Friday, 8 August 2014

Here, There Be Dragons Review

A few months ago, all of the books that I wanted to read either already read, had too long a request at the library, or weren’t released yet (this is, of course, ignoring the ever-growing pile of to-read books in my room). So I turned to my friend Pulsarax on Tumblr and ended up borrowing a number of books – one of which was Here, There Be Dragons.
Here, There Be Dragons is a fantasy novel written by James A. Owen. It was published a while back in 2006 and is the first book in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. I’m not usually much of a fan for books that don’t take place in a modern setting, but I was lent this book with the promise of allusions to various mythology, so how could I refuse?

I am very glad this book was recommended to me. One of the things I usually dislike about fantasy that is set anywhere other than modern times on earth is a combination of the fact that realistic human development and that there is normally a formula of how things happen. Someone seems normal (for whatever creature they are), they accidentally get dragged into a mess that they didn’t originally anticipate, and then go on some form of the quest. While this book did follow that structure, there was enough happening that it didn’t seem drawn out or long winded.

The first thing that stood out was, of course, the allusions to mythology. Folklore, Greek, Arthurian... They were all intricately woven into the book where it didn’t harm the understanding if you get the reference, but made a good joke if you did.

The plot itself moved quickly. It was a little difficult to get into, like most books, but sped along once you got past the first chapter or two. I personally love how the author chose to take a plot that could have extended for a trilogy (cough Tolkien cough – not hating on the series, of course) and put it into one book. I have very little attention span as it is, so the fact that it went by so quickly was practically a gift.

On the other hand, the faster the book moves, the less detail there is. While I did love the characters, there was something lacking about them. It is only the first book in the series, so there is most certainly a lot more that can be delved into (I’ve only recently started the second one), but even so, the characters weren’t too relatable and were somewhat flat.

I give this book a four out of five. There were some things about this book that I didn’t like, but they were drowned out by how amazing other parts were. There is also a major plot twist at the end of the book that had me staring at the page in shock. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fairly quick and easy fix of fantasy with a book that’s very easy to get into and will leave you hooked until this end. 

Friday, 1 August 2014

City of Heavenly Fire Review

This review is going up really late and I’m so sorry about that! I read the book the week it came out and then completely forget that I was going to write a review on it (I also forgot to write my cover analysis of Blood of Olympus because the blogger mobile app wasn’t working quite right. I’ll get that up soon, hopefully!)

So, City of Heavenly Fire. How do I begin to describe this book? This book is flawless. Well, as close to flawless as a book can get. It was the perfect conclusion to The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. From the action to the suspense to the character development, all of it was on point and kept me hooked until I finished the book (which may have been a very bad thing, considering my copy had arrived during finals week). Not to mention the fact that this book is huge! It's 725 pages in the US edition, which is even longer than Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz (which is a giant itself - and I highly recommend it).

The plot, oh my. I have virtually no words to describe it. Whatever I was expecting from this book, it wasn’t that. It was better. There isn’t much I can say about the plot itself without spoiling anything (and as you should know if you’re a regular BLB reader, my blog is entirely spoiler free), but I can say that there are a lot of twists – some of those ending happily, others ending in intense feels. Most of the loose ends have been tied up, though there is an introduction to some new characters that will be appearing in The Dark Artifices.

And let’s not forget the characters. Though the timeline in the series is only about six months, I feel like all the characters have grown up and matured since the first book. The character development is amazing. This is especially true for Alec who, to be honest, kind of bored me until this book. But now we get to see more of the character than just small glimpses and oh my god he is insanely sassy.

Speaking of Alec, this book in particular has to be one of the few books in pop culture that is not specifically in the LGBTQ+ genre, but actually includes decent representation that goes beyond “that one gay character.” And yes, this is something that has been in all of the books to date, but there is more of it here (the exception might be the Bane Chronicles, which is entirely from the perspective of a “freewheeling bisexual” warlock). That, and the fact that there is still a clear reflection between how society looks at the subject of sexuality and how the Clave looks at it (as in, it’s gotten more accepting).

Overall, I am giving this book a five out of five. Yes, a perfect score! There were no extremely awkward parts to read in terms of poor writing. The characters were all well developed. The book held me right to the end with its perfection. A quick word of warning is that there is an implied sex scene as well as some moderate violence, but come on. If you’ve gotten to this book, it’s all the same stuff that has happened in the previous books.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Second on the Right review + swag

2014 seems to be the year of classic fairytales. They seem to be appearing everywhere, from TV programmes like Once Upon a Time to literature. I’m seeing the stories of mermaids and Peter Pan and Snow White just about everywhere. I’m not sure if it was Frozen that got everyone into the spirit or if it’s just another switch in literature.

Second on the Right, by Elizabeth Los, provides a unique twist to the original stories of Neverland. I can’t say too much on the plot without giving it away, but I’ve never seen anything like it before. It is told from multiple perspectives and constantly switches between the 17th and 21st centuries. Folklore? You got it. Time Travel? You got it. It’s an interesting mix.

The overall plot of this book was interesting. I haven’t seen this exact type of story before, which is extremely rare for me. It was difficult to skim simply because there was so much happening. I had started to drift off while reading (mostly because it was around midnight) and when I came back into focus, I had no clue what was going on. This is definitely a book you need to be at least somewhat conscious to read.

I have recently stumbled into the world of not-so-impressive writing skills, so this was a nice change from that. The book is grammatically correct and didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. The vocab wasn’t overly impressive, but Los successfully developed the pirate jargon and kept it consistent throughout the book.

While the overall plot may have been good, there were a few things that weren’t so good. The first is that for the first half of the book, I was in a state of confusion and boredom. It took about halfway through the book for things to start to pick up, and even then, I was still pretty confused as to what was going on.

Romance was also a large portion of the book, which I hadn’t been expecting. I won’t say that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I certainly didn’t expect it. What was bad about the romance, though, was that it was very... sudden. In the words of Queen Elsa from Frozen, “you can’t marry a man you just met.” While there was no marrying at first sight, I felt like some of the romance moved too quickly. Also, there was a heavy importance placed on being married that honestly just made me cringe. Parts of the book were like a bad Hallmark film.

Characterisation is an important aspect of this book. One of the main characters, Eileen, started off very dull and dry and weak to the point where I nearly wanted to stab my eyes out. Her character did improve throughout the book, though the underlying personality was still painful to read through certain parts. James, a character who bored me out of my mind for the first half of the book, also rounded out by the end of the book.

Overall, the book was okay. There were definitely some parts that I enjoyed in it, but there were also a lot of parts that I didn’t. A quick warning is that there are some slightly sexual themes in the book, and while I don’t consider it to be a big thing, there is also considerable alcohol consumption. I’m not sure if this book is young adult or not, which if it’s not, the warnings are definitely not much of anything.

You can find the book in both paperback and ebook form on Amazon here

Now time for the giveaway! You'll have a chance to win some really cool stuff, including some items mentioned in the book as well as a copy of the book in ebook format!

Sending out a HUGE thank you to Bit’N Tours and author Elizabeth Los for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Second on the Right release!

Second on the Right is a fantasy novel by Elizabeth Los. She spent several years polishing the story in order to provide a high quality product to the public. This is her first professionally published novel, though she has produced short stories, one of which will be published in an anthology. Elizabeth uses writing as therapy, her release from everyday stress. At night, after work and once the children are finally tucked in bed, for the fifth time, she sits at her laptop and lets her imagination flow.

Summary: Spawned from an ancient promise, treachery and intrigue follow the protagonists through our world and one lost to the waves. Bound by an invisible bond, they are thrust into a fantastical world of pirates and demons.

James Benedict is a just man haunted by evil. Pushed to the edge, everything stripped from him, a new man arises... a man whose name strikes fear into the hearts of all who hear it: "Captain Hook".

Eileen Davis was a timid woman. Through a fateful cruise she finds herself in the company of the Captain of the Mistral Thief. With his guidance, and the meddling of the local barista, she eventually finds her inner strength.

Will the two of them unite through time to fulfil the promise of their ancestors or will tempers ignite leading all to failure?

Excerpt: The night grew its darkest, just before dawn, when every man aboard the Mistral Thief heard a strange triumphant crow. Benedict shot up with a start.  Recognizing the familiar sound, he grabbed hold of his sword and burst out onto the deck. He could make out the figure of the boy, Peter.

He heard the sound of his crew, spooked by the noise of what shouldn’t be on board a ship. They scurried to light the deck lamps. As the light grew stronger, Benedict could see more clearly a petite figure on the mast, hands on hips, weapon at the side. Glancing back to the deck, he saw James coming from below. Benedict decided to hold off on approaching the figure, knowing of James' desire for revenge. He kept a watchful eye, fully aware of James' tendency to act on impulse.

"Peter," James said in a low growl. "Show yourself!" he shouted.

“That crow. I’ve heard that before,” Benedict commented.

Peter alighted onto the railing with such ease and grace it irritated James. He gave a slight bow, as if observing the niceties. Pulling one of two bags from his belt, he held it up in his hand. James held the sheath of his sword with his hook, struggling only momentarily to hurriedly unsheathe it.

Peter laughed and shook his bag, "Need a hand?" He laughed even more, causing chills to run through James.

James advanced towards him, but stopped short. Peter had reached into the bag he had been holding and had removed a rotting hand, with fingers missing. It was all too familiar to James: his right hand. James and Benedict cringed, disgusted at the sight.

Peter tossed it at James, who jumped back in disgusted. The splat of soft, wet flesh hit the wood, matching the feeling in the pit of their stomachs. Laughing, Peter spun up in flight, and landed back down on the deck, retrieving the hand. Pieces had been left behind from its initial fall.

"No? Much happier with a hook, are we? You're welcome," he sneered. "There’s one who would appreciate a hand, yours, in fact." He floated to the railing to glance at the waters below. "Come, take a look. I promise I won't bite," he grinned, taking several steps away to allow James to draw near.

James and Benedict cautiously took a glimpse. What they saw was the shadowy shape of an enormous crocodile.

James said to him, “Impossible.  They can't grow that large, can they?”

Benedict had no response. He had never seen one that large. In the water, the crocodile, nearly twenty meters long, ticked and hissed. The sounds were eerily similar to a clock.

Benedict and James peered down again at the beast. The crocodile thrashed and clawed its way partially up the side of the Mistral Thief. Sweat dampened James’ brow. Benedict looked at Peter, who was now dangling the remaining portion of what he assumed was James' right hand over the side of the ship. The crocodile leapt from the water, greatly desiring either the hand of James or James himself.
Both James and Benedict cringed, though it was James that moved away from the railing. The scratching of the crocodile's claws on the side of the ship seemed to make him tremble. Peter laughed maniacally, and tossed James’ hand to the crocodile.

“You’ve been using it for bait?” James looked at Peter, horror and disgust evident on his face. “This is all a game to you.”

Pan. He hasn’t aged. Should I tell James? Benedict thought. His eyes shifted in James’ direction. He needs to know.

James pointed his sword at Peter. "What do you want?" He shouted.

Peter unsheathed his knife, circling around the deck. James followed suit. Occasionally, Peter would tap the end of his sword. However, Benedict knew James was a man of indomitable courage. James held his sword steady, firmly in his left hand, his hook slightly hidden behind him. His eyes were cold as steel. At that moment, James appeared to be in complete control of his emotions and actions. Benedict couldn’t help but beam proudly at what he had done for James.

"What do I want?" Peter asked himself thoughtfully. He looked back at James, his eyes glowing faintly red. "I want you to pay," but he stopped. "Then again, perhaps you are suffering a bit. After all, I'm finding your son to be a delicious addition to my lost boys." He ended this with a slight hiss.

“I’ve done nothing to you,” James replied. “I believe you’re the one that will pay for taking my family.”
Benedict subtly moved closer to James. He could see how the boy was manipulating James, using the loss of Eileen and Robbie to rile him to the point of pure rage. Benedict knew all too well how easy it was to make James angry.

"Jas," he said in quiet warning, seeing James' shoulders rise and fall more frequently.

James voice wavered, “What are you?"

Benedict hesitated to offer his knowledge. What would it serve but to merely fan the flame the boy had started. Quietly he said to James, "Me thinks he's Pete, a boy I met years ago. Feeds off humans."
"Explain, please," James murmured to Benedict, not taking his eyes off Peter.

"Not quite o’ changeling. Thought ta be mere legend, but I’d seen it with me own eyes. A powerful creature, though from what world, I'm not sure. Feeds off tha young, slow and sure ta stay alive. No doubt, yer boy be one he's feedin' on," he explained.

Peter held a penetrating gaze at Benedict. "Oooohh. You're a rather smart one, aren't you? But I am at a disadvantage. You seem to know me, but I do not recognize you." The boy’s face scrunched up in contemplation until he seemed to have an epiphany, “The one who set me free! You’re so…old!”
James looked over at the captain. “You set him free?” he whispered angrily. “Why am I not surprised?”
Benedict did his best to avoid eye contact. He knew he would have to explain all of this later. Perhaps he’ll forget. Not likely though.

"It's true." Peter said with a grinned. "I did feed on her. The red hair had to go." He made a violent motion as he spoke.

"Jas," Benedict warned, seeing James tense, the muscles in his jaw tightened.

James waved him off, stepping forward.

Peter continued. "Her white skin, so soft and supple. Her screams of terror and pain, delicious. Oh, she was wonderful!" He paused for a moment, then finished, "Particularly the chewy center within." With the last sentence, his wicked eyes fell on James.

James screamed in anguish. He charged for Peter. Benedict reached out to stop him, but he was too slow. Peter flew up to the top of the mast. James, whose momentum had gotten the better of him, teetered at the rail. The crocodile waited eagerly below. James grunted in an effort to push himself back.
Peter howled in laughter, pointing, mocking and pantomiming actions as if he were James falling over the railing. James ran to the ropes, set to climb. Benedict shouted, but James didn’t hear. Not being heeded, he and a few crewmen pounced on him, holding him down.

"Take him ta me quarters!" he barked at the bo'sun. They held James, who thrashed violently. It took five men to drag James into the captain's quarters and slam the doors shut. Benedict addressed Peter, "Ye best be leavin' now, or ye be facin' my wrath."

Peter shrugged off the threat. "I have no quarrel with you, old man." He jumped off the mast, floating high above. "Tell him I'll be waiting, in Neverland." And he flew off.

Benedict rubbed his sore eyes. "I'm gettin' too old fer this."

At his quarters, Benedict’s hand stopped at the door. James' screams of rage could be heard from within. Benedict opted to take his time. Making a course adjustment, he continued towards El Tiburón.

Amazon: Coming Soon

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Iron Trial Cover + Excerpt

Cassandra Clare, the author of The Mortal Instruments, and Holly Black, most known for the Spiderwick Chronicles, have teamed up to write a new book series titled The Magisterium. 
I'm not sure who the artist for the cover is, but they did an amazing job!

The series follows a boy named Callum Hunt as he and other students study at Magisterium, an academy for magic. There will be five books in the series, each one taking place a year apart in Call's life. The Iron Trial is the first book in the series.

From the prologue, this book seems very promising and I can't wait to read the rest. The series is aimed at middle readers - the same category as Percy Jackson.  The Iron Trial will be available in the US the 9th of September.

You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sun Damage + Giveaway

Would you look at that cover? It's absolutely gorgeous! Sun Damage is the third book in the Sunshine series by the wonderful Nikki Rae, following Sunshine and Sun Poisoned. 

Life wasn't what Sophie was expecting, so why should death be any different? She’s come back from swimming between the two, and every problem she left is still there. And then some. There’s the human world, where she has a brother on the verge of ruins, band mates all set to go on tour, and people she thought she wouldn't be seeing for a long time showing up. Then there’s her new world, where she’s seeing and hearing things that should not be heard or seen. Where Myles knows more about her than she could have ever guessed. She still doesn't know exactly why Michael is tormenting her, but somehow, everything is connected. The monsters are closing in on all sides and the question is, will Sophie be able to defeat them before it all ends?

Sun Damage will be released on the 28th, available on both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Find more about the book and the author:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Logan Lerman is leaving Percy Jackson?

I know I'm posting more news than I am reviews, and I'm so sorry for that, but so much has been happening lately! And a lot of that stuff is in the Percy Jackson fandom.

According to MTV, Logan Lerman is leaving the Percy Jackson franchise to further his career. On the other hand, this does come from MTV and the quotes seem to be taken slightly out of context. I do hope that the future movies do come out, even if Logan is replaced by a new actor for Percy. I don't exactly believe every word is written (especially if I don't hear it straight from the actor themself with no censoring).

The full MTV article is here, if you want to read it for yourself.

Divergent Movie Review

Last Friday, the film adaptation of the novel Divergent by Veronica Roth was released in cinemas in the states. It was directed by Neil Burger, who is also known for The Illusionist and Limitless.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the average critic rating is at 40% who thought it was good. I’m actually rather surprised at how low that rating is, though I can’t say that I generally trust the website for if films are good or not.

In my opinion, coming from the perspective of the book, this movie is one of the best adaptations of a book to date. Granted, I haven’t read the book in over a year, but it was pretty damn good. It follows the plot shockingly close (we all remember the Percy Jackson flop), which I haven’t seen since Harry Potter.

I’m not going to lie, there were some changes from the book. It wasn’t a carbon copy. The main difference from what I could tell was that Uriah, Marlene, and Zeke were all cut out from the film. I know that the fandom was in an uproar when this was found out, and I’m not exactly trying to defend the movie here, but speaking from personal experience I found it was difficult to keep track of the characters in the book. It would be just as difficult if not even more so to keep them straight in a movie. So in that sense, I understand the change. There is also the fact that the ending was tweaked slightly to include the fight scene and some of Tris’s fear landscapes were absent. Also, small detail, but the Erudite weren’t wearing glasses. I honestly don’t know why I remember that.

The biggest problem I had with this movie was the use of green screens. They were used multiple times in the movie and those scenes felt a little too 2005ish for my tastes (and does anyone else remember Alex Rider?).

There was a lot of hype about the lead actors – and by hype, I mean hate. Shailene Woodley and Theo James, playing Tris Prior and Four respectively, had a lot of the fandom up in an angry uproar. Shailene didn’t look “Tris” enough for the part. Theo wasn’t hot. And granted, from the stills, that seemed to be the case. But when I actually saw them in action, I was in for a shock. Their acting was perfectly spot on for the characters. Tris was timid with that adventurousness and curiosity about her. Four started off cruel and cold, only to warm up to Tris. It really was a good job on their part, and on the part of the casting crew (Venus Kanani and Mary Vernieu).

Coming from my friend, who hadn’t read the books, the movie held good entertainment value. I obviously couldn’t weigh in on this because I was so focused on similar it was to the novel. In her view, though, the film was on the long side and dragged on in places. The two hours passed without me noticing, though without already knowing the plot beforehand, I would have probably gotten a bit bored.

Overall, I would give this movie a 5 out of 5. Granted, there were imperfections, but there literally isn’t a single movie without them. I have not had this much pride in a film adaptation ever in my life. From the casting to the accuracy to the book, it was obvious that the screenplay writers and the director had actually read the book (something that is very questionable in other movies). So kudos to this movie for being one of the best of its kind (dare I say it was even better at accuracy and entertainment than Catching Fire).

Monday, 24 March 2014


If you haven't heard of John Green by now, you've probably been living in a hole that has no wifi. The acclaimed author of The Fault in Our Stars (which has a film coming out the 6th of June - review of the book here) just announced on Twitter that his 2008 novel Paper Towns will be made into a movie!
Paper Towns has to be my favourite book by John Green. You can read a review of it here. The film will be starring Nat Wolff as Quentin Jacobsen and John Green will, in fact, be the Executive Producer.

Friday, 21 March 2014

The Mortality Doctrine: The Rule of Thoughts Cover Reveal

If you've been following my blog from the beginning, then you should know that one of my favourite books is The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (also know for the Maze Runner, which currently is being made into a film. Trailer here). The second book in The Mortality Doctrine finally has a cover!
I do rather like this cover. It doesn't give away too much about what may or may not happen in this book, but it is rather interesting. The contrast between the warm and cool colours do well to juxtapose the difference between the digital world and the real one (though in this series, the difference between the two is a blurred line). The art itself is brilliant, credit going to Stephanie Moss (At least, I think so. She did the cover for the first book). I can't wait until this book is released!

What's your opinion on the cover? What are you looking forward to most in this book?

Monday, 17 March 2014


Finally, after the movie being pushed back months, we have gotten our trailer!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is the first book in self-titled trilogy. I highly recommend all you cranks to go read it as soon as possible. From what I can tell from this trailer, the movie is going to be highly accurate to the book - an absolute first for a YA book-to-film adaptation in a long while (not naming any names but, erm, *cough* Percy Jackson *cough*). Not to mention the insanely hot Dylan O'Brian, who plays as Stiles in the MTV show Teen Wolf, has the lead role of Thomas. I honestly cannot wait for this film to come out!

The Maze Runner will be released in cinemas in the US on 19th September.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Five New Percy Jackson Covers!

If you remember from Monday, I posted about how the Percy Jackson and the Olympian's books are getting a whole new look. If you want to go check out that post, it is here.

So, without further ado, here are the new covers!

As you can see, when the books are put together both cover-to-cover and spine-to-spine, they form these pictures that span across all of the books. Quite a clever idea (and a good marketing technique, since I'm seriously considering buying another set of these books - In my defence, my copy of The Lightning Thief is starting to quite literally fall apart). 

These covers to bear similarities to their original counterparts, though they are a bit more sketchy in style and much more detailed. And they're no longer monochromatic. It may be just me, but the art style reminds me vaguely of the original UK covers for these books, at least colour wise. No news on when these new covers will be up for sale.

So what do you think of these new covers?

After the Fear Review

I had After the Fear waiting, unread, on my tablet for the past few months. Only recently, when I was going through my emails did I remember it and decided why not read it? I haven’t anything better to do. And let me tell you – that was one of the best decisions of my life.

After the Fear by Rosanne River’s takes place in a dystopian society in which England has to pay of the “debt”, which they do by holding these events called demonstrations. If someone breaks the law, they get thrown into a demonstration. This book follows the perspective of a younger heroin named Sola. It sounds quite like the Hunger Games when you talk about it, but trust me. It’s better.

First of all, there is a well-written, strong female protagonist in this novel. I’ve found it difficult to find books that realistically portray a female lead, and River’s got it perfect in one. Sola faces not just issues that exist only in this fictional world, but also ones that regular teenage girls face, such as drama. But that drama doesn’t take over the book and there’s still plenty of action to go around.

I see the comparison to the Hunger Games, but the two books are not the same. There is fighting in an arena, but in After the Fear it’s more Roman gladiator style verses attempting to live in a strange yet controlled environment. The plots are also entirely different. This book is much less of a story leading up to a rebellion and war and more about the main character dealing with things as they’re thrown at her. She does find out about what the government is doing, but for once, there’s a main character who actually thinks better about striking back at full force.

The setting in this novel is fairly creative. It took England and twisted it around. Cities stayed cities, but the names were changed and the style of cities did too. No one could leave or enter them and, while some of that is standard practice in dystopian novels, the way River’s went about it and the setting she used as the base was fairly interesting.

There is also a political base to this novel as well. It talks about debt and, similar in this sense to Anthony Horowitz’s Oblivion, takes an issue from today and escalates it to how it might be in the long run if nothing is done. It was a creative approach and the plot twist in the novel really ties it in to modern day.

Overall, I give After the Fear a five out of five. I can’t find much fault with the book and I can see myself coming back to this book multiple times to reread. It easily made my top five favourites of all time, and it’s fairly difficult for a book to place there. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a bit of action that also satisfies their dystopian society needs. I would also recommend it to any Hunger Games fan. The romance in this novel is fairly minimal as well, so while there is some, it is not sickeningly so. The only warning I have about this novel is that there is a lot of killing, and that could possibly make someone uncomfortable or be a bit of a trigger warning. But overall, this book is brilliant and I highly recommend it.

Monday, 17 February 2014

New Percy Jackson Covers? Lightning Thief reveal

It was announced about a week ago on the Percy Jackson facebook page that the series would be getting a new look (which I hope doesn't affect the cover of Blood of Olympus because if that cover doesn't match the rest...). The new covers are planned to be released all this week, starting today with The Lightning Thief. According to the press release "[Fans will] find out that when these new paperback book are lined up side by side by side, they will reveal one amazing panoramic mural."

These covers are all going to be done by the same artist who has been doing the covers of the US editions since the very beginning: John Rocco (I went off about him in my House of Hades review, which you can read here).

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for. Drum roll please....

Opinions? Leave them in the comments!

Sneak peak at a new story by Rick Riordan

Do you remember the Son of Sobek where Rick Riordan crossed over Percy Jackson and The Kane Chronicles? Well,  he's doing it again! This time with Annabeth and Sadie. The short story will be called The Staff of Serapis and, per usual, take place in New York. It will be released on the 8th of April in the US paperback edition of Mark of Athena, and sometime after that will be available as a separate ebook. It about 60 printed pages long, according to Riordan's blog.

Click here for the sneak peak at the new story!

Thrill To Kill Review + Giveaway and Interview

Yvonne K Anderson is a new author who published her very first novel Death Toll: A Thrill to Kill, which will be available here on Amazon as of 25th February. And don’t forget: There is a giveaway for a PDF copy of the novel at the end!

Synopsis: Alice, a girl from Hamilton, Ontario finds out she has a special power, it's the power to kill someone without touching them. All she has to do is utter a certain word and visualize who she wants to kill and how it happens. Follow Alice as she discovers these new powers and something even more sinister. Can she be stopped?


Is this your first novel?

This is not my first novel, but it is the first to be completely edited and finished.

What was the most difficult part of getting it published?

The most difficult part about getting it published is finding a publisher, especially in Canada

Do you plan to continue writing?

I most definitely plan on continuing to write. It is my passion. I’m working on the second book in the series right now.

What did you enjoy most about writing the book?

I enjoyed writing out of my genre and really working on developing the story.

Did you have a specific place or a certain time that you wrote?

Most of the time I was at home when writing and I pretty much wrote when I got an idea, which was pretty much all the time.


Review time!

A Thrill to Kill has a lot of potential. The idea behind the book is extremely unique and, to be honest, that was what kept me going through the book. The idea of someone being able to kill with basically just their mind is something I don’t think I’ve seen but maybe once before.

On the other hand, the writing was a bit lacking. The story moved by incredibly fast due to the lack of detail in describing what was going on. I had to make sure I read every word of every line to make sure that I caught everything that was happening. For people who read like that normally, this book is perfect for them. It is also a fairly short read, so if time is not on your side and you just want to have a short little read, I would highly recommend this.

The characters also could be pushed a little further. There is not too much in the line of development and some of the characters seemed to act almost exactly the same. Also, the actions that some characters do really don’t make any sense. There is very little leading up to why certain characters do certain things.

Overall, this book was okay for a first novel. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t finish it. Anderson has a long ways to go still before she reaches the best that she can be, and the only thing that can help that is practice and time. I hope the second book in The Death Toll is a lot better.

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Friday, 31 January 2014

Allegiant Review

In the weeks leading up to the publication of Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent series, there was a huge amount of hype. It was trending on Twitter and consumed Tumblr in the days before the publication. When the book was finally released, it was devoured by fans.

Photo source Here

Only for people to find out the book was absolute rubbish.

I have read a lot of terribly written books in my lifetime, and Allegiant is one of them. The first book, Divergent, was fairly good. I enjoyed it enough to continue on to the second book. Insurgent was a bit of a chore to read, but I still did manage to finish it. Allegiant made me lose all faith in the series.

What was with the writing style, first off? Some authors have managed to pull off the idea of switching perspectives between characters, but Veronica Roth has not. While reading the book, it was extremely easy to become confused as to whether you were reading from Tris or Tobias’ view. Their internal voices were very similar – so similar, in fact, that when Tobias was kissing a girl I had thought it was from Tris’ perspective only for Tris to walk into the scene. It was very poorly written. On top of that, the writing itself was very basic. First person present tense is not my favourite, and this book is the reason why. The sentence structure was very simplistic and the diction was incredible basic. The plot may have been creative, but the poor writing drowned all of that out and made it very difficult and almost dry to read. There was no emotion in the writing either.

Characterisation, or rather, lack thereof, was extremely prominent. Tris lost any and all of the personality she’s gained in the previous book and ended up as a blank slate of emotionlessness. If she did have emotion at any point in time, it didn’t affect the reader I the slightest, leaving them indifferent. Same goes for Tobias. He discovers something shocking about himself, and while I expected him to have a more dramatic reaction, he only grew slightly more angsty and followed along with what another character was doing.

The plot itself was unrelated, to put it nicely. This book contradicted and made everything that happened in the previous books irrelevant. The idea behind that isn’t terrible, but it was so poorly executed that any positive that would have come from it was counteracted by the fact that the book just wasn’t written well. Even if there’s a good idea behind a book, if the writing and the characters are poorly done, there is no way the plot could excel. You can’t have one thing without the other.

Death should normally hold some meaning and usually, if it’s a major character, shock and upset the reader. This isn’t always true, but there’s a difference between offering foreshadowing for a symbolic death and just killing off character because there was literally nothing else to add in. Not saying which characters die, but the deaths are pointless in this book. It serves to add nothing to the plot – not even closure at the least. Its only purpose was to shock the reader in the ending and leave the fans of the series completely disappointed.

I give this book a one out of five. It offers a conclusion to the series, yes, but it’s a rubbish one and you would be better off reading fanfiction instead. The ending of the book is not a good ending (again, trying to stay spoiler free here), and while the other books felt like they were leading up to something, this one wasn’t. Overall, the book was just poorly planned out and poorly written. No one should read this book. It really is not worth your precious time.

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Social Code Review

Everyone at some point in time has gone to a bookstore to pick up a specific book only to leave with something completely unexpected. This happened to me the other day, resulting in me grabbing The Social Code as my newest read.
photo source here
The Social Code (originally published as The Start-Up in 2011), by Sadie Hayes, takes place in the sunny Silicon Valley. It’s about two orphaned twins, Adam and Amelia Dory, who both received scholarships to go to Stanford University. Amelia is a computer nerd with incredible coding skills, while Adam has an impressive business sense. It’s told from the perspective of numerous characters – not just the main two characters. It’s the first book in the series The Star-Up, which currently has two books released. The original version of the series has a third book to it, but it’s only available as an ebook and is noticeably shorter (as are all the books in the original publication of the series).

The plot was basically Gossip Girls, but with hacking. From the back of the book, it had sounded mildly interesting. Personally, I’m a pretty big fan of books that involve technologically competent characters. What I hadn’t expected was a book that about the rich or the ones trying to become rich. There were more scandals that happened in this book than there is in an episode of daytime television. If I wanted that, I probably would have gone to watch daytime television.

There was a surprising bit of a plot twist, but it happened within the last 100 pages and by the time I reached it, I was starting to get really bored of the book. The pace of the book was a bit too fast, leaving out a lot of detail even with showing the novel from the perspective of just about every character mentioned.

Most of the characters are fairly generic in the book. You have your ambitious, you have the ones with daddy issues, and you have the ones who spend a good portion of the book trying to sleep with their object of interest. The only character that stood out was Amelia, the main female who happens to be the only reason why I ended up reading the book. Out of the many characters and many perspectives, she’s one of the few that actually showed any development, and even then, that’s pushing it a little. She was also the only one I could feel any connection to as a reader, what with her awkwardness and her addiction to sitting in front of a computer.

Overall, I’d give this book a three out of five. The book is good for an afternoon read if there’s literally nothing else to do. The plus side is that it’s fairly short, so if you want some mindless entertainment, I’d recommend it. Overall, though, the book just wasn’t outstanding and fell back into the category “generic YA about rich people”, along with The Clique, The A-List, and Gossip Girl. But borrow it from the library instead of spending money on it – it isn’t something to reread.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

City of Heavenly Fire Cover Analysis

I promised you all a high quality version of the photo, and here it is. Now that I can see the photo more clearly, there are a lot more details that I missed at first glance.

First off, the cover is pretty normal for The Mortal Instruments. Russell Gordon has a very distinctive style with the editing of these covers: the light illuminating from the runes, the city scape, the model(s) on the cover where you can't see their entire face (Though City of Fallen Angels was an exception to this with Clary's face on full view). This cover incorporates all of the classic details.

The first thing I noticed was that Clary was wearing white. In Shadowhunter culture, white is the colour of mourning - the sort of thing that would be worn to a funeral. Cassie has already told us that there will be a number of deaths in the book (6 characters that we already know, I believe is the number she gave us). Does this mean that someone close to her dies? Simon, Luke, Jocelyn... Possibly even Jace. Again. In today's society, white also represents purity and "good", so it could be saying something about, as Simon put it, "team good" and "team evil". She is also holding the hilt of a weapon. The way that she is holding it implies that instead of using it to slash at something, it was used to stab. Who did she stab? It could have been Sebastian, considering he's right in front of her. It could also be representing the Angel blade which Clary had used to stab Jace with (and causing his body to be filled with heavenly fire - which is what the book is named).

Next there is Clary's posture to consider. See how she's standing with her back towards the viewer? This could be representing her turning her back upon something or someone. The clave? Jace? But she also isn't facing Sebastian full on. She's turned slightly away, as though she's trying to avoid him but he's in the way. Or she's trying to avoid the disaster that would surely follow him. Though it's difficult to see, it looks like she's looking downwards. Possibly, she could be looking at the disaster that's around her on the cover.

Clary's hair is something in itself. Besides it slightly mimicking an old Windows screen saver, it also looks like fire (*cough* City of Heavenly Fire *cough*). This could be because she was the one who put the heavenly fire into Jace. Also, in City of Lost Souls, Sebastian says that "this world will be consumed by hellfire." Could some of the bad things that happen in the book be because of Clary herself - making her almost a personification of this "hellfire" that Sebastian speaks of?

Enough about Clary. Sebastian is standing in a shadow, looking at Clary. The juxtaposition between the light Clary and the darkened Sebastian could be representing the fact that Clary is more angel while Sebastian is more demon. It could also represent (along with the fact that Clary is facing the darkness) that the ginger may be joining Sebastian on the "dark side." It's a bit of a stretch, but hey. Anything could happen in this book. Sebastian's gaze in Clary's direction could be showing that he wants something that he cannot have. As shown in the book prior, there are some seemingly sexual feelings on his end towards his sister (going into incest there, click here to see Clare on the topic). It could also been seen as slightly hateful or resentful, considering Clary had put a damper on his plans by taking Jace away from him..

And then there are Sebastian's wings. The wings are a reoccurring thing throughout the books - mostly in Clary's dreams. I assume that it's safe to say that they are supposed to represent his demonic angelicness. If my memory proves correct, in one of Clary's dreams she had seen him with dark wings (though please do correct me if I'm wrong). I doubt that he will actually grow wings in the book. On the other side of this, the wings could be there to represent that fact that some angels may be appearing in this book. As Raphael put it in CoLS, "even the Angels will be destroyed." So will there be a mildly more friendly appearance of angels in this book? Or will they appear to scorch some Shadowhunters (or Sebastian's crowd). It could also be referencing to the ending of the previous book where Sebastian had placed a pair of bloodied angel wings in the New York Institute.

Then there is the background. This cover is the first one in the series in which the city scape is behind the character(s) on the cover. So why the sudden change? This could be because the world is coming to an end and that life as they [the characters] know it. This idea is also supported by the parched and cracked land in front of it. But back to the city for a moment, what city is it? It would be a bit of a stretch to say that some of the buildings look similar to the ones of the cover of City of Glass, considering most taller structures do look pretty similar when you can't see any small details on them. But there are a few pointed buildings which, in fact, imply that this may be Alicante. It's a possibility that this landscape is indeed the home to the Nephilim.

As for the fire in the foreground, part of that comes into the obvious bit that it comes from the title of the book. It's implied through the dry land right behind it that the fire consumed part of it. This could be literal and have fire sweeping across lands. Raphael in CoLS seems to have a pretty good prediction of things as well, proved when he said "there is a great darkness coming it will sweep the Earth with fire and shadow." There is certainly earth being shown, along with fire at the foreground and Sebastian as the shadow.

So what does the cover say about City of Heavenly Fire as a whole? Well, we can be sure that this book is going to be dark - most likely the darkest out of all of them - with a whole lot of feels to go around. The book will be released on on 27 May, so it's not too far now! It's a whole lot closer than series four of Sherlock. What are you all expecting to see from this book? Any other interpretations of the cover you can think of? Feel free to comment them below!

City of Heavenly Fire cover

If you haven't seen it yet, here it is! The cover of the final book in The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire. Expect a better quality photo at a later time. Not much of an analysis I can give quite yet, but we do know for a fact that it's Sebastian (Jonathan) and Clary on the cover, and that Clary is in white (which, if you remember, if the colour that Shadowhunters wear for mourning). When I get a better quality picture, I'll have a full analysis for you guys!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Legend Review

The fandom for Marie Lu’s Legend is ever growing, especially with the (not so recent anymore) release of the third book. I decided to give it a try and, finally, I reached the part of my personal stack of books where that book was waiting to be read.

            Legend takes place on the west coast of the states in a future (dare I say a dystopian one) where the country is split into two – the Republic and the Colonies – and they are at war with each other. The story is told from two perspectives: June, a talented girl who grew up in an elite family and is trained to be a solider for the Republic, and Day, who is an infamous criminal who was born in the slums. They end up meeting through certain events involving the death of June's brother and become unlikely allies. 

            The book is written in first person present tense, but unlike some books (is totally not looking at Allegiant), Lu does a good job at writing this way. Usually this type of writing bothers me, but she managed to keep it interesting. There were varying sentence lengths and sometimes slightly more complex vocabulary.

            Also, the characters have a very distinct voice when the story is being told from their perspective. And if that voice wasn’t enough for you to tell the difference (as well as the character’s name at the start of the chapter), the font actually changes colour in my edition depending on whether you were reading from Day’s or June’s  perspective.

            Something strange that stood out was the fact that almost all of the characters mentioned seemed to be left handed. I’m not sure the reason for this, but it was mentioned enough that it caught my attention. A bit strange, really, considering most of the human population today seems to be right handed.

            The setting of the book is very well written. The description is phenomenal, making a clear picture of what was going on and what everything looked like – something that is very important in a book where the setting is different than it would normally be if it was set today.

            Overall, I’d give this book a four out of five. It wasn’t an outstanding book, and I’ve similar plots before, but it’s very well written and it is very interesting. The fact that I managed to finish it without forcing myself to continue reading is a pleasant change from the books I’ve had to read more recently for school. I will continue to read this series. I would recommend this book to any teenager who enjoys a mix of action with a hint of romance and wouldn't mind reading yet another book set in a dystopian society. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy 2014! Overview of 2013

Happy 2014 everyone! Last year was a huge one for literature, with countless series both starting and ending (autumn was extremely busy with so many books coming out – some of which I still have yet to read). You had the Divergent series coming to a close with Allegiant, James Dashner’s new book The Eye of Minds - the first in the Mortality Doctrine series, Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess, The Alex Rider prequel Russian Roulette, the US release of Oblivion - the final book in Anthony Horowitz's Gatekeepers... So many books in such a short time! Not to mention all the books that got turned into movies.

Of course, with so many books coming out, you did have the good and the bad and the controversial. The much anticipated Allegiant was one of the greatest flops of the year. Poorly written, it left more than just a few fans unhappy with it. On the other hand, there was Light, the final Gone novel written by Michael Grant and Clockwork Princess, both of which have received overall high reviews.

            One of the biggest biggies of the year was definitely The House of Hades, written by Rick Riordan. He took a huge risk with *mini spoiler* making Nico gay (if you didn’t know that already, you probably haven’t used Tumblr since before October). There was a lot of controversy over that, with many parents upset with the fact that he chose to make that decision. Then again, the book series was about Greek mythology and if someone can’t stand non-heterosexual relationships, they should probably avoid that area in general.

And then there were the movies! I lost count of how many adaptations I had seen. There was The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones directed by Harald Zwart... Let’s not forget The Sea of Monsters, which Thor Freudenthal (hehe... Thor...) directed and ended up with very mixed reviews (hey, I give him credit for working with the mess of a film the first one was and managing to do a fairly decent job). There was also Catching Fire, directed by Francis Lawrence, which was possibly the most successful book-to-film adaption that I ever seen in my entire life. And that was just a few of them.

2014 is going to be a huge year. We have the film Divergent coming out, directed by Neil Burger, first of all. The casting may be a bit iffy, but I have a feeling that it’ll be a pretty decent film. There’s also going to be The Fault in out Stars, directed by Josh Boone, so prepare your tissue stash when you go to the cinema.

And as for actual books, by the gods there will be a lot. We’ll be having the second book in The Mortality Doctrine; The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner, which is supposed to be released in the autumn. The Mortal Instruments will have its conclusion with City of Heavenly Fire, which is planned to be released on 27 May – but don’t worry. Cassandra Clare is planning on writing yet another series in the Shadowhunter Chronicles; The Dark Artifices (The first book is planned to be titled Lady Midnight). Let’s not forget about The Blood of Olympus, the final book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.

            Finally, there is no way we can forget about the film based around Newt Scamander who had written Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to the Harry Potter universe – with a screenplay written by the brilliant J.K. Rowling. There are also rumours that she may be writing more books based around the HP universe, so keep your eyes peeled for more news about that.

            2013 has been a giant year full of new releases, and I expect nothing less from 2014. Have a happy new year, and don’t forget to keep reading!