Thursday, 29 November 2012

Author Interview with Laura Bickle and Giveaway of The Hallowed Ones (Book lover's Holiday Hop)

Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams). Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. 

Hey everyone! Today Laura Bickle, the author of The Hallowed Ones, a new, enticing and a tiny bit spooky YA novel (XD) is stopping at my blog for an interview and giveaway! Thanks so much for being here Laura, and I hope you'll enjoy the interview. I've read The Hallowed Ones a while ago around Halloween and I must say, it was a pretty good Halloween Read! My review will be coming very shortly. Laura is also giving away a copy of The Hallowed Ones. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL(Yay!) as long as Book Depository ships to you. Thank you so much for this generous donation Laura! Now, let's get on to the fun part:

1. How did you come up with the idea to write The Hallowed Ones?

I live not too far from a large Amish settlement. When I was a child, my parents would take me to visit, and I was fascinated by a world very different than the one I lived in. I’d see Amish girls my age over the fence and wonder what their lives were like.

Some of that curiosity lingered, and I always wanted to revisit it in a story. It popped back into my head when I was writing about a catastrophic contagion. Considering all the incredible self-sufficiency they apply in their everyday lives, it seemed to me that the Amish would be uniquely well-equipped to survive a large-scale disaster.

2. Who was your favourite character to write about in this book and why?

Katie is my favorite. Katie was an interesting character to write because she's very strong in a quiet, enduring kind of way. She struggles to develop her own moral compass, independent of her parents and community. That requires a great deal of fortitude, just as much fortitude as dealing with the evil creatures in her world.

3. Does Katie or any of the characters in The Hallowed Ones resemble/reflect you in anyway? If so, how?

I think that there’s always a little bit of me in every heroine I write. Katie is a quiet observer of people, like I am. But she’s much stronger and more centered than I am. More grounded.

4. What is your favourite genre of books to read?

Definitely fantasy, in all its flavors. I love the whole speculative aspect of it, all the “What if?” questions that the genre allows us to explore.

5. If you had to stay in a dark room with one type of monster, which one would you least want to be stuck with?

Hm. I think I’d least like to be stuck with a vampire.

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

I’d like to live someplace with more forest. Someplace I can hear wind in trees and crickets at night. There’s just something very soothing to me about that.

7. What do you think is important for a young adult book?

I think it’s important for the reader to be able to imagine herself in the protagonist’s shoes – no matter how unusual or different her life may be from the reader’s.

8. If you can choose to be any one character, who would you be and what book are they from?

My all-time favorite book is Robin McKinley’s THE HERO AND THE CROWN. I read it when I was a pre-teen, and fell in love with fantasy ever after. It was the first book I’d read that had a female protagonist, Aerin, who slew her own dragons.

9. What is the most interesting thing you have learnt from writing this series?

In addition to visiting the Amish settlement near my home, I did a good deal of reading as I researched THE HALLOWED ONES. There are a lot of great books out there that look at the Plain way of life from a sociological perspective. National Geographic has also done a number of very good documentaries about the Amish.

I’m really fascinated by the idea of separateness from the outside world in Amish culture. It’s very interesting to me to see what kinds of connections are allowed and which are discouraged. Commerce with the outside world, in many ways, is permitted. Other connections, such as telephone lines and electrical wires attached to the home, are not.  

10. What are the top three country you would love to take an extended vacation in?

I’d love to vacation in Australia, New Zealand, or Japan.

11. Now, I know lots of us are excited about Book 2 The Outside. How far are you from finishing it and could you at least drop a tiny hint to us about a little something in the book?

Thanks so much! The first book left us with something of a cliffhanger, yes….but the second book will deal with how Katie deals with the devastated world beyond her community. Katie’s story comes full circle in THE OUTSIDE.  

Alrighty, onto the giveaway! I'm giving away a paperback copy of The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones #1) donated by Laura. This giveaway is also part of the Book Lover's Holiday Hop hosted by Kathy from I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Maryann from Chapter by Chapter. To hop to other blogs in this hop, find the list here. This giveaway is international, so anyone can enter! (As long as The Book Depository ships to you) 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!

The Hallowed Ones

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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Skylark (Skylark #1)

Skylark (Skylark #1) by Meagan Spooner

Rating: 4 stars

When magic is the source of all power (literally), wouldn't some people do anything to control it? Skylark is a percular (in a good way), different and other-worldly book. It is very different from any other books I have read. Meagan Spooner invents a story world where people with magic is the source of all energy and poses the question: once that energy is gone, where do they obtain more?

This book is not one of your typical YA, angry teen confusion and useless love triangles. On top of a drawing and intriguing story, Skylark, in my opinion, also deals with questions about humanity and the future. Is a closed-off and tightly controlled community worth an ultimate sacrifice of one individual (or perhaps a few individuals)? Aside from the humanity question, I also enjoyed the original idea of having magic as the a source for providing energy. The indoctrination of the so-called "Institute" (kind of like the government) obmits the truth of a celebrated event called "the Havest" from the citizens of the City. This was what led to Lark (the main character)'s discovery being so shocking and attention-grabbing to the reader. 

The story world of Lark is different from many I had encountered. Although the "Outside" and "Inside" aspect had been written numerous times by YA authors, Meagan Spooner made the aloof and cold world of Skylark stand out. The writing of the author also enabled me to imagine every little detail of the forest, the magic pockets and the city; as well as picturing tiny movements of the pixies and the character's actions. I particularly liked the description of the "Outside" world. Although dangerous, it seemed like a wonderful and magical place to explore. As I read the story, I closed my eyes and it seemed that I was in this bluish-purplish space (just like the book cover) and seeing everything in a surreal fashion. 

Another reason I enjoyed the story was the character of Lark. As the main character, Lark develops through the story. Right from the beginning, Lark was careful, genuine and intelligent. She used her intelligence to figure out things that any other adult wouldn't question and made decisions that were hard. Through the course of events, Lark became braver and stronger (she had always been adventurous). I appreciated the strong family bond between Lark and her brother, the trust and hope Lark has for him even though all odds were set against him. Nix was also a constant and caring companion I enjoyed, I hope Nix stays with Lark in the next book. The relationship between Lark and Oren is something I loved reading about. This relationship too, develops from its original tentative and enstranged state into something worthy. Oren was a mysterious character whom I didn't quite understand until the very end. However, he was protective and had a good survival instinct. The ending of Skylark left me wondering about the two and I'm eager to find out what happens next. 

However, there was still some little things that could have made the book slightly better. One of such is the amount of one-character time in the book. It was not monologues as such, but sometimes (especially the first half of the book) there were too much running around alone time with Lark. Having a character by herself for a long period of time is not very interesting to read and thus I didn't really got fully drawn into the story until quite a bit into the book. Once other characters (particularly human characters) came into the book and interactions were made, the plot became a lot more interesting. I know that this was quite hard to do in relation with this particular story, but I would like to see less of just the main character running around in the forest by herself in the next book.  

Overall, a book I really enjoyed. The ending also leaves me hanging and desperate to read the next book. Recommended! :) 


Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them? 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Author interview with Meagan Spooner and Swag Pack Giveaway

Meagan Spooner

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes. She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads. 

Skylark (Skylark #1) is one of my 2012 reads that I really enjoyed, as it is unique and deals in a world that is very separate yet somehow parallels to our own world. It involves a lot of adventure and perhaps futuristic ideas that drew me in. I will be posting my review of Skylark in the next two days (almost finished writing it! :D). But today I'm very excited to invite Meagan Spooner, the author of Skylark to my blog! Meagan has also kindly donated an amazing Skylark Swag pack as a giveaway (INT) at my blog! It's something I would love to win and scroll below to see a photo of some of the swags you can win. Hi Meagan! It's awesome to have you here and thanks for doing an interview with me :)

Meg: Hi Angela! I'm so glad that you enjoyed Skylark -- it really means the world to me to hear from people who've read and liked the book. I'm thrilled to answer some questions for you on your blog!

Alrighty, on with the interview!

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

The world of SKYLARK came about first, while I was thinking about the energy crisis we're going through in our own world. I started thinking about alternative forms of energy, and magic popped into my head--that was where the idea came from for machines that run on magic. The rest fell into place as I went along.

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

I think to a certain extent all characters are a reflection of the author. Things we love, things we want to be, things that frighten us. I get asked a lot of Lark is like me, but I don't really think she is. She's a lot tougher and braver than I am, especially as she learns and grows throughout the story. Lark makes incredibly tough decisions, things I'm not sure I could deal with!

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

I don't really have a favorite time to write. I'm a full-time writer, so I can write at any time, and often the writing happens whenever I can cram it in between email, blogging, and other book-related promo stuff. If I absolutely had to pick a time, I think I'd say first thing in the morning. I wake up very early, so when I've had a good writing day I'll have 3-4k words written by 9 AM, and there's nothing like that feeling of accomplishment.

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

That's impossible to decide! I have way too many places I'd love to live, even just here in the US--not even overseas. When you include the entire world, it's just absolutely impossible. But places I wouldn't mind living someday include Melbourne (Australia, not Florida), Ireland, Seattle, and San Francisco.

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

Again, an impossible choice! My favorite movies change places all the time. I will say that one of my consistent all-time favorites is Contact. It's a science fiction movie starring Jodie Foster, based on the book by Carl Sagan. I'm fascinated by the intersection of science and faith, facts and beliefs. (Clearly, or else I wouldn't have written a book about machines running on magic!)

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

I eat a lot of apples, which I like cold straight from the fridge. If I'm being bad, though, salt and vinegar potato chips are like my crack. I could eat them until my mouth just shriveled up from all the vinegar!

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

Choice. I think one of the defining charactistics of being a teenager is that you're making decisions for the first time, big decisions that could possibly impact the rest of your life in a very real way. I think that good YA books reflect that, placing a bigger than usual emphasis on the choices of the protagonist and how they drive the plot forward. A YA book should never be about the hero or heroine being bounced around by fate from one thing to the next--what happens should come straight from the choices the hero/ine makes.

8. If you could live in any ONE story, which one would it be?

THE GOLDEN COMPASS by Phillip Pullman. I want a daemon. I want one BAD.

9. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learnt from writing this series?

For the love of God, give your characters someone to talk to! I had no idea when I started writing SKYLARK how rough it is when your protagonist is alone for significant portions of the book. It worked out for the best, though, because I realized the problem while I was writing--and it led to the creation of one of my favorite characters of mine to date: Nix, the pixie that accompanies Lark throughout her journey. Needless to say, though, books two and three have a lot more characters around than book one does. 

Now, on with the giveaway! Thanks to Meagan for the awesome swag pack. Here are some of the swags you can win (a pack including signed bookmarks, signed book plates, signed postcard, buttons, stickers etc.):

To enter the giveaway, simply enter the Rafflecopter. This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway (YAY!). 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!

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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Opal Trailer Reveal

Today I'll share with you the Opal (Lux #3) Book Trailer!!! This is courtesy from Jen, enjoy!

Opal (The third book in the Lux Series)
Available in both print and digital version on December 18, 2012
Barnes and Noble

Official Opal Book Trailer:

Check out Jennifer L. Armentrout on the following sites:
Official Website

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Breathe (Breathe #1)

Breathe (Breathe #1) by Sarah Crossan

Rating: 1 star

Seriously, if someone can't write, then don't try to start by writing a full length book AND writing from multiple perspectives! I had hoped for at least an interesting dystopian novel coming from Breathe (not brilliant, I didn't have expectations that high), but what I got was pages after pages of boring descriptions of character's moping thoughts. 

The book is written in three people's perspectives (in first person): Alina, Bea and Quinn.  It starts off in Alina's perspective talking about a rebellion. It really gave me the feeling of out of the blue. There was no base to build a rebellion on and I could not comprehend the use of this type of beginning. Before all of the so-called action, couldn't you have at least explained somethings before confusing the reader? (I wasn't that confused, mostly annoyed really) The three perspective writing did not work at all. This is one of those books that I just wanted to yell at the writer: JUST TRY TO WRITE IN ONE PERSPECTIVE FIRST WILL YA? All three perpectives felt dead and flat for me. The characters' thoughts weren't the least bit new or original, they were either moping thoughts, pinning for a boy or girl, or typical angry teen angst. Alina was supposed to be strong, but all I got was her pinning for boys and trying to be tough. Bea was always talking about Quinn, being jealous or worrying about air or how to be top of the social heriachy. While Quinn, I really couldn't put a finger on it; I mean he was supposed to be this amazing guy, Ugh, just no. None of the characters were unique, and changing from one liveless narration to another not only annoys me as a reader but also breaks up the story into bits and pieces.

Alright, now talking about the plot, the idea of not having oxygen as a basic human right maybe original, but the writer's take on this idea turned it into a typical dystopian world with zero originality. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes at some parts while I just wanted to skipped pages of some other parts (out of boredom). The story didn't keep my interest and I ended up practically only reading about half of the book and skimmed the rest. Not to even mention the writing. It was average, or prehaps below average. There wasn't anything I could learn from reading this and I didn't stop to admire sentences or words or the style. There was no personality. 

It was not worth my time or effort and definitely won't be a book I want to buy. If you really wanted to read it, I suggest to get it out from the library first. Otherwise, not a book I would recommend at all.  


Inhale. Exhale. 
Breathe . . .
The world is dead. 
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.

should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.
And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to? 

Friday, 16 November 2012

TMI offical movie trailer

So, did everyone (well, all TMI fans) watch the official movie teaser trailer for City of Bones which was released yesterday? That was pretty awesome wasn't it? I just had to do a post about it, being a TMI fan and all :D But honestly, I was a little disappointed. I didn't particularly like the Jace they have chosen and I was solely disappointed with the colour of Clary's hair (Ok, I know I'm sounding like a whinny little fan, but I had the perfect image of her in my head, you know what I mean?). It's just not like the bright flame red colour *sigh* Alright, I'll stop being pathetic now and let those of you who haven't watched the trailer see it!

Wasn't that exciting?! And here's what I really liked and would love to have:

The Mortal Instruments movie poster!!! It's looking amazing and I can't wait to see more as we get ready for the movie debut in 2013. I want to have a poster too! :P

Now that I've got my fan post out of the way, that is all for the moment. Are you looking forward to the movie? Or are you like me, who is desperately hoping it won't ruin the book?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 4 stars

I got a lot of recommendations to read this book and I've also read lots of good reviews on this book. It seems like that whatever book Maggie Stiefvater writes, it gets tons of good remarks. So, it's not surprising that when I finished this book (quite a while ago now), I re-read the book twice! This is definitely my favourite book by Maggie Stiefvater. I've read some of her other books such as Lament and Ballad (I love Irish folklores), but this one is unique, attention grabbing and immerising.

The thing I found really unique about this book was that although the book is written in third-person narration, Stiefvater had written from four different perspectives: Blue, Gansey, Adam and Barrington Whelk (a slightly more "mysterious" and weird character I suppose). Normally, I dislike changing perspectives so often, but Stiefvater had written it so well that there was no bump between transitions and every perspective was equally entertaining (except maybe Whelk's, I didn't like reading in his mind at all and it was not the author's fault). From reading in each of the character's perspectives, I had insights to their thoughts and understood their feelings more when it changed to another character's POV. It was interesting to read from different angles, especially from Adam's viewpoint. While reading in Gansey's perspective, it is quite hard to see why Adam always seemed so aloof and sometimes even cold and passive. I didn't see how the wheels behind Adam's head turned those times. But I understood him more and more towards the end of the book (though I liked him less and less). 

My favourite character in this book was Gansey. At the beginning, I took a dislike to him as he seemed to be a typical spoiled rich boy (especially the car scene). The poshness and the "social mask" he seemed to put on really annoyed me. He felt like an aimless rich boy ("President Cell Phone" Ha!) with a crazy obsession. But then the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. He grew as a character in the book. He learns and trys to correct his mistakes. His interactions with Blue made me laugh out loud. I loved reading about his car, oh that car. I would like to drive it for fun, but probably not everyday, no. I also really liked Blue. Though she didn't strike me as a strong or very smart heroine, she was sensible and caring. It must have been pretty hard on a girl who had been warned over and over again that if she kisses her true love he'll die. As a girl, it would probably seem like nonsense, but getting warned by a house full of psychics even when you get older would just be freaky. She was a tough and willful character. I liked how easily she made friends and the easy relationship she had with the boys. Though I have to say, relationship-wise, I was disappointed with the amount of Gansey-Blue time. Seriously, don't try anyone else (can't say more as I don't want to give anything away). Frankly, that doesn't and won't work (in my opinion anyway). 

Surprisingly, I found myself liking Ronan a lot. He's not a character I would usually like, but he's got a sort of vulnerability that makes me curious. He acted one way but probably truly thought differently in his head. The sudden bits of tenderness I glimpsed from him made him even more realistic (yes, he had many faults). 

Lastly, this whole book centered around a supernature/psychic/legend/myth theme. It was really different from a typical YA book and I felt really relieved when I read it. It had a generally more aloof and unusual undercurrent to it that I greatly enjoyed. The plot was mysterious and fast moving. I liked getting to know all the characters (and I'm dying to know more), trying to piece together all the clues given to me by the story before actually finding out the 'answer'. The story is written in such a way that the reader seemed to be detached to the plot yet being able to connect with all the emotions and actions of the characters. The writing was a delight to read. There were two things that I thought could be improved a little. The first is that I got slightly confused at a few places, it was hard to keep up with the myths a bit. I thought something could be a little better explained. And there was the connection between characters, I would like to see the relationships between characters become more comfortable and deepen in the next book.

Overall, it was an alluring read and hands down for originality! Can't find anything "newer" than this :D Bravo on Maggie! Can't wait to read the next book in this series to find out more about Blue, Gansey and Co. :)


“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of theShiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Cover Reveal of The Pirate's Wish

I was just surfing on the internet the other day, looking for books for my friend's sweet sixteen and I came across this. To those of you who have read Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Assassin's Curse, this is the cover for the sequel The Pirate's Wish. I liked the first book, with its funky writing style and a differen't sort of story, but I didn't love it. You can check out what I thought of it here. However, I was really interested in the sequel as the first book wasn't quite finished, it felt more like it stopped at a halfway point. So, even though the synopsis is not yet up, I'm looking forward to The Pirate's Wish. I hope that it will be better and more entertaining than the first book.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Cover Reveal of Extracted: Lost Imperials

I love the books from Spencer Hill Press. They are always so entertaining and well written. So here I am, participating in the cover reveal of one their newest books, Extracted: The Lost Imperials (book one), by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler H. Jolley. It will be released on the 11th of December in 2013 (11/12/13), that's a cool release date for a time-travelling book, right?

Alrighty, here's the synopsis for those of you who are curious:

Welcome to the war.

The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it.

The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens--their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream.

Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war.

When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back.

Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both…again.

And here is a bonus from Spencer Hill Press, it is called the "making of" video. Enjoy!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Guest Post by Ingrid Paulson and Valkyrie Rising Giveaway (INT)

As you can see I really loved reading the book Valkyrie Rising, and Ingrid Paulson, the author of the book has kindly written a guest post about travelling plans for my blog. Wondering where Ingrid would like to go just for fun? Read on! And at the end of this post, Ingrid is giving away a SIGNED and personalised copy of Valkyrie Rising! I want to win!!! XD If you want to check out my review for Valkyrie Rising, just click hereThe giveaway is international, so anyone can enter. Enjoy!

Guest Post by Ingrid Paulson

Travel plans? 

Since VALKYRIE RISING is set in Norway and was written following a family trip I took a few years ago, people often ask where else I’d like to travel.  Truth be told, I have a pretty aggressive travel itch and can often be found googling crazy places.   And my list of dream trips is about a million places long, I chose a few places that I thought would be an awesome backdrop for a YA book.  Especially something with an urban fantasy edge:

  1. Easter Island: How cool and creepy are those stone faces perched on the hill?  I could read a book about how they got there.

  1. Nazca Lines: So, this is something I’ve actually seen--these patterns are carved into the ground in Peru and are best viewed from above by airplane.  Think they were put there as signals to aliens?  How did they get there?  I’m pretty sure an inquisitive character could get to the bottom of it.

  1. Loch Ness:  When I was in third grade, the idea of the Loch Ness monster got me pretty fired up.  When we were supposed to write “real” science essays, I wrote about Nessy.  I could definitely spend some time trying to catch sight of it.

  1. Mount Kilimanjaro: Because who knows what could happen on a safari?

Thank you Ingird for this amazing post. It's funny and interesting to read! Just the relaxation I needed smack bang right in the middle of my insane exam studying. Anyway, good luck with your future writing and would love to read more from you! Thanks for the giveaway!

To enter to win a signed and personalised copy of Valkyrie Rising, simply enter the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

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Valkyrie Rising

Valkryie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Valkyrie Rising was one of my most anticipated novels of the year, definitely the October release I most looked forward to. If I remembered correctly, I have been waiting for it for almost a year! I was extremely giddy when I got a copy of the book (yea, I know, me and books I’m waiting for, that’s what happens). You have no idea how happy I was to find that not only it did not disappoint, it lived up to my expectations and drew me right in.

As soon as I got the book, I started reading and I finished the book in one sitting. It was really a book I couldn’t put down. I liked how the plot started and when the characters were introduced, I could see and connect with each of them, perhaps even perceive what they might evolve (or grow) into. The plot was innovative: I had no idea what was going to happen next which spurred me into frantically flipping the pages to find out. I liked the setting of the story perhaps because I’m really big on travelling. Norway is said to be one of the most beautiful places in the world and I would love to travel there. There are three things which I absolutely enjoyed about Valkryie Rising: the characters, the mythology and the writing (especially the descriptions about the environment/view in Norway!).

The characters were a big part of the likeability of this book. All of the characters were three-dimensional; they had their flaws and their strengths, but I could see them grow as the story progresses. Coupled with the expressive writing (definitely above average), I could vividly imagine all the characters and their emotions. I could experience the fear, pain, determination and love etc. as the characters experience them. They felt real. My favourite character was of course, Tucker Halloway, or commonly known as Tuck. Tuck was an adorable main guy character and officially one of my favourite characters from books. He was understanding, kind and funny. He didn’t push Ellie and he didn’t act like he doesn’t care. He was honest and loyal. He’s the kind of guy I would love to have as a friend (not a boyfriend because I don’t want to fight with Ellie). He took chances when he needed to and most of all, he believed in Ellie and treasured her (a bit of insight about him can be found in Valkyrie Symptoms, a short story before Valkyrie Rising in Tuck’s POV).

I often dislike the main female character because she is whinny or annoying, but I actually really enjoyed Ellie as the central character. She was strong and intelligent, not headstrong or too stubborn. I admired her relationship with her older brother Graham (I couldn’t stop laughing at Graham towards the end!) and her friendship with Tuck. I loved reading the hilarious verbal matches Ellie and Tuck had. She was one of those characters that really grew over the course of the book. Her changes were clearly seen and I liked how much she has learnt and experiences gained. She became an even stronger and independent character by the end of the story.

Mythologies are very interesting to read about. People say that all myths came from at least a grain of truth. I love to see how that little seed of truth can evolve into unbelievable yet entertaining stories. Ingrid Paulson used Norwegian mythology as the base of her story. It was something I’d never came in touch with, so through the story, I learnt something new about Norwegian tales involving the gods Odin and Loki. It was well-weaved into the plot and not one bit forced. Sometimes the myths were used as clues to things that Ellie needed to find out about and I found it fun to try figuring things out myself first.

Last but not least, the writing was quite amazing in this book. I loved the descriptions of Norway. Being the travel-junkie I am, Norway is a place that I would love to visit soon. Ingrid Paulson’s vivid descriptions of the environment and beautiful view of Norway countryside made me even more eager to travel there. Ingrid also had detailed descriptions of the character’s movements, emotions and surroundings which made me being able to imagine the scene more surreally, as if I was there with the characters myself.

Overall, this is a book I really enjoyed and a book I would love to own. The story/plot, characters and writing were beautiful and unique. Well done on this debut Ingrid! I’m not sure if this is a stand-a-lone book but it’d be an amazing stand-a-lone title, although I will really miss Ellie and Tuck. I definitely recommend this book :) Oh and did I mention I love the cover? Well, it’s even prettier in hardcopy.

And if you are interested, please check out Ingrid Paulson's guest post and enter to win a signed copy of Valkyrie Rising at my blog!


Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there. 

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.