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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (8): BOOK NERDS ATTACK

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is the top ten characters who are fellow book nerds.

Hey, guys! It was super difficult to decide which characters to choose for this topic because as I soon as I was presented with the challenge, my mind hit a brick wall. Just complete and total nothingness. However, I finally managed to pull together a list of my favourite nerdy fictitious humans and I hope you all enjoy reading it.




10) Ivy from The Book of Ivy
This choice actually almost slipped past me, then I think I read someone else's list and I was like "OMG YES!". I loved this book, in case you are unaware, and Ivy is a super book nerd which made it all the more enjoyable.

9) Alaska from Looking for Alaska
I was not a major fan of Alaska when reading this book but I was in awe of the crazy library of books that she hoarded in her dorm room. When criticized about the sheer amount of them and the fact that she kept adding to her collection, her response was (paraphrasing) "I will read them all someday." She relates, she relates to my crazy stockpiling issue.


8) Devin from Lois Lane: Fallout
Devin is not a book nerd, he's more of a computer and video game geek who takes honors classes and I had to include him on this list because he is my baby. I love him, he makes me swoon and I would love to have a conversation with him even if it's one involving a lot of topics that I don't understand.

7) Annabeth from The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
Annabeth is goals. Not only is she a knifewielding, buttkicking half‐blood, she also loves reading and seems to know just about everything there is to know about everything. 

6) Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars
Yes, another John Green character, they're all so quirky. Some might argue that Hazel's obsession with only one book doesn't earn her the title "book nerd" but I argue that it does. I can empathize to feeling so bound to the world and the characters of a story that you yearn to relive it again and again. You go, Hazel! You read An Imperial Affliction 'til you're sore in the eyes!


5) Katy from The Lux Series
I am not a die-hard fan of the Lux series...yet, I've only read two books (currently on the 3rd) and they didn't woo me. What did woo me was the fact that our protagonist, Katy, is a book blogger. I really enjoyed reading about Katy, she's feisty, strong and...she's a frickin' book blogger!!! Did I forget to mention that? I think that was such a fun angle to add to the books because I found myself reading and nodding enthusiastically along to the snippets about her forgetting to update her blog, the books piled on the floor, her reviewing books and I just couldn't help feeling a little bit like this:


4) Apollon from the E series
Apollon is my favourite character in the E series. He is incredibly charming, witty and never fails to make me laugh. He is that friend who can take an awful situation, make a stupid joke and immediately make things better. He is also that bookish friend who quote lines from poems and plays and books that no one else even knew existed. His face is constantly in a book and that ,combined with his lovable personality, is why I adore him.

3) Will from The Infernal Devices
*cue the feels* WILL. HERONDALE. READS. NO MORE NEEDS TO BE SAID.


2) Sydney from the Bloodlines series
Sydney Sage is such an amazing protagonist. She reads a crap ton and often, this knowledge gained from having her head in a book and her hand wrapped around a vanilla latte is what gets her out of difficult situations. She is a badass lady but not in the typical sense of weapons and fighting. Her nerdiness, her possession of knowledge IS her weapon and she wields it deftly.

1) Hermione from The Harry Potter series
YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA. Hermione is one of my favourite female protagonists! I love reading about her so much, she honestly knows everything. She is a critical thinker, a problem solver and let's be real, Harry would've have died way back in the first book if not for her friendship.




BOOK NERDS ATTACK! Which characters make up your list of book nerds? Comment down below and tell me! Until my next blog post, I love you guys...to infinity and beyond!




Monday, 27 July 2015

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

bookreview Rating:image descriptionimage descriptionimage descriptionimage descriptionimage description
Title:The Martian
Author:Andy Weir
Publisher:Crown Publishing
Publication Date:February 11th 2014
Source:Publisher
Format:Paperback
Pages:384

Goodreads|Amazon

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


MY THOUGHTS

I received a copy of this novel from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

The Martian chronicles the adventures of astronaut Mark Watney after he is believed dead and stranded on Mars. It details, in the form of his own personal logs, his struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in order to survive.

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. SO. MUCH.


I don't typically read sci-fi books but I took the chance with The Martian because of the stellar reviews that it receives and I must say, those reviews are 150% deserved. In no area did this disappoint.

The story and the experience gained from reading felt very authentic. I honestly believed I was on Mars with Mark Watney, there was so much detail; lots of Math and Science. I am awestruck when I think of the amount of research and dedication that must've gone into the creation of this story. It showed and I can confidently say that if I were stranded on Mars, I might not die immediately. :P

Besides the sheer amount of details, I adored the way The Martian was formatted and the periodic switch in storytelling among Mark's logs, his crew's return ship and the individuals at NASA. It was very unique and effective as a method of plot advancement, more so than plain old first person POV would've been because it very clearly allowed us as readers to take a peek into the brains of all the centrally involved parties in the story.

The thing that spoke to me most while reading The Martian was not the uniqueness of the idea or the way it was executed but, in fact, the protagonist, Mark. He had an almost inhuman amount of confidence and resilience even though the odds were not stacked in his favour. He had a very wry sense of humour that had me DYING with laughter while reading this and he never failed to point out the irony in situations, or crack jokes or even cuss out NASA! Mark Watney is my spirit animal and I can only dream to be as witty as he was when staring death straight in the eyes.

For anyone on the fence about giving this novel a go, do it because you will not regret it. I didn't. It was phenomenal. Actually, no. Phenomenal is too plain a word to describe how good this book was. It was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and it made me feel ASDFGHJKL! I want to give this book a million cupcakes but for the sake of time and space constraints, I am going to settle for 5/5 cupcakes. In reality though, it can't be rated because it broke the scale.




Final Sentence in the Novel

This is the happiest day of my life.

Favourite Lines in the Novel

  • By my reckoning, I'm about 100 kilometers from Pathfinder. Technically it's "Carl Sagan Memorial Station." But with all due respect to Carl, I can call it whatever the hell I want. I'm the King of Mars.
  • I was left without references and relied on Phobos to guide me. There's probably symbolism there. Phobos is the god of fear, and I'm letting it be my guide. Not a good sign.
  • "Anything, Tim?"
    "Totally," he replied, "But we're staring at this black screen because it's way more interesting than pictures from Mars."
  • To them, equipment failure is terrifying. To me, it's "Tuesday".
  • Yes, of course duct tape works in a near vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped.
  • As with most of life's problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.
  • Then I drove out to the RTG. It was right where I left it, in a hole four kilometers away. Only an idiot would keep that thing near the Hab. So anyway, I brought it back to the Hab.




Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects such as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.











EXCITING NEWS + A TO Z BOOKISH SURVEY

Hello everyone! I have some really exciting news!

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I am now a co-blogger for Bookish Babes with three other lovely ladies! My excitement level right now is through the roof! The blog is still in the early phases and there are still a bunch of design and schedule decisions to be made but I just thought I'd share this piece of info with you all because it is something I genuinely care about. I'll be updating you constantly in the future about this development so stay tuned, more is coming!

Now, onto the second thing that I am really excited for: The A TO Z Bookish Survey!

It was created by Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner and is just what is sounds like, a survey with questions corresponding to each letter of the alphabet, a chance for you to get to know me better...HERE WE GO!








Author you've read the most books from:
Probably Richelle Mead. I've read the entirety of her Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series so...12 books.

Best. Sequel Ever:
Champion by Marie Lu. Hands down. Have you read that book? It was fantastic, the most epic conclusion to a trilogy I've ever read!

Currently Reading:
The Young Elites by Marie Lu. 

Drink of Choice While Reading:
I don't typically drink (or eat) anything while reading because I'm super clumsy and terrified of stuff spilling but in the off-chance that I do, it's probably just plain ol' water or a nice cup of green tea.

E-reader or Physical Book:
Physical book all the way! Nothing compares to the feel of a physical book in hand.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School:
Well, I probably would've dated Isaac from The Fault in Our Stars , Leo from the Heroes of Olympus series or Apollon from the E series. I love nerds. You probably already know that I am a nerd myself so I think my personality would align to any one of those boys. There're funny and sweet and huggable. Also, side note, I'm still in High School so *fingers crossed* I meet my Isaac, Leo or Apollon.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
The Martian by Andy Weir. I finished it a few days ago and ASDFGHJKL guys! It's so good! Review coming soon!

Hidden Gem Book:
The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick! I read this book back in 2010 and I'm shocked that more people don't rave about it because it is amazing! It is a historical fiction novel  set during World War about this girl who has the ability to foreshadow the death of others.

Important Moment In Your Reading Life:
Reading the Twilight Saga. It's the series that helped me make the transition from Middle Grade books to YA books and here I am. :)

Just Finished:
The Martian by Andy Weir.

Kind of Books You Won't Read:
Probably books that are intentionally blasphemous against God or another religion's Deity. Sorry, not about the disrespect. I believe in loving and respecting everyone for who they are and what they believe in. 

Longest Book You've Read:
I want to say Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer which is 756 pages long but I'm honestly not sure and I don't keep track of Goodreads  well enough to check so I'm sticking with that answer.

Major Book Hangover Because Of:
Champion by Marie Lu! I lost my ability to read for days after finishing that one.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
I own one bookcase and I am afraid I'm in need of another one because it is one book away from being filled completely.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
I love to re-read books because I am super forgetful of details and sometimes I just want to relive the world and the characters who dwell there. The series that I've re-read the most though is The Twilight Saga which I've read a whopping 5 times.

Preferred Place To Read:
On my bed. Specifically, laying on my side with my book in front of me and my pillow propped underneath my elbow.

Quote that Inspired You/ Gave You All The Feels From A Book That You've Read:
I'm really horrible at remembering to jot down quotes so sorry, no answer for this one.

Reading Regret:
Not reading A Series of Unfortunate Events as a child. I really should have committed to it then because while I really want to read it now, it's super long and I just have so many books I want to read.

Series You Started and Need To Finish (All Books Are Out In The Series):
The Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. I started it last year...or the year before that? I own the first two books and I remember enjoying first one but I can't remember what it was about so I'll probably have to re-read it.

Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books:
Matilda by Roald Dahl, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Anything Twilight-related.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel. I loved the first book in this series so much and absolutely CANNOT wait to get my hands on the second one.

Worst Bookish Habit:
Probably putting a book down (even a great one) and not picking it up for days on end. I don't know why I do this, it's an awful habit that I need to quit.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick which I have yet to read. I tried then I put it back down.

Your Latest Book Purchase:
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. 

ZZZ-Snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
I don't often stay up late, even to read because I am the type of person whose body begins shutting down after 8 P.M but I recently read The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead until 12 at night which isn't that crazy but still. I needed to know how the series ended!




Hope you enjoyed this post, everyone! I know I enjoyed writing it! And I also hope that you are as excited as I am about this new blogging venture. Though I should note, it will in no way affect me posting here because this is my main blog, it is my baby and needs to be nurtured. Until my next blog post, I love you guys...to infinity and beyond!




Sunday, 26 July 2015

Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (The Maze Runner #2)

bookreview Rating:image descriptionimage description
Title:The Scorch Trials
Author:James Dashner
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication Date:September 13th 2011
Source:bought
Format:Paperback
Pages:360

Goodreads|Amazon

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.


MY THOUGHTS

Two words to summarize how I felt about this book : HMMM AND BLEH!

This novel picks up right where The Maze Runner left off and the Gladers are immediately made aware of the fact that they may have escaped from the maze but their trials are far from over.

I wanted to love this novel, I wanted to love it so badly. I had hoped that despite all the less-than-stellar reviews this sequel receives, that I would find something good to say about it but all I found was confusion, disdain and disappointment. How in bloody hell did this change from a trilogy with such potential to...THIS?!

The first thing that struck me as strange was Thomas and Teresa's "relationship". They moved from one minute being two memory-wiped people with no connection other than their forgotten past and a telepathic link to individuals who needed each other's presence for survival. It was off-putting, it was annoying and I did not like it. I felt that it was not necessary for the advancement of the story and honestly, hearing Thomas whine 24/7 about Teresa while they were on a race to stay alive made me want to castrate him.

MazeRunner

Aside from that, I was not a fan of Teresa on the whole. Add that to the list of pointless things this story does not need. She's central for some reason and I cannot fathom why. She's a brick with no personality, we barely know anything about her and yet, she is regarded as important. Even worse, there was this weird spin on her in this book. I can't explain too much without giving away spoilers but the odd Teresa angle in this novel served no purpose other than confusing the crap out of me.

MazeRunner

Lots of things that should've been explained just weren't. Why is Wicked good? The reason for these deadly experiments. Seriously, I'm positive if they give these children a valid reason for wanting to kill them all the time, they might cooperate. Also, the purpose of the new characters introduced. A crap ton of characters graced the pages of The Scorch Trials and what do we know about them? Nothing. We barely know anything even about the Gladers we had in the first book, besides the obvious ones like Thomas, Minho and Newt.

There were a bunch of gory action scenes, lots of death, scary creatures and fights and normally, I would enjoy that but it was so random and difficult to focus on. Half the time I couldn't figure out what the hell was happening and I wanted to drop this book and run...far far away.

MazeRunner

Did I enjoy this novel as much as I wanted to? Not even close. Am I still going to read its sequel? Probably. Because I have this weird need to finish things so even if a book lets me down, there's a 85% chance I will continue on with the series. While this novel fell short for me in a lot of areas, it took me a sort while to read and that might be the only reason why I'm giving it 2 cupcakes instead of one.






Final Sentence in the Novel

That's all for now.


Favourite Lines in the Novel

  • Thomas grunted a yes, and Newt said, "Pretty sure we just arrived in bloody hell. Always thought you'd end up here, Minho, but not me."





James is the author of THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy and THE 13TH REALITY series. He also published a series (beginning with A DOOR IN THE WOODS) with a small publisher several years ago. He lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.











July SST: Deadly Sweet Lies by Erica Cameron (The Dream War Saga #2), Interview + GIVEAWAY

Hey guys! I am here with another Sunday Street Team post. If you've no clue what SST is, it is a street team organized by Nori from Readwritelove28, which spotlights different authors monthly. Today, I am featuring Erica Cameron, author of the upcoming novel Deadly Sweet Lies, the second book in the Dream War Saga.



Cover of DSL

Title:Deadly Sweet Lies
Author:Erica Cameron
Publication Date:August 18th 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Goodreads|Amazon

Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.

Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.

Julian Teagan is a master of deception.

To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness.
Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him…



Interview with Erica...
1) What inspired the premise of this novel?
After I completed my first major revision/rewrite of Sing Sweet Nightingale under my editors’ guidance, they asked me for outlines and synopses for the remaining books in the series so that they could get a better idea of where I saw the story heading. My plan at the time was for a trilogy told entirely from Mari and Hudson’s points of view, so that was what I have them. Two more books of Mari and Hudson. What they did instead was point to Mariella’s cousin Julian from book 2 and ask “What about him? What’s his story? Can you tell his story?”

Once I concentrated on Julian, Nadette became the obvious counterpart and the rest of the themes of the book fell into place. Lies and truth are a huge one, but so is friendship and fear and family and all of the ways those things can impact someone’s life.

2) What was the biggest challenge encountered while writing this book?
Julian, actually. Getting the right balance of personality traits to make sure that people picked up on all of the most important facets of his thought process and background was a huge struggle. Which is funny considering that his cousin Mariella was the hardest to nail down character in the previous book. Obviously being stubbornly enigmatic runs in the family.

3) Following up that question, what was the most exciting part about writing this novel?
That instead of a dreaded sequel, I got to write what essentially amounted to a second book 1. Theoretically, you could jump into the series with Deadly Sweet Lies and understand everything. Although there are small references that make more sense if you’ve read Sing Sweet Nightingale, Deadly is less a sequel and more of an expansion of the universe. Book 3 on the other hand? That’s a true sequel.

4) Given the opportunity to swap bodies with one of the characters from this novel for a day, who would you choose and why?
This is an interesting one, actually! So many of my characters have powerful abilities that, in all honesty, kind of suck to deal with every day. If I had to live as any of them for a day it would be Anya Travieso, a minor character who has an incredibly talented artist. People think that if you can create one kind of thing you can probably create everything. Or at least other things. Not true. Despite my ability to build worlds and characters and stories, I do not have an artist’s eye. I am horrible at visualizing things vividly, but Anya isn’t and I have always wondered what it’s like to see the world the way an artist does.

5) This addition to The Dream War Saga is very much an extension of the dream world that readers were introduced to in the first novel except that it features very different protagonists. In what ways is this second installment similar to the first one and also, how are they different?
Like I said earlier, Deadly is practically a second book 1. Paired with Sing, it gives readers a much more wide-angle view of, well, everything. The timelines overlap heavily for a while and the characters from one eventually interact with the other. They’re similar in that they take place within the same world and follow the same larger story, but otherwise the shapes of the stories aren’t the same at all. Whether you look at the cast, the scope, the themes, or the romance, they’re all different from one book to the next. Which, quite honestly, is one of the reasons both books were so fun to write!

6) The Balasura have very ancient and dare I say original names. Did you partake in very extensive research into these names when first writing this series?
The character names for the Balasura I based off of obscure names I found in a wonderfully useful baby name app! Some of them are different spellings or combinations of names, but they are all names people do use. Or have once upon a time, anyway. As far as the words that name things within the dreamworld--like Balasura and Abivapna and others that haven’t come up in the series yet--I based those words on the ancient Sanskrit language, combining words until I found something both pronounceable and interesting. Names are very important (and also a lot of fun) to me, so I definitely spend a lot of time skimming through lists of names and words until I find something that fits. Luckily Sanskrit has a lot for me to pull from for the bits of the language I need to create.

7) At what age did you realise that you wanted to be an author?
I should have known at around 12 or 13--maybe earlier--but I didn’t. “Author” wasn’t ever one of the options they discussed when talking about what you wanted to be when you grew up and it never occurred to me that I could create the books I loved to read so much. It should have, though, considering that when my eighth grade English teacher told us to get into groups and create a picture book I not only did the whole thing alone, I turned the project into a 40-page mystery novella. I may or may not have been reading a lot of my dad’s James Patterson books at the time. I tried to write a fantasy novel in high school (and failed miserably because I had no idea what I was doing), but it wasn’t until I got into writing fanfiction toward the end of my college years that it occurred to me I might be capable of writing my own books and that someone might be willing to buy them.

8) What are some of your favourite childhood books and how have they impacted your life today?
I have always been an absolutely voracious reader. I legitimately cannot remember a time when books weren’t a crucial part of my life. My parents, especially my mom, read to me and my sisters a lot. When I was a little older, I was the kid who packed half a suitcase of books for vacations and then made their parents stop at a bookstore for more in the middle of the trip. The Hobbit will always hold a fond place in my memories since my dad read it to us twice when we were little. I read most of the Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley books when I was in elementary school and then moved on to authors like Tamora Pierce before jumping straight into “adult” fantasy and mystery books. I didn’t have many friends until middle school, so books were my companions and my escape. Stories kept me sane and, hopefully, my books will do the same for someone someday.


You can purchase Deadly Sweet Lies on Amazon.





After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.

Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon d├ęcor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.

Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga. In May 2015, Erica and her co-author Lani Woodland launched the Laguna Tides series with Taken by Chance.












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July SST: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson, Interview + GIVEAWAY

Hey guys! I am very happy to be participating in The Sunday Street Team, a street team organized by Nori from Readwritelove28, which spotlights different authors monthly. Today, I am super excited to be interviewing Shanna Swendson, author of Rebel Mechanics because there has been so much buzz on the blogosphere surrounding this novel lately and I cannot wait to read it!




Cover of The Revenge Playbook

Title:Rebel Mechanics
Author:Shanna Swendson
Publication Date:July 14th 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Goodreads|Amazon

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.



Interview with Shanna...

1) Did writing this novel require you to undertake a lot of research on U.S/British history?


Yes, I did a ton of research. I think I read close to 60 books in preparing to write this novel. I researched aspects of 1880s life -- clothing, homes, manners, technology, society, culture, etc. I researched the actual American Revolution to see what the chain of events was and how it might translate to a different setting and time period. I read about other revolutions to see what common threads there were. I read about airships and steam engines. I read a number of novels written during the time period in order to get a sense of the language. Fortunately, I love reading and I love history, so this hardly felt like “work.”

2) Which character did you enjoy creating the most in this novel?

Probably Henry, since he has so many different facets, with a public face and a private face, and he has so many roles to play in life. He’s a very young person who’s been thrust into a very adult role that he’s still figuring out. And I’m seeing all of this through someone else’s perspective, so I have to get clever to find ways of conveying it.

3) Was it difficult to conjure up this vast and complex world of rewired history, power struggle and magic?

I don’t know if I’d say it was difficult. It was like a game and a lot of fun to play with all these elements, to start with reality and get to add to it.

4) In what ways do you consider yourself to be similar to our protagonist Verity?

Verity may be more like me than any other character I’ve written. I gave her my hair (long, brown and curly). She’s a big reader, as I am, with a mix of serious, more scholarly work and pulp fiction, which is the way I tend to read. I identify a lot with her feeling of being caught between worlds, not really fitting entirely in one place or the other. I’ve so often felt like I’m an outsider wherever I go because I don’t fit neatly into categories.

5) Why create an alternate historical timeline? What sparked the idea for this story?

When you add magic to the mix, you expect it to change the way the world works, which is going to change history. That’s part of what triggered the story -- what if the ruling class really was different in some significant way? How would that affect society? How would that have changed history? If the rulers were magical, they’d be hard to fight against unless you had a different source of power that was equally strong. Plus, playing with the steampunk aesthetic means technology will be a little different. That gives me a world to work with that’s similar to ours but different enough that I can be creative and have fun things like magical carriages, airships, and secret subways.

6) Who would you consider to be your greatest influence as a writer?

I don’t know that there’s been any one influence. I read a lot and always have, and every book I read seems to inspire me in some way, whether it’s a case of “I want to do something like this that makes people feel this way” or “I could do it better.” All of those things add up to make me the writer I am now.

7) What is your favourite book and how many times have you read it?

It’s hard to pick just one! I have a few bookcases full of very battered books. Perhaps my all-time favorite would be To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. It’s this delightful Victorian spoof time travel adventure story that’s laugh-out-loud funny, thoughtful, and romantic. It’s also set in Oxford, England, where I took one of my favorite vacations ever, and where I was able to find my way around based on descriptions in the book. I’m not sure how many times I’ve read it, but it’s one of those books I want to crawl inside and live in. This is kind of where I got the idea for Verity’s name in my book. There’s a character with that name in this book, which made me aware of the name, and then the meaning of the name perfectly fit the character I was creating.

8) There is a budding romance in this novel. Is it very central to the happenings of the book and in what ways does it help our main character to grow?

I suppose it depends on which budding romance you mean. There are a couple of relationships in the book, though there’s one that seems more likely as the book ends (keeping it vague to avoid spoilers). The first one is actually part of the plot. The second one is more the result of the plot and a sign that the main character is growing and getting her eyes opened. She’s started to make her own decisions rather than relying on what others tell her, and she’s started to find her own place in the world, and that makes her consider the possibility of that relationship. That relationship may become more important to the plot going forward if I write more books in this series.


You can purchase Rebel Mechanics on Amazon.





Shanna Swendson is the author of the popular adult romantic fantasy series, Enchanted, Inc. Rebel Mechanics is her first novel for young adults. She lives in Irving, Texas.












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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Review: Eden by Kate Wrath (E #3)

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Title:Eden
Author:Kate Wrath
Publisher:Self-published
Publication Date:June 13th 2015
Source:The Author
Format:egalley

Goodreads|Amazon

Both friends and enemies are keen to get their hands on the information inside Eden’s head—information that could take down the Sentries and change the world. But there are costs that no one realized, and Eden’s not so sure she’s willing to pay them. Refusing to do so could create dangerous problems within the tribe she’s only just come back to.

Eden has her own agenda for learning Lily’s secrets. With hope refusing to die, she’s spurred forward by memories of Oscar and thoughts of finding him again. But Lily’s hold on her is greater than she knows, compelling her to chase after strange clues and confusing visions. With love and longing weighing on her, Eden must determine the reality of her fractured identity in order to decide which path to take. The choices she makes could tear her away from Jonas and Apollon, from everything she’s ever known.

Eden’s future will not be determined solely by choices. Fate has her own cards to play, and they just might take the game.


MY THOUGHTS

I was sent an egalley of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are mine and I was not compensated for this review. 

Eden left my emotions tied up in a massive knot. There were instances when I quite enjoyed it, instances when I wanted to shake some of the characters and mostly, I felt floored by the mixed feelings that threatened to overpower me while reading this.



The majority of the novel took place in Miami, or well, a new world version of it where we, the readers, finally got answers about Eden and Jonas' past and I was not expecting any of that! The curtains fell down and it was weird but also made loads of sense. I loved knowing, I loved the build-up to this knowledge and of course, I loved the information that was constantly thrown my way while reading this. It was very unorthodox, exciting and never failed to put this expression on my face:


I was also a massive fan of the writing style and descriptions in the novel, not the just the physical ones but also the emotional ones. They were very in-depth and helped to add a new dimension to the story, one that was very hands-on and allowed us to glimpse the world very vividly from Eden's POV (...both of them? hehe).

Speaking of Eden, I think this novel helped to solidify the fact that she is one of my favourite female protagonists ever. I know I've said this a 1000 times but emphasis is a tool to be utilised when discussing things that one adores. I just think she works so well under pressure; she barely bats an eyelash at the role she plays in Miami, she's stubborn to let anyone tamper with her mind even though she just might need it and she's very resilient in her feelings for Jonas, though I don't get why. He still doesn't sit very well with me.

A couple of things annoyed me about this book:
1) Eden's reluctance to have brain surgery. I mean GOSH-DARNIT, WOMAN. THERE'S A 9/10 CHANCE THIS WILL BE A FUTURE PROBLEM.

2)Apollon's fluctuating loyalty between Eden and Jonas. I love Apollon, he's my favourite character besides Matt but come on, man! You've known her for a year! Jonas has been your bro since the beginning. It's something I can get over but it was completely strange to me!

3)THE ENDING! This actually didn't annoy me in a I-HATE-THIS way, more in a I-WANT-THE-NEXT-BOOK-RIGHT-NOW kind of way. It was semi-predictable but also totally unexpected. Does that make sense?

I enjoyed this book, I view it as an exploration of Eden's mind and the past that has only been hinted at. I am a super fan of this series, the world is one that is very complex and unique from anything that I've read before and I CANNOT wait to pick up the prequel, Jason and Lily!

Recommended for anyone who loves thrilling dystopians, overflowing with action and quirky, lovable characters. Read this series, read it, read it now!





Final Sentence in the Novel

I flash him a grin over my shoulder.. "It's good to be home."

Favourite Lines in the Novel


My stupid Kindle app updated and deleted all my bookmarks so I can't find my favourite lines :(






Kate Wrath lives in the Southwestern US. Much like other authors, she has both a [family] and a [pet].

[family = three crazy-but-lovable, exceedingly adorable people with longer eyelashes and better sense of humor than Kate]

[pet = lovable-but-crazy giant German Shepherd who seems to be able to read, but pretends not to understand when something is required of him]

Kate is the author of the E series: E (Book #1), Evolution (Book #2), Eden (Book #3, June 13, 2015), and Jason and Lily (prequel, July 23, 2015). She has also written two fantasy novels that are soon to be released.

Kate believes in literature as an art form, world peace, and animal rights, but aspires to write total trash that is full of senseless violence, with characters who eat house pets.