Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Enticed and Emblaze (The Violet Eden Chapters #2 & #3)

Sorry for the recently neglection of my blog, my right now exams are a bit too much and I really don't have time to write new reviews... (yea, I have time to read, but writing reviews require much more time, and I already have a million essays to write *sigh*). I promise I will get right back into it after exams. So, when I was sorting out all the books I've read this year, I came across two reviews of The Violet Eden Chapters series by Jessica Shirvington which I haven't put on here yet. As I'm going to be reading Endless (#4) soon just to see what happens (I didn't really enjoy this series that much), I thought I'll just put what I thought of book 2 and 3 up here. They are both quite short reviews and mainly my thoughts after reading them, so I compiled them XD These were written quite a while ago, so I apologise if they don't sound as well-written as my other reviews. Yea, that's all for now. See you very soon!

Enticed (The Violet Eden Chapters #2) by Jessica Shirvington

Rating: 3 stars

Ok... what can say about this book? Firstly, let me clarify the rating, Before I got to the half-way point or a little behind that, I was totally disappointed with this book. At the time, I would have given it at the most a 2 star. But then it got a lot better in the latter half and I really enjoyed some parts, so the rating rose to about 3.5 stars. So if you even it up a little, it should be between 3 stars :P

Even though I liked this story, I'm still going to say that it disappointed me quite a bit.Embrace left me hanging so I had expectations for Enticed. The first part was dragged out, painful, not too well exercuted and a little boring. At one point, the characters all seemed very dull. 
But then the new character got interesting, I have to say I really liked Spence :D And then the book picked up its pace. The climax was well-writtened but some places could be a little confusing.

Some people said that this would be a good book for people who like Lincoln (And yes I like Lincoln better than Phoenix, at least so far I like him better), I would disagree then agree. It wasn't a really one-sided book, but I'll give it that much. It doesn't protray Phoenix in a too-positive light. And I totally hated Magda the character (I just don't like her). 
The writing was average, if not worse than average. I didn't seem to connect with the characters in this book. And the emotions and characters seemed rather flat. The plot was kind of predictable and unnecessary at times.  If the writing could improve a lot more, the story line more connected, it would have a better rating. Still, I'm interested in reading the next book, I hope it won't disappoint. 



Violet Eden is Grigori - part angel, part human. Her destiny is to protect humans from the vengence of exiled angels.
Knowing who to trust is key but, when Grigori reinforcements arrive, it becomes clear everyone is hiding something. Even Lincoln. The only thing Violet does know: Phoenix's hold over her is more dangerous than ever.
The race to find the one thing that could tilt the balance of power brings them all to the sacred mountains of Jordan, where Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme. And the ultimate betrayal exposed.

Enticed (now retitled ENTICE) is the second compelling book in The Violet Eden Chapters.

ENTICE will be available in the US from September, 2012!

Emblaze (The Violet Eden Chapters #3) by Jessica Shirvington

Rating: 3.5 stars

It was an alright third installment to the series, but I only finished reading it because I was  curious about what is going to happen, but I guess that was also in some ways a success? Humm... I really liked the first book, but then it got a lot worse in the 2nd, and 3rd only picked up a little bit, but still it seemed to get better again, so I'm still curious about the 4th book. In the 2nd book and most of the 3rd book, the characters were quite flat. The author really did try to make them come alive, but without much success. I hope it will pick up a lot more in the last book of the series and give me a well-rounded ending to the series. Still, I liked the first book too much to give it a low rating. There were still pluses for the story line in this book, it was quite unexpected, I'd give it that much :) Oh, and also my favourite character in this book was Jase, oh, he was so funny! I really liked him, his lines were my favourite lines of the book :D
I really hope it'll all end well for Violet and Lincoln, and maybe even Pheonix. I'm not sure what to expect of Book 4, but I have a feeling it's not going to work out very well. 

Quite a while later:
I heard that Shirvington is planning on writing more than 4 books for this series (which was initially the limit). While some of my friends are rejoicing this fact, I'm more on the lamenting side. I really didn't want to see the story getting dragged out even more. Depending on Book 4, I may or may not give up. That' just the thing about cliffhangers...


Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice ... and the consequences are unimaginable. 

Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.

Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too. 

Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.

With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to... 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Author Interview with Jodi Lynn Anderson

Ello! Say hi to Jodi Lynn Anderson! She is the author of Tiger Lily, a retelling of the famous fairytale Peter Pan. Peter Pan is my all-time favourite fairytale, and Tiger Lily is so well-written that it's my favourite retelling as well. I read Tiger Lily quite a while ago, and you can check out my review of it here if you like. I know there is quite a big gap with my reviews recently, and I'm sorry about that. But right now (and for the next month) I've got my final exams, so it's the busiest time of the year! Will try to post a few reviews soon (got something like 18 books I still need to write my review on!). 

Today, Jodi is here to do an author interview with me. *Huge smile* She is going to share with you some of her inspirations and some interesting comments about the fairytale. Thanks for coming in Jodi!

The Official stuff about Jodi:
 Jodi Lynn Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches, The Secrets of Peaches, Love and Peaches, the popular May Bird trilogy, and Tiger Lily. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and an endless parade of stray pets.

What Jodi says about herself: 
I write books about vaguely magical peach orchards, resorts in the afterlife, enigmatic island princesses beloved by Tinkerbell, and...civics! I was an awkward and strange child who kept lots of secrets. Now I live with a sweet Basenji dog named Peanut who loves to eat shoes, and a sweet husband who is good at all the things I'm bad at, like being organized and thinking things through. I've loved writing and reading about mythical and strange things since I can remember.

1. Why did you decide to write Tiger Lily, a retelling of Peter Pan?

I fell in love with the idea of exploring the relationship between Peter and Tiger Lily, and I fell in love with Tiger Lily as a character. The moment I started trying to picture what a love story between the two of them might look like-- and why someone like Peter might choose Wendy over Tiger Lily--I felt like I deeply understood it. I had such a vivid picture of their story in my mind. And then the thought of spending several months pretending to be in Neverland -- it was irresistible.

2. Does Tiger Lily or any of the characters in Tiger Lily resemble/reflect you in anyway? If so, how?

Well, I can’t say I’m like any of the characters, but I’ve experienced difficult, tumultuous relationships...relationships where love alone wasn’t enough to keep things going. I guess I wanted to capture the intricacies of that kind of difficult relationship.

3. what aspect about the Neverland appealed to you the most?

The wilderness. In the original Barrie story, Neverland is basically the dark, unpredictable wilderness within. It’s brilliant.

4. If there’s one place in the world you could choose to live in, where would it be and why?

I'd love to live in Portland, OR, or in Montana or New Mexico - somewhere with tons of outdoors stuff. But really, it would have to magically be near my family, who are in Virginia!

5. What is your all-time favourite book and why?

Right now I’m reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and I think it’s currently my favorite of all time. It’s a challenging book but so truthful. I love books that try to paint an honest portrait of what it’s like to be human and what goes on in our messy, illogical heads: it’s such a brave and risky thing to do. 

6. What do you think is important for a Young Adult book?

I think the same key things apply to adult and young adult books alike: three-dimensional characters, a compelling plot, originality and style.

7. What is one thing you haven't done, but would really like to do?

I’d like to live on a commune. I'd like to do a NOLS course where you learn to live in the woods for a few months. Everything I'd love to do involves nature I guess! 

8. What is one important experience you had that help you to become who you are today?

Spending a lot of my pre-teen, teen years in Asia (I went to high school there) really shaped me. It made me realize there are very few absolutes. I think it gave me a healthy respect for wildly different points of view. 

9. If you can choose to live in any one story, which one would you choose and why?

Pride and Prejudice. I would be mighty happy tromping around the English countryside in a pretty dress, learning pianoforte and being wooed by people with mansions. 

10. What is the thing/aspect you like the most about the original fairytale of Peter Pan?  

The joyful sadness that’s in almost every line. I was just reading a line to my husband the other night about Mrs. Darling…how Mr. Darling won her hand in marriage but never got the kiss at the corner of her mouth. “I was like: ‘Come on, that is amazing!’” And my husband was like, here we go again. 

Thanks for coming in Jodi and I'm glad we share the common love for Peter Pan! It is an amazing story and you've done a brilliant job at retelling it from Tiger Lily and Tink's point-of-view. It's been awesome talking to you and getting to know you a little more. To all who are reading this interview, if you haven't read Tiger Lily or Peter Pan, you absolutely should! :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Author interview with Courtney Allison Moulton and Giveaway of a SIGNED copy of Angelfire (Fall Into Fantasy Hop)

I'm sure many of you have heard or read the Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton. This story starring Ellie as the main character begins with Angelfire (Angelfire #1), followed by Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) and the third book Shadows in the Silence which will come out in January next year! I have read both book 1 and 2 a while ago, but I have yet to post both of my reviews up (yeah, I'm being lazy, sorry!). But today, I'm so happy to invite author Courtney Allison Moulton here to do an author interview and to tell us a tiny bit about the upcoming book. She is also very generous and has donated a SIGNED paperback of Angelfire (Angelfire #1) as a giveaway. Courtney has whispered to me that at the back of this book, there is also an extract in Will's P-O-V! Exciting :D This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (Yay!) and is also a part of the Fall into Fantasy Hop. Thank you so much for coming in Courtney, and also for the giveaway! 

Courtney Allison Moulton lives in Michigan, where she is a photographer and spends all her free time riding and showing horses. She has always loved reading about ancient mythologies, studying dead languages, and telling scary, romantic stories. ANGELFIRE is her debut novel.

1. What is your favourite month of the year? (Is there a reason why?)

I love October, because I love watching the leaves turn colors and of course HALLOWEEN!!

2. If there's one place in the world you could choose to live in, where would it be and why?

I’d really like to live in Michigan my whole life. The summers are perfect and the winters aren’t too terrible… There are lots of places I’d like to stay at for a few weeks at a time, but none of them would be home like Michigan is. I could live part-time in New York City, Texas, Italy, Greece, Egypt, England… I wish I had a million lives so I could live everywhere I ever wanted to live.

3. What is important in a good Young Adult main female character/heroine for you? What qualities do you look for or think is important for a good and strong YA female character? (And also what qualities do you always include in the construction of your own YA central characters?)

The most important component in writing a good heroine is realism. In the attempt to create a strong heroine, a writer includes confidence, courage, and possibly special powers. They often forget that a character, like any real person, needs a balance to their ideals and flaws. Without flaws, she will come off as pompous or even a bully. In order to balance the ideals with flaws, writers will add traits such as clumsiness, or she doesn’t like some physical aspect of herself like her hair or her nose is too big, or she doesn’t think boys like her, ect. These things can come off as “cutesy” without a writer realizing and that’s where readers interpret a heroine as a Mary-Sue.

The balance between ideals and flaws is my first task when creating a heroine. For example, Ellie of the Angelfire series has amazing powers and she’s confident and brave—but not all the time. Just like real people, she can doubt herself and she can be afraid of scary things. My second task during character creation is planning her growth arc, which ties in with balancing her ideals and flaws. At the beginning of Angelfire, Ellie has forgotten who she is (the archangel Gabriel with a human body and soul) and she has no idea about her past or her destiny. She’s afraid of the reapers and she’s afraid of Will (her Guardian) because of what he can do and of his role in her destiny. Any normal person would be confused and terrified at first. But the key here is she grows. She comes into her own at a steady pace, though sometimes becoming resistant to her mission and longing for a normal life again, and during the entire trilogy Ellie is on her own growth journey. Where would the story be if right away she became this infallible warrior? A story has plot, but it also needs a demonstrable character journey. That’s how you create a strong, realistic heroine with depth.

4. Does Ellie resemble you in any way or can relate to you in any way? If so, how? Do any of the other characters in your books reflect or resemble you?

I think there may be small pieces of myself and people I’ve met in all of my characters. They’re all little Frankenstein monsters. Ellie has my girly side, we both love Cold Stone, and while neither of us always makes the right decision, Ellie tries hard to do the right thing like I do. Over the course of the Angelfire trilogy, Ellie grows up so much and I feel like I grew up with her while writing these books over the past few years in my early twenties. I feel so close to her and it’s been hard to let go of her story now that it’s finished.

5. Where/how did you get this idea of writing a story involving Angel/Angelblooded Demon Hunters? And the idea of Angelic and Demonic Reapers?

I’m asked this question so often and I always have a different answer, because there are so many answers. The truth is ideas just come to you. You spend your entire life learning, becoming curious, and asking questions, and I think a lot of story ideas come from asking “What if?” That’s how a high concept premise is created. I grew up in a Catholic/Protestant home and became vastly curious about culture, religion, and mythology at a very early age. The concept of good vs evil and heaven vs hell were themes that shaped my adolescence. One day I wondered, “What if an angel was human?” I wondered why and what she’d be doing on Earth. The answer seemed obvious: fighting evil. I wanted to create my own monsters to replace the typically seen demons in a heaven vs hell story, so I reinvented the myth of the reaper. My mortal angel battles against the demonic reapers, who kill and eat humans to send their souls to hell, and she’s helped by the angelic reapers, who have sworn to protect human souls. That became the basic premise for Angelfire and that premise only had me asking more questions to fuel my ideas. What would an angel with a human soul be like? How would that affect her? How are the warrior-like angelic reapers organized? Do they just fight the demonic, or do they also protect? What if one angelic reaper protected the mortal angel? What if he fell in love with her? Ideas grow from questions, just as trees grow from seeds. The more you read and learn and discover this world, the more questions you have and the more ideas you will have. So if you want to write a book, first ask a question.

6. If you can spend either a day in Paris or a day in Rome, which one would you choose and why?

Rome, absolutely without a doubt. I’m a huge history nerd and the Roman Empire has always been one of my favorite civilizations to study. I’m pretty sure if I ever saw the Coliseum in person, I would cry.

7. What is your favourite hobby? (Apart from horse riding? XP)

There are things to do other than horseback ride? *commence panic* Well, I really love playing The Sims and it’s my favorite way to procrastinate. I also love photography so much, but now that I’m a full-time author, that is more of a hobby.

8. If one character from any book can come alive, who would you want to come alive and why? (Which book he/she is from?)

I’m totally in love with Balthazar from Claudia Gray’s Evernight series. I wouldn’t want vampires to be real, but just this one would be okay. Actually it would be seriously stupendously gorgeously okay.

9. What is your all-time favourite book (and why)? What about movie?

I’m one of those people who have a million favorites because I can’t decide. But if there is one book that I’ve re-read countless times, it would be Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams. It’s a fantasy about cats who live in our world but have this unending mythology that is so intricate and evocative. The story just devours me no matter how many times I’ve read it since childhood. I have the same “can’t decide” problem with movies too. One of the movies closest to my heart is Tombstone. I’ll watch it over and over and over again, and I can recite the script by heart. My dad and grandpa are obsessed with cowboys and the Old West, and by watching with them all of the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies ever made, I could relate to them and we had a love in common. Tombstone is a mutual favorite, besides True Grit. Even now, every time I visit my grandfather, we watch Tombstone and say all the lines out loud.

10. What is your favourite mythological tale?

I was always partial to stories of Aganippe, the winged black mare worshipped by Greek cults who punishes people by sending them nightmares. Greek mythology is one of my least favorite mythologies, mostly because of the sexual violence, but I think the idea of Aganippe is really cool.

11. How far are you from finishing Shadows in the Silence? Is there even one tiny little hint you could drop us about the story? XD

Shadows in the Silence is totally done on my end. Now I just sit back, work on my new series, and wait for the publication date (January 29!!!). The plot is pretty much under lockdown, considering the insane ending of Wings of the Wicked, but I will say this: Prepare to laugh, cry, and grip your seat tight because it’s one heck of a ride. I got to play with my love of history and archaeology, so Shadows is quite the globe-trotting adventure! The prequel novella A Dance with Darkness (January 2) is a must-read companion and tells the origin stories of how Will’s parents, Madeleine and Bastian, got together and of Cadan and Nathaniel and how their lives intertwined six hundred years ago. It’s very dark, very sexy, and more adult than my other books.

So now, onto the giveaway! I'm giving away a Signed paperback copy of Angelfire (Angelfire #1) donated by Courtney. Remember, it includes an exclusive story in Will's P-O-V! This giveaway is also part of the Fall Into Fantasy Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy from I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Dorine from The Write Path. To hop to other blogs in this hop, find the list here. This giveaway is international, so anyone can enter! The winner must reply within 48 hours after I've contacted him/her, otherwise a new winner will be selected. I do retain the right to disqualify any entries that are unfit. Anyway, other than that, GOOD LUCK! 

Angelfire (Angelfire #1)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Apollyon Cover Reveal

I love love love The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout! Her writing is addictive, seriously XD The Covenant series begin with the first book Half-Blood, followed by Pure, and Deity is coming out very soon in November (can't wait for it!) And Elixir (# 3.5) a novella after Deity written in Aiden's perspective, is currently able to be read here. It will be avaliable in print, kindle and Nook format on November 27th.

Lastly, the cover of Apollyon (Covenant #4) just got released! Isn't it pretty?? Ah! Even though I'm still waiting for Deity to come out, I'm absolutely looking forward to Apollyon too.

So, here's the cover! And if you haven't read this series, read it! :)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Rift (Nightshade Prequel #1)

Rift (Nightshade Prequel #1) by Andrea Cremer

Rating: 4.5 stars

I first saw this a while after I finished reading the Nightshade series. I was really excited because it sounded good and I was so in pain with the ending of Nightshade. That was entirely unforgivable. So well, I hoped the Rift series might redeem the author and also have a nice ending XD

I love the olden day stories and the old style of language and writing, I don't know, it just have such a literary feel to it. I really like historical novels (but not the boring ones) because I not only get to enjoy a good story, there are new knowledge to be received which I may otherwise never come into contact with. In Rift, I learnt a lot about the olden church and Christian religion, the names/terminologies and purposes of the old churches (though don't believe in all of them, as I'm sure some of them were made up). Set in the Scottish lowlands, where Lords and Ladies still existed, Rift led us into a whole other story world. It explored Scottland in the 'mythical' time and area. In a way, this book was very different from the Nightshade series, which was a lot more contemporary/modern. It also did not involve creatures with muzzels, at least not yet in this book. There was a lot of fighting and protecting the country/world against the evil of the "otherworld". Seamlessly interwoven, there were also some political struggles within the church as well as between religions and between the church and the rich Lords of the country. These all reflected upon the time and age of the chosen setting, as well as the amount of research the author put into the book. 

What I liked the most about the book was the fighting. I've always enjoyed reading about sword-to-sword or dagger-to-dagger fights (or any of the older weapons. NOT guns, never guns for some reason.) It makes me visualise the graceful movements and control in close range fighting as if I'm experiencing all the rush of the characters myself. Good descriptions of fights and skills also make me want to learn to fight myself (haha, not an entirely absurd notion XP). Rift didn't gloss over the fights and skills, it presented what a good swordsmanship and horsemanship looked like. 

Another huge reason I loved this book was Ember's fierce and rebellious nature. As a girl, she was deeply suppressed by her family and forced to follow her father's wishes exactly. She never wanted to be a child-bearing lady of some rich lord as her father planned, but she wanted to be a warrior, to prove her fighting skills. Even when she was not supposed to, she hid and learnt to use a sword. She was also not supposed to become a warrior for the mysterious Conatus, but she defied the nature of a "normal" noble-born lady and chose her path. Like a man, she fought fiercely and with even more skilled than a normal knight. To some extend, this reflected the fight for woman's rights. Not that I'm being cliche or anything, but it did present this under current theme. Every change requires someone who is different to lead it. Ember was different. Though she was rebellious, she wasn't stupid or headstrong. That differed her from your average smart-mouth, clueless YA main female characters and made me like her. She was focused on her trainings and also stopped to sort out information logically. She didn't fall head-over-heels in love instantly and forget everything in a second (another point I liked). Lastly, though she was raised as a posh lady, she had good manners and didn't take her title too seriously. She was the down-to-earth sort of girl.

Barrow was another character I really enjoyed reading about. The instant he came onto the page, I knew how he and Ember were going to work out.  He was strong and calm, as well as always supportive of people he trusted. He was the kind of guy who would do anything to protect those he loved, and once he admitted his love, would do everything to stay with that person. (Point: I hate heoric main guy characters who push girls they like away for a long time without good reason, or even with good reason.) He was Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome who stayed silent most of the time but can kill you before you make a single noise. I liked the patience  and support he showed Ember and the friendship and trust they developed. Whether something  more happened to that friendship? Well, you'll have to find out yourself! But oh, I loved reading about his fighting! And the part they the two of them fight! It was both hilarious and sweet. 

The plot was also fast moving and entertaining. The only thing I didn't like was the parts of the story told in Eira's perspective. Andrea Cremer wrote this book in dual prespectives. Though the book was written in third-person, you see inside thoughts from two people: Ember and Eira (one of the leaders of the Guard). Some chapters (more or less the majority) were wrote in Ember's perspective, well others in Eira's. They alternate to bring two sides of the story together. Ember's chapters are more action-involved and at a faster pace, while Eira's chapters were more reason-based and more otherworldly matters. I didn't really like reading the latter and found it a bit slow and boring at times, though necessary. Otherwise, it was very well written and full of the formal language of the old. 

Anyway, aside from the interesting plot, it was truly the characters which captivated me. I loved the love and trust in this book, as well as caught in the betrayal and darkness in the story. The ending was sweet. While it left me on an unfinished note, it was a good place to stop. I'm very interested in the next book, and I sincerely hope it won't disappoint. This book was much better than the Nightshade series, which I didn't like very much. 

OH! And I liked this cover more! This is the cover of the hardcover copy, it looks even more stunning!!! Just had to put it up XP


Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer's internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy!

Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.
With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Defiance (Defiance #1)

Defiance (Defiance #1) by C. J. Redwine

Rating: 3 stars

I read the synopsis of Defiance long before it was due to be released and I really wanted to read this book as soon as I can. I love fantasy and adventure with a strong heroine who can fight (both physically and emotionally), so just from the blurb and the lovely cover, I was drawn to it. After the long wait, when the library copy finally arrived, I was eager to delve into the story. However, much to my disappointment, it was much below my expectation. As a whole, it was a fine book, there were ups and downs and also certain climatic points. The plot was moving and the characters have their personalities. But true to many reviews I have read about this book, its biggest flaw is that it is forgettable. I only read this book rather recently, just now, thinking back about it, there wasn't much that trigger a suriving memory about it from me. I can hardly even remember the plot and much of its characters. Defiance was a very forgettable story. As much as the author tried to make it memorable, it seemed to lack a certain spark that brings life to the story. There really isn't much to say about this book as it is plainly normal. Nothing really special. 

The idea of Protectors for girls is kind of new, but if you really think on it, it doesn't make much sense. How does Baalboden provide a male protector for every girl? And how will the men work if they have to be with their assigned women all the time? How can Rachel be the only person to be attempting to defy this rule? I didn't like the fact that all the women in this book apart from Rachel seemed to be wooden heads that knew nothing other than summit to the commander's rule and ment's leisure. As soon as I started reading and really understood the "rules" in the city, this whole idea annoyed me. 

Rachel seemed to be a determined yet rash girl. She wanted to be viewed as an independent and strong young woman at all times by everyone, including Logan, but in truth, she isn't like that at all. She might have had experiences the author deemed to be traumatic (which I really didn't feel was that traumatic in the face of who she is or who she is trying to be), but she didn't show her strength in these situations. To me, she felt weak and incapable of looking after herself. I agree with Logan's initial view of her being headstrong and impulsive. She pinned her hope on something too small. When that hope is shattered, she is shattered too. She didn't seem to grow much through the journey of this book. She did seem a bit more sure of herself at the end and know to accept and perhaps return love, but as a character, she didn't appear different from beginning to end. 

I liked Logan as a character more than I did Rachel. He had aims and he would do anything to protect those he loved. But he too irritated me often. Though he seem to know that Rachel can take care of herself (physically at least), his primary thought (especially at the beginning) was to shield her from dangers and protect her at all cost. This clearly showed that he didn't trust her, no matter what he told himself. Another reason I didn't completely like him was because he was another classic example of "I love you more than anything, but I don't think I'm good enough for you, so I'm going to push you away and let you find a better man". Ugh, please! If you love her, just go for it! But being the tech-head he was, Logan was smart and works well under pressure. He was able to shoulder all the pains on the way to eventually reach his goal. 

The book was written in both Logan and Rachel's perspectives. I sometimes get afraid of reading books like this because I know that at least of the perspectives will be screwed up. But this was actually one of the perks about this book. C. J. Redwine wrote very well in both Logan and Rachel's perspectives and thus providing more insight into the characters' thoughts for the reader. However, some parts of the writing was quite good, but other parts seemed normal and not lively. One thing that I recommend C. J. Redwine to research more on is how to make a proper bomb! Seriously, if you want to write it, you should research thoroughly before attemping. Though Redwine had most of the right ingredients, the whole process was not as simple as she had described it in the book. I don't recommend putting incomplete information even if the author didn't want the readers to actually learn how to make a simple bomb. XP

So, the final verdict is: if you are bored and looking for a good read to pass time, read it. But if you don't have too much time on your hands and are looking for something really good to read, I don't recommend this book. There are better books to read and learn from. Definitely a library read for me, not a book I want to re-read.  


Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Author Interview with Jodi Meadows

Today I'm welcoming Jodi Meadows, author of the Newsoul trilogy starting with Incarnate (Newsoul #1) to my blog. This book was beautifully written and I loved every moment of reading it. It was very original and I would recommend it to everyone. Check out my short review for Incarnate here. The second book in this trilogy Asunder will be out in January next year. Can't wait to read more about Ana and Sam! Thank you Jodi for gracing my blog today with your presence and let's get on to the interview! 

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut.
*A Kippy is a cat.

1. How did you come up with the idea to write Incarnate?

First, I had to make a journey across the Pacific Ocean in a kayak. About halfway to Hawaii, a mermaid jumped over the boat and when the water splashed on me, I got the very first glimmers of the idea behind Incarnate. By Hawaii, I had the worldbuilding, and by Japan, I knew how the entire series would end. Thanks, Pacific Ocean Mermaids!

(This answer may be a lie.)

2. Does Ana or any of the characters in Incarnate resemble/reflect you in anyway? If so, how?

Ana is a pretty good reflection for anyone who's ever felt new, out of place, or bullied. She's the ultimate new girl. She constantly feels like she's behind, like she needs to catch up. 

More personally, Ana's insecurities about things she loves (like music) are pretty similar to my own insecurities. She needs to be good at music, even if it's her first try. That was pretty close to my first music lessons, too. (Though she starts off much better at piano than I did flute. One of the benefits of being made of fiction.)

3. What is your favourite time of the day to write and why?

Midnight. Or 2am. It's dark and quiet. It just feels peaceful. Sadly, I'm attempting to adopt a normal schedule, which means being asleep at those times. 

4. If there’s one place in the world you could choose to live in, where would it be and why?

Right where I am. I live in one of the prettiest places in the whole world, the Shenandoah Valley. It's not perfect, but no place is. The Valley is home to me, though.

5. What is your all-time favourite movie and why?

Hard question! I'm really terrible about picking favorites. Here are some movies I've loved lately: THE AVENGERS, THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY (all the recent Nolan Batman movies), THE HUNGER GAMES, um . . . suddenly drawing blanks. 

6. What is your favourite snack in between working hard on your books?

Cookies!!! But I can eat cookies while I'm working on a book, too. (I am attempting to be healthier and like apples the most, but alas. Cookies still win my heart.)

7. What do you think is important for a Young Adult book?

It's important for YA books to reach their audiences, both physically (like, getting books to the readers, not anything creepy) and emotionally. Teachers, librarians, and booksellers are some of the most important people for putting books in young adults' hands, but even if teenagers read the books, the stories still have to resonate with them. The stories still have to mean something.

8. If you were given the chance to be a supernatural being, what would you be?

A unicorn. But a shapeshifting unicorn, because it's hard to type with just the point of one's horn. Keyboards are delicate.

9. If one character can come to live from any book, who would you choose and why? (what book is he/she from?)

Hmm. That's tricky. Get a character before they have their Epic YA Journey and they don't have a chance for all that great character growth that makes them so wonderful to read about. And get them after and you kind of screw them out of their happy ending. I think I'd rather leave characters where they are and maybe visit them sometimes.

10. What is the most surprising thing you’ve learnt from writing this series?

That my publisher prefers "good-bye" to "goodbye," which is what I'd used before my copyeditor came around. 

Hah. Kidding. I don't know. There are surprises everywhere, but I'm not sure what is the most surprising thing I've learned. 

Thank you so much Jodi for the interview and I'm sure everyone loved reading your creative answers to some of the questions! :D Have fun writing the next book in the trilogy while I am here counting down to when Asunder will be released! It's a beautiful cover by the way! 

Aren't they pretty?? 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger Saga #4)

Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger Saga #4) by Colleen Houck

Rating: 5 stars

I'm totally speechless for once. I really don't know what to say! Colleen Houck, with Tiger's Destiny, you have made me whoop with joy, hanging to cliffs with my finger tips in suspense and sobbing my eyes out! (And to know, I hardly ever cry for books or movies) This book was a perilous yet unbelievable and can't-be-missed journey and I would take it on again any time. Tiger's Destiny was an amazing end to the Tiger's Curse and I really have no idea what or who Colleen is going to be writing about in Tiger's Dream (maybe a certain "distant" character? *wink wink* to those who have read the book. But I can't spoil anything!). But knowing Colleen, I hope it will be another edge-of-your-seat story with unforgettable characters. 

I had such an emotional roller coaster ride in Tiger's Destiny. I would hang on to each word like a lifeline just to reach the end of each chapter and then stop, take a deep breath, calm my nerves then continue. I was overwhelmed and deeply thrusted into the story world which I loved. I experienced every ounce of emotion, had clear images and understanding of each scene/action and character. I don't think any book has ever been able to have such a hold on me before. Colleen Houck's Tiger's Curse series will forever have an unique place in my heart.

I liked the amount of new knowledge I was able to learn from reading Colleen's work. She incorporated a huge amount of both Indian and American cultures into the books. Though admittedly, I wasn't really interested in Indian culture and mythology before I read the book, I was hooked into the colourful stories and objects almost instantly. I could see how much research the author had put into the book and it made the story all the more realistic. After reading this series, I still have lots to learn about another culture, but I have a better understanding of it as well as to other religions and mythologies. 

This was an adventurous and romantic story. The harsh yet satisfying journeys Kelsey, Ren and Kishan went on was not only interesting to read about but also drew me in. Colleen Houck paced the story at the exactly right speed and added in many unexpected twists and turns to the well structured plot. Being the fourth book, it connected and related back to the previous books and made me have realisations like "Oh! That's why ... happened!" The amount of suspense always led me on to flip through the book faster to find out what really happened. Not only was it a "physical" journey, it was also bogged down in the emtional department. Colleen Houck wrote it so well that I experienced all the distinguished emotions of the characters: the fear, the doubt, the love and the pain etc. It brought me closer to the characters and the situations. 

Lots of people were annoyed at the main girl Kelsey in this book, so I was worried I would have a similar reaction towards her. But to my pleasant surprise, I didn't dislike her. She was her normals self, not too strong (not even close to kickass) but full of another kind of strength. Yeah sure, there were annoying moments where I just wanted to yell at her for her decisions, but there were also times where I admired her for her strength. So overall, she wasn't too bad. Ren and Kishan were also at their best in this book. There wasn't that much of jealousy and rivalry on the surface and hardly anymore of the male dominance unlike much earlier on in the series, which is a really good thing. Kishan, especially, changed so much in this journey that I'd came to really like him.  But aside from all that, I was sad to say goodbye to certain characters. 

The bittersweet ending was satisfying and sealed with a finality. Yet at the same time it left the reader wonder about the world of the Tiger Saga and its characters (one character in particular for me). But I felt that it was a perfect way to tie up all the knots. Truly, Tiger's Destiny had just blown me away! There is no other book that makes me cry my heart out yet twirl with joy in its pages. Truly, it is an amazing creation.

After that beautiful finish, it really makes me wonder: what will Tiger's Dream be about? (Is it going to be a novella?) And please, I beg you Colleen, don't ruin these previous four books and the perfect endings to the character's stories! :) Other than that, I look forward to Tiger's Dream.


With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.  It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all. 

Birthday Presents

So happy! Just got a bunch of new books yesterday, and I thought I would share them with you here! Thanks to my wonderful friends for these awesome birthday presents! You guys always understand and share my love for books, they are the best presents ever! XD

So, these are the books I got from my dear friends:

Storm and Spark (and short novella Elemental) from the Elemental series as well as The Night Circus! I really wanted to read that book! (It came with a Glow In the Dark bookmark too XP)

And look what came in my mailbox two days ago!

I won this hardcover copy of Grave Mercy in a Giveaway from Lisa over at A Casual Reader's Blog. Many thanks to her for this book! I've already got started into a few pages of this book.

Anyway, I've got more books on their way, but here are the new additions to my shelf this week :)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Author Interview with Jay Kristoff

Today I'm excited to welcome Jay Kristoff, author of the awesome book Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1), to my blog for an author interview. Stormdancer is one of my favourite books. I loved the beautiful writing and the well constructed plot and characters. So it's been a privilege to talk to Jay. You can check out my review for Stormdancer here. Anyway, onto the Q&As and thank you Jay, for dropping in on my blog :)

Jay Kristoff is a tragic nerd, but has spent the last ten years dumping expeez into his Intimidation stat, with the result that nobody is brave enough to say it to his face. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

Jay prostituted his writing arm in the soulless crack-house that is “creative advertising” for over ten years. He’s hocked petrol guzzling monstrosities to sexually inadequate men, salty condiments to schoolchildren, and toilet paper to anyone with a bottom. He has won several awards that nobody outside the advertising industry gives a toss about.

Jay’s debut novel, STORMDANCER, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy, will be published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK in 2012 as the first installment of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy. He is represented by Matt Bialer at Sanford J Greenburger Associates.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13870 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings. 

1. Why did you decide to set Stormdancer in "Japan"? 

I wish I had a good answer for that. I could make up one about being the scion of a line of gaijin who travelled to japan in the 19th century and learned the Ancient Art of Awesome… but that’d be pure lies. It probably stems from a long-held interest in Japanese culture and the Tokugawa age in particular. I’ve been reading books about the samurai age since I was a kid.
I wanted to write a steampunk book because I loved the aesthetic, but European-based steampunk seemed like it had already been done a lot, and done very well. I suspected combining a Japanese-inspired setting with a steampunk aesthetic would be a lot of fun to write. I’m right so far :)

2. How much research time did you spend on Stormdancer and what was the most important thing you learned from all the research?

Probably about six month initially, but I continued research during edits and rewrites, so more like eighteen months in the end. Things tend to change a lot between first draft and final copy.

I’m not sure about the most important thing I learned, but I found researching the Shinto religion to be the most interesting. Some of Japanese mythology is just completely different to any western counterpart, but some of it is eerily similar. The myth of Izanagi and Izanami, for example, which I riff on quite heavily throughout the trilogy, has some remarkable similarities to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and also Hades and Persephone – despite the cultures that created them being half a world apart.

3. Who is you favourite character in Stormdancer and why?

That’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is! I can’t choose between my babies.

I love writing the dynamic between Yukiko and Buruu. I love the way both of them grow over the course of the book. But I’m very fond of a few of the minor characters too – Michi in particular. She gets a much bigger role in later books.

4. What would Yukiko's favourite colour be and why? (It's not green is it?)

Lol, it might have been green for a while there. Probably not anymore.

I’m going to go with blue. The color the skies in Shima used to be.

5. What do you think are the most important qualities a YA novel should have? (So important things that you would include in your own writing as well)

I’m not sure I should be telling anyone else how to write. Every book and story is different, and every author will tell their stories differently. But speaking for myself, I try to make my stories true. Not in the sense that the events within the book actually happened – more that the people within it, the setting, the story being told says something about the world we actually live in or the people we share it with.

That’s the great thing about writing fantasy – you can draw parallels to this world we live in without directly pointing fingers or laying blame or getting up on a soapbox. You can tell the truth through your books, even if the stories you’re telling are totally fictional.

6. If you get the choice to have a very human-like robot as a part of your family (living in your family home), would you choose to have it or not? (Kind of like the movie i, Robot XD)

Depends on the kind of robot, I suppose. If we’re talking Haley Joel Osment from AI, then yes. If we’re talking Bender from Futurama? Prrrrrobably not. My house is messy enough as it is :)

7. If you can choose to learn one other language in the world, which one and why?

Italian. My wife and I got married in Italy. Rome is beautiful, and the Italian people are the nicest in Europe. I’d like to live there one day, and speaking the language would be handy.

8. If one character can come to life from any book, who would you choose and why? (Which book is he/she from?)

Zaphod Beeblebrox from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I think he’d be fun to have a beer with. Plus, he could run for galactic president and sort things out. Let’s be honest, the Milky Way really needs to get its act together.

9. What is one important experience you had that help you to become who you are today?

Hmm. Hard question. I think maybe getting retrenched from my old advertising job?

That event really made me look at my life, what I wanted to do with it. If I hadn’t have been retrenched from that job, I wouldn’t have decided to start writing – I really wouldn’t have had the time. And that single moment has lead directly to where I am in my life right now, which is the coolest place I’ve ever been – a couple of weeks into my life as a published author.

It’s really funny how an event can seem awful at the time, but lead to someplace absolutely incredible.

10. What is one thing you haven't done, but would really like to do?

Live in a world where everyone was just nice to each other. Everyone, all at once. That’d be cool.

Maybe one day.

Thanks again to Jay Kristoff for the chance to get to know a little bit more about yourself and your book. It's been awesome talking to you. To anyone reading this blog post, I hope you enjoyed this interview; if you haven't read Stormdancer, make sure you do very soon! You won't regret it! :)