Blogspiration (2): Hemingway got it right

October 13, 2012 § 3 Comments

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

Isn’t this just wonderful? Hemingway, you had it down pat.

I literally do not have words to describe how inspirational this simple message is to me. Write drunk; edit sober. I mean, it’s four words, but it contains an essay’s worth of talk. When you write, don’t let yourself be constricted by your worries, by your inability to write, by the plot bunnies or the writer’s block – just write. What you get down may be horrible because of your impromptu mind vomit, but once it’s edited? I get this feeling that it’ll be something special.

Write drunk. Edit sober.

Character Spotlight #1: Jericho Z. Barrons

October 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

Introducing Mr. Jericho Z. Barrons from the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning! Bookstore owner, antiquities collector and not quite human. He first appears in Darkfever and is the male protagonist (I guess you could say that – hah) and love interest of the heroine, MacKayla Lane. Not much is known about the mysterious gentleman. What we do know however is that he is Mr. Tall, Dark and Dangerous.

This is how KMM perceives Barrons:

JZB is not a man for expressions of happiness. At best he radiates self-satisfied calm, a big cat at rest. Harsh, forbidding, controlled, a man of intense discipline, he emotes anger, mockery, challenge, irony, raw sexuality, animalistic fury, but no tenderness. He’s a hard man.

And this is how Mac describes him:

“He didn’t just occupy space; he saturated it. The room had been full of books before, now it was full of him.”

Sounds delicious, doesn’t he? You’d think he’s a hard man to like, and that’s probably true. But he’s an easy character to absolutely lust for. This is going to sound ridiculous, but while you read about Barrons and his untouchable self, you crave his approval, his acceptance. He’s the typical bad boy that good girls want to reform – except he never will.

This is what Barrons looks like in my head (except more menacing). Portrayed by model David Gandy.

His relationship with MacKayla Lane is an interesting one. Having lived millenia, Barrons has learned to shut out emotion and deals with life with a blasé attitude. His shell is unbreakable – but innocent, naive and pink-nail-polish-toting Mac just happens to know how to get right under his skin.

The love between Mac and Barrons is borne through consuming lust and co-dependency: they want the same thing, except with different outcomes. Their relationship at first is simply a business contract that escalates to survival and finally to attachment. It’s a lovely relationship to watch unfold. He learns to care deeply for Mac, even though she infuriates him to high heaven, but does not say he loves her. It’s not in his personality to declare love – but we’re all glad that Mac understood him nonetheless.

… Or maybe he might look a bit more like Eduardo Verastegui?

JZB is also jam packed with supernatural powers (cha-ching – bonus!). He is immortal: he can die, but ‘comes back’ to life after he returns to the place of his first death. We don’t ever find out what he is. If we do, he’ll kill us. He also has temporary but powerful tattoos that cover his torso and stomach – protective spells and offensive runes I assume. That and he owns a bookstore (how sexy is that, huh? C’mon book bloggers, don’t tell me that’s not exciting), knows how to handle himself in a fight and turns into an eight-foot, four-legged beast when provoked.

A man of many dimensions, and truly a mysterious character I’d love to know more about.

If you’ve read the Fever series, what’d you think of JZB? Let me know!

Showcase Sunday: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

October 9, 2012 § 4 Comments

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

 

I know I’m late, and technically it’s Tuesday night, but I thought I’d share what I’ve recently bought and what I plan to read for the next week.

So, I’ve finally hopped onto the Jennifer L. Armentrout bandwagon! Late, I know, I know – but better late than never. I bought Half-Blood a few days ago and haven’t had the time to do much more than read the first handful of chapters but wowzah! It’s darn great so far and I’m yearning to find some quiet down time for me to really get stuck into the book.

The premise of Half-Blood (the basics that I know, that is) kind of reminds me of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which I loved. I really enjoy fantasy stories that include mythology about gods and legends. I’ve also bought Armentrout’s first installment of the Lux series and so I have Obsidian waiting for me as well. Wish life would give me some slack sometime so I can hole up in my room to read! *Shakes fist*

I tried to get back into reading American Gods which has been on my TBR list for so long, but the story just isn’t sucking me in. I tried to read Flat-Out Love because I’d heard such great things about it, but the first few chapters are crucial for me. I guess I really have to push myself to hit my 100-page barrier, huh?

Upcoming release of Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is killing me inside.

Finale, the fourth and final (obviously, hah) installment of the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick is due to be released on the 23rd of October! Cue fanfare.

Fates unfurl in the gripping conclusion to the New York Timesbestselling Hush, Hush saga.Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean they are fated to be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. Now Nora and Patch must gather their strength to face one last, perilous trial. Old enemies return, new enemies are made, and a friend’s ultimate betrayal threatens the peace Patch and Nora so desperately want. The battle lines are drawn—but which sides are they on? And in the end, are there some obstacles even love can’t conquer? (GoodReads synopsis)

cannot wait.

If you haven’t begun the Hush Hush series yet, I suggest you get a move on (you have time to cruise through the first three books before three weeks is out! One per week! Easy-peasy, I promise!) because it is a fantastic series. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy – I’ve missed Patch so much.

I haven’t read very many angel-esque YA or PNR books. I only really know of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, J.R. Ward’s The Fallen Angels and Angelfall by Susan Ee  which I read a couple of days ago. This means that I don’t have a big pool of angel fiction to compare the Hush Hush series to, but it certainly is great.

From here:

Author’s website: www.beccafitzpatrick.com

Find it on: GoodReads | Amazon | B&N

Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price

October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Star Rating:

Date released: 3rd July 2012
Publisher: ROC
Author’s website: www. kalayna.com
My source: Amazon Kindle Store
Part of a series: Yes, #3 Alex Craft series
Find it at: GoodReads | Amazon | B&N

Official blurb:

When the dead need to talk, Alex Craft is always ready to listen…

As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.

But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all…

What worked for me:

  • This plot. How amazing was it? The mystery behind the ‘apparent suicides’ was fantastic, the big reveal of the murderer being the grave-entity of the ‘rider’ and how they managed to contain him in the end? Absolutely riveting. I was hooked.
  • Death (the character). My opinion and love for Death still stands. Smoking. Hot. Absolutely tender, masculine and totally amazing, my hopeless romantic heart practically flip flopped in my chest when I realized they had a chance.
  • That sex scene. Nowhere 50 Shades material, but come on, it was still hot. And it was so affectionate and warm between them! And the morning after? Sheesh. I wonder what we would have been reading had Tamara not interrupted. I also found it amusing that Alex has known Death since she was 5 years old, hopped into bed with him, and doesn’t even know his real name.
  • A deeper understanding of the mechanics behind being a soul collector. I have been dying to know more about Death’s contextual construct and Price managed to give me a scrap without making me angry and demanding more. And I love how she never really confirmed or denied that the ‘mender’ Alex met is or isn’t ‘god’. Pretty obvious though, right? I like that Price doesn’t treat her readers like they’re idiots.
  • The exploration of faerie politics during the faerie revelry celebration. How interesting is it! Usually, as I’ve mentioned before, I hate reading books about fae because most of the authors do a fantastic job of describing Faerie and its occupants and it creeps me out to the max, but this was well written. Had me shivering and cringing, to be honest, especially whenever the Winter Queen made an appearance. Heinous bitch.

What didn’t work for me:

  • Falin. Seriously, get out already. Okay, fine, I’m sorry for being harsh – I know you’re only doing the bidding of your bitch-queen, but seriously. Alex can’t trust you and your boss is plotting her demise. Guilty by association, I know, but Alex needs to trash your toothbrush and make some space for Death’s.
  • This love triangle! Come on Alex! Stop being a typical indecisive lover and just choose one (preferably Death, thank you). I’d like you a lot more as a character if you stopped dancing between Falin and Death and just make a decision. I know you’re heartbroken but you’re a glutton for punishment what with the way you’ve been carrying on. Again, like I’ve previously mentioned, I abhor stories that have love triangles without a clear ‘winner’.

Other thoughts:

Caleb and Holly: totally saw that coming, and I think it’s hella cute.

My thoughts for the next installment (can’t believe it’s coming out August in 2013!!) is that Alex chooses a lover (preferably Death, thank you) and that her powers manifest even further, or even better, she understands and is at least able to control her planeweaving. Remember the Shadow King’s Changeling? Perhaps she meets him again and learns some valuable lessons from him. And maybe a plotline that involves something perhaps with Alex’s faerie power inheritance, and perhaps some more secrets her darling of a father has been keeping? I’m curious if the ‘mender’ will also make an appearance. His parting words of definitely seeing Alex again sounded ominous!

Adored the third installment to this series and cannot wait till August 2013 for Grave Vision!

A solid 4.5 Stars.

[ Alex Craft Book 1 review | Alex Craft Book 2 Review ]

TBR… But not really.

October 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

So, I was looking through my To Be Read list on Goodreads and realized I had a lost of books that I’d begun, put down, and never looked at it again.

This is my list:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Prince by Nicolo Macchiavelli
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Damned by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

At the time of purchase, or when I started reading, I’m pretty sure I was determined to have these books under my proverbial belt, but I usually found them too hard to get through – like I was slogging through mud.

I’ll get back to you darlings some day! … Probably not.

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

October 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

Star Rating: Date released: 27th September 2011 
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Author’s website: http://www.lainitaylor.com/
My source: Apple iBooks
Format: eBook
Part of a series: Yes, #1 Daughter of Smoke and Bone series
Find it at: GoodReads Amazon | B&N

GoodReads book description

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

What I liked:

  • The darkness in the book. You can almost feel it trickling out and seeping into your arms, your eyes. Taylor is a very talented author because she can really give that illusion of night, but at the same time assures you that you’re safe in her hands.
  • The worldbuilding. What a fantastical world! I’ve never read anything like it. It was magical, frightening, epic and absolutely interesting. The idea that there is a war being fought unbeknownst to humans is definitely not a new concept, but for some reason it feels like it is one when you’re reading.
  • Karou. As a character she’s totally multi-dimensional. A talented artist, a conflicted teenager and a budding woman, she’s everything you expect her to be but she still manages to surprise you. She is strong and independent, a girl who is walking the line between two worlds and actually able to handle it.
  • Karou’s family, and their relationships. As creatures borne from ‘hell’, you expect there to be a lot more… hmm.. how to say it? Violence? Maliciousness and cruelty? I’m not sure. I expected this from her family considering which side of good and evil they were on, but the love and kinship between them all was endearing and Taylor does a fantastic job of making the reader sympathetic to their side.
  • Themes of love. The passionate, the enduring, the star-crossed, familial love, and the forbidden. Daughter of Smoke and Bone has it all.

What I didn’t like:

  • The instant love between Karou and Akiva (for reasons I don’t want to completely spoil). As most YA books go, this happens almost everywhere and I find it irritating that this still happens.

Finally, a book that really lived up to its hype. The ending absolutely destroyed me, and I was literally left wide-eyed thinking wait… that’s it? Where’s the rest of it? No. No! It was so tragic, I actually teared up. I can’t wait for the sequel’s release. And check out that amazing cover! Delicious to read.

A solid and luminescent 5 stars!