complications” that Libby is certain are far beyond her reach.Alice-Rose is the place of cherished childhood memories for Libby and the inspiration for her grown-up dreams. Anything can happen in dreams, and as Libby Finn is about to be reminded, the future is seldom written in stone.

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Xlibris


Image of CaitrĂ­ona LeslieAbout the Author
I grew up in County Westmeath, Ireland. I have a Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences and I work part-time in the field of solid organ transplantation. I now live on a farm in County Longford with my husband and our three children. I started writing about five years ago with little success, I found the demands of three young children incompatible with the task...I could never get a good run at it! When our youngest child started school in September 2010, I was then able to apply myself. I discovered that the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it - escapism is a wonderful practise! The story of 'Alice-Rose' evolved naturally over time and changed its course quite dramatically from the one I had in mind initially! Many thanks to all who have bought, or intend to buy, 'Alice-Rose'. I hope you enjoy the story and that it provides a little restorative distraction. Kindest Regards, Caitriona.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Book Spotlight - Thunderstorm (Daughters of Eden Novel Book 1) by: J. M. Schroder

Thunderstorm (Daughters of Eden #1)Thunderstorm (Daughters of Eden Novel Book 1)

Description


What you thought you knew about the BIBLE…is about to CHANGE.

What if you found out you were the granddaughter of the first woman, no not Eve, but Lilith? After 150 ears Dika Edens, the oldest of 4 girls each destined to live forever finds out that very thing. She is not sure if it is a curse or a gift from the Gods. All she knows is the man that has informed her of this has way too much guilt

on his shoulders regarding her and her past. Chrome is her Guardian but that does not mean he can protect her from everything. He should be the first one to know that - since he is the one telling her that she must save the world.

My name is Dika, I am an American born Hungarian, Polish, Spanish Gypsy with a little bit of something special, born right here in the green state of Oregon, home of the Beavers. History would be changed in a matter of a few words spoken from the man that has been haunting my dreams. My sisters and I need to save the world and if we don't the Universe will cease to exist as we know it.

My name is Chrome Jai, Dragon Guardian to Dika Edens, created to protect her from the evils of the first human woman mother of mankind. I will protect her as she fights to save the humans, but her first assignment will be to make it through the first 48 hours and find her Aunt and her Grandmother. We will go together to hell and back just to fix the mess of the Gods and man.

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance


Pages: FacebookGoodreads

About the Author
J.M. SchroderJennie Schroder lives with her husband and three amazing and energetic children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She studies Court Reporting at Sumner College in Portland, Oregon. Her love of writing took off in her junior high school years in Mrs. Eckert’s Creative Writing Class. Now she is sharing the stories in her head with everyone because there are way too many to keep to herself. If not writing, seeking out readers, interacting and thanking her amazing supporters, or daydreaming about her next story or being a very exhausted mother to 2 young boys and a teenage daughter, Jennie loves most to be playing with her family – indoors and out and reading.


Follow: Website Facebook Amazon Author Smashwords Author Twitter @jmschroder


Friday, 21 June 2013

Review ~ Origin of the Sphinx - Raye Wagner

Origin of the Sphinxebook received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 6th 2013

ASIN: B00D9627O4

Description:
In Ancient Greece, the invocation "May the Gods watch over you" was more than a spoken blessing. It was an entreaty for divine benevolence.

When Damon sees a beautiful woman alone, far from civilization, he can’t help but be drawn to her. But his life–as it should have been– is altered and twisted by the immortal touch of deity.

Damon’s daughter, Phoibe, is raised to be wary and distrustful of the gods.

And so she must choose–

If Phoibe marries a mortal, she risks eternal solitude for a moment of love.

If she follows her heart, she risks spurning a god.

The gods are powerful, and their knowledge is vast.

But the gods…

The gods are far from perfect.

Origin of the Sphinx is a novella detailing the story leading up to the creation of the mythological creature, the Sphinx. It is the beginning of the Sphinx series.

My Opinion

I love ancient history, especially ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome. I also love the mythology that comes alongside it all so when I first saw the description for this novella I was excited to start reading it and see what the author did with it all.

Being a novella Origin of the Sphinx was a quick read that I finished in just over an hour. I was surprised by how much Raye Wagner managed to fit into the small amount of pages though. There wasn't plenty of detail but there was quite a bit of action and things moved at a swift pace and for once they weren't disjointed. I have read many novellas that skip from here to there and it makes the writing jumpy and irritating. Origins of the Sphinx didn't do this which I was glad about. The author timed the breaks well, where it felt natural to have a pause or shift in time period and it flowed effortlessly into the next section.

As I'm more into history that mythology I'm not sure how closely the novella follows the truth, yet for me I really enjoyed reading it. Normally I find it hard to connect with characters in a novella due to feeling there isn't enough time to learn anything about them or create a relationship and even though I didn't fully connect with the characters, it is definitely better than any other novella I have read previously. It was also a nice surprise that we got a back story for Damon and found out snippets of information on other characters throughout. There really was quite a lot of information in such a short story which was great.

My only complaint, and it's not really a complaint, is that I wish it were longer. I would love to see it developed into a full length novel with a detailed back story for most characters, and vivid description of actions, landscapes and relationships so I could picture everything and connect with the characters. However this is part 1 of a series so I hope to find out more in part 2.

Overall Origin of the Sphinx is a short and quick novella that is an enjoyable summer read which will keep you turning pages. I would recommend it to those interested in mythology or just a light-hearted read to relax with.

                 



Review ~ Ink (Paper Gods #1) - Amanda Sun

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 5th 2013

Publisher: Mira Ink

Description:

INK IS IN THEIR BLOOD.
On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn't know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can't seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school's kendo team, she is intrigued by him...and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they're near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life.

Somehow Tomo is connected to the Kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan-and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.


My Opinion

It was the setting that first drew me to Ink, as well as the beautiful cover. Most YA books I have read are always set in America, which is becoming slightly boring and repetitive now so the Japanese setting intrigued me as I wondered how the author would develop their culture into the novel. 

I'm pleased to say that everything from the language, characters and description felt very authentic and immersed you in the Japanese culture and lifestyle. I did find myself struggling with some of the phrases in Japanese and it took me until the end of the book to find the glossary but it didn't detract too much from the writing. I kind of just brushed over them if there wasn't a translation - you get the gist of the meaning. As well as this I loved the description of Japan, it was vivid and you could really picture what the author was describing, especially the cherry blossom sections. I would love to see that in real life for myself.

The story was as original as the setting. The Kami were an interesting paranormal element that I have not heard of before - or anything close to what I've read about. I'm not sure if they really are derived from Japanese mythology and culture but personally it was refreshing to read something so different. Controlling ink was an unusual gift to have and in my opinion slightly random but it all tied in nicely with Japanese calligraphy and once again had originality.

Personally I did find Ink quite slow to start and hard to get into. I think this was down to the unusual names (not used to Japanese), switches in language and because of the different setting. It took me a while to get into Amanda Sun's world but once I did I really enjoyed it. When there was action is was described brilliantly, with tension and mystery in parts. As well as this once I got used to all the difference and a few chapters into the book the pace started to pick up and remained like that until the end.

With regards to characters I'm not really sure what to make of them. There were times where I really felt for Tomohiro and Katie but others where I felt incredibly distant and borderline not caring what they were doing. Katie did become a little repetitive with her "I don't fit in" or "I stand out" which may have been why I found myself lacking sympathy as it just went on too much; especially when a lot of people compliment her on her fluency of Japanese. She also came across as quite stupid at times which made her rather unlikable. As well as this I did feel a bit like I was reading Twilight at stages with the "Stay away from me I'm dangerous" aspect Tomohiro pulls all the time and Katie clearly not getting the message and stalking him.

Other than that, the only thing I hated in this book was the ending. It leaves you on a terrible cliff hanger and personally I felt there was little resolve. For me, although I liked cliff hangers, I feel there has to be a little resolve to satisfy the reader and there wasn't with Ink. Instead it seems to start off again and I wanted to scream when I saw that was it. I couldn't believe that was how the author ended things, it was so abrupt. Anyway Amanda Sun does succeed in making you want to read the next book.

Overall this was a refreshingly original read. It has a beautiful setting and an interesting paranormal concept. I would recommend this to someone looking for something different in the paranormal genre.


                   



Tour Stop (Part 2) ~ Leah (World's Apart #1) by Andrea Baker - Article/Playlist and Excerpt

Leah (World's Apart, #1)



As part 2 of the tour Andrea ha provided me with an article about the importance of music, a playlist and an excerpt so enjoy!

See Part 1 HERE




Music has a very strong theme within “Worlds Apart – Leah”, Ben plays the guitar in a band within the story, and there are several instances where the right music is vital - There is a scene where Leah goes and watches Ben and his band mates practice, for example, where the wrong music could completely destroy the scene.  Then of course there are the regional finals, just before the fight scene, where the music is again, intrinsic to the story.

My own taste in music is pretty eclectic; you can find a sample of most different genres of music on my ipod – in the same way that I have read so many different genres of books.  I’m pretty sure however you’re not that interested in what I would listen to, but how about Leah’s playlist?

Leah is nineteen, and about to start University.  Raised by her father since she was fourteen, after her mother’s death, she finds escape in music and books, so her playlist is very important to her.  I asked her what she was listening to right now, and this was her response:

“I’m in a good place right now Andrea, so my music is not as melancholy as it can be.  Life is calmer, although the Harbingers can appear at any time, but I feel stronger and more able to do battle.  I’m going to see “Hey Beatles” tonight, although the music is old school, I listened to it a lot with my Mum when I was little, so I still really like it.  Right now I’m listening to my “general” playlist, so here’s just a sample of the next few on the list:

“Feeling Good” – the Muse version, although it’s a cover, I love this particular one
“Maybe Tomorrow” – Stereophonics
“You Give me Something” – James Morrison
“Decode” Paramore
“The Swan Nebula – A Perfect Storm” Jonathan Hood
“I won’t give up” Jason Mraz
“Moves like Jagger” Maroon 5

I could go on forever...”

Thanks Leah, that is really interesting – I’m sure most people recognise those, even if they’re not something you’d listen to yourself.

Excerpt from World's Apart
I was dreading going to sleep that night. With what had just happened and the mood I was in, the nightmares were certain to be worse than ever.

I fought and fought against sleep, willing myself to stay awake, preferring exhaustion to the nightmares. At about three a.m., I finally drifted off, helpless against the anaesthetizing effects of sleep.

I was walking through the ruins, smiling to myself. It was a warm day and the air was filled with the scent of newly mown grass and wild flowers, so it must have been one from earlier that summer. I was having a mental conversation with Mom, telling her about the new cottage, the town and how I felt about the approaching new term.

I could hear the smile in her voice as she replied, “Don’t worry, Leah, I am with you each and every step of the way. You just need to think about me and I will be here, just as I always promised you.”

Suddenly dusk was falling. The castle looked very different now and the evening lights that 
normally lit the ruins from dusk until midnight had failed. I turned the corner to my favourite 
spot and came to an abrupt halt.

There, standing in front of me, was a young girl. She couldn’t have been any older than nine or ten. She had her back to me, but from the way she was standing and her quivering movements, I could tell that she was crying.

“Hey, what’s the matter? Are you lost?” I called to her softly.

“I want my Daddy,” came the quiet, tearful response.

“Where did you leave him?” I asked, walking towards her. “Come on; let’s find our way back to the car park. I’m sure we will find him there and I bet he is worried sick about you.” I smiled to myself; that had always been one of Mom’s favourite sayings.

By this time I had reached her side and she looked up at me, tears streaming down her face. I held my hand out to take hers. She reached up to hold my hand but suddenly she was gone. 

The scene shifted in an instant and now I was near to the occupied part of the castle. I could 
still hear the little girl crying for her Daddy but could not see her anywhere. I ran through the sectors that I knew so well, looking frantically everywhere. I was the only one who knew where this girl had been, and her parents must have been really worried by now. 

The roar of the car engine brought me to a sudden stop. Where was it coming from? I turned 
quickly, eyes searching everywhere. Cars weren’t allowed in this part of the castle grounds. 

As I re -focused, it dawned on me that the scene had changed again.

Suddenly I was back on the main road, opposite the castle entrance. The same black car screeched to a stop in front of me and I was again assaulted by the stench of   scorched rubber. The door was thrown open. This time I didn’t need to be told what to do. 

I was terrified. 

I lunged into the car, pulling the door shut behind me. Where was my saviour now?

The car pulled away, picking up speed almost immediately, flying through the town that had 
become so familiar. I didn’t want to think about what speed we were doing. I finally managed 
to get myself sitting up straight and reached for the seatbelt. As I did so, I glanced at the rear 
view mirror towards the driver.

Looking back at me was a pair of chilling yellow eyes. 

A flash of lightning illuminated the scene, and for the first time I got a full view of the beast that had been haunting my dreams - sinewy long legs with webbed feet and a hairless wiry body.

As I watched, he dropped onto to all fours so that his eyes were level with mine, and my stomach plummeted as the realisation of the sheer size of this creature dawned on me. As if it 
read my thoughts, it stood back onto those legs. Fully upright, he was well over six foot tall.

Claw-like hands that looked as powerful as his legs tore through the air as he raced after us, 
easily keeping pace with the car. Sharp pointed teeth grinned at me from his rounded face, and I realised the creature had not a single hair on his body. Opening his mouth wide, he uttered an ear-shattering yowl and I shuddered as thick, viscous saliva drooled from his bottom jaw.

I sat bolt upright in bed, my heart hammering so loud I thought it would wake my Dad. I still hadn’t forgiven him for last night, so the last thing I wanted was to be comforted by him. 

I didn’t put the light on straightaway; instead I stared out of my bedroom window at the stars. Surprisingly the sky had cleared while I slept. I lay there, listening to my heart hammer itself back to a normal rhythm.

I must have dozed back off, because suddenly there was that voice again. 

“Trust me, Leah. You will know what you need to do. Follow your own instincts and you will 
be fine. Don’t let others tell you what to do.”

I twisted and turned, trying to identify where the voice was coming from, but everything was 
black. 

“I don’t know what you mean. Please tell me, what do I need to do?” I begged, more confused than ever.

“You’ll know when the time comes. Just follow your own instincts and trust no-one.”

The voice and everything else for that matter, was gone and I was left with blissful nothingness.

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