Thursday 26 February 2015

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart

Book Blurb (From Goodreads)
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

My review: 
Well it looks like even though this was a re-read it did not make reading the ending any easier. To be honest I was sobbing, in public. Again. *Sigh* I will keep this review as spoiler free as humanly possible since you really need to go into this book without know anything and almost any information about it could be considered a spoiler. I think that the back should be enough of a summery of the book is enough information for what this book is about. 
The plot of this book, is slow. But not the usually borrowing slow. Slow as in the way of showing how people react to certain things and emotions. Slow to show how Cadence, our main character, process everything that she learns at any point in this book and turns it over looking for what it could possibly mean. It plays with the punishments of stupid and rash decisions.  
Cadence, was intelligent and strong. But also weak, stupid and fragile. To be honest she was just a person. She was relatable and her thoughts were dark and light at the same time. Her view on the world was just so different to anything that I have ever seen before. Gat was different an outsider but also open minded. This allowed him to view the world through larger eyes and absorb information like a sponge. He loved literature and Cadence. Johnny was funny had good humor and never took anything seriously. He was the light of this story, when everything was turning dark you could count on him to lighten up the mood, or at least try to. Mirrin was my favourite. She was snarky and always said what she thought. She argued a lot with everyone, but then felt guilt for it. 
This is probably one of the most beautifully written books again and I can read it over and over again and still spot things that I had never noticed before. 
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. 

Monday 23 February 2015

Richard Titus - "The Gift of the Quoxxel"

Recently I managed to interview Richard Titus, author of "The Gift of the Quoxxel"!

1) What inspired you to write "The Gift of Quoxxel"?

This was the process of "writing a story backwards."  First, you start with an illustration and then write a story around it.

It all started with this painting -- "The Return of the Quoxxel anticipated by the citizens of Nibb"  --   a 16 x 20 inch oil painting on panel finished in 2005.

I had no idea of a story when I did this painting, yet, the image suggested it represented a story “somewhere."  Apparently, it was up to me to find it. 
After much trial and error, I arrived at "The Gift of the Quoxxel.” 

2) Would you want to live in an island as peaceful as Nibb?

First, I'd like to talk about that notion of "peaceful" as a metaphor.  There's a perception (at least, in the western world) that the ideal life is calm, stable, and "peaceful."  Yet, what do we represent in the arts?  Usually, it's excitement, high emotions, challenge, risk and adventure.  In other words, almost anything antithetic to "peaceful" seems to represent our true aspirations.
Extremes of life, not the peaceful routine, seem to educate us about who and what we are.  And, if we're not on the planet to discover our true nature, then coming here could prove to be a wasted trip.
But to answer your question in a literal way, locales or situations a little "too peaceful" quickly put me to sleep.  The really exciting challenge in life is being awake.

3) Would you want a friend like Yill?
There's the idea of the court jester (a clown-entertainer-jokester) who would provide entertainment for the king and his court.  That was the simple explanation of his function.  His true skill, however, was his ability to influence the powers-that-be with sarcasm and satire under the guise of entertainment.  In other words, he could influence the king's concepts of almost anything in very subtle ways.  This is the idea of the Yill character.
One reviewer found this character very unlikable as his actions were interpreted as rather mean-spirited.  The real role of Yill was to help Norr break free from complacency. Even though he was mischievous, Yill always had good intentions towards others.
To answer your question -- yes, I would like to have a friend like Yill.  As a matter of fact, I do have friends like Yill and I'm thankful that from time to time they give me a good, swift kick in the complacency.  That's a best friend.

4) What books have influenced your life the most?
The White Hotel -- D.H. Thomas
Moon and Sixpence -- W. Somerset Maugham
The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) -- Hermann Hesse
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -- Robert M. Pirsig
Burr -- Gore Vidal

These are the top ones that come to mind.  Currently I'm reading short stories by P.G. Wodehouse.

5) What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I'm sketching out another story using Nibb as the setting.  Some of the characters of the first story will be there and other new characters will find there way to the island.
It will be more fantasy, lite sci-fi, and humor + new illustrations.
As King Norr said, "If you like that sort of thing, then that's the sort of thing you like."

Don't forget to check out my review for "The Gift of Quoxxel" here

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

My Review
I took a break from this series. And with a break I mean a long while, and with a long while I mean about a year. Don't look at me like that! I wanted to read something else and the book wasn't in the library when I wanted to read it.
Let's sum the basic plot (without spoilers of course) up. (I assume that you already read Shatter Me and Unravel Me). So basically, Juliette's skin is lethal and she has superhuman strength. She goes to Omega Point with Kenji and Adam and joins Castle to fight against he Reestablishment. While fighting, she got kidnapped and shot in the chest. A normal day in Juliette Ferrars life. Cool. In this book she wakes up in Warner's bedroom. That's all I can say without spoiling anything. The whole book completely changes your perspective about everything you have been told so far in the other books!
Let's move on to the writing style. In all of the books, the story is told out of Juliette's perspective. Since she was kept in an asylum for almost a year and was afraid of herself and getting noticed, her mind of course started breaking over time. That's why, in the first and second books, there was a lot of crossing out and the sentences were impossibly long. That leads us over to the extreme character development. In this book, Juliette becomes more confident and actually wants to fight back herself and she finally allowed herself to be angry. That caused the sentences in the book to be shorter, there are less metaphors and similes and there isn't any crossing out of words. And finally we also get to know Warner's motivations and what he is thinking. I don't know if I am the only one who feels like this, but I really liked Adam in Shatter Me, in Unravel Me I absolutely hated him and in this book I still hated him. So naturally, every time Juliette and Adam argued, I was smirking behind the book. I might be evil, I really enjoyed reading about those arguments. 
I really enjoyed reading this book. The only thing that was kind of unusual for me was the writing style, but you get used to it and as I said, the sentences finally get shorter in this book. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Thursday 19 February 2015

The Gift of the Quoxxel by Richard Titus

Book blurb (from goodreads) 
King Norr of Nibb was not content. He longed to know of the world beyond his tiny, island kingdom. Why travel elsewhere, said his people. What place could possibly be more perfect than Nibb? 
What frustrated Norr even more, outsiders never came to Nibb. Foreign ships approached, hesitated, then sailed away. Why was that? 
And that wasn't the only mystery. 

Who was the little girl who sang, but would not speak? 

What kind of monster lurked in waters along the shore? 

Had Dr Hinkus been devoured by woolly drumbkins? 

And most importantly, what’s for lunch? 

Drearily perfect Nibb was about to turn upside down. As King Norr often said, it's enough to give one "haddocks." 
-- illustrations 
-- interactive glossary 
-- audio links & sheet music 

My review: 
I think that there is only one word to describe this book: Different. I will admit that I was on the verge of a reading slump but when I went into this book it slowly brought me out of it. It was short, sweet, interesting, humorous and had strange and interesting characters. What more could you ask from a book? 
The plot was different; part of something I liked about it was that I never really understood what was going on. The first few chapters were confusing because you are just thrown right into this story but as each chapter goes on everything becomes a little bit clearer until you get to the last chapters and everything just clicks. I will admit that the plot was kind of slow at the begging but then it sped up, slowed down again and so on. It was like being on a roller coaster ride. 
The characters in this book were, like I said earlier, different, interesting not quite normal (but then again who really is?). King Norr was a curious character, interested by the world outside of his island with a lizard thing as a friend. Really what species is Yill? Yill was your typical annoying friend and that is all I can say without spoiling you. Gadd is a pirate with a range of traits making him interesting to read about because these traits made his actions unpredictable. 
Before I draw this review to an end, I would like to say how amazing the art was in this book and the effort that went into the layout. It really was amazing. 
Finally I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

Monday 16 February 2015

Boys in Books Tag

Hi there! Sorry that we have not posted in a while, we are almost done with our books and reviews should be up very soon.
But for now, we have been tagged by Megan from Books of Fascination  to do the Book Boyfriend tag, so lets get started!

1. Favourite romantic?
This took me a long time to decide, but I think I would go with Damen from the Immortals series. He really cared a lot for Ever and I think that it is really romantic.

Hmmm, this is hard but I think that I will have to go with Deamon Black from the Lux series. How he treated Katy in onyx and opal was just so sweet and romantic.

2. Favourite Dark and moody with a good side?
There are a lot of these kind of boys in my books. I would choose Akkarin from the Black Magician trilogy because at first he seems like the evil guy but then you can see him warming up to Sonea.
I think that I will pick, Cole from Alice in Zombie land. Not only did I love this book but I also loved Cole's character. Seeing him laugh or smile was a rare accurance but when he was with Alice you could really see him open up.

3. Favourite Paranormal? 
With paranormal I assume you mean werewolves and non-human beings, right? Well, in that case I would choose Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series. He is a damphir (half human, half vampire) and he is so awesome!
Well, I am just going to assume that Richelle Mead really knows how to write about paranormal boy because who I am picking is also part of the Vampire Academy series but he is part of the spin of series Bloodlines, in case you have not quessed yet I am going to go with Adrian. He is so laugh out loud funny, sweet and a Moroi (Vampire). How could you not like him? 

4. Boy that needs to be tamed? 
I know that this is a weird choice, seeing that this character wasn't romantically involved with anyone
but he was still really awesome. I choose the Jackal from the Oracle Prophecies, former Lord, part time tomb-raider. He is so mysterious and he also has these awesome moves and he can fight really well. I like him, but maybe that's just me.

I think that the obvious choice for this is Warner from the Shatter Me trilogy, and I feel like that is also my first choice so I will go with him.

5. Boy that was friend zoned?
So, as in you dumped your current favourite for the next best boy? Yeah, that isn't a hard choice. I think I would choose Blake from the Bandia series. Except that in the last book I really didn't like him anymore (I hated him) and I dumped him for Austin Montgomery. At the end of the series though I found that he would be an okay friend.
I'm going with Simon from City of Bones. Even though he is probably the cliche choice and almost everyone picks him, I will still pick him!

6. Your overall favourite?
Oh my god, oh my god! Newt, yes, definitely Newt. Newt from the Maze Runner Trilogy. He is so cute, yes, he is awesome and everything and... Ahhhhhh I'm fangirling right now!
I am going to say Four from Divergent, one o my favourite series of all time along with one of my favourite romances. Four is defiantly my favourite because Divergent was one of the first books which showed me what it meant to feel for characters.

7. WE DON'T WANT TO ANSWER THIS! you can't make us... :D

8.  Most trustworthy boy? 
I think that I would trust Torak (even though he wasn't really romantically involved in anything) from the Wolfbrother. I think that he is really trustworthy, he always tried to help others before saving himself. 
Chaol from Throne of Glass is the most trustworthy male character that I know. It would be a crime not to pick him. 

9. Boy with the best survival skills
Okay, I think that I would pick Evan Walker from The 5th Wave because his survival skills are awesome...until the end of the book. There he just has a death wish. But otherwise he is amazing with a rifle, he knows how to stay hidden and pretty much everything. 

I think that I will pick Cole from Branded. He doesn't really have all the skills but he does have the instinct and that counts, right? 

10. Most butt-kicking boy
I will pick Clark from Treasure Darkly by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek because Clark is amazing at fighting. He can shoot a gun with awesome accuracy and can do a roundhouse kick like a ninja! If that isn't butt-kicking, I don't know what is! 

I think that Callum from Reboot is my most but-kicking boy that I have read about. Even though he still isn't great and doesn't start of that why Wren still helped him become as he is today. 

That's it! Bellow you can find who we tagged, remember you
don't have to be tagged to do this! 
(We modified the questions in case you didn't notice. It is originally called
The Book Boyfriend Tag, to see the original question 
check out Megan's at Books of Fascination
-Laura from: Blue Eye Books
-Tanya from: A book Paradise
-Emily from: Jen's Bookiness

Sunday 15 February 2015

Blog Tour - Treasure Darkly by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek

Beware a Treasure Darkly…
(The stunning cover art is thanks to Amalia Chitulescu)
Seventeen-year-old Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe…until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead. A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.

And he is not alone. His new found sister, Amethyst, thinks that's rather dashing, until Horan kidnaps her, and all she gets is a bullet through her heart. When Clark brings her back to life, she realizes he's more than just street-smart - and he's not really a Treasure. Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark.

TREASURE DARKLY, book 1 of the Treasure Chronicles
This young adult novel is a dark mix of steampunk, the paranormal and romance in a “Wild West” setting. 
Below is an excerpt from TREASURE DARKLY.  You can read more on the Curiosity Quills Press website.
“Looks like he did drink it up.” The general client spoke from the right. “Must’ve interacted with all that bloody hertum. Look at ‘im, he’s bleeding already.”
“What’s it gonna do to him?” the guard from the morning asked.
“Lots of stuff.” The general laughed. “When he touches the dead, he’ll be able to bring them back, and exchange that life for another. Perfect soldier, huh? We only have one vial ready and I was going to give it to a lucky fellow. Guess it will be this boy.”
“Whatcha gonna do with him?” The guard snickered.
“Have to be a test subject,” the general said. “Sure thought it was that Judy who stole my bottle. Pity I killed her. She sure knew how to make my pecker sing.”
Clark’s mother.
Clark bolted off the ground and ran. He could hide in the hole under the shed behind the brothel. Mable never found him under there. He might be cursed with raising the dead—he’d already done that to the poor mine worker—but it didn’t mean he’d let them take him for tests.
You can read more about Amethyst Treasure in GEARS OF BRASS, a steampunk anthology from Curiosity Quills Press available now from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Our Reviews: 
***We received the eBook free as a review copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I was really looking forward to reading this book, as it is my first steampunk novel and I really hope that I am not the only one who thinks that the cover looks amazing. I can definitely say that this book did not disappoint me at all. In fact, I feel like I have found a gold nugget. 
If you look back at most of my other reviews, you would find that I would comment that the beginnings are mostly kind of dull and that you have to power through those bits to get to the good part. But in this book, you immediately get immersed in the story and gradually, piece by piece, you start to understand that world better. It is based on a Wild West society with a lot of technology.  In the very beginning, I already liked Mable because she was so cute, innocent and adorable. It took me some time to adjust to Clark but he is a very likable character, he has amazing survival skills and best of all, he can do a roundhouse kick! Also, unlike most main characters, he actually plans stuff out and doesn't go charging into a suicide mission. Anyway, he can bring people back from the dead! If he sees his friend die, no worries, help is at hand! That is really cool. Amethyst was really whiny at the beginning, but then she started learning survival skills and she actually tried to fight back at times. Her romance with Clark though was always a bit awkward for me and I found Amethyst a but to flirtatious, but otherwise she was a strong character. 
The plot itself is pretty exciting, I found it kind of funny how on every page, a fistfight escalated immediately into a gunshot. The action appeared on every page and that was part of the reason of what made the reader want to keep going. It is really cool, how everything lead to the final ending.
I really enjoyed reading this book, I never got bored reading it and really recommend it to people who enjoy paranormal, romance, a bit of Young Adult and a lot of adventure. I finally give it 4 out of 5 stars! 

I actually really enjoyed this book. I didn't get much time to read the book (three days to be exact) but I didn't need all of that time, it was a one sit read for me which left me extremely dazed afterwards.
The plot in this book was extremley unique. Before I read this I checked in my read list and saw that I had never read a steam punk book, which made everything exciting and new. The world building was one of the best I have ever seen. Jorden Mierek really took her time with every little detail and left nothing unexplained. The main character, Clark, at the begging of the book acquired the ability to guide the dead back to the living world which was pretty cool, although it was a tad bit confusing at the beginning about how the drink brought about these abilities it was gradually explained over time. This book was filled with short bursts of action which made it extremley exciting, and the action never dragged on. In fact in never thought that this book dragged on once, Jordan Mierek created a steady plot and a great ending which summed up the books events nicely.
The character were all well developed. Clark was smart, could defend himself and was likable. He always put everyone else's needs before his, he always thought through his actions and hardly ever made a stupid decision. Amethyst was, at the begging of the book, your typical maiden in distress which I hated and I knew that some serious character development was going to have to occur
for me to like her and it did. She learned how to shoot, ride and became more considerate of others. She turned for my least favourite character into my favourite.
Finally I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, is the author of ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, available from Curiosity Quills Press.  Check out Jordan’s website,, for contests and book signing locales.  Jordan is represented by Belcastro Agency and she is president of the Utica Writers Club.

No blog tour is complete without a giveaway. Enter below for a chance to win a paperback copy of GEARS OF BRASS. You can find the giveaway in the side bar to the right. 

Thursday 12 February 2015

Interview with Eliza Crewe

Eliza Crewe 
Hi guys! I sent Eliza Crewe an email with some questions on it about her book Cracked and about herself. She has very kindly taken the time to answer them so I will be posting her answers bellow. Enjoy!

1. What was you inspiration for Cracked? 
Cracked was actually inspired by the story I wrote right before it. The main character in that book was a timid little thing with no self-esteem. I love her, but after a few months in her head, I was ready for something radically different. I remember sitting on my porch very early in the morning, drinking coffee, and I heard Meda's creepy, lyrical thoughts as she plotted someone's death--the scene that eventually became Chapter 1. After I had her character established, I figured out the rest of the plot from there.

2. What would you like to be, Crusader or Demon? 
Neither!  I am a total wimp and wouldn't last a minute as either. If I was anyone in the book, I'd probably be Mags.

3. Are your characters bases of off anyone you know? 
Not really. I will say my best friend, Sam, is responsible for a lot of the funny lines--"Get out of my head!" was one of hers.  She's not a writer, but is naturally very funny. Whenever I hang out with her (which, sadly is not as often as I'd like!), I always end up jotting down a lot of notes in my "In the Pursuit of Funny" file, where I store funny lines/scenes to be used later.

4. Is there any advice that you can give to aspiring authors?

Get started! I was always interested in writing (and an insanely avid reader), but I always thought being an author was unattainable. I filled notebooks full of partial scenes, but I never got serious about writing until recently. I look back at some of the scenes I wrote when I was in middle school and high school, and while many are crap, some are imaginative in a way I don't think I could be again. If I'd started earlier, I also could also have taken advantage of the many opportunities that were available to me when I was in high school and college. For example, I still wouldn't get a degree in creative writing (I do like my "real career" after all!), but I would definitely take creative writing classes as an elective. So that's my advice--get started!

Don't forget to check out Cracked! You can find my review to it HERE

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines 6#) by Richelle Mead

8709528The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

My Review:
Imagine my surprise when I see this in my local bookstore 10 DAYS EARLY. As you can imagine it involved a lot of giggling, smiling and happiness. Lots and lots of happiness. After 10 minutes of texting Angelina and her calming me down I went to buy the book and then I just sat there, in the middle of the floor, reading. It did not disappoint (in most aspects). 
The plot of this book was not as intense as Silver Shadows but was just as exciting. Jill was taken and Lissa might lose her throne and Adrian and Sydney are married and there is a whole lot more in this plot which complicates things to the tenth degree which I can not talk about since I would be diving into the world of spoilers. This book was a page turner from start to finish and I found myself secretly reading past my bedtime (Sorry mum and dad!), and giving the book to Angelina during class so I paid attention to what was being said. My only complaint is that I was hoping for a more climatic scene at the end, if you read the book you will know what I am talking about. I felt kind of let down. However the twists and turns in this book and the accusations of who took Jill as the book plays out and the mystery is starting to get solved had my saying: "Really? Them again? I thought that we dealt with them books ago! Why can't anyone stay dead? The epilogue really does kill you mentally, be careful when you read it. It is complete perfection.  
Sydney is one of the coolest characters I 'know' to date. At the beginning of the series she was so easily controlled and followed the alchemists so blindly and disliked Mori, and now look and her! She is a bad-ass magic wielding, book reading Mrs Ivashkov. If that isn't some serious character development then please tell me what is.  She was always trying to convince Adrian to cut down on Spirit and I get where she is coming from but I think that sometimes she needed to step back and realize that Adrian knew what he was doing. That brings us nicely over to analyzing Adrian's character in this book. Where in the world did he learn to use spirit like that in this book? There was some major spirit wielding with some new things that we did not know he could do before. Can Lissa also do these things? Or does Adrian need to give her a little Spirit 101 class. Adrian's and Sydney's relationship was as cute as ever and I really do ship them. 
My final verdict on this book would be 5 stars because this series truly does get better as it goes along and if you haven't read Bloodlines yet or Vampire academy please do so. Very quickly.

Monday 9 February 2015

Thr Gift of Quoxxel by Richard Titus

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
King Norr of Nibb was not content. He longed to know of the world beyond his tiny, island kingdom. Why travel elsewhere, said his people. What place could possibly be more perfect than Nibb?

What frustrated Norr even more, outsiders never came to Nibb. Foreign ships approached, hesitated, then sailed away. Why was that?

And that wasn't the only mystery.

Who was the little girl who sang, but would not speak?

What kind of monster lurked in waters along the shore?

Had Dr Hinkus been devoured by woolly drumbkins?

And most importantly, what’s for lunch?

Drearily perfect Nibb was about to turn upside down. As King Norr often said, it's enough to give one "haddocks."

-- illustrations
-- interactive glossary
-- audio links & sheet music 

My Review
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review***

A lot of effort was put into making this book.
When I first saw this book, I kind of guessed already that it would be a humorous read - and I was not disappointed. There were definetly a lot of jokes in The Gift of Quoxxel, even the glossary had a sense of humour in it. It weren't the kind of jokes that would make you laugh out loud, but it was very amusing to read. The characters also had a great variety of different personalities. King Norr for example isn't the brightest, he believes everything that he is being told and sometimes I believe that he is terrified of his own surroundings. But then, he manages to be so gullible and stupid, that he crosses the line and it is actually funny. Queen Vayla on the other hand though, actually knows when she is being fooled, she is considerate and she is way more intelligent than her husband.
I found that in a lot of parts while reading this book, I was surprised at the turn of events. The plot has a lot of twists and turns, so many, that I got really confused. The beginning especially needed some more explanations and a bit more connection between the consecutive events. I think that maybe some of the confusion might have been intentional. Later on though, the story became more substantial and you could actually feel attached to the story.
I would like to comment on the effort and work that went into this book. First, as the island is called Nibb, Richard Titus created a Nibbian culture. He invented words and found interesting meanings for each of them. Because it is an ebook, there are links attached to each word, which are in the glossary. The pictures are also hand-drawn and they look cute, in some kind of way. Also, I was really impressed, that the author composed two songs for the book. At the back of the book, piano sheets are also included and you can listen to how the songs would sound when you click on a link beside the songs. I am really interested in trying out these songs on my piano! I just have to give extra points for that!
I enjoyed reading The Gift of Quoxxel despite the confusion and give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Thursday 5 February 2015

Laura Vanderkam - "The Cortlandt Boys"

Laura Vanderkam
I reviewed one of Laura Vanderkam's books called "The Cortlandt Boys". I asked her some questions and these are her answers:

1) What inspired you to write "The Cortlandt Boys"?
The basketball team at my first high school in Indiana won the state championship while I was there. Then, ten years later, the local newspaper wrote a “where are they now?” type story. Some of the boys were successful -- a few played in the NBA -- but others lived quieter lives. I started wondering what life would be like when the biggest thing to happen to you happened when you were 17 years old. The characters are completely different, and the town of Cortlandt bears no resemblance to the more mid-sized Hoosier town I lived in, but that’s where the germ of an idea came from.

2) What was the hardest part of writing this book?
I’m pretty efficient at writing drafts. But the edits on The Cortlandt Boys took a long time. I’d put the book away for a few months, then come back to it and see new things that would make it better. Then, after I thought it was as good as I could make it, I hired some professional editors to work on it. They in turn found other things that could be changed. The hardest part of writing this book was learning to trust the process. Eventually, a book will get better, even if you can’t see quite how to get there in the beginning.

3) What is your working (writing) schedule?
When things are going well, I get up before my kids and put in 30 minutes or so of getting organized for the day. I have breakfast with them, then sit down at my computer a few minutes after 8 a.m. I use the first few hours of the day to crank out rough drafts of articles or book chapters. I let myself return emails, make phone calls, and deal with scheduling matters after 10:30 a.m. or so. I break for lunch, then use the afternoon for editing and more phone calls, research, or writing easier things (like blog posts). I go for a run at some point in the afternoon, and break for the evening at 5:30 p.m. After dinner and family time, I might go back to work for another hour or so before bed. Of course, all this is in flux right now because I had another baby in January, so my schedule is dictated by my newborn’s. But eventually, I’ll get back to my old routines.

4) What would your reaction be if you were in the team with the Cortlandt Boys? Would you be stuck in the past like the rest of the boys?
I like to think I wouldn’t be, but I never had anything so big and life-changing happen to me in high school. Sometimes I lament that nothing else is as big as sports in many towns, but the upside of having different interests is that you can make your own way later on without the same baggage. The Cortlandt Boys did accomplish something amazing, but we live a good many years after high school. Like my heroine, Max, I’m glad I have something I’m still striving for.

5) What are you working on now? What is your next project?
My next non-fiction book, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most Of Their Time (, will be published by Penguin Random House on June 9th. This book is based on time diaries from 1001 days in the lives of professional women and their families. I look at how people who have it all really make life work. While the edits are mostly done, I look forward to promoting the book and sharing it with as big an audience as possible over the next year.

Don't forget to check out her book "The Cortlandt Boys". I have a review of it here

Moonchild by Ewa Zwonarz

Book Blurb (from Goodreads) 
In this coming-of-age tale that blends myth, mystery, and the magic of storytelling, we enter the world of a fifteen-year-old seeker named Eve. Growing up in rural Poland, Eve's small-town existence is radically transformed by a series of lucid dreams, influenced by the moon, in which she is exposed to Sariel, a fallen angel. Sariel's cryptic messages, and demands for Eve to free him, draw her deeper and deeper into an ancient story of love, loss, and redemption. Eve's desire to heed the callings of her inner-life are confronted and challenged by family secrets and growing dysfunction, and her increasing alienation from her peers at school. 

Determined to find out who she really is, and the truth about her family legacy, Eve undertakes a quest, guided by a strange boy who calls himself Punk, in which dreams and reality merge, and a buried past is brought into the light.

My review: 
It has been a long time since I have last posted, and that is because this book took me so long to read. What would usually take me four days ended up taking me almost two weeks. I was asked to review this book by the author and that will in no way effect my opinion on it. I really want to say that I loved this book since it is her first novel and I was asked to review it, but I didn't. 
The plot was a little bit over-complicated. It had a lot of things going on, but in the last section it all came together in some weird way which strangely worked, but up until then the book was a just a tad bit confusing, slow paced and hard to get through. We often got information too fast and it was at times repeated. However, there were also times where a explanation was desperately needed but we received none. In my opinion there are two types of confusion in a book: Intentional, and unintentional. Intentional confusion is what you might get in a mystery book, it is the author trying to throw you of track or make things less clear and confusion, making the reader want to continue reading to find out what happens, and there actually was some of that which is one of the things that kept me reading. Unintentional confusion often happens when an author either, has not explained something clear enough and never gets back to it, neglects to explain something, or there is a section in the book which just has poor writing. In this book there was often unintentional confusion caused by things not being explained well enough at the time, this happened on many occasions which made me almost put the book down but then again I still wanted to know what happens, so extra points there. 
Evelina is the key example of an extremely stupid main character. You have heard of and seen characters making stupid choices but you have never seen a main character make as many stupid mistakes or choices then her. As much as this frustrated me at the time I had to remember that this was, as it says in the book blurb, a coming-of-age story as well and that is usually the point in someones life where they make the most stupid and rash decisions. To me what justified these mistakes is the fact that Evelina did eventually learn from them, maybe not straight away but she got there  in the end which enforced some strong character development. 
I would recommend getting the e-book version of this book, only because the vocabulary is quite complicated in some areas and kindles and e-readers have dictionaries. 
Finally wish that I could rate this book higher but I am going to have to give it two out of five stars because it was so hard for me to get through and the plot sometimes frustrated me. The ending defiantly saved this book. 

Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1) by Josephine Angelini

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
Destiny brought them together.
The gods will keep them apart.

When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton meets Lucas Delos for the first time, she thinks two things: the first, that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life; the second, that she wants to kill him with her bare hands.
An ancient curse means Lucas and Helen are destined to loathe one another. But sometimes love is stronger than hate, and not even the gods themselves can prevent what will happen next...

My Review
OK, I admit it, I have a thing for Greek mythology (if you haven't guessed yet from all those Percy Jackson books). So, of course, when I saw this book, I thought that it would be very interesting for me to read another Greek mythology book. I was excited and happy to start reading it. If it weren't for my book rule to always finish a book, I would have stopped reading Starcrossed before the action.
Why? Well, I had several reasons... First, there was an awful lot of world building to be done, and there wasn't any action until almost 100 pages in. A lot of information was also poured into the story, so I was really confused during some parts of the book. I also found the writing style a bit childish, as if the teens like Claire tried to talk in the hippy teen language.
Otherwise, once the action came and things actually happened in this book, I enjoyed reading it. The action kind of made up for the beginning of the book. There was a lot of fighting near the middle and the end of the book. There was also a giant "Oh no!" moment three quarters of the book in. A lot of questions get answered near the end of the book.
The characters didn't have a lot of personality traits in the beginning, but then you can slowly see the different personalities. I also noticed, that everybody either hates Helen or loves her and lets her off the hook way too easily. Sometimes though, Helen is so thickheaded, that I wanted to scream at her in frustration for not understanding something. Claire and Hector were probably my favourite characters, Claire was kind of sassy and Hector was just a really nice guy beneath all of the tough guy act.
I thought that the romance between Lucas and Helen was a bit cheesy and a bit too "instant-love" for my taste.
Besides that, the book was good, there was something that kept me wanting to read more. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next book. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Catherine Fisher - "The Oracle"

Catherine Fisher
Hi! We managed to interview Catherine Fisher this time, author of "The Oracle"! Here are her answers:

1) What inspired you to write "The Oracle"?
The inspiration behind the Oracle was that I had been reading a lot of Greek history and literature and I had visited Greek temples. So I decided to write a book that would be set in a hot desert place, and also to use Egyptian themes and motifs. it was really interesting to enter that world.

2) Are the characters based on your life and how did you come up with their names?
The characters are definitely not people from my life! The names are a mixture- Mirany should really be spelled Myrrhene, and Chryse is greek for golden. Others like Seth and Kreon are real names and some like Argelin  and Oblek I made up.

3) What books have influenced your life most?
The books that influenced me were things like The Lord of the Rings and the fantasy fiction of the 1970s in Britain- people like Alan Garner and William Mayne. Also older stuff like Alice in Wonderland and Treasure Island. Reading these books made me want to become a writer.

4) What would your reaction be if you woke up one morning and found out that you were the Archon?
If I found I was the Archon I would be pretty worried! But I would try to make my world better.

5) What are you working on now? What is your next project?
The project I am working on now is a four book set called The Chronoptika Quartet. It mixes time travel and strange faery creatures. The first two books are called The Obsidian Mirror and The Box of Red Brocade (in the US The Slanted Worlds). The 3rd book comes out tomorrow in the UK and is called The Door in the Moon. I hope you will try it!

Don't forget to read her book "The Oracle"! We have a review on it here.