Sunday, April 6, 2014

Letterbox Love

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Letterbox Love is a new weekly meme hosted by Narratively Speaking. UK book bloggers have joined together and made a British version of a mailbox meme which is excellent.




My dear Escapists,

It's been a long time since I did a LetterBox Love. My apologies. Life keeps getting in the way and sometimes it is difficult to post if nothing interesting came through the post.  This past month have been good in terms of reading and reviews. Well, not so good with reviews but my reading has been more organised and I'm taking it easy and only reading what I fancy. 

So here's what I have this past month.

Books I received:


I won Far From You in a blog giveaway and I couldn't be happier. I've read so many good reviews and I'm sure it will be great.
 Jessica Sorensen has many fans but I'm yet to be converted. I haven't read anything by her yet but have seen her other books around. Considering how many New Adults books I've been reading lately, The Temptation of Lila and Ethan will be a welcome addition. Thank you Little Brown Books.



I won this on a GoodReads giveaway. I have not given this a shot yet but the hardback and the cover is  beautiful and makes me want to pick up my pencil and my sketch pad to draw the beautiful leafless trees on it.


The Devil's Ribbon is a signed copy that I won on a giveaway. Yes, my luck really has been shinning lately.  The Offering by Kimberly Derting is the epic conclusion to The Pledge series. I enjoyed the previous books, The Pledge and The Essence. More on The Offering coming soon on my review. 

I have not read Rachel Caine's popular Morganville Vampire series yet. The number of books in the series so far frighten me a little. However, I can wholeheartedly recoomend her other adult series called The Revivalist Series. The first book, Working Stiff and Two Week's Notice were a thrilling to say the least. Prince of Shadows does not reveal much from it's blurb. but as it's been written by such a talented writer, I'll surely give it a go.
Thank you Allison and Busby,

Phew, This is all the physical books I received recently. I won't even start on my NetGalley books as this post will be stupidly long. I get clicky fingers on that site. Seriously

What books did you get this week? Any books which made you sequel when you opened the pakage or any which surprised you?



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cover Lover

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BURN FOR ME (Hidden Legacy #1)  by Ilona Andrews



Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

I loathe this cover. Why oh why do one of my favourite writers in the whole wide world get such atrocious covers for their books? The whole just screams trashy romance novel and I know it will be far from it. I don't even know where to start as once I start I won't be able to stop.So, I wont start at all.
 I love their writing. In fact,I love them. Their writing is just so deliciously good that it feels they have written the story just to appease me. Ha! 

Regardless of the awful, eye hurting cover, the premise seems pretty good and the snippets I've read so far seem like fun too. even if I hate the name Nevada, I will put my full trust on them and I know they will not disappoint me.





Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review: Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1) by Josephine Angelini

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Enemies turned lovers
Title: Starcrossed
Series: Starcrossed
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Macmillan Childern’s Books, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: June, 2011
Star Crossed is the first book in the Starcrossed trilogy by Josephine Angelini. I found it hard to get into the story at first. The first 50 pages or so were slow but essential in terms of setting the scene at Nantucket. Helen Hamilton is a shy, awkward and reserved teen living in Nantucket with her Dad and dreaming about leaving the sleepy tourist town just like everybody else. Her daily life is riddled with the same high school student she goes to, the same typical 'bitch' of the school and the guy who had a crush on her for years. She only has a few friends including her best friend Claire and tries to stay low and blend in. The reason is because Helen is not average. She knows she has some manner of special abilities like speed and strength which she desperately wants to hide and appear as dull as possible. However, things change, when the new guy in town appears, who everybody is gushing about. So, the first thing Helen does when she lays her eyes on Lucas? She wants to kill him.

It starts off with nothing special and I was in two minds about stopping when Lucas makes his appearance and things start getting interesting. I loved the dynamics between them. I have always been a fan of love hate relationship so this angle to the story was right up my street. Alas, it didn't last long. I truly wish more time was spent with Helen trying to kill Lucas and vice versa. What does it say about me? I'm blood thirsty.

Star -crossed had a third person narration which I believe is coming slowly into YA these days. It helps explore more dimensions of the story. I liked Helen and Lucas and they relationship was kind of cute. The vast arrays of characters were fun to read about. Scenes with lots of family members hustling and bustling makes for a feel good read. The mythology woven within the plot was believable but the conflict between Helen and Lucas towards the end felt pointless and drawn out.

It was a good enough read with a solid back story and a plausible dilemma for the star-crossed lovers. I enjoyed the Greek mythology derived plot line and the many side characters who in themselves were fun to read. However, the book was unnecessary long. It was nearly 550 pages and even though I enjoyed reading it once I put it down, I had difficulty picking it back up.

In the end, Star -Crossed is a solid YA fantasy book with a few over used cliché's but somehow managing to be entertaining at the same time. I'd recommend it to YA fans, who are by now fed up of vampires, werewolves and Angels who want something different to try like The Goddess Test.

Released June, 2011 in the UK



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted on Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're impatiently eagerly anticipating.



 My pick this week is;
THE FOREVER SONG (Blood of Eden #3) byJulie Kagawa

VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

MONSTER

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone
Releases on 2nd May, 2014

 I have thoroughly enjoyed the Blood of Eden series so far. The first book, The Immortal Rules, was dark and gritty, just like how I like it and the second book, The Eternity Cure, took the internal war in Allie's head between the monster and the human, to another level. Now, in the final volume, I'm hoping to see so manner of a conclusion to this dilemma. More Kanin too!




Monday, March 24, 2014

Spoilers - Love them or hate them

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All readers have a different stance on spoilers. For some it is annoying and pesky while for some it is essential.
Usually I’ve seen two types of people when it comes to spoilers.
  1. Spoiler Avoider – Someone, who wants to enjoy the story in the entirety of the narrative as the author intends. It’s especially true for readers who enjoy thrillers, crime, adventure and more recently with the influx of angst-y romance, we see a number of ‘twists' and back stories which suck the whole fun out of the experience. The Avoiders usually are passionate fans of books and really enjoy the ‘WTF’ moment in a plot.
  2. Spoiler Seekers- There type of readers tend to look for spoilers before reading or whilst reading. It may be brought upon by intense anxiety as to what happens in the end and the temptation to simply give in and flip the pages to read the epilogue. Others, like me, simply like the predictability of a plot. No surprises or sudden twists to turn your guts.

Now, you’d be wondering why I’m telling you something you already know. Well, I used to belong to the second category. I called myself a spoiler whore. I’d seek out spoilers before I’d even started the book.  I believe that this was brought on by the limited amount of time I had for reading, so before I started a book, I wanted to make sure, I won’t encounter anything I won’t like, that may compel me halt my reading and waste the few hours I had put in before.

However, over the years, this habit of mine has drastically changed. Since I have more time to read, I started to fully immerse myself in what the author wanted me to experience.  The inconvenience of not being able to turn to the last page quickly on a Kindle may also have contributed to this habit but I digress. I loved picking up new authors and a variety of genres not knowing what to expect and coming out of the experience with fulfilment and sometimes scared.

So, recently I came across a Chinese novel which was being translated by a fan on the internet. (Can I add, we must have more C-novels translated to English? They are amazing) It was big project and after reading a few chapters I was hooked. The writing (even if it was translated) was understated and subtle but strong nevertheless. The characters were so layer and intriguing that I was absolutely fascinated.  The novel, in essence, is a fantasy romance, with the world setting based on Chinese mythology, It was already agreed by everyone on the site, that those who have already completed in book should refrain from giving out spoilers.  Henceforth, the fun stared. I really enjoyed how every few days, after an agonising wait, a new chapter would be translated and I’d be scrambling to read it. 

Then the discussion would start as to what happened in the above chapters.  It was a story of a girl who had three guys around her whom she could possibly chose for herself. I don’t make it sound very appealing from my description but believe me, the plot, story, narrative and the characters are top notch.

So a few months in, someone decides to drop a few innocent lines and then the myriad of spoilers began. Before the author of the blog could do anything, it was too late. I was spoiled and angry. I was very angry.

It all started from one small slightly spoilery comment and then everybody started. Without any consideration for other readers, they pounced upon the chance to discuss the ending to lengths.

I was livid. Partly because now I knew the guy I loved had a tragic ending, the discussions, the ideas and the comments were things of the past. I felt betrayed and angry at them as I felt robbed of the experience I was promised.

I wanted my character to win the girl’s heart. I wanted him to get her against all odds that were stacked against him. He was a convoluted and layered character which was a delight to read and rarely seen in the traditional reading materials I come across.

Now, that I know the ending, I have no interest in the book or the story. Yes, I know, I should enjoy the process of my heart being broken, but I feel betrayed by the people, whom I considered part of a respected community. I have been bitch slapped into reality to face the fact that it’s something is too good to be true, it usually is.

I would probably continue reading the translations but at this moment in time, I have no interest. This incident happened last week but I’m still reeling from the events and in no shape to do a read-along.
So please show respect and consideration for other readers. Tag your reviews or comments with spoiler tags and give the reader a choice , to choose to read spoilers or not.

What do YOU think of spoilers? Are you a spoiler avoider or a seeker? Do you have a story to tell? Please share.





Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blog Tour: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare

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Hello everyone and welcome to my blog, where the blog Tour for The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare stops today. On this occasion, I have M.G Buehrlen, the author of The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare, answering some questions that I subjected interviewed her on. But before we stride ahead, take a look at what The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is about.


The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare  

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

How did you get the inspiration for 'The 57 lives of Alex Wayfare'?
I've always been fascinated with stories about people "stepping into" someone else's body and trying to navigate their lives like in Quantum Leap or switching places with someone like in Freaky Friday. I had been playing around with the idea of Alex since I was sixteen, but none of the pieces really fit until just a few years ago when I became a rabid Doctor Who fan. That's when the time travel wheels started to turn and everything unravelled from there.

I particularly enjoyed the different world and setting that Alex goes to. How did you go about constructing the different world/settings?
I wanted each time period to feel unique and spot on. I did a LOT of research, watched a LOT of movies set in those periods and settings, and read a LOT of books too. When I was writing about 1927 Chicago, I was immersed in 1920's music, film, even newspaper clippings from the period. Same with the 60's and the 1870's. I tried to steer clear of any stereotypes and clichés from those periods. It was a lot of work, but hey, I'd happily do it again. Researching the world and setting is one of my favourite parts of the gig.

I really enjoyed The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare and serious want to know what will happen next. Will there be more books after 'The 57 lives of Alex Wayfare?' Have you got other books in the pipeline?
The sequel will hit shelves next spring, 2015, but the story doesn't stop there. I currently have four books planned for the series, but you never know. Things may change. :) Outside of the ALEX WAYFARE world, I have co-written a middle grade fantasy novel, and I'm also working on a few other solo secret projects.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?
I can say with all honesty that it certainly isn't Alex. At least, not yet. Girl has some serious growing to do in this series. My favourite characters are those who teach Alex valuable lessons along the way, like Jensen, Blue, and even Porter. Alex has some pretty amazing people in her life. I just hope she listens to them. :)


What books would you recommend readers which you read and loved recently?
Two specific recent books that touched me deeply are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Strangely, they are both about World War II, which I didn't plan, I swear. They each tackle WWII in ways I'd never seen before, and the writing and story structure are brilliant and breath-taking. Go forth and read!


Thank you so much MG, for answering some of my burning questions. I thoroughly enjoyed The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare and I hope my reader do so too.

Released on the 6th of March, 2014 by Strange Chemistry in the UK. 


Author Bio:

 When she’s not writing, M.G. moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director. She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website YABooksCentral.com, a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is her debut novel. M.G. lives nestled away in Michigan pines, surrounded by good coffee and good books, with her husband and son and three furbabies. Say hello on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

 Social media links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mgbuehrlen

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/mgbuehrlenbooks

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17878473-the-fifty-seven-lives-of-alex-wayfare

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mgbuehrlen/alex-wayfare-series/

Tumblr: http://mgbuehrlen-the-hermit.tumblr.com/

Web: http://www.mgbuehrlen.com/

Preorder links:
Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Indiebound | The Book Depository | Waterstones



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ARC Review: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare #1) by M.G Buehrlen

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Nerdy girl goes time travelling

Title: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare
Series:Alex Wayfare
Author:M.G Buehrlen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars.
Released: 6th March, 2014
T he 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare follows the adventures of a 17 year old girl who is more interested in fixing things and reading rather than make friends. He is a loner with no friends but that is fine with her. She has a close family and own issues which she is dealing with. However, Alex is not entirely normal. You see, she gets de ja vu’s from time to time which always feel like a real life experiences. Of course, everyone thinks Alex is delusional and then ignored her even more. However, one day she experiences a particularly realistic de ja vu which leads to too many questions. Which seems can only be answered by this mysterious man called Porter.

Turns out that Alex is a Decender. She has had 56 previous lives and each time she has a de ja vu, she is actually being sucked into one of her previous lives. That is not all, it appears that there are people looking for Alex, who want to destroy her. So now she has to find her enemies before they find her.

With a premise like this, I was immediately sucked in. I really enjoyed really Alex’s point of views. She was very much a teenager albeit slightly different than your regular teens in her high school. I loved her close family and understood how Alex down played her own problems due to even bigger ones at home. I felt for Alex and her relationship with Audrey, her little sister. It was so touching to see how cancer not only touches the victims but how it affects their loved ones too.

Saying that, I still think Alex was immature and too quick to draw conclusions. She sometimes seemed too trusting and sometimes rather sceptic. This faults I attribute are due to her age and I hope, Alex does some growing up over the course of the books.

We obviously see some romance in the story as well, which I think was well done. There was no love at first sight and the build up was slow and realistic. I really enjoyed reading about blue but I’m not sure how Levi will play out.

What I enjoyed most about his book was the world building. The different time periods Alex was travelling too was fascinating as not only did I get to sample the various world building elements but it transported the story, the characters and the angst into a different era and I loved how they played out in that context.

Overall, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare, was a gripping and well written book. It’s characters fleshed out with the right amount of angst, romance, adventure, excitement and drama thrown in. It is one of those books you can enjoy guilt free and it will make you invested in the characters.

Released on the 6th of March, 2014
ARC provided by Strange chemistry, UK 

Author M. G Buehrlen is stopping by this blog to answer some of my burning question. Visit again tomorrow !


 

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