September 29, 2011

Review: Under his Spell, by Marie P. Croall

Author: Marie P. Croall
Title: Under his spell
Series: My boyfriend is a monster (#4)
ISBN: 9780761356028
Publisher: Graphic Universe (2011)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bethany Farmer's life is a boring high school routine, and she likes it that way. Soccer, coffee, homework, more coffee, and no goofy romance. That is, until foreign exchange student Allein Atwood shows up in her Midwestern town, and her life turns epically weird. Allein has unearthly good looks, princely politeness, and a bunch of goofy, romantic pick-up lines. But is his country really so foreign that they don't know anything about soccer? Or coffee?      

To her horror, Bethany is swept off her feet by Allein's spellbinding ways--and then knocked flat by savage creatures set loose into suburbia to hunt Allein down. Suddenly Bethany's normal town is twisted upside down, and nothing is what it seems. Can Bethany rescue her prince of a boyfriend and keep them both alive long enough to go on a second date?
GoodReads’ blurb


I loved Bethany, the main character here. She had a lot of spunk and a huge attitude! But at the same time, I could relate to her day to day: family, hobbies, friends, lack-of-guys problems... All in all, an original lead for the story. Allein, her counterpart, was quite refreshing in the current supernatural landscape: he gave a “clueless” vibe that was just too cute.

September 27, 2011

Review: Blood, by K.J. Wignall

Author: K.J. Wignall
Title: Blood     
Series: The Mercian Trilogy, book 1
ISBN:  9781606842201
Publisher: Egmont USA (2011)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“I do not remember being bitten. I wish I did, for then I would know the creature who did this to me and I would have a purpose, to track him down and repay him for the poisoned gift he gave me. Back in the Thirteenth Century, Will was destined to be Earl of Mercia, although he never lived to inherit his title. In the centuries that follow, Will has led a lonely life, learning to deal with whatever the present day throws at him, always searching for answers but never finding any. Until this time, when he awakens after a 20-year-slumber, hungry for the blood that sustains his undeath, when it appears that he is finally getting a glimpse at why he exists. He does indeed have a destiny, and an enemy, but revealing that fate will be a matter of trust... GoodReads’ blurb


I love vampire stories. It is true that, as of late, there seems to have been an overkill in the genre, but I still keep reading and trying to find new, original and compelling takes on my favorite supernatural creature. And I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for the Mercian trilogy.

September 26, 2011

Review: Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Title: Shiver
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls(#1)
ISBN: 9780545123266
Publisher: Scholastic (2009)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance. GoodReads’ blurb


 A little disclaimer here: I haven’t read this book. I listened to the unabridged audiobook version. Why I’m stating it first thing? Because I feel like it might have colored my perception of this book. And now that the tidbit is out of the way... let’s get on with the review.

September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

You know what banned books are, right? We all remember the stories about hundreds of books piled high and burning brightly into the night because someone important at the time thought they were dangerous, corrupting things.

But, did you know that books still get banned?

September 23, 2011

Follow Friday #3

Follow Friday time! As you already know: this is a meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee, where we have two featured bloggers and one question to answer. Wanna see what this week's question is?

September 22, 2011

Review: Erekos, by A.M. Tuomala

Author: A.M. Tuomala
Title: Erekos
ISBN: 9781936460038
Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam (2010)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“For three hundred years, Erekos and Weigenland have fought to hold the borderland between the two nations. As the first storms of the flood season scour Erekos from the swamplands to the feet of the mountains, the Erekoi king discovers a dangerous new weapon that might be able to end the war: the witch Achane, who has raised her sister from the dead.   

Achane and her sister, dragged apart on the very doorstep of a temple, must work to find each other again before the magic that binds them also kills them. In the process, Achane must overcome her grief—and the temptation of the king's plans for Erekos. 

Meanwhile, on the mountainous border between the two warring lands, the student Erlen finds his research interrupted by the encroaching conflict. Driven by a militant love for this neutral territory and its people, he determines to defend his newfound homeland at any cost.   

In a land where gods walk the earth and myth manifests along the rivers and in the mountains, ordinary men and women must fight to make their own stories before the war unwrites them all.“
GoodReads’ blurb


When you pick up this book, you have two options: either you love it, or you hate. I don’t believe there’s a middle point. I’m on team Love, but I’m also aware that the very things that made it such a special read might be a turndown for another reader.

So, what is it about Erekos that’s so special, anyway?

September 21, 2011

Writing tips #4: World building

World building is something most people immediately link with fantasy settings, so writers outside the genre tend to breathe easier when the topic comes up.

Bad news: everyone needs to do their world building homework.

The inner coherency of your work will be one of the first things your readers will note, so please remember rule number one: that it isn’t real doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be realistic.

A common mistake is to believe that, because your story is about elves or vampires or werewolves or whatever, and these creatures are obviously not real, you can get away with them doing anything. You are partly right, because while we’re reading your story we’re willing to forget the sheer impossibility of the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean we’ll accept everything you throw our way at face value.

It means that we’ll accept a different logic. And yes, I’m talking suspension of disbelief here. And yes, this is the reason why world building is such a painful pain. Let me try to explain:

September 20, 2011

Review: The Juliet Spell, by Douglas Rees

Author: Douglas Rees
Title: The Juliet Spell
ISBN: 9780373210398
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (2011)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 I’m Juliet.

At least, I wanted to be.

So I did something stupid to make it happen.

Well, stupid and wonderful.

I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn’t get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren’t any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I’d cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William’s younger brother.

Good thing he’s sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he’s from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there’s something about him that’s making my eyes go star-crossed....

Will Romeo steal her heart before time steals him away?
GoodReads’ blurb


This book and I were, from the very first moment, a match made in heaven. I fell in love with the cover and the blurb when I saw it, and I only grew to like it better as I devoured the pages.

Devoured is an appropriate verb, too: I might have gone through The Juliet Spell in two days, no longer. It was one of those books that make other things, like socializing or sleeping, sound meaningless.

September 19, 2011

Book reviewers, unite!

Hey folks! A bit of blogging stuff to talk about today, so if you have a book blog of you own, this idea might interest you – should interest you – a lot!

So, there I was yesterday, hanging around my recently launched twitter account, when I saw an announcement from Kyla, from Kyla Novelista. She’s had an idea for us to showcase our reviews, and I think it’s brilliant!

Here’s the basics:

The initiative would work like a meme, and every week we bloggers get to pick one of our reviews to showcase: then, we head over to our host and leave a linky with the title of the book, the author’s name and the genre.

Now the trick is to pick five other reviews from the whole list, head over to each site, read and leave a comment. The comment should be thoughtful (that’s why we visit just five and not all of them!)

Super cool, isn’t it? Even the name rocks: Limelight Reviews!

If you like the idea, please head over to Kyla’s blog to the main post and let her know so that she can get this great meme up and running! This here is where she explains it all – better than I do ;) 

September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox #9

Meme hosted at TheStorySiren... One more week! After my latest shopping springs, this week is a little bit more quiet. Perhaps because most of what I've ordered is still on the way (laughs) Anyway, ready to see what's new?

September 16, 2011

Follow Friday #2

Follow Friday time! Gotta love this weekly random bookish questions. Heck, I'd like them even if they were not bookish! I like to just go on a roll sometimes. But, if the topic weren't books, I probably would be unable to answer half the time so.... Anyway! This week the question is.....

September 13, 2011

Review: The Shadowing: Hunted, by Adam Slater

Author: Adam Slater
Title: The Shadowing: Hunted
Series: The Shadowing (#1)
ISBN: 9781606842614
Publisher: EgmontUSA (2011)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Once every century, the barrier between the human world and the demon realm begins to break down. Creatures gather, anxiously waiting to cross the divide, to bring death and destruction from their world to ours. This time is called The Shadowing.

Callum Scott has always known that there is a supernatural world out there—he’s seen ghosts for as long as he can remember. Lately, he’s had visions of children being brutally murdered by a terrifying creature. Then the visions start coming true, and Callum realizes that he’s being hunted, too.

Driven by a dark destiny, he must stand against the demons that threaten our world.

And The Shadowing is almost here. . .” GoodReads blurb


I chose to read this book on impulse, because I liked the blurb but one of the two available covers scared the lights out of me (the gory, not-portrayed-on-this-blog one, if you’re terribly curious).

I can’t stress it enough, how glad I am that I were so visceral... because this is one great visceral book.

September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox #8

One more week, welcome to my In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren and dedicated to showcasing the new books we acquired through the week!

Y'know, back when I didn't keep track of this, I felt much better with myself. I didn't feel like a bookaholic, at least. Or like a compulsive reader. But oh well... here you go: my pile this week!

September 9, 2011

Follow Friday #1

Our weekly Random Question feature has switched over to Follow Friday, an event hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read... because ten was my target number and because I just couldn't pass up this week's question! 

Q. Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story?  If so, which one??

Well, actually, I like villains to win on almost a day-by-day basis! At least, in those cases when I find the evil guys to be well developped and not just there to spite the heroes. Granted, three-dimensional villains aren't so common these days, but taking into account how difficult it is to find great heroes as well... 

 Usually, this odd supporting of the dark side comes from an extremely rebellious nature wherein I'm fed up with the Good Guys Save the Day routine. Several examples we all should know about include Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, Darth Vader from Star Wars, the Harkonen prince from Dune, Artemis Entreri from Forgotten Realms... 

Am I too weird?

September 7, 2011

Review: Power Trip, by Jeff Thomason

Author: Jeff Thomason       
Title: A Power Trip     
Series: The Wandering Koala  
ISBN:  9781456336219
Publisher: CreateSpace (2011)

Disclosure: I received a copy from the author for honest review.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“René thinks he’s hit the jackpot!

After six months of no luck following college, he finds the perfect job with excellent benefits at The Power Company doing what he graduated in.

But a newly hired manager has a mysterious agenda. Employees disappear with no warning, and René is caught in a massive explosion that leaves the city of 8 million without power during a record-breaking heat wave. Riots rage and fires burn as the city plunges into chaos, and René finds himself framed for sabotage.

Only the intervention of a silent wanderer can save him and the rest of the city from a deadly power trip.” GoodReads’ blurb
Straight to the point: I enjoyed this one so much that I could not put it down! It’s an adventure, technically speaking, but there was a wry half-smile in my lips all the time. Mr Thomason did pulp just as Terry Pratchett does fantasy: with a jaded, not-hidden-in-the-least streak of humor and criticism that added layers and layers of enjoyment to the whole experience.

September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox #7

Once more, welcome to In My Mailbox, the weekly event hosted at the Story Siren wherein we get to share what titles we got our hands on this week! After the last rampages, this week is... fairly more quiet. It needs to be, because I definitely need to catch up on my reading and reviewing! So, ready to see what I received?

September 3, 2011

Review: A Singular Gift, by Sue Santore

Author: Sue Santore           
Title: A Singular Gift     
Publisher: Sue Santore (2011)

Disclosure: I received a copy from the author for honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The title and cover of this book has been changed to better reflect the content. Formerly published as Something Wicked.          

Jean Ryan has inherited a singular gift, the gift of magic. She must quickly learn to use her magic gift before the opposing dark magic forces destroy her world. Jean and Wayne, her friend, work together to discover why her gift has attracted the attention of an evil circle of magic users and how to combat them.  

As she learns to use her magic, Jean finds revenge bites backwards, friends are not always what they seem, and that magic is not a toy. In the end she has to stand alone against an evil worse than any she has ever imagined.       

The book is 56,000 words or about 224 pages in print.            

Jean talks about her story:  

I never dreamed magic was real until my grandmother gave me the box just before she died.  She told me to use the box carefully and that I was the only one who could use the box and the artifacts until I passed it on to someone else, that it rested on my shoulders now.  But she didn't tell me what "it" was. At first I used the magic as a toy.  I mean, what fourteen-year-old wouldn't?  Doesn't everyone wish she could do magic?  Soon I had to show my two best friends.  Wayne, my oldest best friend, grew up with me.  Karen, my new best friend, only moved to our town last year.   

Wayne helped me learn to use my magic, while Karen became obsessed with my box and kept trying to talk me into giving it to her.  Horrible things happened.  People almost died.  Why did so many people want my magic box?  With a sense of urgency hanging over me, I had to learn to use my new powers fast.   

Imagine my fear when I read Grandma's journals and found what she expected me to use the magical powers for. How could I possibly do this? How could I not try?”
Amazon’s product description


I am not really good figuring out which books are for what age, but first off I’d like to say that this books is more towards children than young adult. It is an entertaining enough read for a twenty-something-up person (or at least, it did not bore me!) but your young nephew, or child, or friendly neighbourhood kid will certainly get more enjoyment out of its pages. Because there is plenty of enjoyment to be had.

September 2, 2011

Random Q&A #9: Do you trust your young-self taste in books?

This question came up in a reading group over at GoodReads, and I noticed that I'm the only one answering in the affirmative, so I needed to make a post.

Yes, I do trust that books I considered good when I was a child were good.

That said, I realize this might seem a bit obnoxious: I mean, I was a child, right? Well, right, but I think I was a slightly particular child. Meaning, I did not read what other folks my age would - that's one of the reasons I have so much trouble with graded readings, by the way: I can never tell if the age group the book's intended for is well defined, because I can't compare it with my, say, ten-year-old self. Want an example? Okay, let's see:

September 1, 2011

100 Followers Giveaway

So Stories of my life is close to reaching that magic number and I'm ecstatic. You are an amazing bunch and I would love to celebrate this event with you throwing out a big 
International Giveaway Party!