Sunday, 31 May 2015

Introducing Blogger Meet

Hello!!

I am starting a new feature on my blog called Blogger Meet. 

It will be a series of guest posts by bloggers I know and follow. They may talk about any subject they like, not restricted to books and related news.

The first post will be published on 31 May, 2015 and it will be a monthly post. It might change without notice though.

I hope you get to know each and every blogger and enjoy the posts they write for my blog. And please take a look at their blogs. The links will be provided in their posts. I will love if you guys can follow back to their respective blogs.

Enjoy!

Floryie :)


Blogger Meet - Melissa from Around the world in books - How to Prevent Bloggers burnout

As I write this post, I can relate to a book I once reviewed call “Walking on Custard” by Neil Hughes; in this book, Hughes describes his inner voice constantly puts down his writing. This is how I feel right now; my inner voice is telling me this is utter rubbish. However, I will give this writing thing a chance.

So here we go …

How to prevent bloggers burnout (according to me)

1. Write down your Ideas:

Seriously, do it … I even recommend keeping a pen and paper by your nightstand. It is useful keeping your ideas at hand, especially during times of “Bloggers block” – where you have no Idea what to blog about. It will ultimately save you some frustration, and will keep your blog posts flowing.

2. Set a blogging Schedule for yourself:

I know if you love blogging, it is easy to keep at it 24 hours 7 days a week; but I suggest keeping yourself on a schedule (i.e. Monday – Friday, with two days off). It is as your parents used to say, “Too much of a good thing becomes bad”. I can assure you that 24/7 blogging is a fast way to burn yourself out – so keep yourself limited, and take time out.

3. Take time out to read books for fun:

It is important as a book blogger, to mix up your leisure reading with your “work reading”. If you read book, after book that you have to review, you will quickly become stressed out; thus blogging will not be much fun anymore. So I recommend alternating between books for review, and books for leisure to balance things out.

4. Don’t overthink it; write YOUR blog, YOUR way:

I think anyone can tell you from experience, that, nothing destroys the joy in anything faster than: comparing yourself to others, and trying to please everyone. The best advice I believe any blogger could learn is this: Write your blog for yourself, the followers will come later – just keep plugging away at it.

5. Make blogger friends:

Everything is more enjoyable with friends, and blogging is no exception. Immerse yourself in the book blogging community. I recommend connecting on:

Goodreads

Book blogs Forum community here

Of course there are many others, but these are the two I personally use (along with many other bloggers).

6. Limit how many “Books-for-reviews” you take on:

I know it is easy to get carried away with free books; but remember, with each book you need to dedicate a certain amount of time to read it and write a quality review. If you take on too many of these, you will get stressed out. I recommend taking maximum five at a time – of course this varies from person to person however.

In closing, I hope both new and veteran bloggers find these tips useful. I would like to thank Floryie for the opportunity to be featured on her fabulous blog.


You can find me at:

http://www.aroundtheworldinbooks.ca/

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/16420858-melissa

https://www.facebook.com/melissasbooksaroundtheworld

https://twitter.com/MelissaErinRose

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Blog Tour / Book Musings - Regina Shen : Resilience and Vigilance by Lance Erlick


Welcome to the blog tour of Regina Shen series hosted by Lola Blog Tours. I am one of the bloggers to host it today. I will be reviewing the first two books in the series. Read on to know more about the books.

Title : Regina Shen : Resilience 
Author : Lance Erlick
Series : Regina Shen, Book 1
Genre : Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adventure
Source : Free complimentary copy from the author via Lola Blog Tours for an honest review

Blurb :

Outcast Regina Shen is forced by the World Federation to live on the seaward side of barrier walls built to hold back rising seas from abrupt climate change. A hurricane threatens to destroy what’s left of her world, tearing Regina from her family.
Global fertility has collapsed. Chief Inspector Joanne Demarco of the notorious Department of Antiquities believes Regina holds the key to avoid extinction. Regina fights to stay alive and avoid capture while hunting for her family.

 GOODREADS    |    AMAZON


My Musings : 

What a ride!

 That was my first thought on finishing the book. And the second thought was that hopefully the following books in the series would be as good as this one.

The author has taken the real issue of melting of the ice caps and created a dystopian world on the What-If situation of flooding of the world. The world described in the book kind of scared me. I definitely wouldn't want to be a swamp rat. But Regina, the protagonist rocks in her natural habitat. She is plucky and resourceful. She goes through the gritty situation of being left alone to fend for herself in a storm. The daily struggle of staying alive was described vividly and the imagery keeps us engrossed in the scenes playing out in the book. It is quite an adventure for Regina to keep afloat during the storm and to stay clear of the slave smugglers during the chaos. As far as I am concerned, there is no lows in this book and only highs exist. The books keeps us hopping with the various situations Regina keeps getting into. She never ceases to amaze me with her innovative thinking.

I know I have been singing Regina's praises but I can't help it. And the other characters aren't bad either. I loved Mo-mere and I wish I had a teacher like her! Colleen was only in a few scenes and she created an impression of too much dependability. Then there are the twins, who seemed to be observing rather than taking part in the action. Same goes for Wendy too. Last but not the least is Demarco. I am not sure if she is bad or good. She is confusing but devious. I loved the cat and mouse game between Regina and Demarco.

Omg, I seriously can't think of a world without men. There is no woman without man as far as I am concerned. That's one point I loved and hated about the book. Now I am eagerly awaiting to see if any man crops up as a surprise twist in the future books.

I can't say enough about the setting of the book. It was realistic and at no point did I feel it was layered on too thickly. I love books like Swiss Family Robinson and so this book falls right in that category since it is also partly about survival. The plot keeps us on our toes and the pace is fast and steady alternately. The only place I found it a bit slow was when Regina gets back to Mo-mere.

I am sure by now you would know whether I am recommending it or not! If you are an adventure loving junkie, don't forget to read this book.

My one line review : Take an adventurous ride by Regina's side as she battles to stay alive and safe!

My rating : 5/5

My reread factor : 4/5

-------------------------------------------------

Title : Regina Shen :Vigilance
Author : Lance Erlick
Series : Regina Shen, Book 2
Genre : Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adventure
Source : Free complimentary copy from the author via Lola Blog Tours for an honest review

Blurb :

Regina Shen is pursued by the notorious Department of Antiquities for her unique DNA. She jumps the Barrier Wall into the Federation to find her kidnapped sister. Stuck on a heavily-guarded closed university campus, she must use her wits to escape and rescue her sister without letting either of two rival Antiquities inspectors capture her.

GOODREADS    |    AMAZON


My Musings : 

The adventure continues in the second book of the series too. But I found the pace not as good as the first book. I felt that there were scenes where it was a bit boring. Nevertheless, the author has done the book justice. The Federation, which was outlined in the earlier book has a more prominent place in this tale. The intricate politics involved in Regina's world is revealed in bits and pieces. The complete image has not been shown yet but I think I can now understand the direction of the series better after reading this book.

The plot gets more complicated with the addition of new characters and new plot twists. Regina's adventurous story continues with bumps and turns in the road. I was so sad about Wendy's situation. But it adds heart and reality to the book. As I said earlier, the pace was a bit slow and it flowed and ebbed throughout the tale. In certain places, I felt the events were unfolding too fast and I had to take a breather to get my mind around the scenes. But it was very thrilling and had me anticipating the next move.

The world of the Federation is as dry as the swamps are watery. The new characters add more depth to the series. Alice is such a psychotic character. I absolutely loved her in her madness. And then there's Ester. A romantic element to the series and for Regina?? I wasn't that comfortable with it. But it meshes with the book. After all, men are extinct. Which still boggles my mind. Demarco surprised me in a good way. I didn't expect that from her. She is an enigma in some ways and I sort of liked her in this book. And Colleen is so much more grown up than earlier because of her captivity. There's Regina's Mom with her various names who is still a mystery. I was intrigued by her actions in the first book and it has continued into this book. I can't wait to read more about her and her background.

So I am right now waiting for the next book in the series (Gimme-Gimme-Gimme!) and while I am twiddling my thumbs, I expect you guys to take a look at the book, especially those who love some adventure and action with a sci-fi and dystopian twist!

My one line review : Delve into Regina's world with more action and a tiny bit of romance(or is it?)!

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 4/5

----------------------------------------------------

Interested in the books yet? Just glance down the page to know more about the characters and world of Regina Shen.
World: This takes place 400 years in the future after abrupt climate change has melted ice caps and flooded the coasts. Civilization collapsed and was replaced by a World Federation that suppresses knowledge from the past. Three-hundred-plus-year-old Grand Old Dames rule using a caste system.
Regina Shen is an outcast condemned by the World Federation to live on the seaward side of Barrier Walls built to hold back rising seas. She is Chinese-Hispanic, tough, lives by her wits, and thrives on salvage from sunken cities, including illegal print books from before the Great Collapse. She also has unique DNA the Federation believes can reverse a worldwide fertility collapse. Regina doesn’t trust the Federation.
Chief Inspector Joanne Demarco of the notorious Department of Antiquities polices Barrier Walls and destroys evidence from the past, including print books. Ambitious, she sees Regina as the key to securing her future.
Inspector Vikki Volpe is a ruthless hard-core Antiquities agent who believes Demarco has gone soft and wants the chief inspector’s job.
Book 1 (Regina Shen: Resilience): A hurricane threatens to destroy what’s left of Regina’s world. Separated from her sister, her mom, and her home, with Demarco in pursuit, Regina fights to stay alive and avoid capture while hunting for family.

Book 2 (Regina Shen: Vigilance): Pursued by the Department of Antiquities, Regina jumps the Barrier Wall into the Federation to find her kidnapped sister, and winds up on a closed-university campus with heavy surveillance. Regina must use her wits to escape and rescue her sister without letting either of two rival inspectors capture her.
----------------------------------

Meet the Author 


        Lance Erlick likes to explore the mysteries of intriguing worlds with interesting, often strong female guides facing and overcoming adversity as they try to change their world. He hopes readers will enjoy his writing as they discover different worlds, going places they may never have been.
       He writes science fiction thrillers, appealing to young adults and adult readers. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he explores the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age. He authored the Regina Shen series—Regina Shen: Resilience and Regina Shen: Vigilance. This series takes place after abrupt climate change leads to the Great Collapse and a new society under the World Federation. A related short story is: Regina Shen: Into the Storm. Lance is also the author of unrelated short stories: Maiden Voyage and Watching You.

WEBSITE   |   GOODREADS   |   TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   NEWSLETTER

------------------------------------------------------

Hop over to take a look at the other bloggers who are participating in the blog tour.

http://www.lolasblogtours.net/blog-tour-regina-shen-by-lance-erlick/

And last but not least : 

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Regina Shen. These are the prizes you can win:

- a 25$ amazon gift card

- signed copy of Regina Shen: Vigilance by Lance Erlick (US Only)

- 3 signed postcards of Regina Shen series ( US Only )

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thursday, 28 May 2015

Blog Tour / Book Musings - Identity Theft by Laura Lee

Blog Tour by Pen and Muse

Title : Identity Theft
Author : Laura Lee
Genre : Contemporary
Source : Review copy from the author, through Pen and Muse

Blurb : 
When the rock star she idolized responded to her e-mail, Candi was thrilled. When he started to flirt with her, she thought all her dreams could come true. The fantasy takes over her entire life, but none of it is true. The man of her dreams is not a rock star at all, but a bored office worker whose internet game quickly spins out of control.

AMAZON     |      BARNES & NOBLE


My Musings : 

The concept of a person impersonating a famous personality on the internet is what led me to add the book to my To-Read shelf on Goodreads and consequently take part in the blog tour. 

When I first started the book, I wasn't quite sure what to think. Firstly the author was a new one to me and the way she had written it didn't engross me. The voice was too passive and was more about internal thoughts and struggles of the protagonist, Candi. Then it veered off in the form of emails and instant messages between Candi and the hero/villain, Ethan. But eventually it fleshed out into a very good book. I didn't see that coming! I am glad I stuck with it.

Candi is naive enough to think that her favourite rock star would reply to her fan mail. But at the same time, she is jaded too and tired of her life. I was on the fence about Candi at the beginning but sympathised with her situation at the end. I absolutely hated Ethan's character. No one can be that insensitive and have a closed-eyes syndrome to serious problems. I liked his friend,Ale though. He has better sense than Ethan. Then there's Blast aka Ollie who unknowingly started the chain of events which leads to Candi's destruction. He is a simple guy with his family in tatters who is suddenly on the confusing end of the charade started by Ethan. His love for his family especially for his daughter shines through the book. 

As I said earlier, the writing didn't pull me in at the start but as the book went on, I did get immersed in the story. I felt so bad for Candi. Seriously, I can never imagine anyone recovering from such a severe situation. And I felt like killing Ethan!! The devious troublemaker! But I kind of liked him at the end. He is okay I guess if the charade he propagated is forgotten. Ollie didn't make much of an impression on me except that he is confused by life. This book has made me more paranoid and I won't take anything lightly anymore. And it also teaches us to be more cautious and pay attention to the small things which might save us at the end. 

The book isn't just a contemporary fictitious read but also has a subtext of various lessons which is important for our life. I would recommend this book to people who like to read a realistic story having a serious undertone.

My one line review : A tale of impersonation with cautious undertones.

My rating : 3.5/4

My reread factor : 4/5


-----------------------------------

Meet the Author 


Laura is the author of 16 books with such publishers as Harper Collins, Reader's Digest, Lyons Press and Running Press. She is best known for humorous reference such as The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation, which sold 85,000 copies for Black Dog and Leventhal. Her first novel was Angel published by Itineris Press and will soon be released in a second edition by DPS. The San Francisco Chronicle has said of her work: “Lee's dry, humorous tone makes her a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is irresistible.”

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Book Musings - Touched by AJ Aalto

Title : Touched
Author : AJ Aalto
Series : The Marnie Baranuik Files
Genre : Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Source : Free e-book from Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review

Blurb : 

The media has a nickname for Marnie Baranuik, though she’d rather they didn’t; they call her the Great White Shark, a rare dual-talented forensic psychic. Twice-Touched by the Blue Sense--which gives her the ability to feel the emotions of others, and read impressions left behind on objects--Marnie also has a doctorate in preternatural biology and a working knowledge of the dark arts. She is considered without peer in the psychic community.
Then her first big FBI case ended with a bullet in one shoulder and a chip on the other, a queasy heart and a serial killer in the wind, leaving her a public flop and a private wreck. When the FBI’s preternatural crimes unit tracks her down at a remote mountain lodge for her insight on a local case, her quiet retirement is promptly besieged by a stab-happy starlet, a rampaging ghoul, and a vampire-hunting jackass in tight Wranglers. Marnie figures the only real mystery is which one will kill her first.

Too mean to die young, backed up by friends in cold places, and running with a mouth as demure as a cannon’s blast, Marnie Baranuik is about to discover that there’s no such thing as quitting time when you’re Touched.

My Musings : 

What I expected from the book after reading the blurb was totally different from what I got from it.

In a good way :) Or rather in a great way!!

The book blurb hints at a tough protagonist who has retreated to lick her wounds in a corner after her embarrassment and then being forcibly involved in a mysterious case. Yes, that is the plot of the book. But it has so many layers to the story that it isn't as simple as the blurb makes it sound.

The main character, Marnie is spunky and snarky. She is a tiny package of goodness. She comes alive through the pages of the book. I loved the way she copes with her failures and yet forges ahead to get stuff done. The part I found dubious was the stress on her skills while she couldn't do anything right. But that's her life and she ends up doing something right near the end! I am looking forward to knowing her better Talent-wise in the other books. But she makes up for it with attitude and her helpful nature. She has very colourful language which kept me laughing under my breath throughout the book. Then there's Mark with his stoic personality. He is a complete mystery with his understated feelings. But there was more reaction from his side as the story progressed. I loved the sexual tension between Marnie and Mark, the M&Ms! Last but not least is Harry, who makes my heart go pitter patter. He is my favourite in this book. He gives life to his role with his language and repartee.

While the characters form one of the layers of the tale with their complexity, the plot also adds additional tensions which keep the book going in the right manner. The mystery of the perpetrator behind the death of the girl, Kristin kept me on the toes. That was a twist for me. I didn't guess till the the bad person was revealed. The story moves at a steady pace, a few surprises along the way. I didn't even realise the passing of time till I was at the last page.

The unique feature of the book is the relationship between Marnie and Harry which is actually the basis of the entire book. There isn't a Marnie book without the special link. I have never seen this kind of co-relation so far. It sort of makes sense in a manner and this forms an important part of the plot.

Other than Marnie's less than stellar performance in her role as The Great White Shark, the book cover was the only point to make me frown. I totally didn't connect the cover with the story. The skull and the smoke might be indicative of the villain but I think it could have had a better image. That doesn't mean I would not follow the series!

When I was reading the book, I was reminded of Kate Daniels of Kate Daniels' series by Ilona Andrews. This book has that special feel to it and I would recommend it to paranormal/urban fantasy/romance readers without any reservation. Try it out and let me know!

My one line review : A Cold Company twist to a Talent-ed Marnie in a supernatural fantasy tale.

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 5/5

Floryie

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Book Musings - Dragon Marked by Jaymin Eve


Title : Dragon Marked
Author : Jaymin Eve
Series : Supernatural Prison, Book 1
Genre : YA/NA Paranormal Romance
Source :  Free copy from the author through Never Too Old For Y.A. & N.A. Books in exchange for an honest review

Blurb :

There are supernatural prisons hidden across the globe. Contained within these fortresses are some of the deadliest criminals from the five supernatural races: vampire, shifter, fey, magic users and demi-fey.
Jessa Lebron, twenty-two, has spent her entire life in Stratford, Connecticut, one of the gateway towns adjoining these prisons which protect the fortified borders. She’s a wolf shifter, and her father leads the town council. She learns that much of her life has been hidden from her, secrets which threaten to tear apart the very fabric of her world. Especially the biggest secret of them all.

She is dragon marked.

Jessa only knows what she’s been told about the dragon marked, that they are dangerous and must be eliminated to prevent the rise of the dragon king, the powerful warmonger who had his head removed a thousand years ago. So now Jessa's on the biggest hit list of all. Dragon mark hunters are lethal and her only hope to evade detection is to keep the energy contained.

As more secrets unfold she finds herself locked up in Vanguard, the notorious American supernatural prison. Thankfully she’s not alone. Braxton, the dragon-shifter has her back. Together they must survive long enough to free themselves and the other dragon marked.

Because it’s time for the dragon marked to rise.

My Musings : 

When I requested a copy from the author through the Goodreads group for reviewing it, I was both eager and reluctant to start reading the book. The reason was that I found the blurb interesting enough to queue up for a free copy and at the same time too wordy leaving an open field for the story without any bumps in it. The blurb was also very revealing of the plot. I think that it could have been a bit more concise and more mysterious.

For this book, I found that the cover was not too engaging. I know it actually has the right elements connecting it to the story but the colours and arrangement didn't feel right to me. It corresponds to the blurb elements and hence there's no feel of mystery and suspense.

Now that's done, let me fangirl for a few seconds. *Runs around screaming OMG!* Yes, I made that sound you are hearing. I absolutely loved the book!!! And I seriously can't wait for the next book. I think I am going to stalk the author till she does :)

The author has built a very cool supernatural based community. All the normal supernatural races like shifters, vampires, pixies, fey, mages are a part of this series. The world so created is interesting and has our attention locked to the pages with the races' daily lives and the hierarchy associated with them. I found the thought of a supernatural prison unique. The famous people like Vlad the Impaler are shown in a totally different light. I, for one, will never look at people the same way.

The story is vivid in its description and the scenes flow in a cinematic manner and I found myself mesmerised till the end. The pace was pretty steady and there were no sudden surprises. It was all revealed in the blurb. In spite of that, the tale was not onerous to read. The book was humorous and I found myself laughing at various points of the story.

The characters were developed enough to get me invested in their emotions. The book is from the main protagonist, Jessa's point of view. And I think it's the apt voice for the book. The camaraderie among Jessa and the boys was so perfect that I felt envious of her. I know! But I couldn't help it. Braxton and Maximus were the ones who were highlighted in this book. Even Mischa's role was sort of less important. Jacob and Tyson need to be given more of the plot. And there's the mysterious Louis. He intrigued me with his cryptic lines. I so wanted to have more of him featured while reading.

Jessa is a combination of a gentle soul and a spunky character. She is loyal and possessive and has a soft spot for the suffering. Mischa is not so dominant but is a softer counterpart to Jessa. She is not as clearly defined as Jessa. Braxton is THE alpha and is very protective of his inner circle while Maximus is kind of touchy at times. I didn't get a proper impression about Tyson and Jacob.

There was only one thing which made me frown while reading the book. It was Jessa being kind of thick headed about certain things. There were so many hints but still she couldn't get to the conclusion they were pointing at. I loved the romantic aspect of the book. It wasn't overdone but the author had added spice here and there and has only hinted at the pairings. I hope there is more of it in the following books.

In conclusion, I would recommend this to all paranormal fantasy lovers wholeheartedly in spite of a few negative items about the book. I am sure you won't be disappointed and I have added this author to my watchlist!

My one line review : Watch out for the author! A promising start to a new unique fantastical romance. 

My rating : 5/5

My reread factor : 5/5

Floryie

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Book Musings / Read4Review - Halfling by Karin Shah

Title : Halfling
Author : Karin Shah
Series : The Darkling Lands, Book 1
Genre : Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Source : Free copy from the author via Making Connections group on Goodreads for an honest review

Blurb : 

The crippled reject of a scorned people, seventeen-year-old Valayan wanderer Deyna has never eaten, owned, or used anything she didn't scrounge or steal. She's used to life at rock bottom, but when her father sells her to be the annual Sacrifice to their enemies, the winged darklings, she discovers a new low.
Marked for death at the hands of the darkling king, only the discovery that she's half darkling saves her life.

As a servant in the darkling palace, Deyna thinks she's landed on her feet. She has fresh, clean food, a real bed, and people, like young Lord Ahran, the handsome captain of the king's guard, who might actually care if she lives or dies. But all is not well in the darkling lands.

The mysterious Jackal-Wolf is stealing grain shipments and raiding armories. A civil war is brewing, the gods have plans for her, and Ahran may not be exactly what he seems. Will the girl who's spent her whole life running take a stand—even at the cost of her own life?

My Musings :

The first time I read the book blurb I was hooked. And the book cover with the "lovely" darkling at the top and the war at the bottom confirmed that I would be reading this book. I love books which have lots of action in it. And this book promised a treat in that respect by its cover and blurb.

I knew that I would like the story very much because of the Robin Hood-y feel to the book and the heroine, Deyna because she is an underdog of sorts. I absolutely love people who can go to the top from the very bottom. And Deyna is one such character with her stout determination and fighting spirit. She doesn't break even when she is sent away to the Darkling Lands, which is a mystery to her people. And she is very tenacious when she is defending her people. And then there's Ahran, the male protagonist who seems insensitive at the beginning till the book starts his view of events. Then I felt that he is brave and loyal, trying to do good for the people and his family without compromise. All other characters add life to the story and make it three dimensional with their emotions and feelings. I felt that the main characters were well developed including the villain of the story, Morlor with his dark and devious nature.

The story was well written with secrets revealed at surprising points which kept me interested in the plot till the end. The pace was steady till the last part of the book where I felt it was kind of rushed and the scenes were cut short. But then the events unfolded at such a speed that the book ended before I could catch up with everyone emotionally. There was a twist at the end which had me thinking - "Justice at last!"

The magic system of the book was familiar and different at the same time but good.I would love to have that kind of powers in real life. It would make life interesting! The world built around humans and darklings was fresh and unique. I liked the pairings of the characters and the soft romance between them. The book has the right blend of romance, action, adventure and magic to make a great read. I found it very enjoyable and I would recommend it to all romantic fantasy lovers out there.

My one line review : Robin Hood-y tale in a fantastical setting equals Halfing!

My rating : 5/5

My reread factor : 4/5

Floryie 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Book Musings / Read4Review - Summon by Meredith Mawr

I received a free e-book from the author via Read 4 Review program of the Goodreads group, Never Too Old for Y.A & N.A Books

Title : Summon
Author : Meredith Mawr
Series : The Summoner Series, Book 1
Genre : Young Adult, Fantasy

Blurb : 

Killewycke Academy holds a dark, dangerous secret—especially for smart, small-town Electra Vance, away from home for the first time. In the Young Adult paranormal romance, Summon, first of The Summoner Series, mystery and love collide when Elle, starting her Senior year at Killewycke, meets beautiful but secretive Sam, who seems inexplicably drawn to her. As their relationship deepens, Elle is haunted by dark nightmares—often involving Sam and one of Killewycke’s more menacing instructors, Marcello Solis. Despite managing school’s tremendous workload, Elle’s safe, rational world begins to crumble when she and Sam discover that an antique box, belonging to her dead father, might be key to a strange ability she’d never known he had. Threatening faculty behavior escalates, as does Sam’s protective devotion, and Elle can’t help wondering if there really are secrets in her family’s past—secrets that would change her life, and her world, forever. And, when her dark dreams begin to come true, Sam fights Killewycke’s secrets—as well as his own—Fate, and Elle’s own stubborn rationality to convince her of her mysterious, inherited power before it’s too late.

Join Elle in Summon as she learns more about love, Sam, her world, her family—even about herself, than only her wildest dreams dared foretell.
My Musings : 

This is one hard book to review for me. The reason is that the plot would garner a 4 rating from me but the way it's been written (explained later in the review) gets a 3 star rating.

I will divide my views into my likes and dislikes. I couldn't review it the way I usually do. So I have gone with a list type book review.

Likes :

1. The plot was unique. Only the bare bones of the theme has been introduced in this book. This creates an air of mystery about the story itself.

2. The description was pretty good. It was easy to imagine the goings on at the academy.

3. The cast of characters were not spectacular but okay. The female protagonist, Elle is a normal teenager with her likeable snarkiness and her gushing crush on Sam and the male one, Sam is an unknown quarter. I have my doubts about his humanity. The side characters were more of a filler than an integral part of the tale.

4. The ending was the only part which kept my attention and my heart pumping with adrenaline.

Dislikes :

1. The slow pace of the story tested my patience. There had been a few times that I was tempted to stop reading but the curiosity kept me going.

2. The way Sam was described was a definite turn off. He might be handsome and wonderful but it needn't be informed every time Sam enters the scene. The way Elle gushed over him was also a sour point.

3. Few phrases and words were repetitive and this impacted the story flow.

4. The book cover didn't fit the plot of the book.

So in conclusion, I will say that I might read the next book for the sole purpose of learning more about summoners, guardians and venetors. This could have been a better read in my opinion.

My rating : 3/5

My reread factor : 2/5

Floryie

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Blog Tour / Book Musings - One Prince, Two Kingdoms by Jana Grissom



Welcome to the first day of the blog tour of One Prince, Two Kingdoms by Jana Grissom. I am reviewing the book for the tour and I hope you get to hear my thoughts via the book review.

Title : One Prince, Two Kingdoms
Author : Jana Grissom 
Genre : Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source : ARC from the author through Magic of Book Promotions 


Blurb :

My forehead’s throbbing. One minute this girl is yelling at me for giving up and the next, she’s laughing. Whiplash.
I squint my eyes at Danielle and whisper with my lips firmly in place, “I will never give up.”

Her voice is high and cheerful, “So what’s your plan?”

Johnny Boggs is a teen with trouble to spare who has learned one thing in life - trust no one. Paranoia befriends him as he moves into his fifth foster home and discovers no one appears as they are, his dreams are not just dreams, and he is supposedly the Prince of Shamayim.

On Johnny’s sixteenth birthday, fate requires him to leave the protection of this world but allows for him to choose to reign over the light or turn to the darkness. A vicious competition begins as two kingdoms fight for his loyalty while two beautiful girls, Danielle and Shay, fight for his attention. Time is running out; a decision must be made. Johnny finds it impossible to resist the beauty of his dreams, nor can he turn away from the one who has his heart.

My Musings : 

I received a copy of the e-book as a part of the blog tour. This in no way impacts my review and rating. I will always write an honest and unbiased book review. Now that the formalities are over, I would like to move on to my thoughts on the book.

If someone asks me what attracted me to the book, I would say the book cover. I know I sound shallow but the darkish atmosphere created by the image matches the story perfectly. After the picture sucked me in, the blurb added the final nail in my coffin. Who could resist a tug of war between Light and Darkness? Definitely not me!

The author has portrayed Light - Heaven and Darkness - Hell in a quite different light. The setting and world building was very good. I have never seen shops, malls, pubs and other worldly attractions being depicted as a part of Hell in any book. That alone put a smile on my face a couple of times while reading the book. It goes well with the lesson between the lines conveyed by the author.

The play of scenes between the normal world and the spirit realm added an unique dimension to the story. It was one of the highlights of the book. It was a bit confusing at the start, trying to figure out which was which but it got sorted as the book progressed.

The story was well paced and the characters imbue the pages with colour and life. It was an emotional roller coaster ride. The story had highs and lows simultaneously and I was literally dragged through the pages. The protagonist, Johnny irritated me and at the same time, made me like him with his struggle between his good and bad sides. In truth, it's the story of him overcoming or succumbing to his darker side. The supporting cast of Caylee and Canyon had me entertained with their warrior skills and their banter. Shay made me roll my eyes at her effect on Johnny while Danielle made me like her with her sweet and stubborn nature. This was one conflicting read for me.

I was quite surprised with the ending and I am sure I have let my preference know with my comments. I loved the last chapter and I want to know more about the characters introduced in it. I don't want to spoil it for you so I am leaving it at that. I would like to conclude saying that this book won't be everyone's cup of tea. And lovers of darkish fantasy, take a peek at this book.

My one line review : A roller coaster ride of Johnny's struggle to pick his choice between Light and Darkness.

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 3/5

--------------------------------------------------------------

Click the following links to read more about the book and to order a copy for yourself.


-----------------------------

Here's an excerpt to whet your curiosity before you read the book. 

Footsteps enter my bedroom and approach my bunk. Not. Right. Now. I pretend to be asleep. A cold chill covers my body, making every hair stand on end. Then the bedroom door slams shut. I’m not in the freaking mood! Expecting to see one of my annoying foster brothers, I jerk my head toward the door and punch my fist into the mattress. “What!” I yell out, but no one’s there.

My eyes dart all around the room. Maybe there’s a draft, or someone shut another door causing this one to slam. Doubt it. I’m sure it’s just JC and Miguel trying to get even. “Hilarious, guys, I’m so scared. Now get the hell outta here.” I throw my pillow at the door and myself back on my bed.

An abnormal silence plays with my mind. I decide to reach for my headphones, but I can’t move. My heart jumps. No matter how hard I flex, my arm is stuck to the mattress. My lungs suck in air while every other organ aches under the pressure. An uncontrollable trembling takes over. What. The. Heck. Is. Going. On. My eyes blink over a hundred miles per hour. I can’t move, I can’t speak, I can’t, and then I realize I only have one ability left—sight.

Next to my bed stands a huge man with solid black corneas full of swirling dark fog in his vacant orbs, the Hollow Man. He’s staring me down again, but this time we’re the only ones in the room—no queen, no Camaro, no Mom. This can’t be real. It’s just another one of my crazy dreams. I go along for the ride, like I have a choice. The Hollow Man stands there clenching his fists, causing his abnormally large pecs to flex. My heart races, and my stomach threatens to return my lunch. An intense pain surges as he’s controlling every cell in my body without touching me.

The Hollow Man speaks, “Prince, why are you lying here as if you are a helpless child?” He turns off his death stare, and I feel an instant release followed by the familiar ache of a four-hour football workout in the Texas heat. Is this guy serious? Prince? And how am I supposed to fight something that isn’t really there? My chest tightens, and I try to wake up.


--------------------------------------------------

Meet the Author : 

Jana Grissom is a middle school teacher, an advocate for foster children and at-risk teens, a mom of two amazing teens, and married to Roy, her high-school sweetheart. Jana holds a Master of Education in Administration and Policy Studies and offers professional development in bullying identification, prevention, and intervention. She is available to speak to students at secondary schools about the writing process or bring a message that challenges them to S.T.O.P. bullying and suicide. Jana is a Texas girl who loves the outdoors, flip-flops, chocolate, and sweet tea. In her spare time, she loves escaping to imaginary worlds through the magic of books.

Her personal note to the readers :

I am the debut author of a YA Urban Fantasy, One Prince; Two Kingdoms. Also, I am a middle school teacher and advocate for foster children and at-risk teens. My novel was written in response to disturbing nightmares my two foster children at the time were experiencing. After several nights of being awakened by their screams and running to comfort them, I had an idea – write a story and let their imaginations defeat their fears. The children were excited to hear stories of magical worlds and powerful celestials sent to guard them. Each night before bed, I would add new scenes and more adventures. After a few weeks, the nightmares were replaced with excitement to hear the next chapter read. The children are now living with their grandparents, but their pictures remain on my walls. “One Prince; Two Kingdoms” is dedicated to them and all the foster children who have been in my care, as well as my past and present students; my family, my two amazing teens, Kaylee and Cody, and my husband and best friend, Roy. I hope “One Prince; Two Kingdoms” will encourage children in a place of transition to have hope and never give up.

WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  FACEBOOK  | TWITTER  | GOODREADS  |  LINKEDLN 

And here's a chance to try out your luck!


MoBPromo

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Book Musings - The Book of Nepharid by Nick Marsden

Title : The Book Of Nepharid
Author : Nick Marsden
Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult
Series : The Never-Born, Volume 1
Source : Free copy from the author for an honest review

Blurb :

A failed wizard's apprentice becomes the hope of two worlds. When the powerful Book of Nepharid is stolen, it is up to Gaelan No-Blood and his master, the Magus Ulrich, to bring the sorcerer Stormhand to justice under the guidance of the mysterious Never-Born. But the Never-Born has his own agenda and his manipulations lead the companions to pay a dear cost.

Trapped alone in a strange world devoid of magic but with wonders of its own, Gaelan will face the man even his master feared. Armed with a powerful weapon he doesn't know how to use, Gaelan must master the magic of the Book or witness the destruction of his entire world. An Epic Fantasy and an Unconventional Urban Fantasy
The Never-Born is a fantasy trilogy in the vein of the classics that mixes the elements of epic fantasy as well as a light take on urban fantasy. Expect the unexpected, while reading a story rooted in myth and legend. Experience the familiar wonders of legend in new ways. From the fiery rage of a unicorn to the shocking origin of a god-like being. The Never-Born aims to bring the fun and excitement back to fantasy story-telling.

My Musings : 

The one thing I wondered about, on finishing the book was its ratings and reviews on Goodreads. Oh, I know what you are thinking. And no, I didn't mean it in a negative manner. I was surprised that it has very few reviews considering it's a good fantasy book to get lost in.

The book cover is eye catching and goes well with the plot. The way N in Nepharid is written as a sigil adds a little bit of character to the image. The blurb is very plain and tells us without any mystery what to expect in the story. Yet there are a few twists and turns which keep us engrossed in the tale.

The author has built a world based on common fantastical elements in an uncommon manner. The known creatures like unicorns and ogres are shown in a new light. The story begins in the usual high fantasy manner of an orphan being featured as the protagonist. My first reaction was - " Oh, no. Not another orphan centric fantasy story!" And then progresses to add in well developed side characters and more colourful entities. The only regret was that Geminus was not fully explored in this book. I am hoping there will be more of the world revealed in the following books.

Another point in favour of the book was the pace of the story. It didn't take much time to race through the chapters in spite of not being chock-full of action scenes. Though nearly half of the book was about the hero, Gaelan and his (non)journey to becoming a Magus, the description wasn't tedious and it set the scene for the adventure part of the book. The magic system was different and interesting with the use of symbols.

As to the characters, the only one I didn't like much was Gaelan himself with his self doubt and indecision. But he marginally gained respect at the end of the book. Everyone has a part to play in the overall scheme of things. I especially loved Ariel's duty consciousness and the camaraderie between Ulrich and Carbright. There is a mystery around Allison and I hope that the author would clear it up in the next book.

The way the author has bridged a story between a fantasy realm and the real world sets the tone of the book. As an avid reader of fantasy books, I would put this author on my watch list and look forward to the other books in the series. I recommend it to people who read YA fantasy for a fun filled quiet book adventure by the fire.

My one line review : Fantasy meets Real World in an intriguing new fantasy series by Nick Marsden!

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 4/5

Floryie

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Book Cover Reveal - Mail-Order Groom by Cindy Flores Martinez

Today is the cover re-reveal for Mail Order Groom by Cindy Flores Martinez. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Mail-Order Groom

by Cindy Flores Martinez

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age category: Adult

Blurb:


MAIL-ORDER GROOM (Second Edition), a sweet romance novel by Cindy Flores Martinez, is the story of an American woman who marries a stranger from Poland after her fiancé leaves her right before the wedding.

Lisa is about to marry the love of her life, but her world is shattered when she finds her fiancé, Jeff, in the arms of another woman. When he calls off the wedding, Lisa is heartbroken.

In a twist of fate, she meets Krzysztof Zielinski from Poland on Mail-Order-Grooms.Com. He needs to marry an American woman so that he can stay in America, and he’s willing to pay money for it. His reason for needing to stay is what tugs at Lisa’s heart and convinces her to say “I do” to him. After all, it’s going to be strictly a business deal.

Lisa races to the altar with her stand-in groom, but things become complicated when she finds herself falling for him, and he’s not planning to stay in America forever. Will Lisa’s heart break all over again?

You can find Mail-Order Groom on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20798413-mail-order-groom

About the Author:

My name is Cindy Flores Martinez. I was born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles. I have an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. I have been a screenwriting instructor, screenplay consultant, script reader, and screenplay collaborator. My novel, Mail-Order Groom, started out as a screenplay and movie project. I spent years shopping it around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world, and I had two well-known actors, one of them Academy Award nominated, interested in portraying the lead character’s parents. After not finding the success I wanted, I officially canceled my film production company in November of 2009 and embarked on the journey of turning my screenplay into a novel.


You can find and contact Cindy here:

- Website: http://www.cindyfloresmartinez.com
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cindyfloresmartinezauthor
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCindy
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7833897.Cindy_Flores_Martinez



Sunday, 3 May 2015

My blog and I - Blog news

First off, it's a wonderful start to a new month, May blogwise. Personally, at work, it's been a dismal beginning :(

I have scheduled book reviews all through the month, almost one after the other. And almost all are fantasy reads. I guess I need to diversify my blog. So in view of that, I am trying to get more involved in the book blogging community. I have planned monthly guest posts by bloggers whose blogs I read on a regular basis. The first one will be posted this month during the third week by Melissa of Around the World in Books . I am looking forward to her post along with you!

And speaking of the beta reading I spoke of during my last update, well, I just finished at the end of April and it was so much fun! I think the author was happy with my work. I hope to get more chances at beta reading soon, in June maybe?

Did I say? I won few giveaways! It's very rare for me to win anything. I am kind of the unluckiest person when it comes to giveaways or any lucky winners stuff.

First one was Dora Hiers' When Hope Rises at her blog. Second was From the Ashes by Shelby K Morrison from Courtney Reads blog and finally a Goodreads First Reads giveaway of Secrets of Zynpagua : Return of the Princess by Ilika Ranjan!

I am pinching myself to know if it's true or not! lol

I am sure the good times wouldn't last * touches wood * No jinxing myself.

Hope to see you guys with more news soon
Floryie



Book Musings - Uriel by Angie Anomalous

Title : Uriel
Author : Angie Anomalous
Series : The Hallowed Chronicles
Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult
Source : Free copy from the author

Blurb :
“The Archangels were completed and taken in, given powers not like ours. You are the only ones who can stop the End of Days. You must; all our worlds depend on you.”

After waking underground, sixteen-year-old Uriel struggles to remember her past and where she came from. Taken in by a woman named Nikita, she is introduced to a world of angels and demons; a world balanced by the light of God and the dark of Lucifer. As questions surface, secrets are revealed and Uriel is faced with the inevitable truth; she, along with seven others, is an Archangel made by the hand of Man. Separated from the others, Uriel is thrown into the thick of the human world. Expected to blend in, she keeps her wings hidden and waits to be reunited with her kin.

The world is only beginning its end when she meets seventeen-year-old Jophiel, and she immediately notices a strong connection with him. Together, they find that time is running out, and the other archangels have yet to come forth. The longer she is awake, the more the world begins to crumble as darkness threatens to overpower the light. As her past comes flooding back, she finds that Jophiel’s existence is more than just a coincidence; it’s fate. Together, they are faced with corrupted truths and an even bigger problem than just the End of Days. As the human race’s existence is threatened, Uriel finds herself fighting the realization that without her kin, every world is at risk, and she could lose much more than just herself.

My Musings : 

I would like to start with thanking the author,Angie Anomalous for a copy of the e-book for a chance to review it. That said, I would like to inform that receiving a review copy will not affect my review. I will give my opinions and thoughts on the book without any bias.

First thing which drew me to the book was the cover which prompted me to get a copy. I know I was shallow! But I couldn't do anything against the lure of the book cover. The girl on the cover is exactly how I imagined Uriel to be. The colours used in the image creates a mysterious and a light cover which fits the book to a T. The second thing to grab my attention was the blurb. It reveals only so much to whet our curiosity. The premise of archangels hidden among the human beings is an interesting concept and the author does credit to the chosen theme.

I had to read the first couple of pages twice to get me going because of the abstract imagery used. But once started it was easy to get into. The way Uriel described the modern society was perfect! I was chuckling during those parts. The flashbacks in the story weren't jarring and it worked seamlessly with the story montage, though it happened at inconvenient times in a few instances which had me growling. The plot wasn't anything new except for the archangels part. It was the same old fight between the Good and the Bad. But the way it was executed and the new type of demons and dragons introduced made the plot refreshing. The references to the Bible and God surprised me though I guess I should have expected it. But it wasn't off putting to me.  The story advanced at a pretty good pace. It kept me reading since I was invested in the happenings in the world near the End of Days and also there were a few surprises to keep me awaiting the next scene. I was on the lookout for more adrenaline pumping action which the book did deliver in small quantities spaced evenly throughout the book.

I love and hate the characters in the book. Uriel, as the lead protagonist was confusing. The only thing which registered about her was that she was a bundle of emotions. She was either confused or angry or sad. I found her better in the fight scenes and in her determination to save people. She was too human to be an archangel but then that's her speciality I guess. I liked Jophiel very much but hated his exit. The character which intrigued me was Raphael so I am looking forward to his book. Nikita was either saying or doing things sternly and in a few scenes I found her over reacting. Gazardiel is still a mystery to be solved and I am looking forward to reading more about him in the other books. In short, the heavenly entities were too human for my taste but at the same time their humanness engaged me. Now you can understand my dilemma!

I would like to conclude saying that I will read more of the series and am looking forward to getting know more archangels and their courage against the Darkness. If you guys like YA fantasy with messages from the Bible then this should definitely be on your To-Be-Read shelf.

My one line review : A good fight between Light and Darkness with a surprise twist or two!

My rating : 4/5 

My reread factor : 4/5

Floryie
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...